• Justin Handlin

Goblin Stone - Publishing on Dmsguild

Listen Now: Episode 21

We interview Benoit de Bernardy of Goblin Stone, an indie D&D publisher and best selling author on the dmsguild.com. His most notable work is the Adamantine best seller Banquet of the Damned!

Benoit shares with us his journey into publishing. We here about his challenges and how he overcame them.

Unearthed Tips and Tricks: New and reusable D&D content for you to bring with you on your next adventure.

Character Concept:

My Days are Numbered

Long ago, you were given a chance to see beyond the veil and learn that which no man should ever know: the nature of your own death. Maybe you were almost killed in your youth, and when you were at the brink a voice told you that your time would come at the end of a blade under the full moon. Perhaps a fortune teller grabbed your arm and stared at you through milky eyes, telling you of a red-haired man who would end your life with poison from his signet ring. Maybe a family legend has been passed down for generations saying that every first child would die by drowning, and you’re the oldest of your siblings.

Whatever the omen, your character knows how or when they’re going to die (or possibly

both). How would you expect such a character to act? Maybe they’re incredibly bold; they feel no fear from any danger because they know it isn’t their time. They could spit in the eye of a beholder, laugh in a dragon’s face, and walk right up to an undead warlord and challenge it to a duel. After all, they know how they’re going to die, and it’s not from a beholder’s eye ray, a dragon’s fiery breath, or an undead warlord’s blade. Or maybe, instead of being incredibly courageous, they’re incredibly paranoid. After all, omens tend to be vague and cryptic, right? Maybe that “red-haired man” refers to the dragon, whose horns resemble slicked-back hair? Maybe “at the end of a blade” refers to the peninsula where the dragon was roosting. Perhaps your character has an irrational fear of water because of the prophecy passed down through their family.

Then again, maybe the prophecy was a complete fabrication by a poor beggar who was trying to earn some coin by making up predictions on the street, and the only reason

your character wasn’t disintegrated instantly by the beholder was because your character’s

boldness threw it off-balance. Maybe you’re better off not knowing.

Monster Variant:

Carrion Spy

Origin: Spy(MM)

These surreptitious stealthy spies specialize in incapacitating their foes. Their world is filled

with espionage and information gathering. Professional Spies. Carrion spies are often

hired to seek out dark secrets for blackmail, gather evidence to convict a guilty person, or

plant evidence to frame the innocent. Regardless of the job, when the task requires a more subtle approach than simply assassinating the target, these are the spies you hire.

New Feature:

Carrion Coated Weapons. The spy’s weapons are coated in carrion crawler poison. When the

carrion spy hits a creature with an attack, the creature must succeed on a DC 13 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 itself on a success.

Encounter Concept:

Embedded Puzzle Lock

The party comes across an elaborate lock on an ancient door deep inside a dungeon. The rogue grins, walking up to the lock, and admires the craftsmanship of the numerous lettered dials adorning its face. She grabs one of the dials and gives it a turn, expecting to spend a few minutes poking at the lock every which way. Suddenly she’s knocked to the floor as a burst of sparks erupt from the mechanism. The cleric, casting a heal spell to resuscitate her, offers a suggestion:

“Maybe we should try and find the answer instead of just guessing.”

The embedded puzzle lock is a puzzle where the players have to solve some sort of a code in

order for it to open. The code could be letters represented on dials, numbers on a series of

combination wheels, shaped stones that have to be arranged in the right pattern, or any brain teaser you could think of.. Unlike most puzzle locks, an incorrect solution will result in the solver getting hit by a magically resetting trap. Even if there’s only a few dozen possible solutions, a party won’t be able to just sit there and attempt each one until they get it right. Instead, they’ll have to search for clues, and solve the puzzle through exploration and skill checks instead of just rolling until they get a high enough number.

Magic Item:

Potion of Swift Action

Potion, very rare

In your hand you hold a glass vial, inside of which a silvery substance seems to be

moving and swirling on its own. While it’s in your pocket, you can feel it vibrating as if it’s

impatient and wants to be used.

When consumed, the substance in the vial grants you the ability to take a sudden, momentary burst of speed. The drinker can use the fighter’s Action Surge ability, granting them an extra action, which can be used for anything they would normally be able to do in an action. This ability can be used only once, and it must be used within five minutes of drinking the potion or the magic of the potion is wasted.

DM Tip:

Lead by Example

You’re frustrated with your players because none of them engage in the game world. None

of them give interesting descriptions to their attacks or spells. Their energy level is always

low, and you notice them checking their phones all the time. They take forever on their turns in combat, and you don’t know what to do!

Let me ask a question: are you leading by example?

How energetic are you when you’re describing the game world? Do you add an exciting and

interesting flair to enemies’ attacks and spells? Do you find yourself glancing at your own

phone right before getting upset at players for doing it? Do you plan out enemies’ turns in

combat, or do you wait until it’s their turn to start looking at their stat blocks?

Do your players joke around and constantly talk out-of-character in a campaign that you

wanted to be serious and gritty? If you want it to stop, then lead by example. Don’t joke around with them, and keep your attention on the game as much as possible. The more you play the game the way you want it to be played, the more the players will take your lead and do the same.

Player Tip: Don't be a Dick! You can avoid dickitude by...

Reading the Damn Rules!

Do you know what your character’s abilities do?

Do you know how much damage your weapon does or how your attack bonus is calculated? If your game takes place in an established setting, do you know what city your character lives

in or what the surrounding area is? Do you constantly find yourself not following the plot

of your game because it’s referring to people or places or things that you don’t understand?

Read the book! That’s not meant as a reprimand or a criticism, but it’s shocking how many players don’t bother to actually read the book (preferring to coast on knowledge

conveyed to them by their DM). Maybe you don’t own a Player’s Handbook for whatever reason that’s fine. You can get the 5th Edition D&D basic rules for free on Wizards of the Coast’s website, and reading it from beginning to end shouldn’t take more than an hour or two at most. When you understand how the game works, how your abilities work, and so on, the game will run so much more smoothly. You won’t need to constantly ask other people how to do something you want to do; you can just do it, and your DM will love you for that!

So take a little time and read the rules!

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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Keep your blades sharp and spells prepared heroes!

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