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:

$1.1m goal — New Goal: MORE RACES!?
4 months ago – Mon, Jun 21, 2021 at 09:10:48 PM

That's 14 goals down!!

Surfzilla approves. The dire rabbit hard enamel pin (with delicious silk screen print overlays - you don't get that on many pins!) will be available to everyone at the heavily discounted price of $5! Thanks folks :)


Next New Goal - $1.2m: 5 MORE new Races

If we hit $1.2 million (wtf!) we''ll add 5 more new races to the roster. The Pangolan has a natural armour, and the Opteran - a race based on moths (Lepidoptera) begins life as a caterpillar-esque creature before moulting at level 5 (ish) to get a (pretty slow) flying speed! Here's some of Jess' early art :)

Opteran and Pangolan

Project We Love - Grio's Guide to the Wildlands

Grio's is shaping up to be an excellent companion book for Heliana's Guide! It catalogues an assortment of natural hazards within its 200 pages, including new backgrounds and nature-focussed proficiencies. What I like is that it has different tiers of success in for its checks, and options to make each hazard more or less dangerous (for different power parties). Here's an excerpt.

Click to see more!

The campaign has finished but you can still grab the book (or PDF) on the pre-order store for the next few weeks. Click here for the store, or here to see the Kickstarter page.


That's all for now!


Thanks,


Max (and Mo and Jess!)

$1m — Much Humble. Very Wow. —The Dire Bunny of Caergannob | New Goal | Fantasy Grounds
4 months ago – Thu, Jun 17, 2021 at 01:53:00 AM

Coolzilla

First, a message from our sponsor, Heliana:

"Is... is it on?"

"Yeah, you just speak and it'll make it into words."

"Ah. Is this L'Arsène's magic?... of course. ...

ADVENTURERS. We are almost 10,000 strong and ready to face the most evil, most terrible beast I've ever encountered. The direwolf in goat's clothing.  The beast of the barrow. The Dire. Bunny. of Caergannob."

"Many of you will die, many more will suffer debilitating psychological trauma, but a select few will go down in the an- ann- 

(Peeper, is this right?... Oh!)

ANNALS of history! I'll pen my knowledge of this fearsome foe in this guide, but it is up to you to spread the word far and wide. Share the tale of this momentous quest! Onwards, to glory!

How... how was that, Peeper?"

Eep

ONE MILLION DOLLARS

We thought we'd reaffirmed our grip on reality, but y'all threw one million banana skins in our path and we slipped again. But in a good way. Seriously folks - thank you! We'll be adding a whole new adventure to the book,  a tongue in cheek parody of the Holy Grail, with a new boss, new lair actions, and lots of other original paraphernalia. 

Here's a sneak peak:


NEW & NEXT STRETCH GOAL - Dire Bunny Pin

If we hit $1.1m we'll make a dire bunny pin. This pin will be available as an addon (and maybe in a future as-yet unannounced tier...). As a thank you to you all we're knocking 60% off our expected MSRP as a Kickstarter-Exclusive offer — it'll be just $5. It'll come with a tarot card depicting the dire bunny familiar and it's associated skills. 

Dire bunny pin

Fantasy Grounds Incoming!

We've been in touch with Fantasy Grounds, and they've given us the go-ahead to pre-sell our book on their VTT! If you add the VTT Adventure Bundle as an addon, you'll be able to choose from Fantasy Grounds, Foundry, Shard, or Roll20 when we get to Backerkit.

Project(s) We Love - The Oracle Story Generator 

Our friends at Nord Games (the folks who are Kickstarter fulfilment specialists!) have just launched their next Kickstarter - The Oracle Story Generator. This deck of beautifully illustrated cards is a simple tool for game masters, world builders, and writers to create fantastical adventures.

Click to see more!

The decks have different card types, Actors are the main character of the story. Actions are what that character will do. Subjects are who or what the main character's action will have an impact on. Intents are what the main character intends to accomplish through their actions. Developments are extra elements of the story that add intrigue. Each card has 4 options to help that seed of idea germinate into a BBEG, historical event, or mystical occurrence that has yet come to pass! Check it out here :)


Project(s) We Love - Asian Monsters 

From world building, to world populating, there's another project we want to tell you about - Asian Monsters. This Quickstarter (it's ready to go as soon as the campaign ends). It's only $15 for the PDF and comes with 90 creatures replete with delicious illustrations, and has options for full VTT support for Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and Shard.

Click to see more!

Asia is steeped in brilliant folklore and we're so happy to see the topic addressed in this killer bestiary. For those not in the know, Legendary games are partners in Paizo's conversion of Kingmaker. They seriously know what they're doing! Check it out here :)



Okay.


Wow.


Thanks! We're blown away. Keep sharing so we can make more cool stuff! We've been kicking around even more stretch goal ideas and they're looking pretty tasty.


Thanks,


Max (and Mo and Jess!)

Week 2 Update - First Look: Harvesting!
4 months ago – Thu, Jun 17, 2021 at 01:40:42 AM

  • Two weeks.
  • $978k.
  • 12 stretch goals.
  • 3 new creators commissioned.
  • 1453 core boxes.
  • 1668 deluxe boxes.
  • 6968 books.
Very Nice!

It's kind of hit us, but not really. More on our relationship with reality next week.


Harvesting First Look

I'd wager that you've all had a similar post-dragon-slaying experience: you tell your GM that you wana chop off some dragon scales, you observe the slight look of panic as they quickly make up a rule, and then you roll the inevitable Wisdom (Survival) check. It's good! It's simple, it works, and it keeps the game moving. But sometimes you want just a little more choice. What about a dragon's heart? What about its breath sac? What about the nerve-rending risk of a misplaced cut causing the whole thing to explode in your face? We've gotcha' covered.


We're gonna take a look at our design goals for the harvesting mechanic, a harvesting example, and a short delve into one of the extra rule options available.


Design Goals

Mo and I spent hours discussing the best way to design a harvesting system. We narrowed it down to these key goals:

  • Streamlined
  • Modular
  • Involves All Players
  • Familiar
  • Balanced

Streamlined. We wanted to create a system that you can tack onto the end of your fight, and that takes no more than 5 minutes to conclude.  So we created the laws of arcanodynamics.

The third law of arcanodynamics states that a system without a soul or magical artifice loses its magical potency rapidly after death.

After 1 minute a corpse loses its magical potency, so your players have to move quickly! This means they can't harvest an entire battlefield; they must choose, at most, one corpse per party member.  1 corpse, 2 checks, done.

Modular. There are as many ways to play RPGs as there are players who play them. One size rarely fits all, perfectly. To address this, our harvesting and crafting systems have optional rules so you control how simple or granular your game is! Some optional rules you can add are:

  • Volatile Components (a dragon's breath sac should explode, right?)
  • Hazardous Harvesting (a scorpions sting still has venom!)
  • Metatags (more on this below)
  • Price Calculation mechanics (have a set price for quick shopping or modify price based on settlement size!)

Involve All Players. We want players with all sorts of different skills to be able to contribute to the post-skirmish harvesting so different creature types require different skills. A cleric with proficiency in religion might have an easier time carving up a celestial than a dexterous rogue will! Players not involved making the checks can still add a passive bonus if they help.

Familiar. No, not the cute friends. Our system uses established skills, there's nothing new to add to your character sheet.

Balanced. Giving your players the means to craft their own items removes some control you as a GM have over the balance of the game. We don't want you to be worrying about this, so we introduced 'essence', a harvestable component that is limited by creature CR. Your level 3 party can never make a rare item if they don't harvest the essence of a CR 11 creature!


Harvesting Example

So — how does it work!? Well each creature type (of which there are 14) has a harvest table, detailing what components are available and what their component DC is. Here's a summary of how you go from that table, to loot:


  •  Step 0 — Players kill the creature

GM: You have slain the mighty beast! What do you do next?

Player, Gurf: Chop it up, please.


 Step 1: Description — GM reads the harvest table for that creature type and tells the players which components can be harvested. Boss monsters have unique harvest tables, different to the creature type harvest tables.

GM: In addition to the many phials’-worth of mucous, you could harvest three eyes, five tentacles, a pouch-worth of teeth, and, of course, its rubbery hide. Because this creature is particularly potent, you can also try to extract it’s essence, a difficult process...

N.B. Each boss monsters has its own harvesting table, different to the normal creature type table.
  •  Step 2: Harvest List  — Players must quickly decide which of those components they wish to harvest as well as in what order (I like to impose a limit of 2 minutes real time to add tension).

Player, Gurf: I want the eyeses. And all the teef!

Player, Mizzard: Very well, Gurf, but let’s not forget the hide we came here for! And we’ll need essence to be able to make the more powerful ‘rare’ versions of the items. We’ll take the three eyes, a pouch of teeth, the hide, and then the essence.


  •  Step 3: Harvest DC — GM writes these down and adds together the component DCs.
The party chooses to harvest 3 eyes, a pouch of teeth, the hide, and the broodmother's essence
  •  Step 4: Harvest Check — The players elect harvester(s) to make two ability checks; one Intelligence check (to assess) and one Dexterity check (to carve it up). This can be the same person or a different one. Because the broodmother is an Aberration, the players can add their proficiency bonus to the check if they have proficiency in Arcana. The results of the two checks are added together.

GM: Okay. Mizzard, as the assessing harvester, you need to make an Intelligence (Arcana) check and Gurf, as the carving harvester, you need to make a Dexterity (Arcana) check.

Mizzard: Okay… that’s a 12 plus 5. 17!

Gurf: What’s Dexterity (Arcana)? It’s not on my sheet.

GM: Make a Dexterity check—roll a d20 and add your Dexterity modifier—then add your proficiency bonus if you’re proficient in Arcana.

Gurf: Okay that’s a… 16 plus 4. 20!

GM: Great; 17 plus 20 — that’s a total of 37.


  •  Step 5: Loot —Using the handy list you made in step 3, you can see which of the Harvest DCs the Harvest check result met or surpassed. A 37 means that everything except the hide and essence were acquired.

GM: The three eyes come out, plop plop plop, as do the teeth. Unfortunately, the hide is too tough and you can’t harvest it before its magic seeps away and it becomes a mundane bit of fat. You never even get started on the essence.

Gurf: Yay! Teef and eyez!

Mizzard: Blast—I wanted that hide...


Nom nom nom.

 Modular System Example - Metatags 

From the veteran GM who wants to add a detailed system to their rich and vibrant world, to the newbie who just wants a quick way to satiate their murderhobos' quest to flay every enemy they kill, we've got options for the gamut of players and GMs. Our modular rule system gives you the power to make your game as ultra-simple, or ultra-detailed as you like. One example of how we achieved this is with the components themselves and the metatags optional rule. Let's take harvesting a goat (a medium beast) and a rhino (a large beast) as an example.


At it's simplest,  you could harvest a beast horn from both the goat and the rhino.  With the simple crafting rules (which work in tandem with the simple harvesting rules),  you canmake any of the silver, brass, or bronze horns of valhalla with this beast horn. The simple version keeps way your inventory from overflowing with different types of components.


One detailed rule for harvesting is metatags. These modify the names of the components you harvest to create smaller categories. So, in the goat and rhino example, you would acquire a beast horn (Medium, goat) and a beast horn (Large, rhino) respectively. The detailed crafting rules require a beast horn (Medium) for a silver horn and a beast horn (Large) for a brass one. For the bronze horn, though, you specifically need a beast horn (mammoth). Good luck finding that!


Okay - that's the first look done.  There's so much more to show you guys from harvesting supplies to ruining components to all the different harvesting tables. Limiting this update to what you see here has been a herculean effort, I assure!


Project We Love — Story Engine: Deck of Worlds 

The Story Engine: Deck of Worlds is a set of 240 cards for creating imagined lands, local lore, and story-driven world maps. It contains hundreds of open-ended worldbuilding prompts, the deck is ideal for worldbuilders, writers, loremasters, storytellers, DMs, teachers, and RPG groups of all kinds.

Click to see more!

If you've ever seen an improv comedy show, you'll know that every game needs a nugget of inspiration. This tool lets you make that little nugget, and keep adding to it with a random assortment of ideas.

I'm getting the OG story engine and the deck of worlds. As a writing tool, prompts are great, and in a pinch, I can throw a few of these together and let the fates decide what my party will encounter.  I think that the Deck of Worlds is an ideal companion for the open-world nature of Heliana's Guide.  Check it out here :) 


Okay,

That's week 2 from us done - thanks for reading!


Max (and Mo and Jess!)


P.s. We're working on another tier. It accidently got posted early. Don't worry, it will come back in its final form.

$900k - This looks familiar! Quintuply familiar! New Clues
4 months ago – Mon, Jun 14, 2021 at 04:12:47 AM

Jess is super excited about this one! We'll be putting 5 more familiars in the book (and PDF).  These critters will have some unique abilities and can also be trained by a monster tamer to gain more powerful thematic features! Plus you might have seen some before in Jess' pokemon fusion videos!

Dogzilla

Here's a sneak peak - the Couatling, Slaghund, and Tatzelwurm! The other two will be revealed on one of Jess' streams :)

Left to Right: Slaghund, Couatling, Tatzelwurm

We don't have plans to make these familiars into pins yet (that sort of thing takes a while), but the current plan is to have card pack #3 contain the reference cards for these guys (card packs #1 and #2 contain reference cards for the first 10, FYI. See the enamel pins pack to know which ones are in which card pack).


NEXT STRETCH GOAL - THE REVEAL

Congrats to Nathan Levi who correctly guessed the name of the secret $1m stretch goal adventure: The Dire Bunny of Caerbannog!

Don't be deceived!!

Prepare to encounter The Dark-Grey Knight, Jim The Enchanter, and the Knights Who Say "Mi!" in this entirely original adventure. Holy hand grenades not included. If we hit this goal, we'll add a whole new adventure, monster(s), craftable items, and ANOTHER familiar. Item card pack 3 will have the relevant cards!


Thanks again!


Max (and Mo and Jess!)

Week 1 Update! First Look: The Monster Tamer Class!
5 months ago – Thu, Jun 10, 2021 at 03:50:45 AM

  • One week.
  • $777k.
  • 10 stretch goals.
  • 3 new creators commissioned.
  • 1160 core boxes.
  • 1380 deluxe boxes.
  • 5490 books.
much wow.

THANK YOU! To all our friends in the TTRPG community, to all the people who gave us advice on the KS page, and to you guys: thanks. Ya dope. Without further ado, let's take a look at the Monster Tamer class:


Monster Tamer First Look

The monster tamer!? What is it? Part pokémon trainer, part summoner, part familiar wrangler. This class is all about catching creatures, and training them up. This update will take a look at the design goals, hurdles, innovations,  and subclasses.


Design Goals

With this class we wanted to make it all about the companions. Whereas a battlesmith artificer or beast master ranger can still function sans companion, the companions of the monster tamer are its primary source of damage dealing. The monster tamer enhances its companion with spells and its subclass abilities, but also needs to take special care to keep them alive. You have two equally important creatures in play in any combat!


Innovations & Abilities

So, what does the core class do? This is a summary of the 'Rules as Intended' for the level 1-11 abilities of the core class.

  •  Monster trainer (1st). You start with a tiny CR 1/4 creature, your bonded companion! (N.B., it can't have the spellcasting ability or be a humanoid or giant). Whenever you level up in this class, all bonded companions (i.e. creature's you've caught) gains 2 training points. You can spend these to enhance the companions' speed, HP, ability scores, attack & damage modifiers, skill proficiencies, saving throw proficiencies or size!
  • The 'familiars' introduced in this book will have unique evolution paths to spend these training points on!
  •  Psychic bond (1st). You can see through your companion's senses, just like with familiars. So long as the companion is within 100ft. of you, you can cast spells with a range of touch or self on the companion. However, watch out! If you companion is KO'd, you have a chance to be stunned!
  •  Bolster (2nd). You can use spell slots to heal your companion
  •  Spellcasting (2nd). You're a half-caster (like ranger/paladin) and have known spells like an artificer. We're toying with allowing you to choose which of your mental abilities to use as your spellcasting ability when you first take a level in this class. Because... why not!? The spells of the monster tamer do not cause direct damage; they're almost all utility and control!
  •  Tame creature (2nd). Step 1. make a vessel to contain the creature (costs $$$). Step 2. Damage the creature. Step 3. Throw vessel at creature, which makes a Cha saving throw. On a failure, you catch it, on a success, you don't. Above 50% HP it auto-succeeds. Below 25% HP it auto-fails. When you finish a long rest, you become bonded to the creature.
  • You can only have so many companions bonded to you at once (dictated by your MT level). When you become bonded to a new one, you can release the old one, either to another MT or into the wild. The CR and size of the creature that can be tamed is also limited by your MT level. The creature's health is recalculated once captured, and it loses any spellcasting feature it may have. Otherwise, you can capture any non-humanoid, and non-giant creature!
  •  Multiattack (5th). Your companions gain the multiattack feature (if it already has it in its stat block).
  •  Pocket Family (5th). You can get a second bonded companion! This increase by 1 at 9th, 13th, 17th, and 19th, level.
  •  Alpha Strike (7th). As part of the action to summon a companion, you can give it a command (which usually requires your bonus action). # uses = Cha mod/LR.
  •  Willful Blows (7th). You companions' attacks are magical.
  •  Switcheroo (11th). You can use you reaction when either you or your companion are the target of an attack to switch places with one another. You can also do this as a bonus action. Cool for teleporting, too. 1/SR.

Combat with Companions

Here it is verbatim: "In combat, the companion shares your initiative count, but it takes its turn immediately after yours. It can move and use its reaction on its own, but the only action it takes on its turn is the Dodge action, unless you take a bonus action on your turn to command it to take another action. That action can be one in its stat block or some other action. If you are incapacitated, the companion can take any action of its choice, not just Dodge. Your companions can’t take the multiattack action until you reach 5th level in this class."


Hurdles

One of the big issue with balancing this class is what I call the 'Hit Point Problem'. Everyone knows Druids (especially moon druids) have great survivability because of their ability to have a whole second pool of hit points. The monster tamer has the same problem. The class is only a d8, but its creatures also have health pools of their own! And you can get multiple of them!

Solution 1: Recalculate HP.  Non-PC creatures have much bigger health pools than PCs. Because of this, every companion has to have its hit points recalculated (which generally means lowered) when they're tamed. You can still increase HP by buying a hit die upgrade, upgrading the companion's constitution, or upgrading its size!

Solution 2: Dependent Recovery. If you have 3 companions and they all can roll hit die to regenerate HP on a short rest... the total HP regen of the party becomes insanely overpowered. One solution we're trying for this is to make it so your companion's use your hit die to regenerate HP, with a little bonus based on your spellcasting modifier.


Subclasses

You'll notice that, except for Multiattack, the core class doesn't enhance your companions' damage output at all. Your choice of subclass dictates how you deal extra spicy damage! We've three subclasses penned, here're the working names: Splicer, Elementalist, Cheerleader. You choose your subclass at 3rd level.

These subclasses all follow a pattern:

  •  3rd level. Enhance attack.
  •  6th level.  AoE/bigger attack. Recharges on a Short or Long Rest.
  •  10th level. Defensive enhancement.
  •  14th level. Subclass capstone; Recharges on a Long Rest.

Elementalist. This subclass infuse its companions upon summoning allowing them to deal additional damage of a certain elemental type (acid, cold, fire, lightning). It gets a new action at high levels, giving it an AoE: Acid Mist, Endotherm, Firenado, or Sparkstep (all working names). 

Its defensive ability is a resistance to the chosen infusion element type, which can be bolstered to an immunity for a short time. The capstone is called 'Unstable Fusion'; the companion gains the benefit of TWO infusions simultaneously (so dealing twice the additional damage on a hit), but has a chance of ending suddenly, and summoning the appropriate mephit of the two elements.


Splicer. Each level, this chap gets 3 splicer points it can use to augment its companions. Unlike training points, splicer points are not shared across all companions. You can use these to give you companions traits like a a new movement type, a frog's amphibiousness, an owl's flyby, or some extra limbs for a dope machoke grapple build.

At higher levels, you choose from an array of different actions, and can even harvest the resistances of monsters you slay on the battlefield! The capstone turns the companion into a hulking behemoth, after which it falls unconscious and is exhausted. Use wisely.


Cheerleader. This is like the bard of the subclasses. Think Ash Ketchum shouting 'yeah!' a lot.  You use your reaction to grant it bonuses to ability checks, attack rolls, damage rolls, or saving throws. At 6th level, it gains the Action Surge ability, which you may be familiar with from the Fighter class.

It's defensive ability is similar to the half-orcs 'Relentless Endurance' and it's capstone is a special combo : you summon a second companion which takes its turn simultaneously with the first one. In addition, if both companions target the same creature, their attacks have advantage!


Want to Playtest? As you can see from the Hit Point Problem, getting this balanced is essential. If you want to playtest, we'll be organising that on the Humperdink's Wares discord server. There'll be an open beta once we get the alpha niggles out of the way. See you there!



Well done for making it to the end! Any questions, let us know in the comments below :)


Thanks,


Max (and Mo and Jess!)


P.s. This is different to the familiar crafting you can do through Humperdink the Warlock's magic of biomancy. More on that later.