Casual Episodic fun with Adventurer's League

Although Dungeons & Dragons puts a whole lot of effort into marketing the next big book, multiple times a year, there's a lesser known series of official content floating out there: Adventurer's League! These are self contained adventures designed for Organized Play. That is, you can sit down at any table for any one of these adventures, play it out in a single sitting, and take your character along to the next one. I'm not running a table in a game shop or convention, but I do like the idea of players being able to come and go as they please and swap out characters any time. So! I've been adapting Adventurer's League content into a loose campaign for my group.

As of now, we've just finished Season One, thematically linked to Tyranny of Dragons which was also the first official book we ran. Each module is a stand alone adventure, but they link together to tell an overarching episodic story. In this first season, the players thwarted a handful of plots put forth by the Cult of the Dragon, and became refugees from the town of Phlan when Vorgansharax arrived and declared himself ruler. The season ends with a daring rescue of high profile citizens, but ultimately the party must leave the town behind and over the next couple seasons will be gathering allies before returning.

If Phlan sounds like a familiar town, that may be due to it being the setting for Pool of Radiance, a classic D&D computer game the events of which are canon and referred to frequently in the lore of these modules. Several locations in this Moonsea region also have history across previous editions of D&D.

Major events in the storyline are designed as Epics, adventures meant to be played across multiple tables simultaneously with their events affecting each other. I adapted and ran the first one "Corruption in Kryptgarden" towards the end of the season. This involved my players each running three characters as we bounced around in the narrative. It was an incredible experience, and I'm already looking forward to the next big story beats as we continue along.


To encourage the lighthearted, casual feel of the game, I wanted the visuals to be bright and tactile. Many modules include black and white maps, which I could import into Dungeondraft and trace over easily enough. The textures have a toylike feel to them, and pairing them with 2MinuteTabletop's sticker styled tokens works perfectly.

Screenshot of Foundry VTT - encountering a pair of animated armors in the Jade Temple

And since plenty of the gameplay happens outside of combat maps, I leverage JamesRPG's animated backdrops and the Theatre Inserts module to facilitate an immersive theatre-of-the-mind setup, similar to my more serious Curse of Strahd campaign.

Screenshot of Foundry VTT - setting the scene for adventure!


Since each module has a set level range, it'd be impossible to play a single character throughout the entire season. So, players choose from their pool of characters at the start of each session resulting in an interesting variety of party makeups. To keep track of who's played which adventure and how familiar the characters are with eachother, I set up a tracking system within foundry with the 5e Downtime module.

A character sheet tab tracking relationships with other player characters, easy tracking for how often they've adventured together 

A character sheet tab that tracks which adventures a character has taken part in 

And with factions being a central gameplay element, I made use of a supplement that doles out actual rewards for gaining renown and ranking up across the five factions: Guide to the Five Factions.

In the second season, we're switching from milestone to XP levelling to slow progression down a bit, and dedicating more effort into making the 'downtime days' doled out by the modules more useful. I collated Dakota Cash's "Downtime Expanded" into Foundry for my players, and as an extra bonus every seven days used triggers a Bastion turn from the new Unearthed Arcana. This represents happenings at the guild chapterhouses in Mulmaster, a much bigger city than the first season's Phlan. This could end up in a dearth of magical items being added to the in game economy, but I'm not terribly worried as we have limits in place regarding how many can be brought into play at a time.

 Screenshot of Foundry VTT, showing off merchant sheets, one set up with downtime activities and another with Bastion facilities

As we hit the ground running with the new season and new characters, I'm excited to see what stories we put together. Adventurer's League is quickly becoming one of my favourite campaigns to run!

Fun with running Curse of Strahd in Foundry

For 2023 I'm running my second campaign, the highly regarded official adventure "Curse of Strahd". Leading up to my prep time, I surveyed my group to decide what sort of rules, systems, and focus we should have. This landed on a highly immersive, roleplay focused adventure with realism rules in place. The difficult part of this is balancing and automating those rules so that they don't encroach on the atmosphere. Here I'm sharing some of the resources and tools I found that anyone else leverage for this or any other campaign. Enjoy!

Supplemental Material

To beef up the story, I picked up several supplements and am incorporating bits and pieces. This gives us new NPCs, some guidance on pacing and intertwining plot hooks, and even some completely new quests and locations to discover. Here's a few recommendations:

High Production Value

The setting for Curse of Strahd is the moody, mist covered demiplane of Barovia. Being a popular book, there's no shortage of art out there to draw from. To enhance the atmosphere of my game, I've drawn on these sources:
The result is a pretty cohesive look and feel where the majority of the gameplay happens in theatre of the mind, switching to overhead battle maps for exploration or combat. Artwork straight from the official book blends in seamlessly.

The team engaged in combat at the Tser River crossing

Ireena enjoys the view at Tser Falls

Gathering around the Vistani campfire

Storytelling with the Vistani

Travel System

I made the decision that to increase immersion, the players won't be looking at overworld map while travelling. Instead, they're on a travel montage scene using animated backdrops. Theatre Inserts lets us keep the players displayed as portraits along the bottom of the screen, including text boxes so they can continue roleplaying without necessarily being 'on the map'.

The overworld map does exist as a scene in my game world, but it's for my own reference only. I track the players location and have notes and landmarks in place as clickable buttons using Monk's Active Tile Triggers. Clicking a landmark switches up the background for the travel montage scene that the players have active, loads up the appropriate Syrinscape mood using SyrinControl, displays the readaloud text with Narrator Tools, and preloads the battlemap if one is available so that we can quickly switch to it.

The DM view of Barovia

Configuration for a landmark

In some cases we have forks in the road or options regarding where to go. I put these to a vote using the Visual Novel Choices addon.

The team decides not to enter Old Bonegrinder

To display travel progress while on the road, I leveraged the Boss Bar module and created an actor that sits hidden on the montage scene. We use Innocenti's Travel Pace to chart our course, then set the actor's max hp to match. For each hour of travel, I use the programmed features to 'heal' the travel actor by an amount based on how many miles we can go at each pace. They also deplete a 'stamina' resource telling me when the party needs a rest. A togglable status effect for difficult terrain automatically halves the 'healing'. Meanwhile, the Random Encounters module automatically triggers for every 30 minutes of game world time while the travel scene is active, letting me know whether and what we're running into.

The travel actor

Food and Water

We enjoy the Rest Recovery addon for automating rules around characters needing to eat, drink, and sleep, then automatically applying exhaustion if needed. However, it becomes a pain reminding players to consume things from their character sheets (or make sure they have them on hand) on every long rest. Since they have a cart with a water barrel as part of their party, I placed all the rations and water in one place, and created features to automatically deplete a day's worth of food and water in one click, speeding up the process for everyone. The Party Resources module helps the team keep track of what they have on hand, including in their own inventories.

The food and water actor, party sheet and resource tracking

Next, I devised a method to make sure fresh meat, fish and berries age and go rotten over time. When the group takes a long rest, I trigger a series of inventory square tiles that look for and replace fresh food with less fresh food.

Meat aging automation

Encumbrance and Inventory

We're enforcing carrying capacity rules in this game, using the Variant Encumbrance module to track and automate the effects of carrying too much. While this does technically integrate with Item Collection to enable bags and chests to hold other items, our preferred approach is to create separate actors and use them as Item Piles instead. This way each bag and chest is an actual object in game with its own carrying capacity being tracked, and it's super easy for players to pop them open and drag and drop items back and forth.

Downtime Activities

On top of the standard rules for foraging in the wild, I've incorporated systems from a few different supplements into downtime activities. This took the creation of several roll tables and journal entries, leveraging the Downtime TrackingGatherer and Mastercrafted modules. From the players' end however, they can just click a button on their character sheet that guides them through the required rolls, and then adds the appropriate rewards directly to their inventory. During rounds of downtime, we use the Out of Combat Tracker so players can see at a glance what everyone else is up to.

Sources for these systems:

A player's downtime tab

The out of combat tracker

Journals and Lore

Being a big world with plenty of interconnected stories, I wanted to make sure my players have information at their fingertips so they could keep track of everything going on. So, on top of writing session recaps in a shared Google Doc, I also maintain the journal system within Foundry. Using Monk's Enhanced Journals, there's different types of entries for people, places, quests, points of interests, even shops. They can all be linked via relationships allowing the players to click around and explore wiki-style.

Journal entries and lore

Combat Rewards

When you choose to run a campaign with milestone leveling instead of experience, random encounters and combat in general has the risk of becoming an unsatisfying slog. There are rules for calculating gold rewards for combat based on the difficulty rating, though it doesn't fit well with realism rules to be able to loot cash of off wild animals. To split the difference, I have Monk's Token Bar calculating rewards and assigning them to a Commendations loot sheet. The players can't collect these until they check in at town. I've created 'token' items that help track how many creatures they've downed of different types, and these will be redeemable for weapon enhancements or high quality gear.

The growing rewards list for the party's combat encounters

The Faction reward shop, still in progress

Time and Weather

I recreated the Barovian Lunar calendar in game, adding important dates to help keep the group centered in the world. Simple Calendar, Smalltime, and Smallweather all integrate together to automatically affect lighting and add weather effects to scenes.

Calendar and weather controls

And that's about all the fun integrations I have to show off for now. Feel free to check them out and enhance your own game!

It's ready! A two year homebrew travel log

 Coming up to the end of a two year homebrew campaign, I've put together a travel log as a treat for myself and the players. This summarizes the plot for each session, including links to soundtrack playlists, screenshots, snippets of DM notes and character letters. I'll be updating it as we have our last few sessions, as well as adding more detail and visual enhancements. Check it out!

Eldath's Mirror

Potion Crafting & Gathering in D&D 5e with Foundry

Well! Another pet project underway that scratches that itch of mine about getting things to work together. Today what we're doing is setting up ingredient gathering and item crafting, enabled by the modules Gatherer and Mastercrafted by theripper93, and the supplement "Potion Brewing and Ingredient Gathering for D&D 5e" by piccolo917 as our source material.

The material we're referencing is available free on GMBinder at, and you can support piccolo917's Patreon to thank them for their work.

Both of the modules enabling this are available by subscribing to theripper93's Patreon. They do great work, so I highly recommend throwing a couple bucks their way!

Gatherer in action: 

Mastercrafted in action:

So here's the process:

Step 1: I needed to create each ingredient referenced in the material that doesn't already exist in the core books. The reference material gives us the information on how rare the items are, where they're found, how hard they are to harvest and how much you can get at once. Some of the raw ingredients are edible and can act as potions, poisons or food on their own. I set this up best I can with Dynamic Active Effects and Rest/Recovery so that players will be able to make use of them easily. All this content, I exported to a compendium which I'll have uploaded here. I'm looking for a smarter way to import/export this but for now it'll be a little messy.

Step 2: I created a Roll Table for each environment. Using Better Roll Tables I can add the dice roll for quantities, and I also weighted the harder to get ingredients so that they'd be less likely to come up. These roll tables will also be uploaded as a compendium for your importing needs!

Step 3: I created a Journal entry for gathering, and a page for each environment using the Gatherer module. With this, a player with the necessary tools (Herbalism Kit) can roll a DC to see if they find an ingredient, and then it automatically rolls on the table and adds them to the player's inventory! This journal entry? Yup, I'm adding to the upload.

Step 4: Using Mastercrafted I created a Recipe book for each section of the material. Again, several of the potions are new creations so I entered them by hand and will have them included in the compendium along with the crafting ingredients.

So far I have all of the Herbalism recipes complete and ready to go, and will be updating this post once I have Alchemy and Poison recipes as well. Monster loot is included in the compendium but not on the Roll Tables.

My end goal is to get this content packaged up for users to quickly download and install from right within Foundry. This is a new thing for me, so it'll take some trial and error!

Update: the Github for this project is live at Github!

Random & Dragons

Here is a fun way to run a low stakes, low prep D&D campaign where everything is randomized.

The Big Idea

Sometimes my D&D group needs to miss a session on one of our campaigns, either due to missing people, or the DM being behind on prep or just not feeling up to it. I like to have a one-shot adventure at the ready in these cases, but sometimes even that is too much work. And so! I devised a game world in my Foundry that lets us run a no-prep randomized story any time we want.

This is largely enabled by the Community Tables module in Foundry, which in turn pulls plenty of content from Having these tables handy takes care of the heavy lifting for coming up with story ideas, leaving you to just connect the dots with your players.

Creating the party

Have someone roll a d20 to determine the party level. Then each player rolls from tables of available classes and races. If you're using the free Basic Rules, that means a 1d10 for race, and a 1d12 for class. You can adjust this if you have other sourcebooks available, of course, and optionally choose to do a secondary roll for the subclasses available at level 3. Once your players have their basics they can go about creating their character sheets.

  1. Dwarf
  2. Elf
  3. Halfling
  4. Human
  5. Dragonborn
  6. Gnome
  7. Half-Elf
  8. Half-Orc
  9. Tiefling
  10. ~roll again~
  1. Barbarian
  2. Bard
  3. Claric
  4. Druid
  5. Fighter
  6. Monk
  7. Palidin
  8. Ranger
  9. Rogue
  10. Sorcerer
  11. Warlock
  12. Wizard

Players roll a d100 per level, then multiply by 10 to get their starting gold, which they can use to purchase equipment as desired. Depending on their starting level, they can also roll for magic items for each milestone from the tables in Chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master's Guide

  • Level 5: Magic Item Table F
  • Level 10: Magic Item Table G
  • Level 15: Magic Item Table H
  • Level 20: Magic Item Table I

To flesh out the player characters, you can roll from some of the dndspeak tables. A couple favorites are 100 Character Backgrounds and 100 Adventuring School Superlatives

Creating the world

There are several tools out there to quickly generate a random landmass map. I like mapgen, because I can generate a neat unexplored version of the map for use with Foundry's simplefog module, making for a nice visual effect, like so:

To add towns and landmarks to the world, have each player roll one or two entries from worldbuilding tables like 100 Unique Towns/Villages or 100 Interesting Temples or Monastaries. Those can become journal entries which you then drop onto the map to be discovered later.

Creating the Plot

Here's the fun part! Your player characters backgrounds and the landmarks on the map are going to inform the story though natural exploration and roleplaying, but they will need some direction to start with. The first plot hook can come either from the Random Everything Generator or a dndspeak table like 100 City Quests or 100 Side Quest Hooks. You can work the destination for the plot into an existing landmark on the map, or slyly add new ones as needed. As you meet characters they can be fleshed out by tables like 100 NPC Personality Traits or 100 Travelers you Meet along the Road. Weaving the randomly generated elements together into related story threads is a fun challenge for a DM.

Exploring the World

Setting out in the world, the meat of the game is played by Hexcrawl rules, as laid out expertly by The Alexandrian. There's plenty of depth there for managing the party's pace, navigating, getting lost, and encounters. Here's the super simplified casual version:
  • Each map hex is 12 miles, side to side
  • At an average speed, the group moves 1 hex every four hours
  • For each four hour block, roll a d12 to determine if something happens
On a 1, the party runs into a wandering encounter based on their level and the biome they're in. I find the tables in Chapter 2 of Xanathar's Guide to Everything to be useful. Alternatively there's various free encounter generators online, such as  2minutetabletop or Fantasy Calendar's Kobold+ Fight Club.

On a 12, this would trigger a 'keyed event' in a properly prepped Hex Crawl adventure, some event or discovery designed to show up at that location. Since we're going all random all the time, we can roll from a table at dndspeak that matches the biome and mood such as 100 Social Encounters Along the Road, or 100 Interesting Forest Locations.

The Dungeon Part

Eventually your story will take you indoors and it will be time to go dungeon delving. There's several tools out there to quickly generate a dungeon map, such as Fantasy Calendar's Dungeon Generator or the Radugen module directly in Foundry. Once the layout's done, you can determine what the rooms are and what's in them as the team explores, using the Random Dungeon Appendix in the Dungeon Master's Guide. By the time your team gets to a dungeon, it should already be well established in your story so you'll have a good idea what kinds of creatures will be there.

And that's about it! A framework to randomly generate your adventure. From there, it's all improvisation and thinking on your feet to link things together! If you use this idea and like it, or have more resources to offer, let me know! Good luck, and happy adventuring!

Who is Action Jay

Hey look, it's a website! For a guy!

Action Jay here. Lifetime tech support specialist, tinkerer, enthusiast, dad fella. I got a busy life and use all sorts of tools and services to keep myself sorted. This dot com may seem empty but behind the scenes I have a scratch pad, a veritable conspiracy wall that helps me keep track of HOW I keep track of things. All those posts are in drafts for now because they're more for me than for you. Maybe I'll update and publish some recommendations again in the future. For now, this whole place is one big Lorum Ipsum.