On the Open Gaming License

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There has been a surprise development today. It appears that the 5e SRD has finally been published! The full link is below:

http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/systems-reference-document-srd

I am going to be reading this 398 page behemoth at lunch. At first blush, it appears that the Product Identity is the same. Lots of class and race options as well as the standard array of creatures from earlier SRDs.

I have seen comments scattered around saying that certain options are not available. Since I am ignorant of 5e, I really wouldn't know. I hope to have something more intelligent to add.

Not that it was entirely necessary, but you can now use the word advantage to apply to the advantage/disadvantage mechanic. Mechanics themselves cannot be copyrighted, but saying that a character has advantage on a specific roll was not technically OGL until now. Again, that is probably not a big deal to anyone.

One thing of note is that Wizards has provided an option to add to the Forgotten Realms through the DM Guild. My personal preference is to avoid that, but the DM Guild information is something I will want to read. I'm sure there will be plenty of others excited about that.

It almost goes without saying that I feel like making O5R games in the spirit of all the S&W Whitebox games coming out recently. My Thursday night group would likely enjoy White Star translated to 5e. We shall see.

Bwa ha ha ha.

Sword & Wizardry Monster Database

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Believe it or not, I'm one of the editors for the Swords & Wizardry SRD site. I haven't been able to do much recently, but the Frogs have put in a lot of time entering monsters from the Tome of Horrors Complete and Mosntrosities. There are also a handful of creatures from modules (like the Kamarupa from Splinters of Faith 10) and the Swords & Wizardry complete rule book (like the Giant Vampire Bat).

Recently, Jeff Barrett posted on G+ asking about a master index of all the S&W monsters from the various books. It's something I wanted to do for a long time, but all my attempts to get a project like this started had previously failed. The biggest hindrance was not owning either of the two big monster books.

Yet, when I saw the post, I tried again using only the data on the SRD site. This time I had great success. In about two hours I was able to get a list of 1150+ creatures' stat blocks into a spreadsheet. It wasn't pretty and some of the AC values were in the Attacks column and stuff like that, but it was a spreadsheet that just needed some data work.

That was eleven days ago.

Since then, I have been harkening back to my DBA days cleaning the data to make a good database. Specifically, this means a list of all the monsters from the SRD site with stat blocks, OGL section 15 information, and adding a column for a "catalog name" that allows me to sort the monsters in the same order as they appear on the SRD. Once finished, the monsters will be sortable by AC, HD, Challenge Level, etc. It is a lot of OCD type of work, but it will lead to what I hope is some useful features for all of us.

For example, after the data is all cleaned up, I wil have a field in the spreadsheet that is a one line stat block that you can copy from to paste into your own house rules/modules. Practically, that means finding the monster(s) you want by sorting, searching, and otherwise manipulating the spreadsheet. Then, copying the one line stat block(s) from the spreadsheet into your Word or LibreOffice document.

This will also lead to other benefits like a master index of creatures by Challenge Level. Looking into the future, it can also lead to indexes of creatures by attack type (acid, poison, teleporting victims into an Iron Maiden, etc.) or special abilities (breath weapon, pyromaniac, carousing, etc.).

The final benefit is that with a spreadsheet full of "good" data (I say that as a former DBA, not as a comment on S&W) it becomes easy to input new creatures from all of us. It also means it will be easier for me and others to publish third-party monsters to the SRD.

I have a Google Doc link that I have shared with the other SRD editors with my daily progress. I am still working on the OGL Sec 15 part, but the bulk of the work is done. Now I'm down to stuff like standardizing the Move stat (some monsters are flying 9, others are fly 9 or 9 fly or fly 9 on Tuesdays while flying twelve on February) I'm not going to change any stats, just make them all say fly 9 or swim 10 instead of fifteen other ways to say how fast a creature flies or swims.

To give you an idea what it look like at this point, here's a screen capture of the Giant Aardvark entry:
swmonsterspread

For what it is worth, I don't include any monsters from Tome of Horrors 4 or the Rappan Athuk bestiary because I don't own either one yet. I'm one of those folks that will file my taxes on the first possible day (Jan 31st) so maybe I'll be able to buy it soon.

I haven't forgotten about the Magic project and I have drafts of posts for it. Since Sum Bach o Hud, the magic systems book, is a goal for all of 2014, I decided to let my weakness for spreadsheets take over long enough to get this done.

Swords and Wizardry SRD

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d20swrd

I've added a link to the Swords & Wizardry SRD. Thanks to John Reyst and others that have made the site a very useful resource.

Unlike a lot of others, I'm not eligible for the gift card because I'm an editor on the site. That said, you should still visit the SRD for lots of S&W goodness.

Now to get ready for April 17th! (Bwa ha ha ha)