Tuesday, March 15, 2022

5E: Third Party Products for D&D 5th Edition

For most of my time playing DnD 5E we avoided 3rd party stuff. Some of that early stuff wasn't very well balanced and once DnD Beyond launched it was super convenient to use it and not worry about 3rd Party stuff. However, as we played through one Campaign after another we started seeing some of the warts of DnD 5E, especially the Monster Manual and its "Challenge Rating" system. One of our Dungeon Masters found that Kobold Press' Tome of Beasts were far more challenging than anything in the Monster Manual and, in my opinion, understands CR far better than I do.

This year will be my 30th Anniversary as a Dungeon Master and for most of that time I didn't worry about Encounter design or CR and I just used what I though would be good for the Story. Our Friday group is usually 7 or 8 Players and most of them are really good at 5E. Its hard to challenge them and the more I tried to embrace Encounter design and CR the less fun it got for me as a DM.

I've decided that in this Hyperborea campaign I'm going to allow 3rd Party Player options and I'm going to run combats like I used but with a better understanding of how to approach it with double the Party size and exceptional Player skill.

We'll see how it goes. I hope I'll make fun and dynamic fights but I might have to revert back to using mechanically planned Encounters. My players will let me know pretty quick how that will work and I'm looking forward to that.

In fact, I'm preparing to use some rules I've stumbled upon online to spice things up. The one House Rule I'm looking at right now is that when you gain an Ability Score Increase you gain +1 to an Ability Score and a Feat. I realize that I am giving more levers to my highly skilled Players but I also think I'm going to help them round their Character's out. Again we'll see.

The 3rd Party product I'm currently looking at is Velda's Spire of Secrets which has an interesting Necromancer class as an option for one of my players. 

Actually, it has a lot of interesting Classes, Sub-Classes, Feats, and other cool rules. I intend to review in the coming days. 

You can Preorder Velda's Spire of Secrets here.

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