With Halloween fast approaching, we thought it would be fun to share one of our favorite monsters, the spiderbear. It is our own take on classic D&D mashup monsters like the owlbear. It is creepy and dangerous, terrifying for being both a spider and a bear, and an all around evil creature.
While this one is a challenge 1/2 monster, the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Forbidden Woods has an adult spiderbear of challenge 3, and an elder spiderbear of challenge 7. Download this supplement today at the JBE Shop to get these and other awesome monsters for your game. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo and the OpenGamingStore and get these and many more awesome monsters now.
Small monstrosity, neutral evil Armor Class 13 (natural armor) Hit Points 16 (3d6 + 6) Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft.
Str 15 (+2) Dex 16 (+3) Con 14 (+2) Int 6 (–2) Wis 14 (+2) Cha 4 (–3)
Pack Tactics. The young spiderbear gains advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the spiderbear’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated. Spiders are always considered a spiderbear’s ally. Spider Climb. The young spiderbear can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check. Web Sense. While in contact with a web, the young spiderbear knows the exact location of any other creature in contact with the same web. Web Walker. The young spiderbear ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft.; one creature. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take 3 (1d6) poison damage.
Are you using holidays in your game? If you were like me when starting out as a game master, no you’re not. Yet holidays mark various places on the calendar, help recognize important persons and groups in your setting’s history, and much more. They give your game life where it otherwise feels flat, like there’s nothing going on in the world besides what the players are doing.
In the United States there are 10 major holidays and a near infinite number of lesser holidays. To break them down the major ones into more generic terms that are easier to use in your game, they are (in calendar year order):
Start of the calendar year
Recognizing the birth of a civil rights leader
Celebrating out nation’s leaders
Remembering soldiers that fell on the battlefield
Marking the birth of our nation
Recognizing the common laborer
Remembering someone that discovered this continent
Remembering living soldiers
Holiday for the nation’s largest religion
So how can you use these in your game? Some of these are quite obvious and able to be used without exactly as is: harvest, remembering living and fallen soldiers, start of the calendar year, etc.
How about celebrating a civil rights leader? Well considering that the most discriminated against races (uh, ancestries) of the game are half-orcs or tieflings. How about a day where their contribute to the nation’s society is recognized. Or turn it on its head. Make it human-rights day because the elven rulers are keeping the humans from having a voice in their government. Is the day marked with celebrations or protests? Are the town’s guards brought out to prevent pick pocketing or riots?
The way you name a holiday says quite a bit about the leaders. If you call Labor Day Peasants Day that shows the rulers as looking down upon their subjects. Peasants Day would have a much different feel than Labor Day.
If you want to make you location anything but generic, come up with some quirky holidays. Something like Groundhog’s Day, International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Teacher’s Day, or Secretary’s Day. Try using something like National Health Day, a day where everyone goes down to the river and washes all the filth and grime off their bodies, which is perfect after a long winter of being inside. Or how about Hug a Gnome Day, the one day a year where gnomes are willing to sell in human markets, and the mayor wants them to come back more often so they are trying to spread good feelings among he gnomes. For the brutish types, how about Woodcutter’s Day. This day before the start of winter, all manner of trees that are unfit for being made into buildings or furniture are cut into firewood and sold to the people to help them last the winter. Naturally there would be lots of beer and other pleasures sold at such events, which can be a good cause for the reasons for the players to come together in the first place.
An important thing to remember is that while we all take the weekend (or some regular set of days off, no matter where in the week it resides) for granted today, the Five-Day Work week did not begin as a concept in the US until 1908. Europe was no better. For proof, Dame Maggie Smith in her role as the Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey once asked “What is a week end?” Before that, the only days off for the average person were on holidays. This is why the holidays we now consider minor were not so minor a hundred to a thousand years ago. Not overworking your people is important so holidays were frequent.
With Halloween coming soon, why not download the Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider adventure for Fifth Edition at the JBE Shop. You can also find it for Pathfinder right here.
When the high priest of the sun goddess brings the planet and the sun closer together to spread his deity’s light to every corner of existence, the world begins to heat up dangerously. All attempts to breach the Temple of Luminescence and halt the magic powering this catastrophe have failed. The adventurers must perform an incantation known as the path of the sun and navigate the temple’s defenses to stop the high priest. But what appalling truths which led to this deadly incident will the adventurers uncover—and can they save the world before it burns?
Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence is an exciting deluxe module in Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Deadly Delves product line, and is created for the Fifth Edition of the World’s Oldest Fantasy Roleplaying Game. This adventure is designed to heartily challenge a party of 15th- through 18th-level PCs and leave them with a memorable heroic tale. Inside these 51 action-packed pages, you’ll find:
8 Fully-Statted New and Variant Monsters and 2 High-Level NPCs—keep your players on their toes by having them face off against an ancient solar dragon, a dwarven high priest, and new golems, elementals, and demons
9 New Traps to keep your PCs on their toes
11 New Hazards and Curses to make the environment unique and interesting as the sun’s power scorches all within the temple
5 New Magic Items ideally suited to high-level characters
A New Type of Spell Anyone Can Cast which lets the adventurers pass as one of the temple’s own
A Beautiful Map with a GM’s version included in the adventure and a separate PDF that includes player-friendly versions of each map—perfect for play on your favorite VTT!
Enough content to get your group of 15th-level PCs to 18th level, or your 18th-level PCs to 20th level
Last week was the first preview of our upcoming 5e adventure Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence by showing off the greater fire elemental. While that is great and all, that is hardly something amazing. Sure it is really good for wizards and druids that want to conjure one of these bad boys up 17th level or if they get their hands on a 9th level scroll of conjure elemental. Otherwise, a fire elemental is not exactly a terribly exciting monster.
Well how about a new type of dragon. Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence features two new dragon types that Fifth Edition fans have never seen before. These dragons are from the stars and have abilities that reflect their extraterrestrial origins. Today we are sharing with the ancient solar dragon. This dragon is here because the Temple of Luminescence is an immense temple to a sun deity and a solar dragon is a living representative of the sun deity. Naturally, it would want to feel the warmth of the sun more and sharing that warmth with everyone on the planet would not seem reasonable to it, yes? That may just be the case in this adventure.
Armor Class 17 (natural armor) Hit Points 261 (16d20 + 96) Speed 40 ft., fly 80 ft.
STR 26 (+8) DEX 10(+0) CON 22 (+6) INT 21 (+5) WIS 18(+4) CHA 26 (+8)
Skills Perception +12, Persuasion +21 Saving Throws Dex +6, Con +12, Wis +10, Cha +14 Damage Vulnerabilities cold Damage Immunities fire Senses blindsight 60 ft., darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 22 Languages Auran, Celestial, Common, Draconic, Elvish, Gnomish, Ignan, Sylvan, Terran Challenge 17 (18,000 XP)
Channel Radiation. When the dragon uses its action to Channel Life, it can instead release a wave of radiation. Creatures other than the dragon within the corona must make a DC 18 Constitution save, taking 10 (3d6) radiant damage and 10 (3d6) poison damage. Constructs are immune to this ability. Intergalactic. In outer space, the dragon can survive in the void and fly at incredible speed. Travel times vary, but a trip within a single solar system should take 3d20 hours, and a trip beyond should take 3d20 days or more if the dragon knows the way to its destination. The dragon can carry one rider of one size category smaller than itself, four passengers two sizes smaller, eight passengers three sizes smaller, or 16 passengers four or more sizes smaller. Passengers are protected from the void of outer space. Primal Fire. The dragon’s breath weapon ignores a target’s resistance to fire; targets who are immune to fire instead only resist the dragon’s breath weapon.
Multiattack. The dragon can use its Alien Presence. It then makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws. Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (2d10 + 8) piercing damage plus 9 (2d8) fire damage. Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d6 + 8) slashing damage. Tail. Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 20 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d8 + 8) bludgeoning damage. Alien Presence. Each creature of the dragon’s choice that is within 120 feet of the dragon and can see it must succeed on a DC 22 Wisdom saving throw or become blinded for 1 minute. An affected creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a creature’s saving throw is successful or the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the dragon’s Alien Presence for the next 24 hours. Solar Breath (Recharge 5–6). The dragon exhales a solar flare in a 120-foot line that is 10 feet wide. Each creature in that line must make a DC 20 Dexterity saving throw, taking 31 (9d6) radiant damage and 31 (9d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Channel Life (3/Day). The dragon creates a corona of sunlight in a 90-foot radius centered on the dragon. All living creatures within the corona regain 31 (7d8) hit points. Undead within the corona must make a DC 18 Constitution saving throw or take an equal amount of radiant damage and become blinded for 1 minute. On a successful save, an undead creature takes half as much damage and isn’t blinded.
The dragon can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The solar dragon regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn. Detect. The solar dragon makes a Wisdom (Perception) check. Tail Attack. The solar dragon makes a tail attack. Wing Attack (Costs 2 Actions). The dragon beats its wings. Each creature within 15 feet of the dragon must succeed on a DC 22 Dexterity saving throw or take 15 (2d6 + 8) bludgeoning damage and be knocked prone. The dragon can then fly up to half its flying speed.
On initiative count 20 (losing initiative ties), a solar dragon takes a lair action to cause one of the following effects; the dragon can’t use the same effect two rounds in a row:
A searing beam of light strikes a creature within 120 feet of the dragon that it can see. The dragon makes one ranged attack roll (+6 to hit) against the target. On a hit, the target takes 3 (1d6) radiant damage and 3 (1d6) fire damage and is blinded until the end of its next turn.
A solar wind rushes through the lair in a 90-foot line that is 15-feet wide originating from a point within 120 feet of the dragon that it can see. Each creature in the solar wind’s area must succeed a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be pushed 15 feet following the direction of the line and take 3 (1d6) radiant and 3 (1d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage and isn’t pushed on a successful one. The solar wind disperses gas or vapors.
The moisture in the air rapidly dries out in a 60-foot radius centered on the dragon. Each creature within the area is overcome with an unquenchable thirst and must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, suffering a level of exhaustion on a failed save. Constructs and creatures immune to fire damage are immune to this ability.
While I was preparing preview material for the upcoming 5e adventure Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence, I noticed that we never came up with wallpaper for the Pathfinder version. When I realized that, I knew I could not let that stand. The interior image by Jacob Blackmon is just far too awesome to let that go without being made into wallpaper for your computer.
This image features Khol, our signature catfolk barbarian, walloping a sun dragon with his bare claws while Runa, our signature dwarven cleric is neutralizing the dragon’s attacks with her spells. I mean, holy cow is that awesome or what? In the middle of the room is a pillar of fire. This scene if featured in the adventure and is pretty awesome. Find out all the details about this fight inside Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence.
One of the challenges of converting a module from Pathfinder to 5e is the lack of monsters. 5e hasn’t been around as long as Pathfinder, Wizards hasn’t put out monster books at the same rate as Paizo, and only most of the monsters in the MM are open content while none of the monsters in any subsequent monster books are available for me to use. As such, the bestiary section of each adventure is considerably larger than their Pathfinder counterparts.
Take the greater fire elemental in the upcoming Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence as an example. This CR 9 variant of the standard MM fire elemental was hardly difficult to make. We started with the basic fire elemental and leveled it up from there. No real problem. However, we had to include the stats for it in this adventure where we could just put the reference to it in the Pathfinder version in the original adventure.
The good thing about this though is that we can bring it to you, both in this adventure and in the upcoming Book of Heroes: Conjurable Creatures. The adventure will be out soon (hopefully by the end of the month) while Conjurable Creatures will be out early next year. The best part is that both of these will be available in game stores sometime next year. We are really looking forward to bringing you some awesome adventures and supplements to your game. Be sure to check them out.
Greater Fire Elemental
Huge elemental, neutral
Armor Class 16 Hit Points 136 (13d12 + 52) Speed 60 ft.
STR 12 (+1) DEX 23 (+6) CON 19 (+4) INT 8 (–1) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 9 (–1)
Damage Resistance bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons Damage Immunities fire, poison Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10 Languages Ignan Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)
Fire Form. The elemental can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing. A creature that touches the elemental or hits it with a melee attack while within 10 feet of it takes 10 (3d6) fire damage. In addition, the elemental can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. The first time it enters a creature’s space on a turn, that creature takes 10 (3d6) fire damage and catches fire; until someone takes an action to douse the fire, the creature takes 10 (3d6) fire damage at the start of each of its turns. Illumination. The elemental sheds bright light in a 60-foot radius and dim light in an additional 60 feet. Water Susceptibility. For every 5 feet the elemental moves in water, or for every gallon of water splashed on it, it takes 1 cold damage.
Multiattack. The elemental makes two touch attacks. Touch. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d6 + 6) fire damage. If the target is a creature or a flammable object, it ignites. Until a creature takes an action to douse the fire, the target takes 10 (3d6) fire damage at the start of each of its turns.
You would be forgiven if you were not aware that the kingdom’s forced still operated out if Watchtower Balleron long after the hobgoblins took it over. Few in the kingdom did, including the hobgoblins. The lower level had a secret door to a staircase that led to the caves below. The Stone Breakers, the Queen’s elite dwarven commandos, listening (aided by magic) to the hobgoblins plans from below, slipping into the watchtower itself when vital to the mission, and stealing maps and committing various acts of sabotage.
Because of the kingdom’s internal politics, the kingdom could not strike openly against the hobgoblins so the reigning queen took steps to make sure they were ineffective. She let them operate out of Watchtower Balleron as a concession to the local Lord since he was taking bribes from the hobgoblins. However, the queen had her people to think about and detached a small force to serve as an information source. So frequently when the hobgoblins go out on raids, away from the lord’s lands, they mysteriously found the local guards prepared for an attack.
Since the queen cannot act openly against the aggressors, she hopes a group of adventurers show up and handle the problem for her. One of her advisors suggested holding a fighting competition to attract such persons but to do so they need enough advanced warning to advertise the competition so they can attract such seasoned adventurers. As things stand, they fear that only new adventurers will be present and answer the call and will likely die in the fight. She may not have much choice, however, as keeping up current operations costs more than the kingdom’s treasury can afford.
Even then, once the hobgoblins are dealt with, the lord that was backing the hobgoblins will be upset and may have against the royal court or he may run away. To catch the lord, the queen knows she’ll need the help of the adventurers to keep her hands out of it. She may have to have the Stone Breakers leave evidence of the lord’s collusion with hobgoblins and escape before the adventurers show up. But then again, they are elite troops, specializing in information gathering, stealth, and subterfuge over combat. Should the queen’s roll in all of this be made public, there could be considerable complications for her.
LE large fortification Government military overlord Population 1,300 (1,000 hobgoblins; 100 dwarves; 200 other)
Captain Teurik Deathaxe, military overlord (LE male hobgoblin fighter 5 [13A: 3rd level leader]) Lieutenant Ooknar Bloodvengence, lead raider (LE female hobgoblin ranger 3 [13A: 2nd level archer]) Iknix Flamecloak, priest of goblinoid god (NE male goblin cleric 2 [13A: 1st level caster]) Lieutenant Harnask Silverheart, leader of the Stone Breakers (LG male dwarf rogue 6 [13A: 3rd level spoiler])
Be sure to also check out Fort Strange and let us know if you want to see more locations like this.
As I said in my last blog about Tales of the Crimson Boar, our upcoming campaign mini-setting, our design team for this project includes some excellent writers, including several members of the Raleigh gaming community that originally conceptualized the Crimson Boar Inn. I want to take a few minutes to brag about each of the amazing team members and introduce them to you!
Michael Allen is a freelance designer and cartographer, and his work with Adventure-A-Week Games and other third-party publishers of RPG products is well-known. He is also the designer of JBE’s critically-acclaimed 1st-level Pathfinder module To Claw The Surface and the cartographer for The Gilded Gauntlet (as well as a contributor to that project) and Along Came A Spider. Michael’s full-color rendering of the Crimson Boar Inn was commissioned by Raleigh Tabletop RPGs in 2016, and we’re thrilled to have licensed that content for use in this product as well!
Claire Carrington is a published academic author and researcher who has contributed to several scientific periodicals and blogs in addition to her fantasy writing as a NaNoWriMo participant and avid roleplayer. A lover of all animals, especially reptiles and amphibians, she is also the founder and owner of Terra Ophelia Designs, which offers custom-built terrariums for your favorite scaly friends!
Nori Duffy has worked as a translator and ESL instructor across a wide range of public, private, and nonprofit organizations. A longtime RTR member who has made many a veteran GM facepalm with puns and spurious decisions at the gaming table, they are an avid fan of all things geeky and gamey.
In addition to designing RPG content (The World of Esaene and The Pellinen Islands), Brant Guillory has also written columns and reviews for Scrye, RPG.net, Battles! Magazine, and ConSimWorld. His games and designs have included commercial RPGs and wargames, academic training exercises, and training games for the NSA and National Defense University. He is the editorial director of GrogHeads.com and co-hosts their podcast (The GrogCast!) and video series (Dragon Up The Past) as well as organizing their wargaming program at the Origins Game Fair for the past 5 years.
Allan Hoffman’s prior credits as an RPG designer include contributions to Savage Mojo’s epic plane-hopping adventure Palace of the Lich Queen and their Suzerain rules supplement for playing demigods in Pathfinder, as well as room designs for JBE’s The Gilded Gauntlet. A seemingly-bottomless producer of ideas and words, Allan resides in North Dakota where he serves his community as a pastor.
Melissa Moritz has been playing, writing, designing and programming for roleplaying games since way back in the days of MUDs, MOOs, and MUSHs. Her blog, The Lonely Gamer Girl, is an excellent hub of resources for GMs. Melissa previously served as an organizer for Raleigh Tabletop RPGs prior to relocating to Ohio, and acted as showrunner for the inaugural season of The Contingent, RTR’s longest-running and most-popular Semi-Organized Play Campaign.
Cathy Nanni has been playing and running games for over a decade. An RTR member for over three years prior to relocating to Texas, she served as a Storyteller and creative consultant for The Contingent across four seasons of games, introducing a host of unforgettable characters and bone-chilling moments for our local player base (as well as a thigh-slappingly-funny session of Kobolds Ate My Baby! set in the Crimson Boar Inn!).
Randy Pinion is a longtime roleplayer and GM with a penchant for enormous, over-developed homebrew projects, as well as a previously-published satirist at Boston University’s Daily Free Press. The newest member of RTR’s Leadership Team, Randy has led the Tales of the Crimson Boar quarterly event going on two years now, and is also the creative force behind the wacky sci-fi hijinks of RTR’s newest Semi-Organized Play Campaign, Seek The Stars!
Christen Sowards is the owner of Lost Spheres Publishing and creator of the upcoming Pathfinder-compatible City of 7 Seraphs planar city setting. JBE fans will also recognize him as the author of Nine Lives For Petane. In addition to his work as a designer and publisher, Christen is an advocate for safe spaces in gaming. He resides in Utah with his husband James.
Not long ago we shared with you one of my favorite creations for 5e, the lantern archon. This little talking ball of light is a guide through the heavens and a great helper to servants of a deity. There’s just one little problem with it, a cleric has to be level 13 to summon one and they cannot cast resurrection that day if they want to do so. I mean, I like that little guy and all but not that much.
It never seemed fair to me that wizards and druids can conjure up some help at much lower levels, but not the cleric. In other editions clerics are just as good at calling up help from beyond as wizards. So it only seemed logical that I do something about it.
Conjure Minor Celestials
5th-level conjuration Casting Time: 1 minute Range: 90 feet Components: V, S Duration: Concentration, up to 1 hour
You summon celestials that appear in unoccupied spaces that you can see within range. You choose one of the following options for what appears:
One celestial of challenge rating 2 or lower
Two celestials of challenge rating 1 or lower
Four celestials of challenge rating 1/2 or lower
Eight celestials of challenge rating 1/4 or lower.
A celestial summoned by this spell disappears when it drops to 0 hit points or when the spell ends.
The summoned creatures are friendly to you and your companions. Roll initiative for the summoned creatures as a group, which has its own turns. They obey any verbal commands that you issue to them (no action required by you). If you don’t issue any commands to them, they defend themselves from hostile creatures, but otherwise take no actions. At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using certain an 8th level spell slot, you choose one of the summoning options above, and twice as many creatures appear.
Here’s the only problem with this spell, the MM as a total of 1 celestial you can conjure with this spell—the pegasus. Even worse, VGtM doesn’t add any. There are a decent number of beasts, fey (mostly evil ones), and elementals in that book, but not a single celestial a cleric can conjure up at any level. The flail snail is conjurable for wizards and druids (or crying out loud), but nothing for the cleric.
So I will continue to correct that oversight, both in our blog and in the book Book of Magic: Conjurable Creatures, coming late 2018/early 2019. This is without a doubt a book focused on spellcasting players, but it is also great for GMs as well. I mean, its a book of monsters; every GM can use more monsters, even ones that are primarily good ones. If you are a GM or someone that primarily players spellcasters, I hope you check this book out.
While you are at it, I hope you also check out all our other supplements for 5e. We have awesome adventures, radical races, and malicious monsters. Dive in at the JBE Shop.
One of the problems that annoys me the most about Fifth Edition is the lack of character choice you have. Beyond 3rd level, there are very few choices for a character to make. Even spellcasters, the classes with the most numbers of choices regardless of edition get far less choice compared to other editions. This means that every choice you do make has to be more meaningful, far less choices can be a cute throwaway choice done just for the fun of it.
That is what makes the conjure spells so much fun for spellcasters. They can change their choices just because it seems like a good idea at that moment. If this one is silly, that’s ok because the next time you cast it can be completely serious. So while you have the opportunity, why not conjure up a great dodo. Before you go, “Wait, what?!?” here it is…
Huge beast, unalignedArmor Class 15 (natural armor) Hit Points 152 (16d12 + 48) Speed 30 ft.
STR 16 (+3) DEX 14 (+2) CON 17 (+3) INT 2 (–4) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 5 (–3)
Saving Throws Con +6 Senses passive Perception 11 Languages — Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)
Flapping Run. When taking a Dash action, a great dodo treats its speed as 45 ft. ActionsBill Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 36 (6d10 + 3) bludgeoning damage. On a successful hit, the target must succeed a DC 16 Constitution save or be stunned until the end of the great dodo’s next turn. Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 42 (6d12 + 3) piercing damage.