Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings

Dungeons and Dragons and Feelings is what I’m calling my attempt to tweak 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons to better support player driven stories and inter-character interactions at my table.

I’ve added a few systems stealing bits I like from Dungeon World, Apocalypse World, Burning Wheel and FATE.

In order to make this all work and to visually realign priorities I’ve also created a custom, if basic, character sheet for my players to play with.

Character Sheet

The main visual space is taken up by Callings and Traits which are explained later in this post while the important stats appear in a column down the left of the page.
Things like attacks, spells and other abilities are all lumped into a “Moves” section while passive things like Stonecunning and Darkvision appear go in the “Features” section. The “Skills” section allows players to jot down their proficiencies in Skills, Languages and Tools. “Gear” is a general space for listing all equipment the player has.
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Callings

Callings are your character’s motivations and beliefs. They should be stated as an opinion or thought followed by an actionable intention.

Eg.
“The baron is extorting his people. I will remove him from power.”
“The party Rogue, Tamlin, saved my life. I will return the favour at any cost.”
“The Gods are unworthy of worship. I will end all religion in the land.”

When you attempt to take actions that come from your Callings, gain 1 experience.
Eg: “I start an argument with the town crier who supports the baron BECAUSE the baron is extorting his people.”

When you achieve the intention stated in your goal you gain experience equal to your level and replace that belief with a new one.

Traits

Traits are simple words or phrases that explain the defining features of your character. Traits can be invoked by players and the GM to grant advantage or disadvantage on rolls where those traits are relevant in the story. It can also be invoked to grant non-roll based benefits or misfortunes. Once a trait has been invoked to gain advantage or benefit it is marked and cannot be used again to gain another advantage or benefit until it has been unmarked. When a trait is invoked to grant disadvantage or misfortune you can unmark one trait of your choice. All traits are unmarked at the start of each session.

EG:
“Hairy”
Invoked to grant advantage on deception check to disguise oneself as a bear.
Invoked to grant disadvantage on acrobatics check to escape a sticky swamp.

“Honest”
Invoked to grant advantage on persuade check to convince a priest to give people asylum for the night.
Invoked to grant disadvantage on sleight of hand check to steal the keys to a jail cell.

At the end of each session the rest of party votes on which trait is least descriptive of your character in that session and what to replace it with. These changes are then made to your character.

Experience

You are eligible to level up when you gain XP equal to nine plus your level multiplied by three. Levelling up is a Great Work which must be completed before you gain the benefits of your new level.

At the end of each session each character goes through their callings.
If they can give an example of an action they took in the session that was motivated by that calling they gain one experience. This is called a Because Statement. I.E. “I robbed the noble’s son BECAUSE wealth should be shared amongst the common folk.”
If they have completed the goal stated in that calling they gain experience equal to their current level and remove that resolved calling.
They also gain experience for each answer they found to questions in their Mystery Table.

Did we:

  • Get set back by being outmaneuvered or through oversight and learn from it?
  • Devise a shrewd scheme or strategy that was successful and put the party at an advantage?
  • Loot a Memorable Treasure?
  • Acquire a useful ally, contact or confidant?
  • Defeat a notable foe?
  • Complete any quests?

Skill Specifics

Perception/Investigation:

When you succeed on a perception or investigation check you may ask up to three of the following questions. Acting on the answers grants advantage on relevant rolls. If you fail by five or less, you may ask one.

  • What happened here recently?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What should I be on the lookout for?
  • What here is useful or valuable to me?
  • Who’s really in control here?
  • What here is not what it appears to be?

Insight:

When you succeed on an insight check against a character you may ask up to three of the following questions. Acting on the answers grants advantage on relevant rolls. If you fail by five or less, you may ask one.

  • Is your character telling the truth?
  • What’s your character really feeling?
  • What does your character intend to do?
  • What does your character wish I’d do?
  • How could I get your character to __?

Social Manipulation:

Persuasion is convincing someone to do something because something good will happen to them if they do. It is opposed by a Wisdom save.
Intimidation is convincing someone to do something because something bad will happen to them if they don’t. It is opposed by a Charisma save.
Deception is convincing someone that something you say is true despite evidence or lack thereof. It is opposed by an Intelligence save.

When you succeed on an intimidation, persuasion or deception check against a player character you they gain one experience if they do what you say and gain disadvantage on any rolls to not do that. If you fail by five or less, choose only one of those conditions.

When you succeed on an intimidation, persuasion or deception check against a non-player character you they they do or believe what you want you say. If you fail by five or less, they will do or believe what you say when you give them some reasonable evidence that you’re to be believed.

Mystery Tables

A character’s mystery table is a list of questions the player has about the world, their own character and characters around them. At the end of each session the character gets one experience for each of those questions which have been answered and removes that question from their mystery tables. New questions can be added to the table between sessions. If answering one question would answer another question they cannot be listed as two separate questions. There is no limit other than common sense to how many questions you can have on your Mystery Table.

Great Works

Crafting Magical Items, Buildings, Advanced Engineering, Political Prestige and Personal Development require more than just a little elbow grease or a few arcane words.

To perform a great work:

  • First calculate the cost of the great work you wish to attempt.
  • State which resources you are spending on your attempt.
  • Roll the Required Check for the great work.
  • Apply Penalties
    • For every 1 Magic in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -10 penalty to your roll.
    • For every 1 Influence in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -5 penalty to your roll.
    • For every 1 Goods in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -2 penalty to your roll.
    • For every 1 PP or 10 GP in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -1 penalty to your roll.
    • For every 1 labour in the cost not being spent on the attempt apply a -1 penalty to your roll.
  • See the roll results on the Great Work Attempt table.

Costs come in the following units: Goods, Influence, Labour, Magic, and Platinum Pieces

Great Work Required Check Cost
Level Up Your Highest Proficient Save Your Current Level in Platinum Pieces + Your Current Level in Days Construct A Room or Building Mason’s Tools or Carpenter’s Tools Ultimate Campaign Cost
Craft An Item Relevant Tools or Arcana Item PP cost or equivalent number of days
Research A Spell Arcana 1 Magic + 10 days per spell level

<thcolspan=”2″>Great Work Attempt

25+ Great Success. Roll on the Spare Parts table and gain those resources as a bonus from your efforts.
10 – 24 Success.
5-9 Partial Success. Roll on the Spare Parts table and increase the cost of this work by that much. You may reattempt this work again. Resources already invested count towards the new attempt but cannot be extracted from the work at this time.
4- Abject failure. Any and all resources invested in this great work are destroyed or wasted.
Spare Parts
1d6 Result
1 1 Magic
2 1d12 Goods
3 1d100 GP
4 1d20 Labour
5 The assistance of a specific person or 1d4 influence
6 The quality of your final product

Exhaustion & Madness

Exhaustion is split into two separate tracks, Exhaustion for physical effects and madness for mental effects.

When you fail a death saving throw you gain one level of exhaustion or madness, your choice.

Exhaustion and madness can be gained by enduring physical and mental punishment such as travelling for days without rest or seeing your loved ones slain. It can also be inflicted by the supernatural such as being the victim of a mummy’s curse or an insanity spell.

1 Rank of Exhaustion can be lost over the course of a long rest in which the character also eats and drinks normally.

1 Rank of Madness can be lost by spending a day in comfortable circumstances without engaging in violence or stress.

Exhaustion

  1. Disadvantage on Strength, Dexterity and Constitution ability checks
  2. Speed Halved
  3. Disadvantage on Attacks and Strength, Dexterity and Constitution saves
  4. HP Max Halved
  5. Speed reduced to 0
  6. Death

Madness

  1. Disadvantage on Intelligence, Charisma and Wisdom ability checks
  2. Cannot take reactions
  3. Disadvantage on Attacks and Intelligence, Charisma and Wisdom saves
  4. Cannot comprehensively communicate or understand any languages
  5. Cannot rest
  6. Death / Forever Broken

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