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:

Manufacturing Photos, VTT Update, and Future Kickstarters
7 days ago – Fri, Mar 24, 2023 at 04:59:39 PM


This month’s update is going to show the manufacturing progress, give an update on the status of VTTs (and everything digital), and talk about a super secret project… coming soon!


Our manufacturing partners sent us an encouraging update on the progress so far—the tests are almost done! Photos are below, but here’s a quick summary:


  • Core book - done
  • Deluxe book - done
  • Stickers - done
  • Loot tavern map - done
  • Handouts - done
  • Ooze dice - done
  • Gemstone dice - done
  • Magic item cards (x3) - done
  • Enamel pins - done
  • Animated familiar cards - done
  • L’Arsene’s Crafting Catalogue - awaiting manufacturing 
  • Hunt posters - done
  • Canvas wall hanging - done
  • Dice bag - awaiting manufacturing


  • Core box - done
  • Deluxe box - done
  • Enamel pin boxes (x2) - done
  • Deluxe dice box (surprise, we decided to make a nice box for these addons!) - done (but they printed something upside down...)
  • Item card boxes (x3) - done
  • Animated familiar card box - done

Once all the outstanding items are made, we’re expecting the manufacturers to send everything to us. Hopefully, it’s all perfect and we can pull the trigger on mass production, but we will not press go on products we’re not happy with. After that, it gets freighted to our warehouses and then distributed to you guys.


The core box and first layer of goodies.
Map and stickers! Plus a mysterious envelope…
…filled with handouts! The next layer has the magic item cards with space for gelatinous ooze dice up top (not pictured).
The final layer - the book! Handy ribbon to pull it out. The box’s back!
The deluxe box front, and the GM screen. Look at those colours!
Handouts under the map and stickers, same as in the core box. Below the handout is the pins! There will be pins in those boxes, promise…
Below the pins, the three card packs! Animated familiar cards (see below) go on the top left slot. Below that - the deluxe book!
Deluxe box side and back.
More goodies! The posters, deluxe dice (with protective box for those purchasing as an addon), animated familiar cards, and more.
The pins! But wait… Something here isn’t right… can you spot the 3 errors

VTT & Digital

Heliana's Guide has been updated to v1.09 and L’Arsène’s Crafting Catalogue is on Backerkit for digital download. Word on the street is Humperdink slid 7 more bespoke, craftable familiars into the book, behind L’Arsène’s back. Grab it now! It’s available to everyone that got the PDF.

Here’s an update on the progress of everything digital that isn’t associated with the VTTs:

  • PDF - done
  • Bard songs - done
  • Ambiences - done
  • Monster soundscape - 95% done (Jess says we can upload to Backerkit next week)
  • Bonus Hunt - done
  • L’Arsène’s Crafting Catalogue - done


The Digital Asset Bundle (DAB) has been done for a little while, but we have another surprise! A few folks requested tokens of the familiars, so we commissioned our friend Venatus Maps to make them! Check out these cuties.

Available in the DAB and in the upcoming VTT packages.

VTT Roll20

This is done and is undergoing final checks. We’ll be submitting it for review next week!

VTT Foundry

The currently completed chapters are:

  • Chapter 9 - Polyhedrooze
  • Chapter 10 - The Shining Shrine
  • Chapter 11 - Tavern Mimic
  • Chapter 13 - The Veiled Lady

While we’ve been delivering 1 chapter a week, this progress is slower than we had hoped. We’ve reached out to more FVTT conversion experts to expedite this process. In addition, we’re going to condense all the chapters into a single adventure module, which we’ll version up as each chapter is finished. This means just one module to install for you guys, and you'll be notified when it needs updating!

VTT Fantasy Grounds

Evolivolution, our converter, says he is somewhere between 2 and 5 weeks from being done. After he’s done, the package gets submitted to SmiteWorks for approval. We don’t have a bead on their timeline, but we will let you know when we have more information!

VTT Shard

Word on the street is the bulk of conversion is done and it’s getting fine-tuned. Should be available by the end of the month!

VTT Feedback

We’re mindful that there may be bugs and imperfections. We want to create the best VTT products you’ve used so please let us know if you find anything that can be improved. We’ve set up some google forms for you to submit feedback.

Roll20 Feedback:

Foundry VTT Feedback:

Fantasy Grounds Feedback:

Shard Feedback:

Future Kickstarters

We want to talk to you about two things - L’Arsene’s Ledger of Treasure and Trinkets (LLTT) and Heliana 2.

Firstly: L’Arsene’s Ledger! Next week, we are launching a Kickstarter compiling 300+ of the best magic items from the Loot Tavern Patreon. They are fully compatible with Heliana’s crafting system giving you fresh new options for your monster hunting. Plus there are five more Heliana-style hunts and craftable familiars.

Five more boss fights that blend the Heliana hunt format with classic, story-driven adventures!

But You Haven’t Fulfilled This Kickstarter Yet! It’s true, we haven’t! It's important to understand that in a team people have different roles; designers, writers and artists can't stay idle while manufacturing is underway.

Over the past year and a half, we’ve built a great team of artists, writers, and digital converters. We have so many ideas on ways to make your games more fun and we want to make those projects a reality! Launching this project in no way delays getting Heliana’s into your hands!

L’Arsene’s Ledger, the floating-eye mimic dice, and some of the 700+ item cards!

This project is almost entirely done already so the turnaround is going to be much quicker than Heliana’s Guide. Also, there’s a free giveaway if you back the campaign in the first 72 hours so follow the page to make sure you don’t miss it!

Heliana 2 - Electric Boogaloo. Don’t worry, that’s not its real name. Jess, Mo, and I (Max) started ideating this! We have some very cool ideas but they’re under wraps for now. What we’d love to know is what you want from the hunts in terms of level distribution. We made a little google form (it’s just 2 questions) to help us know what levels of hunts you played most, and what levels of hunts you want to see in the future! Check it out.

Help us shape Heliana book 2!

Alpha Content Playtest. One of the stretch goals for Heliana’s Guide was access to alpha content for the next book. In Autumn of this year we hope to distribute links to this alpha-level content—likely the key art, new mechanics, and some hunts—so we can get your feedback in the formative stages of the book.

FREEBIE! Remember that free hunt we gave you back in October: Flames of the Faithful? Well… here’s a waxy familiar you can make from the Pontiff’s remains! And if you missed that hunt (which, btw, is one of the Motes of the Divine hunts in L’Arsene’s Ledger) you can get both PDFs here.

Okay, that’s all for now folks. For more regular interactions with the team, head on over to the Discord server.


Max (and Mo and Jess and the rest of the team!)

Feburary Update - Dire Bunny is Here! VTT bundles and more!
about 1 month ago – Wed, Feb 22, 2023 at 05:26:50 PM

Howdy folks! Jess here! 

Apologizes for the radio silence. We got tangled up in getting ALL the digital assets ready to go and as any creator knows the last 1% of any project takes a daunting amount of time. Manufacturing is something we’re all patiently waiting on, and we’re pushing that snail as fast as it will go. But finally, we have some exciting things to announce!

The Dire Rabbit Adventure is live on Backerkit! Download now!

Do your adventurer’s have too many bones? What an oddly specific and awful burden to have! Let the Bonemonger relieve you of this terrible calcified prison you carry in exchange for untold astral riches. Simply deposit your bones at the foot of the rabbit. You can trust a rabbit. I’ve heard their facial proportions and texture are simply irresistible to your kind.

Anyway, direct your eye stalks and sensory sticks over to the nearest Backerkit to download the PDF and learn all about the glory that is the Dire Bunny!

 Prepare to D.A.B.! 

The Digital Asset Bundle is out now! It's available for Download in Backerkit. Here's what you'll find in the D.A.B.:

  • Each art piece from the book, separated by chapter
  • Tokens (both pog and top down)
  • Ambient music and bard songs
  • GM Screen

The D.A.B. is available in 3 different formats: 

  • WebP (for certain VTTs like Foundry)
  • PNG (highest res PNGs and JPEGs)
  • Tinified PNG (PNG but put through lossless compression for smaller file sizes)


Roll20: Heliana's has been ported to Roll20 and is in the final stages of quality control. We'll be getting the keys from Roll20 and distributing them as quickly as possible so you can redeem your content!

Fantasy Grounds: Our FG converter predicts it'll be ready by early April.

Shard: Our contacts at Shard HQ estimate lat March to be done.

Foundry VTT: We're starting to roll out the Foundry hunts. These will be released chapter by chapter going forwards (1-2  or more per week). Once they're all out, we'll package them into a single module for easy downloading.

The Shining Shrine is available for Foundry VTT, and we'd love to hear your feedback so we can tweak the digital adventures going forward! If it seems like we missed something, let us know using this form!

 Here’s How to Get It! (It’s simple...ish)

 First download the file 'Foundry_Module_URLs.txt' from Backerkit! Then follow the images below!

Go to 'Add-on Modules' and click 'Install Module.' Then in the 'Manifest URL' text box at the bottom, enter the URL from the text file
In the 'Manifest URL' text box at the bottom, enter the URL from the text file. Launch your world. Go to 'Game Settings' (the two cogs) in the top right, click 'Manage Modules'.
Check the box next to the modules you wish to import and click 'Save Module Settings' (click 'Yes' on the popup). Go to 'Compendiums' (the closed book) in the top right, click on the adventure module you installed. Click on the adventure in the next window that opens, then click 'Import 'Adventure' in the window that appears.

Voila! The module is installed. Access it through your scenes, actors, items (for spells and magic items), handouts (for PDF and handouts), rollable tables, and playlists. 

Still having trouble or new to Foundry? Visit the Foundry Discord to troubleshoot! 

More Monster Sounds!

The monster sounds are nearing completion and will be available in the final Digital Asset Bundle. Take a listen!

Tar-rasque Rises. The horrific Tarrasque rises from its underground tomb, freshly animated from caustic elemental tar. (Fun fact, a lot of the wet noises are actually a chicken cutlet being slapped around with a bit of distorted cereal for bones.)

 Polyhedrooze Rolls Past. A giant polyhedrooze narrowly misses the party. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to notice anyone. (Sometimes getting up close into the mic and making squelching noises pays off. )

Dream Train Arriving/Departing. This one was something I wanted when I ran the Dreamholder adventurer for the first time, so I made it for everyone to use! First is when the party arrives at the final destination and the second is when the plane is collapsing and the train departs the astral plane (or it can also be used when the train picks up the party for the first time). 

 Project We Love - RPG ESSENTIALS 

Have you seen the amazing tokens that were made for Heliana's? Well, one of the incredible artists behind them, Splattered Ink, just funded a dope-ass Kickstarter! You can get durable, acrylic tokens covering all the SRD creatures. Every SRD creature!! Plus, it's all available in a digital format. Check it out:

Each token is a work of art that will last game after game and won’t take up space like your typical mini! Head on over and grab a pre-order before the store closes! Get it here

Manufacturing. We're still waiting on test prints. You'll know when we do.

Future Updates. We're adjusting scheduled updates to be once per month. It's easier for us as we have less news to report and we've had some complaints about too many updates! That means bigger updates and less email clogging. We'll do mini updates when we hear important things from the manufacturers. As always, we are available on the Loot Tavern Discord.

Okay, that’s all for now folks,

Catch you next update!

Jess (and Max and Mo!)

January Update 1 - Open DnD, Free Hunt, Digital Timelines
2 months ago – Wed, Jan 18, 2023 at 04:17:25 PM

Hey hunters,

Max coming at ya with another update. This is the 3rd version of this update I’ve written as the landscape has been changing so rapidly. Today we’re going to talk about Wizard of the Coast’s (WotC) revisions (draft or otherwise) to the OGL, a free hunt to shed a bit of levity and hope, and timelines of digital deliverables.

Open DnD

A Very Short History. In 2000, WotC decided they wanted to be the main system everyone used. Not just players, but game designers, too. To that end, they abstracted the rules of D&D 3rd-edition (named ‘The D20 System’), threw in some fantasy material, and named it the System Reference Document (SRD for short). They accompanied this with a license—the Open Gaming License (OGL 1.0(a))—and encouraged creators to use it and make content for their system.

This was shrewd; with many different systems, no one system would ever grow to dominate. However, with everyone creating for a single system, that system’s audience would grow, which would in turn attract more creators, which would cause the audience to grow even more. It was a positive feedback cycle. Read about the business strategy in its creator’s own words: Ryan Dancey, VP of RPGs, WotC Interview (now deleted, accessed by WayBackMachine).

Click for full interview

The Result. It worked, and D&D grew. Then they brought out 4th edition, got rid of the OGL, and D&D shrunk. In 2016, 5th-edition was released and they released a new SRD 5e, using the same OGL 1.0(a). 5e is now the biggest system, thanks in no small part to creators like us using it as the basis for books like Heliana’s.

When they released the OGL1.0(a), they made the SRD an open-source gaming engine anyone could use. They promised it would be open and unchanged forever. This (now deleted) FAQ says as much:

Click to see full FAQ

Recent Controversy. WotC began approaching creators with a new OGL (1.1) back in 2021. The new license attempted to revoke the old one, and imposed some crazy conditions:

  • 25% royalty on revenue (not profit) over $750k
  • Creators couldn’t make our modules into VTTs
  • WotC had the right to use our creations in any way they wanted, without remuneration or accreditation
  • WotC could change the license however they wanted with only 30 days’ notice

People got angry, and we got their attention by unsubscribing, en masse, from D&D Beyond. They have since apologised and backpeddled on a lot of these conditions. They still want to change 1.0(a), and we do not want it to change. To keep making content like Heliana’s, our demands are simple:

  • Keep OGL 1.0(a) authorised
  • Add the word ‘irrevocable’ so it can never be de-authorised in the future.

Actions to Take. You can still unsubscribe from D&D Beyond. In a recent update, WotC said they will consult with their fans. Personally, I think they just want to direct anger away from social media where its presence is most strongly felt. Don’t let your voice go to waste by giving feedback there and not elsewhere; if you use their feedback form, take a screenshot and post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #OpenDnD and tag @loottavern.

Lastly, do not target employees of WotC. They’ve done nothing wrong, and Jess, Mo, and I strongly oppose any attempt to intimidate, threaten, or harass them. This is the decision of ‘higher-ups’ who have never played an RPG and, in their own words, are looking to “monetize D&D”.

Now for some lighter topics!

Wizards of the Toast

I wanted to bring some laughter and levity to the world after the past fortnight. Without further ado, I bring you a FREE hunt: Wizards of the Toast

A satirical (but entirely deadly) adventure! For Level 3, 7, and 12.

"The right to make toast has been revoked. Bakers' lives are being ruined. The Wizards of the Toast and their evil, corporate overlord, Hasbrodeus, have reneged on a decades-old promise to not revoke the very license that made toast so fantastic. Wrongly believing the success of toast is theirs alone, WotT aim to force the draconian requirements of their new license on bakers the world over using tricky legal documentation and bread-based golems. The ability to produce water will be very useful in helping make bread soggy in this adventure."

Wisdom 6 - feels appropriate.

Fight Hasbrodeus and their bread golems: the crumblings, breadnoughts, and chargoyles!

WotT wants your dough!

Digital Deliverables

The bonus hunt PDF about the Dire Bunny will be released on Backerkit Thursday 26th—next week. It’s called Hare Raising. You can thank Jess for that pun! 

L’Arsène’s Catalogue will be the update after that, in early Feb. Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and Foundry VTT folks are reporting to have mostly finished with the text and are ready to start putting images in place. Shard is a little behind as I got them the info later than the others - that was a miscommunication on my part, apologies! Hopefully, that means we’re on track for end of Feb for those. There’s more of a question mark around that timeline as there are a LOT of images and we might have some problem-solving to do, fitting them all in.

Last thing is Jess has made 'blank' versions of the wanted posters so you can put your own text in the bottom. This lets you use them in  a non-Loot Tavern setting. I'll be uploading those this week.

Physical Deliverables. We’re still waiting on test prints. The delay might have something to do with Chinese New Year. We’re chasing them and will update ya when we know more.

Project We Love - Witchycakes

I had the pleasure of playing the prototype of this game at PAX Unplugged this year. It was a lot of fun, very simple to pick up, and super portable. It’s short to play and great to use if someone is running late to your next monster hunt!

Click to see more!

It's simple enough to play with non-gamers, and the art is gorgeous! Its creator, Mike, has been instrumental in the fight against WotC’s changes to the OGL, building the Open DnD website and verifying every single signee of the open letter to Wizards of the Coast. Plus, he’s a great game designer and I think you’ll enjoy this! Get it here!

Okay, that’s all for now folks,

Catch you next update!

Max (and Mo and Jess!)

December Update 2 - Monster Sounds & Heliana's Handouts (Digital)
3 months ago – Sat, Dec 31, 2022 at 01:18:13 PM

Hey folks,

Got some digital deliverables for you today - Heliana's Handouts and the Monster Sounds. Nothing new to report on the manufacturing front.

Heliana's Handouts (Digital)

The handouts are out! There are 3 types of handouts from Heliana's: The Wanted Posters, the Art Prints, and the Clues. On Backerkit, if you purchased the physical or digital handouts, the digital asset bundle, or a VTT package you'll find two new zip files. One contains PDFs of all three handouts (great for printing) and the other contains JPEGs to use if you play digitally.

Wanted Poster. These are posters you can have in any inn,  crossroad's noticeboard, or have handed out by a town crier/monster hunting agent. Each poster has a depiction of the primary biome ('domain') the hunt takes place in, a threat level based on the lowest level of the hunt, and a brief description of the mission from Heliana herself. The stylised pictogram of the creature can serve as another hint at what is being fought, but is obscure enough to be misleading, too!

Double-sided (front, left; back, right)

Art Prints. The front shows each boss monster's full art piece. The reverse shows Jess' monster sketches, zooming in on some of the monsters' facets in more detail.

Print version (left) and individual PNGs (right)

Clues. As Heliana always says: "Know Thy Enemy!". In each hunt, there are three clues your party can encounter. The information derived from those clues can help your party prepare for the fight ahead. These handouts are visual reminders of each of those clue encounters.

Monster Sounds

Jess is finishing up the monster soundscape! It will be ready to download in January. For now, have a listen to the following  soundscapes. For the suneater owlbear,  you can try and match the different sounds you hear to the audacity workspace project in the image below it.

How a suneater owlbear's 'alerted' soundscape is made!

(Spoilers Below!)

Each monster will have 2-3 tracks. There will always be one for the beginning of the fight (a great way to signal Roll for Initiative) and a bonus sound that can be anything. You can hear the roll for initiative sound of the Magnetite Dragon below, and the Broodmother's special 'reformation' sound when the chrysalis becomes the broodmother reborn!

Roll For Initiative - the Magnetite Dragon knows you're here!

Reformation - the Broodmother Aboleth has reformed!

That's all for December! Happy new year! More updates soon :)



December Update 1 - The Loot Tavern, Christmas Items, and V1.05
3 months ago – Thu, Dec 22, 2022 at 04:28:40 PM

Hey folks,

This update has a brief bit about manufacturing, some exciting goodies (maps and items), and the new PDF version.

Production & Manufacturing

Our designs are still with the manufacturers, and we're hoping they'll be dispatching the final tests to us soon.  The timing of these things are mostly out of our control but we'll give you updates when they give them to us.

Extra Familiars. The beta test of these will be out with the next update at the end of this month.

A Loot Tavern Maptacular

Hey folks, The MAD Cartographer's Loot Tavern Map is available! It's a to-scale battlemap featuring all you favourite tavern residents' corners: Humperdink's lab, L'Arsène's SIDRAT larger-on-the-inside wagon, Peeper's library,  Heliana's component corner, Lut's bar, and Cacophonic's stage.

The Loot Tavern! Available for download on Backerkit.

You can download this now on Backerkit. It's a big file, so we included two versions within a single zip file - a 150 PPI version for max VTT resolution, and a lower 100 PPI version you can use to reduce lag. The map is 42 x 31 grid units (where each grid equals 5 feet).

Christmas Goodies

The Loot Tavern patreon released a Christmas adventure recently, a twisted take on Charles Dickens' classic: a Christmas Carol. It included five fun, illustrated, twisted giftmas-themed items like the wondrous gift of many things, the winter wondergarland whip, and the armour of the giftmas killer. Get it free here

Click for free giftmas items!

Here's the blurb for the full adventure, which features Bucket (from Dreamweaver) tending to Baron Bodrum's manor:

The party learns of a haunting taking place in Bodrum Manor each year at midwinter. Encouraged by Bucket, the mechanical butler who manages the estate, they explore the rooms of this worn-down mansion and uncover clues that help them in the upcoming battles. At the stroke of midnight, a ghost appears, intending to show Baron Bodrum the error of his ways with the help of a trio of spectres eager to taste the industrialist’s soul. The characters must defeat three midwinter spectres to banish the manor ghost and end its yearly haunting.

Version 1.05

The new version of the PDF is out in Std-Res for pages. Download it on Backerkit. It's mostly typo fixes, no major balance shifts. We'll continue to make updates/errata as we can, even after print is locked down!

That's all for now,

Sorry we missed last week. We'll be posting next week on schedule.


Max (and Mo and Jess)