Adventure Tome I.5 – Advanced Back to Basics

Back to Basics was designed with a simple goal: allow a group of players to run through 5 levels of adventure with minimal complication and no DM. That was one of the reasons I stuck with the three base races of Human, Dwarf and Elf and only used Divine-based spells. But for some people, the more rules the better, and I get that. I also get that people love to play spell casters, so Cantrips and Arcane spells – all 9 levels – are now in the book along with four new classes to use them.

Advanced Back to Basics is a considerable expansion of the original Back to Basics. Aside from three new races - Halfling, Half-Elf and Half-Drow - this content includes feats that allow you to create a Barbarian class based more on the original AD&D Barb than the modern version, a few new feats to build a bare-handed Monk-style character, rules to make a Ranger and Druid that more closely resemble their 3.5 counterparts, plus an entire library of Eldritch (Arcane) spells that doubles the original spell selection. Eldritch spells grant the possibility to make four more classes; Bard, Eldritch Warrior (which is based on the Eldritch Knight™), Eldritch Caster (Sorcerer), or just have your Elf learn Eldritch spells at 4th level instead of Divine spells.

Did I mention that Rangers and Druids will have animal companions and all Eldritch classes will be able to gain a Familiar? That’s right, magical pets are in there too. While these extra 60 pages of content was intended for my next book, Adventure Tome II, I thought players would appreciate an opportunity to use them now to run through the first five levels again, so Adventure Tome 1.5 was born. Available at DriveThruRPG.

Path Of Legends - Adventure Tome 1.5

Path Of Legends - Adventure Tome 1.5 - DrivethruRPG price

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A Monument of Exile

What happens when the village elite go missing? You form a 1st-level search party, of course! A Monument of Exile is a character primer for Advanced Back to Basics. Designed as an adventure for 1 to 4 players, this introductory phone PDF uses a stripped-down rule set for character creation and adventuring. After escaping from Exile, upgrade your starter characters into full-fledged heroes with skills, feats and spells plus some bonus items that you found, so you can embark on five levels of player-guided adventuring in the Path of Legends Adventure Tome 1.5 – Advanced Back to Basics.

A Monument of Exile is available now as pay what you want at DriveThruRPG. As an added bonus, the mini game Dundrazee™ is also found in this phone PDF to keep you busy rolling dice during any gaming downtime. Dundrazee™ is a small game reminiscent of Yahtzee™ using the dice (or dice app) that you already have. In A Monument of Exile the heroes get separated at some point in the adventure and I wanted players to have something to do while waiting at the meeting point for the rest of their party to show up - and so Dundrazee™ was born. Details for playing the game are on the official score sheet that comes with A Monument of Exile. There is an interactive phone PDF and the option to print your own score sheets for pencil and paper enthusiasts.

Adventure Tome - Monument Of Exile

A score sheet left behind by cultists - found while trying to escape from Exil

Adventure Tome - Monument Of Exile

Character Sheet and Encumbrance Record

Click on the images below to download the accompanying PDF files for printing your own character records for Advanced Back to Basics.

Charracter Sheet

Encumbrance Record

Mayhem – The Path of Legends Card Game

Mayhem Playing Hand

An Elf, a Dwarf and a Human walk into a pub…

Alright, so there’s no punchline, but this is something I’ve been thinking about. Aside from drinking medieval spirits and planning the next dungeon delve, what do adventurers do while at their favourite tavern? I’ve seen plenty of dice game variations, and come up with a few myself, but the fantasy gaming community seems to fall short when it comes to card games. I envisioned something akin to poker, hearts or euchre, but with more of a fantasy, D&D vibe. I wanted something that wouldn’t look out of place in a fantasy setting, but I also wanted a game that we could play amongst ourselves as well. After months of thinking, and a final epiphany, I came up with a game called Mayhem. Mayhem is a strategy card game with the feel of a fantasy free-for-all battle. Slash and bash your closest opponents or hurl piercing attacks at anyone around the table. Do you use your hearts card to shield against a nasty attack or save it to heal your contender later on? Every player is a dangerous opponent, but do they have a good enough hand to carry them to victory?

While Mayhem is playable with a standard deck of playing cards, some of the fantasy flavour is lost. I’ve developed a customized deck for Mayhem which can also be used to play our regular card games as well. So even when just playing a game of euchre, it will feel like you’re in a fantasy tavern. A Mayhem deck is quite possibly the last deck of cards you will need to own, and it will definitely be one of your favourite.

The rules for Mayhem are free at DriveThruRPG, but there is an option to pay a small fee if you feel the game is worth it. Visit DriveThruRPG where you can also purchase your own deck of Mayhem cards.

Goblin Gambling Dice

Goblin Gambling Dice

An accidental off-shoot of Back to Basics, you might interrupt some Goblins rolling dice as they gamble for some items. I then wondered what kind of dice Goblins would use, and ended up with this. It's the result of a brainstorming session with my son, Liam, and though my end result looks pretty good, you could easily make your own with some wooden cubes bought from your local craft shop. I used a modified soldering iron to burn the diamond-shaped pips onto my dice, but you could just use regular six-sided dice.

Rules for the game and a better description of the dice can be found on DriveThruRPG.

3D digital files for printing Goblin Gambling Dice are now available at DriveThruRPG – STL, OBJ or Chitubox (which also has supports). $5 each or a bundle of all 3 for $10 USD.


Frequently Anticipated Questions

Why didn’t you use maps?

First off, let it be clear that I love maps. However, to write such an expansive adventure that could be run by players only it was necessary to leave out certain restrictive elements of tabletop gaming – detailed maps was one of those elements. I find that using the adventure narrative to give players any pertinent info and options is a more effective way to keep the game rolling. Spending (wasting?) time trying to figure out if one player can make it to a particular spot on the map without breaking any rules over complicates what could be a simple and enjoyable gaming experience. That being said, I am looking into ways to incorporate maps into future adventures without compromising gameplay.

Why did you combine Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma into Willpower?

I’ve always felt that it didn’t make sense to isolate these three characteristics from each other. It does make sense for someone to excel in one physical trait, be it agility, strength or toughness, without exhibiting exceptional qualities of the other two, but not with mental traits. I felt that a successful adventurer’s psyche should improve gradually in all aspects with experience.

Why don’t I see my favourite class/race/skill/feat/etc.?

Adventure Tome was built using any available SRD content from various editions of D&D, but it isn’t exhaustive – some just didn’t translate into a game environment that doesn’t rely on a DM running the show while others were hampered by copyright infringements. That doesn’t mean you can’t import your favourite elements of D&D into your Adventure Tome game whether it’s a particular race or specific class variant. As long as it doesn’t have elements that rely on a DM’s input or specific map location references then the character could be built close to its original intent with a bit of work while using the existing class and race builds for inspiration and guidance.

Where’s my favourite SRD spell?

Many spells rely heavily on the DM’s input or ruling, or on map location specifics such as grid references. Some of these, such as fireball and lightning bolt, were adapted to be usable in the Adventure Tome but spells like wall of fire just didn’t work out. However, if you think it’s possible to adapt some of these spells for your character’s repertoire then do so by all means.

Why did you separate Divine and Arcane spells?

Back to Basics was originally designed with Divine classes only, then expanded to contain Eldritch (Arcane) spells and classes as well. Since I was aiming to eliminate as much complication as possible to make gameplay more enjoyable, Divine classes were designed to have access to all spells available to their casting level, but I left out access to Cantrips. It seemed to be a fair trade, and also reasoned that Divine classes used spells through a form of inspiration, not memorization.

When Eldritch classes were introduced I wanted them to be very different from the Divine. They were given access to 5e Cantrips but limited to knowing only a few memorized spells for each adventure. Instead of being inspired by a higher power, the Eldritch attain their spells from grueling rituals and extensive study, giving them access to a more dangerous form of magic than the Divine casters which also felt like a fair trade off.

Will Adventure Tome expand past 5th level adventures?

Yes. I am currently working on the next adventure for 6th-level characters – Into the Wrythewood. But instead of creating a book for characters of levels 6-10 I will instead be releasing each adventure separately to minimize the waiting time, then producing Adventure Tome II when levels 6-10 are complete.

Don’t forget to visit the gift shop on your way out of the dungeon!

From stickers and magnets to mugs and shirts, there’s something for everyone at the Pen & Forge Redbubble shop. All of the amazing black and white artwork from the Path of Legends books is now being coloured and loaded onto product.