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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:

Late Feb Update! Early Access PDF #2
9 months ago – Tue, Mar 01, 2022 at 03:17:51 AM

Hey folks!


It's the end of February! We have the next installment for you guys. It's a little different to what we said we'd deliver based on what bits got finished in time!


What's Inside?

3.5 more chapters! Three point five!? Yes! We have the classes (including the monster tamer!); the familiars (which can be trained and improved by the monster tamer); a new hunt, Tarchaeology; and the point five chapter - the GM's Item Design Workshop

  • Chapter 5c: GM's Item Design Workshop
  • Chapter 7: Classes
  • Chapter 8: Familiars
  • Chapter 17: Tarchaeology (Hunt)

I still need to get the bits in the appendices so that'll get updated and released separately later this week. I just wanted to get something out by the end of Feb! So expect a separate document with these later this week:

  • Chapter 20: Appendix A—Magic Items*
  • Chapter 21: Appendix B—Spells*
  • Chapter 22: Appendix C—Creatures*
Awesome chapter art by our own Jess Jackdaw

The Tamer & Familiars

We introduce the new class - the Monster Tamer (known as a 'Tamer'). In addition to being able to catch creatures out in the wild, you can craft some new creatures from the components of the fallen boss monsters. These can act as slightly-more-powerful familiars (which you can summon with the find familiar spell) or, if trained by a tamer, can become powerful creatures in their own right. Each one has a tech tree!

This update releases the 10 fmiliars from the first 10 hunts. The rest will be refined based on the feedback we receive and released in the final PDF. We can't give you everything now, can we!

Seem... familiar? Art by Jess!

Typos and Feedback

Continuing stellar work from you all! We've had a lot of feedback on Harvesting and Crafting and will be condensing the rules down into an easier to understand format before we go into depth with examples and optional rules. I'm envisioning flow charts. Lots of flow charts.


We'll be incorporating feedback from all these sections before we get to the final PDF, but ahven't done so yet!


Calibrating the Item Design Workshop. The points weve allocated to the different abilities in the Item Design Workshop are not set in stone. Based on your feedback, we can adapt them. Specifically, we need some help rating the power of all the SRD items using the Crafting points system we've developed. If you'd like to be involved, contact Humperdink The Warlock on the Loot Tavern Discord server.


How Do I Submit Feedback? Simple! Choose one of the following forms. Typos is for short errors (N.B. the book is written in British English).

Here's the typo report form

Here's the detailed feedback form

The Tar-rasque - a combination of tarrasque skeleton and elemental tar! Art by Ognjen

What's Coming?

March:

  • Chapter 2: Loot Tavern
  • Chapter 3: Tracking
  • Chapter 5b: Cooking
  • Chapter 11: Tavern of Terrors (Hunt)

Final Release

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 23: Index

Beyond

  • Ch 19: The Dire Bunny of Kaergannob (Hunt).


Okay friends, that's all!

More soon!


Love,

Max (and Mo and Jess)

Early Feb Update! Early Access PDF #2; FREE Crucible PDF
10 months ago – Tue, Feb 15, 2022 at 10:04:43 PM

Hey friends!


Happy Tuesday.  We're here with the next early access release and an additional free PDF from our friends at Crucible (see bottom). The eagle-eyed among you might've noticed that we released the second early-access PDF a couple of days ago. If you didn't grab it yet, log into your Backerkit account (see previous update for details), and go to Digital Downloads.


So, What’s Inside This Time?

Four more chapters! Excitingly, we have all the races ready for you to play, as well as several more hunts. 

  • Chapter 6: Races
  • Chapter 9: Polyhedrooze (Ooze Hunt)
  • Chapter 16: A Tale of Two Tails (Rakshasa Hunt)
  • Chapter 17: Mecha Koboldzilla (Construct Hunt)
  • Chapter 20: Appendix A—Magic Items*
  • Chapter 21: Appendix B—Spells*
  • Chapter 22: Appendix C—Creatures*

*The appendices have been updated with the items, spells, and creatures from the new hunts. However,  none of the typos/feedback submitted has been incorporated, yet. More on this below:

... Get it? Rolled up? Like a character? But also in a gargantuan icosahedron made of Biomantic Ooze

Typos and Feedback

Thank you so much for all your input so far! From finding errant apostrophes, to missed bold formatting, to helping us identify that the page number font was truly terrible and all the 0s looked like 8s - thank you. Special mention to Jessic for the monumental volume of quality feedback submitted (they're responsible for almost 40% of all the typos reported!)

More beautiful chapter covers designed by our very own Jess Jackdaw. Poster add-on is still available on Backerkit :)

What's Our Process? Our current plan is to release playtested material to you all following the timeline in update #36. We want feedback from you, as well as catching typos. Once we have feedback from the early March release, we'll set about rejiggling the book. Then we'll send it to proofers we have lined up for a final polish pass before releasing it to you guys.


How Do I Submit Feedback? Simple! Choose one of the following forms. Typos is for short errors (N.B. the book is written in British English).

Here's the typo report form

Here's the detailed feedback form

Clue Handouts for the Mecha Koboldzilla

What’s To Come?

Late Feb:

  • Chapter 3: Tracking
  • [Chapter 5 Crafting Workshop*]
  • Chapter 7: Classes
  • Chapter 8: Familiars

Early March

  • Chapter 2: The Loot Tavern
  • [Chapter 5 Cooking*]
  • Chapter 11: Tavern of Terrors (Hunt)
  • Chapter 18: Tar-rasque (Hunt)

*Switched because the food art won't be ready in time!


Final Release

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 23: Index

Beyond

  • Ch 19: The Dire Bunny of Kaergannob (Hunt).

Why is the dire bunny separate, now? Well... long story short, this book is looking like it's gona be REALLY big. At least 400 pages.  Turns out, being too big can actually be a problem. As such, we're looking at making the dire bunny it's own standalone softback book with its own hunt, familiar, items, and monsters, to be included in the package of everyone who gets a book.

What Do You Think? We're still working out the details, but is that something y'all would be interested in? Are there any issues you foresee? Would you like more standlone hunts? Let us know what you think, we're keen to engage you all on this idea!

Branton Quark - Definitely a Dragonborn

A Project We Love - Crucible 

Okay. Remember the Shadow of the Broodmother map? The MAD Cartographer did that. They've also done the map for the Loot Tavern, which I can tell you looks amazing. You'll get to see it soon. I love Humperdink's laboratory. AND, like me, Alex is also from the North of England, so you know he's a decent bloke. Anyway, his Kickstarter—CRUCIBLE MAGAZINE—is live!


Look at all these goodies!

Thrilling New Content for 5E. Crucible is a monthly magazine packed with over 80 pages of fifth edition content like adventures, subclasses, magic items, a four page comic, interviews, and more! Today is the first day to hop on the Kickstarter at https://www.CrucibleMag.com (sign up required) where you can get a FREE copy of their launch issue!


I'm actually really impressed with how accessible this is. It's both physical, digital, AND is ready to play on Foundry VTT.  

All the platforms!

They even made this extremely bespoke video, just for backers of Heliana's Guide:

Check it out here.



Alright folks, we'll catch you in a couple more weeks. Lots to do!


Thanks,


Max (and Mo and Jess!)

Downloading the Early Access PDF - Mini Update
10 months ago – Tue, Feb 01, 2022 at 03:46:05 AM

Hello!

We're thrilled with the engagement we've seen for the early access PDF! And y'all are making great use of the feedback forms (looks like the links were fine after all!)


Some folks have been asking questions about how to download the PDF, so we'll provide a little instruction here. After that, we'll provide more guidance on giving us feedback.


Downloading the PDF

You need to do this through Backerkit. How you do this is a little different depending on if you backed the Kickstarter, or you were a late backer on Backerkit.


Kickstarter Backer. When you backed the Kickstarter, you used an email address. Backerkit sent an email to that email address with a link in it. That link takes you to Backerkit where you can i) Give us your details, ii) Add addons, and iii) download digital products! 


So to download the PDF: find this email, click the link,  go to "Get Your Digital Downloads" on the left of the screen, download the file(s) you want (pages/spreads/optimised).

(Also, if you've used Backerkit before, you might have an account that you can log into and avoid finding this email.)


But I don't have the email with the link! Backerkit have you covered. Go to: https://www.backerkit.com/are_you_a_backer, type in "Heliana's Guide to Monster Hunting", click 'go to project', re-enter your email address. An email (with the link) should arrive a short time later. Check your junk folder! If this still doesn't resolve your issue please join the Loot Tavern Discord server. We have a whole, wholesome, and helpful community there!


Late Backer. If you backed on Backerkit, you have a Backerkit account. Log in to it, click on the Heliana's Guide to Monster Hunting project,  go to "Get Your Digital Downloads" on the left of the screen, download the file(s) you want (pages/spreads/optimised).

I don't see the Heliana's project! It's possible that you have backed but your card hasn't charged. This can be because it's still in the process of charging, or because the charges were denied. If it's the latter, Backerkit will have contacted you (by email) to update you payment method. If it's the former, it might just take another day. Note: the PDF can only be downloaded if the payment has fully processed.


If you still don't have access by Tuesday, please join the Loot Tavern Discord server and let us know.


Feedback & Future Versions

We love it! Thank you. You've already caught plenty of typos and I'll aim to fix those in future versions.


Reign of Iron Bard Songs. An extra 'http://' crept into this url. If you want access to the file before the next version of this PDF is released, you can just remove that bit of code from the URL.


Questions. Some folks are asking questions in the feedback - that's great, but I can't answer if you're not in the Loot Tavern Discord server. Almost everyone who has left detailed feedback has a question. In a lot of cases I need some clarification on what exactly is being asked, so please join the Discord server so we can clarify any potential points of confusion and help everyone benefit :). Note: leaving your discord ID isn't enough.


Feedback forms quick links:

Detailed feedback form

Typo feedback form


Ok, that's all for now. I'll check on this update tomorrow and reply to any questions. Thanks!


Gratefully,

Max (and Mo and Jess)

The January Early Access PDF is Here!
10 months ago – Sat, Jan 29, 2022 at 01:52:12 AM

Hey Backers!

We have something for you! We’ve been working really hard to pull together the content that we think is ready for you to start playing into a digital PDF. Once I figure out how to work Backerkit’s digital delivery, you’ll be able to download it (probably tomorrow!). You'll be notified either through Backerkit or by email. 

It might still need some tweaking. To that end we’ve made a couple of Google Forms; you’ll find QR codes/hyperlinks to those in the PDF.


So, What’s Inside?

This is not the final PDF, but it's still big: 209 pages! This is a selection of content that’s been through playtesting and is ready to be used.  Here’s what’s in this release:

  • Chapter 4: Harvesting
  • Chapter 5: Crafting
  • Chapter 10: The Shining Shrine (Hunt)
  • Chapter 12: Reign of Iron (Hunt)
  • Chapter 13: The Veiled Lady (Hunt)
  • Chapter 14: Shadow of the Broodmother (Hunt)
  • Chapter 15: Dream Weaver (Hunt)
  • Chapter 20: Appendix A—Magic Items*
  • Chapter 21: Appendix B—Spells*
  • Chapter 22: Appendix C—Creatures*
     

*The appendices include the content for the relevant hunts; there will be more items, creatures, and spells coming.

An array of Jess' wonderful covers! The movie posters addon on will include the monster hunt ones, with the title, but without the meta info like chapter number and hunt level.

What’s Not Inside?

Chapter 5: Crafting does not contain the cooking rules, nor the GM’s item crafting workshop.

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: The Loot Tavern
  • Chapter 3: Tracking
  • Chapter 6: Races
  • Chapter 7: Classes
  • Chapter 8: Familiars
  • Chapter 9: Gelatinous Polyhedrooze (Hunt)
  • Chapter 11: Tavern of Terrors (Hunt)
  • Chapter 16: A Tale of Two Tails (Hunt)
  • Chapter 17: Mecha Koboldzilla (Hunt)
  • Chapter 18: Tar-rasque (Hunt)
  • Chapter 19: The Dire Bunny of Kaergannob (Hunt)
  • Chapter 23: Index
     
Hjelma, Threeflower, and Bucket - new NPCs to interact with! Art by Mo, Jess, and Wishmish

When Will I Get The Other Stuff?

We will be releasing further PDFs every couple of weeks. Here’s the current line up (N.B. this may change, it all depends on what is ready):

  •  Early February. Ch 6: Races, Ch 9: Gelatinous Polyhedrooze, Ch 16: Tale of Two Tails (Hunt), Ch 17: Mecha Koboldzilla (Hunt).
  •  Late February. Ch 3: Tracking, Ch 5b: Cooking, Ch 7: Classes, Ch 8: Familiars, Ch 22: Appendix B—Spells.
  •  Early March. Ch 2: Loot Tavern, Ch 5c: GM’s Item Crafting Workshop, Ch 11: Tavern of Terrors (Hunt), Ch 18: Tar-rasque (Hunt), Ch 19: The Dire Bunny of Kaergannob (Hunt).

We’re looking to have the final thing (inc. Chapters 1 & 23) done by late March.

Springarden - The location of the hunt for the Suneater Owlbear. The giant koi fish were not originally itnended to fly, but we loved the artist's idea so much it stuck! Art by Ongjen.

What Sort of Feedback Will Be Helpful?

We want to know about almost everything. For example:

  • Is there a typo!?
  • Is an item unbalanced? If so, why
  • Was a hunt too easy/hard?
  • Is something confusing you? Can we clarify wording?
  • Is a layout feature unhelpful? Is there something we could do to convey information more fluidly?
  • Do you just want to say how much you like what we’ve done (here’s hoping!)?
     

What we don’t need is stuff like “I want more spells” (we know, they’re coming) or comments based on power without context “How is this item is uncommon, it’s OP!” (please tell us why you think this). Also, don't mind the British writing: I’m English.


A Note on the Hunts

These are monster hunts. They’re a type of adventure in which you find clues, prepare for the fight ahead, and then have a big battle. They’re not dungeon crawls. You won’t traipse through dark rooms fighting deadly monsters that inexplicably continue to exist within 20 feet of one another. Investigate, prep, fight.


Clues. Each hunt is a puzzle of sorts. The players must figure out the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses. This can be done during the fight, however, in each hunt chapter, we provide three clues that can be conveyed to the players before combat starts. Understanding the clues is the key to your players preparing for the fight ahead and feeling empowered when their prep pays off. You might also have to encourage your players to take a rest before engaging the target of their hunt in order to switch out spells and swap item attunements.


Each clue has at least one example of how you can convey the information to your players, through interactions with NPCs and the environment. Please note, these are examples! It’s still up to you as the GM to make any necessary changes to the story and roleplay interactions to make sure your players understand these clues. Playtesting note: you may have to be much more obvious than you think!


Rule Zero. If you’re having fun, you’re doing it right! If you need to change anything to have fun, do it! This is a book of ideas. We’ve tried to make it as balanced and functional as possible, but every table is different. Some tables have power gamers, some have spellcasters who don’t even take damaging spells. Make this book your own!


Mulch! Your favourite psychaedelic druid NPC. Art by Jess.

One Last Thing

This book has been designed to be viewed as a book—2 pages at once (a format known as a ‘spread’). The PDF will come in ‘PAGES’ and ‘SPREADS’ format. Pages is a single page at a time (for viewing on a tablet), while spreads is the intended view. We’ll also have 2 versions of each of those: ‘normal’ and ‘optimised’. The former is a bigger file with full hyperlinking, the latter is a compressed file without hyperlink. Use whichever is easier for you!


A Project We Love - Seeds of Decay 

Our friend, SplatteredInk (a.k.a Darryl) has released his first 5e book on Kickstarter! It's a 300-page tome filled with new spells, classes, monsters, and a wonderful campaign for levels 1-8.  For those in the know, SplatteredInk is also the person doing our wonderful monster tokens for Heliana's, and with good reason: it's absolutely gorgeous! Check it out:

Check it out!

I (Max) actually had a chance to play this at PAX unplugged and I can tell you: it's fun. I played as the vine walker, a rogue subclass that could swing from the tress on vines, like a green-fingered spiderman. Darryl has written everything, drawn every piece of art, and is supported by our wonderful publishers Hit Point Press in bringing it to life!

Viney man, viney man, does whatever a viney man can.

Backerkit

So we’ve been a bit lax on this, but we will begin to charge all the cards that have not yet been charged. If you see a charge come up from Plane Shift Press - that’s us! I’m going to try and charge cards every two weeks.

Note, if you’ve already paid, you won't be charged again!


All that's all for now. Catch you in a fortnight!


Love,

Max (and Mo and Jess!)

First Look: Pygmy Rakshasa! - Creative Progress Update - Production
11 months ago – Fri, Dec 24, 2021 at 04:17:37 AM

Hey friends!

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 and Pygmy Rakshasa - by Ongjen

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): weave entanglement. 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!


Mummified Immortal - by Ongjen

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 mummified immortal. 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!


Swarms of 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.


Swarm of Fiendcats - by Ognjen

Overall this will be a challenging fight for spellcasters, who have their own strategies to develop indiependetly of the melee fighters!


Creative Process

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.
  • Tracking: done
  • Random encounters: 137/209 written
  • Harvesting: done
  • 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!


Digital January. 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!


Production

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!

Gelatinous ooze dice sample #4 - finally the right colour of green!

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)