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Ch-ch-changes (to how we write)

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Let me tell you about our normal writing process – how the pork intestines of D&D turns into the breakfast sausage of our comics.

Zach and I play separate games of D&D. He plays with his friends and I play with mine. Then we talk about D&D and what made it funny, and then one of us (usually me) distills that down into a rough script. We go back and forth on the script until we like it. Then Zach draws it, I letter it, and it’s done.

I want to step the writing quality up and that means a change in process. We are building a module out of which we will both play D&D and write our scripts, so that rather than an amalgamation of TTRPG experiences. We are taking a small hiatus to build up the world around our new space-fairing heroes and release it as both comics and as a playable adventure.

See you soon!

Patreon Changes

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We are shifting gears on Patreon again, as Masterwork comes closer to being a final product and after we saw the reception to our paper minis.

Free Splatbooks will still be a thing, but they’re going to be a community unlocked feature. I am still working on the mechanics of this, but essentially, our Patreon community will have the keys to making various splatbooks free for everyone else. The goal here is to avoid PWYW (because, ironically, it costs money to set up that way on my store, and the DM Guild / DriveThru RPG get half of everything if we use them) without gate-keeping all of our content. The hope is that it’ll feel more like our general readers are getting gifts from our supporters. The splatbooks are going to start featuring more maps and modules, too, with an emphasis on custom monsters and items. And while it’ll remain 5e focused, I am definitely going to experiment with making these things usable with, or at least friendly to Pathfinder 2E.

The big focus on Patreon though is going to be Paper Minis. It’ll be the ONLY place you can get the black & white versions, the source files, and community-created minis.

Speaking of Minis, the votes are in from our delightful crew, and we’re going to start making a gigantic pack of paper minis to go with The Dragon Heist module. Look for updates soon.

In the meantime, here are our new tiers:

Black & White Paper Minis. – $1
Discord, Splat Books, and a Voice in What We Do – $3
Color Paper Minis as we release them. – $5
Access to Source Files. – $10
A custom Paper Mini Every Month – $15

Masterwork Update

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Masterwork is with Lynn for editing, and with some testers for sanity checks. I’m pumped.

Let me tell you a bit about the system, which is the first part of my own RPG that is being sort of… grown out of 5e.

The 5e works right now, players pick their weapon from a list of somewhat limited options, and then usually stick with that weapon until such time as they find a magic version of it.

In Masterwork, there are three tiers of weapons, with each tier capable of dealing more damage and having various collected effects. The tiers should sound a bit familiar: simple, martial, and specialized. These represent how many properties (which we call Mechanics Tags) each weapon can have and the size of the damage die, with specialized weapons getting the best of both worlds.

Separate from Mechanics Tags are the weapon’s intrinsic Style Tag, which determines damage type and the stat used to attack and damage enemies. These most drastically affect gish classes, with kensai monks and hexblade warlocks getting the shorter end of the stick, so Masterwork is shipping with some special rules adjustments to help them out.

This tag system lets players and DMs build custom weapons that don’t exist in the PHB and that aren’t necessarily well-represented by the items that exist. It also allows players to create objectives for their equipment as a form of character progression, and gives them a way of quickly expressing their desires to crafter NPCs should they decide to commission a weapon.

This is necessarily a bit crunchier of a system for managing equipment than D&D 5e players are perhaps used to, so it’ll also come with some printable tools for helping players keep track of their equipment and what it does.

In the Darkness

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A figure is blinded by a bright light. The title reads: "The Arcana Check Presents: In The Darkness: Intuitive Vision Rules for D&D 5e."

Vision rules in 5e are often time-consuming to implement on the fly. Lights stretch out to x-number of feet in multiple states of brightness, and the areas revealed are changed as people move their characters. This is fantastic for a computer game – or as a feature of certain online tabletop environments – but in person, the distances that characters can see are often best-guessed, ignored completely, or worse, counted out one tile at a time during a disagreement about the rules.

This document tries to make the vision rules more intuitive by removing the need for distance calculations as well as seeking to be more inclusive by having the key-word for detecting creatures and objects being to sense.

Grab the PDF on the Thieves Can’t Patreon, or on the DM guild.

Spellswords

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A female warrior with a glowing book and a two-handed sword stands atop the corpse of a drooling monster. The title text reads, "The Arcana Check. Spellswords: Caster subclasses for the D&D 5e Fighter"

In this edition of The Arcana Check, we explore the Spellsword, a fighter with casting abilities that takes its cues from the Warlock instead of the Wizard. Then we do the same thing, but with Druids, and add spellbook rules for the Eldritch Knight on top of it all. Click the cover to grab the PDF on our Patreon.

Humanity Revisited

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A human woman in medieval armor and prominent shoulder pads has unsheathed her sword. Her back is to a forest. She looks off-page to an unseen foe. Above her, the text reads: "The Arcana Check: Humanity Revisited."

In Humanity Revisited, humans gain a new racial feature known as “Determination” to set them apart as creatures living in a fantasy world. They also gain four new sub-races: Wanderers, Common Folk, Wasteland People, and Hill Folk. Click the image to check it out in The Arcana Check on Patreon.