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GIFFYGLYPH'S

DARKER DUNGEONS

Darken your world with a wealth of new rules options


to create dangerous adventures for your players
Giffyglyph's Darker Dungeons

D
arker Dungeons is an collection Preface 2 Dangerous Magic 33
of rules and mechanics designed to add Major Themes 2 Burnout 33
grit, danger, risk, and hardship to any D&D How to get Started 3 Regional Magic 35
5e game. An adventurer's life is not an easy Modes of Play 3 Life & Death 36
one, and survival is a challenge. Character Creation 5 Health 36
Darker Dungeons focuses on three core Leveling Up 9 Lingering Wounds 36
themes: exploration, survival, and wealth. Training 9 Permanent Injuri… 37
Explore forgotten corners of the world and make new Mentors 10 Dying 37
discoveries. Survive by managing your resources and Active XP 11 Cheating Fate 38
making the most of your skills. Gain fame, fortune, and Advancement 11 Death 38
power in your adventures—or fall into ruin and madness Awarding Experi… 12 Resurrection 38
like so many have before you. Equipment 14 Retirement 38
Be smart, be careful, and be brave. The Darker Inventory Space 14 Deadly Disease 39
Dungeons await you. Your long journey begins... Wear & Tear 18 Contracting Dise… 39
Item Quality 18 Living with Disea… 40
Ammunition 19 Spreading Disease 40
Magic Items 19 Diagnosis 41
Version 1.6.1 Item Charges 19 Magical Healing 41
Created by Giffyglyph, June 2018 Tempering 20 Magical Immunity 41
Taking Action 21 Disease Compen… 42
Open Skills 21 Rest & Downtime 45
Keep up-to-date and follow this project at: Social Interaction 21 Short Rest 45
www.reddit.com/r/darkerdungeons5e Active Defence 22 Long Rest 47
Active Initiative 23 Making a Journey 49
Degrees of Succe… 24 The Journey Phase 49
If you like my work, you can support it at: Help 25 Roles 50
www.ko-fi.com/giffyglyph Teamwork 25 Travelling Pace 51
Inspiration 25 Encounters 52
Initiative Rolls 25 Encounter Seeds 53
To find and follow my other work, visit: Tools 25 Random Tables 55
www.giffyglyph.com Knowledge Checks 25 NPC Economy 58
Conditions 26 Milstone 59
Applying Conditi… 28 FAQ 60
For questions and feedback, contact me at: Stressing Out 29 Changelog 64
@giffyglyph · giffyglyph@gmail.com Stress 29 Quick Reference 65
Afflictions 32 Character Sheets 68

giffyglyph's darker dungeons


1
Preface

D
arker Dungeons is a collection of
house rules used in my own D&D games to Major Themes
add features I personally find lackluster in Darker Dungeons tries to address 7 major themes:
the vanilla 5e ruleset. Rather than add new 1. Attrition: Adventuring is not an easy lifestyle, and
content (classes, monsters, spells, etc), this constant exposure to danger has a lasting impact on
handbook focuses instead on tweaks and adventurers. Characters gain lasting wounds, lose limbs,
extensions to the underlying mechanics of and even go mad from stress, while weapons and armor
5e—meaning Darker Dungeons should be compatible become chipped and broken.
with any custom classes, creatures, or spells you like. 2. Inventory: A restricted inventory is an interesting
Feel free to reference or include some of these rules inventory. Do we take a potion into the dungeon, or some
in your own free D&D homebrew, with appropriate credit rope? If I take heavy armor, can you carry some of my
—but please don't include my work in any for-sale variant. stuff? Characters track their equipment not by weight
Thanks for reading, and good luck with your game. but by placement, which is much more relatable.
3. Survival: Everyone needs food, water, and rest.
~ Giffyglyph, June 2018 Basic survival is a core theme of many adventures, where
starvation and exhaustion are a genuine threat to a
character's life. Characters need to think about their
resources to stand a chance of survival out in the wilds.
4. Time: It takes a long time to do anything
Credits & Influences significant. This helps the world evolve at a more natural
Created By: Giffyglyph pace as weeks, months, and even years pass by—kings
Page Icons: Game-icons.net age and die, small threats grow into impending dangers,
Mental Stress: Darkest Dungeon strongholds are built and destroyed.
Inventory: Matt Rundle's Anti-Hammerspace Tracker 5. Travel: The wilds are dark and dangerous, and
Weapon Notches: James Young's Ten Foot Polemic long-distance travel should reflect this. The journey is
Fate Points: Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e part of the adventure. By making travel much harder,
Usage Die: The Black Hack players must make important decisions about where they
Success at a Cost: Fate Core go, how they get there, and what they take with them.
NPC Economy: bjornbob1234 6. Wealth: Gold is important and everyone wants it.
Journeys & Travel: The Angry GM, Wealth is the key to power—or at the very least, the key
Adventures in Middle-Earth
to a life of comfort. Expenses are generally much higher
Advice & Testing: 1d4damage, a8bmiles, ace_of_shovels,
and characters must seek out valuable treasure to pay off
Android117, baronbadass1, coldermoss,
darkstreetlights123, Durins_cat,
their debts—the world is not kind to the poor.
EADreddtit, grit-glory-games, 7. Agency: Players drive the game forward—their
heimdall237, LeVentNoir, warpwalkers actions and choices determine what happens throughout
the game. Heavy focus is placed on player choice and—
importantly—the consequences of those choices.
preface
2
• Assistance: Allow characters to assist each other with
How to get Started passive bonuses and prevent rerolls for multiple tries.
It's easy to start using Darker Dungeons in your 5e game • Tools: Make tools and proficiencies more valuable by
—just follow these 5 simple steps: granting additional bonuses.
1. Pick the features: Decide what rules to include in Mode 2. Dark
your game. If you're modifying an already-active game,
trying adding just one or two changes at a time so These features make combat more dangerous and life
players aren't too overwhelmed. generally harder for characters. Use these to help darken
2. Talk with your players: Tell your players what you'll the tone of your game.
be doing and why. Darker Dungeons features change
the default 5e experience, so you should make sure • Training: Make characters pay gold and train with a
that all players are aware of what you're changing and mentor if they wish to level up.
be comfortable with it. • Stress & Afflictions: Track the mental well-being of
3. Experiment: You might find some features don't fit characters and any potential breakdowns.
with your particular game or setting after all. That's • Conditions: Track the conditions of characters,
ok, not every rule works for everyone—swap features putting a new focus on resources like food and water.
in and out as best suits your table, or change rules to • Death Saving Throws: Make character death more
create your own custom variant. likely with persistent death saving throw failures.
4. Have fun: Start playing. Enjoy your game! • Wear & Tear: Track equipment damage and allow
5. Feedback: If you have a notable experience using characters to repair and temper their gear.
Darker Dungeons in your game—good or bad—I'd love • Item Quality: Track the quality of items, affecting
to hear about it. Constructive feedback is greatly their value and how they are treated by NPCs.
appreciated, so let me know how it worked out at your • Rest & Downtime: Add a more realistic time scale to
table. Thanks! your game by making a long rest take 1 whole week.
• Lingering Wounds & Injuries: Add persistent
wounds to ensure combat has a lasting impact.
Modes of Play • Dangerous Magic: Make magic a bigger risk for your
Darker Dungeons contains many features and tweaks, casters with burnout and consequences.
and not all are equal—some impact the game more • Deadly Disease: Make sickness and plague a serious
drastically than others. threat to characters with escalating diseases.
For convenience, the rules have been grouped into
three broad modes of play: Radiant, Dark, and Astral. Mode 3. Astral
Pick and choose the features that are the right fit for your
own game. These features change core parts of the vanilla 5e
experience. Use these if you want to modify some of the
Mode 1. Radiant underlying mechanics of your game.
These features can be dropped into almost any 5e game • Active Defence: Replace monster attack rolls with
without any significant tonal changes. These introduce player defence rolls to make your players feel more
small tweaks and changes with a focus on immersion active and engaged during combat.
and non-combat activities. • Active Experience: Reward players with XP for
finding treasure and bringing it back to town.
• Inventory Space: Add a slot-based inventory system • Active Initiative: Allow players to choose who acts
that focuses on item size and placement, not weight. next for more dynamic combat by replacing turn-
• Ammunition: Track ammunition using abstract terms based initiative with active initiative.
instead of per-arrow. • Random Character Generation: Have players roll
• Degrees of Success: Add a success-at-a-cost option their characters randomly to create a truly
for characters to make failed rolls more interesting. unpredictable adventuring party.
• Social Interaction: Allow Intelligence and Wisdom to
be used appropriately in social situations, de-
emphasising Charisma.
• Skill Checks: Decouple skills from abilities, allowing Every Table is Different
skills to be used with any relevant ability modifier. Darker Dungeons is a modular ruleset—feel free to tweak,
• Knowledge Checks: As the DM, roll character replace, and cut out any bits you want. Don't like random
knowledge checks in secret to provide misinformation character generation? Ignore it. Prefer your own initiative
and misleads if they fail. system? Stick with it. Think the inventory system is too
• Long-distance Journeys: Make long-distance travel limited? Extend it.
more interesting for players with a new Journey phase These rules are written as I would run a game, but every
and travelling responsibilities. table is different. Take whichever rules you think are good for
• Cheating Fate: Allow characters to escape certain your own game, and leave the rest.
death by spending rare fate points.
preface
3
THE RULES
How to Play

Character Creation p5
Leveling Up p9
Active XP p11
Equipment p14
Taking Action p21
Conditions p26
Stressing Out p29
Dangerous Magic p33
Life & Death p36
Deadly Disease p39
Rest & Downtime p45
Making a Journey p49

4
Chapter 1: Character Creation

C
haracters in Darker Dungeons are If your race requires you to choose a subrace, roll on the
not created in the same way as regular D&D Character Subraces table to determine the result.
characters—you don't get to choose who or Feats: Feats are not supported by default, so some
what you are. Instead, the core details of subraces—such as variant humans—are not available.
your character—race, background, class,
abilities, skills, etc—are randomly generated. Character Subrace
This may result in some unusual
character choices, but that's ok—characters are meant to Race d100 Subrace d100 Subrace

be flawed, not perfect. Learning how to make the best of Aasimar 01-33 Fallen 68-00 Scourge
your unique abilities is a large part of the experience. 34-67 Protector — —
Dwarf 01-45 Hill 91-00 Duergar
Step 1: Race 46-90 Mountain — —

Your first step is to see which race your character is—roll Elf 01-10 Drow 51-60 Sea
a d100 and check the Character Races table to see what 11-20 Eladrin 61-70 Shadar-kai
you are. The races are not weighted equally, so some— 21-50 High 71-00 Wood
such as human—will be more common than others. Gith 01-50 Githyanki 51-00 Githzerai

Character Race Gnome 01-45 Forest 91-00 Deep


46-90 Rock — —
d100 Race d100 Race
Halfling 01-50 Lightfoot 51-00 Stout
01 Aasimar 44-50 Halfling
Monstrous 01-10 Bugbear 51-75 Kobold
02-04 Dragonborn 51-90 Human
11-35 Goblin 76-90 Orc
05-19 Dwarf 91 Kenku 36-50 Hobgoblin 91-00 Yuan-ti
20-29 Elf 92 Lizardfolk
Tiefling 01-12 Asmodeus 57-67 Levistus
30-31 Firbolg 93 Monstrous 13-23 Baalzebul 68-78 Mammon
32-33 Gith 94 Tabaxi 24-34 Dispater 79-89 Mephistopheles
34-39 Gnome 95-98 Tiefling 35-45 Fierna 90-00 Zariel
46-56 Glasya — —
40-41 Goliath 99 Triton
42 Half-Elf 00 Choose
43 Half-Orc — —
Campaign Restrictions
Some races have additional choices to make—ancestry, Darker Dungeons includes options from the PHB, VGtM, and
proficiencies, languages, etc. Generate these results MToF, but you can change this to suit your campaign setting.
randomly using the tables listed in Appendix A.
chapter 1 character creation
5
Step 2: Background You gain the features, skills and proficiencies of your
class, but you do not gain any equipment from it.
Next, roll to see what your character used to do in the Some classes require additional choices to be made—
past. This was a career, occupation, or experience which skills, tools, languages—so generate these randomly,
left a profound mark on your character and helped shape rerolling any duplicates. If you are a spellcaster, don't roll
them into the person they are today. for your spells—you may choose your starting cantrips
and spells manually as per usual for your class.
Character Background
d100 Background d100 Background Step 4. Ability Scores
01-07 Acolyte 50-56 Noble Now you've defined who your character is, it's time to see
08-14 Charlatan 57-63 Outlander how capable they are. Follow the five steps below and
15-21 Criminal 64-70 Sage
randomly generate your ability scores:
22-28 Entertainer 71-77 Sailor 1. Roll: Roll 3d6 six times, once for each of your
29-35 Folk Hero 78-84 Soldier attributes in order: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution,
36-42 Guild Artisan 85-91 Urchin Intelligence, Wisdom, and finally Charisma.
2. Reroll: Reroll one attribute of your choice and keep
43-49 Hermit 92-00 Choose
the best result.
3. Swap: You may make one swap of any two attributes.
You gain the proficiencies and languages from your 4. Racials: Apply your racial bonuses.
background, but you do not gain any equipment, 5. Modifiers: Finally, calculate your Ability Modifiers.
characteristics, or—importantly—any special features.
Ability Scores and Modifiers
Step 3. Class Score Modifier Score Modifier Score Modifier
Now you know what your character used to be, it's time 01 -5 08-09 -1 16-17 +3
to see what they have become. Roll on the Character 02-03 -4 10-11 +0 18-19 +4
Class table to determine your initial class. 04-05 -3 12-13 +1 20-21 +5
06-07 -2 14-15 +2 22-23 +6
Character Class
d100 Class d100 Class d100 Class
Your character may have an unusual ability array, but
01-08 Barbarian 41-48 Monk 81-88 Warlock that's ok. Learn how to make the best use of your
09-16 Bard 49-56 Paladin 89-96 Wizard strengths while protecting your weak spots.
17-24 Cleric 57-64 Ranger 97-00 Choose
25-32 Druid 65-72 Rogue — — Viridian, a tiefling bard, is generating his ability scores:
33-40 Fighter 73-80 Sorcerer — —
1. He rolls 3d6 six times to generate a basic array:
If your class requires you to choose a specialisation at [STR 14, DEX 13, CON 9, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 5].
level 1, roll on the Class Specialisations table. 2. CHA 5 isn't good, especially for a bard, so he makes
Class Specialisations one reroll: CHA 15—much better.
3. He then has a difficult choice to make: he doesn't
Class d100 Specialty d100 Specialty
want such high STR, but does he swap it with CON
Cleric 01-10 Forge 51-60 Nature
or INT? Does he risk being frail or stupid? He
Domains 11-20 Grave 61-70 Tempest
21-30 Knowledge 71-80 Trickery chooses INT (a bard needs a decent vocabulary) and
31-40 Life 81-90 War swaps it with STR to make [STR 8, INT 14].
41-50 Light 91-00 Choose 4. Viridian then adds his racial modifiers: +1 INT and
Fighter 01-16 Archery 65-80 Protection +2 CHA to make [INT 15, CHA 17].
Fighting 17-32 Defense 81-96 Two-Weapon 5. Finally, he calculates his total Ability Modifiers.
Styles 33-48 Dueling 97-00 Choose
49-64 Great Weapon — — STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
Sorcerer 01-19 Divine Soul 58-76 Storm Sorcery 8 (-1) 13 (+1) 9 (-1) 15 (+2) 10 (0) 17 (+3)
Origins 20-38 Draconic Blood 77-95 Wild Magic
39-57 Shadow Magic 96-00 Choose
Viridian is quick-witted and a skilled charmer with a sly,
Warlock 01-19 Archfey 58-76 Great Old One lyrical flair. He hates any sort of manual labor and,
Patrons 20-38 Celestial 77-95 Hexblade
while he loves a good drink, gets drunk very quickly.
39-57 Fiend 96-00 Choose

chapter 1 character creation


6
Step 5. Character Details Motivation
Now you've established the outline of who your character Roll to see what your character's primary motivation in
is and what they can do, it's time to flesh out some more life is. This may explain why they became an adventurer,
personal details. or what their general goal is. You can choose exactly how
this motivation manifests in your character's actions.
Appearance & Family
Use the tables below to determine your basic appearance Character Motivation
and what your relationship with your family is like. You d100 Motivation Description
can decide the precise details yourself.
01-06 Achievement To become the best
Age Height 07-12 Acquisition To obtain possessions or wealth

01-39 Young adult 01-05 Very short 13-18 Balance To bring all things into harmony

40-74 Early middle-age 06-30 Short 19-24 Beneficence To protect, heal, and mend

75-91 Late middle-age 31-70 Average 25-30 Creation To build or make new

92-97 Old 71-95 Tall 31-36 Discovery To explore, uncover, and pioneer

98-00 Very old 96-00 Very tall 37-42 Education To inform, teach, or train
43-48 Hedonism To enjoy all things sensuous

Weight Feature 49-54 Liberation To free the self and/or others


55-60 Nobility To be virtuous, honest, and brave
01-05 Very thin 01-20 Scar
61-66 Order To organize and reduce chaos
06-30 Thin 21-40 Tattoo
67-73 Play To have fun, to enjoy life
31-70 Average 41-60 Piercing
74-79 Power To control and lead others
71-95 Fat 61-80 Birthmark
80-85 Recognition To gain approval, status, or fame
96-00 Very fat 81-00 Accent
86-91 Service To follow a person or group
92-97 Understanding To seek knowledge or wisdom
Family Raised By
98-00 Choose
01-05 None 01-40 Natural Parent(s)
06-30 Small 41-60 Close Family
31-70 Average 61-70 Adopted Parent(s) Habits
71-95 Large 71-90 An Institution Everyone has a habit of some sort—roll to see what habit
your character has picked up during their life. They may
96-00 Disowned 91-00 Yourself
or may not be aware they do this.
These descriptions may mean very different things Character Habits
depending on your race: a very short elf is very short by d100 Habit d100 Habit
elf standards, while a large halfling family is large by
halfling standards. 01-03 Humming 52-54 Snacking
04-06 Dancing 55-57 Pacing
Memories 07-09 Sleepwalking 58-60 Counting
Roll on this table to generate a significant memory. For 10-12 Facial tics 61-63 Snoring
each memory, name a unique NPC, faction, or place—
either create your own to add something new into the 13-15 Fingernail biting 64-66 Beard/hair stroking
world, or use existing lore to help anchor your character. 16-18 Daydreaming 67-69 Nose picking
19-21 Talking in sleep 70-72 Apologizing
Character Memories 22-24 Whistling 73-75 Exaggeration
d100 Memory Description 25-27 Name dropping 74-78 Superstitious
01-20 Achievement A goal you helped complete 28-30 Constant grooming 79-81 Belching
21-40 Conflict Someone opposed you 31-33 Foot tapping 82-84 Repeating others
41-60 Friendship A close bond forged or tested 34-36 Lip biting/licking 85-87 Smelling things
61-80 Loss Something precious was taken 37-39 Coin flipping 88-90 Teeth picking
81-00 Love A love gained or lost 40-42 Chewing 91-93 Swearing
43-45 Knuckle cracking 94-96 Telling secrets
The older you are, the more memories you can roll—
young adult (1), early middle-age (2), late middle-age (3), 46-48 Collects odd things 97-99 Repeating yourself
old (4), and very old (5). 49-51 Singing 00 Choose

chapter 1 character creation


7
Quest
There is something your character is seeking to Codes and Communication
accomplish in the short term, either through their own Some features allow your character to communicate with
desires or because someone has compelled them to. others using secret codes and cyphers—such as Thieves'
Roll on the Character Quest table to see what theme Cant. These are not classed as languages and so don't count
your initial quest takes. You can decide the exact details towards your language limit.
of your task with your DM.
Character Quest
d100 Quest Description
Initiative
Reaction speed is determined first-and-foremost by your
01-10 Acquire To take possession of a particular item
thoughts—the faster you can think, the faster your brain
11-20 Craft To create an item or art piece can tell your body to act.
21-30 Deliver To bring something somewhere Your initiative is no longer affected by your Dexterity—
31-40 Destroy To destroy a precious object
instead, use your Intelligence modifier.
41-50 Discover To find a person, place, or thing Darkvision
51-60 Explore To map out a location Darkvision is not a common ability in Darker Dungeons,
61-70 Justice To apprehend someone and only those who live in the darkest places of the world
have it. If you are not a deep gnome, drow elf, duergar
71-80 Learn To gain specific knowledge
dwarf, kobold, or tabaxi, and you have the darkvision
81-90 Meet To find someone ability, remove it.
91-00 Vengeance To take revenge on someone
Alignment
Step 6. Feature Tweaks When deciding on your character alignment, ignore any
racial alignment restrictions—as a mortal creature, you
Some character features are modified slightly in Darker get to choose your own morality.
Dungeons, so check the tweaks below for any changes.
Languages Step 7. Buy Equipment
The maximum number of languages your character can Finally, It's time to equip your character. Your class
learn is equal to their Intelligence modifier (minimum 1). determines the amount of gold pieces you start with,
If your character has more languages than this, choose which you can use to buy any basic starting equipment.
which ones you wish to speak and discard the rest.
Starting Wealth by Class
Character Languages Class Gold Class Gold
INT Languages Barbarian 2d4 x 10 Paladin 5d4 x 10
-1 or You have only a basic grasp of vocabulary in your Bard 5d4 x 10 Ranger 5d4 x 10
lower primary language, and you are illiterate.
Cleric 5d4 x 10 Rogue 4d4 x 10
0 You are fluent in your primary language. You have a
decent range of vocabularly and are literate. Druid 2d4 x 10 Sorcerer 3d4 x 10
+1 You have an expanded vocabulary and know how to Fighter 5d4 x 10 Warlock 4d4 x 10
use it correctly. Monk 5d4 Wizard 4d4 x 10
+2 You are fluent in a second language.
+3 You are fluent in a third language. The amount you can carry is limited by your inventory
size. Your character will incur living costs while in town,
All characters know how to speak Common—even if it's so you may want to keep some gold spare.
not their primary language—but they cannot read or
write Common if they are not fluent in it. Step 8. Take a Fate Point
Viridian spent much of his youth nose-deep in poetry. Fate points allow your character to defy fate and cheat
death, acting as a second life should you be caught
With INT +2, he is fluent in both Common and unawares by a suddenly fatal action. A new character
Infernal, able to speak, read, and write both languages starts with one fate point—keep it safe and use it wisely.
to a high standard.
Krazak, meanwhile, always put brawn before brain. Step 9. Venture Forth
With INT -1, he has only a basic verbal grasp of
Your character is now ready to begin their adventure.
Common and his native Dwarvish language—but that's Join the rest of your party, venture out into the untamed
still enough for him to curse angrily with. wilds, and face the dangers of Darker Dungeons.
chapter 1 character creation
8
Chapter 2: Leveling Up

Y
our character gains experience by
being an active force in the world, making Training Costs
new discovers and overcoming great To see how long you need to train per level, and how
obstacles. With enough experience, your much it will cost you, check the Training Time & Costs
character can open up pathways to greater table below. These costs don't cover your living expenses
power and influence. though—you'll need to pay for those separately, so make
Such power comes at a cost, however, sure to keep enough coin spare.
and requires practice to unlock. This chapter sets out
rules for training and mentors. Training Time & Costs
Level Total GP per Level Total GP per
Training 1
Weeks

Week
— 11
Weeks
5
Week
94
Once you have gained enough experience, you may begin
training to improve your abilities and unlock new heights 2 1 15 12 6 115
of power. Through experimentation with your new-found 3 1 20 13 6 165
knowledge—practicing new techniques, developing new 4 2 15 14 7 202
spells, channeling new power—you may spend your
experience and gain a level. 5 2 20 15 7 295

Training is not easy, however, or cheap. In addition to 6 3 25 16 8 370


the experience, you will also need: 7 3 35 17 8 536
8 4 37 18 9 687
1. A Mentor: someone to help guide you in your craft—
an old druid, a drunken monk, a jaded fighter. 9 4 55 19 9 990
2. Facilities: a place in which to practice your skills—a 10 5 64 20 10 1,280
training ground, a wizard's tower, a druid's grove.
3. Gold: coin to pay for your training expenses—research You don't have to complete your training in one unbroken
books, exotic components, hirelings, new tools. block—feel free to pause your training at any point to go
adventuring, and resume it once you can spare the time
again. Your education—and your leveling—remains
Time is Money
incomplete until you put in the required time.
Using these training costs will greatly slow down the pace of
your game world—it will take a character a minimum of 100 Leveling Up
weeks and 41,743 gp to train from level 1 to level 20. Once you have finished your training, you gain a level and
If you prefer to keep your campaign moving at a fast pace,
all its features. Don't use the fixed value for your new hit
consider cutting down the time required from weeks to days.
points—roll this using the appropriate die. You may
choose your other leveling perks as usual.
chapter 2 leveling up
9
Mentors
A mentor is someone who helps your character to grow Mentor Limitations
and develop. While they may not be as powerful or As a DM, you may decide that a mentor can only train a
influential as you, they have both expertise and insight character up to a particular level—beyond this, a new, more
that can help unlock your potential. experienced mentor will have to be found.
This is perfectly valid, and is a good way of motivating
characters to travel. But make sure you let everyone know in
Getting a Mentor advance that their mentor has level restrictions—characters
First, you must find a mentor. This is usually an NPC should have a chance to prepare for a replacement.
related to your class in some fashion—often old or retired
adventurers looking to pass on their wisdom to a new
generation (or whoever has coin to spare). Asking around
town is a good start, though some mentors may live in Mentor Responses
dangerous or inaccesible areas. If you're unsure how a mentor may respond to a
Once you have found someone, you then need to character's request, roll on the Mentor Reponses table
convince them that you should be trained. This may not below to see if they refuse and for what reason.
always be straight-forward—mentors are NPCs and, like
all NPCs, they have wants and needs. Mentor Responses
d12 Response
• Perhaps they've had essential books or tools stolen by
the Thieves Guild? 01-06 Yes, I will train you.

• Perhaps they can't focus while their loved one lies ill 07 No, I'm far too busy with something.
with a mysterious sickness? 08 No, you must first prove yourself.
• Perhaps they simply don't like you? 09 No, I gave that up a long time ago...

Whatever the reason, you'll need to find a way to get 10 No, I don't trust you.
this NPC on your side before they will become a mentor. 11 No, my secrets are my own.
12 No, I can't without my equipment.

DM: The old bard sits alone at the bar, hunched over If an NPC refuses to mentor a character, there may be an
an empty mug. What do you do? opportunity to change their mind. Depending on the
Viridian: I join him at the bar, excited. "Damarast circumstances, this could require a social skill challenge,
Vermost, you're a legend in these parts!" a combat, a bribe, or an adventure to resolve.
DM: The old man looks aside at you and nods.
"Once," he says quietly, "in ages past". Missing Mentors
Viridian: I need your help, old man. I can't make Sometimes, a mentor is not around when you need them
sense of the songs in my head—I need your wisdom. —they might be travelling out of town, or pre-occupied
DM: The bard looks down at his hands, both crippled with important business, or sick, or even dead. Like all
with age. "I can't. I gave up that life a long time ago..."
NPCs, mentors have lives to lead. You can't train without
a mentor, so keep an eye on their schedule.

chapter 2 leveling up
10
Chapter 3: Active XP

E
xperience is the key to power—
with it, you can discover new abilities Advancement
and reach higher peaks of strength. With Active XP, don't use the standard 5e leveling table—
But you don't gain experience staying instead, use the Character Advancement table listed
in your comfort zone—the only way to below. This details the amount of experience a character
grow is to push beyond your limits. needs to gain per level before they can level up.
With Active XP, you don't get
experience for simply killing monsters—instead, you gain Character Advancement
experience by being active in one of three fields: Level Experience Level Experience
discovery, recovery, and adversity. 1 — 11 6,200

1. Discovery: Explore the world, meet new people, and 2 300 12 8,680
uncover secrets—hidden dungeons, ancient cults, 3 420 13 12,150
legendary monsters. You gain more experience the 4 590 14 17,010
rarer and more valuable your discovery.
2. Recovery: Recover treasure and valuables from 5 820 15 23,810
uncivilized, monstrous, or abandoned areas— 6 1,150 16 33,330
gemstones from an ancient tomb, a dragon's hoard, a 7 1,610 17 46,660
hidden chest of jewels. You gain 10 exp per gold piece 8 2,260 18 65,330
(1 exp per silver piece) of recovered treasure, making
this the most efficient means of gaining experience. 9 3,160 19 91,460
3. Adversity: Face danger and survive perilous 10 4,430 20 128,050
situations—recover from near death, challenge a red
dragon, defeat a horde of orcs. The bigger the danger, Spending Experience
the bigger your experience—if you survive.
Once you've gained experience points, you can spend
The best way for a character to grow is to be active them to level up. If using the Training rules (p9), spend
and go out adventuring in the wilds, exploring the great the experience after you have completed your training.
unknown. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.
Valiant, a level 1 cleric, returns to Darrowmore with
250 XP and a rare, golden goblet worth 10 GP. He
Treasure-centric Rewards donates the goblet to his church and gains 100 XP.
Active XP encourages players to hunt for rare treasures, and
Now at 350 XP, Valiant has enough experience to
is best suited to a particular style of game—namely,
campaigns that focus on exploration and treasure-hunting. level up. After a week of training, he spends 300 XP to
ascend to level 2—leaving 50 XP remaining.

chapter 3 active xp
11
Awarding Experience
The DM is responsible for awarding XP to players. Rate of Experience
These guides will help determine the amount of XP a Characters are generally expected to have roughly three
character should be awarded for their in-game actions adventures per level—25% of their XP should come from
with Active XP. discovery and adversity challenges, with the other 75%
coming from treasure rewards. For a faster or slower leveling
experience, raise or lower the default XP rewards for each
Discovery & Adversity XP Challenge Level.
Discovery and adversity rewards depend on two main
factors: the Challenge Level of the area, and the Relative
Difficulty experienced by the party. Follow the three steps When choosing the Relative Difficulty, refer to the
below to determine the XP reward. number of resources the party spent in the process. Hit
points, hit dice, spell slots, valuable items, wealth—the
Step 1. Challenge Level (CL) more resources lost, the higher the relative difficulty.
First, you must decide the Challenge Level—this is the
minimum level characters are expected to be in this Step 3. Calculate XP
particular area or adventure. A higher CL implies more Once you know the Challenge Level and the Relative
dangerous monsters, traps, and challenges. Difficulty, you can calculate the experience gained as:
Most civilised areas, such as villages, towns, and
cities, will be CL0—it's no challenge to live in a sanctuary Character XP: Challenge Level x Relative Difficulty
Party XP: Character XP x Party Size
XP per Challenge Level
Level XP Level XP Level XP Listed below are some examples to demonstrate this in
0 1 7 23 14 238 action. First, we see Chansi use her lockpicking skills to
1 3 8 32 15 333 avoid a potentially lethal fight.
2 4 9 44 16 467
3 6 10 62 17 653 Chansi is currently exploring the Vault of Sorrow, an
4 8 11 87 18 915 area designed for level 3 characters. To hide from a
5 12 12 122 19 1,280
patrol of skeletons, she quietly unpicks a locked door
and slips out of sight—avoiding a dangerous fight.
6 16 13 170 20 1,790
The DM decides to award her some adversity XP for
the effort. As the CL is 3 (6 XP) and the lock was of
The Challenge Level should be straightforward to
determine for the DM—base it on the average level of the normal (x1) difficulty, Chansi receives 6 XP.
adventure or current area being explored.
Next, Valiant and Clanda discover the entrance to a
Step 2. Relative Difficulty (RD) secret dungeon they have long been searching for—the
Next, determine the Relative Difficulty—this describes Shattered Underhall—and survive a battle against its
how threatening, dangerous, or difficult the event was to dangerous guardians.
the party. Did they lose some precious resources, or did
they barely break a sweat?
Following a map through the Nightless Forest, a
Relative Difficulty Modifiers dangerous area for level 5 characters, Valiant and
Difficulty Modifier Description Clanda finally uncover a long-hidden entrance to the
Trivial x0 The PCs were far overpowered Shattered Underhall.
Easy x 0.5 The task was no trouble at all The DM awards some discovery XP. As the CL is 5
Normal x1 The task proved to be a minor (12 XP) and they had a hard (x2) time finding the
inconvenience or obstacle entrance, Valiant and Clanda each receive 24 XP.
Hard x2 The party lost some precious Later, deep within the Underhall, Valiant and Clanda
resources and had a hard time fight a near-fatal battle against its guardians—the
Extreme x4 The party lost nearly all their Court of Lies. Though victorious, they spent many
resources, or someone died
resources and almost died in the process.
Insane x8 The PCs were greatly underpowered
and should not have succeeded, or
The DM awards some adversity XP for the battle.
survived against all odds The Shattered Underhall is CL 5 (12 XP) and they
nearly died fighting an extreme (x4) battle against the
A challenge is more rewarding the harder it is to Court, so Valiant and Clanda each receive 48 XP.
overcome—trivial encounters are not rewarding at all.
chapter 3 active xp
12
Recovery XP Step 3. Calculate Treasure
Characters gain experience by recovering lost treasures Once you know the Challenge Level and Threat Rating,
and bringing them back to civilisation, gaining 10 XP per you can calculate the amount of treasure to be recovered
gp of treasure—precious gems, priceless art, rare jewelry. throughout the adventure:
The amount of treasure found on an adventure—be it
in a dungeon, a dragons horde, or a vampire's vault— Treasure: Challenge Level x Threat Rating
depends on two factors: the Challenge Level of the area,
and the Threat Rating of the treasure's guardians. Hoard: Individual Treasure x Party Size

Step 1. Challenge Level (CL) Listed below are some examples to demonstrate this in
First, determine the Challenge Level of the area—as you action. First, we see an outline for a simple level 1
would do for discovery or adversity XP. This determines adventure—the Tomb of the Bone Prince.
the base amount of treasure that should be found
throughout the adventure. The DM is building an adventure for level 1 characters,
with a CL of 1 (7 gp) and an average (x1) threat rating
Treasure per Challenge Level
—meaning that characters should each find around
Level GP Level GP Level GP
7 gp of treasure in the adventure, not including any
0 0 7 56 14 592
random silver or gold.
1 7 8 78 15 828 The DM scatters the treasure across 7 encounters:
2 10 9 110 16 1,160
3 15 10 154 17 1,624 1. Encounter: The Bone Sentinels.
4 20 11 215 18 2,274 2. Encounter: The False Prince. Rewards a 1 gp
5 28 12 302 19 3,185 treasure per person (some carved bone dice).
6 40 13 422 20 4,456 3. Challenge: A secret passageway to the undertomb.
4. Encounter: Madrigor, the Blind Cleric. Rewards a 1
The higher the CL, the bigger the danger—but the more gp treasure per person (a golden chalice).
treasure you are likely to find. 5. Challenge: A collapsing ceiling and a locked door.
6. Encounter: The Bone Prince and his Retinue.
Step 2. Threat Rating (TR) 7. Encounter: The Amalgam King. Rewards a treasure
Next, determine the Threat Rating of the treasure's
guardians. If there's no threat, there's no treasure— hoard worth 5 gp per person (well-cut rubies).
someone else will have looted it long before you arrive.
Here, we see Valiant and Chansi return to town from a
Threat Ratings recent adventure with some recovered treasure in hand.
Threat Modifier Description
None x0 A handful of weak opponents After a brief expedition into the Rat's Nest, Chansi
Low x 0.5 A band of badly organised and returns to Darrowmore carrying a jade figurine she
leaderless foes reckons is worth 12 gp. She sells it to a local collector,
Average x1 A small force with one or more exchanging the figurine for 12 gp and 120 XP.
notable leaders
Valiant also found treasure during the expedition—a
High x2 A well-armed force with several tiers
of leadership
rare book of holy scripture worth 12 gp. He donates
the book to his local church, gaining 0 gp and 120 XP.
Extreme x4 A large force with formidable
strength and influence
Legendary x8 A legendary monster such as a The experience gained from any treasure returned to
dragon, a beholder, or a lich. civilisation is split equally across everyone who helped
obtain it. This include helpers, followers, and henchmen.
You'll need to find and face the biggest threats if you Stealing or hiding treasure from the rest of the party
want to recover the rarest treasures—so be brave. won't grant you any additional XP—once you exchange it
for XP, everyone gets an equal cut.

Magic Items & Gold While the group wasn't looking, Clanda palmed an
Magic items and currency (copper, silver, or gold pieces) do extra ruby from the treasure pile. On returning to town,
not count as treasure, so don't include their value in your
she sells it to gain 7 gp and 70 XP. Clanda keeps the
treasure-to-XP calculations.
gold but shares the XP with the rest of the party.

chapter 3 active xp
13
Chapter 4: Equipment

I
n a dark and dangerous world, having Finally, the armor you wear affects the number of
the right gear at the right time can mean all the containers you can equip. Armor is bulky and restricting
difference between life and death. —the bigger it is, the less space you have for containers.
In Darker Dungeons, great emphasis is
placed on your inventory—what you carry and Character Armor
where you carry it are very important things to Armor Containers Armor Containers
keep track of. This chapter introduces new
systems to manage character inventory, equipment None +0 Medium -2
degradation effects, and item qualities. Light -1 Heavy -3

Inventory Space Valiant, a human cleric, is a medium-sized creature (6


Inventory is managed using containers. A container can containers) wearing heavy armor (-3 containers) with
be anything—a sheath, a bag, a backpack, a box, a sack— +1 STR (+0 containers). He can carry up to 3
so long as it can be carried by your character. Each containers—a total of 9 slots.
container has 3 slots, and every item stored occupies one
or more slots—depending on its size—when carried. Crackle, a kobold wizard, is a small creature (5
The total number of containers you can carry is containers) and wears no armor (+0 container) but has
primarily determined by your character size—the bigger -1 STR (-1 containers). She can carry up to 4
you are, the more space you have to store items. containers—a total of 12 slots.
Character Size
Size Containers Size Containers Free Storage
Tiny 3 Large 7
In addition to their containers, characters can freely
Small 5 Huge 9 carry one ration box, one waterskin, and one purse.
Medium 6 Gargantuan 13 These don't occupy inventory space, and can store a
small amount of basic supplies—food, water, and money.
Your overall strength also has an impact on how many
containers you can carry at one time—if your STR • Ration box: Stores up to five basic rations.
modifier is negative, you lose that many containers. • Waterskin: Holds enough water for five drinks.
• Purse: Holds 100 coins.
Character Strength
STR Modifier Containers STR Modifier Containers You can also wear one set of basic clothing without it
occupying any inventory space—shirt, trousers, boots,
0 or more +0 -2 -2
hat, etc. Anything else must be stored in a container or
-1 -1 -3 -3 held in your hands.
chapter 4 equipment
14
Container Categories
Containers can be broadly separated into 5 categories. Encumberance
When naming your inventory containers, assign a If you find yourself carrying more than your inventory
category to each—you can mix and match categories capacity allows, you are encumbered. While encumbered:
however you like.
Some containers can only hold items of a particular • You have disadvantage on all rolls.
size, or require more time to retrieve an item—so pick • Your speed is halved
• You gain hunger, thirst, and fatigue at twice the rate.
the right containers to suit your needs.
• Bag: A bag holds items of any size. It takes a full turn
and two free hands to take an item out. Vehicle Storage
• Pouch: A pouch holds medium, small, and tiny items.
You can take an item out with a bonus action and a Vehicles—mules, carts, ships, trains—store items in the
free hand. same way as characters, using containers and slots.
• Belt: A belt holds small and tiny items. You can take Vehicle containers are always classified as bags and can
an item out with a free hand as a free action. have many more slots depending on size.
• Sheath: A sheath holds weapons and shields. You can Vehicles generally come in four sizes—anything larger
draw a weapon from a sheath with a free action. You is assumed to have as many slots as it needs.
can also store a single shield in a sheath, occupying
only 1 slot. Size Examples Slots
• Quiver: A quiver stores arrows and quarrels. You can Small Mule, Horse, Donkey, Wheelbarrow 18
also hang a single bow or crossbow from a quiver—a
weapon stored in this way occupies only 1 slot. Medium Cart (2 wheels), Chariot 32
Large Wagon (4 wheels), Carriage, Boat 64

Magical Containers Huge Ship 128

Some containers have magical—or otherwise enhanced A vehicle's storage capacity may be divided into separate
—properties that change their capacity or durability: containers. A mule, for example, may carry two 9-slot
bags, while a cart has a single 32-slot space.
• Bag of Holding: This magical creation works much
like a normal bag, but can hold many more items. A Item Sizes
character who equips a Bag of Holding can replace
one of their 3-slot containers with a 9-slot container. Item size is measured in terms of slots—this tells you
• Handy Haversack: This magical bag acts like an how much space the item will occupy in your inventory.
improved Bag of Holding. A character who equips a Most items can be grouped into four major categories of
Handy Haversack can replace one of their 3-slot size: tiny, small, medium, and large.
containers with an 18-slot container.
• Portable Hole: This magical object can be carried as Item Sizes
a small item, occupying 1 slot in a container. When Size Description Slots
folded out, a Portable Hole acts as a bag with 18 slots.
Tiny Very small (smaller than a hand); Can hold 1/5
many in one hand.
In the ruins of the Arcane Sanctum, Valiant is fortunate Small Short length (up to a handspan / 9 inches); 1
enough to find a Bag of Holding—still intact after all Held comfortably with one hand.
these years. He replaces his ordinary bag container Medium Medium length (up to an arms-length / 2
2ft); Held with one hand.
with it, increasing his total inventory space by +6 slots.
Large Long length (longer than an arm); Requires 3
one or two hands to hold.

Armor Expertise When categorising an item, consider the overall size of it


Wearing armor means that you can't carry as much, but against the average person—don't worry too much about
there is a trade-off—you become more resistant to harm. weight, unless there's very good reason to.
If you are wearing medium or heavy armor, and you are
appropriately proficient, you gain the following perk: Stacking Items
You can store 5 tiny items, 5 gemstones, or 100 coins in
• Medium Armor: Reduce any bludgeoning, piercing, a single container slot.
and slashing damage that you take from non-magical
weapons by 1, to a minimum of 1. Extra-Large Items
• Heavy Armor: Reduce any bludgeoning, piercing, and Some items may be considered extra-large—a big water
slashing damage that you take from non-magical barrel, a giant's sword, a stone boulder. For these items,
weapons by 2, to a minimum of 1. use a multiple of 3 slots—6, 9, 12, etc.
chapter 4 equipment
15
Weapons & Armor
Name Size Name Size Name Size Name Size
Armor, Light L Dart T Longbow L Shortsword M
Armor, Medium Lx2 Flail M Longsword L Sickle S
Armor, Heavy Lx3 Glaive L Mace M Sling S
Armor, Shield M Greataxe L Maul L Spear L
Battleaxe L Greatclub L Morningstar M Trident L
Blowgun S Greatsword L Net S War Pick M
Club M Halberd L Pike L Warhammer L
Crossbow, Hand S Handaxe M Quarterstaff L Whip S
Crossbow, Light M Javelin L Rapier M
Crossbow, Heavy L Lance L Scimitar M
Dagger S Light Hammer S Shortbow M

Adventuring Gear
Name Size Name Size Name Size Name Size
Abacus S Component Pouch S Instrument, Viol M Shovel L
Acid (Vial) T Crowbar M Jug or Pitcher S Signal Whistle T
Alchemist’s Fire (Flask) S Druid Focus, Mistletoe S Kit, Climbers S Signet Ring T
Ammunition, Arrows S Druid Focus, Staff L Kit, Disguise S Soap T
Ammunition, Bolts S Druid Focus, Totem S Kit, Forgery S Spellbook S
Ammunition, Bullets S Druid Focus, Wand S Kit, Healer’s S Spikes, Iron (10) S
Ammunition, Needles S Fishing Tackle S Kit, Mess S Spyglass S
Antitoxin (Vial) T Flask or Tankard S Kit, Poisoner’s S Tent, Two-person L
Arcane Focus, Crystal S Game, Cards S Ladder L Tinderbox S
Arcane Focus, Orb S Game, Dice S Lamp S Tools, Alchemist M
Arcane Focus, Rod S Game, Dragonchess S Lantern, Bullseye S Tools, Brewer M
Arcane Focus, Staff L Game, 3 Dragon Ante S Lantern, Hooded S Tools, Calligrapher S
Arcane Focus, Wand S Grappling Hook S Lock S Tools, Carpenter S
Ball Bearings S Hammer S Magnifying Glass S Tools, Cartographer S
Barrel Lx3 Hammer, Sledge L Manacles S Tools, Cobbler S
Bedroll M Holy Symbol, Amulet S Mirror, Steel S Tools, Cook M
Bell S Holy Symbol, Emblem S Oil (Flask) S Tools, Glassblower M
Blanket S Holy Symbol, Reliquary S Paper T Tools, Jeweler S
Block & Tackle S Holy Water (Flask) S Parchment T Tools, Leatherworker M
Book S Hourglass S Perfume (Vial) T Tools, Mason M
Bottle, Glass S Hunting Trap S Pick, Miner’s L Tools, Navigator S
Bucket M Ink T Piton S Tools, Painter M
Caltrops S Ink Pen T Poison, Basic (Vial) T Tools, Potter M
Candle T Instrument, Bagpipes L Pole L Tools, Smith M
Case S Instrument, Drum M Pot, Iron S Tools, Thieves S
Chain S Instrument, Dulcimer L Potion of Healing S Tools, Tinker S
Chalk T Instrument, Flute S Ram, Portable Lx2 Tools, Weaver M
Chest Lx2 Instrument, Horn M Ration (1) T Tools, Woodcarver S
Clothes, Common S Instrument, Lute M Rope, Hempen S Torch S
Clothes, Costume M Instrument, Lyre M Rope, Silk S Vial T
Clothes, Fine M Instrument, Pan Flute S Scale, Merchant’s S Waterskin S
Clothes, Traveler’s S Instrument, Shawm M Sealing Wax T Whetstone S

chapter 4 equipment
16
Equipping Characters Chansi, Halfling Ranger
To demonstrate how containers work, here are five Chansi, a halfing ranger with -1 STR, can only carry 4
examples of new characters buying equipment with their containers due to her small size and strength—humans
starting wealth and deciding how it is carried. have it so easy. Rolling 12, she starts with 120 gp.
Some decent leather armor is a must when ranging
Valiant, Human Cleric through the wild forests—animals have sharp claws.
Valiant, a human cleric with +1 STR, can hold 6 Chansi favours the trap and shortbow, but carries a
containers-worth of inventory. Rolling 15 on the Starting sword and dagger for times when her prey gets too close.
Wealth table (p7), he starts with 150 gp to his name.
Expecting to be in the thick of battle, Valiant wants Chansi's Inventory
thick armor and a sturdy shield to keep danger at bay. Cont. Type Contents

Valiant's Inventory 1 Quiver Shortbow (25 gp, 1 slot)


Arrows (1 gp, 1 slot)
Cont. Type Contents
2 Sheath Shortsword (10 gp, 2 slots)
1 Sheath War Pick (5 gp, 2 slots) Dagger (2 gp, 1 slots)
Shield (10 gp, 1 slot)
3 Bag Hunting Trap (5 gp, 2 slot)
2 Pouch Healer's Kit (5 gp, 1 slot) Rope (1 gp, 1 slot)
Prayer Book (25 gp, 1 slot)
— Light Armor Studded Leather (45 gp)
3 Bag Torch (1 cp, 1 slot)
— Ration Box Basic Ration (5)
Bedroll (1 gp, 2 slot)
— Waterskin Clean Water (5)
— Heavy Armor Chain Mail (75 gp)
— Purse 31 gp (31 coins)
— Ration Box Basic Ration (5)
— Waterskin Clean Water (5)
The armor was costly, but it's saved Chansi's life on more
— Purse 28 gp, 9 sp, 9 cp (46 coins) than one occasion—well worth the price. And there's
always work for a talented ranger nowadays, it won't take
This leaves Valiant with just under 29 gp remaining, long for her to recoup the cost.
enough to live on for two weeks if he chooses a modest
lifestyle. But he'll have to find a source of coin quick if he Vikan, Goliath Sorcerer
wants to keep a roof over his head for long. Vikan, a goliath sorcerer with -1 STR, can carry up to 6
containers thanks to his Powerful Build—he might
Krazak, Dwarf Barbarian smash his head on a few ceilings, but being big does
Krazak, a dwarf barbarian with +3 STR, has 6 containers have its advantages. Rolling 6, he starts with 60 gp.
to fill with 60 gp. With Unarmored Defence, he doesn't As a sorcerer, Vikan eshews armor—it gets in the way
need nor want to wear any additional armor—except of his raw arcane energies. He carries a quarterstaff for
perhaps a shield for those cowardly archers. But he does some basic defence and a crossbow for hunting—just as
have a weakness for weapons—the bigger, the better. his father taught him many years ago.
Krazak's Inventory Vikan's Inventory
Cont. Type Contents Cont. Type Contents
1 Sheath Handaxe (5 gp, 2 slots) 1 Sheath Quarterstaff (2 sp, 3 slots)
Shield (10 gp, 1 slot) 2 Quiver Light Crossbow (25 gp, 1 slots)
2 Sheath Greataxe (30 gp, 3 slots) Bolts (1 gp, 1 slots)
3 Belt Gaming Set, Dice (1 sp, 1 slot) 3 Belt Focus, Orb (20 gp, 1 slot)
Whetstone (1 cp, 1 slot) Gaming Set, Cards (5 sp, 1 Slot)
4 Belt Chain (5 gp, 1 slot) 4 Belt Lamp (5 sp, 1 slot)
Oil (1 sp, 1 slot)
5 Pouch Torch (1 cp, 1 slot)
5 Bag Painter's Supplies (10 gp, 2 slots)
6 Bag Cook's Utensils (1 gp, 2 slot) Blanket (5 sp, 1 slot)
— Ration Box Basic Ration (5) 6 Bag Bedroll (1 gp, 2 slots)
— Waterskin Dwarven Ale (5) — Ration Box Basic Ration (5)
— Purse 9 gp, 9 sp, 8 cp (26 coins) — Waterskin Clean Water (5)
— Purse 1 gp, 8 sp (9 coins)
Spending half his gold on a beloved greataxe was a
costly investment, but a barbarian is nothing without his A keen painter, Vikan carries painting supplies with him
weapons. Krazak is keen to put them to good use, and— to capture inspirational scenes out in the wild. His art
with a whetstone in hand—sharpens the blades after isn't going to win any awards just yet, but Vikan paints
each battle to keep them in peak condition. for the love of the craft and not the reward.
chapter 4 equipment
17
Wear & Tear
Items degrade with use, losing condition until they Magic Failures
become useless. This is measured with notches—the Magic is wild and dangerous if not handled carefully. If you
more notches an item has, the more it has degraded. roll a critical fail while spellcasting, the power strikes out—a
Any object that can suffer damage can become random item in your inventory gains a new notch.
notched, reducing its functionality. Objects generally fall If you are holding a spellcasting focus at the time—
into one of four categories: weapons, armor, magic foci, whether it was used during the spell or not—the focus
and miscellaneous items. attracts the power and gains the notch instead.
Weapons: Weapons—both melee and ranged—gain a
notch when you critically fail an attack. Each weapon
notch reduces the damage die you roll by one step: Shattering Gear
1d12 → 1d10 → 1d8 → 1d6 → 1d4 → 1
When you hit with an attack, you can shatter your
weapon to roll its original un-notched damage die.
Decide this before you roll your damage.
Some weapons roll multiple die for their damage— Likewise, you can sacrifice your armor when hit by an
greatswords rolling 2d6, for example. In these cases, attack to reduce the damage taken by 3d4 for light armor,
each notch reduces just one die at at time: 3d8 for medium armor, and 3d12 for heavy armor—it
falls apart irreparably in the process. You can decide this
2d6 → 1d6 + 1d4 → 2d4 → 1d4 + 1 → 2 → 1
after damage is dealt.

Though a weapon's damage cannot go below 1, it can Fragile Items


still gain additional notches—these must be repaired as Some items may be particularly fragile, such as those
normal to restore the weapon's damage. made of glass, ceramics, or complicated machinery.
Armor: Armor gains a notch when you are critically Fragile items can only suffer one notch at a time; any
hit. Each armor notch reduces your total AC by 1. more and they irreparably break.
If you are not wearing armor and are critically hit,
select a random item in your inventory—that item gains a
new notch instead. Item Quality
Focus: A spellcasting focus gains a notch when you The quality of an item affects how people treat it. Lower
critically fail to cast a spell while holding it. Each notch quality items are more likely to have visual defects, such
reduces your spellcasting ability by 1 while using the as dents and scratches, that mark how it's been used.
focus to cast magic. This doesn't affect the item's effectiveness, but it may
Items: All other items gain a notch whenever change how NPCs react—a merchant will offer much
appropriate—often when they take direct damage or are less for damaged goods, and a noble may be offended to
used in a failed skill check. Each notch reduces the item's receive anything that appears second-hand. Sometimes,
effectiveness by 1—using a lockpick with one notch, for you might want your goods to have a few scratches—a
example, will incur a -1 penalty to your roll. fighter who wears pristine armor may look like they've
never been in battle, drawing scorn and derision.
Repairing Items There are four grades of item quality:
Items can be repaired by an appropriate craftsman, • Pristine. Never been notched. This item looks, feels,
costing 10% of the item price per notch. Depending on and smells brand new.
the item, this may require rare or expensive components. • Worn. Has had only one notch at a time. This item
Characters may, if they're proficient, also use relevant has one main defect that indicates use.
tools to perform basic repairs on their gear while out • Well-Worn. Has had two or three notches at one time.
traveling—a whetstone to smooth out a notch, a sewing This item shows heavy signs of use.
kit to patch up a robe, a hammer to tap out a dent. • Scarred. Has had four or more notches at one time.
Repairs of this kind generally require an hour, tools, This item looks shabby and in poor condition.
and a successful Intelligence check. Failure, however,
could result in creating a new notch if not careful. Resale Value
The quality of an item impacts how much a merchant
Mending
may offer you for it—lower quality means lower prices.
The Mending cantrip repairs broken items—a torn waterskin, Resale Value
a split bow, a torn page. Notches represent only minor
damage to an item—not a complete break—and so cannot Quality Resale Value Quality Resale Value
be removed with Mending. Pristine 75% Well-Worn 25%
Worn 50% Scarred 10%

chapter 4 equipment
18
Restoring Items
Item quality can be restored by an appropriate crafts- Ammunition Sizes
man. This usually requires 1 week per grade, though Most ammunition will usually start with a d12 Ammunition
rare or delicate items may take longer. die—this represents a full stack of arrows/bolts/bullets/etc.

Item Restoration
Quality Cost Replenishing Ammunition
Worn to Pristine 50%
To increase your Ammunition die you can recover ammo
Well-Worn to Worn 30% from the environment, buy a new stack, or pay a small
Scarred to Well-Worn 10% percentage of the total cost and increase your die by one
step—for example, pay 20 cp (20% of 1 gp) to increase a
Magic items are much more difficult to restore than stack of arrows from d10 to d12.
mundane items—you may need to find an elite artisan or
some especially rare materials to finish the restoration. Replenishing Ammunition
Maximum Cost per Maximum Cost per
Ammunition Die
d20
Increase
16%
Die
d8
Increase
33%
Some weapons and items require ammunition of some
kind—arrows, darts, stones, bolts, bullets, etc. Instead of d12 20% d6 50%
tracking each individual shot, take a d12—this is your d10 25% d4 100%
Ammunition die. Roll it whenever you take a shot: if you
roll a 1 or 2, your ammunition die gets one size smaller.
Magic Items
d12 → d10 → d8 → d6 → d4 → 1
Magical items in Darker Dungeons are very rare and
highly sought-after. It is hard to sell magical items for
gold—only the exceptionally wealthy have such vast
If you're down to one piece of ammunition and you use it, quantities of disposable coin on hand. You are much
that's it—you've used the last piece, so remove the more likely to trade a magical item for another, or
ammunition from your inventory. exchange it for some services, property, or other
You can replenish your ammunition and increase the intangible reward.
size of your ammunition die during downtime, or by Magical goods mark you out as a very special, and
looting some from your enemies. wealthy, individual—very dangerous if you attract the
wrong kind of attention. Flaunting your magical wares is
DM: The ghoul grabs hold of you tight, Viridian,
sure to get you noticed by thieves, bandits, and corrupt
lords, so be smart about who you ply your treasures to.
moaning as it prepares to bite. What do you do?
Viridian: Chansi, need a little help here!
Chansi: Kinda running low on arrows, ammunition
Potions
die is down to a d4— Not all magic potions look alike—even a simple healing
Viridian: TAKE THE DAMN SHOT, CHANSI!
potion can vary wildly in appearance depending on who
made it and what recipe was used.
Chansi: Fine, I grab an arrow and shoot at the ghoul. To determine what a potion actually is, you'll need to
That's... (rolls 15) 15 to hit. And... (rolls 1) damn, that's make a successful knowledge check using an alchemist's
1 for ammunition. Down to my last arrow. kit. If you fail, you might mistake it for another type of
DM: Your arrow pierces the ghoul's skull with a potion—with potentially lethal consequences.
sickening crunch and the creature falls to the ground. Toxicity
Chansi: You're welcome, Viridian. Potions are powerful distillations of arcane power, and
should not be mixed or ingested carelessly. You may
Ammunition Stacks drink one potion per day without experiencing any toxic
side-effects, but for every potion after the first you
If you're carrying multiple stacks of any one type of automatically suffer a major amount of Stress.
ammunition, prioritise the smallest stack first—always
roll the smallest ammunition die per ammo type.
Item Charges
Special Ammo Some items can only be used a set number of times
Sometimes, ammunition is rare or has limited uses—fire before they are exhausted—cooking supplies, healing
arrows, magic bolts, lighting bullets, etc. In these special kits, rations, waterskins, wands.
cases, don't use an ammunition die—instead, track each Unless stated otherwise, an item with limited charges
shot as you use them. can be used five times before it runs out.
chapter 4 equipment
19
Tempering Applying a Temper
With the right skills and the right materials, you can To temper a piece of equipment, you need four things:
make your gear more resistant to wear and tear. This is time, facilities, materials, and skill. You won't usually be
called tempering and it reduces the number of notches able to temper gear yourself—such work requires special
your equipment takes from critical failures. training—so keep an eye out for trained craftsmen.
When you temper an item, you strengthen the
material so that it can withstand more punishment and Tempering Costs
remain effective for longer—a tempered sword becomes Quality Cost Time Tempered Value
harder to chip, and tempered armor harder to crack. The
better the temper, the stronger your equipment. Pure Base Value x 2 3 days Base Value x 3
There are three grades of temper, each more exclusive Royal Base Value x 4 1 week Base Value x 6
and expensive than the last: pure, royal, and astral. Astral Base Value x 8 2 weeks Base Value x 12

Tempering
Quality Rarity Critical Failure
Craftsmen
It's relatively straightforward to find someone who can
— Common Gains 1 notch apply a pure temper (for a price, of course), but royal or
Pure Temper Uncommon Gains ½ (0.5) notch astral tempering is extremely rare—you'll need to search
Royal Temper Rare Gains ¼ (0.25) notch far and wide for such legendary craftsmen.
Astral Temper Mythic Gains ⅛ (0.125) notch Rare Materials
Some equipment is so rare or unique that special
A tempered piece of equipment is less vulnerable to the materials are required to temper—ore from the lost
effects of wear and tear. When you would gain 1 notch dwarven mines, scales from a red dragon, gems from a
from a critical failure (such as when attacking or slaad's brain. Recovering these components may be an
defending), you instead gain only a fraction of a notch—a adventure in itself.
half, a quarter, or an eighth, depending on the quality of
the temper. Repairing Tempered Gear
As you temper equipment, its inherent value increases.
DM: The troll lumbers towards you with a loud roar, But it also becomes more expensive to repair damage
Krazak. What do you do? whilst maintaining the temper—make sure you have
Krazak: Hah, a dwarf fears no troll. I swing my enough coin to look after your gear.
greataxe in a powerful arc... (rolls 1) and miss. Great.
DM: Your axe swings too early, missing the troll, and In the mines of Kazadorn, Krazak has his greataxe
cuts deep into the adjacent stone wall with a loud Vengeance tempered. Applying a pure temper costs
crack. It gains a notch of damage. 60 gp (30 x 2) and takes 3 days. After the temper is
Krazak: Lucky I had this beauty tempered back in applied, the weapon is worth 90 gp (30 x 3) and any
town, she only gains ½ notch. notches will cost 9 gp (10% of 90) to repair.

chapter 4 equipment
20
Chapter 5: Taking Action

I
t's time to act. You want to charge
across the rickety bridge? Climb the crumbling Social Interaction
wall? Kick down the old door? Great, now make There is more to social interaction than just charisma—
a roll to see if you succeed. intelligence and wisdom are just as important, and each
This chapter sets out changes to the default has their own role to play in conversation.
rolling mechanics by adding player-owned When you are trying to interact with an NPC, the
defence rolls, degrees of success, untyped skill context of your interaction determines which ability you
bonuses, and a new active initiative system. are using: smarts (intelligence), feelings (wisdom), and
presence (charisma).
Open Skills • Intelligence: You're trying to be clever. Debate,
With Open Skills, your skills are no longer tied to a reason, negotiate, lie, manipulate, wit, and threaten.
single ability—instead, you may apply your skill bonus to • Wisdom: You're trying to soothe or connect feelings.
any ability check that feels appropriate. Rapport, empathise, calm, discretion, and tact.
When you are taking an action, try to consider which • Charisma: You're trying to be likeable or dominating.
ability and skill pairing is the best fit for your situation. Charm, bluff, banter, incite, command, and intimidate.
You may only use one ability and one skill per check.
Here we see Clanda, sitting with her friends in a
DM: Valiant, a guard blocks the door with his spear.
village tavern, overhear an ill-informed farmer.
"You ain't going in there," he says bluntly.
Valiant: Do I recognise the guard? DM: The farmer says "I 'eard that if yous eat a frog on
DM: No, but you do recognise the symbol on his a full moon, yous get to jump high like a frog".
necklace—the scales of Kelemvor, Lord of the Dead. Clanda: This stupid peasant. "There is no way that is
Valiant: He follows my god? Perfect. "Not often I true," I tell him. Angrily.
meet one of His agents," I say, showing my necklace DM: "Yea it is, I 'eard it from those boys over at the
and symbol. "How long have you served Him?" Grange farm. The moon magic turns you into one o'
DM: The guard smiles at you. "Oh since I were a boy. them lick-oh-tropes." The farmer is resolute in his
My old man was a gravedigger—knew the rites, taught belief—it's going to be very hard to change his mind.
me the words. Done right by me so far, has the Lord." Clanda: Hold my beer, guys—I'm going to talk some
Valiant: I'll ask a few more questions, talk a little faith brains back into this fool. Ok farm boy, let's start off
—see if I can get this guy on my side and let me pass. with some basic pronounciation...
DM: if you're trying to get him to like you, that'll be a DM: Ok, roll a DC 25 Intelligence check. As you're
DC 15 Charisma check. You can add Religion to that. attempting to change his mind, add Persuasion.

chapter 5 taking action


21
Active Defence Examples
In Darker Dungeons, the DM doesn't make attack rolls. Here's an example of Active Defence within a basic
Instead, players make defence rolls against incoming round of combat where Valiant, Sarien, and Clanda are
attacks—this is called Active Defence. Don't stand being attacked by three orcs.
around waiting to be hit by the enemy—dodge, duck, dip, Where the DM would normally be rolling attack rolls
dive, and dodge. for the monster, we instead see the players making
When you make a defence roll, roll a d20 and add defence rolls to avoid the incoming attacks.
your AC. The opposing DC is 22 plus the attacker's
normal attack bonus.
DM: The three orcs rush forward, rage in their eyes.
Defence Roll: d20 + your AC Two of them hack at you with their greataxes, Valiant,
DC: attacker's attack bonus + 22 while the third stabs at Sarien with a javelin.
Valiant: I raise my shield to block. What's the DC?
If your defence equals or beats the DC, you successfully DM: DC 27 (22 + orc attack bonus (+5)).
avoid the attack. If you fail, the attack hits. Valiant: Here goes... (rolls 30 (13 + AC 17)) I bash
Advantage: If your attacker has advantage on their the first attack aside with my shield, and... (rolls 22)
attack, you instead apply disadvantage to your defence damn, I get caught by the second.
roll—and vice versa if your attacker has disadvantage. DM: The second axe catches your arm painfully—
Criticals: If your defence roll comes up as a natural 1,
it's a critical fail—you are critically hit by the attack. If take 9 points of damage.
your attacker would normally score a critical hit on a roll Valiant: That hurts—I'm bloodied now.
of 19 or 20, then the attack is a critical hit on a 1 or 2, Sarien: I've got your back, Valiant. Let me just dodge
and so forth. this javelin first... (rolls natural 1) oh that's bad.
Saving Throws DM: You stumble right into the path of the javelin,
Where the DM would normally make a saving throw, the Sarien, which stabs you right in the shoulder. Take 12
players instead make a saving attack. points of damage, and your armor gains a notch too.
When you make a saving attack, roll a d20 and add Valiant: Great job, Sarien, good dodge there.
your normal spell save DC. The opposing DC is 22 plus Sarien: On my next turn, I throttle Valiant.
the target's saving throw bonus.
Saving Attack Roll: d20 + your spell save DC
At the end of the DM's turn, it's Clanda's time to act. We
see that where the DM would normally roll saving
DC: target's saving throw bonus + 22 throws for the orcs to avoid Acid Splash, Clanda instead
makes a saving attack and rolls to hit the orcs.
If your saving attack equals or beats the DC, you
successfully land the attack. If you fail, the attack misses
or is blocked by the target. DM: Ok Clanda, it's your turn next. Valiant's under
Advantage: If your target has advantage on their attack and Sarien's stumbling about—what do you do?
saving throw, apply disadvantage to your saving attack Clanda: Ugh, I hate orcs. It's time to even the odds. I
instead—and vice versa if your target has disadvantage. cast Acid Splash at the two orcs attacking Valiant.
Criticals: As with other attacks, saving attacks have a
chance to critically hit or miss. On a critical hit, roll all of Valiant: You're throwing acid at me?
the attack's damage dice twice. Clanda: Hush, it'll be fine. What's the DC?
DM: DC 23 (22 + orc dexerity saving throw (+1)).
Static DM Damage Clanda: Ok, I hurl this orb of acid... (rolls 23 (10 +
SDC 13)) It barely hits the first, scorching him for...
Instead of rolling for damage, anything controlled by the
DM—NPCs, monsters, traps, environmental effects— (rolls 2) hmm, not very much.
deals static damage according to its average value. If the DM: The orc snarls with irritation as a few drops of
attack is a critical hit, double the damage. acid catch on his thick leather armor.
Clanda: The second... (rolls natural 20) critical hit!
Some acid splashes on the orc's face, causing... (rolls
Static Player Damage 11) great, a lot of damage!
Players may use static damage for their own attacks if they DM: The orc roars in pain and falls to the ground,
wish—but this is not required. This must be declared before clutching at his face as the flesh melts away.
any damage roll is made—you can't roll for damage and then
Valiant: Gross.
choose to use the static damage value.
Clanda: Do I hear a thank you? Manners, Valiant.

chapter 5 taking action


22
Active Initiative Example
Combat isn't polite, and monsters don't like to wait in Here's an example of Active Initiative within a basic
line to take their turn. With Active Initiative the flow of round of combat—Chansi, Valiant, and Clanda are being
battle becomes dynamic and player-driven—at the end of attacked by a hobgoblin and four goblins. With three
your turn, you decide who acts next. players, the DM has three Interrupt Points for this scene.
A basic round follows four steps: Chansi makes an attack, but draws attention to herself
in the process. She then passes over to Valiant.
1. Who goes first?: Decide which character or creature
acts first. This is usually whoever triggered the scene,
but if this isn't clear then decide by rolling initiative— DM: The hobgoblin roars an order out to the goblins
the highest roll goes first. and they spring forward. Chansi, you've got the highest
2. Take turns: Take your turn. Once you've finished your initiative—what do you do?
actions, you get to pick who goes next. This can be any Chansi: I fire an arrow at the hobgoblin... (rolls 11)
character, creature, or group that hasn't acted yet.
3. End the round: Once all characters and creatures oof, that's a bad start.
have finished their turns, end the round and clear up DM: Your arrow misses by a wide margin. The
any expired effects—spells, powers, timers, etc. hobgoblin shouts, and three of the goblins look at you.
4. Start a new round: The last person to act gets to Chansi: That doesn't sound good. Valiant, might
decide who starts the new round—it can't be need you to draw some attention here...
themselves unless they have no alternative.
Valiant: I'm on it. I move forward and strike at the
You cannot pass or delay once your turn begins, but nearest goblin with my war pick (rolls 16).
you can ready an action. This doesn't change your turn DM: The goblin curses aloud as you hit it. How much
order—if your triggered action is the last act in a turn, damage does it take?
you don't get to choose the next person to act. Valiant: 6 points. Then with my War Priest initiative, I
Effect Duration swing round to hit another goblin (rolls 17).
Effects that last a specific duration of rounds now tick DM: Another hit—the goblin screeches as it takes...?
down at the end of each round. Once a duration has gone Valiant: 7 points of damage. Now that should get
below 0, the effect has ended and can be removed. Any their attention.
effects that would expire at the start or end of your next
turn are unchanged.
Having finished his turn, Valiant prepares to pass over to
Interrupt Clanda. The DM, however, chooses to Interrupt.
As the goblins took damage during Valiant's turn, they
If you have not yet taken your turn this round, you have a could interrupt for free. However, the DM spends an
chance to steal the initiative and take the next turn—even Interrupt Point to allow the hobgoblin to act instead.
if you were not nominated. This is called an Interrupt.
There are two main ways in which you can do this:
Valiant: Ok Clanda, you're up next.
1. You can spend an Inspiration Point to interrupt. Clanda: Perfect. I—
2. If you took damage during the last turn, you can DM: Before you can act, Clanda, the hobgoblin
choose to interrupt for free. interrupts (spends an Interrupt Point) and leaps
If you choose to interrupt, you must do so before the forward towards Valiant. He swings his longsword in a
next person starts their turn. You can't interrupt if you've fierce two-handed arc at the cleric—DC 25.
already acted this round, and you can't interrupt an ally. Valiant: I... (rolls 22) can't dodge in time.
DM: The sword hits you Valiant for 6 points of
Interrupt Points
damage. And with the goblins around you, the
Each scene, the DM gets one free Interrupt Point per
player. The DM may spend one of these points to steal hobgoblin's attack is even more dangerous thanks to
the initiative, but can only use one point per round. Martial Advantage—take another 7 points.
Valiant: Son of a...
DM: The hobgoblin laughs coldly, licking the blood
Interrupts & Inspiration from its blade. "You have my attention, little cleric," he
Interrupt Points exist to give the DM a power similar to sneers. The goblins begin to move—
player Inspiration Points. But if Inspiration is not a common Clanda: I think not (spends an Inspiration Point to
feature in your game—or players aren't spending their points
Interrupt). Enough of this nonsense. Don't move,
to make interrupts—don't give the DM any Interrupt Points.
Valiant, unless you want this Fireball in your face...

chapter 5 taking action


23
Degrees of Success Examples
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we don't always win. Here are two examples of using degrees of success—one
A plan goes awry, or a creature escapes, or a guard sees to demonstrate Success at a Cost and how negotiation
through your disguise. But not all failures are equal— works, and another to show critical failure in action.
sometimes we mess up a little, sometimes we mess up Chansi is trapped on a collapsing ledge over a dark
catastrophically. abyss. Luckily, her friends have thrown down a rope for
When you attempt an action that has a chance of her to climb to safety.
failure, check the list below to see if you succeed.
• Critical Success: You succeeded by 10 or more on a DM: The ground is crumbling beneath your feet,
skill check, or rolled a natural 20 on an attack. Things Chansi. There's a rope hanging ahead, over the abyss.
have gone perfectly. You achieve your goal and Chansi: I leap out and grab hold of it.
something else happens in your favour. DM: Ok, that's a DC 15 Strength check.
• Success: You achieve your goal.
• Minor Failure or Success at a Cost: You failed by 1, Chansi: I should be able to use Athletics for this, so
2, or 3. You can choose to succeed, but something that's... (rolls 14) augh, so close!
very bad also happens as a consequence. DM: Very close indeed, the rope barely slips past
• Failure: You failed by 4 or more. Something bad your fingers. You have a chance to Succeed at a Cost...
happens—you take damage, gain Stress, lose a hit die, Chansi: Damn, I can't fall into the abyss. Perhaps...
a Condition worsens, etc.
• Critical Failure: You failed by 10 or more on a skill something falls out of my bag as I grab hold? Those
check, or rolled a natural 1 on an attack. It's all gone old mushrooms I picked up earlier maybe?
badly for you—up to three bad things happen as a DM: It has to be something precious to you.
consequence of your failure. Chansi: Ah. Well I was really hoping to use this
healing potion later...
Success at a Cost DM: Perfect. For a moment you fall, barely catching
When you fail by a narrow margin, you can choose to the rope at the last second with your other hand. But
instead succeed at a cost. You get what you want, but as you hang, you hear a small rip from your bag and
something very bad happens to you as a consequence— your healing potion tumbles into the abyss below.
as bad as if you had critically failed. Chansi: Augh, I really needed that potion...
This may require some negotiation with the DM—if
you can't both agree on the cost, you can't succeed.
Viridan has bluffed his way into a meeting with a local
lord, hoping to convince the lord to lend his support to
the defence of a nearby village.
Consequences
Here are some consequences you might apply when a
DM: Lord Erasius looks at you coldly, Viridian. "And
character fails a roll. For a failure, pick one. For a critical
failure, apply multiple consequences. why should I trust you, stranger?"
• You or an ally take damage
Viridian: Hmm. I want to convince Erasius that I'm
• An enemy reacts and takes an action nobility, and I have influence with the king. If he lends
• You gain stress us support, I can put in a few good words to boost his
• Take a notch on your weapon/armor/item
reputation.
• You lose an item
• One of your conditions worsens DM: Ok, that's a tricky lie. You haven't had time to
• Your torch goes out prepare this, so it's an off-the-cuff bluff—make a DC
• An NPC becomes hostile to you 25 Charisma check.
• You lose some gold
• You learn some misinformation
Viridian: Can I use History with this?
• Your enemy becomes enraged DM: Yes, you know enough about the local lands to
• You gain the attention of the local guards throw around a few names.
• You drop your weapon
Viridian: Great. That's... (rolls 13) not good.
• You slip and fall prone
• You are poisoned or diseased DM: No, it isn't—it's a critical failure. Erasius can see
• You are imprisoned right through your lies, and he's extremely offended.
• A crowd turns against you "You come into my home and dare lie right to my face?
• A higher authority learns of your misdoings
• Your god punishes you
Perhaps some time in our dungeons will help extract
• You lose some ammunition or hit dice the truth from you. Guards!"
Viridian: Son of a...

chapter 5 taking action


24
Help Tools
If you take the Help action to grant advantage to an ally, A tool helps you do something you couldn't otherwise do
you get to roll one of the two d20 during the attempt. —pick a lock, craft an item, forge a document. Some
tools are basic enough to provide some simple use
without training—cook's utensils, painter's supplies, dice
DM: The owlbear screeches as the two of you and card games. Most, however, require proficiency to
surround it. Viridian, Krazak—what do you do? use properly.
Viridian: This guy looks pretty wild. I'll help distract If you are proficient with a tool, add your proficiency
the beast, Krazak, while you— bonus to any ability check made with it. If you are
Krazak: Hit it with the axe?
proficient with both a tool and a skill—for example, an
instrument with Performance, cook's utensils with
Viridian: Hit it with the axe. Ok I'll make a feint to Survival, a healer's kit with Medicine—you may add your
the left (rolls 18)... proficiency bonus and make your roll with advantage.
Krazak: And I'll swing the axe to the right (rolls 6)...
DM: Thanks to Viridian's feint, Krazak's axe bites
DM: The crowd are getting restless.
deep into the owlbear. It roars in anger.
Viridian: This could get ugly... Everyone likes music,
right? I'll play a song, see if I can calm everyone down
Teamwork before anyone does something stupid.
You can't roll multiple attempts for the same action— DM: You want to sooth the rowdy crowd with
recalling a piece of knowledge, sweet-talking the castle music? Ok, that'll be a DC 20 Wisdom check.
guard, pushing a heavy boulder aside. But you can work Viridian: I'm proficient in Performance, and I'll use
together with your allies to make that one attempt as my lyre—I'm proficient with that as well.
successful as possible. DM: Perfect. Make the roll with Advantage.
Anyone with a relevant skill or background may help
you attempt something—the first person grants you
advantage (per the Help action), and every additional
person grants you a +1 bonus. If the roll fails, however, Knowledge Checks
everyone involved is liable for the consequences. Knowledge is a valuable resource, and can sometimes
mean the difference between life or death. Characters
shouldn't be able to tell if their information is false by
Inspiration knowing they rolled a low number on the check.
You gain inspiration by acting in a characterful manner, The DM always rolls knowledge checks—including
or by adding something new or special to the game—a perception and insight checks—in secret on behalf of the
piece of lore, a new plothook, an interesting NPC or player, and then reveals knowledge accordingly. If the
background character. check was a failure, give the character some misleading
You can spend your inspiration in two ways: information—the larger the failure, the greater the
mislead.
• To make a roll with advantage.
• To interrupt an opponent's turn. DM: The creature lumbers out of the shadows,
You can hold up to three inspiration points at a time, stretching out a rotten vine. You recognise it as a
so make good use of them. shambling mound, Chansi—what do you do?
Chansi: I've spent a long of time out in the wilds—
Initiative Rolls do I know what their weakness is?
DM: Let's see... (rolls 3 in secret—a failure). You
Reaction speed is determined first-and-foremost by your
thoughts—the faster you can think, the faster your brain remember notes from an old almanac. Apparently
can tell your body to act. lightning is very bad for mounds and their senses.
When rolling for initiative, do not add your Dexterity Chansi: Perfect! And I have four lighting arrows left. I
modifier—instead, add your Intelligence modifier. Break shoot one immediately at the mound (rolls 19).
ties first with Dexterity, then Wisdom. DM: A clear hit. The arrow strikes the mound and a
DM Initiative: The DM does not roll for initiative—
instead, use a static +11 modifier to calculate initiative. burst of lightning erupts... to no effect. The mound
Add +5 if the creature has advantage, or +5 for advances on you, unfazed.
disadvantage. Chansi: ...What?
Viridian: That's some good memory you have there,
Tactical Wit
Chansi. Real effective.
If you are a War Wizard, your Tactical Wit class feature
now grants a Dexterity bonus—not Intelligence. Chansi: Shut. Up. Viridian.

chapter 5 taking action


25
Chapter 6: Conditions

C
haracters don't exist in a bubble;
they affect and are affected by their DM: You see the thief standing on the street corner,
surroundings—going without sleep makes talking to a cloaked stranger. They haven't noticed you
you tired, failing to eat makes you hungry, yet, Chansi—what do you do?
stepping outside into the snow makes you Chansi: I duck into a dark alley, waiting. When the
cold. Using Conditions, players can track the
physical state of their character in relatable thief walks past, I want to grab him by surprise.
terms for a more immersive role-playing experience. DM: Ok. How tired are you right now, Chansi?
This chapter introduces six Conditions and examples Chansi: I'm barely awake...
of how to use them in your game. DM: Well that's a shame. Make a DC 25 Constitution
saving throw.
Conditions Chansi: Oh no... (rolls 17).
In Darker Dungeons, there are six Conditions to manage: DM: Your eyelids are heavy, Chansi, and it's been a
health, light, temperature, hunger, thirst, and fatigue. very long day. You close them for what feels like only a
Most of the time, it should be clear which state each second but—when you snap awake—the thief and
Condition is in—but if in doubt, ask your DM. stranger are long gone.
While Conditions don't have a distinct mechanical
impact, they do influence the fiction. Are you starving?
Then you might find it impossible to resist stealing that Conditions are a natural means of creating narrative
loaf of bread. Is it unbearably cold outside? Then you complications for your players, so keep them in mind.
might want to think twice about travelling without a coat.
DM: The stone fountain is filled with a watery, black
fluid. Sarien, you notice the liquid's bubbling slightly—
Stress & Afflictions what do you do?
If you're using the Stress & Affliction rules, you can use Sarien: I want to examine the fountain and see if it
Conditions to make Stress more immersive. Are you hungry? has any symbols or writing on it.
Tired? Uncomfortably hot? These factors can dramatically
DM: Ok. How thirsty are you, Sarien?
change the amount of Stress you take.
Any time you would gain Stress, add up the modifiers Sarien: I'm very dry right now...
from all six Conditions—this should range between -12 and DM: Make a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw.
+48—and add this to the total (to a minimum gain of 0). Sarien: Damn... (rolls 12).
This can be very dangerous if not treated carefully, turning
some minor Stress from +5 into, worst case, +53. Keep an DM: You're so thirsty right now, Sarien, that even
eye on your Conditions and use your items proactively. this black water looks tempting. You cup some in your
hands and take a big swig...

chapter 6 conditions
26
Health
Most people are unnerved at the sight of their own blood. Darkvision
This Condition reflects your character's current hit Darkness and its debilitating effects are pervasive themes in
points—the lower your character's hit points and hit dice, Darker Dungeons, and it should not be common for
the worse their Condition is. Check the Health characters to have an easy workaround. If your race has
Conditions table to see what state your character is in. Darkvision as a racial feature, remove it—unless you're a
Use your healing supplies and hit dice to maintain deep gnome, drow elf, duergar dwarf, kobold, or tabaxi.
your character's health as best you can. Darkvision acts as a passive -2 Light modifier for your
character—unless you are Blind.
Health Conditions
Condition Hit Points Hit Dice Description
Robust 100% 100% Perfect health. Temperature
Healthy 100% 50%-99% Ready for anything. Temperature can greatly impact your character's mood—
Ok 100% 0-49% Feeling good. no one likes a space that's too hot or too cold for them.
Hit 99-51% — A minor scratch. This Condition is affected by environment, weather, and
attire—heavy, thick clothing and armor may protect your
Bloodied 50-26% — A small cut.
character from cold, but will overheat them in the warm.
Hurt 25-01% — Noticeable pain. Wear the right clothing for the right season, build a
Critical 1 hp or less — Death's door. fire when it's cold, and stay out of the rain.
Light Hunger and Thirst
Danger hides in darkness. The more light there is, the A body needs fuel to survive. As the day progresses, your
better your character can see and anticipate the threats character will become progressively more hungry and
ahead. Use torches and lanterns to light the way in dark thirsty—the DM will notify you when this triggers.
places of the world. Depending on the situation, these Conditions may
change at different rates—being in a hot room or wearing
Light Conditions heavy armor could make your character thirsty faster.
Condition Description Constitution has no impact on your character's hunger
or thirst—everyone needs nourishment at the same rate,
Bright Excessive amounts of light—clear light all
around, a sunny day, a noble's ballroom party. depending on their environment and situation.
Eat food and drink water to restore your character's
Well-lit More light than required—the shade on a sunny
vitality. Higher quality food will nourish them more, so
day, a room with huge windows or many lanterns.
cooking skills can be very useful while out in the wilds.
Ok Clear and visible—a cloudy or overcast day, a
room with many lights.
Dim Visible but fading light—thick stormcloud, heavy
Fatigue
fog, a room with weak lights. The mind needs sleep to recharge. As the day
Twilight A few weak lights—dawn and dusk, a few progresses, your character becomes more tired—the DM
flickering torches in an enclosed room. will call for a Constitution check at appropriate intervals.
Dark Very faint light—moonlight and starlight, Excessive activity will tire your character more quickly.
outdoors at midnight, a single candle in a room. Sleep is the traditional means of restoring energy,
Blind Absolutely no light at all—magical darkness, a though there are some foods and drinks—and other
windowless basement, an unlit dungeon. stimulants—that may keep your character awake longer.

Condition Tracks
Health Light Temperature Hunger Thirst Fatigue DC Stress
Robust Bright Perfect Stuffed Quenched Energised — -2
Healthy Well-lit Comfortable Well-fed Refreshed Well-rested — -1
Ok Ok Ok Ok Ok Ok 5 +0
Hit Dim Noticeable Peckish Parched Tired 10 +1
Bloodied Twilight Uncomfortable Hungry Thirsty Sleepy 15 +2
Hurt Dark Overwhelming Ravenous Dry Very sleepy 20 +4
Critical Blind Unbearable Starving Dehydrated Barely awake 25 +8

chapter 6 conditions
27
Applying Conditions DM: It's starting to rain outside and, as you step out,
Conditions are a useful tool to help immerse players in an uncomfortably cold wind blows past.
the adventure, but it can be tricky to know exactly how or Clanda: Eugh, I hate cold weather. I put on my thick
when to use them effectively. Here is some advice for elven cloak and wrap up tight.
DMs on how to apply and track Conditions. DM: The heat creeps back into your fingers as you
warm up, Clanda. You feel ok now.
Health Sarien: I don't have any extra clothing, but I'm
Health is the most straightforward condition to track— resistant to cold damage. Does that help?
whenever a player's hit points or hit dice change, they DM: It does. You don't feel the cold as strongly as
update their health Condition. the others; it's barely noticeable to you, Sarien.

DM: Valiant, the orc swings wildly at you with his


club. It hits, dealing 10 damage.
Hunger, Thirst & Fatigue
Valiant: I'm under 50% hp now—I'm bloodied. These Conditions change primarily with time—as the day
progresses, characters become more hungry, thirsty, and
tired. At particular points in the day, or you feel enough
Light time has passed, you can declare a natural change in
Conditions as show in the table below.
When characters enter a space, you can state the general
visibility in the room. This can then be modified using Hunger, Thirst & Fatigue
torches, lanterns, and similar effects. Time Hunger Thirst Fatigue
Use the Lighting table below to see how light sources
can improve the visibility. Light sources don't stack, so Dawn +1 +1 —
use the largest value for any overlapping ranges. Noon — — +1
Dusk +1 +1 +1
Lighting
Type Light Range Type Light Range
DM: It's been a long day, and dusk approaches.
Candle -1 5ft Lamp -3 20ft
Everyone gains one hunger, one thirst, and one fatigue.
Torch -2 10ft Lantern -4 40ft
DM: It's been a long day, and dusk approaches.

DM: You hear an unearthly moan in the dark crypt. Sometimes the environment may affect the change. If the
Viridian: I don't like the sound of that... I take a torch characters are in a very hot place or the weather has
from my pack and light it. been extremely sunny, for instance, you might double the
DM: The warm torchlight illuminates the space thirst and fatigue lost.
around you. It is dim within 20ft of you and your torch.
In addition, after a particularly strenuous event—a
fight, a chase, a long swim—you can ask each involved
character to make a Stamina check (Constitution saving
Temperature throw) against a target DC (usually easy, medium, or
hard). A failure means that their stamina was tapped
When characters enter a new region, you can describe during the event and a random Condition worsens.
the baseline temperature of that area. Characters may
then react to this with appropriate clothing, gear, and Stamina Check
magic. Some racial features may also help provide
resistance to extreme temperatures. d6 Outcome d6 Outcome d6 Outcome

NPCs, creatures, and effects can also have a 1-2 Hunger +1 3-4 Thirst +1 5-6 Fatigue +1
significant impact on temperature. A character climbing
an ice golem may find it overwhelmingly cold, while a
character near a roaring fire may find it unbearably hot. DM: The last goblin drops his dagger and flees into
the night. Well done. Now roll a DC 10 Stamina check.
Valiant: 14. I didn't break a sweat.
Trimming It Down Sarien: 9. That's what I get for skipping breakfast...
If you find the idea of tracking six Conditions a little (rolls 6) one fatigue. Getting sleepy here.
overwhelming, try using just one or two at first to test the Clanda: 7. Damn. I gain... (rolls 4) one thirst. Great,
water—hunger and thirst are good entry points. Then add in
and my waterskin's dry already. Has anyone got a
others one by one until it's second nature to you.
drink? I'm feeling pretty thirsty right now.

chapter 6 conditions
28
Chapter 7: Stressing Out

T
he adventuring life is not an easy Gaining Stress
one. Moving from town to town, delving Category Stress Description
into dark dungeons and hunting
dangerous monsters for perhaps a few Minor +5 A small frustration, worry, or irritant:
gold coins, is not a safe—or sane—way to missing an attack, falling down, hearing
a noise in the dark.
make a living.
This chapter introduces a system for Moderate +10 You've made a critical error or
tracking a character's stress level, and its potential long- something is seriously at risk: being
caught lying, learning that the villain
lasting consequences on their adventuring career. has escaped, being outnumbered by
the enemy.

Stress Major +20 Something that is devastating to your


character or goes against their beliefs:
Stress is a measure of pressure on a character's mental breaking an oath, falling to 0 hp,
state, representing a build-up of negative emotions such finding a heap of fresh corpses.
as anger, fear, frustration, and irritation. Too much Stress Monstrous +40 Something that is incomprehensible or
is bad for your mental health and, if not treated carefully, world-shattering: meeting a god, being
can lead to detrimental Afflictions—or even death. betrayed by your closest friend,
Characters can suffer up to 200 points of Stress watching a loved one die.
before they reach breaking point. To prevent this, they'll
need to find ways to relax and recover during downtime.
Consequential Stress
Gaining Stress You can gain Stress as a direct consequence of failing an
action—missing an attack, breaking a lockpick, being
Stress is gained through danger, hardship, and adversity caught in the middle of a lie. The DM will usually notify
—suffering a critical hit from an enemy, hearing an you before your attempt that this is a risk.
unearthly moan from a dark room, sleeping rough in the Here we see Chansi attempt to pick a pick, becoming
cold rain, watching an ally die. Anything that threatens stressed when she fails.
the mental well-being of your character can inflict Stress.
When choosing how much Stress to inflict, decide Chansi: Ok, let's see what's in this chest. I want to
how significant the event is to the character—is it minor,
moderate, major, or monstrous? The more emotionally pick the lock on this thing—what's the DC?
significant, the higher the amount of Stress. DM: It's a secure metal chest, so DC 20.
The more an event conflicts with the nature of your Chansi: Easy. Lemme just... (rolls 15) ugh, fail.
character, the greater the Stress you'll suffer—a bard may DM: You hear the pins clicking in the lock, Chansi,
be more embarrassed to ruin a performance than a but you can't understand why they're not setting. It's a
wizard, while a lawful paladin is more hurt by a broken
oath than a lawless rogue. frustrating failure for you—take 5 points of Stress.

chapter 7 stressing out


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Stress as a Consequence Snapping
Whether through consequence or an explicit Stress check, a Too much Stress can be unhealthy for your character,
character should gain Stress only as a consequence for failing causing long-term problems. When your character takes
a roll of some kind—such as an attack roll, a defence roll, a 100, 150, and 175 points of Stress for the first time after
skill check, or a Stress check.
a long rest, they snap and develop a mental Affliction.

DM: You failed to crack open the chest with your


Stress Check head, Krazak. Take 5 points of Stress.
In cases where the environment or situation provokes a Krazak: These gods damned elven boxes. I'm up to
response—standing before a dragon, entering a decrepit 152 now—I've snapped. Time for a new Affliction...
tomb, hearing a terrifying sound—you may be asked to
pass a Stress check (Wisdom saving throw) to avoid
gaining some Stress. Breaking Point
In this example, Viridian comes across a pile of
rotting corpses and must pass a Stress check to keep his When a character takes 200 points of Stress, they hit
composure and avoid gaining Stress. breaking point. In this state, your character is reckless,
dangerous, and extremely vulnerable.
DM: You smell something foul, Viridian. Behind the
If you are hit by a damaging attack while at breaking
point, your character suffers a fatal heart attack. You fall
wooden door, you can hear a faint buzzing sound. to 0 hit points, fail any remaining death saving throws,
Viridian: I open the door cautiously. and die immediately.
DM: Your torchlight illuminates a grisly scene—a
dozen rotting corpses hidden in a small pantry,
DM: The dragon lashes out at you, Clanda, swinging
covered in a thick swarm of fat flies. The putrid stench
its huge tail. Make a defence roll, DC 32.
of rotting flesh threatens to overwhelm you. Make a
Clanda: I... (rolls natural 1) ouch, take a critical hit.
Stress check, DC 20.
DM: The dragon's tail slams into you without mercy.
Viridian: I'm... (rolls 22) phew, ok.
Take 26 points of damage, one notch on your armor,
DM: Horrifying though this, you manage to retain
and 10 points of Stress.
your composure. Perhaps this isn't the first time
Clanda: Damn, that puts me at 200 Stress.
you've seen a heap of rotting corpses?
DM: Your heart is pounding, Clanda, and it's hard to
breathe. You're not sure you can take another hit...
Here, Valiant returns to town to find he has been
betrayed by a trusted mentor. His world is turned upside
down, so he faces an almost impossible Stress check.
Stressful Situations
DM: Fire rages through the town. You hear a scream, These are some example situations that might trigger Stress.
Valiant, coming from the church. What do you do? Some characters may respond more strongly than others
Valiant: Does it sound like Zelrya? depending on their background—a fighter may be less
stressed about being outnumbered in battle, while a
DM: It does, yes.
necromancer might not react to the sight of a dead body.
Valiant: I throw my shield aside and run ahead
• Badly failing an attack or skill check
through the burning streets, leaving the others behind. • Hearing an unearthly roar from the dark
DM: As you pass through the arch, You see Zelrya at • Embarrassing yourself in front of someone
the foot of the church steps, lying face down in a pool • Falling over or being knocked down
• Being disarmed or disabled
of blood. She isn't moving. Atop the steps stands
• Critically failing an attack or skill check
Bishop Vendicus, a mad grin on his face and a • Seeing a heap of mutilated corpses
bloodied dagger in his hands. "She's with the Grey • Facing a huge or formidable enemy
King now, boy, He calls her to His hungry throne." • Being caught lying
• Being surrounded, outnumbered, or out-flanked
Valiant: Gods damn it Vendicus, we trusted you! • Being critically hit
DM: Your sister lies dying, and your mentor has • Seeing an ally die
betrayed you, Valiant. Make a Stress check, DC 30. • Accidentally hurting a friend
• Seeing the corpse of a loved one
Valiant: That... (rolls 22) bastard.
• Seeing a hideous abomination
DM: Your mind reels from this horrific turnabout, • Breaking an oath
Valiant—take 40 points of Stress.

chapter 7 stressing out


30
It is much harder to lose Stress than it is to gain it, so
Conditions you'll need to be proactive in treating your Stress level
If you are using the Conditions rules, the amount of Stress before it becomes insurmountable.
you gain is heavily influenced by your situation.
Any time you would gain Stress, add up the modifiers Downtime
from all six Conditions—this should range between -12 and While out travelling, a good time to relieve Stress is
+48—and add this to the total (to a minimum gain of 0).
during downtime and through sleep. Here, Sarien takes
advantage of his downtime during a night's rest to
meditate and clear his mind.
Relieving Stress
Stress is relieved through success and relaxation— DM: Ok, camp's been set up for the night. What do
disarming a trap, defeating a formidable opponent, you all do for the next few hours?
carousing in town, sleeping in a warm bed. Anything that Sarien: I spend a couple of hours meditating.
helps your character feel better can relieve Stress. DM: Ok—it's been an easy day, so make a DC 10
The amount relieved depends on the event's
significance to your character. The more it aligns with Wisdom check.
your character and personality, the more you restore—a Sarien: No problem... (rolls 17).
rogue benefits more than a mage from picking a lock, DM: You're able to calm your mind and organise your
while a cleric benefits more than a fighter from prayer. thoughts, Sarien. Restore 6 points of Stress.

Relieving Stress
Category Stress Description
Sanctuaries
Minor -3 A small success or bit of good news: When you begin a long rest in a sanctuary, such as a
disarming a trap, playing a song, relaxing
with your friends.
village, town, or city, your Stress is reduced to and
capped at 75—it won't go any higher until you journey
Moderate -6 A critical success or special
achievement: eating a well-cooked meal,
back out into the wilds.
finding a hoard of treasure, repairing an
important piece of equipment.
Returning to the town of Darrowmore, Valiant takes a
Major -12 You've beaten the odds and gained a
significant victory: defeating a long rest and begins a week of training. As it's a secure
dangerous enemy, saving an ally from location, he reduces his Stress to 75.
certain death, completing a work of art.
Majestic -24 You've achieved a long-term character
goal or done something thought near
impossible: bringing a friend back from
death, finishing a masterpiece, receiving Stress Relief
praise from your deity.
These are some things a character might do to reduce their
stress levels. Not everyone will recover in the same way—an
Here we see Clanda attempt to disarm a magical trap introvert may unwind best on their own with a good book
with her arcane training, relieving Stress in her success. and some hot tea, while an extrovert may want to throw a
raucous and extravagant party to blow off steam.

DM: The runes are glowing brighter, and you feel • Disarming a trap
• Defeating a dangerous enemy
static building in the air. If you don't act quick, Clanda, • Eating a hot, well-cooked meal
this trap will explode. • Making people laugh with a joke
Clanda: Pfft, this is amateur work—dwarven runes • Listening to a bard perform a song
• Carousing in a rowdy tavern
are so basic. I'll try to dispel the binding rune to disarm
• Picking a lock
the trap harmlessly. • Sleeping in a warm, comfortable bed
Valiant: Uh, are you sure about that? Last time— • Praying to your deity
Clanda: Hush now, I'm working. • Finding a chest of treasure
• Spending time with family and friends
DM: Ok, that'll be a DC 20 Wisdom check. You can • Learning a new skill
use Arcana with this. • Engaging in a hobby
Clanda: See I told you, Valiant... (rolls 24) I got this. • Having a pet
• Rolling dice and playing some games
DM: You manage to locate the binding rune and,
• Fulfilling an oath or promise
with a careful words, draw the magic out of it. With a • Protecting an ally from harm
harmless spark, the runic trap shatters. Clanda, you • Meditating and resting
restore 6 points of Stress—everyone else restores 3.

chapter 7 stressing out


31
Afflictions Affliction Removal
d20 Result
An Affliction is a stress-induced mental issue suffered by
a character when they gain too much Stress. Afflictions 01 Critical Failure: You fail to cure your Affliction,
change your abilities in some fashion, and can only be gaining a new one in the process.
cured during downtime. 02-09 Failure: You fail to cure your Affliction.
When you gain 100, 150, and 175 Stress for the first 10-19 Success: You cured your Affliction.
time after a long rest, roll on the Afflictions table to see
which mental Affliction you develop. If you roll a 20 Critical Success: In a moment of clarity, you cleared
duplicate, roll again until you get a new result. yourself of all Afflictions and Stress.

Afflictions You can only make one Affliction Removal attempt per in-
d100 Affliction Modifier game week, and you spend the gold whether you succeed
01-07 Fearful -2 STR
or fail in your attempt.
08-14 Lethargic -2 DEX Costs
15-20 Masochistic -2 CON As you gain in experience, it becomes harder to reset
21-27 Irrational -2 INT your mental state—the things you have seen and
experienced have had a lasting impact. It costs more to
28-34 Paranoid -2 WIS
remove an Affliction the higher your level as you must
35-41 Selfish -2 CHA seek more elite and exotic outlets.
42-48 Panic -1 STR, -1 DEX
49-55 Hopelessness -1 DEX, -1 CHA Affliction Removal Costs
56-61 Mania -1 CON, -1 WIS Level Gold Level Gold Level Gold
62-68 Anxiety -1 INT, -1 STR 1 5 8 42 15 432
69-75 Hypochondria -1 WIS, -1 CON 2 7 9 58 16 604
76-82 Narcissistic -1 CHA, -1 INT 3 9 10 81 17 845
83-85 Powerful +1 STR 4 12 11 113 18 1,183
86-88 Focused +1 DEX 5 16 12 158 19 1,656
89-91 Stalwart +1 CON 6 22 13 221 20 2,318
92-94 Acute +1 INT 7 30 14 309 — —
95-97 Perceptive +1 WIS
98-00 Courageous +1 CHA
Greater Restoration
The Greater Restoration spell may be used to let you
DM: Sarien, you hear a sickly moan from the make an Affliction Removal attempt outside of a long
shadows. Make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw to see if rest. This counts as your once-per-week removal attempt.
you can keep your composure. From levels 1-10, your character may roll their
Sarien: Sure. (rolls 6) Damn, not enough. Affliction Removal check with advantage when using
DM: The sound strikes fear into your heart, Sarien.
Greater Restoration. From levels 11-20 however, roll
with disadvantage.
Take 5 points of Stress.
Sarien: That pushes me over 100—looks like I'm
getting a new Affliction. I'm feeling pretty... (rolls 43)
Mental Breakdown
panicked. How appropriate. If your character gains more than 3 Afflictions, they
suffer a complete mental breakdown—your character
falls catatonic and must be committed into care or die.
Curing Afflictions A character who has had a breakdown can no longer
be played—treat them as if they have retired.
Afflictions don't go away on their own—your character
must dedicate time to treating their mental state. During Recovery
a long rest, your character can attempt to treat one of If a character is placed in good care, there is a rare
their Afflictions in an appropriate fashion—carousing, chance they may eventually recover from their
praying, resting, meditating, etc. breakdown. For each month of proper care, they may roll
Spend some gold to roll a d20 to make an Affliction an Affliction Removal attempt with Disadvantage. A
Removal attempt. Some downtime activities, such as month after they have removed all Afflictions, they
resting, may allow you to roll with advantage—bear this recover their senses and can be active again.
in mind if your Afflictions are proving hard to clear, A character who has recovered from a breakdown will
before you become overwhelmed by them. always have a minimum of 50 Stress.
chapter 7 stressing out
32
Chapter 8: Dangerous Magic

M
agic is a powerful force
that can rewrite fundamental laws 2. You Suffer a Consequence
of reality—turn ice into fire, restore Roll a d100 and check the Burnout Consequences table
life to the dead, teleport across to see what effect your burnout has. Consequences
great distances in a heartbeat. become increasingly more severe the higher your spell
Magic can grant unimaginable level, so beware.
power, but it is not without risk— If a consequence doesn't fully apply to you, or doesn't
channeling such raw and unpredictable energies can be make sense for the situation, pick one that does.
fatal to the ill-trained and unprepared. Alternatively, the DM may—at their discretion—pick a
This chapter introduces rules to make magic a little consequence specifically for you.
more dangerous for spellcasters.

Burnout
Clanda: Ok, these myconids are really starting to
annoy me now. Good thing I've been saving this
Sometimes, the flow of magic goes against you. It's hard Fireball for a special occassion...
to shape, it's too chaotic, it's too powerful—whatever the DM: As you channel your arcane power, you feel the
reason, some magic energy lashes out during your
spellcasting attempt and causes you some harm. weave pulling away. Roll your Burnout die, Clanda.
This is called burnout and it can happen to any caster, Clanda: Easy, still on a fresh d12... (rolls 1) or not,
whether arcane or divine. Magic is dangerous work. damn. Level 3 spell, that's a moderate burnout.
DM: Some of the raw arcane energy arcs out from
Triggering Burnout your spell and you fight to contain it. Shrink your
If you are a spellcaster, take a d12—this is your Burnout burnout die one step to d10 and take a moderate
die. Whenever you attempt to cast a magic spell, roll the amount of Stress.
Burnout die; on a 1 or 2, the power is overwhelming and Clanda: Fine. I'll channel that anger back into the
you trigger a burnout event—two things happen to you: spell—these myconids are going to burn.
1. Your Burnout Die gets Smaller
Your burnout die starts as a d12, but each time you suffer
burnout the die becomes one size smaller. Burnout is not a Failure
Suffering burnout doesn't mean your spell failed—it simply
1d12 → 1d10 → 1d8 → 1d6 → 1d4 means you were hurt somehow during the attempt. Roll to
attack and resolve any hits or misses as per normal for your
As your die shrinks it becomes increasingly more likely magic spell.
that you will trigger further burnout—so be careful.
chapter 8 dangerous magic
33
Burnout Consequences
d100 Minor (SL 0) Moderate (SL 1-3) Major (SL 4-6) Monstrous (SL 7-9)
01-45 Gain minor Stress Gain moderate Stress Gain major Stress Gain monstrous Stress
46-70 An item gains 1 notch An item gains 2 notches An item gains 4 notches An item gains 8 notches
71-80 Gain 1 hunger Gain 2 hunger Gain 4 hunger Gain 8 hunger
81-90 Gain 1 thirst Gain 2 thirst Gain 4 thirst Gain 8 thirst
91-00 Gain 1 fatigue Gain 2 fatigue Gain 4 fatigue Gain 8 fatigue

Safe Magic
Roll Once per Spell Burnout only applies to raw and impromtu spellcasting
You only roll the Burnout die once per spell, regardless of the where your character is actively channeling and shaping
number of targets or whether you have advantage or magical energies. Not all magical abilities put such great
disadvantage on your action.
strain on your body—this safe magic does not trigger
burnout when used.
Recovering from Burnout • Class Features: Effects gained through certain class
features—such as Channel Divinity and Lay on Hands
Once a burnout die shrinks, it remains that size until you —do not count as spells, so don't roll for burnout.
take a recovery action. There are three primary means of • Racial Features: If you are casting a spell gained
recovering from burnout: through a racial ability—such as the tiefling's Infernal
Legacy—don't roll for burnout. These innate powers
1. Spend a hit die: You can spend a hit die during a are unaffected by the wild fluctuations of raw magic.
short rest to grow your burnout die by one step. You • Magic Items: A magic item channels its own energies,
don't gain any healing from hit die spent in this way. putting no strain on the user—so don't roll for burnout
2. Get a good sleep: If you get a good night's sleep, your with any magic item spells or effects.
burnout die grows by one step. • Rituals: A ritual helps control the flow of magical
3. Take a long rest: Once you complete a long rest, your energy with complicated sigils and glyphs, taking the
burnout die is fully restored to d12. burden from the caster—so don't roll for burnout.
Depending on your campaign setting, you might be
able to acquire mana potions that restore some of your
burnout when consumed. Below is an example potion Why did I burnout?
that might be available in your campaign setting. Mana Magic is a fickle thing, and there are many reasons why a
potions should be similar to healing potions with regards spell might put undue pressure on your body.
to availability and cost. • You mispronounced a key syllable.
• You said the words in the wrong order.
• You sneezed.
• You wrote a glyph incorrectly.
Mana Potion • You used a low quality spell component.
Healing, Potion, Consumable • You didn't move your hands in the proper motion.
• You got distracted by a sudden movement.
• The weave is wild and unpredictable.
You recover from magical burnout when you drink this • Your god is angry with you.
potion—the better the quality, the more burnout you • Your god gave you too much power at once.
restore. This potion glows with a faint, blue light when • Your god is busy with celestial matters.
• An opposing god is interfering with the power.
shaken and is oddly cold to the touch.
• A nearby ley-line is warping the flow of magic.
Type Rarity Recovery • Another caster is disrupting your control.
• Your patron is testing you.
Mana Potion Common +1 size • Your patron wants your attention.
Greater Mana Potion Uncommon +2 size • Your patron doesn't understand your mortal frailty.
Superior Mana Potion Rare +3 size • The winds of magic are against you.
• A magic item you are wearing reacts badly.
Supreme Mana Potion Very rare +4 size • Magical energy is scarce in this region.

chapter 8 dangerous magic


34
Regional Magic Size Limits
Magical power is not equal in all places. Perhaps you're
in a temple or a wizard's tower, where the flow of magic No matter the modifier, your burnout die cannot grow larger
has been tamed? Or you're near an arcane vortex or an than a d12 or smaller than a d4.
elemental gate, where magic is wild and hard to control?
These environmental effects can impact your ability to
spellcast and change how likely you are to suffer burnout.
At the DM's discretion, add a regional modifier (-3 to DM: As you approach the arcane portal, Clanda, you
+3) to the size of your normal burnout die. Grow the die can feel raw magical energies pouring through it. The
to prevent burnout, and shrink it to encourage burnout. sensation is almost overwhelming as waves of chaotic
energy rush past you.
Regional Modifiers Clanda: I don't like the look of this... I'll try casting
Modifier Severity Description Dispel Magic on that portal.
+3 Serene The flow of magic is abundant, Chansi: How close are you to burning out?
predicable, and easy to harness.
Clanda: Should be rolling d10, but all this chaotic
+2 Calm The flow of magic is rich and steady.
magic pushes it down three sizes to d4. 50% chance
+1 Stable The flow of magic is reliable.
to burnout—could hurt...
+0 Normal —
-1 Unstable The flow of magic is erratic.
-2 Wild The flow of magic is intense and hard
Themed Locations
to control or shape. Depending on the situation, you may wish to limit a
-3 Chaotic The flow of magic is raw, modifier to a specific type of magic. Perhaps only arcane
unpredictable, and dangerous. magic gains a +1 modifier in the wizard's tower, and only
divine magic gains a +2 modifier in your god's temple?
These regional effects can be as small or as large as you
like—a few feet, a room, a few miles, a kingdom, or even DM: As you enter the school, Clanda, you feel an
a whole continent.
immediate shift in the weave. Many decades of
teaching Evocation magic here has warped and shaped
DM: Pushing through the thick wood, you see an old the flow of power unnaturally.
stone building with a ruined spire in the distance. You Clanda: Making it easier to cast Evocation spells?
feel the calming power of holy ground. DM: Exactly. The flow is serene (+3) for Evocation
Valiant: Finally, Unity Spire. I'll let Viridian know I've magic, but wild (-2) for all other magic types.
found it with a Sending spell.
DM: Ok, make your burnout check. Use modifiers to add some flavour to key or iconic
Valiant: No problem. Should be rolling d8, but this locations, but try not to go overboard—regional modifiers
calm power pushes it back up two sizes to d12. Great. should be uncommon, and casters should generally have
a chance to research this information beforehand.

chapter 8 dangerous magic


35
Chapter 9: Life & Death

A
n adventurer without a scar is
either very good, very lucky, or very new to Lingering Wounds
the profession—trap-ridden dungeons, When you fall to 0 hit points, you gain a lingering wound.
rabid monsters, and sharp weapons are Roll on the Wounds table to see which part of your body
notoriously bad for your health. Some was wounded—you can decide exactly what the wound
adventurers are lucky enough to retire with looks like with your DM.
just a few injuries to show for their career. If you roll a duplicate result, your current wound
Many, however, die long before reaching retirement. reopens and worsens by one step.
This chapter sets out the rules around character
healing, persistent wounds and injuries, and death. Lingering Wounds
d6 Area Minor Moderate Major Critical
Health 1 Arms/Legs -1 STR -2 STR -4 STR -8 STR
Your health is your most precious resource and, as an 2 Hands/Feet -1 DEX -2 DEX -4 DEX -8 DEX
adventurer, keeping hold of it is not an easy task. 3 Torso -1 CON -2 CON -4 CON -8 CON
4 Head -1 INT -2 INT -4 INT -8 INT
Bloodied 5 Eyes/Ears -1 WIS -2 WIS -4 WIS -8 WIS
A character is considered bloodied when they have lost 6 Face -1 CHA -2 CHA -4 CHA -8 CHA
half of their hit points—when bloodied, they have taken a
small cut or bruise.
Some monsters may react differently to you when you DM: The orc's axe slashes you, Viridian, and you take
are bloodied—becoming frenzied or blood-thirsty—while 9 points of damage.
others may have an easier time detecting you by scent. Viridian: Urk, that's not good—I'm at 0 hit points.
Before I black out, I notice... (rolls 3) blood dripping
DM: The wolf bites you fiercely, Sarien, causing 7 from a minor wound to my chest.
points of damage.
Sarien: Gah, I'm bloodied now.
DM: With the scent of fresh blood in the air, all three
Treatment
wolves turn and look at Sarien hungrily... A wound hinders you while it's untreated. You can treat a
wound with first-aid knowledge and supplies, at which
point you may halve the penalty caused—rounding down
If you are bloodied, you must use a bandage or other towards zero (−8 → −4 → −2 → −1 → 0).
first-aid material in order to spend your hit dice and A treated wound remains on your character, and can
recover hit points when resting. Make sure to keep an only be properly healed during a long rest or with
eye on your medical supplies. magical healing.
chapter 9 life & death
36
Healing Wounds Permanent Injuries
Wounds heal naturally over time. At the end of a long Some monsters are especially deadly, destructive, and
rest, you may check to see if each of your wounds will vicious—when they hit, they hit hard enough to break
heal by one step with a Constitution check. The difficulty bones and sever limbs. Dragons, giants, ogres—if it's
depends on the severity of the wound: minor (DC 10), huge, its attacks are usually extremely violent.
moderate (DC 15), major (DC 20), or critical (DC 25). If you are reduced to 0 hit points by a Violent attack,
Some downtime activities, such as resting, may allow you suffer a debilitating Permanent Injury. Roll to see
you to roll the check with advantage. which injury you suffer—reroll any nonsensical result.
Magical Healing Permanent Injuries
You may use magical effects to help heal a wound by one d10 Injury d10 Injury
step. You do not gain hit points from the magic in doing
this—all of the spell's power is used on your wound. 1 Lose an arm 6 Lose an ear
To improve a wound by one step with magic, you must 2 Lose a hand 7 Lose your nose
use a healing spell of a minimum level depending on the 3 Lose a leg 8 Gain a horrific scar
wound's severity: minor (1), moderate (2), major (3), or
critical (4). 4 Lose a foot 9 Gain an internal injury
5 Lose an eye 10 Lose half your teeth
Magical Healing
Severity Min. Spell Level Example
Injuries are permanent and cannot be healed like regular
wounds. You may only reverse an injury with a Greater
Minor 1 Cure Wounds Restoration spell (or something equivalent).
Moderate 2 Prayer of Healing
Major 3 Mass Healing Word
DM: The violent dragon shows you no mercy, Sarien,
Critical 4 Mass Cure Wounds as it bites down. Sharp teeth spear into you painfully
for 19 points of damage.
Reopened Wounds Sarien: Damn it, I'm at 0 hit points... (rolls 1).
If you are critically hit during combat, your wounds may DM: You hear a sickening snap as the dragon's teeth
reopen and worsen. When taking critical damage, make bite into your shoulder, scraping bone. The pain is
a Wound check for each treated wound you have: overwhelming. As its huge head snaps back, you feel a
sharp pull and a hear a loud, wet tearing sound.
Wound check: d20 - the wound's full penalty Through the pain, you realise you can't move your left
arm. You can't even see your left arm. It's gone.
Once you have your result, check the Reopened Wounds Sarien: What. The Hell.
table below to see what happens to you. DM: The last thing you see before you black out,
Sarien, is the dragon throw your arm up into the air and
Reopened Wounds —with a snap—swallow it. "Deliciousssss..."
d20 Effect
01-04 The wound reopens and worsens one step
05-08 The wound reopens Dying
09-20 The wound remains closed When you fall to 0 hit points, you are unconscious and
dying. At the start of your turn, roll a death saving throw.
An untreated wound automatically worsens after a
critical hit—this can be very dangerous, so try to keep Death Saving Throw
your wounds bandaged at all times. d20 Outcome
01 You fail two death saving throws.
DM: The werewolf's razor sharp claws slash at you 02-09 You fail one death saving throw.
Viridian with a critical hit—take 14 points of damage. 10-19 No change.
Viridian: Ouch. Better check if my minor chest
20 You regain 1 hit point and are stabilised.
wound is ok... (rolls 4 (5 - minor wound penalty)) damn
it, it reopens and gets worse. This hurts... You may only fail two death saving throws per long rest;
DM: Those claws have ripped open your bandages, on the third failure, you die. Death saving throws do not
Viridian, and blood pours from your now moderate reset after a short rest, so be careful.
chest wound. If you are hit by a damaging attack whilst dying, you
automatically fail a death saving throw.
chapter 9 life & death
37
Cheating Fate A New Beginning
If you would suffer a killing blow or fail your last death It's time to start anew. Once you've added your
saving throw, you may instead spend a fate point to cheat character's name to the graveyard you may create a
death. Perhaps you were knocked unconscious, or the brand new character or elevate a proven henchman.
scorpion's poison wasn't strong enough to finish you off, If you create a new character, start at level 1. You may
or it was just a flesh wound—discuss with your DM then benefit from any property or wealth bequeathed by
exactly how you managed to survive your ordeal. your predecessor—gold, land, titles, etc.
Usually, this will leave you unconscious but stable
until the end of the current scene, at which point you Inheriting a Pension
might wake with 1 hit point. If you inherit a pension, you may convert some or all of it
into starting experience—10 XP per gold piece. You will
DM: You lie unconscious and dying, Viridian, but the
still need to account for any training costs, and you
cannot advance beyond your predecessor's level.
orc is without mercy—she stabs down with her spear.
Lose a death saving throw.
Viridian: Oh no, that was my last one... Resurrection
Chansi: You're dead? For real? Sometimes, death is not the end. Magic is a powerful
Viridian: Yea—or I would be if I didn't have one last
force, and with it even the dead can rise again.
Such spells are not without cost, however, and
fate point to use. Perhaps the spear missed me? resurrection spells require the rarest of components—
DM: Fate is in your favour. The spear wouldn't miss diamonds of a particular cut and quality. These
given its proximity, but let's say it missed your vital diamonds cannot easily be bought on the open market—
organs. Everyone thinks you're dead, and you remain finding one may be a whole adventure in itself.
unconscious but alive for the rest of the scene.
Resurrection Spells
Viridian: Unconscious and alive sounds good to me.
Spell Level Time Limit Component

New characters begin with one fate point, and may hold Revivify 3rd 1 minute Pristine diamond
a maximum of three at one time. Raise Dead 5th 10 days Royal diamond
Reincarnate 5th 10 days Mystic oils
Gaining Fate Points Resurrection 7th 100 years Perfect diamond

Fate points are extremely rare, awarded only when you True Resurrection 9th 200 years Astral diamond
face—and defeat—the most dangerous of enemies.
Dragons, liches, beholders—fate smiles on those who Reincarnate
brave the darkest of dangers and survive.
The Reincarnate spell is unique in that it requires only
mystic oils. Unlike rare diamonds, these oils can be
Death bought or crafted during downtime—at a significant cost.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your best just isn't
good enough. All things end, and your character is no Lost Experience
exception—with any luck, you fought a good fight and left
the world a little less dark than when you joined it. Death has a price. A character that has been dead for
longer than a day will lose any unspent experience points
Your Funeral when they are resurrected.
A corpse shouldn't be left out in the open to be torn apart
by birds and wild dogs—a hero deserves a hero's send-off. Retirement
If your adventuring party are able to recover your body, The adventurer's lifestyle is not for everyone, and
bury it, and throw an appropriately lavish funeral, they sometimes a character chooses to lead a different life.
may buy a share of the unspent experience you had when Maybe they found an offer too good to pass up, or their
you died—10 XP per gold spent on your funeral. injuries became too great, or they had a nervous
breakdown—whatever the case, the character decides to
Reading of the Will retire from adventuring and settle down somewhere.
Retired characters become active NPCs. Some may
You can leave a will behind to confirm who the heirs to join local factions, or provide downtime services, or even
your property are. This can be arranged with your DM become training mentors depending on their skillset.
after the character's death if necessary. The reading of
the will usually takes place at your funeral. One Last Adventure
This is the last opportunity for your character to say You may bring a character out of retirement to join one
any final words, so make the most of it. last adventure—discuss this with your DM.
chapter 9 life & death
38
Chapter 10: Deadly Disease

T
he world, for all its occasional
beauty, is a filthy place. Monsters are not Contracting Disease
the only threat to your survival—plague Adventuring is not a clean business. Treking through
and disease stalk the land, destroying filthy sewers, a bite from a rabid animal, a cut from a
villages and decimating cities. Sometimes rusty sword—there are countless ways in which a person
the greatest threat is not the wild dragon might contract a debilitating disease.
nesting in the mountains—it's the small There are three basic steps to follow when dealing
child with a bad cough and a runny nose. with disease: contact, incubation, and first symptoms.
This chapter provides rules on catching and treating
contagious diseases, and a selection to use in your game. Step 1. Contact
What is a Disease? First, your character needs to come into contact with an
active disease. There are four ways this might happen:
A disease is some form of ongoing sickness that causes
harm to your character—such as flu, chickenpox, or • Direct Contact: You touch an infected person or
plague. Diseases become more severe over time, diseased fluid—such as blood, sweat, or pus.
progressing through 4 stages—so try to stay healthy. • Indirect Contact: You touch something that has been
contaminated with a diseased substance or fluid—a
doorknob, a shared bed, a knife.
• Bites: Something bites you—a fly, a tick, a leech—and
Influenza injects the disease directly into your body.
Disease, Common · DC 10 · 2 days · Touch, Air • Consumption: You eat or drink something that's been
contaminated—foul water, moldy bread, rotten meat.
A harmless cough and a slight fever can quickly turn
into something much more serious without bed rest. DM: As you lean over the corpse to unclasp the
necklace, Viridian, the zombie's stomach bursts with a
Stage 1 You have a bad headache and a runny nose. You sickening pop. Roll a Dexterity saving throw.
have -2 INT, and -2 WIS.
Viridian: Son of a... (rolls 3) damn zombies.
Stage 2 Your entire body aches and your throat is sore.
You have -2 STR, -2 DEX, and -2 CHA. DM: Black ichor and pus splatter you in thick, wet
Stage 3 You have a terrible fever and hallucinations. You clumps. You nearly gag from the smell of rotten flesh.
cannot move under your own power. Viridian: Gross. This can't be good.
Stage 4 Your internal organs fail and you die.
Cured You have an annoying cough for one week. Once your character has come into contact with a
contagious disease, there is a chance of infection—the
incubation period automatically begins.
chapter 10 deadly disease
39
Step 2. Incubation
All diseases have an incubation period—a period of time Degrees of Success
where, infected or not, you display no symptoms. At this If you are using the Degrees of Success rules, these options
stage, you have no idea if you're actually infected yet—all will allow a critical success or failure to impact the speed at
you can do is wait and hope for the best. which the disease spreads through your body.
• Critical Success: Your disease improves by one step, goes
Step 3. Infection into decline, and your next Escalation check happens in
half the normal time.
Once the initial incubation period has passed, it's time to • Success: Your disease improves by one step and it goes
see if your character was infected and starts displaying into decline.
any symptoms. Make a Constitution saving throw against • Success at a Cost: You can sacrifice a precious resource to
the DC of the disease—this is called an Infection check: help your immune system succeed—a healing potion, hit
Success: You are not infected. dice, a spell, a scroll.
Failure: The disease has infected your body and you • Failure: Your disease worsens by one step.
begin to display the first symptoms. • Critical Failure: Your disease worsens by one step, and your
next Escalation check happens in half the normal time.

DM: During your week in town, Viridian, you notice


you've developed a small cough. It's inoffensive, but
persistent. Make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw.
First-Aid & Bed Rest
Viridian: Damn it... (rolls 8).
If you are treated with the appropriate first-aid, medicine,
or bed rest during your illness, you can make your next
DM: One morning, as you wake from a particularly Escalation check with Advantage.
fierce cough, you notice some thick green phlegm in
your handkerchief. It smells foul. Decline
Viridian: Gods damn it, the flu? Every. Time.
Once your symptoms have peaked and gone into decline,
you automatically succeed every subsequent Escalation
check until the disease finally leaves your system.
Wounds and Multiple Exposure Relapse: If you come into contact with the disease
If you had any open wounds when you were exposed to again, you risk a relapse. Your illness stops its decline—
the disease, or you were exposed multiple times, it's make your next saving throw as normal to see if your
more likely you were infected—make your Infection disease escalates.
check with Disadvantage.
Recovery
Living with Disease You have recovered from your disease—well done. But
Once your disease starts to display symptoms, the battle some diseases may leave a lasting effect on your body—
has begun. A runny nose, a splitting headache, a horrid marks, scars, weakness—and you may also still be
cough—you'll have to manage your symptoms as best you contagious to others at this point, so be careful.
can while you fight back your illness.
Escalation Spreading Disease
Most diseases are highly contagious—once you have one,
Periodically, your disease will try to attack your body and it's very easy to pass it on to someone else. There are two
spread further. Each time the incubation period passes, main ways you can pass on a disease while you are
make a Constitution saving throw to see if your disease contagious: by touch and through air.
changes—this is called an Escalation check:
Success: Your symptoms have peaked. Your disease Touch
improves by one step and goes into decline. Your blood, sweat, and spit are rife with sickness. Anyone
Failure: Your disease worsens by one step. who makes physical contact with you while you are
contagious risks infection. Things you touch with your
DM: After another week of illness, Viridian, you feel
bare skin—door handles, cutlery, tools—also become
contaminated and remain so for an hour.
your symptoms begin to change. Roll a DC 10 To avoid making accidental contact when touching
Constitution saving throw. someone who is diseased, make a DC 15 Wisdom saving
Viridian: Fingers crossed... (rolls 18) finally. throw—if you succeed, you knew how to avoid touching
DM: Your fever has broken at last, and you think the most likely spots of contamination. Wearing gloves
you're over the worst of it now. Your flu is in decline.
and other protective gear can also help defend against
contamination, allowing you make contamination checks
Viridan: Great. Now who can I cough on... with advantage.
chapter 10 deadly disease
40
Air Diagnosis
As you breathe, cough, and sneeze, the air around you When you contract a disease, it's not always obvious
becomes thick with sickness. Anyone that comes within what you have from the first symptoms alone. Many
5ft of you is at risk of infection. Additionally, if you spend diseases share similar symptoms at the beginning—
an hour in an enclosed room, it becomes contaminated headaches, fevers, rashes—so you may want to get your
and remains so until an hour after you leave—proper sickness diagnosed to prevent any nasty surprises.
ventilation and thorough cleaning can help prevent this. To make a diagnosis, roll a Wisdom or Intelligence
By wearing a face mask, you can minimise the spread check against the rarity of the disease. Only characters
of your airborne sickness by trapping coughs and spittle. trained in Medicine have the knowledge required to do
However, wearing a basic mask or holding your breathe this. A Healer's Kit will also prove useful.
offers no protection against infection—disease is still
able to infect you via your eyes and skin. Diagnosing Disease
Disease Rarity Description DC
DM: The guard blocks you at the door to the lord's Common A frequent occurrence 10
chambers, Clanda. "Sorry ma'am, Lord Marin has Rare Occurs sporadically with sudden 20
ordered us not to let anyone in. Personal matters." outbreaks of contagion
Clanda: Ugh, I don't have time for this. I cast Friends Mythic A unique sickness or an extremely 30
and order him to let me pass. limited cause

DM: The guard pulls a hasty salute, his resolve


temporarily weakened by your magic—"Yes ma'am, at Magical Healing
once". He opens the door and you step forward into Magic is a great tool for healing the body, but it is not
the lord's dark chambers. infallible. The body is a complicated machine and
Clanda: Why is it so dark in here? disease is a tricky monster—the bigger the monster, the
DM: The curtains are drawn, and the air is thick and
more powerful the magic you need to tame it.
When you use a magic effect to remove a disease, the
sickly. Lying in bed, coughing wetly, is Lord Marin. He sickness is not immediately purged from the target's
opens one red eye weekly. "You... should not... be in body. Your magic instead helps the target fight off the
here," he wheezes, motioning to the door. infection from within, forcing the disease into decline.
Clanda: Oh you stupid lord, why didn't you say you
were sick! I'll open the windows quickly to air out the Magic Strength
room. If I fall ill, I swear I'll murder him. Not all magic is powerful enough to fight every disease.
When you are using a spell or effect to treat a disease,
Becoming Contagious compare the spell level to the DC of the disease to see if
it will have any impact.
You are contagious once your hit points are below a
certain threshold—this represents you bleeding slightly, Magic Strength
or breathing harder, or sweating more. The more severe Spell Level Max DC Examples
the spread of your disease, the more of a risk you
become to other people. 0-5 15 Lesser Restoration, Lay on Hands
When you take damage, check the Spreading Disease 6-8 25 Heal
table to see if you become contagious or not. 9 30 Mass Heal

Becoming Contagious
Severity Contagious
Magical Immunity
Some class features and abilities may grant immunity to
Stage 1 Less than 25% hit points remain diseases—such as a paladin's Divine Health.
Stage 2 Less than 50% hit points remain In these cases, your immunity is not absolute—the
Stage 3 Less than 75% hit points remain strength of your resistance depends on the level of the
effect (class level, magic item level, spell level, etc).
Stage 4 Always contagious
Magical Immunity
Death Level Immunity

If you die from a disease, your corpse becomes a 01-05 Diseases up to DC 15


breeding ground for your sickness. Your body remains 06-10 Diseases up to DC 20
contagious for the next week. 11-15 Diseases up to DC 25
This goes for any corpse, so be careful of touching the
dead—you never know what disease they may carry. 16-20 All diseases

chapter 10 deadly disease


41
Disease Compendium Step 3: Incubation
There are many diseases out in the world—some a mild Now choose how long the disease takes to escalate in
inconvenience, some an almost-certain death sentence. severity. The longer the period, the longer it will be
This section details a number of example diseases, before any first symptoms start to show and the longer it
and includes guidance on creating your vile illness with will be a problem.
which to infect your world.
Step 4: Transmission
Creating a Disease Next, pick how your disease is transmitted. Usually this
is through touch or air, but there may be other triggers.
If you want to surprise your players with a sickness
unique to your world, follow these steps to brew your Step 5: Stages
own disease: Now it's time to decide on the specific effects of your
disease. Every disease has 4 stages, each increasing in
Step 1: Rarity severity. Describe the physical effects, and assign a
First, decide how well-known the disease is in your world mechanical penalty of some kind.
—common, rare, or mythic. The more common the Effects are cumulative, so be careful not to assign too
sickness, the easier it is to make a correct diagnosis. many effects at each step. At the same time, avoid having
stages with no mechanical effect—a disease should
Step 2: DC always have an impact, however small.
Next, decide how contagious the disease is. The higher These are some effects you might like to consider:
the DC, the harder it is to resist the disease—use a small
DC if you want characters to recover quickly. • -1/-2 to an ability modifier
While you are deciding the DC, consider any potential • Fall into a coma
cures that your characters might hunt for to overcome • Death
their sickness—rare flowers from the Fetid Swamp, or • Unable to move
crushed dragonbone, or a horse's heart. • Advantage or Disadvantage on certain rolls
• Vulnerability to certain damage
Disease DC • Gain a condition faster or slower
Description DC
• Lose all your hit dice
• Inventory capacity is reduced
Easy to recover from, most people will only be ill
for a short time before they fight it off.
05 / 10 • Roll your Burnout die with Disadvantage
These disease hang around for a while, and most 15 / 20
people will need to consider bed rest or some Step 6: Cure
medicine to help them get better.
Finally, decide on any lingering effects on recovery from
Almost impossible to recover from. Most people 25 / 30 the disease—scars, weakness, immunity, etc. This is a
have no chance at stopping this disease and can good way to leave a lasting mark on characters and
only accept their fate if no cure is possible. NPCs—even recovery has a price.

Diseases
Name Description Rarity DC Incubation Transmission
Bubonic Plague Horrible buboes spread across the body Rare 25 1 day Touch
Chickenpox Tiny, itchy spots spread across the body Common 20 2 days Touch, Air
Cholera Diarrhea and dehydration Common 10 1 day Touch (excrement)
Diphtheria A bad throat infection that can permanently scar the skin Rare 15 3 days Touch, Air
Dysentery Stomach cramps and vomiting Common 20 1 day Touch
Influenza Fatigue, headaches, and fever Common 10 2 days Touch, Air
Smallpox Large, pus-filled spots cover the body Rare 15 4 days Touch, Air
Stonescale The skin turns grey and cracked, and the mind turns feral Mythic 30 4 weeks Touch
Syphilis A persistent fever that eventually attacks the mind Common 25 4 weeks Touch (sore)
Tapeworm A parasite that feeds inside the body causing weight loss Common 15 1 week Touch (excrement)
Typhoid Fever A bad fever and diarrhea Common 15 1 week Touch (excrement)
Whooping Cough Coughing fits violent enough to break bone Common 15 1 week Air

chapter 10 deadly disease


42
Bubonic Plague Diphtheria
Disease, Rare · DC 25 · 1 day · Touch Disease, Rare · DC 15 · 3 days · Touch, Air

Often mistaken for influenza at first, swollen buboes A nasty infection of the throat that can cause
fast begin to mark the body. Without immediate aid, permanent scarring if it penetrates the skin.
this disease is almost certainly a death sentence.
Stage 1 You have a sore throat and a headache. You
Stage 1 Your body aches and you have a slight fever. have -2 CHA and Disadvantage on any rolls that
You have -2 to all ability modifiers. require prolonged concentration.

Stage 2 Painful buboes appear around your arm, groin, Stage 2 You have swollen glands in your neck and it's
and neck. You have Disadvantage on all rolls. very painful to swallow, making it hard to eat or
drink. You have -2 STR and -2 DEX.
Stage 3 Your fever is extremely hot. You fall into a coma.
Stage 3 Large, painful ulcers appear on your skin. You
Stage 4 Your internal organs fail and you die. have -2 CON and Disadvantage on all social
Cured Your body is scarred by the buboes. checks.
Stage 4 Pus-filled blisters appear on your legs, hands,
and feet that burst easily if touched. You have
Disadvantage on all rolls.
Cured You have a few scars from your skin ulcers.
Chickenpox
Disease, Common · DC 20 · 2 days · Touch, Air

Tiny, itchy spots that spread across your entire body. Dysentery
Very contagious, but not usually life-threatening. Disease, Common · DC 20 · 1 day · Touch (excrement)
Stage 1 You have a slight fever and feel weak. You have
-2 STR and -2 DEX. Easy to catch and painful to endure, one sip of dirty
Stage 2 You have a few noticeable pox marks across water can be enough to ruin your whole week.
your body, especially your torso. You have
Disadvantage on all social checks. Stage 1 You suffer painful stomach cramps. You have
Stage 3 You are covered in itchy spots. You have Disadvantage on all saving throws.
Disadvantage on any rolls that require Stage 2 You have a mighty need to use the restroom.
prolonged concentration. You have -2 to all ability modifiers.
Stage 4 Your fever is burning hot. You have Stage 3 You can't keep any food down. Any attempt to
Disadvantage on all rolls. each causes you to vomit shortly after. You gain
Cured You have a few small scars from the pox. You thirst and fatigue at twice the normal rate.
are permanently immune to chickenpox. Stage 4 Your body is too weak to stand. Your speed is
reduced to 0.
Cured You can't eat rich food during the next week
without being sick.
Cholera
Disease, Common · DC 10 · 1 day · Touch (excrement)

Influenza
One drink of bad water and you'll be curled up by the Disease, Common · DC 10 · 2 days · Touch, Air
toilet for a week—or die from dehydration.
Stage 1 You feel sick and nauseous, and eating food A harmless cough and a slight fever can quickly turn
causes you to vomit. -2 DEX and -2 WIS. into something much more serious without bed rest.
Stage 2 You have diarrhea. -2 STR, -2 CHA, and you gain
thirst at twice the normal rate. Stage 1 You have a bad headache and a runny nose. You
have -2 INT, and -2 WIS.
Stage 3 You have lost noticeable weight, and your
diarrhea becomes more severe. You are Stage 2 Your entire body aches and your throat is sore.
dehydrated and have Disadvantage on all rolls. You have -2 STR, -2 DEX, and -2 CHA.
Stage 4 You body goes into shock from severe Stage 3 You have a terrible fever and hallucinations. You
dehydration, and you die. cannot move under your own power.
Cured You can't eat rich food for the next week Stage 4 Your internal organs fail and you die.
without being sick. Cured You have an annoying cough for one week.

chapter 10 deadly disease


43
Smallpox Tapeworm
Disease, Rare · DC 15 · 4 days · Touch, Air Disease, Common · DC 15 · 1 week · Touch (excrement)

Tiny spots that quickly become large, painful blisters Tiny parasites that hide away in rotten meat and
across your entire body, leaving you with Pox scars. excrement. Watch what you eat, else you'll get eaten.
Stage 1 You have a slight fever and feel weak. You have Stage 1 You always seem to be hungry. You gain hunger
-2 STR and -2 DEX. at twice the normal rate.
Stage 2 You have a persistent headache and have flat, Stage 2 You have lost a significant amount of weight.
red spots on your face, hands, and forearms. You have -2 CON and -2 STR.
You have -2 INT, -2 WIS, and -2 CON.
Stage 3 You suffer from terrible headaches and some
Stage 3 Your spots become large, painful, pus-filled memory loss. You have -2 INT and -2 WIS.
blisters. You have Disadvantage on all rolls.
Stage 4 The parasites have reached your brain. You fall
Stage 4 Your fever is extremely hot. You fall into a coma. into a coma and die.
Cured You have severe scars from the pox. You are Cured You have a fragile stomach and painful cramps
immune to smallpox for 10 years. for one week.

Stonescale Typhoid Fever


Disease, Mythic · DC 30 · 4 weeks · Touch Disease, Common · DC 15 · 1 week · Touch (excrement)

As your skin turns grey and cracked, your mind decays Sometimes it's better to go thirsty than take a drink of
to that of a wild animal. Kill them before they kill you. filthy water. Don't risk it—boil it.
Stage 1 The skin around your eyes turns noticeably grey. Stage 1 You have a fever, a headache, and frequent
You have Disadvantage on social checks. nosebleeds. You have -2 to all modifiers.
Stage 2 Your skin is grey and cracked. Movement is Stage 2 Your fever is very high and you are easily
painful. You have -2 to all ability modifiers. exhausted. Flat red spots appear on your skin.
You gain fatigue at twice the rate.
Stage 3 You become very forgetful and increasingly
aggressive. You have Advantage on all STR rolls, Stage 3 Your stomach hurts and you suffer frequent
and Disadvantage on all INT, WIS, and CHA rolls. diarrhea. You gain thirst at twice the rate and
have Disadvantage to all social checks.
Stage 4 You have completely lost your mind and
become a wild, raging beast. Stage 4 Your fever is burning hot and you are delirious.
You cannot move or act on your own power.
Cured Your skin is permanently marked with
stonescale. You are immune to stonescale. Cured You feel fragile for the next week.

Syphilis Whooping Cough


Disease, Common · DC 20 · 4 weeks · Touch (sore) Disease, Common · DC 15 · 1 week · Air

The flesh is weak. Let your guard down for one night Fits of violent coughing followed by a "whooping"
and you might be paying for it years later. inhale of breathe—and sometimes, broken ribs.
Stage 1 A highly-contagious sore opens near your lips or Stage 1 You have a mild cough. You have Disadvantage
groin. You have Disadvantage on social checks on any rolls requiring prolonged concentration.
when your face is visible.
Stage 2 You cough in loud, uncontrollable fits with a
Stage 2 A rash appears on your hands and feet, and you gasping inhale. You have -2 STR and -2 DEX.
have a fever. You have -2 DEX and -2 CON.
Stage 3 Your coughing fits are violent enough to cause
Stage 3 More sores appear on your body, and you are vomiting. You have Disadvantage on all rolls and
easily exhausted. You have -2 STR and gain gain fatigue at twice the normal rate.
fatigue at twice the normal rate.
Stage 4 Your cough is so violent you have broken ribs.
Stage 4 You have lost noticeable weight and your mind You have 0 hit dice and cannot move without
is fuzzy. You have -2 INT, -2 WIS, and -2 CHA. immense pain..
Cured You still carry the disease and can infect others. Cured You have an annoying cough for the next week.

chapter 10 deadly disease


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Chapter 11: Rest & Downtime

A
dventurers need to rest at some
point, if only to eat, drink, and sleep. Cooking
Downtime is important—it's how you If you know how to cook and have the right supplies, you
recharge, how you spend your wealth, and can prepare a meal for the group. This requires use of a
how you prepare for your next adventure. campfire and cooking tools. Expend one use of your
This chapter defines the short and long cooking supplies to do one of the following:
rest periods, as well as some activities you
might undertake during each. • Create rations: You cook and preserve some fresh
ingredients—usually meat or grains—to create new,
basic rations. Unlike normal food, rations don't expire
Short Rest and take up little space—though they don't taste very
A short rest is a period of downtime, at least 1 hour long, good. The number of rations you create depends on
during which a character does nothing more strenuous the quantity and quality of your cooking ingredients.
than basic tasks—eating, drinking, sleeping, and tending • Stretch rations: You thin out some basic rations,
to wounds. feeding two people for each ration you cook.
During a short rest you can spend your hit dice, bind Stretched rations spoil quickly and can't be preserved.
any injuries, and eat some essential supplies. Anything • A hot meal: You cook a hot meal for everyone. This
more complex will require you to make camp. requires one ration—or ration substitute—per person.
You might add extra ingredients—meats, vegetables,
Making Camp spices—to create a more nourishing meal.
Out in the dark wilderness, few things raise the spirits as Before you serve the meal, roll a Wisdom (Survival)
well as a warm campfire. Build a campfire and make check to see how well you prepared everything.
camp if you intend to rest a while, using dry wood, tinder, Success: The meal is well made and you relieve a
and a successful Intelligence (Survival) check. moderate amount of Stress. Everyone else who eats your
While camping, you may perform one primary activity meal also relieves a moderate amount of Stress.
from the list below before you sleep. If an activity you Failure: You have spoiled the meal—no one can eat
wish to undertake is not listed, discuss it with your DM. your cooking, and you gain a moderate amount of Stress.
Lookout
It's a great risk to set up camp without someone Attracting Attention
watching out for any would-be intruders. Anyone can
stand watch, but this takes effort and concentration—the Some activities—cooking spices, playing musical
lookout cannot join in with any other camp activity instruments, loud celebration—create noise or smells which
except for eating. could attract unwanted attention or scare away potential
If something bypasses your watch and enters your prey, so be mindful of your surroundings when making camp.
camp, you gain a major amount of Stress.
chapter 11 rest & downtime
45
Music Sleep
If you know how to play an instrument, you can attempt Sometimes the best way to clear a mind is to shut it
to play a song for the group—music soothes the savage down for a while. If you are able to sleep for 6 hours
beast. Roll a Dexterity (Performance) check to see how undisturbed, you relieve a major amount of Stress. If
well you play. your sleep is broken, however, you instead gain a
Success: Your song is well received. You relieve a moderate amount of Stress.
moderate amount of Stress from everyone. Depending on the weather and temperature, you may
Failure: You embarrassed yourself somehow and need a sleeping bag or tent to sleep. Sleeping in medium
gained a minor amount of Stress. or heavy armor is also very uncomfortable, and could
cause you to have a restless sleep. You may need to roll a
Storytelling Constitution check at the end of your sleep—if you fail,
Everyone likes to hear a good story. If you are proficient your sleep was restless.
in Arcana, History, or Religion—or are carrying an The Sleep Outcome table details how the quality of
interesting book—you can attempt to tell a captivating your sleep affects your condition levels and Stress.
story to the group. Roll a Charisma (Performance) check
to see if you succeed. Sleep Outcome
Success: Your story is well told and relieves a Type Fatigue Stress
moderate amount of Stress from everyone.
Failure: You made an embarrassing mistake and Good -3 -12
gained a minor amount of Stress. Restless -1 0
Broken -1 +10
Repairs
If you're proficient with certain tools, you may perform
basic repairs on damaged equipment—sharpening a Trance
blunt sword, sewing up a torn robe, hammering out Some races do not sleep as others do—instead, they fall
some dented armor. You can try to remove one notch into a meditative state known as a Trance. While in this
from one item with a successful Intelligence check. state, your character is semi-conscious. You cannot make
Success: You remove the notch and relieve a out any specific details, but you can broadly sense motion
moderate amount of Stress from yourself. and noise. You have disadvantage on all Perception rolls.
Failure: You couldn't make the repairs and grew You are still affected by the same Sleep Outcomes as
frustrated, gaining a minor amount of Stress. other races.
Crafting
You can spend time crafting simple items—bandages, Valiant: Ok, it's getting dark—we should find a spot
salves, arrows—if you have the right materials and tools. to make camp. That clearing over there looks safe.
Roll the appropriate check for your specific craft to see if Clanda: I'm on lookout tonight, so I'll start setting
you succeed in your efforts. few Alarm spells around the perimeter. If you set them
Success: You craft your item and relieve a moderate
amount of Stress from yourself. off again, Viridian, I'm going to burn you.
Failure: You couldn't craft the item and grew Chansi: I'll start cooking a hot meal—we should eat
frustrated, gaining a minor amount of Stress. this rabbit meat before it spoils. Should be enough for
all four of us, and easy to make a stew (rolls 17).
Games
DM: Soon you have a bubbling pot of hot stew
If you have a gaming set and know the rules, you can play
a game to unwind. Anyone can join in—so long as they're going, Chansi. It smells delicious, and everyone
not occupied with another activity—but at least one relieves some moderate Stress.
person playing must be proficient in the rules. Viridian: Great, I'm starving. I'll get my lute out, play a
Everyone who plays can roll an Intelligence ability little background music for us (rolls 11).
check to see who wins the game (a tie for victory also DM: Your songs are a fine accompaniment to the
count as a win).
Winner: You relieve a major amount of Stress. food, Viridian—you, Chansi, and Valiant relieve some
Loser: You relieve a minor amount of Stress. moderate Stress.
Viridian: What about Clanda?
Solitude Clanda: Pff, I'm too busy being on lookout to listen
If you prefer to spend some time alone—reading a book, to your amateur fumblings.
meditating, painting—you can do so. Roll a Wisdom
ability check to see if you are able to relax. Valiant: I'll make a few bandages from that old shirt,
Success: You relieve a moderate amount of Stress we're running low in the healer's kit (rolls 18).
from yourself. DM: You tear the shirt into three usable bandages
Failure: You couldn't relax and grew irritable, gaining and relieve some moderate Stress in the process.
a minor amount of Stress.
chapter 11 rest & downtime
46
Long Rest Lifestyle
A long rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 1 Your lifestyle determines the level of comfort you live in
week long, during which a character performs downtime during your week and the types of people you'll be
activities and pursues their own interests. You can only surrounded by. If you aim to meet nobles and other
take a long rest in a secure location, such as a village, aristocrats, you'll need to support an expensive lifestyle.
town, or city. The Lifestyle Conditions table shows the average
When you begin a long rest, follow these steps for lifestyle cost in gold pieces per week, and the condition
each week you choose to rest: each lifestyle leaves you in at the end of the week.
1. Sell loot: Trade in any loot and treasure—gemstones, Primary Activities
paintings, fine goblets—gained on your adventures
and gain gold and experience. During your long rest, you'll have time to pursue a
2. Choose lifestyle: Choose your quality of lifestyle for primary interest. This is the main focus of your week and
the week—wretched, squalid, poor, modest, something you spend about half of each day on, leaving a
comfortable, wealthy, or aristocratic. You'll usually quarter day for sleep and a quarter for miscellaneous
need to pay for this upfront. activity—shopping, eating, basic socialising, etc.
3. Choose primary activity: Choose your primary Activities cost gold to perform—your DM will inform
downtime activity and pay any relevant costs. you how much. You can only perform one primary
4. Hear rumors: While resting, your adventuring party activity per week. Choose one from the suggestions
learns of three rumors. Some of these rumors may be below, or discuss one with your DM.
false, or only mostly true—you'll have to investigate
further to see for yourself. • Working: Trivial work for a simple wage.
5. Perform secondary activities: You can do 2 other • Spreading rumors: Seed rumors about town.
small, secondary activities during your week—meet • Carousing: Socialising and making contacts.
someone, go shopping, relieve some stress, etc. • Finding a buyer or seller: Trade something rare.
6. Settle up: It's the end of the week—gain the result of • Crafting: Create something.
your primary activity (level up, wages, information, • Research & Information: Gathering intelligence.
etc) and check to see if your wounds and Afflictions • Training: Learning new skills and abilities.
recover. If you have any outstanding debts, settle up. • Resting: Recovering from your injuries.
• Charity: Helping out the community.
Valiant, Sarien, and Chansi finally reach the gates of
• Theft: Stealing an item from someone.
• Family: Spending time with family members.
Darrowmore. It's been a long journey and they're
looking forward to a well-earned rest. Your activity has a small chance of generating a
Between them they carry 45 gp of recently- complication that may make life more difficult—you hurt
recovered treasure from the Elsewood—this rewards yourself working, you offend a lord while carousing, you
each of them with 150 XP (450 XP total).
damage a priceless book while researching.
They each choose a comfortable lifestyle for the
week ahead while they purpose their own activities in
town: Valiant does some charity work at his church,
Activities
Specific rules and advice for most primary activities are
Chansi begins training for her next level up, and covered in the Dungeon Master's Guide (p128-131) and
Viridian—running low on his own savings—plays Xanathar's Guide to Everything (p123-134).
songs in the tavern for some extra coin.

Lifestyle Conditions
Lifestyle Cost (GP) Hit Points Hit Dice Hunger Thirst Fatigue Rations
Wretched 0 50% 0 Starving Dehydrated Barely awake 0
Squalid 1 50% 25% Ravenous Dry Very sleepy 1
Poor 2 75% 50% Hungry Thirsty Sleepy 2
Modest 10 100% 75% Peckish Parched Tired 3
Comfortable 20 100% 100% Ok Ok Ok 5
Wealthy 40 110% 100% Well-fed Refreshed Well-rested 5
Aristocratic 100+ 120% 100% Stuffed Quenched Energised 5

chapter 11 rest & downtime


47
Secondary Activities Buy Property
A secondary activity is something that only takes a short You can buy property or build structures and fortresses
amount of time to do, from a few hours to a whole day. of your very own. Land must be acquired first if building
During a week of long rest, you have enough spare time something new. Upkeep and land taxes may apply.
to do two secondary activities. Choose them from the
suggestions below, or discuss one with your DM: Stress Relief
You can spend gold venting Stress in a manner
• Meet Someone: Arrange or attend a meeting. appropriate to your character—carousing, praying,
• Relieve Stress: Spend some gold to unwind. painting, etc. For every gold piece you spend in this way,
• Shopping: Buy some mundane gear and equipment. you relieve one point of Stress.
• Finances: Organise your financial arrangements.
Taxation
Spending Gold Depending on the local laws, there may be taxation of
some kind to deal with. You can try to hide your wealth
While you're in town, it's a good idea to spend some of from the taxman, but this may get you into serious
the treasure you've found on your adventures. Hoarding trouble with the local lords if you get caught.
loot for too long can be risky, as gold makes you a likely
target for thieves, beggars, and the taxman. Money can Mounts
bring out the worst in people, so be smart with your coin. Mounts are useful animals, but they are not cheap. Food,
shelter, veterinary bills—it all adds up. Make sure you're
Donations taking care of your animals well enough, otherwise they
There's always a noble cause—and just as many ignoble might abandon you at the first opportunity.
causes—to donate your money to. Charities, civic
improvements, political campaigns—donating coin is a Hirelings
good way to gain favour with certain factions and NPCs. Time is money, and sometimes it's cheaper to hire
someone else to do a menial task for you—employing
Your Pension guards to watch over your property when you're out of
Save for the future and invest some of your gold in a town, or a squire to carry your gear while you travel, or a
pension. Either your character gets this pension when courier to send a letter to the neighbouring city.
they retire, or your next character may inherit it on your Make sure to pay your hirelings well and on time if
current character's death—minus a 10% transfer fee. you want to keep them loyal to you. A disloyal hireling
can be a great danger, stealing from you or even selling
out your party to the highest bidder.
Pensions are Important Investing
A pension is your main means of transferring wealth—and You can invest your money in a business. When you
experience—to a new character upon your unfortunate invest, decide how much you're investing, which business
death. If you don't want your next character to start at level 1, you're investing in, and the level of risk you're committing
make sure to save plenty of gold for them.
to—stable, risky, or wild. Then, in four weeks time, roll to
see how well your investment pays off.

Investment Outcome
Stable (3d6) Risky (2d6) Wild (1d6) Outcome
— — 1 Bankrupt! Lose every last copper piece.
— 2 2 Terrible Catastrophe. -1d20% value.
3-4 3 3 Major Calamity. -1d10% value.
5-6 4 — Mild Setback. -1d6% value.
7-8 5 — Bad Omens. -1d4% value. -2 to next outcome roll.
9-12 6-8 — Business as usual. +1% value.
13-14 9 — Encouraging Signs. +1d4% value. +2 to next outcome roll.
15-16 10 — Good Fortune. +1d6% value
17-18 11 4 Excellent Luck. +1d10% value.
— 12 5 Massive Windfall. +1d20% value.
— — 6 Huge Profits! +1d100% value.

chapter 11 rest & downtime


48
Chapter 12: Making a Journey

T
he wilds are a dangerous place,
and travel is rarely straightforward
outside city walls. Many adventurers have Travelling at Night
lost their way in dark forests, never to be This chapter assumes you will be making a standard journey
seen again. Many more have died from during the day. On rare occassions, however, you might want
lack of food, or water, or protection from to travel in the dead of night. In these cases, use the same
bandits and monsters. The world is not process described in this chapter but simply shift the phase
forgiving to the unprepared traveller. of the day accordingly to suit your schedule. Bear in mind
This chapter introduces the journey phase to make that some checks might be much more difficult at night.
travel a more integral part of the adventure.

The Journey Phase Step 2: Travel


There are three stages to any long-distance journey: plan, Now it's time to gather everyone and head out on your
travel, and arrive. journey. The average day is broken up into six parts—
dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, dusk, and night—so run
Step 1: Plan through these in sequence for each day of travel.
The first step in making a long journey is planning—you Dawn
need to decide where you're going, how you're getting Sunlight crests the horizon. It's time to wake up, pack up
there, and who you're travelling with. camp, and eat breakfast to prepare for the day ahead.
1. Pick the destination: First, pick your destination. • Check the weather: The weather can have a drastic
This could be a dungeon, city, or other landmark. impact on your travel plans, especially if you're not
2. Choose your route: Next, you need to decide which prepared. You may want to avoid travel completely
route you'll take. The length of your route is measured during heavy rains, storms, and snows.
not in miles but in days (assuming an average walking • Assign roles: Decide who is going to be today's guide,
speed of 15 miles per day). forager, scout, and lookout. A character can only
3. Gather supplies: Finally, gather any supplies, assume one role at a time, so pick wisely.
vehicles, and equipment needed for the journey. • Set pace: Decide what pace you'll be travelling at
today—slow, medium, or fast. A slower pace makes it
easier to succeed at your roles, but also means that
Valiant, Chansi, and Clanda are trying to reach Westwall the journey takes longer to complete.
Tower. That's about 45 miles away, so the journey • Eat breakfast: Eat some food and drink some water
should take roughly 3 days at a normal walking pace— to build up your energy for the travel ahead.
assuming fair weather and no surprises. • Pack up camp: Put out any cooking fires, strap on
your gear, and pack up your camp.
chapter 12 making a journey
49
Morning Step 3: Arrive
The sun rises and the day becomes warmer. Begin the After enough days of travel have passed—and assuming
first half of today's travelling. you didn't lose your way—you'll made it to your
destination. This can be a big relief and morale boost,
Noon especially after a long journey.
The sun is at its peak. Take a short break, sit in the Check the Journey Arrival table to see how much
shade, and drink some water. Stress you relieve upon arrival.
Afternoon Journey Arrival
The sun descends and the temperature cools. Finish the Travel Time Stress Travel Time Stress
second half of today's travel while you still have some
natural light. Up to 1 day -3 Up to 1 month -12
Up to 1 week -6 Up to 1 year -24
Dusk
The sun sinks beneath the horizon and the sky darkens.
It's time to set up camp for the night, eat, and reflect on After 5 days of travel—a sudden and fierce
today's travel. thunderstorm forcing them to lose 2 days progress—
Valiant, Chansi, and Clanda finally make it to Westwall
• Make camp: Take off your gear and set up camp. Tower. Relieved at the sight, they each restore 3 points
• Lookout duty: The lookout takes charge of camp of Stress.
defence and security for the night. While on lookout, a
character can only eat and sleep—they don't have time
to do or join in with anything else.
• Guide: The guide makes a guidance check to see if Roles
you've stayed on the right path. There are four core responsibilities when travelling:
• Forage: The forager makes a foraging check to see if guide, forager, scout, and lookout. A person can only lead
they gathered any food or water during the day. or assist one role per day if they wish, and any role not
• Eat dinner: Eat some food and drink some water. taken will automatically fail any related rolls.
A role can have only one leader, but any number of
helpers. The leader makes the roll, the first helper grants
Night advantage, and every subsequent helper grants a +1
The night is dark and unwelcoming to travellers. Travel is bonus. However, if the roll fails then the leader and all
very difficult and it's easy to get lost, so get some sleep helpers are equally liable for the consequences.
and recover your energy for tomorrow.
Guide
Waking on the second day of their journey, Valiant,
The guide makes sure everyone is heading in the right
Chansi, and Clanda assign roles as they eat: Valiant to direction. If the guide fails, you'll get lost and the journey
guide, Chansi to scout, and Clanda to keep lookout at will take longer.
night. They don't appoint a forager, but that's fine— If you are the guide, roll Intelligence on the Guidance
there's enough rations for a couple of days yet. table at the end of the day to see if you were able to stay
The morning is uneventful, and at noon they stop
on track. Cartography tools, maps, and the Survival skill
will help you be a better guide.
for a short rest and a small drink—it's becoming very Success: The party is on track. Subtract today's
warm now thanks to a cloudless sky. progress from the remaining travel time.
During the afternoon, they find an old peddler Failure: You veered off course and lost your way. Gain
sitting on the side of the road—he's suffering from a moderate amount of Stress and add 0.5 day to the
some mild heatstroke. Chansi offers him some water—
remaining travel time.
the peddler gratefully gives them a freshly caught Guidance
rabbit in exchange—and they continue on.
DC Terrain
As dusk settles, they set up camp for the night.
5 Wide open plains; Clear landmarks; Obvious pathway.
Clanda prepares a few Alarm spells around the
10 Tall landmarks; Small hills.
perimeter, Chansi cooks the rabbit meat for everyone
15 Light rain or mist; Woods and hills.
to eat, and Valiant checks their progress on his map.
20 Moonlight night; Heavy rain or mist; Forest with no
Everything seems on track. clear pathway or markings.
Tomorrow they might have to think about foraging
25 Fog; Thick and obscure forest; Mountains.
for fresh water to top up their supplies—especially if
30 Clouded night; Impossibly thick fog; A shifting maze;
it's as warm as today was. Magically treacherous terrain.

chapter 12 making a journey


50
Forager Lookout
The forager finds food and water. If the forager fails, The lookout protects the camp at night. If the lookout
you'll run out of essential supplies long before the fails, you risk being attacked while you sleep.
journey reaches its destination. If you are the lookout, you're responsible for making
If you are the forager, roll Wisdom on the Foraging perception checks during the night to spot incoming
table at the end of the day to see how much food and threats. The lookout cannot join in any camp activities
water you were able to hunt throughout the day. For beyond eating and sleeping, so make sure that whoever
everyone that assists you, gain +1 to the roll. Hunting takes the lookout shift won't be needed for anything else.
equipment and the Survival skill will help you forage. For everyone that assists you, gain +1 to the roll. You
Success: You recover 2d4 rations-worth of food and can set traps and alarms around the camp—dry twigs,
water—you can divide this however you like. tripwires, the Alarm ritual—to help you detect intruders a
Failure: You were unable to find anything, and gained little better.
a moderate amount of Stress in the process. Success: You were able to rouse the party in time to
prevent being ambushed.
Foraging Failure: You failed to spot the danger in time and the
DC Terrain
party are surprised. You gain a major amount of Stress.
5 Lush and verdant forest; Food and water are
everywhere. Travelling Pace
10 Forest; Coast; Abundant food and clean water. The speed at which you travel can have an significant
15 Thin woodland and greenwood. Food must be actively impact on your role. There are three main paces: slow,
hunted and water is harder to find. normal, and fast.
20 Dry, open plains; Very little food or clean water.
Check the Travelling Pace table to see exactly how
you're affected by the pace you choose.
25 Desert and barren or polluted land; Food is extremely
rare and water may need treatment. Walking
30 Toxic or corrupted deadlands; Food is inedible and The average character has a walking speed of about 3
water sources are poisoned. miles per hour, and can travel—comfortably—around 15
miles per day.
This takes into account the many rest breaks, pauses,
DM: Chansi, roll a Foraging check to see if you found and distractions a character will need during the day—
anything. You're in thin woodland, so it's DC 15. especially those that carry heavy gear and armor.
Chansi: Ok... (rolls 18) perfect. Today I found... (rolls Walking long-distance is surprisingly hard work, and a
4) 4 supplies. We're a bit low on water right now, so long, forced march in full plate armor is a sure way to
let's say I found 3 water rations and 1 food ration.
hurt yourself.
Horseback
Scout The average horse walks at much the same pace as a
character: 3 miles per hour. While they can gallop much
The scout ranges ahead during the day and keeps an eye faster, they can only do so on flat ground for very short
out for dangers. If the scout fails, you may be ambushed periods—horses overheat very quickly.
by enemies and other hazards. On horseback, a character can comfortably travel 20
If you are the scout, you're responsible for making any miles per day without injuring the horse or becoming too
perception checks during the day to spot incoming risks saddle-sore. Anything more arduous requires knowledge
and dangers. For everyone that assists you, gain +1 to the and experience of Animal Handling.
roll. A spyglass will help you scout better. The main benefit of travelling on horseback is the
Success: You noticed the threat and were able to carrying capacity—a horse can carry much more than a
warn the party in time. character for much longer without complaint. Horses
Failure: You failed to spot the danger in time and the need plenty to eat and drink, however, so make sure you
party are surprised. You gain a major amount of Stress. bring enough supplies.

Travelling Pace
Travel Pace Speed Distance Guide Forage Scout Hide Tracks
Slow 0.6 days 10 miles Advantage Normal Advantage Advantage
Medium 1 day 15 miles Normal Disadvantage Normal Normal
Fast 1.4 days 20 miles Disadvantage None Disadvantage Disadvantage

chapter 12 making a journey


51
Encounters Step 3: Generate Encounters
During a journey, the DM is responsible for generating Now you know when the party might encounter
any potential encounters and discoveries the party may something, it's time to generate specific details. There
face on the way. For each day of travel, do the following: are four broad categories of encounter: character, social,
skill, and combat. Pick a variety, or roll on the Encounter
1. Decide the danger level: Choose how dangerous Type table to choose one at random.
today's journey will be. This determines how many Party: One of the party members gets a moment to
encounters the party are likely to face during travel. shine. Ask them a question about their character—if the
2. Set the encounter times: Decide when each answer is interesting or adds something to the world (or
encounter will happen during the day—dawn, you can see that the player is at least trying), they gain
morning, noon, afternoon, dusk, or night. Inspiration and relieve a moderate amount of Stress.
3. Generate the encounters: Build the encounters using
your own encounter generators or by rolling on the
tables in Appendix B. DM: While you're all travelling in the afternoon,
4. Roll for any discoveries: See if the party will spot conversation turns to family. Clanda, tell us a good
anything unexpected on their travel, like a hidden cave memory you have of your parents.
or a secret chest.
Step 1: Danger Level Social: The party meets one or more people that they
can talk or engage with—a wandering merchant, a troupe
First, check the Terrain Danger table to determine the of entertainers, a hostile soldier.
danger level of the surrounding terrain. This will indicate Skill: An obstacle hinders the party that must be
how many encounters a party is likely to face today—the overcome through use of their skills—a wheel breaks on
greater the danger, the more encounters. their wagon, a wounded person lies unconscious beside
the path, they anger a nest of wasps.
Terrain Danger Level Combat: Enemies attack the party, forcing them to
Danger Encounters flee or defend themselves—a group of bandits, a wild
Safe and civilised; A village, a barren desert, a 1
pack of wolves, a hungry dragon.
well-defended plain.
Encounter Type
Dangerous frontier; A wild forest, a treacherous 2
swamp, a disturbed graveyard. d6 Type

Enemy territory; A monster's lair, an enemy 3 1 Character: Ask a player an interesting or fun question
camp, a haunted wood. about their character.

Heavily populated hostile territory; An enemy 4 2 Social (Friendly): A pleasant encounter with some
settlement, a mind-flayer city, a kobold nest. friendly NPCs.

Lethal and actively hunted; A plane of madness, 5 3 Social (Hostile): Some NPCs are hostile to the party
a god's domain, a layer of hell. and could lead to harm.
4 Skill Challenge: Something happens that requires
Characters can learn about the danger level of a region multiple skill checks to overcome.
through research to help inform their journey plans— 5 Combat (Non-committal): The party is attacked, but
gathering rumors, reading histories, collecting maps. the enemies will flee easily.
6 Combat (Aggressive): The party is attacked and the
Step 2: Encounter Times enemies will fight to near death.

Second, you need to see when exactly the party might Once you know the type of the encounter, generate the
have an encounter today. Roll 1d6 for each of the six exact details using your preferred encounter tables.
phases of the day: dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, dusk,
and night. If the number is equal to or lower than the Step 4: Generate a Discovery
danger level, there is a chance of an encounter.
Finally, roll a d6 to see if the party spot something
interesting in the distance. On a result of 5 or 6, they
The party are passing through a shrouded wood with a make a discovery—an abandoned cottage, an ancient
danger level of 2. The DM secretly rolls 6d6 and tower, a secret cave hiding a buried treasure—that they
generates a result of [2, 6, 2, 3, 6, 1]—the party will can choose to investigate.
encounter something at dawn, noon, and night.
d6 Result
1-4 Nothing
Alternatively, if you do not have access to dice, take the
average number of encounters listed in the Danger Level 5 Spot a discovery in the morning.
table and decide for yourself when the encounters occur. 6 Spot a discovery in the afternoon.

chapter 12 making a journey


52
Encounter Seeds 11-15 A wandering bard shares stories about the local town
16-20 A drunken giant is trying to mend a bridge he has
If you're unsure what to do for an encounter, try using broken, but is having trouble with the work
these encounter seeds to kickstart some ideas. 21-25 An old woman is trying to get her pet down from a tree
26-30 A naked bard asks for spare clothes and some directions
Character 31-35 You find someone passed out and seriously wounded
01-02 A bad memory of your family 36-40 Two drunk goliaths are wrestling any and all challengers
03-04 A good memory of your family 41-45 A small wizard asks if you can help him test a new spell
05-06 A faction you strongly agree with 46-50 Two groups of people need your help in settling a bet
07-08 A faction you strongly disagree with 51-55 You find a small child alone and lost
09-10 A game you like to play 56-60 Three dwarves challenge the biggest party member to a
11-12 A happy moment from your childhood drinking competition
13-14 A monster you don't believe is real 61-65 Two clerics are arguing about who is the best god and
15-16 A person you are afraid of ask you to decide who is right
17-18 A person you couldn't save 66-70 A hungry beggar offers you a secret in exchange for food
19-20 A person you hate 71-75 A guard is training some new recruits and asks you to
21-22 A person you love help demonstrate a few moves
23-24 A person you respect 76-80 A dying man asks you to help end his pain
25-26 A person you want to meet 81-85 A silent monk offers you food in exchange for a story
27-28 A place you would love to visit 86-90 A bard is trying to write a song but is having trouble with
29-30 A sad moment from your childhood the words and asks you for advice
31-32 A time you embarrased yourself 91-95 A wagon has overturned and the owner asks you for help
33-34 A time you got away with something 96-00 A kobold challenges you to a game of riddles for gold
35-36 A time you got a sibling into trouble
37-38 A time you got really drunk Social (Hostile)
39-40 A time you hurt someone 01-05 A group of racist thugs has an issue with one of your
41-42 A time you made something party members because of their appearance
43-44 A time you were afraid 06-10 Three guards call you to halt, holding a wanted poster
45-46 A time you were heroic that looks a lot like one of your party
47-48 A time you were powerless 11-15 A group of highwaymen demand your money or your life
49-50 A time you were proud of someone 16-20 Two groups of people are brawling near an overturned
51-52 A time you were smarter than everyone else cart, each blaming the other
53-54 Are you a dog person or a cat person? 21-25 A giant blocks your path with a makeshift toll gate,
55-56 Are you closer to your mother or your father? demanding an unusual payment
57-58 Food that you think is disgusting 26-30 A group of drunk soldiers approach and demand you
59-60 Something that happened on your last birthday offer some tribute to the king's men
61-62 Something you are ashamed of 31-35 A person is tied to a stake and surrounded by a silent
63-64 Something you are proud of doing mob holding torches, led by a fierce cleric
65-66 Something you would love to do 36-40 A loud zealot preaching to a crowd screams out and
67-68 The best dinner you've ever had accuses you of dark heresy
69-70 The best gift you ever received 41-45 A barbarian, delirious with a berserker rage, thinks you
71-72 The funniest thing you've ever seen are a foul monster to kill
73-74 What are you looking forward to? 46-50 A petty nobleman accuses you of not showing the
75-76 What would you do if you were king? proper due respect and demands satisfaction
77-78 What would you do with a million gold pieces? 51-55 You stumble across a dead body and a person holding a
79-80 Where are your family now? bloody knife, who says "I swear it wasn't me!"
81-82 Who or what would you die for? 56-60 Someone fleeing from a dozen pursuers begs you for
83-84 Who was your first kiss? protection against harm
85-86 Why are you with the party? 61-65 An old woman with a knife and foul breath asks you to
87-88 Why would the party fall apart without you? pay tribute to her god
89-90 Your favourite story 66-70 Three men eating around a campfire offer you some
91-92 Your favourite thing about your hometown food, but you realise it's not animal meat they're cooking
93-94 Your favourite way to relax 71-75 A ghost stands in the middle of the road, wailing
95-96 Your greatest achievement 76-80 A group of hooded cultists emerge, loudly proclaiming
97-98 Your greatest fear that you are the chosen one
99-00 Your last nightmare 81-85 A bard is playing beautiful music to a crowd, but all who
listen are quickly under her thrall
Social (Friendly) 86-90 A wild sorcerer seeks to test a spell on you
01-05 A wandering peddler asks you for some water and offers 91-95 A paladin accuses you of performing evil acts and
you a look at his wares demands you pay for your sins with blood
06-10 An old cleric is repairing a small shrine recently damaged 96-00 A furious druid has someone trapped in vines and
by someone or something intends to kill them for desecrating the grove

chapter 12 making a journey


53
APPENDICES
Assorted Extras

Random Tables p55


NPC Economy p58
FAQ p60
Changelog p64
Quick Reference p65
Character Sheets p68

54
Appendix A: Random Tables
These are random Language, Basic 21-25 Deception 25-36 Desert
tables you may find 01-12 Common 26-30 History 37-48 Forest
useful, particularly 13-24 Dwarvish 31-35 Insight 49-60 Grassland
during character 25-36 Elvish 36-40 Intimidation 61-72 Mountain
creation. If you roll a 37-48 Giant 41-45 Investigation 73-84 Swamp
number that's not listed 49-60 Gnomish 46-50 Medicine 85-96 Underdark
in the table, you may 61-72 Goblin 51-55 Nature
choose a result instead. 73-84 Halfling 56-60 Perception
85-96 Orc 61-65 Performance Racial Features
66-70 Persuasion
Proficiencies Language, Exotic 71-75 Religion Draconic Ancestry
01-12 Abyssal 76-80 Sleight of Hand 01-10 Black
Artisan's Tools 13-24 Celestial 81-85 Stealth 11-20 Blue
01-05 Alchemist's supplies 25-36 Draconic 86-90 Survival 21-30 Brass
06-10 Brewer's supplies 37-48 Deep Speech 31-40 Bronze
11-15 Calligrapher's sup… 49-60 Infernal 41-50 Copper
16-20 Carpenter's tools 61-72 Primordial Class Features 51-60 Gold
21-25 Cartographer's tools 73-84 Sylvan 61-70 Green
26-30 Cobbler's tools 85-96 Undercommon Favoured Enemy 71-80 Red
31-35 Cook's utensils 01-07 Aberrations 81-90 Silver
36-40 Glassblower's tools Musical Instrument 08-14 Beasts 91-00 White
41-45 Jeweler's tools 01-10 Bagpipes 15-21 Celestials
46-50 Leatherworker tools 11-20 Drum 22-28 Constructs Dwarven Tools
51-55 Mason's tools 21-30 Dulcimer 29-35 Dragons 01-33 Smith's tools
56-60 Painter's tools 31-40 Flute 36-42 Elementals 34-66 Brewer's supplies
61-65 Potter's tools 41-50 Lute 43-49 Fey 67-99 Mason's tools
66-70 Smith's tools 51-60 Lyre 50-56 Fiends
71-75 Tinker's tools 61-70 Horn 57-63 Giants
76-80 Weaver's tools 71-80 Pan Flute 64-70 Humanoids Class Skills
81-85 Woodcarver's tools 81-90 Shawm 71-77 Monstrosities
91-00 Viol 78-84 Oozes Barbarian
Gaming Set 85-91 Plants 01-16 Animal Handling
01-25 Dice Skills 92-98 Undead 17-32 Athletics
26-50 Dragonchess 01-05 Acrobatics 33-48 Intimidation
51-75 Playing cards 06-10 Animal Handling Natural Explorer 49-64 Nature
76-00 Three-Dragon Ante 11-15 Arcana 01-12 Arctic 65-80 Perception
16-20 Athletics 13-24 Coast 81-96 Survival

appendix a: random tables


55
Cleric 73-84 Stealth 09-12 Charm Person 51-55 Poison Spray
01-20 History 85-96 Survival 13-16 Comprehend Lang… 56-60 Primal Savagery
21-40 Insight 17-20 Cure Wounds 61-65 Produce Flame
41-60 Medicine Rogue 21-24 Detect Magic 66-70 Resistance
61-80 Persuasion 01-09 Acrobatics 25-28 Disguise Self 71-75 Shape Water
81-00 Religion 10-18 Athletics 29-32 Dissonant Whispers 76-80 Shillelagh
19-27 Deception 33-36 Earth Tremor 81-85 Thorn Whip
Cleric, Knowledge 28-36 Insight 37-40 Faerie Fire 86-90 Thunderclap
01-25 Arcana 37-45 Intimidation 41-44 Feather Fall
26-50 History 46-54 Investigation 45-48 Healing Word Druid, 1st Level
51-75 Nature 55-63 Perception 49-52 Heroism 01-04 Absorb Elements
76-00 Religion 64-72 Performance 53-56 Identify 05-08 Animal Friendship
73-81 Persuasion 57-60 Illusory Script 09-12 Beast Bond
Cleric, Nature 82-90 Sleight of Hand 61-64 Longstrider 13-16 Charm Person
01-33 Animal Handling 91-99 Stealth 65-68 Silent Image 17-20 Create or Destroy …
34-66 Nature 69-72 Sleep 21-24 Cure Wounds
67-99 Survival Sorcerer 73-76 Speak with Animals 25-28 Detect Magic
01-16 Arcana 77-80 Tasha's Hideous L… 29-32 Detect Poison & …
Druid 17-32 Deception 81-84 Thunderwave 33-36 Earth Tremor
01-12 Arcana 33-48 Insight 85-88 Unseen Servant 37-40 Entangle
13-24 Animal Handling 49-64 Intimidation 41-44 Faerie Fire
25-36 Insight 65-80 Persuasion Cleric, Cantrips 45-48 Fog Cloud
37-48 Medicine 81-96 Religion 01-11 Guidance 49-52 Goodberry
49-60 Nature 12-22 Light 53-56 Healing Word
61-72 Perception Warlock 23-33 Mending 57-60 Ice Knife
73-84 Religion 01-14 Arcana 34-44 Resistance 61-64 Jump
85-96 Survival 15-28 Deception 45-55 Sacred Flame 65-68 Longstrider
29-42 History 56-66 Spare the Dying 69-72 Purify Food & Drink
Fighter 43-56 Intimidation 67-77 Thaumaturgy 73-76 Snare
01-12 Acrobatics 57-70 Investigation 78-88 Toll the Dead 77-80 Speak with Animals
13-24 Animal Handling 71-84 Nature 89-99 Word of Radiance 81-84 Thunderwave
25-36 Athletics 85-98 Religion
37-48 History Cleric, 1st Level Paladin, 1st Level
49-60 Insight Wizard 01-06 Bane 01-06 Bless
61-72 Intimidation 01-16 Arcana 07-12 Bless 07-12 Ceremony
73-84 Perception 17-32 History 13-18 Ceremony 13-18 Command
85-96 Survival 33-48 Insight 19-24 Command 19-24 Compelled Duel
49-64 Investigation 25-30 Create or Destroy … 25-30 Cure Wounds
Monk 65-80 Medicine 31-36 Cure Wounds 31-36 Detect Evil & Good
01-16 Acrobatics 81-96 Religion 37-42 Detect Evil & Good 37-42 Detect Magic
17-32 Athletics 43-48 Detect Magic 43-48 Detect Poison & …
33-48 History 49-54 Detect Poison & … 49-54 Divine Favour
49-64 Insight Spells 55-60 Guiding Bolt 55-60 Heroism
65-80 Religion 61-66 Healing Word 61-66 Protection from E…
81-96 Stealth Bard, Cantrips 67-72 Inflict Wounds 67-72 Purify Food & Drink
01-08 Blade Ward 73-78 Protection from E… 73-78 Searing Smite
Paladin 09-16 Dancing Lights 79-84 Purify Food & Drink 79-84 Shield of Faith
01-16 Athletics 17-24 Friends 85-90 Sanctuary 85-90 Thunderous Smite
17-32 Insight 25-32 Light 91-96 Shield of Faith 91-96 Wrathful Smite
33-48 Intimidation 33-40 Mage Hand
49-64 Medicine 41-48 Mending Druid, Cantrips
65-80 Persuasion 49-56 Message 01-05 Control Flames
81-96 Religion 57-64 Minor Illusion 06-10 Create Bonfire
65-72 Prestidigitation 11-15 Druidcraft
Ranger 73-80 Thunderclap 16-20 Frostbite
01-12 Animal Handling 81-88 True Strike 21-25 Guidance
13-24 Athletics 89-96 Vicious Mockery 26-30 Gust
25-36 Insight 31-35 Infestation
37-48 Investigation Bard, 1st Level 36-40 Magic Stone
49-60 Nature 01-04 Animal Friendship 41-45 Mending
61-72 Perception 05-08 Bane 46-50 Mold Earth

appendix a: random tables


56
Ranger, 1st Level 89-92 True Strike 67-72 Prestidigitation 89-92 Thunderclap
01-05 Absorb Elements 93-96 Thunderclap 73-78 Thunderclap 93-96 Toll the Dead
06-10 Alarm 79-84 Toll the Dead 97-00 True Strike
11-15 Animal Friendship Sorcerer, 1st Level 85-90 True Strike
16-20 Beast Bond 01-04 Absorb Elements Wizard, 1st Level
21-25 Cure Wounds 05-08 Burning Hands Warlock, 1st Level 01-02 Absorb Elements
26-30 Detect Magic 09-12 Catapult 01-08 Armor of Agathys 03-04 Alarm
31-35 Detect Poison & … 13-16 Charm Person 09-16 Arms of Hadar 05-06 Burning Hands
36-40 Ensaring Strike 17-20 Chaos Bolt 17-24 Charm Person 07-08 Catapult
41-45 Fog Cloud 21-24 Chromatic Orb 25-32 Comprehend Lang… 09-10 Cause Fear
46-50 Goodberry 25-28 Color Spray 33-40 Cause Fear 11-12 Charm Person
51-55 Hail of Thorns 29-32 Comprehend Lang… 41-48 Expeditious Retreat 13-14 Chromatic Orb
56-60 Hunter's Mark 33-36 Detect Magic 49-56 Hellish Rebuke 15-16 Color Spray
61-65 Jump 37-40 Disguise Self 57-64 Hex 17-18 Comprehend Lang…
66-70 Longstrider 41-44 Earth Tremor 65-72 Illusory Script 19-20 Detect Magic
71-75 Snare 45-48 Expeditious Retreat 73-80 Protection from E… 21-22 Disguise Self
76-80 Speak with Animals 49-52 False Life 81-88 Unseen Servant 23-24 Earth Tremor
81-85 Zephyr Strike 53-56 Feather Fall 89-96 Witch Bolt 25-26 Expeditious Retreat
57-60 Fog Cloud 27-28 False Life
Sorcerer, Cantrips 61-64 Ice Knife Wizard, Cantrips 29-30 Feather Fall
01-04 Acid Splash 65-68 Jump 01-04 Acid Splash 31-32 Find Familiar
05-08 Blade Ward 69-72 Mage Armor 05-08 Blade Ward 33-34 Fog Cloud
09-12 Chill Touch 73-76 Magic Missile 09-12 Chill Touch 35-36 Grease
13-16 Control Flames 77-80 Ray of Sickness 13-16 Control Flames 37-38 Ice Knife
17-20 Create Bonfire 81-84 Shield 17-20 Create Bonfire 39-40 Identify
21-24 Dancing Lights 85-88 Silent Image 21-24 Dancing Lights 41-42 Illusory Script
25-28 Fire Bolt 89-92 Sleep 25-28 Fire Bolt 43-44 Jump
29-32 Friends 93-96 Thunderwave 29-32 Friends 45-46 Mage Armor
33-36 Frostbite 97-00 Witch Bolt 33-36 Frostbite 47-48 Magic Missile
37-40 Gust 37-40 Gust 49-50 Protection from E…
41-44 Infestation Warlock, Cantrips 41-44 Infestation 51-52 Ray of Sickness
45-48 Light 01-06 Blade Ward 45-48 Light 53-54 Shield
49-52 Mage Hand 07-12 Chill Touch 49-52 Mage Hand 55-56 Silent Image
53-56 Mending 13-18 Create Bonfire 53-56 Mending 57-58 Sleep
57-60 Message 19-24 Eldritch Blast 57-60 Message 59-60 Snare
61-64 Minor Illusion 25-30 Friends 61-64 Minor Illusion 61-62 Tasha's Hideous L…
65-68 Mold Earth 31-36 Frostbite 65-68 Mold Earth 63-64 Tenser's Floating …
69-72 Poison Spray 37-42 Infestation 69-72 Poison Spray 65-66 Thunderwave
73-76 Prestidigitation 43-48 Mage Hand 73-76 Prestidigitation 67-68 Unseen Servant
77-80 Ray of Frost 49-54 Magic Stone 77-80 Ray of Frost 69-70 Witch Bolt
81-84 Shape Water 55-60 Minor Illusion 81-84 Shape Water
85-88 Shocking Grasp 61-66 Poison Spray 85-88 Shocking Grasp

appendix a: random tables


57
Appendix B: NPC Economy

I
n life, there is only one constant—
money makes the world go round. Gold buys Monthly Profit
food, builds shelter, hires soldiers, and—in many Using the Monthly Income and Expenses table, we can
cultures—establishes class. Every day people see how much profit an NPC might expect to make each
earn money, make money, steal money, and even month. Most people can scrape together a few coins at
kill for money—it binds and divides. the end of each week, and even a poor family might hide
This section sets out the basic incomes and away a few silver pieces. If a community pools together
expenditures for NPCs in each social class. its savings, they might be able to pay some helpful heroes
to deal with those dangerous bandits plaguing the roads.
A poor worker can spend 1 silver a week on beer at
Income and Expenses the tavern, but she won't be saving much if that's her
The basic finances of most NPCs can be broken down choice. It will take a modest NPC a bit over a year to save
into five standard categories: income, lifestyle, upkeep, up for a healing potion, and two years for the antitoxin
taxes, and profit. These values will vary depending on the for his sick daughter. The comfortable smith can buy a
social class of the NPC. second set of tools after 5 months of hard work, while
Income: The amount of coin an NPC makes from the successful merchant can buy a magnifying glass to
their profession and labour. more accurately assess gems in about a year. After little
Lifestyle: General life expenditures, such as rent, more than a month the minor noble can buy a vial of acid
meals, basic shopping, and home maintenance. to stop the mouth of that pesky guild leader.
Upkeep: Expenses related to work—property taxes, The monthly costs are also abstractions. Some NPCs
equipment repairs, wages, travel, bribes, fees, and fines. might get their pay on a weekly basis, while others only
Taxation: There are only two sureties in life; death get their money a few times a year.
and taxes. A simple economy may use a basic income
tax, where every commoner over the age of 14 pays a set Alternative Currencies
tax based on their monthly income—often around 10%. Money is an abstraction for most people. Gold coins are
Profit: The amount an NPC can expect to save per a rare sight for the lower classes, and often treated with
month if they don't buy any additional luxuries. outright suspicion—they're hard to trade in normal life,
and make you much more likely to be attacked.
More often than not, NPCs won't be paid with coins at
Taxation Rates
all but with produce and services—grain, milk, leather,
carpentry, smithing, etc. The same applies to their taxes
Set taxation rates higher or lower according to the avarice of which usually come directly out of their trade.
your ruler—or to fund an war, civic improvement, or Many local communities also trade and barter for
construction effort. The poor will start losing money at 17%. "script"—small tokens of promise between traders—
Other forms of taxation include land taxes, poll taxes,
instead of coin. These tokens guarantee a service or
import/export taxes, and property taxes.
good when exchanged in the local community—a
horseshoeing, a knife sharpening, a pound of bacon.
appendix b: npc economy
58
Monthly Income and Expenses
Social Overall Careers Income Lifestyle Upkeep Taxes Profit Hire
Class Wealth per per per per per per
Month Month Month Month Month Day
None Destitute Homeless, beggars, unemployed, 1 gp 1 gp — — — 4 cp
mentally ill.
Lower Poor Unskilled labourer, farmworkers, 6 gp 3 gp 2 gp 6 sp 4 sp 2 sp
costermongers, peddlers, thieves,
mercenaries.
Working Modest Soldiers with families, farm owners, 30 gp 15 gp 10 gp 3 gp 2 gp 1 gp
labourers, students, priests, hedge
wizards.
Middle Comfortable Merchants, skilled tradespeople, 60 gp 30 gp 20 gp 6 gp 4 gp 2 gp
doctors, military officers.
Upper Wealthy Highly successful merchants, favoured 120 gp 60 gp 40 gp 12 gp 8 gp 4 gp
servants of nobility, bankers, land-
owners, guild artisans.
Ruling Luxurious Politicians, guild leaders, mayors, lords, 300 gp 150 gp 100 gp 30 gp 20 gp 10+ gp
nobility, high priests, lawmakers.

Robin
Example: Milstone Robin is one of the poor people of Milstone. He rents a
Milstone is a small mining community few cartographers small room in a flophouse in the village, and makes a
have bothered to put on the map. It is ruled by the local profit of 4 sp a month from his work as an assistant in
lord, Duke Oswald Thorn, a distant cousin to the lord of Old Granny Moe's Tools and Things. It's honest work,
the region. Some 200 people live in the village and and one day he hopes to own a shop for himself.
surrounding land. Every day on his way to work he passes the tavern,
promising himself to walk past on his way back as well.
• 5 are destitute. Those are the beggars, homeless, and He seldom does—one ale doesn't hurt anyone, he says to
unemployed. They generate no taxable income. himself outside the Smiling Cat. Just one. Before Robin
• 115 are poor. Those are the farmhands, servants, and enters, however, a party of four interrupt him.
young shop assistants and so forth. They yield 69 gp "Good sir, you wouldn't happen to know where we can
in taxes each month. find a smithy?" Their fine armours gleam in the sunlight,
• 55 people in Milstone have a modest income— and the wizard's golden hair flows in an unnatural wind.
farmers, mineworkers, carpenters, a priest, guards, "Sure, just head down this road—it's on the right."
and minor merchants. They yield 165 gp in taxes. "Thanks", says the warrior. He casually hands Robin a
• Only 5 people in Milstone have a comfortable income. small pouch, before the party continues on their way.
The smith, the innkeeper, the captain of the guard, the Robin looks into the pouch. 10 shining gold coins
apothecary, and the old woman running the general smile back at him. He shakes his head. He will never
store. They yield 30 gp each month. understand the logic of adventurers. Two ales, then.
• 3 people are wealthy. One is Gorm, Duke Thorn's When did Robin ever only drink one?
trusted bodyguard, while the other is his favourite
servant and advisor. The third is Milo, the halfling in Wolfram
charge of the mining operations in the area. They The Sparrows family live a modest life. They own a small
yield 36 gp in taxes each month. shack just inside the village wall, though they have to pay
rent for the land. It's not fancy, but it's clean—even if it
In total this is 183 people paying 300 gp in taxes each means they all have to sleep sharing one room.
month, allowing Thorn to lead a lavish life of fine wines Wolfram spends his days standing guard outside the
and soft cloths. The rest of the population are children duke's mansion. His two oldest sons are farmhands in
under the age of 14. the outskirts of the village, while the youngest is
apprenticed to the blacksmith at a hefty cost. But it's
worth it—if Wolfram doesn't achieve greatness, his
Original Source
youngest son will—smithing is a fine trade.
Wolfram hopes his next harvest will fetch a good sum
This content is adapted from "5e commoner life and at market—the proud parents want to buy a nice present
economy", an article written by u/bjornbob1234.
for their daughter's birthday. Everyone should get a nice
present on their 10th summer, farmer and noble alike.
appendix b: npc economy
59
Appendix C: FAQ
This section lists at some of the frequently
asked questions regarding Darker Dungeons. If your Random characters?
question isn't answered here, feel free to contact me. I find random character generation exciting—I like not
knowing what the character is until I've finished
Is this official material? unwrapping it. There's no optimising or strategising, just
roll a complete person and try to keep them alive.
No. This an unofficial compilation of house-rules for A fun by-product is that this ends up creating a much
D&D 5e—rules that can be used to supplement material wider variety of characters at the table, as it prevents
found in the PHB and DMG. players falling into familiar tropes. Goliath barbarian?
Hmm. Goliath wizard? Now you have my attention.
Why make this? But I might get bad stats...
I enjoy D&D, but—like all DM's—I like to run games my Sure you might. But it's much more likely that you won't.
way. That means focusing on themes of exploration, Live a little—roll and play the hand you're dealt. If it's a
danger, survival, and player-driven adventure. I think bad hand, play smarter and go the distance.
vanilla 5e is weak in some of these areas, so I've added Note: This is something the group should agree on
features over time to expand on these themes. before anyone rolls for character stats. Maybe you all
I wrote this handbook to compile all my house rules agree to use the result, no takebacks? Or maybe you all
together in one place—it means I can get my rules peer- agree to reroll if anyone gets under X total points?
reviewed, and it helps players understand exactly the Whatever the case, everyone should agree on the rules
type of game I like to run so that there's no confusion. before rolls are made.
Why not play/mod something else? I hate random generation
My group plays 5e predominantly, so it's easier to modify If you hate the idea of random generation, absolutely
a system we're already enjoying. This way, we can also don't use it at your table. Or try randomising only small
dip into all the other 5e homebrew lying around. Plus, I parts of character creation—race and class, for example,
enjoy doing this kind of thing. but not your ability scores.
You don't always have to randomise a whole character
There are a lot of changes... —sometimes, just randomising one aspect can be a fun
There's a lot here, but you don't have to use it all at once exercise in itself.
—take whichever bits work best for your table and leave
the rest. Consider trying out just a couple of features at a This method is stupid because of X
time if you're unsure. This is how I would randomly create a character, but feel
Note: While I've tried to write Darker Dungeons free to use your own variants. Want to use 4d6? Want to
features to be modular, this hasn't always been possible. roll class before background? Want to roll twice for race
I'm in the process of decoupling these, but keep an eye and pick between the two? Go ahead and do whatever's
out for interlink between modules you do/don't select. best for your table.
appendix c: faq
60
Why no Character Feats? Why use Active Defence?
I'm very critical of feats in 5e—I think they put too much Instead of rolling attacks against the players, I like to let
emphasis on combat in what is already a very combat- players roll to defend because:
heavy ruleset. IMO feats encourage optimal character
builds and predictable gameplay, which is something I 1. I don't care about dice: I'm a lazy DM and I'm always
try to avoid. happy to shunt more responsibility onto the players
As I like to emphasise non-combat gameplay and whenever possible. Players love to roll dice, so it's a
alternative character builds, it's simply easier to disallow win/win for me.
character-picked feats altogether—especially as feats are 2. It's easy: There's no complicated math or any monster
an optional rule in vanilla 5e to begin with. changes whatsoever—just a static +22 modifier on the
DM's side. That's it.
Feats as a Reward 3. It keeps players engaged: It makes players pay more
While I don't allow characters to pick feats, I do make attention to what's going on and keeps them engaged
use of feats through rare rewards. Feats are fantastic —they're not passively watching the DM roll five
properties you can use to easily create new magic items attacks, they're actively trying to avoid being hit. This
for your players: ends up being much more dramatic for everyone.
4. Improves player agency: It puts a character's fate in
• The Ring of Mimicry grants you the Actor feat. their own hands. If a character gets critically hit, I
• This Lightforged Leather Armor grants you the don't have to feel bad because they did the roll.
Lightly Armored feat. 5. It's fast: It doesn't slow the round down and you can
• The Banner of Leadership grants you the Inspiring quickly attack multiple characters at once.
Leader feat. 6. Players don't change any numbers: There's no need
• The Barbed Blade of Everwatch Tower grants you the to change any numbers on a character sheet—AC and
Sentinel feat. spellcasting DC stay exactly the same.
What are Usage Dice? Active Defence has worked out very well at my table,
and I definitely recommend trying it out at least once.
Some features use a mechanic known as Usage Dice
(taken from the Black Hack rpg). Whenever you use a Is the math correct?
limited consumable (such as ammunition), you roll a I use a static +22 modifier and not the +11/-8 modifiers
usage die—if your roll is a 1 or 2 then the usage die found in the original Unearthed Arcana article. This is
shrinks one step. When you roll a 1 or 2 on a d4, the item because the UA article is wrong and actually makes the
is down to its very last use. players far more likely to succeed in their attacks.
As an example, let's run through a scenario where
d20 → d12 → d10 → d8 → d6 → d4 → 1
Clanda is attacking an orc using Acid Orb. Clanda has a
spellcasting DC of 13 and the orc has a Dexterity saving
throw bonus of 1.
The larger the starting usage die, the more uses you'll get
out of an item before it expires. The Usage Dice table Traditionally:
shows the average number of times you can expect to roll • The orc needs to roll 12 or more (45% chance) to save
a usage die before it's down to the very last use. against spellcasting DC 13.
• Clanda's chance to succeed: 55%.
Usage Dice
Starting Size Average Uses Starting Size Average Uses With UA's +11/-8:
• The orc's saving throw becomes 12 (1 + 11).
d20 30 d8 9
• Clanda's spellcasting DC becomes 5 (13 - 8).
d12 20 d6 5 • Clanda needs to roll 7 or more (70% chance) to hit a
d10 14 d4 2 saving throw of 12.
• Clanda's chance to succeed: 70%.
Who gets Darkvision? With a static +22:
This handbook only accounts for the races found in the • The orc's saving throw becomes 23 (1 + 22).
PHB and XgtE. If you're using a custom race and want to • Clanda's spellcasting DC remains 13.
know if it can have darkvision, answer these questions: • Clanda needs to roll 10 or more (55% chance) to hit a
saving throw of 23.
• Is it from the Underdark? • Clanda's chance to succeed: 55%.
• Does it have sunlight sensitivity?
• Is it a cat-person? As we can see, the UA modifiers make Clanda 15%
more likely to succeed vs the RAW rules, whereas the
If the answer to any of these is yes, your race is static +22 retains the same chance of success.
allowed to have darkvision as a racial trait.
appendix c: faq
61
But I like to roll attacks... Size determines Inventory?
That's fine. If you prefer the traditional system, stick with Having a high strength means you can lift more, but it
it—I'm not going to come in and take away your DM dice. doesn't mean you can carry more—mules have very low
strength, for example, and yet they carry tons of gear.
Variant Active Defence The determining factor in inventory size is space, not
strength—the bigger you are, the more space you have to
I like to use +22 because it means players don't have to put stuff. It doesn't matter how strong you are if you don't
make any changes to their expected AC or spellcasting actually have any space on your body to hold the item.
DC. But if you prefer to use smaller numbers, you can
use Variant Active Defence as described here. Why tie it to character size?
Firstly, it makes narrative sense—smaller creatures
Defence Rolls should carry fewer things. Secondly, it's thematic and
When you make a defence roll, roll a d20 and add your helps make races a little more diverse—halflings should
AC - 10. The opposing DC is 12 plus the attacker's rely more on mules and wagons, goliaths should be able
normal attack bonus. carry more given they're bigger than everyone else.
But now I can't carry everything...
Defence Roll: d20 + your AC - 10
Some character types will be more affected by the
DC: attacker's attack bonus + 12 inventory changes than others—such as those wearing
heavy armor. This is by design. Armor is a choice—if you
choose to defend yourself with thick plate, you cannot
Saving Attack Rolls also be a pack-mule. Space is at a premium.
When you make a saving attack, roll a d20 and add your If your inventory's tight and you want to carry more
normal spell save DC - 8. The opposing DC is 14 plus the stuff, there are ways of dealing with this:
target's saving throw bonus.
• Get a hireling. A squire, an aide, a mule, a wagon—
Saving Attack Roll: d20 + your spell save DC
there's always someone you can pay to carry gear.
• Rely on your friends. They're travelling at your side,
DC: target's saving throw bonus + 22 so trust them to hold your stuff for you.
• Find magical bags. Bags of Holding can boost your
Why use Active Initiative? inventory space substantially, so keep an eye out for
these exceptional items.
Instead of the standard turn-order initiative, I like to use • Work with it. No character can do everything, so work
Active Initiative for four main reasons: with what you've got.
1. Better teamwork: Players can work together to chain How's a player supposed to X?
their actions into big combo-attacks, using more
elaborate tactics than they can do under standard My general approach when I DM is: "Here's a problem,
initiative tracking. now how are you going to get out of?". I'm not really
2. More communication: Players talk more when they trying to come up solutions—that's the player's job.
have a clear opportunity to work together. In my personal opinion, a DM should step back and
3. More attentive players: Players aren't stuck waiting let players figure things out for themselves. You don't
for their turn to come up, they're actively watching for need to hold their hand—players are smart, and they
opportunities to jump in and act. outnumber you 5-to-1. They'll always find a way out.
4. It's easy: No dice or math—just say who goes next. For example, the equipment changes introduce a
problem: "Weapons degrade with use, so what are you
This has worked out well at my table—but it's not for going to do about it?". Possible solutions to that could be:
everyone. Some people prefer the familiarity of turn-
based initiative, and that's ok. • Fight less often or fight smarter.
• Carry backup weapons and gear.
Does this give players an advantage? • Repair your gear using tools, whetstones, and other
Yes, players have a slight edge because it's easier to maintenance equipment between fights.
chain actions together. But in my experience that's a • Roll with Advantage to avoid critical failures.
good thing—players should be rewarded for working • Find, buy, forge or temper better equipment that can
together, and it means the DM can risk using even more resist X number of notches per long rest.
dangerous monsters. • Hunt for mythical gear that never degrades.
When do I get my turn? It's not an unwinnable or impossible problem, and the
You get your turn when you win the initiative, someone door is wide open for players to come up with their own
passes over to you, you spend an inspiration point to solutions—it gives them agency, personal goals, and a
interrupt, or you take damage and then interrupt. reason to work with teammates.
appendix c: faq
62
Why use week-long rests? Safe Long Rests: To take an 8-hour long rest, you must
Changing long rests from 8 hours to a week is one of the be in a sanctuary of some kind—such as a village,
simplest—yet most effective—ways of changing the tone town, or city. Sleeping outside in the wilds or by a
of your game. dungeon isn't restful enough for your character to
1. Fighters: Fighters are now much more valuable to a recharge their abilities, so be sure to plan ahead.
party. High-level magic becomes a precious resource,
so having a fighter around with Second Wind is What are the templates for?
extremely useful. Fighters should be great at fighting,
and a week-long rest period helps highlight this. The last page of the character sheet includes item
2. Resources: Equipment is now much more important. templates and placeholders. These are things you can
Healing spells are rare—and casters can't change their cut out and stick on your inventory sheet to represent
prepared spells quickly—so characters really need to actual items—as seen on Last Gasp Grimoire. This a fun
think about healing kits, potions, tools, supplies, etc. way to track items, and I definitely recommend it.
3. Risk: Combat is now always a risk. Even the smallest
fight has a chance of draining valuable supplies—hit How do I track what I'm wearing?
dice, spell slots, food and water, etc. Combat has real To keep track of what your character is wearing, I find it
consequences that can't be instantly recovered after a helps to write down any equipped gear on your armor
single night's sleep. template—bracers, hats, robes, etc.
4. Drama: Long-distance travel now has drama.
Characters need to plan ahead so that their resources Did you change the art?
and spell-slots can last the whole trip, there and back
again—you can't just burn through all your powerful Yes, as of v1.6. Unfortunately, I didn't own the artwork
spells in one day, sleep outside the dungeon to that I was using before and it wasn't viable to keep using
recover, then charge in fully-loaded. that art in the long-term. Instead, I'm now trying to
5. Time: World-pacing is much more realistic. Being finalise a consistent look that I can apply to all my work.
forced to spend a week recovering gives the world In the future I may look into commissioning custom
time to react to what the characters are doing—NPCs artwork, but it's good to have a general style that doesn't
and the world in general have an opportunity to depend on artwork—it means I can iterate on documents
change and develop. a little faster, which is a big help to me.
6. Investment: Players become naturally invested in the
world. When recovery is hard, players start to think Did you use Homebrewery?
about the landscape—they'll hunt for shortcuts, chase
rare teleportation circles, and spend time building No—this document was created using my own custom
strongholds out in the wilds so they have a place to HTML/CSS/JS framework, not Homebrewery or GM
rest without having to trek all the way back to town. Binder. Unfortunately, that means I (currently) don't have
7. Rituals: Rituals are now important—when spell-slots any common markdown to share for you to use in your
are hard to recover, rituals are an extremely valuable own Homebrewery posts.
means of casting magic out in the wild without
burning important resources. Can I copy bits of this?
I highly recommend that, if you change only one thing Feel free to reference parts of this handbook in your own
for your game, you change the long rest period. It's the free homebrew if you like, with appropriate credit.
smallest change with the biggest impact. However, please don't replicate it wholesale, or include
my work in any for-sale variant.
Doesn't this penalise X class?
No, because we're not changing the expected number of Can I buy a printed version?
encounters per adventure—the DM should still aim for
the normal 6-8 encounters per long rest as mentioned in Not at the moment, no. I'm currently looking into this as
the DMG (p84). a few people have requested a print copy. In the
Changing the long-rest period means there is a longer meantime, if you'd like to support my work generally then
recovery period at the end of an adventure, and that my Ko-fi page is always open to kind donations.
players have to more careful with their resources over
the 8 encounters to ensure they don't run out too early—
but it does not mean characters with long-rest abilities Contact Me
are unfairly handicapped.
Thanks for reading this! If you have any questions or
Is there a compromise? feedback, you can DM me at /u/giffyglyph or @giffyglyph,
If your players just aren't comfortable with a week-long email me at giffyglyph@gmail.com, or follow my other
rest, or you want to keep your game timeline moving at a assorted works at www.giffyglyph.com. Thanks for reading!
brisk pace, try using Safe Long Rests instead.
appendix c: faq
63
Appendix D: Changelog
v1.0 · Feb 25 2018 • Added guidelines for magical containers.
• Added chapters: Character Creation, Leveling Up, • Added examples to the action changes in Chapter 4.
Equipment, Taking Action, Stressing Out, Life & • Added missing XGtE spells to the random tables.
Death, Rest & Downtime, Random Tables. • Expanded FAQ with some new questions.
v1.1 · Mar 30 2018 v1.4 · May 15 2018
• Added chapters: Preface, Making a Journey. • Added chapters: Dangerous Magic, Quick Reference.
• Magic users can now chose one cantrip and one spell. • Added examples to Life & Death and Rest chapters.
• Added experience tables to calculate XP rewards. • Added guidelines for resurrection magic.
• Fate points are now capped at 3. • Ammunition is now tracked using ammunition dice.
• Split lingering damage into wounds and injuries.
• Added descriptions to the categories of Stress. v1.5 · Jun 1 2018
• PCs gain Afflictions at 100, 150, and 175 Stress. • Added chapter: Deadly Disease.
• Reaching a sanctuary reduces and caps Stress to 75. • Added new races and subraces from MToE.
• Greater Restoration can now remove Afflictions. • Added equipment tempering.
• Intelligence and Wisdom can now be used in social • Added encounter seeds to "Making a Journey".
situations and relevant checks. • Added an inventory page to the character sheet.
• Added inventory & vehicle container categories.
• Item quality now affects item resale value. v1.6 · Jun 25 2018
• Clarified event timing during the long rest phase. • Added chapters: Active XP, Changelog.
• Added new character sheets. • Complete rewrite and update of all styles and artwork.
• Ammunition & Burnout die now trigger on 1 or 2.
v1.2 · Apr 13 2018 • Negative STR modifiers now affect inventory capacity.
• Added chapters: NPC Economy, FAQ. • Medium/heavy armor reduces non-magical damage.
• Added new races, subraces, and class specialisations • Renamed Stygian mode to Astral.
from XGtE & VGtM. • Added an example for rolling ability scores.
• Magic users now chose their spells manually. • Added random generators for family and memories.
• Inventory size is now modified by character size. • Added tables and examples for known languages.
• Added equipment size tables. • Split leveling chapter into two chapters to better focus
• Added pages for spells, notes, and item templates to on training and XP. Added examples to generate XP.
the character sheets. • Initiative now uses INT instead of DEX.
• Added examples for equipping PCs and conditions. • A helping player now rolls one of the two d20.
• When using Active Initiative, taking damage allows
v1.3 · May 4 2018 you to interrupt for free.
• Grouped main features into different modes of play:
Radiant, Dark, and Stygian. v1.6.1 · Jun 30 2018
• Separated Conditions from Stress & Afflictions. • Updated art styles; added new headers and cover art.
appendix d: changelog
64
Darker Dungeons: Quick Reference
Known Languages p8 Armor p14 Shattering Gear p18
INT Languages Armor Containers Armor Containers When you hit with an attack, you can shatter your
-1 or You have only a basic grasp of None +0 Medium -2 weapon to roll its original un-notched damage
lower vocabulary in your primary language, and Light -1 Heavy -3 die. Decide this before you roll your damage.
you are illiterate. You can sacrifice your armor when hit by an
0 You are fluent in your primary language. attack to reduce the damage taken by 3d4 (light),
You have a decent range of vocabularly
Free Storage p14
3d8 (medium), and 3d12 (heavy)—it falls apart
and are literate. You can freely carry one ration box, one water- in the process. Decide this after damage is dealt.
+1 You have an expanded vocabulary and skin, and one purse. These don't occupy any
know how to use it correctly. direct inventory space, but they might still be
+2 You are fluent in a second language. noticed and affected by NPCs.
Item Quality p18
+3 You are fluent in a third language. Quality Description
Pristine Never been notched. This item looks,
Container Categories p15
feels, and smells brand new.
Training p9
Type Description Worn Has had only one notch at a time. This
To level up, you must spend time training. You Bag Holds any items. Needs a full turn and item has one main defect.
need three things: a mentor, facilities, and gold. two free hands to retrieve an item. Well- Has had two notches at one time. This
Pouch Holds medium, small, and tiny items. worn item shows heavy signs of use.
Needs a bonus action and a free hand Scarred Has had four or more notches at one
Training Costs p9
to retrieve an item. time. This item looks shabby and in
Level Weeks GP Level Weeks GP Belt Holds small and tiny items. Needs a poor condition.
1 — — 11 5 94 free action and a free hand to retrieve
2 1 15 12 6 115 an item.
3 1 20 13 6 165 Sheath Holds weapons and shields. Can draw a
Resale Value p18
4 2 15 14 7 202 weapon with a free action. Can hold a Quality Value Quality Value
5 2 20 15 7 295 single shield, occupying 1 slot. Pristine 75% Well-Worn 25%
6 3 25 16 8 370 Quiver Stores arrows and quarrels. Can hang a Worn 50% Scarred 10%
7 3 35 17 8 536 single bow or crossbow from a quiver,
8 4 37 18 9 687 occupying 1 slot.
9 4 55 19 9 990
Item Restoration p19
10 5 64 20 10 1,280 Quality Cost
Armor Expertise p15
Worn to Pristine 50%
If you are wearing medium or heavy armor, and Well-Worn to Worn 30%
Active XP p11
you are proficient, you gain the following perk: Scarred to Well-Worn 10%
You gain experience points for three main • Medium Armor: Reduce any bludgeoning,
activities: making discoveries, overcoming piercing, and slashing damage that you take
adversity, and recovering lost treasures. from non-magical weapons by 1 (minimum 1).
Ammunition p19
• Heavy Armor: Reduce any bludgeoning, Roll your Ammunition die whenever you take a
piercing, and slashing damage that you take shot: if you roll a 1 or 2, your ammunition die
Character Advancement p11
from non-magical weapons by 2 (minimum 1). gets one size smaller.
Level Experience Level Experience If you're down to one piece of ammunition
1 — 11 6,200 and you use it, that's it—it's gone. Replenish your
2 300 12 8,680
Item Sizes p15
ammunition to increase the size of your die.
3 420 13 12,150 Size Slots Description
4 590 14 17,010 Tiny 1/5 Smaller than a hand; Can hold
5 820 15 23,810 many in one hand.
Potion Toxicity p19
6 1,150 16 33,330 Small 1 Up to a handspan / 9 inches You may drink one potion per day without side-
7 1,610 17 46,660 long; Held comfortably with effects, but for every additional potion you
8 2,260 18 65,330 one hand. automatically suffer a major amount of Stress.
9 3,160 19 91,460 Medium 2 Up to an arms-length / 2ft
10 4,430 20 128,050 long; Held with one hand.
Large 3 Longer than an arm; Requires
Tempering p20
one or two hands to hold. Quality Rarity Critical Failure
Inventory Space p14
— Common Gains 1 notch
You carry items in containers—bags, pouches, Pure Uncommon Gains ½ (0.5) notch
sheaths, etc. Each container has 3 slots and each
Wear & Tear p18
Royal Rare Gains ¼ (0.25) notch
item occupies 1 or more slots. Your capacity Category Effect Astral Mythic Gains ⅛ (0.125) notch
depends on your size, strength, and armor. Weapon Gains a notch when you critically fail
an attack. Each notch reduces the
damage die you roll by one step.
Tempering Costs p20
Character Size p14
Armor Gains a notch when you are critically Quality Cost Time Value
Size Containers Size Containers hit. Each notch reduces your total AC Pure Value x 2 3 days Value x 3
Tiny 3 Large 7 by 1. Royal Value x 4 1 week Value x 6
Small 5 Huge 9 Focus Gains a notch when you critically fail Astral Value x 8 2 weeks Value x 12
Medium 6 Gargantuan 13 to cast a spell while holding it. Each
notch reduces your spellcasting
ability by 1.
Open Skills p21
Character Strength p14
Item Gains a notch whenever appropriate Skills are not tied to a single ability. You may add
STR Containers STR Containers —often when it takes direct damage your skill bonus to any appropriate ability check.
0 or more +0 -2 -2 or is used in a failed skill check. Each
-1 -1 -3 -3 notch reduces effectiveness by 1.

darker dungeons: quick reference


Social Interaction p21 Tools p25 Lighting Equipment p28
When interacting with an NPC, the context of Add your proficiency bonus to any ability check Type Light Range Type Light Range
your interaction determines which ability you are made with a proficient tool. If you are proficient Candle -1 5ft Lamp -3 20ft
using: smarts (intelligence), feelings (wisdom), with both a tool and a skill, add your proficiency Torch -2 10ft Lantern -4 40ft
and presence (charisma). bonus and make your roll with advantage.
• Intelligence: You're trying to be clever. Debate,
reason, negotiate, lie, manipulate, and wit.
Hunger, Thirst & Fatigue p28
• Wisdom: You're trying to soothe or connect
Conditions p26
Time Hunger Thirst Fatigue
feelings. Rapport, empathise, calm, discretion, Conditions track your physical state and can be Dawn +1 +1 —
judgement, and tact. used by your DM to make life more complicated. Noon — — +1
• Charisma: You're trying to be likeable or There are six Conditions to track: health, light, Dusk +1 +1 +1
dominating. Charm, bluff, banter, incite, temperature, hunger, thirst, and fatigue.
command, and intimidate.
Stamina Check p28
Condition Tracks p27
d6 Result
Active Defence p22
Health Light Temperature DC Stress 1-2 Gain +1 hunger
The DM doesn't make attack rolls—instead, the Robust Bright Perfect — -2 3-4 Gain +1 thirst
players make defence rolls. Roll d20 + your AC vs Healthy Well-lit Comfortable — -1 5-6 Gain +1 fatigue
the monster's attack bonus + 22. If your defence Ok Ok Ok 5 +0
equals or beats the DC, your character avoids the Hit Dim Noticeable 10 +1
attack. If you fail, the attack hits you. Bloodied Twilight Uncomfortable 15 +2
Stress p29
Advantage: If the attacker has advantage, you Hurt Dark Overwhelming 20 +4 Stress is a measure of pressure on a character's
have disadvantage on the defence roll—and vice Critical Blind Unbearable 25 +8 mental state—too much is unhealthy and can
versa if they have disadvantage. lead to Afflictions and even death.
Criticals: If the defence roll comes up as a Hunger Thirst Fatigue DC Stress Snapping: When you take 100, 150, and 175
natural 1, the attack critically hits you. Stuffed Quenched Energised — -2 points of Stress for the first time after a long rest,
Well-fed Refreshed Well-rested — -1 you snap and develop a mental Affliction.
Ok Ok Ok 5 +0 Breaking Point: When you take 200 points of
Active Initiative p23
Peckish Parched Tired 10 +1 Stress, you reach breaking point—if hit by a
1. Who goes first?: Decide who acts first, usually Hungry Thirsty Sleepy 15 +2 damaging attack, you die.
by rolling initiative—the highest roll goes first. Ravenous Dry Very sleepy 20 +4 Sanctuary: When you begin a long rest in a
2. Take turns: Take your turn. Once you've Starving Dehydrated Barely 25 +8 sanctuary—village, town, city—your Stress is
finished your actions, you get to pick who awake reduced to and capped at 75.
goes next. This can be anyone that hasn't
acted yet, friend or foe.
3. End the round: Once everyone's acted, end
Health Conditions p27 Gaining Stress p29
the round and clear up any expired effects— Condition Hit Points Hit Dice
Description Category Stress Description
spells, powers, timers, etc. Robust 100% 100% Perfect Minor +5 A small frustration or worry.
4. Start a new round: The last person to act gets health. Moderate +10 You've made a critical error
to decide who starts the new round—it can't Healthy 100% 50%-99% Ready for or put something at risk.
be themselves unless they have no alternative. anything. Major +20 Something devastating to
No delays: You cannot pass or delay once Ok 100% 0-49% Feeling your character or beliefs.
your turn begins, but you can ready an action. good. Monstrous +40 An incomprehensible thing.
Interrupt: If you took damage or you spend an Hit 99-51% — A minor
inspiration point, you can choose to interrupt scratch.
and take your turn once the current turn has Bloodied 50-26% — A small cut.
Relieving Stress p31
finished. You cannot interrupt an ally. Hurt 25-01% — Noticeable Category Stress Description
pain. Minor -3 A small success.
Critical 1 hp or — Death's Moderate -6 A critical success.
Degrees of Success p24
less door. Major -12 You've beaten the odds and
• Critical Success: You succeeded by 10 or gained a significant victory.
more on a skill check, or rolled a natural 20 on Majestic -24 You've done something near
an attack. Something great happens to you.
Light Conditions p27
impossible.
• Success: You achieve your goal. Condition Description
• Minor Failure or Success at a Cost: You failed Bright Excessive amounts of light—clear
by 1, 2, or 3. You can choose to succeed, but light all around, a sunny day, a
Afflictions p32
something very bad also happens as a noble's ballroom party. d100 Affliction Modifier
consequence—negotiate with the DM. Well-lit More light than required—the shade 01-07 Fearful -2 STR
• Failure: You failed by 4 or more. on a sunny day, a room with huge 08-14 Lethargic -2 DEX
• Critical Failure: You failed by 10 or more on a windows or many lanterns. 15-20 Masochistic -2 CON
skill check, or rolled a natural 1 on an attack. Ok Clear and visible—a cloudy or 21-27 Irrational -2 INT
Something awful happens to you. overcast day, a room with many 28-34 Paranoid -2 WIS
lights. 35-41 Selfish -2 CHA
Dim Visible but fading light—thick 42-48 Panic -1 STR, -1 DEX
Help p25
stormcloud, heavy fog, a room with 49-55 Hopelessness -1 DEX, -1 CHA
When you use the Help action to assist weak lights. 56-61 Mania -1 CON, -1 WIS
someone, you get to roll one of the two d20 Twilight A few weak lights—dawn and dusk, 62-68 Anxiety -1 INT, -1 STR
dice. Apply your ally's modifiers as normal. a few flickering torches in an 69-75 Hypochondria -1 WIS, -1 CON
enclosed room. 76-82 Narcissistic -1 CHA, -1 INT
Dark Very faint light—moonlight and 83-85 Powerful +1 STR
Initiative p25
starlight, outdoors at midnight, a 86-88 Focused +1 DEX
When calculating initiative, use your INT modifier single candle in a room. 89-91 Stalwart +1 CON
instead of your DEX. Blind Absolutely no light at all—magical 92-94 Acute +1 INT
Tactical Wit: As a War Wizard, add your DEX darkness, a windowless basement, 95-97 Perceptive +1 WIS
modifier as a bonus to intiative, not INT. an unlit dungeon. 98-00 Courageous +1 CHA

darker dungeons: quick reference


Curing Afflictions p32 Wounds & Injuries p36 Making Camp p45
During a long rest, you can attempt to cure an When you fall to 0 hit points, roll to see how you 1. Appoint a lookout: This person is in charge of
Affliction. Pay the cost and roll a d20. Some are wounded. Wounds apply a penalty to all security and perception checks.
downtime activities grant you advantage. ability checks and attacks of a particular type. 2. Pick one primary activity: If you're not on
Treatment: Treat a wound with first-aid lookout, you can do one primary activity.
knowledge and supplies to halve the penalty 3. Sleep: Get some rest.
Affliction Removal p32
(rounding down towards zero). Treated wounds
d20 Result remain until they heal with time or magic.
01 Critical Failure: You fail to cure your Critical Hits: When critically hit by an attack,
Sleep Outcome p46
Affliction and gain a new one. check each of your wounds: roll d20 - wound Type Fatigue Stress
02-09 Failure: Your Affliction remains. penalty. Untreated wounds worsen automatically. Good -3 -12
10-19 Success: You cured your Affliction. Injuries: If you fall to 0 from a Violent attack, Restless -1 0
20 Critical Success: You clear yourself of roll for a permanent injury instead of a wound. Broken -1 +10
all Afflictions and Stress.
Lingering Wounds p36 Long Rest p47
Affliction Removal Costs p32
d6 Area Affects Penalty A long rest requires a full week of downtime in a
Level Gold Level Gold Level Gold 1 Arms/Legs STR -1 / -2 / -4 / -8 sanctuary—village, town, or city. For each week:
1 5 8 42 15 432 2 Hands/Feet DEX -1 / -2 / -4 / -8 1. Sell loot: Trade in treasure for GP and XP.
2 7 9 58 16 604 3 Torso CON -1 / -2 / -4 / -8 2. Choose lifestyle: Choose your quality of
3 9 10 81 17 845 4 Head INT -1 / -2 / -4 / -8 lifestyle for the week.
4 12 11 113 18 1,183 5 Eyes/Ears WIS -1 / -2 / -4 / -8 3. Choose primary activity: Choose one primary
5 16 12 158 19 1,656 6 Face CHA -1 / -2 / -4 / -8 downtime activity and pay any relevant costs.
6 22 13 221 20 2,318 4. Hear rumors: While resting, your adventuring
7 30 14 309 — — party learns of three rumors.
Magical Healing p37
5. Perform secondary activities: You can do two
Severity Min. Spell Lvl Example small, secondary activities during your week.
Greater Restoration p32
Minor 1 Cure Wounds 6. Settle up: It's the end of the week—complete
The Greater Restoration spell may be used to let Moderate 2 Prayer of Healing your primary activity and check your wounds.
you make an Affliction Removal attempt outside Major 3 Mass Healing Word
of a long rest. This counts as your once-per-week Critical 4 Mass Cure Wounds
removal attempt.
The Journey Phase p49
From levels 1-10, your character may roll their 1. Choose your destination: Pick a place.
Affliction Removal check with advantage when
Reopened Wounds p37
2. Choose your route: Decide on the path you'll
using Greater Restoration. From levels 11-20 d20 Effect take. Measure your route in days of travel.
however, roll with disadvantage. 01-04 The wound reopens & worsens 3. Gather supplies: Collect together any supplies,
05-08 The wound reopens mounts, and equipment.
09-20 The wound remains closed 4. Embark: Head out on your journey. Each day:
Mental Breakdown p32
• Assign roles: Assign a guide, scout, forager,
If you gain more than 3 Afflictions, you suffer a and lookout. A character cannot share roles.
complete breakdown. The character can no
Permanent Injuries p37
• Travel: Travel through the six phases of the
longer be played—they retire, go insane, or die. d10 Injury d10 Injury day: dawn, morning, noon, afternoon, dusk,
1 Lose an arm 7 Lose your nose and night.
2 Lose a hand 8 Gain a bad scar 5. Arrive: Reach your destination.
Magic Burnout p33
3 Lose a leg 9 Gain an internal
Roll your Burnout die whenever you cast a magic 4 Lose a foot injury
spell: if you roll a 1, you trigger a burnout 5 Lose an eye 10 Lose half your
Guidance p50
consequence and your burnout die also gets one 6 Lose an ear teeth DC Terrain
size smaller. Recover from burnout by: 5 Wide open plains; Clear landmarks;
• Spending a hit die: +1 burnout die size. Obvious pathway.
• Getting a good sleep: +1 burnout die size.
Dying p37
10 Tall landmarks; Small hills.
• Taking a long rest: reset burnout die to d12. You may only fail two death saving throws per 15 Light rain or mist; Woods and hills.
long rest; on the third failure, you die. 20 Moonlight night; Heavy rain or mist;
Forest with no clear pathway or markings.
Burnout Consequences p34
25 Fog; Thick and obscure forest; Mountains.
d100 Minor (SL 0) Moderate (SL 1-3)
Death Saving Throw p37
30 Clouded night; Impossibly thick fog; A
01-45 +Minor Stress +Moderate Stress d20 Outcome shifting maze; Magically treacherous
46-70 +1 notch +2 notches 01 You fail two death saving throws. terrain.
71-80 +1 hunger +2 hunger 02-09 You fail one death saving throw.
81-90 +1 thirst +2 thirst 10-19 No change.
91-00 +1 fatigue +2 fatigue 20 You regain 1 hit point and stabilise.
Foraging p51
DC Terrain
d100 Major (SL 4-6) Monstrous (SL 7-9) 5 Lush and verdant forest; Food and water
01-45 +Major Stress +Monstrous Stress
Cheating Fate p38
are everywhere.
46-70 +4 notches +8 notches If you would suffer a killing blow or fail your last 10 Forest; Coast; Abundant food and clean
71-80 +4 hunger +8 hunger death saving throw, you may instead spend a fate water.
81-90 +4 thirst +8 thirst point to cheat death in some fashion. 15 Thin woodland and greenwood. Food must
91-00 +4 fatigue +8 fatigue be hunted and water is hard to find.
20 Dry, open plains; Very little food or clean
Becoming Contagious p41
water.
Bloodied p36
Severity Contagious 25 Desert and barren or polluted land; Food is
You are bloodied when you are at 50% hp or Stage 1 Less than 25% hit points remain extremely rare and water may need
lower. While bloodied, you must use a bandage Stage 2 Less than 50% hit points remain treatment.
to spend any hit dice. Stage 3 Less than 75% hit points remain 30 Toxic or corrupted deadlands; Food is
Stage 4 Always contagious inedible and water sources are poisoned.

darker dungeons: quick reference


Chapter 14: Character Sheets
Danger Lurks
In Dark Places
The world is not your friend. In the deep,
dark places of this land, unearthly horrors
guard forgotten treasures. Dare you brave
the darker dungeons below?

This supplement offers new rules options


and mechanics to help any Dungeon Master
add a little more danger to their games.

73 pages of new rules options


compatible with any D&D 5e game

Keep track of equipment with an


easy-to-use inventory system

Add risk to spellcasting with


dangerous magical burnout

Keep players immersed during combat


with Active Defence and Active Initiative

Infect characters with


deadly diseases

Includes new character sheets


and a quick reference guide

GIFFYGLYPH