One of the things I did to prepare for the Seaward! campaign was whip up a quick Dungeons & Dragons reference guide for my mostly-new players.
The cheat sheet summarizes the core mechanics of D&D, runs through a basic Turn in Combat, describes the Actions available during a typical Combat Turn, and slams through a quick glossary of D&D’s most-used terms and abbreviations. If that sounds like something you might want to bring to your table (or if you’d like a little more insight into my DM style), keep reading!
Dungeons & Dragons has a terrific variety of creatures for players to use when creating their next great adventurer. Even classic fantasy beings like humans, elves, dwarves, and halflings can be tweaked with variant options or distinctive subclasses, and there are plenty of oddball options for players too! Cat-people, magic robots, centaurs, fairies, shapeshifters, bird-people, devil-people–there’s something for just about everybody, and it’s a list that keeps expanding! (I’m super psyched for the Owlin coming up in Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos). But there’s one roly-poly folklore trickster spirit that I think would make a terrific player character: TANUKI!
Yeah, my obsession with Japanese monsters absolutely does not end with the gigantic radioactive kind! Tanuki are yokai, and yokai are a “class of supernatural entities and spirits in Japanese folklore.” Yokai include a vast array of ghosts, monsters, demons, spirits, goblins, demoted gods, and people, animals and even inanimate objects transformed by magic, long life or other strange, unknowable forces. There are HUNDREDS of different Yokai, and they range from terrifying, paranormal killing machines to harmless goofball pranksters. Yokai don’t fit neatly into a single category of ghoul or ghost, but I think it’d be pretty fitting to think of them as equivalent to The Fey. The Fey which includes nice-guy Disney fairies like Tinkerbell… but also includes baby-stealing gremlins, undead curse-mongers, tricksters that spoil milk while you sleep, and all kinds of unknowable freakazoids. Tanuki tend to land on the “oafish jokester” end of the yokai spectrum… but if you push these jolly goofers too far they’ll retaliate spectacularly! Sounds like a kick-ass Bard to me! Keep reading to see how I’d use D&D’s existing rules to “homebrew” a playable Tanuki, complete with a Level 1 character sheet!
First things first! If Jess, Rachel, Julie, Megan, or Shawn are reading this, STOP. Please?! C’mon, be cool!
OKAY GOOD (I hope). I don’t think they read this or even know it exists, but ya never know! Seaward is my first on-going, homebrew Dungeons & Dragons campaign! I’ve written and run a couple one-shots and even ran several sessions of a campaign I was writing, but that sputtered out. A lot of D&D does, in my experience!
Seaward is an adventure designed for players with little-to-no D&D experience, but it’s also intended to be engaging and exciting for more experienced players too. This first post will be a sort of “Session Zero”: an origin story for this campaign, a brief look at my own D&D experience, a rundown of the choices I made and why, plus a slate of cool pre-generated player characters! If that sounds cool to you, and again, you aren’t Julie, Shawn, Megan, Rachel, or Jess, read on, brave adventurer!