Telepathic Jungle People – The Aratomin Race for 5E

The most complicated race conversion (and also the most fun): the Lashunta Cupian Aratomin!

Lashunta - Scott Murphy murphyillustration.comAratomin are always at war: with one another, with the elves that dominate their homeworld of Lasang, or with the many deadly creatures that populate that planet’s trackless forests. Those wars are not always physical, however. Just as often, an Aratomini war will last for generations without blood being shed, as diplomatic moves are made that bring one tribe success and another ruin. Typically, aratomin who are beaten harbor no resentment, instead appreciating the superior military or diplomatic acumen of the victor, and finding a way to be absorbed into the winning tribe or culture.

Continue reading

Four Arms and a Bad Attitude: Thrake PC Race for 5E

Converting Iron Gods to Pathfinder is a labor of love, and I’m glad that there are other excellent blogs out there doing the same work I’m doing.

Dungeonmusings is doing some nice conversions of races and classes. I’m using his android and gunslinger conversions, and they’re great.

The Lazy Dungeon Master is a beautiful blog with a lot of after-action write-ups. The conversions are a little more Warhammer 40k than I’m going, but there’s a lot of great stuff.

Daemons and Deathrays has moved on from the sci-fi conversions, but there is some really great stuff in the archives. I especially like the bear-people race.

Paizo has been pretty clear about their desire not to produce material for 5th Edition, and I have great respect for that. With that in mind, whenever I’ve changed something proprietary of theirs (like a named race), I’ve changed the name. This isn’t about owning it myself, since I don’t think that I could publish 5th Edition content for money, right now, even if I wanted to. It’s all about respecting what I think are the wishes of the people who own the games I love.

With that in mind, the kasatha thrake race: four-armed desert dwelling nomads from a far-off world that is in no way the Mars of Edgar Rice Burroughs. (No one is clear on how it’s pronounced. Is it “thrak” with a long “a”? Is it with a short “a” and a short “e”? Is the “e” silent? No idea. I’m inclined towards the first, so that it sounds like a stone hitting a wall. Like “thwack.” Invent your own fun pronunciations!)

Continue reading

Iron Gods Session 0


The first session of our Iron Gods game consisted of five hours of character creation, after which everyone hung out for another five hours (!) talking about characters, while we had dinner and put the kids to bed.

Only one person rolled her character completely randomly, but everyone got use out of the easy-to-follow lists with links. The only problems we had were introduced by the “Singular Curiosity” list. One player rolled “you are a changeling,” and couldn’t figure out how to make that work with her back-story.

We started out talking about the group template, which I’m a big fan of. The group didn’t end up with a firm template (like a military unit or extended family), but starting the conversation with the template (before looking at any other aspect of character creation) encouraged people to think about how their characters are connected. There’s a web of connections between the characters, and it looks like they’ll have real reasons to stay together when the chips are down. Most importantly, everyone has a connection to Khonnir Baine, in some way, whatever background they rolled or chose.

Four characters, and using the character sheet as a teaching tool

Continue reading

Character Creation, Part 2

Last time, I wrote about the options for randomly rolling characters, and the motivation for it. The last two “random rolling” options for character creation were classes and “singular curiosities.” I put some strict limits on the classes, for both power reasons and flavor reasons. I don’t want to have badly-written Moon Circle Druids making the rest of the party feel useless, and I also don’t think that Warlocks or Monks fit the setting (for the most part). I added a few classes: the Mesmerist, the Kineticist, the Shaman Warlock pact, the Gunslinger, the Swashbuckler Monk, and the Artificer Cleric. I’ll talk about some of those, later. Any links that go to classes that I’m working on (Mesmerist, Kineticist, some of the archetypes), will be their own posts, at some point.

The classes all linked to on-line resources, either a blog that proposed them (if they were a new class), or an Obsidian Portal site that detailed their features (for the PHB classes). All of my players have a PHB, but I figured that it would make life easier to have links to the information, as well.

Next time: how the “random rolling” worked out during the first session, and what we decided on.

Continue reading

First Session Set-up

My group is entirely new to 5th Edition, and some of them are new to the world we will be playing in. For some, analysis paralysis is a real problem: they hate buying equipment or choosing feats because it’s overwhelming and feels like homework. That’s one of the selling points of 5th Edition: the choices are fewer and they all feel significant. To help reduce the overwhelm, I’ve given the group the option of creating their character entirely randomly (in fact, I’m encouraging it, though I’m stopping just short of requiring it). On  one hand, using the charts will make their lives much easier. On the other hand, it means that I had to create 5th Edition versions of every race and class that I wanted to have available, before the game started. I’ll be posting those here, but the random tables seemed like a great place to start.

Some of the names of the races were changed from their Pathfinder versions, because I wanted to make some other changes to them (and for other reasons that I may write about later involving Paizo, Wizards, and wanting to respect intellectual property). In the actual document, I provided links to descriptions of all of the races and classes, from sites around the internet and from my own write-ups (posted privately on Obsidian Portal).

AnyDice was an invaluable tool for creating exactly the right distribution of the dice so that my players would be more likely to roll up the most common races and classes, but would also have a chance of winding up with something weird and interesting.

Today, I’ll write up the lists for race, background and campaign bond, leaving class  and singular curiosity for next week.

Continue reading

Hacking Around with D&D

I love the world of Pathfinder. They’ve done a great job creating a fully realized setting with interesting corners. The adventure path line is a blast, and saves me a ton of work.

Recently, though, when problems or slow-downs happen during my game, I’ve started thinking, “that wouldn’t have been a problem if we’d been playing 5th Edition D&D. I want my games to run smoothly, focus on character, and require fewer maps. Some of my players want fewer options, corner cases and traps.

I’ve decided that it’s time to combine the two: I want Pathfinder quality stories with 5th Edition rules. Paizo isn’t going to produce material for 5th Edition, and Wizards’ own adventures aren’t working for me. If I want this to happen, I’m going to have to hack it together myself.

The goal of this blog is to help me workshop some of my ideas, and collect them into one place for reference.

Right now, I’m preparing to run the Iron Gods adventure path, because I have fond memories of Thundar the Barbarian and Krull.

There are already excellent blogs converting Pathfinder content, and Iron Gods specifically, to 5th Edition, and I don’t want to re-do their good work. Instead, I’ll link to them when I need to and build on them when I can, and focus on my game.

My plan is to post new material twice a week, including conversions of races and classes and rules hacking to make the game more fun for my players.