D&D 5e: Unleash New Weapons on Your Spelljammer Game

Spelljammer: Ship Weapon Upgrades (5e)
Spelljammer: Ship Weapon Upgrades (5e)

Upgrade Your Ship Weapons

Not every ship should have stock weapons. Crews that have been sailing wildspace long enough should have better, more powerful weapons. Give your players exciting new ship weapons by going beyond the basics with Spelljammer: Ship Weapon Upgrades.

Inside this 5-page PDF, you will find:

  • Six new weapons to bring to bear against your enemies
  • Three new ballista bolts to change up your tactics
  • Three new mangonel shots to spread mayhem on enemy ships.

Fire something creative and unload upon your enemies!

Download Spelljammer: Ship Weapon Upgrades today at the DMs Guild.

3 Suggestions to Not Do Another Orphan

Orphans are such a common part of our inspiring fiction for role playing games that having the people that raised your character present throughout one’s childhood and still alive is almost a rarity. Spiderman, Batman, Superman, the Skywalker twins, Harry Potter, Frodo, the list goes on and on. I have seen this over and over again in roleplaying games. Heck, my wife once played in a Star Wars game where everyone was an orphan in some form or another. If you want to try a similar type of character yet a different take on the idea, we’ve got three suggestions for you.

1) Losing a Child

This is a scenario so terrible that there is no word for one who suffers such a loss in the English language. For the former-parent, trying to recover from the loss of a child can drive one to wander and take out their unresolved issues on those harming others. Obviously, this means your character is older, but older gamers can more easily identify with the loss of a child than a young person losing a parent.

2) Divorce/Divorcing Parents

Instead of losing someone to death, how about the lost of the life that is known. Whether your character is getting divorced or their parents are splitting up, this still represents a significant change in the character’s life that they may not want to be around to see what happens. This has the added bonus of the living family still playing a part in the overall campaign.

3) Fulfilling an Oath for a Lost Loved One

This one being a more serious blog post, I thought I’d end in a positive note. And no, I don’t mean swearing vengeance upon those that killed one’s family. I mean sometimes like, delivering a loved one’s ashes to the top of a particular mountain or carrying a message of forgiveness to someone the person is estranged from. Is your character tasked with being the bearer of an ancient gift to bring peace between different groups, now that the cause of the fighting is now gone? This combines loss with a mission.

Check out all of our character options for your D&D, Pathfinder, and other games at DriveThruRPG, Amazon, and the Open Gaming Store.

One D&D: Decoupling Races from Abilities

Dwarves are better at Wisdom, making them better at spotting danger and solid clerics. Halflings are better at Charisma, making them better sorcerers.

In the first One D&D playtest doc, races possessed no ability score bonuses or penalties. At the end of the day, I like it and hate it for the exact same reason. But before I begin, let me just say again that the term “race” needs to go away. It is an imprecise term that is problematic for some players. There is no good reason to keep it. Change “race” to something else.

Back to races not having ability score bonuses or penalties. At the end of the day, not having these two tied together means more character options. If you want to play a gnome wrestler, you can. Want I play an orc wizard, you bet. Bard dwarf specializing in dance? You got it. More character options are generally a good thing.

Here’s the downside: characters start to feel the same, fast. That gnome is as strong as a human. An elf is as strong as a human. That orc is as smart as an elf or a human or a dwarf, or tiefling, and so on. At that point, you might as well drop a bunch of “racial abilities” in a bunch of pages and let people make up their own. And that is more or less what happened with the half races.

Races should have an impact. We all get how races give us normal vision or darkvision. The same is true with some other abilities. But that should include some ability score bumps. Racial ability score bonuses help reinforce the flavor of the race.

My proposal: races should receive a single static bonus (except humans which get to choose theirs), and backgrounds should have a single bonus. This means the net result is still two bonuses while helping to reinforce the identity of the various races.

See all of JBE’s 5e products at DriveThruRPG today.

EDIT: I’m currently playing in a 1e game and forgot that 5e lacks racial penalties. I changed the article to remove any mention of racial penalties.

Spelljammer 5e: Kobold Flame Cannon

Spelljammer: Ship Weapon Upgrades (5e)
Spelljammer: Ship Weapon Upgrades (5e)

We are JBE have decided to try our hand at the DMs Guild. Specifically, I’m writing for Spelljammer because I’m enjoying the game I’m in right now. Sure, I’ve thought of giving the DMs Guild a try before, but I could never find the right product idea. For Spelljammer, we had a great idea.

Our first title will be a short test product: Spelljammer: Ship Weapon Upgrades. This book has a number of ship weapons you can replace your standard ballista and mangonel with. While it is nowhere stated that kobolds are in Spelljammer, I have a hard time believing those wonderful, honorable, scaly engineers haven’t made it there. So this is the weapon they’d create for their ships. Either that or they’d just sell them.

We hope you enjoy this first preview. Check out all our 5e products at DriveThruRPG.

Kobold Flame Cannon (Crew: 4)

When kobolds went to the wildspace, they wanted to take dragon fire with them. So they created flame cannons. Unfortunately, those cannons tend to explode.

Armor Class: 13
Hit Points: 20
Cost: 30 gp (kobold flame cannon), 1 gp (tarball)
It takes 2 actions to load a kobold flame cannon, 1 action to aim it, and 1 action to fire it.
Flaming tarball. Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 40/160 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d10) bludgeoning damage and 7 (2d6) fire damage. On a critical hit, the fire damage is persistent. On a critical failure, the cannon explodes, dealing 7 (2d6) fire damage to the weapon’s operating crew that fail a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw.

New Star Battles Space Battle Maps

It has been a good number of months since we have discussed the latest Star Battles Space Battle Maps. So we thought we would share a whole bunch in one post. Check out these beautiful images you can have as the backdrop for your Spelljammer, Starfinder, Traveller, or any other space-themed role-playing game. Click on the image below to see a larger version of them.

These are just a few of all the Star Battles maps we have. Don’t see one perfect for your game? Check them all out at DriveThruRPG.

PF 1e: Apprentice Spellcaster

With the Book of Beasts: Arcanist Codex off to the editors, we should start talking about it. There’s still work needed to be done before it is ready for release, so we’re not going to talk about it too much yet. But it is time to start.

We decided to make a few additions in the arcanist stat blocks for this book from those found in the other Paizo books. The first you’ll notice in this one is the inclusion of touch and ray attacks in the weapon entries. Wizards, sorcerers, and arcanists have enough melee and ranger touch spells that I believe such entries are warranted for such spellcaster stat blocks. Unfortunately, I didn’t create the book where wizards and sorcerers are found, so I can only do so for the arcanists.

The second is the inclusion of the DC in the arcanist exploits listing even when no exploit we gave the NPC required a DC. We figured that if you decided to swap out one or more of the exploits we choose with an exploit that used a DC, we’d save you the math and calculate it for you. This way, you can get more use out of the NPC.

Grab yourself the Book of Beasts: Character Codex Subscription today and get the Arcanist Codex as soon as it is finished. Download it today at DriveThruRPG, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.

Apprentice Spellcaster CR 1/2

XP 200
Half-elf arcanist 1
LN Medium humanoid (elf, human)
Init +1; Senses low-light vision; Perception +2


AC 15, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 7 (1d6+1)
Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +2; +2 vs. enchantments
Immune sleep


Speed 30 ft.
Melee dagger –1 (1d4–1/19–20) or touch –1 touch (as per spell)
Ranged acid jet +1 touch (1d6+2 acid) or ray +1 touch (as per spell)
Special Attacks arcane reservoir (3/4), arcanist exploit (DC 12; acid jet), consume spells
Arcanist Spells Prepared (CL 1st; concentration +4)
1st (3/day)—adhesive spittle ACG (DC 14), color spray (DC 14), mage armor
0 (at will)—detect magic, light, ray of frost, touch of fatigue (DC 13)


Before Combat The arcanist casts mage armor before entering a dangerous area.
During Combat The arcanist relies on ray of frost and touch of fatigue, saving adhesive spittle and color spray for tough-looking enemies.
Base Statistics Without mage armor, the arcanist has the following statistics: AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)


Str 8, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 15
Base Atk +0; CMB –1; CMD 10
Feats Expanded Preparation ACG, Skill Focus (Knowledge [arcana])
Skills Craft (weapons) +9, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (dungeoneering) +7, Linguistics +7, Spellcraft +7, Use Magic Device +6; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception
Languages Aklo, Common, Draconic, Elven, Gnome, Sylvan
SQ arcane training APG, elf blood
Combat Gear potion of cure light wounds, potion of sanctuary, wand of magic missile (6 charges); Other Gear dagger, ink, inkpen, masterwork weaponsmithing tools, parchment (5), spellbook which includes all 0-level spells and all prepared spells plus 1st—burning hands, 3 gp, 9 sp.

3 Things About 10 Harsh Realities Of Rewatching The Lord Of The Rings

AI generated image of Samuel L Jackson playing a Hobbit in the Lord of the Rings

I was recently reading the CBR article titled 10 Harsh Realities of Rewatching the Lord of the Rings. If you haven’t read it, it is a solid read and very appropriate for today, when so many excellent shows and movies are getting negative reviews because they happen to be slightly different from works created years ago or cast members are of a different skin tone or the work features *gasp* a woman. Annalyssa Fincher rightly points out several harsh truths about this beloved trilogy. However, I do have some things I’d like to say where we differ. I am definitely not saying she’s wrong at all, but that my opinion differs from the author of the article.

1) It Was Right to Show the Ents as Taking as Needing to be Shown Why They Need to Go to War

In a world where a power-obsessed man sends an army to overthrow the government, there are many more who will sit in the side lines and not get involved because it does not concern them. Those on the sidelines need to understand that said power-obsessed person will never have any issue crushing those in the sidelines if it gets the power-obsessed person what they want. They will act as fast as trees run. They will watch and talk and never understood how the actions of the power-obsessed person will affect them. Those on the sidelines need to be shown how such a power-obsessed person will hurt them.

And before anyone says anything, I am commenting on an article about a movie only and not making any comparisons to the current political situation. None whatsoever. “The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm.”

2) Frodo was Never the Hero. Sam Was.

Frodo was brave and constant. He carried the burden that are at his soul and was slowly wasting his body. However, those qualities does not necessarily make one a hero. Sam was the true hero of the story. Sam always had Frodo’s best interests at heart. Frodo sent him away, but Sam came back because he knew that Frodo would need him. When he thought Frodo was dead, he carried the Ring. When he discovered that he had erred in his assessment of Frodo being dead, Sam went after him. And then there’s the unforgettable line, “I may not be able to carry the Ring, but I can carry you.” Sam is the true hero of the story.

Frodo is the person slowly dying of cancer. Sam is the spouse that stays by their side until death.

3) There Should Have Been More Women and a Variety of Skin tones

This last one needs to be said by as many white guys as possible. Well, here’s one. The Lord of the Rings has an excessive number of men with a skin tones from European descent in the trilogy. There is absolutely no reason why it could not have had a larger diversity of actors. Heck, the trilogy used local talent from New Zealand and there are actors of indigenous descent there as well as Pacific Islanders who call the island nation their home. Women playing male elves may even work better than men playing those roles.

As much as I love Sean Bean and David Wenham in their respective roles, imagine Boromir and Faramir being played by Samuel L. Jackson and Lawrence Fishburne. “Give me the Ring, motherf***er,” “Frodo is the One.”S

Seriously though, the trilogy needed more diversity and I am glad the new series is correcting.

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PF 2e: Fallen Angel

Earlier this week, we shared the PF 1e version of the fallen angel. As we embrace 2e more, we converted this fan favorite monster to the new edition. We hope you enjoy it. Share this post on your Twitter and Facebook pages and tell your gaming friends to check it out.

Fallen Angel Creature 19

Rare NE Medium Fiend
Perception +33; darkvision
Languages Celestial, Draconic, Infernal; tongues
Skills Acrobatics +31, Deception +33, Intimidation +37, Religion +31
Str +10, Dex +5, Con +6, Int +5, Wis +5, Cha +7
Items +2 striking wounding scimitar

AC 43; Fort +35, Ref +32, Will +29; +1 status to all saves vs. magic
HP 398; Weaknesses good 20
Doubter’s Aura (aura, divine, enchantment) Any creature within a 30-foot radius of a fallen angel must succeed at a DC 38 Will save or take a –2 status penalty to its Armor Class as well as on attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks for the next hour. For that duration, creatures that failed the saving throw must attempt an additional Will save each time they attempt to cast a spell or use an ability that deals good damage. Creatures that succeed against the initial saving throw are immune to this ability for 24 hours. 

Speed 40 feet, fly 75 feet
Melee 1 unholy scimitar +36 (evil, forceful, magical, sweep), Damage 2d6+28 slashing plus 1d6 evil and 1d6 persistent bleed damage
Divine Innate Spells DC 41, attack +33; 8th dispel magic, harm, plane shift (self only), spiritual epidemic, vampiric touch; 4th dimensional anchor (at will); 2nd invisibility (at will, self only); 1st detect alignment (at will, good only)
Doubting Strike 1 Requirement The fallen angel hit a foe earlier this turn with a weapon Strike. Effect The fallen angel makes a weapon Strike against the foe. On a success, the foe must succeed at a DC 38 Fortitude save or becomes stupefied 2. On a critical failure, the foe is stupefied 3 instead.
Unholy Armaments (divine, evocation) Any weapon gains the effect of an unholy property rune while a fallen angel wields it.

AI Artwork

Fantasy Grounds Fridays

Recently, I was in Fantasy Grounds Fridays. Among the things I was asked about was AI artwork. Naturally I thought of a better answer then minutes after it ended. I still stand by my answer that there might be a backlash by a major publisher that goes all in early on. But there’s more to the story than that.

Long term, I feel that AI art might be an alternative for stock art. The role of stock art is to be artwork is that it is quality art that at an affordable price that is used by many publishers. AI art doesn’t need to be used by many publishers since it is generated by a computer. So these two roles are compatible. Considering that you get much more influence in the appearance of an AI image than a stock image, the art will fit what you’re trying to create more, rather than fitting your work with your stock art.

My first attempts at AI art produced some excellent images. However, they’re not what I would consider usable. Specifically, they lack faces. Perhaps it is my skill with the platform instead of the platform itself. Having said that, the interface does not feel friendly, but that will improve with time.

Having said all that, I don’t believe it will replace commissioned artwork for one simple reason: ownership. A number of characters I use in my artwork, I own. So if I want an image with my characters, I am going to commission it. It helps to keep a consistent look across my products and I can get the exact image I want, instead of merely having influence like with AI art.

Download all our products at DriveThruRPG, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.

PF 1e: Fallen Angel

Image by Nathan Winburn and Rodrigo Martins

One of my favorite monster creations is the fallen angel. Angels do not see enough play in D&D-based games since most games involve players killing evil creatures. Being good servants of good deities, angels don’t get killed much. A fallen one is always going to be a tragic story. Do they kill one who has done so much good in the past? Do they try to redeem them, setting them back on the path of goodness? What price will they have to pay for the evil acts they committed? It brings up a whole host of questions that must be answered. We hope that this creature finds its way into your games.

This monster comes from the Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes. Download it today at DriveThruRPG, Amazon, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.

Fallen Angel CR 19

XP 204,800
NE Large outsider (evil, extraplanar)
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +42
Aura aura of lost devotion (60 ft., DC 26)


AC 32, touch 13, flat-footed 28 (+9 armor, +4 Dex, +10 natural, –1 size)
hp 322 (28d10+168)
Fort +22, Ref +20, Will +16
Defensive Abilities angelskin; DR 15/good and silver; Immune acid; Resist cold 10, electricity 10, fire 10; SR 30


Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft (clumsy)
Melee +3 flaming burst keen falchion +34/+29/+24/+19 (2d6+9 plus 1d6 fire/15–20 plus 1d10 fire)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks confusing touch (DC 30)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 22nd, concentration +24)
At will—aid, cause fear (DC 13), dispel magic, invisibility (self only), plane shift (DC 19), remove disease
1/day—death knell (DC 14), symbol of pain (DC 17), unholy aura (DC 20)


Str 18, Dex 18, Con 22, Int 17, Wis 24, Cha 14
Base Atk +28; CMB +33 (+35 disarm, sunder); CMD 47 (49 vs disarm, sunder)
Feats Alertness, Blinding Critical, Cleave, Combat Expertise (-8/+8), Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Flyby Attack, Great Cleave, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Power Attack (-8/+16), Skill Focus (Intimidate), Stand Still
Skills Acrobatics +35 (+39 jumping), Craft (any one) +34, Fly +25, Intimidate +39, Knowledge (planes, religion) +34, Perception +42, Sense Motive +42, Stealth +31
Languages Abyssal, Celestial, Common, Dwarven, Elven, Infernal
SQ suspicious


Environment any
Organization solitary
Treasure standard (+5 hide armor, +3 flaming burst keen falchion, other treasure)

Special Abilities

Angelskin (Su) The skin of a fallen angel has yet to fully absorb the taint of evil. Whenever a fallen angel is the target of a spell or supernatural ability, such as smite evil, that deals additional damage to or has additional effects against evil creatures, there is a 20% chance that the fallen angel is affected as if it were a neutral creature.

Aura of Lost Devotion (Su) Any creature approaching a fallen angel finds its conviction shaken. Any creature that comes within a 60-foot radius of a fallen angel must succeed at a DC 26 Will save or suffer a –4 penalty to its Armor Class as well as on all attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks for the next 2 hours. In addition, creatures that failed the saving throw cannot use extraordinary, spell-like, or supernatural abilities that require dedication to a cause or a deity (such as divine spells, a paladin’s smite evil, or a cavalier’s challenge) for these 2 hours without an additional Will save. This save DC is Charisma-based.

Confusing Touch (Su) As a standard action, a fallen angel can make a melee touch attack against a creature, damaging its ability to recognize their friends and foes. Upon a successful touch attack, the creature must succeed on a DC 30 Will save or become confused (as the confusion spell). This effect lasts for 6 rounds, and the affected creature is permitted a new saving throw each round. The save DC is Charisma-based and includes a +4 racial bonus.

Suspicious (Ex) The DC of a Diplomacy check to change a fallen angel’s attitude is increased by +10. All failed Diplomacy checks decrease the fallen angel’s attitude by two steps.