• Justin Handlin

Captain Hartchild's Guide to Rare Dragons

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Crit Academy is joined by Zac and Katherine, hosts of the Bite-Sized Gaming Podcast. A round table of DM chuckleheads discuss all things gaming. We discuss their recently launched Kickstarter for Captain Hartchild's Guide to Rare Dragons! A 5th Edition supplement contains 10 unique Dragon's, each with their own personalities, lairs, and minions. Check out their free sample Hullifex the Dragontoad here!

Thank you for joining us today here at the “Crit Academy” studios where everything is made up and your rolls don’t matter. Yup, that’s right; your rolls are like a dragon without a lair.

Let’s talk about Blank!

Dungeons and Dragons is getting its own set of Magic the Gathering Cards in 2021!

  • More than just a cosmetic setting, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms promises to integrate Dungeons and Dragons-themed mechanics

  • Zendikar Rising introduces a new “party” mechanic.

  • Brace yourselves for cards like Planeswalker Drizzt, Mordenkainen or Zariel?

  • Will we get D&D meta-themed cards like “Action Point” or “Roll for Initiative.”

Give Away: Loresmyth: Modular Dungeon Tiles - Arcania

Modular dungeon tiles are an easy way to create your own beautiful digital maps. The Arcania lets you make dark, shadowy dungeon map, rich with the fumes of arcane secrets.

Winner: Scottotto123

Didn’t win? Np, head to www.critacademy.com/loresmyth a free set of digital terrain and much more.

Main Topic: Captain Hartchild's Guide to Rare Dragons with special guests Bite-Sized Gaming

Bite-Sized Gaming, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your show?

What is your most memorable D&D moment?

Do you have any moment where you failed as a DM/Player?

Can you tell us about Captain Hartchild’s Guide to Rare Dragons and how it came to life?

What makes Captain Hartchild’s Guide to Rare Dragons different from other products?

Here we will talk in detail about the sample Hullifex.

Lore, unique features, personality, and design choices.

What kind of challenges did run into? How did you overcome those challenges?

Do you have a favorite dragon from your material?

Give Away: Jeff Stevens Games: Scourge of the Nightingale: Part 1 A Song of Love

A masked menace terrifies the region, raiding villages to fund her devious plan. Unknowingly, the adventurers stumble into her most recent evil scheme: the kidnapping of a famous performer known as Devon Artis. Their mission is to deliver a ransom and collect Devon. Though, as in most cases, not all goes as planned.

Winner: potanieck

Didn’t win? Np, head to www.critacademy.com/jeffstevens to get Villains and Lairs III and Encounters on the Savage Seas III Free

Unearthed Tips and Tricks! We bring you new and reusable content for you to bring with you on your next adventure!

Character Concept:

Eldritch Harlequin (New Format Idea: Discuss Afterwards)

“I’m the fly in the proverbial ointment, I suppose. But I’ve never been much for proverbs. They’re just rules that happen to rhyme sometimes.”

Your tie to the mysterious and fey places in the world is particularly strong. You’ve always been a mischievous sort—a troublemaker, and the person who upsets the apple-cart just to see how far the apples will roll.

What sorts of trouble has your mischief resulted in? Are there partners in crime in your past, and what’s

your relationship with them like? How does someone inclined to mischief make a living? Under what

circumstances can you overcome your natural instinct and toe the line?

Works well for… (Insert features/skills/classes/races)

Monster Variant:


Nightshades are creatures of pure hate and darkness. They spread death and suffering wherever they go. While often found in the deepest corners of the Shadowfell, they sometimes are able to walk the material world by passing through where the planes meet, and the barrier that separates them is at its weakest, such as unhallowed nights or location where great evil has been done.

Origin Monster: Young Black Dragon

Lost Features: Blindsight, Amphibious, swim, bite, claws, acid breath,

New Features:

Damage Vulnerabilities radiant

Damage Resistances acid, cold; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks.

Damage Immunities necrotic, poison

Condition Immunities frightened, poisoned

Life Drain. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 11 (2d6 +4) necrotic damage. The target must succeed on a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or its hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the damage taken. This reduction lasts until the creature finishes a long rest. The target dies if the effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0.

Void Gaze (Recharge 5-6). The nightshade releases an intense glare at a creature it can see within 150 feet of it. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or take 49 (11d8) necrotic damage and become frightened until the end of the nightshade’s next turn. While frightened in this way, the creature is also restrained. If a target’s saving throw is successful, the target is immune to the nightshade’s Void Gaze for the next 24 hours.


Fear of Pain. When this creature takes radiant damage, it can use its reaction to use its Void Gaze. If it isn’t recharged, the nightshade can roll to recharge it.


Nothing to Fear

While the party is doing a bit of travel through a hazardous forest, they come across the bones of a colossal creature that has become the framework for an ivy covered structure inhabited by forest gnomes. If the party approaches, a gnome named Buck (M, LN, tribal warrior) invites them to take shelter within their stronghold. A successful DC 16 Wisdom (Insight) check suggests that the warmth each of the gnomes are projecting is surface level only and dies a deep fear. The gnomes tell a true story of being refugees that were hounded by wild beasts before stumbling into this glade and collapsing from exhaustion. When they awoke, the bones had arisen around them and no wild creature would approach. They have been safe within the glade ever since.

The true reality of this place is more sinister. A collection of meenlocks (VGtM) spawned from the fear of the gnomes and their lair twisted the earth underneath the glade and shoved these bones to the surface. Those that stay in the glade overnight must make a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw or be overcome by a fearful trance that draws them into tunnels and the meelock lair that lies within. Wild beasts can smell an unnatural aura of dread and keep their distance. The gnomes are willfully ignorant and verbally insist that all is well. Secretly, they hope that newcomers will satisfy whatever entity is providing protection with one hand and with the other demands the infrequent sacrifice.

Those that enter the lair find that the tunnels shift and work to separate the group before depositing each creature in a central chamber to confront their deepest fears and the dark fey that project them.

Magic Item:

Bracers of Infinite Blades

Wondrous item, rare

These gold-inlaid armbands are best known as a favorite among assassins who prefer to keep their distance from their foes. Instead using the Bracers to conjure daggers that vanish shortly after their use, leaving no evidence of the deed.

As a bonus action or part of the attack action, with a flick of your wrist, you can conjure up to two magical daggers +1 into an empty hand. The daggers a transparent blue and are visibly magical.. The daggers last as long as you hold them. When released, they dissapear seconds after hitting a target.

As an action you can cast cloud of daggers spell from the bracers. This property can’t be used again until the next dawn.

Dungeon Master Tip:

Categorize your Cults.

Cultists roam the lands, following whichever monstrosity aligns with their belief, or they can easily be persuaded to follow. In any case it can easily seem that all cultists are the same, nothing really distinguishes them except who they follow. In Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes we are giving some good examples and a nice layout to give our cultists, theme and a unique feel.

Cult of Baalzebul

Goals: Restoration of honor and respect, at the cost of those who stole it

Typical Cultist: Any N PC or monster that has suffered a fall from grace

Signature Spells: Minor illusion (cantrip), disguise self (1st level), phantasmal force (2nd level), major image (3rd level)

Baalzebul typically recruits individuals rather than cults. He offers hope to those whose failures drive them to seek redemption.

He grants a boon, the Path of Baalzebul trait, that allows a favored cultist to look good in the aftermath of an ally's failure.

Path of Baalzebul. As a bonus action on its turn, this creature can choose one ally it can see within 30 feet of it. Until the start of this creature's next turn, it gains advantage on all ability checks and attack rolls, while the chosen ally suffers disadvantage on all ability checks, attack rolls, and saving throws.

-Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes-

Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick

Skills of Avoidance

Acrobatics and Athletics are crucial skills for melee combatants, particularly those who rely on mobility. While some prefer the stand your ground sort of design, nearly all melee need to reach their enemy first.

Everyone knows you can use Athletics and Acrobatics to jump over a pit, parkour up a wall, but players often forget that this sill is just as useful when jumping or parkouring over hazardous or difficult terrain. Likewise, if a trap is spotted, you don’t have to wait for it to be disabled if it can be safely jumped over.

If you can reliably hit a low Athletics check or have a decent Strength score, you can clear 10 feet with no problem, maybe even 15 or more. Meaning, smaller terrain and traps really no longer concern you, should you remember you can easily avoid them with simple jumping or parkour action.

If you have any feedback, unearthed tips and tricks, or topics you would like us to discuss, please send them to us. You can email them to us at critacademy@gmail.com or find us on Twitter and Facebook @critacademy.

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