The “Treasure Companion” is now “Blackball’s Treasure” – and it’s done!

The “Treasure Companion” is now “Blackball’s Treasure” – and it’s done!

So, last time I posted anything on here, it was telling you about a new project – a “Treasure Companion”.

Well, it’s been a year since then, and things have changed. The Treasure Companion did actually get finished, and then entered in development hell while I tried to find suitable artwork for it. In the end, it just sat there on my hard drive while I went off and did other things.

However, now it’s back. Kind of.

Basically, I’ve been talking to people about the way magic items are priced in D&D 5e, and the result of this has been that I’ve spent some time going through the items and re-pricing them all based on their actual utility and power. The upshot of this is that the stuff I did for the Treasure Companion is now all obsolete.

But the good news is that I’ve written up the new pricing stuff, and it now contains everything the Treasure Companion was going to contain anyway.

So the Treasure Companion is dead. Long live Blackball’s Treasure!

New project – Treasure Companion

New project – Treasure Companion

I have a new project in the works.

After some comments from another member of my group who was DMing 5e for the first time and was unsure about how much or how little treasure was appropriate, I put my thinking cap on and started working on the problem.

Long story short, I ended up combining Milestone Leveling (from 5e), Treasure Parcels (from 4e), Wealth by Level (from 3e and 4e), and Experience for Treasure (from BECMI and AD&D) into a single simple and coherent system.

Basically, you ditch experience points, and instead have a series of treasure troves/hoards/parcels (call them what you will). These are mixed and matched and given to the party as a combination of payment, rewards, and found treasure. Then, when the party has been given all of the treasure for their current level this triggers the milestone at which they increase in level.

It’s simple and elegant; it scales easily for parties of different sizes; and it means that the wealth of characters is more closely tied to their level. On the one hand, the DM using it doesn’t need to be worried about being too generous or too stingy with the treasure. And on the other hand the DM knows how much total treasure an average character of any given level will have acquired so the value can be used as a Wealth by Level guideline for new characters joining the party.

The tricky bit was actually coming up with the appropriate values and then coming up with nearly four hundred little blocks of treasure that match those various values.

I’m rather pleased with it, myself – and I’m writing it up into a “Treasure Companion” as much for my own use as anyone else’s (I like having my stuff in hard-copy format).

My only problem at the moment is that it’s a bit short. It’s only around 25 pages so far, which is rather short for a supplement. I need to – not pad it out, exactly – but find more material to include to make it more worthy of being produced and printed as a physical book.

Watch this space for more news as it comes…

Immortals Companion in Print

Immortals Companion in Print

The Immortals Companion is now available from DriveThruRPG in print format (softcover colour) as well as electronic format.

It’s taken me a while, because I’ve not tried to do print through DriveThruRPG before – so there was a lot of messing about with templates before I could get a proof copy that looked okay.

The good news is that this means that next time I’ll know what I’m doing so it will be quicker.

Here’s a link:

The “Immortals Companion” is done!

The “Immortals Companion” is done!

That’s right, after nearly a year of development and playtesting, my project is finished – and it has a name!

It’s now called the “Immortals Companion”, and its fully formatted and proofread and stocked with art. As usual getting art at zero budget was a major pain in the butt, although I’m quite pleased with the result.

In the end, it has five chapters and weighs in at 76 pages:

  1. “Essence” – a conversion of 4e’s “Residuum” rules.
  2. “Ruling a Domain” – a conversion of BECMI’s domain management rules (including a conversion of the mass combat rules).
  3. “The Multiverse” – a conversion of BECMI’s rather involved cosmology (needed for the immortals rules to work properly, but can be used without them).
  4. “Immortals” – by far the biggest chapter; a conversion of BECMI’s immortals rules.
  5. “Chronomancy” – a set of time travel rules extrapolated from the various BECMI-era adventures that incorporated time travel.

The PDF is currently awaiting approval over at DriveThruRPG, and I’ll put up a proper product page for it here with a link once it’s been approved.


Almost there…

Almost there…

My new supplement is nearing completion. It’s been a slow one, because it’s needed quite a lot of playtesting to make sure the rules are okay, but it’s getting there.

The only things I have left to do are to finish off the Chronomancy section (I’ve got the mechanics of time travel working okay, but I still need to decide what level the spells should be and the experience of time travelling should actually look like) and go through adding a few more examples.

Once that’s done, I can transfer the (relatively) unformatted text into a proper book format with a nice clean layout and – probably – some art of some kind. As always, art will be an issue since I’ll be on a zero budget as normal.

Anyway, here’s the current work-in-progress:


Four out of five ain’t bad…

Four out of five ain’t bad…

The new project – a conversion of various older rules to 5e – is going well. The current status is:

  1. Residuum (from 4th edition) – 100%
  2. Dominion Rules (from BECMI) – 100%
  3. Mass Combat Rules (from BECMI) – 100%
  4. Artefact Creation Rules (from BECMI) – 0%
  5. Multiverse Cosmology (from BECMI) – 100%
  6. Immortals Rules (from BECMI) – 100%

As you can see, in theory the rules for artefacts are the only ones I have left to convert.

There’s a reason for that “in theory” being there, though. One of the main reasons for doing these rules conversions is to aid the playing of old adventures – particularly the old BECMI/Mystara ones. I’ve been running an epic Mystara campaign while I’ve been writing these conversions and using the old published adventures to play-test them.

And one thing that’s struck me is just how much time travel goes on. The DA series has the PCs time traveling using an inn-between-worlds. CM4 Earthshaker has time traveling gnomes and a giant robot from the past. CM5 Where Chaos Reigns has the PCs repeatedly time traveling to different periods of an alternate world’s history and fighting time traveling bad guys. HWA3 tells us that all the immortals can time travel, and has the PCs chasing one through the time stream itself.

So as a result of this, I’ve dug out my old Chronomancers (it’s actually an AD&D 2e supplement, not a BECMI supplement) and I’m thinking of converting the time travel rules it contains to 5th edition too. The only problem is that like many time travel rules in games they’re not that well thought out. I’m currently trying to adapt them to make them more playable.

Depending on how I go, they may or may not make it into the supplement.

Meanwhile, here is the latest work-in-progress of what I’ve done so far (again, it’s not been formatted yet): Combined_WIP

My Current Project

My Current Project

I thought it was about time to introduce my newest project.

It doesn’t have a name yet (since I had to call the file something I’ve been referring to it as “5ECMI” for reasons that will become apparent – but that’s a silly name and I’ll call it something else when it’s finished!)

Basically, it’s a compilation of systems from previous editions of D&D, updated and re-written for D&D 5th edition. The majority are conversions of the “endgame” systems of the old Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortal D&D games. The idea is that each of the systems can be mostly used independently, although some are more dependent on each other than others are.

There are basically five systems that I’m converting here:

  1. The “Residuum” system from 4th edition. This is the only system that doesn’t come from the old BECMI edition of the game, and it’s completely standalone in that it doesn’t depend on any of the other systems in the book and none of them depend on it. In case you aren’t aware, the “Residuum” system is basically a system in which there is a magical substance – with 4th edition calls “Residuum” but which I’ll call something else – that is basically raw magic. It naturally occurs in faerie rings and sacred sites, and can be harvested from magical plants and from the body parts of magical creatures (unicorn horn, dragon’s heart, etc.). The rules will cover its nature and use to power spells (it comes in types, and each type can be used to replace the material components for spells of a particular school of magic) and it’s used to make magic items – and can be recovered from them if they’re broken down.
  2. The Dominion Management rules from the old Companion set. This is not the same adaption of these rules that was in Dark Dungeons. That was a direct copy of the BECMI rules. This new version is streamlined and simplified after extensive playtesting and has been designed around the implied economics of 5e rather than BECMI.
  3. The Mass Combat rules from the old Companion set. As with the Dominion Management rules (with which these are coupled) this is a new and streamlined version of the rules that’s been balanced and playtested to work with the 5e rules rather than the direct conversion that was used in Dark Dungeons.
  4. The Artefact rules from the old Master set. These are also pretty stand-alone, and can be used in isolation. To be honest, I can’t say much about these rules yet because I’ve not started their conversion yet.
  5. The Cosmology rules from the old Immortals set. These are based on the rules for the cosmology that was used in the three Immortal level adventure modules (IM1-IM3) that TSR produced. However, I’ve simplified them somewhat and I present them in a much more straightforward and didactic manner than the original Immortals set – which was infamous for being difficult to understand – did. As with most of the other rule systems, these can be used stand-alone if you like.
  6. The Immortals rules from the old Immortals set. This is going to be the biggest section of the book by far. I’m taking inspiration from both the Gold Box rules (from the Immortals Set) and the later Wrath of the Immortals rules. There’s quite a bit of conversion work required here – more than for any of the other systems I’m including – because there are many changes from the old BECMI rules to 5th edition to take into account. I’m also taking a deliberate decision to go with the “Immortals as cosmic adventurers” feel of the Gold Box rather than the later “Immortals as Gods in all but name” feel of Wrath of the Immortals – but taking many mechanical cues from the latter. These rules will assume you’re using the Artefact rules and also the Cosmology rules.

Here’s an (unformatted as yet) peek at what I’ve done so far: Combined_WIP