Dungeons and Dragons

So you might notice a few major changes around here.

As of now, this website is no longer Role-Play Craft, and is now 9th Key Press!

Why the change? Mostly because I wanted to transition away from my intermittent amateur content and move into more professional independent and free-lance efforts. I’ve added dungeon maps to my repertoire fairly recently and these have given me the confidence to attempt to do something that I consider very important: to work for myself.

Me and my wife are launching 9th Key Press as an independent RPG content producer. Our first step is a Patreon (you can check it out here). This website will serve as a place to showcase our free content, especially the items we provide as early-access on Patreon to be later shown on here.

As producers we hope to create a variety of products centered around RPGs. Supplements similar to what I use to do under the Role-Play Craft moniker, but also maps and art. Things like printable miniatures as well, and one or two page worksheets to help Dungeon Masters develop their campaigns.

One of the things I want to put a lot of effort into is to create an archive of maps and illustrations provided for free under the Creative Commons license to help independent creators, especially new ones, to get their feet without having to spend a lot on commissioning maps and art for their early projects. I’ll be working out the details in a few weeks, so stay tuned. A lot of those free-for-use items will be provided first through patreon as early access content.

So this is a map I did early on in my mapping efforts, during Inktober. It was the second day’s map, if I remember correctly, and for some reason I decided to do tiny tiny tiny brickwork. It took forever, it pained my hand, but I loved how it looked. It really helped to obfuscate my amateurish skills at that time.

Here it is for your enjoyment and personal use!

Our Patreon currently has several pieces of free content that haven’t yet made the transition over here, so even if you’re not interested in funding our patreon you should still hop over there to grab the free stuff and follow us for more.

As for the content that used to be hosted on here, most of it has been archived away to either be cannibalized or re-written with more mindfulness and professionalism (and edited by my very talented wife). We’ve kept the Using Skills posts up because frankly they’ve proven to be the most popular posts I’ve ever done as Role-play Craft. I still think they need a lot of work, but you can find them under their own category in the menu.

Until next time, thank you for checking us out and for those who have been here since the old days, thank you so much for continuing to check out my work through periods of silence.

And now we finally come to the last part of our ongoing series on the skills of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. Last time we covered Stealth, and for this final discussion we’ll be going over that friend of rangers and barbarians: survival.


Using Skills – Survival

The bent blades of grass. The occasional broken dead twig from the surrounding autumn forest trees. A slight smell still on the air; of horse sweat and steel.

“Less than an hour,” the tracker said, brushing dead grass out of the way of the muddy hoof-print. “Riding east hard, though they’ll need to be turning south-east to get around the river.”

Survival is the skill of thriving outside the confines of civilization.

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Welcome to the next edition of Using Skills! Last week we looked at Medicine, and this week we’ll be looking at Nature. Enjoy!


Using Skills – Nature

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The wise woman pulls a cluster of dried herbs from a flour sack and tosses them in a cauldron while making a note in her book. A struggling wood elf scours the floor of the dense forest for a certain white flower, knowing the taproot of this local plant will neutralize snake venom. The green knight scans the trees, confused as to how birch trees could be growing so far south. Nature is the knowledge of flora and fauna, and the lore of the wilderness.

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Last week we covered History. This week, it’s all about that woogy feeling you get around creeps. That’s right, Insight. Or, a PCs spider sense. Enjoy!


 

Using Skills – Insight

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The guard captain reads over the suicide note a third time, noting a rather matter-of-fact tone that wouldn’t match the nervous man now hanging from the barn rafters. The barbarian narrows her eyes at the guide she hired to get her through the city to the harbor, finding his manner and speech ringing false. The minstrel strikes a chord on his lute as he listens to the crowd, getting a feel for their mood before deciding what to play. Insight is your natural awareness and empathy of other people and creatures.

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And now back to our Using Skills series. Last time we covered Deception, this time its…


Using Skills – History

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The cleric studies the small wooden idol, trying to determine if it matches the descriptions of ancient orc fetishes she had learned about years ago as a scholar. A thief selects an unassuming jewel from the vault he has broken into, knowing this one to be the crown jewel of the old kingdom. The paladin pales as he deciphers the name carved in old draconic above the sarcophagus, having heard it many times in ancient tales of evil. History is the domain of those who study the past in order to further their fortunes in the future. Read Full Article

Last week we covered Athletics. After a hiccup in the order, I present to you Using Skills – Arcana! We are now back on schedule.


Using Skills – Arcana

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A wizened scholar pores over an ancient text once thought of little note, but he is beginning to know better. A treasure hunter traces her finger over the sigil set into the chamber wall, remembering the right way to draw the symbol so as to not set off the ancient trap. The warlock repeats a phrase he learned early in his youth, once believing it to be a child’s rhyme but now knowing its true power. Arcana is the domain of arcane lore and secrets; the deep well of knowledge about the power that weaves itself throughout existence.

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Welcome to the third part in the Role Play Craft Using Skills series. Last time in this series we covered Animal Handling, and today we’re covering Athletics! I appreciate the feedback on this series so far, and I’m glad a lot of you are finding it useful or enjoyable.

You might notice that we’ve skipped Arcana. This wasn’t intentional – I’m just bad at planning. We’ll cover Arcana next week.


Using Skills – Athletics

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The half-orc carefully chooses another hand-hold on the sheer cliff face, lifting himself little by little toward the ridge above. A kensei leaps from a tree branch far across the skirmish field to land in front of the goblin chief. The sailor, thrown overboard, tries to calmly keep her head afloat amid the storm-chopped water. Athletics is the domain of heroic physical feats against incredible odds.

The Player’s Handbook describes it thus: “Your Strength (Athletics) check covers
difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming.” (PHB pg.175)

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Welcome to part 2 of my weekly series on using the skills of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. Last week we covered Acrobatics, and this week we’ll be going over Animal Handling

As mentioned before, the point of this series is to clearly define what each skill is as well as provide examples and options for using it in your game. Some skills, such as Animal Handling, seem (to me) to not be used as much as they should. Hopefully this series of posts will inspire you to try something new in your games, or provide your PCs with the opportunity to do so themselves.


Using Skills – Animal Handling

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A woodsman coaxes a bear cub, badly burned by a bushfire, out from under a dead log. A hunter watches warily as a dire wolf stalks nearer, trying to figure out if the thing is curious – or hungry. A charging knight guides his stallion to jump over a thorny wall of brambles with only the slightest touch. Animal Handling is the domain of those with a connection to the beasts of the world, and the desire to control them in some way.

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Greetings and welcome to a bit of a departure of the usual Role Play Craft fare. I tend to stick to optional rules mechanics or campaign and story content. However, my content production is around one or fewer posts a month these days – generally because what I do release is pretty comprehensive or wordy.

Recently I’ve begun to try to organize myself using the Bullet Journal technique, and in doing so have challenged myself to practice certain daily, weekly, and monthly habits. One of those that pertains to this blog is to get one post published a week. What this means is I need to generate smaller bite sized bits of content to space out the time between the larger rules modules and story content.

Thus this limited series of blog articles was born: Using Skills. What I hope to accomplish with this series of articles is to give both Players and Dungeon Masters a good idea of what a Skill is, it’s uses, as well as unique ways in which to use it. This latter effort is a bit of a continuation of the last post dealing with Skill Specialties. Hopefully this will make this series useful for beginner, intermediate, and veteran role players.

I’ll be going in alphabetical order, and you can expect a new blog post about Skills each week on Tuesday until we reach “Survival” -whereupon I’ll need to find a new weekly subject. Interspersed with these, hopefully around once a month, will be the larger posts of rules mechanics and story inspiration that I tend to release as PDFs.

That’s the plan, anyway! There’s no telling what might happen between a penchant for procrastination and probable undiagnosed ADD. With that being said, let us begin with the go to skill of gymnasts and foppy duelists…


Using Skills – Acrobatics

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The agile thief leaping from a rooftop into a small window below in the alleyway. An elven ranger falls from a slippery cliff, but rolls expertly to avoid hurting herself. A cocky duelist somersaults over two brutish bandits to come up behind them. Acrobatics is the domain of those wishing to perform stunts of agility and balance.

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(PDF Here)

I’ve been running Al-Qadim (well I have ran one session anyway) converting on the fly to 5th edition. I soon realized that I wanted to get a weapons, armor, and gear list set up for use with it, as a lot of the weapons and armor you see in Al-Qadim are different and there is quite a bit of variety in their goods and services.

So, I’ve spent two manic days putting this monstrous PDF together. I’ve come up with the items and prices based on scouring through the Al-Qadim books, the 2e Player’s Handbook, comparing it to the 5e Player’s Handbook, and a good bit of my own fiat. I’ve added even more items to the lists from the 2e Al-Qadim books that I felt were missing (no coffee beans listed for trade goods? come on!). I also made a table of clothing sets to give examples of how the clothing listed before that might be used by different people in the Land of Fate.

Anyway, here it is in one giant WIP PDF. Enjoy!