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14

Devil's Advocate Answer: Treat this as a high DC ability/skill check, not an opposed check. For all intents and purposes, it is simply much easier to set DC checks by the handy guide reference (in PHB, p. 174) and then have the party/PCs try to make that check, rather than spend the time and effort to workup NPC skills and then spend more time doing ...


9

There are no published 5e Forgotten Realms supplements as of yet, and they have changed the Realms a good bit with each new edition. If you don't care about "keeping up with the new timeline," the most supported classic starting location is far and away: Shadowdale Sourcebook and Adventure Coverage This town in the Dalelands is given some detail in the ...


8

Fate Core, and other Fate-based systems, seem to do exactly what you're asking for. Since you're asking specifically about character backgrounds, I'll skip the part about collaborative game-world creation, which is also present in these games, and skip straight to the characters. Chapter 3: Character Creation (FC30) opens with the header "Character Creation ...


8

Microscope works fine for this. The two problems you note aren't actually problems Microscope itself brings to the table: Microscope focuses on historical events and questions. This is the usual focus of Microscope, but it's an effect of the type of history the group has chosen, not the game itself. Choosing the history of a group of people will result in ...


6

Caravans only exist because going alone is dangerous. Due to the pressures of economics and danger, every person in a caravan is a liability, because they require carrying food, water, and personal effects that take up valuable room that could otherwise be filled with trade goods. Anyone who is an unnecessary liability is a threat to the success (i.e., ...


5

Player knowledge is based on the fact that once you put the book for Cthulu on the table, people will expect this adventure to be about Cthulu. Surprise them. Play adventures that on the outside seem to be mysterious but turn out to be normal life. Play adventures that look like normal life but have horror right where they don't expect it. Now, to do ...


5

Experiment It's a bit like cooking. If you want to serve a new meal and you don't have any new ingredients, try different mixtures or techniques to change the flavour. Have the characters explore new, unprecedented combinations of monsters. Maybe the Elder Ones decided to ally themselves with Nyarlathotep? You can also change the pace and genre of the game ...


4

As far as 5E published material goes, there are really only three - Lost Mine of Phandelver (in the STarter Set), Hoard of the Dragon Queen/Rise of Tiamat, and Princes of lemental Evil. Lost Mine of Phandelver has a well-described village, Phandelin, that will make a good base of operations. Phandelin is a frontier town at the beginning of a gold rush, ...


4

There are two questions here, but they seem to be a bit blended. Let me address them in turn. How do can I let PCs run an organization in a way where their actions and mechanical ability matters? The best system I've seen for this is the Second Edition Exalted 'Creation-Ruling Mandate' system, as described in their source Masters of Jade. In this system, ...


4

Don't model your NPCs like PCs D&D, in all editions, is remarkably bad at modeling people who are not adventurers, but are still skilled in their fields. The normal advancement systems that each edition of D&D uses tie combat skill and non-combat skill together in a way that prevents low-level characters from using skills at a high level of ...


3

Steal the Pathfinder caravan rules Rather than derive this from first principles, use these Pathfinder caravan rules that include roles from the different kinds of staff you can have. 4e loves minigames, so plug it on in.


3

You should definitely check out http://orbis.stanford.edu/ You can figure travel speeds between real roman places, and come up with an analogue in your world, or just use their travel speeds. And they have a whole section on river travel speeds in the "Building" tab on the introductory popup page. In the "civilian" mode, the most common downriver ...


3

The first thing to do is look at the overall objective of how powerful you want the character to be in combat. Worry about their skill later. The noble would likely be a level 1 character at most, so where can he get higher level skills from? The blacksmith may have some experience, due to a lot of training with the gear he uses to ensure it stands up to ...


3

I think you think you have a problem you don't actually have. Pretty much any genre can be boiled down in the same manner you boiled down CoC. (e.g. Fantasy ends with "kill the baddie, get the reward".) Just because something is iterative doesn't mean that it also can't be varied. That said, let's try and work with practical advise to vary up the feel of ...


2

If you are running a one-shot (which may run over two or three sessions), then I am afraid the only practical outcomes are success or failure: the fortunate Investigators return to their former lives, sadder and wiser and with a few stories to tell to the few who may believe them. But a long-term campaign needs to touch on the wide scope of the evil ...


1

From a purely mechanical perspective, a couple of ritual casters: The ritual primal grove (level 19) allows for effectively arbitrary transportation of large groups of people (and therefore supplies) for a nominal base cost. At the cost of 16,000 gp, 2 entrances and the grove can be created, and there is no distance limit on the entrances. Using Bags of ...



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