Adventuring Party Sheets in Dungeons & Dragons
Updated: Apr 3
What if your D&D Party had a Character Sheet?
In Dungeons & Dragons each player has a character sheet, but what about the party? Well, thanks to TikToker Scene Four, we know the answer. The party as a whole isn’t much different from each character. Why not give a character sheet to your party in addition to their individual characters? Imagine it for a moment. At the start of the campaign or in Session 0 the players decide what type of adventuring party they want to be. Once they know the type of party they want to be at, this can help them decide the types of adventures they want to take on. This not only helps the players decide what type of game they want to run but also helps the Dungeon Master in deciding what sort of encounters or story hooks to build.
Deciding what type of adventuring party they want to really help lay the groundwork for character motivations as well as building character bonds. Are they a religious order who hunts down evil magic users? How about a thieving crew who has a love for fine art? Do they want to be a group of monster hunters who seek out new challenges? Whatever they decide, it sets the tone and goal of the characters as a party, instantly binding them with the same sort of motivation.
So, why do we want a character sheet for the party? Well, because the party as a whole can progress beyond just character levels. Instead, we are essentially giving the adventuring party rewards, goals, reputation, and of course progression in a field-specific to their unified goals. In the RPG Blades in the Dark, this is handled by a Crew Sheet.
During character creation, the players create a criminal organization or faction they want to be a part of. The process develops allies, enemies, territory, and even special abilities that the members of this organization have. This is not dissimilar to a background feature of player characters, but one they all share. The great thing about this beyond what has already been stated is that over time each of these features grows over time and of course, this means becoming more renowned or infamous. As this happens, new organizations become aware and their faction tries to influence, ally, or even destroy your faction.
What’s really great about Party Sheets for your party, is that it treats your party as sort of a main character in the story as well. We see this in a lot of popular mediums. Since we are talking about Dungeons & Dragons, we would be remiss if we didn’t share the example of Critical Role's Legend of Vox Machina. People in the Tal'dorei react to the band of mercenaries of Vox Machina with a variety of feelings, not least of which is “Vox Machine? What a fucking joke!” Now, this feeling is completely independent of a feeling for each individual character but is for the group as a whole.
So, how does the “Party Faction” Level Up?
Well, that’s easy, by expressing goals, driving conflicts, or pushing the essential nature of the group's faction. So, instead of just character development of “Who am I?” the players develop a response to “Who are we?” This can add a layer to the game that is usually rooted in simple tasks like “we want loot” or “we have to save a city” but turns its head and allows you to explore it in finer detail. What do you think? Is this something you would try in one of your games?
D&D Unearthed Tips and Tricks for DMs and Players
Character Concept: From Crit Nation Member Zac Albright: Meatmaker, Male Goliath
Description: Meatmaker is close to 8ft tall with a very muscular build. He wears only loose-fitting elk furs and elk skin trousers. He carries no weapons but when enraged grows fangs, claws, and a spiked tail.
Personality: Despite his appearance, Meatmaker is actually very sweet and routinely displays dog-like characteristics such as walking around with his tongue hanging out, circling his bed three times before lying down, having a heightened sense of smell, and doing a dog's happy dance whenever he sees a turtle. Meatmaker can't read or write but is an absolute genius when it comes to cooking meat. He can turn almost any meat into the tastiest treat that you've ever had. Meatmaker has unfortunately developed the trait that every time that he lies and he is compelled to mention turtles. This is due to the trauma that he experienced as a child when his mother, (who also taught him all of his cooking skills), cooked Meatmakers pet turtle, fed it to him, and then lied about it. Meatmaker was traumatized by the experience and now mentions turtles every time that he lies. This has led to much confusion whenever he is actually talking about turtles and not lying.
History: Meatmaker grew up in a goliath tribe that lived in the mountains. During a particularly long winter when Meatmaker was in his youth, the tribe experienced a shortage of food. This is when his mother resorted to cooking Meatmakers pet turtle and fed it to him. When Meatmker reached adulthood he left the tribe and has bounced around various mercenary companies, mainly serving as their cook. During his travels, he forgot where his tribe was from and hasn't been able to find them again.
Motivation: He wants to find his family again and wants to find all manner of exotic meats and spices to perfect his craft. He also hopes to open his own turtle pet shop one day.
Monster: Witch Doctor
Lost/Altered Features: Resistances become bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical, non adamantine, Immunity to poison and the poisoned condition. Stench, language, telepathy, bite and claw.
Plague Aura 3/day. As a bonus action the witch doctor can pour a vile concoction over its body. For 1 minute when another creature that starts its turn within 10 feet of the witch doctor must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be infected with the sewer plague (DMG). If the creature failed the save by 5 or more, they also gain a level of exhaustion. On a successful saving throw, the creature is immune to the witch doctor’s aura for 24 hours.
Poisoned Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8 +4) piercing damage and the target must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The poisoned creature is paralyzed. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Poisoned Blowgun. Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one creature. Hit: 5 (1d4 +3) piercing damage and the target must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 24 (7d6) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
The witch doctor can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The witch doctor regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
Attack. The witch doctor makes one attack with its blowgun.
Detect. The witch doctor makes a Wisdom (Perception) check.
Plague Swarm (2 Actions). The witch doctor points to a space it can see within 30 feet and conjures a swarm of insects (MM). The insects are friendly to the witch doctor and its companions. Roll initiative for the summoned creatures as a group, which have their own turns. They obey any verbal commands the witch doctor issues to them (no action required by them). If the witch doctor doesn’t issue any commands to them, they defend themselves from hostile creatures, but otherwise, take no action.
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Encounter: An Alchemist’s Sticky Situation
Sonnl Blackanvil, a female dwarf mage, keeps a stockpile of assorted concoctions, potions, and other strange herbs and mixtures inside of her vault. The door to her vault is solid iron with intricate molds displaying a bold anvil used as a table with alchemic mixtures placed on top. The door is sealed with the arcane lock spell.
To protect the vault’s contents, Sonnl has set a large clay jar filled with black, sticky, flammable liquid. A special concoction of her own creation through experimentation. The concoction’s core ingredients are sovereign glue (DMG), alchemist’s fire (PHB), and flint and tinder. She nicknamed the mixture, Ember Oil. The door is rigged in such a way that anyone opening the door triggers her trap.
When a creature opens the door it triggers a tripwire that spills the combustible liquid from a jar. A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check is necessary to spot the thin wires tied to the door and trap.
When the trap is triggered, the jar spills out in a 5 foot by 15-foot line. A creature in the area must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw taking 2 (1d4) fire damage at the start of each of its turns on a failed save or half as much on a successful one.
Additionally, the sticky nature of the ember oil makes movement difficult. The creature’s speed is halved, it takes a -2 penalty to AC and Dexterity saving throws, and it can’t use reactions. On its turn, it can use either an action or a bonus action, not both. Regardless of the creature’s abilities or magic items, it can’t make more than one melee or ranged attack during its turn.
If the creature attempts to cast a spell that requires somatic components with a casting time of 1 action, roll a d20. On an 11 or higher, the spell doesn’t take effect until the creature’s next turn, and the creature must use its action on that turn to complete the spell. If it can't, the spell is wasted.
A successful DC 18 Intelligence (Investigation) check allows a character to deduce the trap’s trip line and pulley system, granting advantage on a thieves’ tool check to disarm. A successful DC 20 Dexterity check using thieve’s tools disarms the trap, disconnecting the wire from the door. Unsuccessfully attempting to disarm the trap triggers the trap.
This effect can only be removed by universal solvent, oil of etherealness, lesser restoration or similar effects.
Magic Item: Battle Caster’s Brooch of the Unknown
Wondrous Item, very rare (requires attunement
A creature attuned to this magic item gains the following benefits:
While wearing this equipment when a hostile creature’s movement provokes an opportunity attack from you, you can use your reaction to cast a spell at the creature rather than making an opportunity attack. The spell must have a casting time of an action and must target only that creature. Additionally, you have advantage on Constitution saving throws that you make to maintain your concentration on a spell when you take damage.
You are hidden from divination magic You can't be targeted by such magic or
perceived through magical scrying sensors.
Dungeon Master Tip: Locations Where Adventure Begins (That aren't in a Tavern) in Dungeons & Dragons
In a fantasy setting such as Dungeons and Dragons, most quests and hooks start from popular gathering locations. These are usually common areas such as Inns, taverns or town halls. While this is a tried and tested method, there are many other locations that can be found in most villages and cities that can help change up the opportunities for our heroic characters.
Part of the job of the Game Master is to constantly drop in adventuring hooks for the players to latch onto. While job boards and skulking cloaked figures in the corners of taverns are nice. Sometimes we want to change it up to freshen up the game a bit. In our blog, we’ve tossed together 5 Locations Where Adventure Begins (That aren't in a Tavern) in Dungeons & Dragons.
Gates. The entryway to a city is often guarded to some extent. Depending on the risks to the community it may or may not be a lot. But in general, even small villages have some sort of militia patrolling the area or protecting an entry point or two. City Gates or similar ports of entry often have herds of people standing in long lines to enter. This is particularly true if the location is a prime spot for merchants to pass through.
This makes the point of entry into a village or city a great place to hear rumors from those waiting to enter. The chatter can easily reveal recent monster attacks, disappearing citizens, notable events between noble houses, or even special events. If you want to help bring your world to life, you can instead describe events or other oddities that may stand out to the characters waiting at the entry point. A great example of this, maybe several of the folks in line have red eyes with clearly burning vision. Asking around or offering simple knowledge checks could reveal to the characters that a plague or monster effect is the result.
Player Tip: Roleplaying an Artificer
Artificers are as much artists as they are technicians. They see through gifted eyes, perceiving loosed magical energies flowing around them, and with practiced skill they pluck the loose bits of metamagic to form it into useful objects and enhancements, layering eldritch power onto their allies’ weapons, armor, and other gear to augment their natural talents. By using the same techniques, artificers can cobble together useful devices by imbuing arcane magic into the bits and pieces they carry with them, sometimes to create simple devices to destroy their enemies, and at other times to create traps and obstacles for their foes. They could also craft useful and obedient servants.
The spells one artificer learns might be similar to those mastered by another, but the differences in technique vary based on culture and heritage. How an artificer learned his or her craft often influences the essential characteristics common to artificers. As a result, the following new feats showcase how cultural knowledge and tradition might modify how an artificer approaches the magical techniques he or she masters. Since these feats are all designed for the heroic tier, any artificer that meets the prerequisites
can take these feats.
-Robert J. Schwalb- Dragon Magazine 387
A selection of exciting new creatures to add depth and variety to the Elementals. Each new elemental type has also been split between "lesser" or CR3, and "greater" or CR7 for even greater possibilities to throw at your players. That means 10 new elements and 20 new creatures
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