In the 2nd introduction to our Adventures in Middle-Earth campaign we join an elf on parol deep in the southern reached of Mirkwood.
One of the first magical items seen in the Harry Potter series, and certainly the loudest, is Hagrid’s enchanted motorbike. Hagrid has always been one of my favorite character from the books, and the thought of creating a version of his bike that could work in a D&D game amused me to no end.
Wondrous Item, Unique
Originally belonging to Sirius Black it was passed on to Rubeus Hagrid after the deaths of Lily and James Potter. This enchanted enchanted motorbike is capable of flying over long distances at great speed. It was later modified to include defensive measures meant to aid in the escort of Harry Potter during The Second Wizard War.
Normally the enchanted motorbike has a flying movement of 150 ft., and a ground movement of 75 ft.
The headlight is capable of producing bright light directly in front of itself for a distance of 50 ft.
One weakness of the enchanted motorbike is that it is extremely loud and easy to track magically. Characters attempting to make a Dexterity (Stealth) check while using the enchanted motorbike have disadvantage and suffer a -10 penalty to their roll. Spells rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks made to attempt to track the motorbike’s movement have advantage.
The traps and defenses added to the enchanted motorbike make it far more powerful, but each can only be used once per day. The motorbike regains the use of these powers after 24 hours.
Net: Loaded with an enchanted net that is expelled from the exhaust pipe it functions much the same as a Muggle net, but is propelled magically. See pg. 148 of The Player’s Handbook for rules on nets.
Brick Wall: Functioning similarly to the spell Wall of Stone the Enchanted Motorbike expels a solid brick wall directly in the path of an oncoming pursuer. This version of the spell has the benefit of requiring no components, or concentration to be maintained. Once the wall is created it remains present unless destroyed. See pg. 287 of The Player’s Handbook for the full explanation of the spell.
Dragon Fire: A line of flame erupts from the exhaust pipe sending the Enchanted Motorbike rocketing forward, effectively doubling its movement speed for one round. The range of the line is 100 ft., any creature standing directly in the path of the line must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed saving throw the hit creatures take 10d10 fire damage, on a successful saving throw they take half damage.
Speed 150 mph
Damage Threshold 10
Edit: I updated the range of the Lasso of Truth on the advice of a few folks. Sorry if people are disappointed. You can always adjust it as you see fit in your own game.
A few days ago I saw a short clip of Wonder Woman using The Lasso of Truth in her upcoming movie. Wonder Woman has some of the coolest gear in all of the superhero world! She has an invisible jet (I think it is great and I don’t care what anyone else has to say on the matter), bracelets that can deflect bullets, a variety of Amazonian weapons, an of course a magical lasso capable of forcing anyone to tell the truth. After seeing the video I immediately wanted to create a Dungeons & Dragons version of it.
Creating it was a bit difficult though, I mean this is an item forged by a literal god and used by one of the most powerful heroes in all of history. I took a look at the Rope of Entanglement in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, but that just wouldn’t do so I went back to the drawing board.
I know some people will say it is too powerful, but you know what? In my mind it SHOULD be super powerful. Anyway I hope some people like this, and maybe it will find a home in some D&D games.
The Lasso of Truth
Legendary item (requires attunement)
This Lasso of Truth is infinitely long extending itself as the user wishes, but only weighing 15 pounds. Any creature bound by Lasso of Truth is compelled to speak only the truth, and will answer any questions imposed on it to the best of its ability. If you hold one end of The Lasso of Truth you can make an attack using your Dexterity, on a hit the target is restrained by it. The effective range of the Lasso of Truth is 80 ft./160ft. As an action you can extend the rope an additional 15 feet.
You can release the creature by using a bonus action. A target restrained by the rope can use an action to make a DC 25 Strength or Dexterity check (the target’s choice). On a success, the creature is no longer restrained by the rope. As an action you can also fling a bound target dealing 2d12 + your Strength modifier bludgeoning damage.
Creatures vulnerable to radiant damage are incapacitated while bound by The Lasso of Truth.
Forged by Hephaestus himself he Lasso of Truth is unbreakable, only a true denial of the truth or a god/goddess of deception might prove capable of destroying it.
The Lasso of Truth provides bright light source in a 5 foot vicinity.
The Cloak of Levitation
Armor (cloth armor), wondrous
Securely displayed within The Sanctum in New York City even the current Sorcerer Supreme could not win over this fickle artifact.
While wearing The Cloak of Levitation gain a flight speed of 45 ft. You also increase your AC by +3 and you have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage.
Confounding Cloth. The Cloak of Levitation can bind itself around an enemy blinding them quite effectively. It is capable of making an attack with a +5 bonus to hit, on a hit the target is blinded and takes 1d6+1 bludgeoning damage. This is not counted as an action for the player character wearing it. A target may attempt to escape by making a Dexterity or Strength saving throw with a DC of 16 as an action.
Freedom of Movement. The Cloak of Levitation is able to move of its own accord. It has a flying movement speed of 30 ft. when it is not being worn.
Sentience. The Cloak of Levitation is a sentient chaotic good item with an Intelligence score of 16, a Wisdom score of 14, Charisma 18. It has hearing and normal vision out to a range of 60 ft. The Cloak of Levitation does not speak , but it understands many languages and it communicates through simple gestures.
Personality. Described by the Sorcerer Supreme as a fickle thing The Cloak of Levitation accepts no wearer lightly, but it is fiercely loyal and protective when it does allow someone to don it. However it remains willful and is not above dragging a resistant sorcerer like an errant apprentice.
The Cloak of Levitation’s primary purpose is to serve and protect its wearer, even risking its own destruction without a second thought. It will however, sometimes decide on the best course for serving a sorcerer without consulting them.
This is the first installment in what I hope will be an ongoing series on the new Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game from Evil Hat Productions. Please note, these articles are meant to serve as helpful tips for players who are trying to improve their gameplay, or who’re are hoping to make gameplay a bit easier. I will be posting an actual review of the game as a podcast on Sunday March 12, 2017 though so please keep an eye out for it if you’re interested.
Before jumping into the tips I do want to offer a warning, there will be spoilers contained in these articles. If you haven’t read The Dresden Files books and you care about maintaining secrecy than please, stop reading now.
So you’ve purchased your copy of the core game and maybe a couple of the expansions, and you’ve played a couple of games, maybe by yourself or with a group of players. One of the first things you’ll have to learn to tackle are the obstacles. Obstacles vary greatly from book to both in the actual effects they bring to table and the number you’ll have to overcome. Ranging from one to three they’re often going to hinder your progress if not bring it to a complete halt.
For example Lunar Cycle from Fool Moon prevents hits from being added to either of the Loup Garou foes. This will protect the most powerful enemies in this book.
Meanwhile Harry Captured from Death Masks prevents Harry from Attacking or Investigating. Since every game uses Harry Dresden this effectively prevents him from helping the players move towards their primary goals.
Remember this is a cooperative game so all of the players need to work together if they’re going to have any chance at winning. One of the first things you should be doing is looking at the obstacles in play and seeing how they interact with the the foes and cases. Determine if the obstacle is a major hurdle or just an inconvenience, although in most situations you’re group will probably want to prioritize getting rid of the obstacle as soon as possible.
Harry’s Talent for moving obstacles and advantages around is one key strategy to bypassing these problematic hurdles. It allows him to move far away obstacles to a more advantageous position in the row is important in that it helps minimize the cost for getting rid of them. All of the characters have abilities that allow them to remove obstacles, but some are better at it than others.
Thomas Raith’s card Family Power allows to overcome all of the obstacles in 1 row for 5 fate points. This is perfect given the wealth and prestige of the White Court Vampires with the Raith family. (In one instance we see his sister Lara Raith arrange an airlift by the U.S. Navy.) Now a cost of 5 fate points is nothing to laugh at, but if multiple obstacles happen to fall in the same row, especially n a game with 2-3 obstacles Thomas can wipe them out in a single go. Again, you have to weigh the cost and consider the opportunities carefully. In a game with only one obstacle in player this is almost certainly too high of a cost to pay.
Every character has a 1 range ability to overcome obstacles costing a single fate point. These pair very well with Harry’s ability to move the obstacles around when he discards for fate points. This of course means in many of your games you’ll have a chance at overcoming obstacles for a minimum cost. This strategy only works if you can get the obstacle where you need it to be and when you need it to be there.
Many characters have an ability with a variable fate cost or a variable range. A few of those cards have a fixed cost and range, which comes in handy. The variable cost cards are…not great. These should only be used in a moment of most dire need as they’re usually better for generating some much needed fate points. Besides t is so hard to be cool when you have to borrow your parent’s cars or you’re driving around in a beetle held together by the will of an underpaid wizard and duct tape.
Molly Carpenter’s card Borrow the Family Minivan is an example of one of these less optimal cards. As we can see it can eat up to five of your precious fate points, but it has a fixed range of 3.
Some characters like Sanya have attacks that allow them to overcome obstacles while adding hits. There aren’t too many of these cards so it is a great boon if you happen to get one. Since you can’t always count on a Knight of the Cross swooping into save the day these shouldn’t be counted on, if you happen to get one though you’re certainly going to want to use it. In general any cards that let you do more than one thing are going to be very helpful.
In short my tips are figure out what the obstacles are doing to your early on and then prioritize them. In most games you’re going to want to get rid of them straight away. Use Harry’s talent to move the obstacles around to help position them so that they can be overcome for a minimum cost if possible. If you have variable cards they should only be used when absolutely needed. Special cards like Family Power and Esperacchius are fantastic when the circumstances support them. Hopefully this helps everyone with getting over obstacles. I still think we need a Harry card that says “When a player overcomes an obstacle if Harry’s player shouts ‘Parkour” get x number of fate points.” Don’t judge me.
I do not own the Dresden Files and all of the art for this article was created by Tyler Walpole and Christian Mcgrath
I asked Twitter what sort of classes they felt are currently missing from rpgs, and I got some really interesting answers. A few people said they want to see an intelligence or lore based class. One person suggested an Occultist and that idea struck me.
The path the leads most to becoming cultists is not usually a pleasant one. Whether it begins with an unhealthy curiosity for the magical arts or an earnest desire to learn the occultist is meant to be an intelligent character who dabbles in magic without mastering it. I love the idea of a character who delves into lore a bit like a bard, but relies on ordinary research. Maybe it’s because I’m married o a librarian?
In order to make the occultist at least a little combat effective I gave them access to some spells and abilities, but largely this is a class that favors brains over brawn.
This is an extremely rough draft I only just finished so I know it still needs a lot of work. I only plotted it out to level 5 because I wanted to do some tinkering and see if how it is working up to that point. If you have any thoughts/suggestions please share.
Hit Dice: 1d6 per occultist level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 6 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d6 (or 4) + your Constitution modifier per occultist level after 1st
Armor: Light armor
Weapons: Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, and shortswords
Saving Throws: Intelligence, Wisdom
Skills: Choose 3 from Arcana, History, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, and Religion
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
*(a) a longsword or (b) any simple melee weapon
*(a) a scholar’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack
*(a) a holy symbol or (b) an arcane focus
Occultists are almost to a one masters of ferreting out secrets everyone else has either forgotten, or hidden behind walls, armed guards, and “No Trespassing” signs. Your ability to conduct such painstaking academic endeavors has granted you a special insight into a variety of topics. Once+ your Intelligence modifier per day so long as your character has access to a library or any other similar facility your character may utilize the location to carry out such research.
Making a Intelligence saving throw with a DC as indicated on the table below. The final decision for what type category the information in question falls under is at the discretion of the GM.
Common Knowledge DC 5
Legends DC 7
Obscure Knowledge DC 10
Lost Knowledge DC 15
Hidden Knowledge DC 25
Forbidden Knowledge DC 30
Very few occultists fail to specialize in one topic of study or another, and those that do so normally don’t live very long. Choose a topic from among the following possibilities: Constructs, Druidcraft, Fey Folk, Magical History, Religious Obscura, Secret Societies, Shapeshifters, The Undead, Wards, & Witchcraft.
You have advantage on: Charisma (Deception), Charisma (Intimidation) Charisma (Persuasion), Intelligence (Arcana), Intelligence (History), Intelligence (Investigation), Intelligence (Religion), Wisdom (Animal Handling), Wisdom (Insight), and Wisdom (Medicine) checks made so long as they pertain to your chosen Favored Topic.
Half-Remembered Incantations & Ancient Relics
Traditionally speaking occultists are not magic-users, and most will never take their knowledge beyond the realm of the theoretical, however some are foolhardy enough to try and practice what they’ve read about in ancient books and scrolls. At the 2nd level you gain spellcasting feature. You also learn a number of cantrips from another class equal to 1 + your Intelligence modifier. These spells might serve to confound and amaze commoners but true magic-users will see them as little more than parlor tricks. They are also the sum & total of your efforts.
Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your spells. You magic comes from countless hours of toil and study that have yielded little result. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellasting ability. In addition you use your Intelligence modifier when setting the saving the DC for a spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC= 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.
Spell attack modifier= your proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier.
Choose an occultist archetype, which describes the path your arcane research has lead you down: Demonologist or Arcaneologist, both detailed below.
Whispers from books sealed with chains and immersed in wells filled with blessed water have drawn more than one aspiring occultist to them. The promise of greater power fueled by commiserating with demonic beings is a temptation some simply can’t refuse, but it is a path best forgotten. Through years of research you have figured out a way to contact and bind a lesser demonic entity (usually this would be a suitably weak entity, occultists are beneath the notice of any truly powerful demons). These demons grant minor favors and snippets of knowledge, but they will continually try to take advantage of the interaction and twist it to their advantage.
Upon choosing the path of the Demonologist at your 3rd level you learn Abyssal.
At the 4th level you gain the ability to cast Banishment once per day without using a spell slot, however you must still use spell components, and the spell can only be used against demons.
At the 5th level you gain a demonic follower of a CR equal to ½ your current Occultist level rounded down. You may only have a single such follower at any time. The demon will obey some of your commands, but will not risk its own life without cause. The demon is in no way truly loyal however and will seek to take advantage of you if it is able. You may banish the demon at any time as a bonus action, however you cannot summon another follower for 1d20 days after doing so.
Devoted scholars who study the history of magic and its impact on cultures the arcaneologist is part scavenger part historian.
When choosing the path of the Arcaneologist at the 3rd level you gain the ability to double your proficiency bonus when making either an Intelligence (Arcana) or Intelligence (History) check.
Many types of magic seek to befuddle the mind or ensnare the senses. You have learned to resist such spells. At the 4th level you gain advantage on saving throws against being charmed. If you already have advantage on these checks from a racial ability you are immune to being charmed.
Ancient magic is often unstable and the protective wards left behind to defend lost strongholds are often more potent than when they were first cast. Layers of protective clothing interwoven with weak protective wars offer you minor protection against such threats. At the 5th level choose one of the following (acid, cold, fire, lightning, poison, thunder, bludgeoning damage from magical weapons, piercing damage from magical weapons, or slashing damage from magical weapons), you now have resistance to that type of damage.
At the 3rd level you gain access to a minor ritual. Protective wards and incantations are fairly simple aspects of magic, but powerful never the less. You have mastered a minor variant of such a spell allowing you to shield yourself against attack if only briefly. You may cast the spell Guards and Wards once per day without using spell slots but you must still use the spell components. The spell is also cast with the following modifications.
*The casting time is increased to 20 minutes.
*The wards only protect 1,000 square feet.
*You cannot use any of the other spell effects listed under the spell.
Level Proficiency Bonus Features Cantrips Known Spells Known
1st +2 Research, Favored Topic 0 0
2nd +2 Half-Remembered 1+ 0
3rd +2 Occultist Archetype, Wards 1+ 0
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement 1+ 0
5th +3 ———————- 1+ 0
Author of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, accomplished Magizoologist, Hufflepuff, and now a Dungeons & Dragons character.
For his stats I wanted to reflect the fact that Newt is smart, but not so good with people. He also doesn’t have much in the way of good judgement. His intelligence and physical abilities are all high to moderate, he works with dangerous magical creatures everyday and it helps keep him in shape.
So lets talk about his spells shall we? Most of you will notice right off the bat Newt doesn’t have many attack spells, most of his magical abilities are in fact decidedly non-aggresive. Most of the spells he does have are counterparts to those we’ve seen other Hogwarts students use on a regular basis like the abilities to create light, unlock doors, and repair damaged items. We see Newt apparate in Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find quite a few times, so much so that I gave him multiple abilities to represent his teleportation, because even when we take rests into account I don’t think he’d have been able to manage all of those jumps. I gave him a few advance spells like a summoning charm, defensive charms, water breathing (for use when studying aquatic creatures), and a few other spells that I felt made sense. You could modify the list if you’re not happy with it and swap at will by consulting the Player’s Handbook. With one exception I will not be providing the details of the spells Newt has, all but one can be found in the Player’s Handbook.
When it came to his background nothing felt quite right so I created something new with the Hogwarts House: Hufflepuff background. Since Hufflepuff’s are a mixture of a wide variety of people it is a house that allows for a fair amount of customization. Arcana and Nature reflect the education offer by a magical school and the Hufflepuff’s common room which features a variety of plant-life. Plus when the head of your house teaches herbology you can’t help but learn a thing or two.
More than one person has said feats are less useful than ability score improvements. I wanted to give Newt some all new custom feats though so I made them. One represents his ability to communicate with animals, something that he manages without spells or incantations. There are tons of spells that allow wizards to summon, compel, or command beasts and monsters, but Newt doesn’t do that. He treats them with kindness and respect and they generally seem willing to oblige his wishes. His other feat represents the advanced ability to use magic without the need for verbal incantations. I think it is a handy feat that might catch a few eyes.
In all I am very happy with him and I would be pleased to hear folks tried playing him or using him as an NPC in their campaigns.
Newton “Newt” Scamander Wizard 12
Medium human, chaotic good
Armor Class 12
Hit Points 74
Speed 30 ft.
Str 13 Dex 15, Con 14, Int 18, Wis 11, Cha 9
Proficiency Bonus +4
Skills Arcana +8, History+8, Nature +8, Medicine +4
Tool Proficiency: Alchemists Tools
Languages Common, Gobbledygook
Spell Save DC 16
Spell Attack Modifier +8
Class Abilities Spellcasting, Spellbook, Ritual Casting, Spellcasting Focus, Arcane Recovery, Arcane Tradition (School of Abjuration), Abjuration Savant, Arcane Ward, Projected Ward, Improved Abjuration,
Equipment 1 set of common clothes, 1 small bag of Honeydukes sweets, 10 days of rations, 50 ft. of hempen rope, 90 galleons, backpack, bedroll, dagger, Hufflepuff banner, magic case (described below), magical photo, messkit, spellbook, wand, waterskin
Magical Case: A charm placed on the case creates a demi-plan within it making it far large on the inside than any piece of Muggle luggage. To avoid detection by Muggles the interior of the case can be disguised as decidedly non-magical with the simple flip of a switch.
Dimensions: The total area of the inside of the case is some 10,000 ft. by 10,000 feet, roughly 2 miles worth of space to hold the creatures, habitats, and tools contained inside.
Contents: The case can contain up to 75 creatures of any size ranging from Tiny to Huge at present it contains 7 bowtruckles, 1 niffler, 1 demiguise, 7 occamy, 1 erumpent, 1 thunderbird, 3 graphorns, 1 nundu, 18 mooncalfs, 1 swooping evil, 1 murtlap, 1 obscurus, and 6 billywigs.
Workshop: Newt has a small workshop at the bottom of the ladder leading down into the case, he stores potion ingredients, tools, and a few personal items.
Habitats: Newt has painstakingly created habitats for each of his creatures mirroring their natural environments. The present array includes stormy plains for his thunderbird, a moonlit hillside for the mooncalfs, savannah for the nundu, a small wandwood tree for his bowtruckles, a burrow for his niffler, a forest nest for his demisguise, a nest for his occamy, a tank for his murtlap, and other small habitats for his remaining creatures. These can be modified to accommodate any creatures he might need to take on.
Cantrips Blade Ward, Lumos (Light), Minor Illusion, Prestidigiation, Repairo (Mending),
1st Level Spells Arresto Momentum (Feather Fall), Detect Magic, Expeditious Retreat, Protego(Shield), Mage Armor, Alohamora, Comprehend Languages, Magic Missile, Sleep, Witchbolt
2nd Level Spells Enlarge/Reduce, Misty Step, Wingardium Leviosa (Levitate)
3rd Level Spells Blink, Counterspell, Water Breathing
4th Level Spells Fabricate, Control Water, Polymorph
5th Level Spells Animate Objects, Obliviate (Modify Memory)
6th Level Spells Accio (Drawmij’s Instant Summons)
7th Level Spells Teleport
1st Level evocation
Casting Time: 1 action
Components: V, S
Unlocks any non-magical lock automatically.
Animal Empathy: You can use Charisma (Deception, Intimidation, Persuasion) to interact with animals normally, and you have advantage when interacting with beasts. The beasts do not understand your words, but they grasp your meaning far more easily than when others try to communicate with them.
Non-Verbal Magic: You may cast any spell of a level equal to your Proficiency bonus + your Intelligence modifier without the use of verbal incantations. The use of this ability causes you to suffer a -2 to your spell attack roll, and the DCs for spell saves made using this ability are also decreased by two.
Hogwarts Houses/Hufflepuff: Each of the Hogwarts Houses favor different types of students, Hufflepuffs tend to be kind, hardworking, loyal, and patient. Often less outspoken than many of the students from other houses they’re overlooked and some mock their house. Students from Hufflepuff have gone on to become as valued and important as any other house however including Ministers of magic and all manner of famous witches and wizards.
Skills Proficiencies: Arcana, Nature
Tool Proficiencies: One type of tool or one type of gaming set of your choice.
Equipment: Magical photo, Hufflepuff banner, 1 set of common clothes, 10 galleons, & 1 small bag of Honeydukes sweets.
Personality Trait: More comfortable around magical creatures than people.
Ideal: If you worry you suffer twice.
Bond: I care for all magical creatures and will do everything in my power to protect them.
Flaw: People find me to be…annoying.