Unearthing Arcana #004

Hi, this is Tyler, writer of Zargo Games! It's been a long time since I've published a blog post, but I felt like it's a rewarding experience to review and share homebrew content created by other D&D creators, so I decided to return to my Unearthing Arcana series. I'm not sure if this will be a regular feature, but I think it's important. Unless I have a reason to later, I don't think I'll have any themes to these for now.

Both of the products featured are from the DMs Guild.

Inventory Slots - 5e Rule Variant

By Jacob Vickers and Tyler Legg LINK

Brief Summary: Add an inventory slot system that's more in-depth but less cumbersome than the existing weight-based carrying system.

Overview: While I'm the kind of DM that prefers to handwave any kind of encumbrance in my games, I understand that there's a time and a place for that kind of mechanic. With that in mind, this product does a lot to streamline those rules and make them both easy to understand and adjustable to your preference.

While I wouldn't exactly say that the document is pretty, it's clearly laid-out and easy to read. It serves its purpose without trying to be too fancy, and I can certainly appreciate that over some products I've read that are overly decorated to the point of being illegible. The document begins by explaining why you should worry about inventory restrictions, and agrees that while inventory management is never added to increase fun, it can add to the realism of a game and that these rules streamline the system to make it less cumbersome (which I agree). The basic rules are simple: a character has a number of inventory slots equal to their strength (plus or minus some if they're not medium-sized). Items take up inventory slots, and if you go over your capacity, your speed is decreased, all the way to 0 if you're greatly encumbered. Next, it explains how you can expand your inventory space with bags, pockets, and more, and how different storage items might impede your quick access to the item (if an item's in a bag, it takes longer to access than if it's in your pockets). Then, it addresses other kinds of containers that you wouldn't take with you, like wagons and chests. Finally, it gives examples of different items and how many inventory slots they would take, making it easier to understand how much an average person could hold.

Verdict: As a rule set, this is a phenomenal work, though I think personally I will continue to just handwave encumbrance unless I end up running a hexcrawl or something like that. Personally, I'd increase the average carrying capacity by a little bit, but otherwise this is a great set of rules that I could see getting heavy use by many DMs.

Goblin Warbands

By Christopher Dornan LINK

Brief Summary: Increase your pool of goblin threats with thirteen new variations.

Overview: Right off the bat I'm struck with how visually impressive this product is. There's a cover page with a full-page illustration that makes it look like an official Wizards product, and then a subsequent title page that's laid out nicely. After that there's a short table of contents and then it gets straight to the goblins.

The first goblin is the goblin sneak, which is a trap-laying ambusher that has an adjustable CR based on the kinds of traps it has. The next is the goblin pyro, which, as the name suggests, is a volatile flame-wielder that can explode on death. Third is the goblin ratlord along with its giant rats. It's a straightforward beast tamer with its own company of beasts. Fourth is the goblin wolfrider, which rides wolves into battle and can hamper a party's progress with nets as well as more lethal weapons. Fifth is the goblin firecaller, a mage goblin with fire spells like fire bolt and scorching ray.  Sixth is the goblin psycho, which is essentially a goblin barbarian, as hilarious as that sounds, though it can deal significant damage and take hits that most goblins couldn't. Seventh is the goblin shaman, which is a support spellcaster with some healing abilities. Eighth is the goblin sniper, a simple long-ranged skirmisher. Ninth is the goblin lasher, both a whip-wielder and a spellcaster, with some profane spells like animate dead and bestow curse. Tenth is the goblin firelord, another spellcaster with more powerful spells, such as the dreaded fireball. Eleventh is the goblin mastermind, a deadly goblin rogue with sneak attack powers. Twelfth is the goblin warboss, a powerful fighter with the action surge ability. Last is the goblin warpriest, another support caster with stronger combat capabilities and healing features.

After that all that's left is the back cover, which has two small paragraphs describing the document.

Verdict: I was blown away by how professional this document looks and how much thought and effort was put into the variety of goblins. If you're running a game that prominently features goblins, this is a must-have document, and it's free so there's no reason to not download it!

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