Heliana's Guide to Monster Hunting - A 5e Supplement
Created by Loot Tavern
Level up your game with epic monster hunts, harvesting, and crafting.
Latest Updates from Our Project:
First Look: Pygmy Rakshasa! - Creative Progress Update - Production
28 days ago
– Fri, Dec 24, 2021 at 04:17:37 AM
Today we're looking at one of the new boss monsters, the Pygmy Rakshasa, its associated minions, and its magic manipulating traits. We'll give a breakdown of where we're at in the creative process, and pass on some production news.
Tony Two Tails
You've likely heard of Rakshasas; shapeshifting fiends inspired by Hindu mythology that, despite all their transformative abilities, always get their hands back to front, with the palms on the outside. Nobody's purrfect. In the 5e realm, they have a penchant for devious contracts, winning souls for their fiendish masters, and the innate ability to ignore magic of 6th level or lower. We've adapted this creature to make for a more chaotic (though equally challenging) boss fight.
Tony Two Tails is a pygmy rakshasa and head of a mafia-like organisation operating out of the ancient Tomb of Dah Roude. The tomb never rests in one place for long, teleporting around the Lotof's End desert, and making it one of the few crypts unmolested by tomb raiders. Using the wealth of gold available in the tomb, Tony has driven up food prices throughout the desert causing its inhabitants to become desperate enough to make deals with devils...
Handler. The first thing to note is that the pygmy rakshasa tends to work in tandem with an individual known as a "handler"; a humanoid that has traded its soul for infernal power. It's Fiendish Audacity, Fury, and Vigour, augment its AC, increase its damage output, and grant it temporary hit points each turn, respectively. Unless, that is, your players work out that radiant damage limits this THP regeneration!
The handler carries its cat-like ward around, keeping it in protective, close proximity where it can use its "Guardian" reaction to prevent harm coming to it. The rakshasa's "Devil's Hiss" legendary action empowers the handler with fiendish haste, allowing it to make an additional weapon attack. Your players will have to find a way to deal with this duo. Perhaps they can separate them or focus fire on a single individual to break their synergy.
Rakshasa. The pygmy rakshasa has a similar limited magic immunity to its full-sized cousin, but is more adept at manipulating the Weave with chaotic consequences. Its first tool is its "Weavebender" reaction. This lets it manipulate the flow of magic, causing the point of origin of an AoE to shift by up to 10 feet, or causing a ranged spell attack to hit a different target . Spellcasters beware!
Next on the list of anti-magic offensive capabilities is the Pygmy's curse. A creature the pygmy rakshasa hits with a claw attack has a chance to become cursed and unable to be affected by spells of a certain level or lower, unless those spells originate from the pygymy rakshasa. In addition, magic items the cursed creature carries have their magic suppressed while the creature is in contact with the item. In combat, this is likely a detriment as it can prevent a creature benefiting from healing spells or buffs like haste and invisibility. However, clever players may use it to their advantage, using the effective immunity to wade through their allies' fireballs without harm.
Finally, the pygmy rakshasa has a new spell (one of a rapidly growing number in the book): weaveentanglement. This concentration spell targets a single creature and makes spellcasting difficult, though not impossible. While afflicted by this spell, the creature must make an ability check with its spellcasting ability whenever it attempts to cast a spell. On a failure, there are wild, mostly negative consequences, from fireballs to entanglement. There is also a small chance that casting the spell doesn't cost a spell slot! True chaos, especially if combined with the pygmy's curse!
Immortals. We're in a desert tomb, so we had to use some undead! Unfortunately, mummys and mummy lords are CR 3 and 15 respectively and we needed something in the middle. Enter the mummifiedimmortal. These CR 8 snake-like undead are simple, heavy hitters. With glaives, khopeshes, and rotting phlegm, they are a danger both near and far. Check out this amazing art by Ongjen Sporin!
Swarmsof Fiendcats. What's scarier than one, evil-looking cat? A swarm of them. Collectively, this swarm has a spellcasting ability and can afflict your adventurers with the bane spell, or the new stench and aura of impurity spells. Stench is a 3rd-level DoT AoE, not dissimilar to cloudkill, but with an extra rider that confers disadvantage on saving throws made to maintain concentration (another tool in your anti-magic toolkit). Have you ever smelled cat civit? What about fiendcat civit? This is accurate, trust me.
Overall this will be a challenging fight for spellcasters, who have their own strategies to develop indiependetly of the melee fighters!
So - where are we at?
Adventures: 9/11 are in or through playtesting,
Monsters: 52/56+ done
Monster Tamer: done
Subclasses: 9/13 in or through playtesting
Races: All 10/10 are in alpha and are about to be mathematically balanced (using the Detect Balance calculator!) before playtesting.
Random encounters: 137/209 written
Crafting: done, as are the recipes for every SRD magic item and all the magic items we're introducing in the book.
Craft your own magic items: Our excel sheet is done, meaning you should be able to create your own magic items without fear of creating something imbalanced. We'll talk about that in the next update.
Items: 150/165 are drawn and written
Cooking: Not finished! We have the recipes, and the effects for all ~130 different ingredients, but we're refining the core mechanics off the back of the crafting mechanics. This will be in our next update.
Spells: we actually have over 70 and are trimming the chaff.
Loot Tavern character bios: not done!
So, as you can see, there's work to do but we're almost there! Our biggest hold up right now is art. We've commissioned a dozen brilliant artists who're all beavering away, but it takes time and we want this to be freaking beautiful!
DigitalJanuary. Whatever happens regarding the art, we're still going to give you some digital content in January, potentially a work-in-progress PDF. You've all been waiting patiently (thank you!) and much of the book is done. Plus, we figure that 19,000 proof readers are better than 6 so why not let you help us avoid having to errata content in the final edition!
We've paid our deposits and production has started on many of the peripheries, from dice, to pins, to the moulds for various boxes. However, despite getting started on this front, tales of global delays in raw material harvesting, manufacturing, and shipping aren't going away. We still intend to deliver early summer, but whether or not global supply chains will worsen or snap back waits to be seen. We'll pass on information to you as and when we have it, but as always, it's best to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised when it works out!
We're all feeling a little burnt out at the moment and we'll be taking some time off over the holidays to regenerate our batteries. We hope you all have a lovely end of the year! Catch you in January!
Love you guys,
Max (and Mo and Jess)
We're at PAX Unplugged! aaaaaand Bard Tunes
about 1 month ago
– Sat, Dec 11, 2021 at 02:47:19 AM
This update is a little less projecty, but it relates so we wanted to let y’all know anyway!
We're in Philadelphia, PA, for PAX unplugged! We’re gona be around to answer any Qs y’all may have about the book (=
We'll be hanging out at the Hit Point Press booth occassionally (booth #3213 in the expo hall). Specifically you can catch me (Max) there on Sunday 12pm-1pm, and Jess will be there from 12-2pm.
Panels. In additional, Jess will be in the MainTheatre (he's kind of a big deal...) on Saturday 2pm - 3pm for the 'D&D YouTubers Chat About TTRPG + Q&A' (a catchy title, I'm sure you'll agree). Max will be talking about all things VTT and becoming a creator in the RPG space from 1.30pm - 2.30pm on Sunday in the Leviathan Theatre (he's less of a big deal... though Jess has asked me to emphasise his disagreement on this matter...).
Unfortunately, there's no Mo :(
Free Stuff! We have some free stuff for you! We've printed out a little poster of the Veiled Lady, with a stat block and other content on the back. They'll be available at the Hit Point Press booth. Pick one up - it's first come first served!
Here's a little sneak peak for from Loot Tavern's resident bard, Jack Patchett. One of our stretch goals was a tune for each adventure! When you defeat the Veiled Lady, Jaquito von Patchissimo will badger you to tell him the tale of your adventure. He will then promptly ignore the boring bits, embellish the good bits, and voilà - a legend is born. Check it out here.
It's just too cute. And it makes a great intro to RPGs for new friends! Look at their lil' butts! More from Bodie here:
We hope to see you! If not, we’ve a proper update coming next week with LOADS of art!
Max and Jess (and Mo!)
November Update! Dreamholders, Phantasms, and the Trifecta of Adventure
3 months ago
– Tue, Nov 02, 2021 at 08:57:31 PM
It’s Max here coming at you with our November update! In this issue of “what’s been going on”, we’re gona take a first look at the ‘dreamholder’, a parasitic aberration that travels through peoples dreams, and some of the items and familiars that will be in the book!
A native of the Far Realms, dreamholders often find routes through to the Astral Plane. From this staging post, they parasitise creatures who astrally project, hitching a ride on their psyche back into the Material Plane. There, they flit between the minds of sleeping sentient creatures, distorting the dreamer’s narrative and feasting on their fear, distress, and unease. An incorporeal version of the otherworldly eye monster (whose name may not be beheld), the dreamholder can unleash a devastating array of eye beams against lucid dreamers who threaten to expel the dreamholder from their mind.
Fear of Ejection. Rarely does a dreamholder find physical form on the Material Plane. Instead, a dreamholder traverses the world through the dreamscape, an ephemeral plane created by the psyches of sleeping creatures. If this dreamscape ever disappears, such as if all creatures within range of the dreamholder’s dream bridging awaken, the dreamholder is ejected back into the Astral Plane. For this reason, dreamholders are commonly found in densely populated areas, places with a mix of diurnal and nocturnal beings, or wherever sleeping creatures can be reliably preyed upon.
A dreamholder killed within the Material Plane is ejected back to the Astral Plane, a place it abhors due to the absence of its favourite snack: sleeping beings. The dreamholder is a clever and resourceful aberration. Should its continued existence on the Material Plane be threatened, it will choose one of two tactics. If it believes itself more powerful than its foe, it will immediately attempt to annihilate the threatening creature’s psyche and render their body a comatosed shell. Alternatively, a dreamholder might bargain with its assailant, delivering secrets to them nightly until such a time as it can destroy this erstwhile ally.
Dream Stasis & Bridging. Dreamholders possess the unique ability to bridge the dreams of sleeping creatures, a feature they use to slip from a soon-to-wake mind into that of one that has recently drifted off. Indeed, one of the symptoms of a dreamholder infestation is the increased frequency of shared dreams between individuals of a community (and the social awkwardness that soon follows). Powerful dreamholders can exert such great influence over a sleeping creature that the dreamer enters a ‘dream stasis’, a paralytic state from which it can’t wake of its own volition. A clever dreamholder learns to release these captured sleepers just before they waste away entirely, knowing full well that it must return to sleep eventually.
Dream Lair. Combining these two abilities of stasis and bridging, a dreamholder can create a tangled web of interconnecting landscapes, scenarios, and protagonists, a veritable feast of corrupted dreams. Time dilates and constricts at the dreamholder’s whim, and rest is rarely attainable. In this varied, restless landscape, physical prowess means little: the dreamholder is the ruler, and those that are weak of mind seldom emerge
Do you like it??
More First Looks
Here’s some of the wonderful art that our team has been working on!
The precise effects of these magical robes are nailed down yet. What do you think they should do?
You've probably heard of Dingo Doodles, they're a super successful DM/YouTube illustrator who brings you a thrilling hand-drawn journey through their campaign. Well, now they're releasing a D&D book about their campaign world! They just hit $1 million and there's a big PDF expansion and VTT assets just unlocked for all backers.
In their own words: Fools Gold: Into the Bellowing Wilds is an exciting new 5e adventure that takes place in the world’s deadliest jungle where everything wants to kill you! Fun! Enhance your games with this jungle campaign setting, including a buttload of new content. We’ve also got brand new wilder magic & curse charts that will definitely excite GMs while the players pray to the dice gods.
Delve into the Bellowing Wilds, discover the rich lore of the world, and find out what happened to the ancient Foreclaimers who disappeared thousands of years ago, leaving ruins, mysteries, MECHANICAL DRAGONS AND DINOSAURS, and awesome treasures behind…
Cross-Compatibility. All the magic items they're making in Fool's Gold will be craftable using our rules (and their own, compatible recipes). They're also working with ATLAS (read more below) so that the maps available from that campaign can be used in Fool's Gold. This is truly the trifecta of adventure! Get it here!
In case you missed it, our 200+ random encounters are going to reference maps in the ATLAS map Kickstarter so you can quickly and conveniently get combat started! They also have more random encounters (based on the format in Heliana's) in super handy tarot card format. Wish we'd thunk of that...
Help them get to $200k so we can get 200 top-down tokens!! Please... I really want them..
ATLAS is a TTRP-game-changer: a binder of 100 huge, hand-drawn battle maps, 2 decks of thrilling ready-to-run combat and mystery encounters, and a plethora of reusable vinyl stickers lets you be ready for any event! Cut down on prep time and be perpetually prepared for any turn your adventurers might take! Grab it now before its gone!
For everyone who backed since we charged cards in Backerkit last time, we're going to charge again mid-week (probably Thursday 4th). The charge will appear as Loot Tavern US or Plane Shift Press (if we get it set up in time). If you see either one of those, it's just us - don't worry!
We're all working extra extra over time this month so you might not hear from us so much! Hope you all had a spooooky Halloween.
Till next time amigos!
Love Max (and Mo and Jess) x
ATLAS - A Project We LOVE that is compatible with Heliana's Guide
3 months ago
– Thu, Oct 14, 2021 at 12:58:56 AM
We’re really excited about a project we’ve been helping on! After the success of our kickstarter, Moonlight Maps came to us for pointers and we saw an opportunity to have our projects (theirs and Helianas) work together.
Our friend, Moonlight Maps, has just launched his Kickstarter project, ATLAS. This thing is impressive and, importantly, is compatible with Heliana’s Guide to Monster Hunting (more below). The 200+ random encounters in Heliana'sGuide will have an index linking to recommended maps from this project. That means you can have random encounters AND maps, ready at the drop of a hat.
This project brings you two binder-books full of detachable, unfoldable maps that weigh in at an impressive 25 x 25 inches and 18 x 22 inches (and use a 1-inch grid). These things are beautiful, hand-drawn works of art; your players will deffo be impressed (and scared) when you whip these out!
Cross Compatibility. Not only that, but ATLAS brings you ready made encounters in their Mystery and Combat encounter card decks. These guys are the perfect complement to our tracking system where, if you succeed on your checks, you get a narrative encounter, and if you fail, you get a hostile encounter.
We've given Moonlight Maps our trade secrets for getting this to work so it'll fit right in with the Mechanics in Helianas. Get rid of prep hassle and use these!
Did we mention reusablestickers for map customisation?
We’ll have another update next week with a first look at the Dreamholder - a creature that traps people in their dreams, magics up illusions and feeds on their emotions, and details for playtesting some of the new familiars/monster tamer companions!
We love you all
Max (and Mo and Jess!)
Shipping Charges, Dreamy Robes, and Cool Campaigns
4 months ago
– Wed, Sep 29, 2021 at 02:06:16 AM
I've had a few people contacting me asking about why their card is getting charged by "Loot Tavern US". That's us! Don't worry! Mo, Jess, and I (Max) are called Plane Shift Press, but our Stripe is set up through Loot Tavern.
We're charging for all the addons and shipping purchased through Backerkit. This affects both both Kickstarter backers and Backerkit pre-orders. You can always log back into Backerkit to check the amount, you card details, and your address.
Locking Addresses. We won't be locking addresses for some time, probably until Spring 2022. This should give you enough time to move house a couple of times, get lost in the Astral Plane, and have a doppelganger live your life for you while you got on an epic space adventure. If you need to change your address, just bob on into your backerkit account (either log in or hit the link in your survey email or, if you can't do either of those, contact email@example.com) and change it.
DisputedTransactions. If you didn't recognise the charge and disputed it as fraudulent then we need to take action. Credit card companies are super strict about this, and the evidence it wasn't fraudulent needs to be overwhelming. So (1) you need to contact your bank and let them know it was a mistake. (2) You need to send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell us you made a mistake. (3) We might even need a signature on a short hand written letter.
If we get all of that, it's likely the fraudulent claim can be overturned, and we can proceed with your order :)
In other news, here's some super cool robes you can craft from the Dreamholder. What do you think they do?
Projects We Love
We have two projects for you today, the first, Orcs vs Satyrs, is a fairly small project bringing you two armies of STLs & minis. The second, Tanares, has enough content to fill a shop. Both have pedigree: Eldritch Foundry, creators of Orcs vs Satyrs, created models for Critical Role's TheDarrington Bridgade, and the Exandria Unlimited campaign. Dragori games, producers of Tanares, have the creator of the Forgotten Realms as their lead designer. Read on below.
Remember we held that competition to design a Heliana mini? That was through Eldritch Foundry! Those same folks are now running their own Kickstarter. They offer two competing armies, magipunkorcs and mystic satyrs for a true tech vs nature battle. You can get these as both STLs or as ready-to-paint resin minis :)
I'm personally excited for the elder treant. And, if they hit their next stretch goal, all backers get a free custom STL from Eldritch Foundry! Plus there's a free STL on their page (we remember how much you liked the last free STLs! Our website is still creakin'). See it all here.
This campaign is epic. The production value is kind of insane. And the lead designer, Ed Greenwood, made the Forgotten Realms (he sold it to TSR, what is now WotC). We'd be mad not to put it on your radar, even if it means tipping them over our own campaign total! There's so much in this campaign, you're gonna have to set aside at least 10 minutes to take it all in.
Hunt avatar dragons. Play new subclasses. Buy a few new display cases for all the minis. The campaign ends soon - less than 3 days!- so check it out now!
That's all for today, we'll have a content update for you in October :)