No, you don’t get inspiration

Inspiration as presented in 5e is kind of janky, both in the way you reward it and in the way it is used. The concept is a good idea, but its execution is hard to pull off and arguably has a very forgettable effect. The suggested way to award according to the Player’s Handbook is to give it out when someone performs an act of roleplaying one of their character’s traits – especially the flaws. A good idea, but impossible to keep track of with even a few players. You have to know what their traits are (four per player) and remember to award it for playing to their character. Depending on their traits it may come up often or not at all during a session. Not fun.

Even if you do give out inspiration often, all it does is give advantage on a single attack, check, or save...

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Death House: Roll Perception to Advance

Let me get the short version of the review out of the way: Death House is hard but not in a good way, and is not an exciting module without serious DM modification.

Death House suffers from the “roll x to advance” gateway that many modules have. That is, you have to perform a certain check with a certain DC in order to go through the module. Parts of the module literally do not exist until they pass those skill checks or check a certain area. What’s worse is that they are the worst kind of checks: perception checks. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against perception in general, but the way Death House does it really encourages the mindset of rolling dice to do basic human tasks to advance.

It reminds me of a certain type of DM … you’ve all played with the DM who had you roll for everything. EVERYTHING. You know the one:

Player: “I want to look around the room.”

DM: “Okay...

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Bordered Cutouts

There was a request for the bordered cutouts that were used for the Out of the Abyss NPCs. Here’s a page of them in PDF format.

Download Bordered Cutouts (.pdf)

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Perception vs investigation

It’s not really an age old debate, but it’s something I have struggled with a bit ever since I started DMing for 5e games. Much like perception vs search in the older D&D systems, sometimes it’s difficult to determine what you actually want the players to roll in order to find something. Now, it’s pretty clear cut that in order to find a creature that is hiding you use perception, but what about finding secret doors and hidden compartments? The default book answer is perception, but then you’re left asking yourself “what is investigation actually useful for?” Sure, there are those outlaying instances where it’s obviously what you want to use, but I still have a hard time justifying perception over investigation when searching for traps, hidden doors, and other items for the following reasons:

  1. It hurts anyone proficient in disarming traps...
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(5e) Out of the Abyss Jailbreak NPCs

Out of the Abyss - Jailbreak NPCs

A collection of the portraits and statistics for the jailbreak NPCs in chapter 1 of Out of the Abyss. These printouts are similar in size to the magic item certifications when cut out. Extremely handy for quickly referencing the NPC stats and handing them out for the players to use.

The normal AC and weapons for these NPCs have been left out (with the exception of natural weapons and armor) since they will be using scavenged equipment which will change their AC and attacks. Any multiattack capabilities have been noted, so otherwise just use weapons and armor as they normally would. The proficiency bonus, although not printed on this version, is easy to see based on any skill proficiencies they may have. Use your best judgement for weapon and armor proficiencies.

Download (5e) Out of the Abyss Jailbreak NPCs (.pdf)

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