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:

$1.3m goal (and Secret goal!) - New Goal: Food Glorious Food!
over 1 year ago – Fri, Jul 02, 2021 at 07:17:41 PM

Hi folks,

I took a day off this weekend and y'all went and hit another stretch goal. Thanks! Sorry this update is delayed :p

We need a necromancer to raise our godzilla!

We've hit the $1.3m goal which means a new subclass for the Tamer will be added to the book - the Necromancer. Make an army of low-maintenance companions today! Well... in January 2022.


Some of you know that the publisher, Hit Point Press, has been acting as our Kickstarter advisors for this campaign. This time last year they had their most successful ever kickstarter - The Deck of Many Animated Spells, Tarot, and More, raising $1,310,509. Sometime in the wee hours of Sunday (UK time) we beat that!

As a thank you for being part of us beating that, and as an homage to that kickstarter, we're adding the dire bunny card to the animated familiar cards we're crafting. If you've bought the add-on, or are getting the deluxe box, this card will be in there :)

Here's an early Work in Progress:


Next Goal - $1.4m: Food Glorious Food

If we hit $1.4m (which... we're already close to xD) we'll add 11 more food recipes to the book, bringing the total to ~35 :) Food acts like potions, but takes 10 minutes to eat, and you can only benefit from one at a time.

Project We Love: Weird Wastelands 

More exploration! Mo and I spitballed a post-magic-apocalyptic setting (and still might do it), but Web DM look to have made their own, stellar, weird and wild wasteland. They have a hoard of player options in addition to their exploration rules, locations, factions, and GM toolkit so it's great addition for players and game masters alike. There's little overlap with Heliana's guide so we think it'd make a good companion book :)

Click the pic to see more!

In their own words!

Imagine alchemical sumps, arcane battlefields, and sites of divine retribution clouded in supernatural weather, surrounded by harsh deserts and wilderness. Magic or other apocalyptic events have fundamentally changed these places and local inhabitants. In this book you will find locations, items, GM tools, adventure hooks, subclasses, and a brand-new custom class that is sorely missing—the psion.

Check it out here :)

Thanks folks,

Max (and Mo and Jess!)

$1.4m Goal Smushed - New Goal!
over 1 year ago – Fri, Jul 02, 2021 at 07:17:34 PM

Whoop! We have munchies! 11 more munchies - one for each boss :)

Ready? Say aaaaaaaaaarrghhhOMGI'mShootingALaserAndHeliana'sIsOnIt'sLastStretchGoalaaaaaaarghh

We're not even at the 48 hour bump and I'm already struggling to keep up with the updates! In the words of Hamilton, you've "blown us all away". This is stretch goal #17!!! This next goal will be our final one.... maybe... Can we hit it?

New Goal: $1.5m - Book 2 Alpha

It's looking pretty likely we'll be making a book 2 at some point in the future. We're not sure what it'll be, yet. Perhaps Granny Weathertax's Guide to Monster Taming. Or Humperdink's Biomancy Handbook. Or maybe L'Arsenes Heists, Hijinxes, and Heroic Happenings. Probably none of those!

If we hit $1.5m then, when we start making playtest material for book 2, we'll send you it to try out first!

Project We Love: Dungeon Craft Terrain Books 

Dungeon Craft is a series of 2d terrain made for D&D and other Role Playing Games. Each book contains hundreds of reversible terrain pieces for you to build custom maps in endless scenarios. All you need to do is cut out the pieces and lay them on any of the base maps to build a unique encounter in minutes.

Click Me!

As some of you know, the only battlemap sized for physical minis that we're providing with this campaign is the Loot Tavern one. These modular map bundles (they have 7 total across a variety of terrains) from 1985 games can be co-opted for the boss fights, or used as the settings for the plethora of random encounters we provide! Check it out here.

Another update on crafting coming later today!


Max (and Mo and Jess!)

Week 4 Update - First Look: Crafting
over 1 year ago – Fri, Jul 02, 2021 at 07:17:32 PM

  • Four weeks
  • $1.42 million 
  • 13439 backers
  • 17 stretch goals
  • 4 creators commissioned
  • 2080 core boxes
  • 2491 deluxe boxes
  • 9556 books
A tamer's companion upon hearing it would be created, probably.

We had some excellent questions on the live QA, you can watch the VOD right here. Thanks to Johnn Four for hosting, Smood Jadd (a.k.a. Kevin) for compiling questions, and Sally and Ethen for troubleshooting tech stuff with me. Speaking of Johnn...

Free PDF - Enhance Your Monster Hunts

Johnn is the author of and creator of the '5 Room Dungeon Method'. He's kindly written up a guide for enhancing your approach to monster hunts using that 5-room method, namely: Guardian, Puzzle, Setback, Conflict, and Revelation. It'll be sent to all backers once we get Backerkit up and running (and have access to your email addresses, which reminds me...)

Ensure the email address you use for Kickstarter is not a JUNK address. We'll be using that email address to send you digital content, the backerkit survey, and updates. You can update your email address in your Kickstarter account settings.

Crafting First Look

From Skyrim to WoW,  Minecraft to Eve Online, there are hundreds of crafting systems out there. Some require recipes (WoW) while others make you guess what to smush together (Minecraft). Crafting systems can hide higher-level items behind experience levels, or simply require high-level components that only the toughest cookies can acquire.

In this first look, I'll dive into our design goals and outline how we've set out to achieve each of those goals. We'll also touch on cooking and cooked foods. Any questions? Hit up the comments below or jump on over to the discord. We'll have an open playtest for Harvesting and Crafting in the next month and the discord will be where you access it :)

---Design Goals---

This system is the last to be written of the three new ones (harvesting and tracking being the other two) and still has the most potential wiggle-room. That being said, it shares a few goals with the Harvesting system, namely:

  • Streamlined
  • Modular
  • Familiar

In addition, we wanted to make it:

  • Safe for GMs (no risk of a level 5 player getting a legendary weapon).
  • Cover both magical and mundane crafting.
  • Able to give each item a unique flavour.
  • Not favour any one class or skill proficiency.
  • Give tools a use.

Safe for GMs. If you read week 2's update, you'll know that in order to craft magical items, you need to extract 'monster essence' of the right level. This monster essence can only be extracted from creatures whose CR is high enough. For example, frail essence (for uncommon items) requires a creature of CR 6 — 10, while mythic essence (for legendary items) needs to be harvested from a creature of CR 22 or higher. In addition, whether or not you let your players discover the recipes for a specific magic item is up to you! Don't want a certain magic item in the game? No-one knows the recipe. 

Magical and Mundane. Mundane (non-magical) items become pretty redundant beyond the low levels of 5th-edition. That being said, you can't create a flame tongue longsword, without first creating a sword. We've covered all the bases by offering ways to craft both mundane and magical items. You can even combine the two systems to jump straight from iron ore to a fiery, overpowered flame tongue. This process of both manufacturing and enchanting together is called 'forging'.

To help delineate the two, we refer to mundane crafting as 'manufacturing', and magical crafting as 'enchanting'. Here's an example of how these work with a longsword, and a flame tongue weapon.

  • Longsword (Manufacturing). Mundane crafting is 'from scratch'. You first acquire the iron ore and coke, find a forge and smith's tools, and then make a Strength check using your proficiency in smith's tools (or pay someone to do it). If you pass the DC (of which there are multiple - see Unique Flavour below), you craft the sword. If you fail, you produce a worse item, or no item at all!
  • Flame Tongue (Enchantment). Once you've got a longsword, you're ready to make it magical. With your magical component - a dragon's breath sac - in tow and an enchanting station, you can make either an Intelligence check, or a check using your spellcasting ability modifier.

    Remember how, in harvesting, you use different skills depending on the creature type? Well, the same applies here. Because you use proficiency in Survival to harvest a dragon, you also add your proficiency in Survival to the crafting check that uses a dragon's components. This represents your ability to correctly harness the magic of that component.
  • Flame Tongue (Forge (Manufacturing and Enchantment)). The bonus of going straight from the raw materials to the final magical product is that you can work the magic in as you craft the item. Instead of using one of your mental abilities (Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma), you can use the ability associated with the tool proficiency required. For example, to craft flame tongue from scratch, a fighter would make a Strength (smith's tools) check for the mundane crafting, and a Strength (Survival) check for the magical portion.
You'll also be able to upgrade items once made. Is that a frying pan?

Unique Flavour. IRL, crafting can result in sub-par results. Trust me, I tried pottery once. To represent this we're making a table of minor bonuses and penalties that you can apply to your magic items. For example, if you exceed the DC by a big margin, you might increase the item's save DCs by 1, or grant it the ability to cast a cantrip. Conversely,  a low result could leave you with a leather jacket that always smells a bit, giving disadvantage on Charisma (Persuasion) checks or even worse, be cursed.

The exact bonuses and penalties are still being workshopped. If you have ideas of what these could be, join this discord channel.

No Favourites. As mentioned, magical crafting uses the same skill proficiency as the creature's component type skill used to harvest the creature's component. A holy avenger, which requires the component of a celestial, uses Religion to craft it, while the broodmother's embrace, crafted from the hide of an aberration, the aboleth broodmother (which you can play right here), uses Arcana. All spellcasters can use their spellcasting ability to enchant existing mundane items, while martial classes can use Strength or Dexterity to craft them from raw materials.

This book is watching youuuu.

Tool Proficiencies.  The types of items that you can manufacture depends on the tools at your disposal.  For example, crafting a weapon made of metal or metal armour require's smith's tools, while engineering a fiddly wondrous item might require proficiency in tinker's tools. If something falls into multiple categories, like a helm of telepathy (which is both a metal helmet and a wondrous item), you can use either tool to craft it. This, of course, is all at the GM's discretion; you're not going to make the folding boat wondrous item with glassblower's tools, unless you can somehow justify a folding glass boat. Actually… that’s a pretty cool idea.

Here's how we've lined up the tools, abilities, and item types. Note, the associated ability score is the one you can use if you're making something from the raw ingredients, rather than enchanting an existing item (see Magical vs Mundane, above):

  • Alchemist's supplies - Intelligence - Potions
  • Brewer's supplies - Constitution (it involves more sampling than alchemy) - Potions
  • Calligrapher's supplies - Dexterity - Scrolls
  • Carpenter's tools - Dexterity or Strength - Wooden Weapons, Arrows, Bolts, Staves, Rods, and Wands
  • Cobbler's tools - Dexterity - Boots
  • Cook's utensils - Constitution -  Food (a new item type!)
  • Glassblower's tools - Dexterity - Wondrous items
  • Jeweler's tools - Dexterity - Wondrous items
  • Leatherworker's tools - Dexterity - Light armour, hide armour
  • Mason's tools - Strength - Weapons and armour amde of stone (e.g. obsidian)
  • Painter's supplies - Dexterity - Scrolls
  • Potter's tools - Dexterity - ...?
  • Smith's tools - Strength - Metal weapons, heavy armour, medium armour (except hide)
  • Tinker's tools - Dexterity - Wondrous items, firearms
  • Weaver's tools - Dexterity - Cloaks, robes, and clothing
  • Woodcarver's tools - Dexterity or Strength - Wooden weapons, arrows, bolts, staves, rods, and wands

If you don't have a tool or tool proficiency, you can always find an NPC who does. Finding the NPC can be a quest in itself, and can act as a sneaky way of delaying the level at which level your players get a magic item.

---Worked Example---

GM: Okay you're back at your base, what do you do next?

Mizzard: I will enchant these beads with a potent magic to elicit incredible feats of incendiary amplification.

GM: So... a necklace of fireballs?

Mizzard: ...Yes.

Gurf: An' I want to make a flame tongue!

GM: Okay! You'll both need a red or gold dragon's breath sac. Mizzard, your item is rare so you'll need a fair or stronger essence as well, and Gurf, flame tongue is very rare so requires a potent or stronger essence.

Gurf: I thought it was rare, not very rare?

GM: I'm using Heliana's Guide which revises item rarities to make them balanced. Now, Mizzard, you said you were enchanting. Give me an Intelligence (Survival) check please, and then roll 1d6 + 3 to see how many beads you create.

Mizzard: Very well! That's... oh. 1 plus 5. 6. Damn. And I've made... 2 plus 3 equals 5 beads.

GM: Interesting... [notes down that item is cursed and could explode if damaged]. Looks alright to you! Gurf, how're you going about this?

Gurf: I've got the ore, coke, my smiffing toolsies, and all the magic stuffs. I'm gona make them hot and hit 'em!

GM: Okay, you're going to forge the item from scratch. Give me a Strength (smith's tools) check and a Strength (Survival) check.

Gurf: That's a 17 and a 26.

GM: Great. After many hours at the forge, you craft a fine blade, and achieve an amazing meld of magical properties into it. The blade is finely made, suffering no defects, and the enchantment is so strong that you gain a +1 bonus to your attack rolls in addition to flame tongue's normal enchantments. Mizzard, you leave your enchanting station with several new blackened holes in your robe and a... perfectly normal necklace of fireballs with 5 beads.


Cooking is a subcategory of crafting and food is a new magic item type. Food is similar to potions, but has a longer consumption time and longer-lasting effects:

  • It takes 10 minutes to consume,
  • The effects last for 8 hours (most of the time),
  • You can only benefit from one food's bonus at a time.

Foods tend to be in the common/uncommon level of power. Unlike crafting other magic items, you don't NEED monster essence, but using it adds a flat bonus to your crafting check (that scales with the rarity of the essence). With a high enough result on the check there is a chance of a critical success, producing the higher rarity version of that food.

Aboleth Ramen.

LIVESTREAM HAPPENING NOW (12:00 EDT, 29th June 2021)

Jess and Mo are gona be answering Qs and doodling over on Jess' YouTube Channel in 20 minutes! That's midday EDT. It'll be going for an hour or two and will be recorded if you're busy working! Or gaming. Or sleeping.

Hope you enjoyed this first look at crafting!


Max (and Mo and Jess!)

We're doing a live Q&A (or two)
almost 2 years ago – Mon, Jun 28, 2021 at 03:34:15 AM

Hey guys,

Just a mini update to let you know I (Max) will be doing a live Q&A tomorrow morning (US-time), or afternoon (UK-time). We're still ironing out a start time but it'll be either 9am MDT or 9.30 am MDT.  So you Americans (whole continent, not just USA) can watch it in bed and we Europeans can watch it with our afternoon tea.

  • 08:00 PDT -> 9:00am MDT -> 11:00am EDT ->16:00 BST
  • 08:30 PDT -> 9:30am MDT -> 11:30am EDT ->16:30 BST

It'll be a video stream on the Loot Tavern discord (<- click that link to get taken there). Johnn Four - creator of the five room dungeon method - will be hosting it and our server mod, Smood Jadd, will be picking user-submitted questions. We'll try and record it, but tech can be tricky, and there will likely be some delay in getting a vid up.

If you can't make it tomorrow, Jess Jackdaw will be doing another livestream on Tuesday midday (12 noon EDT) and I'll be appearing on there to answer some Qs. Subscribe to his YouTube channel here.

This Discord will be my first stream so... please be nice :)

That's all!


Max (and Mo and Jess!)

$1.2m goal - New Goal: Necromancer Tamer
almost 2 years ago – Sun, Jun 27, 2021 at 07:17:41 PM

And, just when I'm ready to stop for the day, we hit another goal xD You guys are the best!

Breaking goals like Godzilla breaks this insect

So, we've hit $1.2m which means 5 more races! Stay tuned to Jess Jackdaws YouTube channel for reveals :)

Next New Goal - $1.3m: Necromancer Tamer Subclass

I don't think I'm alone in saying that the wizarding school of necromancy is a little disappointing for crafting an undead army. If we hit $1.3m, we'll add another subclass to the Tamer class that lets you reduce, reuse, and recycle the bodies of your foes in a more permanent fashion. Or semi-permanent, if you're reckless.  This subclass will be focused on using the life force of its undead companion to heal itself and damage the enemy, with little respect for its actual companion's wellbeing (unless you really like your pet deathshroud). Here's some of Jess' concept art:

Project We Love - Traveller's Guide to the Soddenweald 

This is a ridiculously cute project. 

The Soddenweald is a vast swathe of mystical swampland, bubbling with strange and unpredictable wild magic. To traverse it safely, you'll need a copy of the Traveller's Guide...Brimming with inspiringly magical swamp-themed flora, fauna, food, and potion recipes, this guide contains a compelling combination of marshland lore designed to bring this magic swamp and its many curiosities to life!

Click to see their page!

If you like making food, finding plants in the wild, or adorable illustrations, then check out this guy. It's smashed its humble goal and I'd love to see its final days explode!


We love you

Max (and Mo and Jess!)

P.s. We couldn't decide between the two bard subclass ideas we had  (College of Flesh Weaving and College of Cuisine), so it looks like we'll have both, and a second necromancer-esque idea.