Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pick Up PC, Eberk Ironshield: Dwarven Fighter

[Below you'll find the second of five Pick Up PCs for eleventh level play, each one can be downloaded and opened using the D&D Character Builder program. All five are from the Eberron campaign setting, although they can easily be ported to another campaign world if needed.]

Download Eberk Ironshield for use with the DDI Character Builder

Download Eberk Ironshield in PDF format


Eberk Ironshield, son of Eramus, son of Dorahn, current head of the Ironsheild family is Evard the Explorer's elder brother and devoted bodyguard. When the two were young Eberk trained all day long everyday to become a mighty dwarven warrior, he studied tactics, went through rigorous physical excersize, and sparred with the most skilled dwarves Stormreach had to offer him.

This life of martial discipline was ended prematurely when his brother Evard disappeared into the twisting tunnels of a Stormreach sewer. Eberk abandoned his routine, and began the search alone. Things were grim until he found Khava, a dragonborn from Argonnessen who traveled to the city to find her destiny.

She led Eberk through the sewers, and along with a few of Eberk's warrior companions they freed Evard from the grip of a clan of hobgoblins. From that point Eberk vowed never to let Evard go off by himself again.


Eberk lives to protect his brother from harm, to bring honor to his family, and to perfect his skills in the art of war. Of course, Evard's whimsical nature usually makes it hard to find time to practice, and running from place to place hardly increases the clan's holdings. Because of this Eberk often finds his brother's antics taxing, even as he resigns himself to the half-brained schemes. He is first and foremost an older brother, but more than that he is an honorable and brave dwarven warrior.


Eberk is brave, somber and collected. Although he rarely talks or draws attention to himself, he is always listening and watching, constantly assessing the situation. Evard is a selfless and confident man who expects more from Evard and his companions than they often give him. Strive to lead by example, become a paragon of hard work and a champion of the moral high road.


Crushing Challenge
With this technique there is only one way to escape Eberk's attacks, death itself.

The Setup
Eberk must be within five squares of the opponent and have a straight line of travel available.

The Execution
1st: Eberk charges towards the enemy using Shield Bash
2nd: Eberk uses his move action to close with the enemy.
3rd: Eberk uses an action point to attack the opponent with Blinding Smash
4th: On Eberks next turn attack the opponent with Pinning Smash.
5th: Obliterate your opponent.

Using Eberk in your Campaign

Eberk can easily be used in a campaign other than Eberron, other than his city of origin there is nothing in his character that ties him overtly to the continent of Khorvaire.

Using Eberk as an NPC

As a DM you can use Eberk as a skilled bodyguard, either protecting a prominent ally of the PCs, or more interestingly a hated rival or enemy. With Eberk's vast amount of healing abilities (a second wind that restores 50% of his health, and two dailies that allow him to heal on a successful attack) Eberk could easily become a reoccuring opponent who will quickly become a thorn in the PCs side.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pick Up PC: Evard the Explorer: Dwarven Artificer

*Art by Storn A. Cook, used under Creative Commons

[Below you'll find the first of five Pick Up PCs for eleventh level play, each one can be downloaded and opened using the D&D Character Builder program. All five are from the Eberron campaign setting, although they can easily be ported to another campaign world if needed.]

Download Evard the Explorer as a DDI Character Builder file
Download Evard the Explorer as a PDF file


Evard the Explorer is a dwarven artificer from the city of Stormreach. When he was a child and his older brother Eberk was learning the dwarven arts of combat, Evard was always off exploring the city, sometimes wandering into the dangerous sewers beneath the city. It was during one of these forays that Evard found his love.

Inside one of the many twisting passages that makes up the Stormreach sewers Evard found a tunnel leading to an ancient Dharkanni ruin, filled with mysterious artifacts and ancient architecture. Evard was enamored, and hardly noticed the hobgoblins sneaking up behind him.

Eberk saved him, leading a foray of warriors into the sewers they tracked him with the help of a dockside tough named Khava. From that point, Eberk never took his eyes off Evard. Unfourtunetely for Eberk, Evard had a taste of adventure and history and would never be the same.

Evard poured himself into the study of ancient arcane arts, and history. He lent his services to those who would take him on their quests, and quickly found regular employment with the Morgrave University, exploring ruins both on Khorvaire and within the deepest jungles of Xendrik.


Evard is fascinated with history and the arcane. Sadly he has no long term goal in mind, but floats from job to job and place to place enamored with the wonders around him. For Evard life is about adventure and nothing speaks to him more than the glorious remains of the past.


While playing Evard feel free to break dwarven stereotypes. Evard isn't somber, he isn't concerned with honor or his family's respect. Evard is a flighty, curious man who is willing to endanger himself (and by extension his allies) to find a shred of interesting lore on a forgotten culture.

Despite the problems his work encounters (or creates) Evard stays optimistic, certain in his safety even as he is seperated from the surface world by collapsing ruins. This is largly due to his older Eberk always being around, and if Evard finds himself alone if is highly likely that the situation would chip away at his happy demeanor.


Shatter the Shell
This move allows Evard to pound on an enemy as efficiently as any frontline warrior, perhaps even better.

The Setup
Make sure you are within ten squares of the enemy, but with no other opponents adjacent to you.

The Execution
1st: Attack the opponent with Altered Luck, and since you are within range give yourself a +2 to your next attack.
2nd: Spend an action point and attack the opponent with Brittle-Skin Missile
3rd: At the end of this turn, or the start of the next turn close with your opponent and start attacking with Aggravating Force, giving you a continuous +2 to hit with your next attack. Also, since you have White Lotus Enervation, they take a -1 to their AC until the end of your next turn.
4th: Continue step 3, enjoying your +3 to hit and +5 to damage.

Using Evard In Your Campaign

Using Evard in a different campaign doesn't require much of a change, just rework his background to be another city, and instead of Dharkanni ruins, he discovers a different ruin left by a group in your campaign world.

Using Evard as an NPC

Evard could make for an interesting employer for the PCs. Hiring them for protection and then occasionally putting the party in danger "In the name of research".

Alternatively, if the party has a habit of exploring ruins Evard and his friends could be reoccurring rivals, constantly striving to do things faster and better than the PCs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Pick Up PCs

[Image created by The Artifex]

First off I want to apologize for missing my posts on Saturday and Sunday, life and a contest I'm working on for Dungeon Brew have taken up a little more time than I would have liked. That caveat aside I have an announcement:

A couple weeks ago one of my gaming groups did character creation for Spirit of the Century and I was amazed at how fast and fun the experience was. Compared to 3.5 or even 4e character creation (which can take some time even with the group using Character Builder) it was a breeze. This made me think back to the product Dungeon Delve a book of ready made single-night adventures for 4e D&D.

That book is perfect for the D&D pick up game. The problem I've had running the Delves however is the time investment of character creation. By the time five people have made and printed their characters (even with two computers running the builder) we've already used most of our time or ran out completely.

Thus I'm starting a whole new feature here for the 4e Players in the audience who want a little pickup. I'll be developing parties of every level from first to thirtieth, complete with backgrounds and teamwork maneuvers. Just the thing to kickstart a pick-up game using the Delve format.

Alternatively, if you are a DM, you can use these characters as fully fleshed out characters or rival adventuring groups. Ready made NPCs with fleshed out background, pregenerated connections, and devastating tactics to sprinkle into your campaign as you will.

I'm sure you'll find the new feature, to be called Pick-Up PCs a helpful addition to the Dungeon Brew lineup.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dungeon Brew Reviews: War of Worldcraft

This is going to be a change of pace for me that I hope becomes a regular part of the Dungeon Brew experience. I mentioned awhile back that I wanted to diversify the content here and this is one of the steps towards that goal.

I recently took a look at Black Wyrm Games new adventure "War of Worldcraft" as part of a blog carnival being organized by Ed Healy of too many podcasts to mention (most notably Atomic Array) and I'm going to share my discovery with you.

The Good vs Evil Axis

War of Worldcraft is an exiting adventure that gives even the most harried of GMs a fully-fleshed and highly entertaining adventure with no necessary prep time. Everything the gamemaster needs is right there, from in depth descriptions of villains to tables on the defenses of every object your players could dream of interacting with.

The Good: The adventure is a highly entertaining read, written with a level of tongue-in-cheek wit that really helps sets this product apart. The game can be played with only a quick read through, meaning that even the busiest of GMs can easily run the module without having to drop hours into customizing it for his group. Oh, and speaking of customizing the author Michael Satran has done a great job of providing advice and extra content for the game master who does want to expand on the base adventure. The product is very modular, and even if you never play the adventure the various villains in the book and the information given on the MMORPG Megaworld can help to inspire adventures of their own.

The Evil: One of the biggest issues I had with this product as I ran through it was the font they used because I could barely tell apart the bolded words from the unbolded. As you may have guessed this is a very minor detail, but it was something that bugged me as I was reading through the pdf. Another thing that I think would have helped this product out was some sort of table of contents, while the pdf has quite the in-depth bookmark system I'm certain that the lack of some sort of table of contents can make finding your spot after flipping pages or taking a break difficult.

Bang for Your Buck
The hard copy of this book clocks in at 9.95 and the pdf sells for $6 even at So, what do you get for your money? The adventure can easily span two nights of play as written, and Michael Satran includes various plot seeds, alternative battles, and other extras that can stretch the module to fill about five nights of hardcore gaming.

Beyond the extra material included for the module, there is real detail given as to how to use the material in the book that an enterprising GM can use to fill up an entire campaign of play. The owner of this wonderful 43 book gets two super-powered villains, various robotic adversaries, a mysterious and evil organization that has the power to create super-villains, several fully-realized locations that can be visited again and again, and of course the adventure that ties it all together.

The Final Verdict
This is easily one of the best modules I've seen all year. And even if you never intend to run the game the vast amount of material packed into those 43 pages can easily be shaped and molded into whatever you want making this one of the most useful adventures of 2009. The book was well-written, and if you use the pdf and its bookmarks well organized (although the physical copy can't quite live up to the electronic version in that department).

I definitely recommend picking this book up if you intend to run Heroes Sixth Edition, and although it loses a lot of its utility with a different system this adventure can easily be modified to work with any superhero game system.

Want to learn more about War of Worldcraft? Read on...

Drop by BlackWyrm today!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Release of DDO Unlimited

So, from time to time I like to let you guys know about things like contests, or free games I find to play. Today is the gold-mine, Dungeons and Dragons Online Unlimited has just released. I was part of the beta and let me tell you, this game is amazing. It's a fun dungeon crawling MMORPG that utilizes the 3rd system of the world's most popular RPG.

Oh, and its free. That's right, free. The graphics are on par with World of Warcraft, it uses the D&D ruleset, it is set in the world of Eberron, there are literally hundreds of hours of gameplay built into the game...and it is free.

So what are you waiting for, go download it (its about seven gigs for the high graphic version so make some room) and start playing. I know I am and I'd love to see you there.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

VG Meet Dnd: The Tank from Left 4 Dead

[Below you will find a new 4th Edition Monster converted from the popular game Left 4 Dead]

The Tank

Sometimes a zombie hulk goes down, gets back up but does not fall again. Some parties were lucky to drop him the first time, others are caught by surprise when the shambling giant rises a second time. In either case the zombie hulk has taken the first step to becoming the Tank.

When a zombie hulk rises a second time it is due to a large influx of necrotic energy from the Shadowfell. Normally the hulk is destroyed and this link is severed, but in some cases the zombie survives and continues to advance, using the Shadowfell as a battery for its consumption. These zombies grow in size and power, the result is the tank.

Tank Tactics
The prefers to start off the battle with it's basic melee the Hammer Fist, and once the opponent is prone use Ground Pound to ensure it stays down forever. If an opponent attempts to leave the Tank will grab the nearest large object, such as a cart and hurl it at them attempting to drop them right then and there.

Tank Lore
A character knows the following with a successful Religion check.

DC15: The tank is a powerful zombie whose punches can knock a grown man off his feet.
DC20: The tank is an evolved version of the zombie hulk, and due to the dual nature of its death is in an interesting state of decay. It's dry flesh is very susceptible to fire attacks.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Oswald the Retired Holy Guard

A fellow RPGBN member by the name of Save vs Pointy Stick came up with a great idea for how to come up with characters for your next roleplaying game by using the Television Tropes website. His method consists of clicking the random item button of the tvtropes page until you come up with three character tropes and then tying those together. From my own experience, I suggest searching

So using his method I've detailed the following for your use in 3.5 D&D.

The Paragon
Knight in Sour Armor
Knight Errant

Oswald lived a life of service to the people, as a member of the Holy Guard of Ahrian he served his king with distinction and honor. Oswald stood proud and noble, a fine example for the people of his kingdom to follow. Thus it was a huge disappointment when Oswald discovered the king's goal of war. Unable to pursuade the king of Ahrian to abandon the cuase of war Oswald resigned from the Holy Guard and now travels his homeland preaching peace and protecting the innocent from the ravages of the war that even now threatens the fledgling nation of Ahrian.

Using Oswald in your Campaign
Obviously I've laid a lot of campaign specific detail into Oswalds description, this needn't be the case. I created that background based around the three tropes linked above. I suggest reading the tropes, and then creating your own background, after all as the DM you are the best source of knowledge about your campaign.

My personal suggestions would be to use Oswald as a mentor for the characters, or with a group of neutral or even evil aligned PCs Oswald makes a good adversary or rival.

Oswald the Wanderer CR8
Human Paladin 4/Fighter 4
LG Medium Humanoid (human)
Init +5; Senses Listen +2, Spot +2
Aura courage (10ft, +4 on saves against fear)
Languages Common, Elven

AC 23, touch 11, flat-footed 22
hp 55 (8 HD)
Fort +11, Ref +5, Will +6

Speed 20ft (4 squares)
Melee +1 Longsword +12 (1d8 +4/19-20)
Base +8; Grp +10
Atk Options Improved Disarm, smite good 1/day
Special Actions lay on hands 8 points/day turn undead 5/day (+2, 2d6+4)
Combat Gear wand of cure light wounds (1st)
Paladin Spells Prepared (CL 2nd)
1st---cure light wounds
Spell-Like Abilities
At will---detect evil

Abilities Str 16, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 14
SQ aura of good, divine grace, divine health
Feats Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Investigator, Knight's Training*, Mounted Combat, Negotiator
Skills Diplomacy +13, Handle Animal +13, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +6, Knowledge (religion) +6, Ride +14, Sense Motive +9
Possessions combat gear plus +1 Full Plate, +1 Longsword, +1 Heavy Steel Shield, bedroll, explorer's outfit, flint and tinder, signet ring (order of the Holy Guard of Ahrian), silver holy symbol of Heironeous, and a belt pouch containing 80 pp, 182gp, and 9sp.

*Knight's Training is a feat from the Eberron Campaign Setting that allows a paladin to multiclass without penalty, if you are playing without the material from that book feel free to change Knight's Training to Skill Focus: Diplomacy to further enhance Oswald's reason over violence nature.

Whiteheart Heavy Warhorse Mount
Oswald's mount Whiteheart uses the same statistics as a regular heavy warhorse, just change the AC to 20 and he carries the following equipment

Possessions Banged Mail Barding, Bit and Bridle, Military Saddle, Saddlebags, Tent