What’s In The Bag? (Demoniac)

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts details the contents of such magical bags.

A Demoniac’s Bag of Holding

This pouch of tanned leather has irregular bulges along its surface. It looks as though it has been stitched together with sinew. Merely touching the container makes the handler feel uncomfortable. The bag is tied closed with a leather thong, and its ragged mouth can be stretched wide enough to deposit a Small creature in it.

  • The skeleton of an adult halfling male, wired together and complete except for the missing left hand
  • Four small vials marked “marilith blood” worth 100 gp each to a collector or wizard
  • Half-full box of powdered sulpher measuring 13 inches by 7 inches by 11 inches
  • Petrified Human Heart
  • Thirteen iron spikes, each of which is 7 inches long
  • Mostly blank journal. The words “I died” are scrawled on the third page in what appears to be blood
  • A black sheep skin
  • Thirty-nine black candles, all of which have been used to some extent
  • Tinder box
  • Broken horn
  • +1 dagger etched with evil-looking sigils
  • Small-sized hand of glory
  • Box holding 13 pieces of used white and black chalk
  • 13 gold coins each marked on one side with a leering demonic face
  • Bottle of Ink
  • Quill-cutting kit
  • 17 pieces of parchment rolled together
  • 133 brass coins

What’s In The Bag (Smuggler)

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts details the contents of such magical bags.

A Smuggler’s Bag of Holding

This bag is nearly indistinguishable from any other duffel, though keen-eyed observers who are knowledgeable about stitchery will note the high quality of the bag’s construction.  This bag of holding can be opened wide enough to insert or remove a case of wine or a keg of ale. The bag contains:

  • Two cases of wine, each holding twelve bottles worth 12 gp apiece
  • Three small kegs of whiskey worth 65 gp each
  • Well-made wooden box holding 350 gp of snuff
  • Used disguise kit
  • Ring of thieves’ tools
  • Courtier’s outfit in the current style
  • Set of woolen clothes, including a cloak, dyed black
  • Six complete outfits which can be mixed and matched to fir into most social situations
  • Costume jewellery worth 50 gp
  • Brand new tricorne hat
  • Potion of invisibility
  • Two signet rings, each depicting the seal of a different house
  • Six different falsified manifests. Detecting their fraudulent nature requires a DC 16 Intelligence (Investigation) check.
  • Bloody silvered dagger
  • Rapier
  • 101 cp
  • 320 sp
  • 466 gp

What’s in the Bag? (Noblewoman)

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts details the contents of such magical bags.

A Noblewoman’s Bag of Holding

This small clutch is decorated with a collection of shiny jewels. Once open, the small bag reveals itself to be much larger in size. The opening of this bag remains quite narrow.

  • Vial of perfume
  • Flask of whiskey
  • Finely crafted small dagger
  • Grooming kit
  • Narrow silver bracelets, worth 50 gp
  • Warm wool socks
  • Long silver chain with a dragon pendant, worth 25 gp
  • Pearl of power
  • Journal written in tidy script detailing the owner’s interactions with nobles from various houses
  • Small silver bell with depictions of a dragon, worth 100 gp
  • Riding crop
  • 28 cp
  • 51 sp
  • 198 gp

What’s in the Bag? (Footman)

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts details the contents of such magical bags.

A Footman’s Bag of Holding

This finely made bag opens to a reveal a seemingly endless void. The exterior is crafted of a sturdy fabric and a silken rope fastens the bag shut.

  • Long roll of red carpet
  • A fine cloak trimmed with fur
  • Gold cloak clasp inlaid with pearls
  • Noblemen’s outfit
  • Courtier’s outfit
  • A well-made top hat
  • Vial of perfume
  • Shoe polish and a cloth
  • Flask of brandy
  • A small bag with dried fruit and nuts
  • Grooming kit
  • A book titled Tales from the Dark Woods, which includes frightening stories of lost children and strange woodland creatures
  • 50 cp
  • 100 sp
  • 212 gp

What’s in the Bag?

Ah, that moment when your players take down an NPC wealthy enough to possess a bag of holding. They want it to store their own goods, sure, but it didn’t come empty now, did it?

This series of posts detail the contents of such magical bags.

Veteran Knight

Your players have run afoul of the city guards, but when you pull up the stat block you realize it isn’t going to be as effective as you hoped.

We present to you, the veteran knight.

Veteran Knight

To be regarded a veteran, most knights have seen their fair share of war and atrocity. Outside of a wartime environment, many veteran knights become watch commanders or household trainers who teach younger members of the house in warfare and force of arms.

 

Find this stat block, and others like it, in Houses and Heraldry for 5e on DriveThruRPG.


Houses and Heraldry

old fashioned book with a house shield of a black elk on a green and white backgroundThis book sketches out ten noble houses for your campaign. Each house is laid out on one page; the top half contains the house name, its motto, a representation of their heraldic device as it would appear on a shield, and an information block detailing important personages, numbers of troops, and vassal houses. The lower portion provides enough detail about the interesting characters of the house to get your imagination going, but leaves plenty of room for you to add your own details. See a sample here.

Pick up your copy today on DriveThruRPG.

Why Taverns?

Why taverns? I posed this question in the foreword of the original version of Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear. Taverns are where we got our start, five years ago. We were so proud of our work at the time, though reviewing it shows how inexperienced we were and how much we’ve grown since then.

The past five years have seen an improvement in every aspect of what we do. The writing is sharper and more concise. The art is more skillfully executed, and more of it is produced in-house. The maps look great. The layouts improve every release.

We couldn’t have believed five years ago that our humble little release would be the stepping stone for working with other publishers.

If you’ve noticed a slowdown of Dire Rugrat releases, it’s due to just that fact. If you like what we do, you may be interested to know that Kelly has done work for Kobold Press, Playground Adventures, Flaming Crab Games, and other third-party publishers of D&D 5e materials. I’ve worked with Rogue Genius Games and others.

But… back to the question. Why taverns?

The local watering hole is a representation of the community as a whole, whether that community is a neighbourhood in a larger city or a tiny hamlet. Adventurers can go to the tavern, figure out what the locals are like and what problems they have, solve those problems (or make new ones), and return to the taphouse to collect payment before moving on… or not. I’m certain entire RPG campaigns could be set in a tavern, just dealing with the drama created by all those visiting adventurers!

If you downloaded the latest Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear because you received a notification of an updated version, thank you for your patronage these last five years. 

To those who are new to what Dire Rugrat does, welcome!

I’m excited to see what the next five years hold for us and our little company, and hope many of you reading this will come along for the ride. Regardless, put your feet up, pour yourself your favourite drink, and enjoy this little slice of our gaming reality.

We’re pleased to announce the anniversary edition of Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear. These new files include more original artwork, a revised colour map, and additional stat blocks for 5e and Pathfinder.

Ken Pawlik, September 2020

 

Pick up Your Copy Today

Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (5e)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (Pathfinder Compatible)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (System Neutral)  

   

Exploring the College

This whole not homeschooling thing is going okay. Of course it is day two, so time will tell.

We made dice bags this morning. And we used them this afternoon as our Rugrats started their first gaming session in our new campaign.

For those of you who are curious, we are using 5e Dungeons & Dragons to run this campaign.   

Tour the School

We used maps from The Fall of Mith: Mithos Manor as the basis for the school. These maps worked great for our purpose, but you could make your own, or use other ones you already have.

We printed them out and put them on the table so the Rugrats could visualize where they were.

The new students met their teachers (that’s us!) and one of the goblins in the kitchen. This goblin, the most civilized of all goblin residents at the school, asked the students to take care of a little problem upstairs.

Fight the Dire Rats

The trio of new adventures made their way into a series of storage rooms while their teachers waited in the hallway. 
Rugrat #3, a barbarian with a frying pan (we are using a club’s stats and just calling it a frying pan), waded in bravely.

“I’m good at this!” Yelled Rugrat #3 as she hit one with her frying pan. 

The boys followed in close to behind. Rugrat #1 used his shocking grasp cantrip while Rugrat #2 used his sneak attack and rapier. 

Learn, Learn, Learn

Math: recognizing numbers, adding dice together, identifying the values and shapes of the various dice, subtracting hit points 
Reading: locating, reading and recognizing words on the character sheet 
Storytelling and Visualization: picturing what was described, and playing along with the story
Teamwork Skills: finding the best strategies to defeat the swarm of oversized rodents

Incentivize

The Rugrats have learned chores and good behaviour in the real world will earn them inspiration points for the game. For those new to D&D, these can be used for a bonus on rolls.  We are hoping this encourages them to do things around the house with a good attitude. 

One Last Lesson

I’ve heard a lot about the pepper and soap experiment, and I figured this was the perfect thing to start our first potions class off with. It also served as the perfect transition out of the game, and back into the real world.

Potions: The Magical Substance Called Soap

I put the pepper in the bowl of water, then I put dish soap in a small container.

Everyone put their fingers into the pepper and water and watched as the “germs” clung to them.

Then we dipped our fingers in the “magical potion” and watched what happened when we put our fingers in the pepper water again.

I had them guess what the magical potion was, and then we talked about cleanliness, soap, germs, and of course, COVID-19.

Join Us Again Soon

The new students have only just started to explore the school, and more trouble awaits. 

Stay tuned: we’ve  got more adventures to come. 

The Dagger of all Daggers

Our interest in writing RPG products stems from our love of playing RPGs. One of my favorite campaigns, and certainly our most epic one, is Way of the Wicked. Written by Gary McBride of Fire Mountain Games, this adventure path allows the PCs to be anything but good. (Specifically, it actually recommends they all be lawful evil.)

The Bull & The Bear coverSome years ago, we ran through this campaign, taking the time to explore the cities more than the adventure path may have intended, which is where the Bull and the Bear was born. The PCs began amassing a reasonable collection of taverns, some of which have been published by us since.

We enjoyed dropping a fair few 3rd party products into this PFRPG campaign, including the 101 New Skill Uses by Rite Publishing and Legendary VIII: Evil by Sam Hing and published by Purple Duck Games.

It was in the latter we pulled Black Spider – a magical weapon (and a then some). Though intended for use by the BBEG, it was allowed in our evil solo campaign. (I should note here this product received a poor review and indeed has some glaring oversights.)

This blade was legendary in the course of the campaign. One moment I still clearly remember was when many of the party had fallen, with only the rogue (myself) and our anti-paladin remaining. Both of us were near the death. The righteous paladin still stood before us, and with the blade knocked from my hand, and my companion drawing her last breath, I was sure we were done for. Then this diminutive construct unleashed its fury upon the virtuous knight, scuttle across the floor before actually puncturing through his calf (hello double nat 20!). Perhaps it stole a bit of the thunder from the characters, but it earned this weapon much favor from its master.

Very recently we decided to revisit a version of Way of the Wicked: an alternate reality with some minor and some glaring differences. All of the PCs are rogues. The valiant Mitrans in the country are unknowingly demon worshippers (those pesky demons and their deception filled long game!). Our PCs did not start in prison (which made sense, but if you haven’t played WotW as intended, give at least the first module a go – it’s amazing!).

Some things have stayed the same, and one such similarity is the presence of Black Spider. With the switch to 5th Edition as the framework (as well as some of those glaring oversights), we’ve had to adapt the blade. Here is our modified version below. Again, a big shout out to Purple Duck Games for creating an amazing (and overpowered!) collection of weapons, as well creating one of my favorite weapons to date.


BLACK SPIDER

Weapon (dagger), legendary (requires attunement by a creature that meets all the listed requirements)

Requirements. A creature that wishes to attune itself to Black Spider must meet the following criteria.

  • Any evil alignment.
  • Proficiency in Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
  • Sneak Attack feature.

Black Spider grows in power with the creature it is attuned to. When a creature attunes itself to Black Spider, it gains all of the benefits listed for a creature of its current level.

  • When you reach 2nd level, Black Spider gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage. The dagger maintains a telepathic bond with you, and regularly urges you to commit acts of violence.
  • When you reach 4th level, Black Spider can animate itself and act independently from you. When it animates, the barbs lining the blade twist and act as spidery legs. Black Spider maintains its telepathic bond with you and follows your instructions, unless it can cause more carnage by doing something else. Black Spider’s starting statistics are below.
  • When you reach 6th level, the telepathic bond between you and Black Spider allows you to see and hear everything occurring within 60 feet of the dagger as an action. This effect can be ended as a bonus action. While using this feature, you have disadvantage on ability checks, saving throws, and attack rolls until the start of your first turn after ending the effect.
  • When you reach 8th level, Black Spider can urge you to overcome certain conditions. If you fail a saving throw and become charmed, frightened, paralyzed, or stunned, you can use your reaction to reroll the saving throw. If a condition allows a new save to overcome it at the end of each of your turns, you have advantage on it. If you are unconscious, Black Spider can use a bonus action to deal 1 hit point of piercing damage to wake you. Black Spider Enhancement: Armor Class increases by +1 (natural armor), Hit Points increase by 7 (3d4), Dexterity increases by 2 (add +1 to Armor Class,stealth skill, and Stab action to hit and damage), Challenge increases to 2 (450 XP), Sneak Attack damage increases to 14 (4d6), Multiattack action is added adding one additional attack per round. Black Spider’s CR 2 version is below for your convenience.
  • When you reach 10th level, Black Spider’s bonus to attack and damage increases to +2. Black Spider Enhancement: Stab action to hit and damage increase by +1.
  • When you reach 12th level, attacks made with Black Spider score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20. Black Spider Enhancement: Hit points increase by 7 (3d4), Challenge increases to 3 (700 XP), Sneak Attack damage increases to 21 (6d6).
  • When you reach 14th level, when you make a sneak attack against a creature, you can gain half of the sneak attack damage as temporary hit points. Once this feature has been used, it can’t be used again until you have finished a short or long rest.
  • When you reach 16th level, if you have surprise when you make your first attack with Black Spider in an encounter, you deal maximum damage. Black Spider Enhancement: Hit Points increase by 7 (3d4), Challenge increases to 4 (1,100 XP), Sneak attack damage increases to 28 (8d6)
  • When you reach 18th level, Black Spider’s bonus to attack and damage increases to +3. Black Spider Enhancement: Stab action to hit and damage increase by +1
  • When you reach 20th level, if you are hidden from your target when you hit it with Black Spider, it must succeed at a Constitution saving throw with a DC equal to 8 plus your Dexterity modifier plus your proficiency bonus or die. Once you have used this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can use it again. Black Spider Enhancement: Proficiency bonus increases by +1 (affecting skills, and Stab action to hit), Hit Points increase by 7 (3d4), Dexterity increases by 2 (adding +1 to AC, Stealth skill, Stab action to hit and damage), Sneak Attack damage increases to 35 (10d6), Black Spider can make three attacks per turn with Multiattack.

Black Spider is both greedy and jealous. You have disadvantage if you make a melee attack with a weapon that is not Black Spider. This penalty does not apply if your attack is made with a weapon in your other hand when you are fighting with two weapons.

 

 

 


What’s the most memorable weapon you’ve used in your game?

So Many Goblins….

Earlier this year the Dire Rugrat team started thinking about goblins. The way we saw it, goblins are an often used enemy in role-playing games, but they have become typical; PCs know what to expect when they see them. We wanted to bring some life to these poor little creatures, really give them a chance to shine for their 15 minutes of fame, so to speak. What better way to do that than 18 unique goblins, reminiscent of our Bullies & Brutes collection with the common thread being, well, goblins. So many goblins.

Moar Goblins

Moar Goblins coverAs we set to work building a collection of goblin NPCs, we realized we wanted to do more than just add some unique abilities to the same old goblin stat block: we wanted to address the lack of variety. To be fair, unlike some systems, 5e makes it relatively easy to customize NPCs, but even still, goblins were goblins. And so we ended up creating Moar Goblins, a mini-bestiary featuring a sextet of goblinoids adapted from a variety of real-world cultures. Back when that came out last April, we shared details of the PDF, including a sneak peak of one of the goblin sub-races. The book received a great review (and 5 stars) from Endzeitgeist.

Beyond the basic builds, which all have at least one intriguing feature, it is undoubtedly the copious flavor and inspiring supplemental text that makes this pdf come into its own; it s also a big, big plus that this does not simply regurgitate the same tired creatures we have seen over x editions and instead opts to go for the uncommon and novel, drinking deep from the wellspring of more obscure myths and legends.

-Endzeitgeist

It also substantially delayed our progress on the NPC collection. The pesky little creatures seemed to be everywhere like gremlins in the gearworks of our lives.

Fittingly, perhaps, it wasn’t that one goblin was a problem, it was that there were so many.

But I digress.

After a lengthy delay, we have finally chipped our way through the biographies and stat blocks of 18 different goblins. There are over 35 pages of NPC content and while all of the characters in the book are a goblin of some sort, numerous racial variants, capabilities, motivations, and challenges (ranging from 1/2 to 12) mean your PCs will never look at goblins the same way again.

Some of my favorites include the capable psychic goblin twins, Nix & Zub, the ever-helpful gudro bonga Eakogs Clutternugget, and the tokoloshe traitor N’tambu. If you love a little demonic backstory with your goblins, look no further than Flubboks Hugemitt, but if complicated family dynics is your thing, you’ll want to check out Neeha and Vaishik – these gudro bonga have a few family matters to sort out, assuming the PCs don’t wipe them and their children out.

A lot of love went into these NPCs, so much so it saddens us a little bit that your band of adventurers may just want to wipe out these poor unfortaunete souls just because of their race. We hope you’ll consider checking out this colourful collection, and showing your PCs that goblins can be just as diverse as any longshanks. To that end, we present Eakogs Clutternugget, a sneak peak at the offerings inside 5e NPCs: Goblins! Goblins! Goblins!


Eakogs Clutternugget

“Trade! Trade! I have many goods for trade!”

A great many years ago there lived a goblin who desired little more than to assist weary travelers. Through chance, he had come to be in possession of a magical drinking horn that produced the most delicious beverage imaginable and sated even the most parched traveler. Atop a hill in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, the benevolent goblin resided. When a traveler stopped to rest his weary feet and called out for water, the goblin appeared, as if by magic.

Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

Always dressed in a red cape, the goblin would provide drink to those in need. Most were incredibly grateful, and word spread of the benevolent goblin and his incredible beverage until one day a traveler came through not looking for aid, but for the horn itself. When the goblin produced the magical vessel the traveler snatched it and jumped upon his horse, riding off into the distance faster than the goblin could follow.

Heartbroken, devastated, and feeling betrayed by those he had assisted, the goblin retreated into his hidden hilltop home. His child, Eakogs, who had long watched his father’s good deeds was perplexed. What would possess someone to take something which did not belong to him? How could his family aid those in need now?

Travelers continued to arrive at the hilltop hoping for a respite from their difficult journey. With the drinking vessel stolen and the benevolent goblin’s spirit crushed, their hopes were dashed. Over time fewer and fewer people made their way to the valley hilltop and fewer still hoped for that magical beverage.

Tales of encounters with the benevolent goblin stopped being shared and he became something of a myth or legend that could no longer be substantiated. Many a time Eakogs asked his father if they could assist the travelers in another way, but the betrayed goblin bid his son stay inside the safety of their hidden hilltop home lest they lose any more than they already had.

For years Eakogs watched and puzzled over how he could restore his father’s spirit, and do his part for the world. When he came of age Eakogs set out, promising his father he would return with tales of generosity, both his own, and those of the beings he encountered. Secretly, Eakogs hoped he could also find the horn, but he feared raising his father’s hopes.

Eakogs began to roam the world, offering assistance to those in need. He quickly discovered that many beings were leery of goblins, while others were outright hostile. Still, Eakogs made peace with many a traveler, providing goods from his laden down pack and often going without if he stumbled on those less fortunate.

While he carries a weapon, Eakogs uses it for only for self-defence. He is furious if anyone attempts to steal from him, certain the world would be a better place if everyone shared and was kind to each other. Eakogs prefers to trade items rather than sell them, though he happily accommodates shopkeepers who have no need for the goods he carries and would prefer coin.

This strange but optimistic goblin continues to search for leads of his father’s missing horn, and would be eternally grateful to any adventurers who helped him locate it.