Category Archives: Resources

A Primer on 5th Edition D&D for Pathfinder RPG Players

5e-coverSome Pathfinder players in the Guild will be trying D&D for the first time to join the D&D Battle Royale. This is primarily aimed toward them; but people brand new to D&D will also be helped by this post, too. This also gives the basics for Pathfinder GMs to run a D&D game.

As a whole, imho, 5th Edition D&D is simpler to run at the table and is more balanced, while Pathfinder RPG allows for more unique (and more powerful) characters.

What you can do on your turn

In D&D, you can Move up to your speed and do one Action. You can take your Action in the MIDDLE of your Move! (This is quite different from Pathfinder!)

These are the Actions you can take:

  • Attack with your weapon
  • Cast a spell
  • Dash – you gain extra movement equal to your speed (in Pathfinder this is called “double move”)
  • Disengage — you don’t trigger opportunity attacks due to movement
  • Dodge – until your next turn, any attack roll against you has disadvantage (see below) and you make Dexterity saving throws with advantage (see below)
  • Help – help an ally with an ability check or (if the target is within 5 feet of you), distract an enemy so that your ally gets advantage on the roll
  • Hide – make a Dexterity (Stealth) check to attempt to hide (you must have the opportunity to hide)
  • Ready – use your reaction to do something after something occurs (e.g., pull a trap lever if an enemy steps on trap door, etc.). (Unlike Pathfinder, this does NOT change your initiative order.)

In addition to your Move and one Action, you can:

  • interact with the environment once (e.g., open a door, ready a shield, take out an item from your backpack, etc.).
  • take one Bonus Action IF you have an ability that lets you do so (for example, any character can fight with 2 weapons, so long as they are both light weapons, with their action and bonus action)
  • take one Reaction during another creature’s turn. Some special class abilities let you use a Reaction. And everyone with a melee weapon readied can do an opportunity attack (explained below)

You can always delay your turn, and jump in later.

Every square of movement is 5 feet

This includes diagonal movement. (In Pathfinder, every other diagonal square counts as 10 feet.)

Only moving out of an opponent’s REACH triggers opportunity attacks.

(In Pathfinder, these are called Attacks of Opportunity.) If you move out of an opponent’s reach, they can use their Reaction to make a melee attack against you. This means you can walk around a creature without triggering an opportunity attack, so long as you stay within its reach. There are no “five foot steps” in D&D.

Virtually nothing else provokes an opportunity attack:

Casting spells doesn’t provoke an opportunity attack.

Ranged attacks (such as with a bow or with a ranged spell) do not provoke opportunity attacks — instead, they get disadvantage on an attack roll. (See below.)

Standing up does not provoke an opportunity attack — it does cost half your speed of movement, however.

Advantage and Disadvantage

A lot of effects in D&D are translated into advantage or disadvantage. Advantage means you roll the die twice and take the higher roll. Disadvantage means you roll the die twice and take the lower roll.

Attacking someone while they’re prone, using Stealth to sneak up on someone, and other situations give you Advantage against the target. Shooting a ranged weapon beyond the first listed distance, making a ranged attack while within a creature’s reach, and a number of other conditions and special abilities give you Disadvantage against the target.

Each of your ability scores is a Saving Throw now also

This means you have 6 different saving throw bonuses. You might be asked to make a “Dexterity” save or a “Constitution” save against some danger. (In Pathfinder, you have 3 types of saving throws: Fortitude, Reflex, and Will.)

Spellcasters have “spell slots”

No spellcaster “fires and forgets”; instead, you have a certain amount of power for each spell level that you use up every day; these are called “slots.” Every spellcasting class has a number of “slots” for each spell level. Every time the spellcaster casts a spell from his or her prepared spells (or known spells) of 1st level or higher, he or she expends one of those slots.

You can also “power up” some spells using a higher-level spell slot to increase their effect; for example, you can use a higher-level spell slot to cast the 1st-level spell magic missile, to shoot additional magic missiles.

There are limits to stacking buffs, summoned creatures, and other spells

Some spells (and virtually all buffing spells) require that a spellcaster “concentrate” to maintain it. Concentration does not require any action or bonus action; this essentially places a limit of one on the number of concentration spells a spellcaster can maintain at once.

Resting is a bit more effective

Every character has a number of “hit dice” equal to their level. For example, a 6th-level fighter has 6d10 hit dice. When you take a short rest (1 hour or more), you can choose to spend some or all of your hit dice to get hit points back. For each hit die expended, you add your Constitution modifier also. A long rest (8+ hours, can only be done once per day), restores your health to full and gives you spent Hit Dice back (up to one-half your max total, rounded down).

D&D has Feats also — they’re just more powerful and rarer

At 4th level (and certain other levels), D&D characters can choose to add +2 to an ability score, +1 to two ability scores, or gain a Feat.

Magic Items are rarer and more “special”

You cannot buy magic items in D&D. (Also, gold is much more scarce.) Also, some magic items require that use a Short Rest to “attune” to them, and you are limited to 3 magic items that you can “attune” to at once.

How to die

You don’t go to negative hit points; instead, you go to 0 hit points and start dying. On your turn, you do one death saving throw: on a d20, you must roll 10 or higher. When you get THREE successes, you stabilize at 0 hit points. When you get THREE failures, you die. A natural 20 means you automatically stabilize. A natural 1 means you get two failures. If you take damage while dying, that is a failure. If you take a critical hit while dying, that is 2 failures. Another player can do a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check on you to stabilize you.

If the blow that takes you down to 0 hit points also would send you to negative HP equal to or greater than your max HP, you die immediately. (For example, a 1st level wizard who has a maximum HP of 6 hit points and currently has only 3 hit points. An ogre hits her for 9 damage. Because this would take her down to -6 or less, she dies immediately.)

Some miscellaneous differences

For every weapon, your ability modifier that improves your accuracy also  increases your damage by the same amount. (In Pathfinder, usually only Strength increases your damage on a weapon.)

With rare exceptions, a character’s ability scores cannot go above 20.

Instead of “Base Attack Bonus,” all classes have a Proficiency Bonus that applies to everything they are proficient with (such as weapons, some saving throws, some skills, spells, etc.). This Proficiency Bonus is +2 at 1st level and goes up to +6 at 6th level.

One’s AC is the same against all attacks. One’s AC is used against weapon attacks and spell attacks. (In Pathfinder, one can have lower AC if they are surprised or against special touch attacks.)

“Finesse” weapons, such as shortswords and rapiers, allow you to use your Strength or Dexterity modifier, whichever is higher. (One doesn’t need to take the “Weapon Finesse” feat like in Pathfinder).

Half cover (from another creature or a low wall): +2 AC
Three-quarters cover (portcullis, thick tree trunk): +5 AC

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Posted by on November 22, 2016 in Resources


XCOM the Tabletop RPG

chryssalidI know, I know, there’s a board game out already. But it focuses only has the strategy (base building, satellite-launching) side of the game, when the real fun part of XCOM is the squad missions.

Some of you already know that some of us have been converting XCOM to the Pathfinder RPG system. While that has the advantage of letting you pit your Guild characters against aliens, there are difficulties to the conversion.

I have also been working on just straight converting XCOM into its own pencil-and-paper system.

So here are the Google Docs for people to peruse and enjoy. Of course, they are both works in progress:

XCOM for Pathfinder RPG


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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Resources


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Ronald’s Rules of Rolling

ten-commandmentsLOOSE MORALS and VICE prevail in the Guild, and your Grandmaster is not pleased!

It has long been time to reiterate Ronald’s Rules of Rolling©. These rules prevent chaos and ensure honesty by players at the gaming table. Ronald’s Rules of Rolling© AUTOMATICALLY apply to all rolls in the Guild. As always, GMs are free to roll behind the GM screen (if you have a complaint about a roll, appeal straight to the Grandmaster). Here are the Rules:

1. Only Official Rolls count, and Official Rolls are FINAL and cannot be rerolled.

2. Your roll is not Official unless the GM told you to roll it.

3. If you are taking an action, you must declare clearly and before rolling the die in order for it to be Official. If you roll without saying what you are doing, then you repeat what you did in the last round, even if it’s a bad idea.

4. A die must land on the table (or an object on the table) to be Official.

5. If it falls out of your hand and lands on the table — even accidentally — it is an Official Roll.

6. NO one else can roll for you unless the GM says so.

7. If something interfered with the die (someone’s hand, a book, etc.) — that doesn’t matter: it is still an Official Roll.

8. If you try to reroll your die, the result of your roll will be the lowest (or highest) possible, whichever is worse.

9. If it is unclear what the die’s result is because it didn’t land flat, don’t touch it. The GM declares the result or asks for a re-roll. If you try to reroll it before the GM can act, see #8.

Moses-10-commandments-1Also, a couple tips to GMs: Sometimes ask the whole table to make a roll (like Perception or Initiative). Then go around the table, in order. This makes it easier to get everyone’s roll, and it prevents cheating. Also ask everyone to raise their hand if everyone talks at once.

Some sleuthing will reveal that Ronald’s Rules of Rolling© have been in the Guild for a while.

If anyone knowingly cheats and violates these rules, you will incur my wrath!

-Your Stern Yet Loving Grandmaster



Posted by on March 8, 2016 in Announcements, Resources


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New Addition to the Guild: The Amazons!


Here are the Amazons procuring a +2 vorpal longsword and a mirror of opposition.

The Amazons are an amazing service now available to Guild heroes. Within the confines of our limited marketplace, you can only purchase items worth 16,000gp or less. But now you can tell the Amazons to procure much more valuable items for you!

The Amazons are very capable adventurers. They can overcome the greatest of dangers to obtain some of the most valuable of magic items. However, they are only willing to do it for a price.

If there is a magic item that you seek in The Guild, but it is worth more than 16,000gp, you can order it by asking the Amazons to get it for you. But since it is very dangerous work, they will insist that you pay them the value of the item, in addition to paying for it. (You will have to pay double the price.)

In addition, you will have to wait 1 week for the item to come into your possession. Convenience isn’t free! (Exception: when you’re creating a new character)

And remember that you can tell me if you want to find something on an adventure — I can work with your GM in advance to see if there can be a quest that includes it!

EDIT: Also, gold you have earned through GMing can go toward your “Amazon Prime” credit: this is credit that lets you to order magic items on a 1-for-1 basis! As always, you must pay gold from your current character. At the same time, the value of your item is subtracted from your “Amazon Prime” Credit. (Shipping times still apply.)

-Your Thoughtful and Generous Grandmaster


Posted by on February 3, 2016 in Announcements, Resources


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Shopping Suggestions for Parents, Part 3

It’s getting to be that time of year in America to reflect upon what we have, spend time with family, and of course to SHOP!

Here is another list of shopping ideas for people who are just CUH-RAZY about Pathfinder RPG! This supplements the previous lists:

Shopping Suggestions for Parents, Part 1

Shopping Suggestions for Parents, Part 2

Here goes…

Bestiary Box

bestiaryThere are few better ways to make a GM feel like they’re “all set” than a menagerie of deadly monsters! 


This box has more than 300 creature pawns from the Pathfinder Bestiary, the first Pathfinder RPG monster book. Each pawn is printed on sturdy cardstock and slots into the plastic bases that come with the set. Included are Small, Medium, Large, and Huge(!) monsters from the Bestiary.

One should not have this without first having the Pathfinder Bestiary, however, to have stats that go with these monsters.

Because the box is heavy, it is probably cheaper to go to your FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store) to get one. In Berkeley, there are Games of Berkeley and Eudemonia.

GM Screen

pathfinder-gm-screenLet’s be honest: some kids like the Game Master role because they get to be in a position of authority with their friends. They have the privilege of handing down game rulings and determining whether their friends live or die. Well, nothing helps cement the enigmatic status of the Game Master than a GM Screen!

Secondarily (for the kids!), it also has its USEFUL functions: preventing prevents players from seeing the GM’s adventure notes and monster stats; serving as a stand for placing initiative cards; providing many useful charts from the Core Rulebook such as skill tables, condition descriptions, and stats for environmental features (e.g., an answer to “I try to break down the door!”).

Kids will also be targets of envy if they nab one of the uncommon versions that have alternate covers: GM Screen.

Technology Guide

technology-guideThe Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook from Shopping Suggestions, Part 2 provides all the core rules and options to run a full Pathfinder RPG game. The book Ultimate Equipment provides an expansion of fantastical gear and magic items to supplement those core rules. However, those books stay within the established tropes of fantasy and swords & sorcery (Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian, etc.).

That is because Paizo reserved SUPER-SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY for the Technology Guide! It is a softcover book containing TONS of technological options: including laser guns, hologram generators, cybernetic implants, remote controls for robots, powered armor, and extinction wave devices! There are also archetypes for some classes, and a new prestige class, the Technomancer, which uses magic to command robots and power technology.

Sure, this is heresy for fantasy purists. But for others this is the chocolate to their peanut butter. This supplement suits fantasy/sci-fi themed campaigns, and was published to support the Iron Gods Adventure Path. This is not at all required, however, to be a player in Iron Gods.

Hero Lab

HeroLabImageThis is on the pricier end of the spectrum, but for those students for whom CREATING A CHARACTER is a large part of their Pathfinder fun, it is a godsend.

Making a character in Pathfinder RPG, especially a high-level one, can be complicated. For some young people it is a genuine stumbling block — a black box hiding away part of the fun, which is a shame because Pathfinder RPG supports a wide range of character concepts, from druids with animal companions to gunslingers to mad scientists with detachable tumors that fight for them to mind-controlling mesmerists to world-shaping wizards. As a result, many students find themselves dependent on me or other more experienced players to selectively feed recommendations to them from the sea of options (there are over 2,000 feats!). The numerous classes, archetypes, spells, and equipment are scattered over several books, making this process even more difficult.

Hero Lab empowers some students to do the building on their own, and can open up another world within the world of the game.

Hero Lab computerizes the process and consolidates the options in navigable menus. And because Pathfinder RPG has many numerical interactions, it automates the math. So for example, if you put on that Belt of Giant Strength in Hero Lab, it adjusts all your attack and damage rolls and skill bonuses for you. If you transmogrify into a rhinoceros, it calculates your new stats!

Also, Hero Lab warns you that you cannot take that Feat because you need to meet one of its requirements first. While some might see this as a crutch that replaces actual studying of the game rules, for others it can be positive by serving as “training wheels” because it shows you specifically what went wrong: one can’t learn without knowing something is wrong first, and understanding why.

Chandra Nalaar (Guild) 10_Page_1Finally, you can add a PICTURE to your character sheet! For many kids, this is the icing on the awesome cake, and they can wave it in front of their friends and say, “SEE! Look how awesome I am!”

The downside of Hero Lab is its price – $30 for the software that supports the Core Rulebook, and $10 to support each supplemental book. So, to be in sync with the class options we use in the afterschool program that is $50 (which uses Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, Advanced Class Guide, and Occult Adventures). The Ultimate Equipment options we use in the class are another $10. And we use the improved versions of the rogue and summoner in Pathfinder Unchained ($10).

However, there are MANY upsides. One is that each supplement is an alternative way to get the mechanical options from that book (which is usually $40, or $30 on Amazon). If taken with the PDF download of that book available on Paizo’s website (even the Core Rulebook is only $10) which, if you want to, you can print off and bind at a copy store (which I actually do not recommend for the Core Rulebook because it is too big to bind!), you have the entire content of that book as well. Alternatively, one could simply get the core Hero Lab package and get the many benefits that come with it. (Though I guarantee that once one sees how easy and fun it is to make a character in it, one will WANT the supplements!)

Also, this is a gift that keeps on giving: Lone Wolf Development, which develops the software, provides ongoing updates to improve its usability and to patch changes to the rulesets even after the printing of a book is superseded by errata.

There are some free interactive Excel spreadsheets and other options out there, but they pale next to Hero Lab and they don’t constantly update.

Lastly, there are is an online community of people who create their own fan-created packages for Hero Lab, including a package that includes the options from the excellent third-party Ultimate Psionics book that I personally use.

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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in For Parents, Resources


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New Rules: CRAFTING Items in The Guild!

guildThose of you who are looking for ways to kit out your character have another option: crafting!

Mundane Item Crafting

  1. We will use the Alternate Crafting Rules from Pathfinder Unchained! This lets you pay only ONE-QUARTER the market price of the item to pay for raw materials.
  2. You can use the Craft skill to craft non-magical items! (The most common Craft skills are alchemy, armor, baskets, books, bows, calligraphy, carpentry, cloth, clothing, glass, jewelry, leather, locks, paintings, pottery, sculptures, ships, shoes, stonemasonry, traps, and weapons.)
  3. Note that you can automatically “Take 10” on these skill checks. So if you have a +10 in Craft (alchemy), you can craft a Complex (DC 20) item like alchemist’s fire with no chance of failure.
  4. CRAFTING DURING CHARACTER CREATION: Your character could have done some crafting before joining The Guild. The number of days used to craft your item(s) cannot exceed one month per Character Level.
  5. CRAFTING AFTER CHARACTER CREATION: The number of real-world days that must pass after completing the first Challenge equals ONE-HALF the number of days the item required to craft the item under the official rules.

Magic Item Crafting

  1. We will use the Dynamic Magic Item Creation rules from Pathfinder Unchained!
  2. A series of Challenges must be done to complete a magic item or enchant an already existing item: the first Challenge is Prepare the Vessel, then there is at least 1 middle Challenge (depending on the value of the item/enchantment), and the last Challenge is to Complete the Item.
  3. For each Challenge, 1 or 2 Guild characters work together to attempt the required skill checks to complete the Challenge. One of those characters must have an Item Creation Feat that applies to the item. Both real-life players must be present to do the check. You may not “Take 10” on these skill checks. Buffs to a character to improve their skill check must last for 8 hours to help. You cannot use a temporary buff to improve a Knowledge check.
  4. CRAFTING DURING CHARACTER CREATION: Your character could have crafted magic items before joining The Guild. Your character must have an Item Creation feat to do this. These items can only brought into adventures by this character (i.e., they cannot craft for other characters). Your character may pair up with other Guild characters who are lower level to help meet the Challenges in creating the item(s). You must finish choosing your class levels, feats and skill ranks before crafting. LIMIT: If the character has one Item Creation Feat, the value of the enchantments and magic items cannot exceed 50% of your Guild Account. If the character has two or more Item Creation feats, the value of your enchantments and magic items cannot exceed 100% of your Guild Account.
  5. CRAFTING AFTER CHARACTER CREATION: This takes real-world time! The number of real-world days that must pass after completing the first Challenge equals ONE-HALF the number of days the item required to craft the item under the official rules. So for example, if the rules say that enchanting a +2 longsword will take 8 days, then at least 4 days must pass in the real world for the item to finish in the Guild. There is no limit on the value of crafting magic items after your character has been created.
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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in Announcements, Resources


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Random Dungeon Generator for the Class!

1447282693Our resident expert Max Schlosberg has found a VERY USEFUL website that randomly generates dungeons, complete with maps, descriptions, monsters, and treasure!

(If you want to GM in The Guild and want to use one of these dungeons, you will need to send me the dungeon first — I find that it doesn’t seem to give enough treasure.)

Check it out:
Random Dungeon Generator for Pathfinder RPG

-Your Informative and Tolerant Grandmaster


Posted by on November 11, 2015 in Resources


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