D20 Source

Updated whenever

D20 Source is On Hiatus

posted Thursday, February 3rd 2011 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

After five years and over 500 posts, D20 Source is taking a break. You can still follow @d20source on Twitter for occasional interesting links, retweets, and important announcements.

In the meantime, feel free to peruse the D20 Source archives:

I’d also like to recommend the following RPG blogs. I’ve listed them here by topic; please check them out and subscribe to whichever take your interest.

Thank you for your patience.

We’re On Twitter and Facebook Now

posted Monday, November 15th 2010 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

D20 Source has established outposts in the realms of Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter: @d20source

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=115866881807439 or search for “D20 Source”

Follow the Twitter page for article updates and retweets of the major D&D news and opinion. Follow the Facebook group to receive immediate updates whenever a new post goes live.

There are also Twitter and Facebook buttons on every post. Think of these as votes to see more of the articles you like.

Second Chance to Receive Free D&D PDFs

posted Saturday, August 28th 2010 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

The Le Games has generously given D20 Source permission to continue hosting this week’s PDF giveaway until the end of the month. You have until Tuesday to download these three expansions for D&D 3.5:

If you’re still hungry for D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder content, D20 Source has the full content of 17 Relics, originally published by The Le Games and written by Jonathan Drain.

Free D&D PDF #3 – Last Chance

posted Wednesday, August 25th 2010 by Jonathan Drain
Site AnnouncementsThird Edition

If you’re following the RSS feed, you may have missed Monday and Tuesday’s free D&D PDF giveways to celebrate the 36th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons and the 10th anniversary of D&D third edition. Today D20 Sources the last of three PDFs graciously donated from The Le Games‘s line of third edition player enhancement books.

Today, you can download 17 Archer Feats. Save it out while the download is still available.

If you missed the previous two offers, the previous PDFs are still available for the time being: Monday’s expansive Treasures of Malevolent Magic and the comically named (but seriously useful) Pimp My Paladin.

Free PDF #2

posted Tuesday, August 24th 2010 by Jonathan Drain
Site AnnouncementsThird Edition

D20 Source Dungeons & Dragons Blog has teamed up with The Le Games to give away a D&D PDF every day until Wednesday to celebrate the 36th anniversary of D&D.

Yesterday’s offer was a free PDF copy of Treasures of Malevolent Might, a collection of 36 magic items including several artifacts.

Today, you can download Pimp My Paladin, a tongue-in-cheek titled collection of serious ways to beef up your divine warrior for Dungeons & Dragons 3.5. Save now while the file is still available!

Free PDF Offer Celebrates D&D’s 36th Birthday

posted Monday, August 23rd 2010 by Jonathan Drain
Site AnnouncementsThird Edition

Dungeons & Dragons is 36 years old today, and to celebrate, D20 Source has teamed up with publisher The Le Games to give presents to every reader.

Gen Con VII took place in 1974 from August 23-25. It was at this convention that TSR launched the original Dungeons & Dragons, in a print run of only 1,000 copies. This August also marks the tenth anniversary of the Dungeons & Dragons third edition Player’s Handbook, estimated to have sold several hundred thousand copies per year.

To celebrate, we’re giving away a selection of The Le Games’ player-oriented third edition PDFs, one every day for the next three days.

Today’s release is Treasures of Malevolent Magic, a collection of 35 magic items for Dungeons & Dragons third edition. Right-click and Save As to download your copy – the offer won’t stay up for long.

D20 Source 400th Post!

posted Tuesday, February 23rd 2010 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Image by PunkJr via flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic

D20 Source this week makes its 400th post! Thanks to all the readers, contributors and other bloggers who have made this one of the most popular Dungeons & Dragons blogs. Over 11,000 people read D20 Source each month and around 1,100 people subscribe via RSS.

I’d like to take the opportunity to ask for your feedback. What are your favourite articles? What are you interested in reading that D20 Source doesn’t already cover? What D&D problems need solving and what is the game missing?

Hit the commment link below and give your opinion!

We’re Moving… to Tuesdays and Thursdays

posted Thursday, January 28th 2010 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Starting next week, D20 Source is moving to a Tuesday/Thursday update schedule. This should give readers a more reliable update schedule.

Tuesday’s updates will usually be written by Jonathan Drain, a web developer and sometimes RPG freelance writer. Jonathan plays Dungeons & Dragons third edition, fourth edition, and other D20 RPGs. His articles cover a variety of topics, including opinion pieces and new game rules for 3E and 4E. You can send feedback and article suggestions to jonathan@d20source.com.

Thursday’s updates will usually be written by Brandan Landgraff, a regular contributor from Canada. Brandan has been playing Dungeons & Dragons since the late 80s and is a dedicated student of the art of running roleplaying games. His articles frequently cover Dungeons & Dragons fourth edition, as well as edition-neutral advice on running campaigns. You can send feedback and article suggestions to brandan@d20source.com.

Important news will be posted throughout the week, and additional updates on some Saturdays. Please look forward to it.

Survey Results Are In

posted Friday, August 14th 2009 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

The results of last week’s survey are in. Here are the results.

1. Which edition do you play?

It’s almost even: 55% of readers play 4E, while 60% play 3E (there’s some overlap, of course). 28% play Paizo’s Pathfinder RPG, 27% play another D20 based RPG, and 19% play AD&D or another edition.

37% play some RPG other than D&D. Over fifty RPGs were mentioned. The most popular are Savage Worlds (6%), GURPS (4%) and Shadowrun (4%), with honourable mentions to Legend of the Five Rings and the World of Darkness games.

2. How often do you visit?

31% of readers visit multiple times per week, and 15% say they visit weekly or so. 14% visit less often. Surprisingly, 40% of D20 Source readers only read the RSS feed.

3. Favourite types of content?

Dungeon mastering advice is by far the most popular topic, with 70% of you asking for more DMing articles. Only 1% wanted less on this topic. Second is player advice, with 55% in favour of more and only 5% wanting to see less. On fluff/inspiration, opinion articles, and product reviews, about 50% are happy with the current amount while around a third would like to see more.

4. Which edition for new content?

Around half of users were happy with the amount of content appearing for third edition, edition-netural, and other RPGs. The exception is D&D fourth edition, which as expected is heavily polarized: about one third wants to see more 4E, while around one third wants less.

Edition-neutral content is popular with the most readers, with only 3% asking to see less of it.

5. Miniatures

Surprisingly, the vast majority of D20 Source readers use some sort of minis or equivalent in their game.

60% use official D&D miniatures, while 61% (some overlap here of course) use other miniatures. 46% employ various objects (including dice, coins or pieces from board games), and 38% create paper or card tokens. 13% use a computer software solution like Gametable. Only 17% game with no miniatures at all.

6. PDF sales

On an idea, I asked readers if they’d be interested in a D20 Source line of PDF-based RPG products. 73% of you answered yes to one or more product types. The most popular suggestion was 4th edition adventure modules with 52%, followed by 3rd edition adventure modules at 43%.

7. Update frequency

Most of you responded that you were happy with the current update schedule of three articles per week: 75%. Only 6% think that’s too much, while 19% would like to see a new article every day.

8. Overall rating

The average rating was four stars out of five, with 72%. 17% voted five stars, and 10% three stars. No readers voted one or two stars.

Thanks for your feedback! We’ll use this information to (hopefully) improve the quality of D20 Source.

Take the D20 Source Survey

posted Saturday, August 8th 2009 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

As ever, I’m always looking for ways to provide D20 Source readers with a better experience. Today I’ve drawn up a quick survey that shouldn’t take more than five minutes to complete.

Click here to take the survey.

D20 Source Hits 300 Posts!

posted Tuesday, January 27th 2009 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

WordPress informs me that this blog has passed 300 posts! This works out to an average of around eight articles per month since posting began in December 2005.

As a sort of recap, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten articles since the site began, rated by number of page views. When the first on this list was linked from popular webcomic Penny Arcade, the surge of visitors collapsed the server for most of the day.

1. Deep Crow
Dungeons & Dragons third edition statistics for the Deep Crow, a fearsome magical beast from Penny Arcade.

2. Ioun Stone Complete Guide
A massive list of eighty-nine Ioun Stones from D&D history right through to fourth edition.

3. Playing the Rogue
A guide to making an effective rogue in D&D third edition.

4. Vow of Poverty
A guide to taking the infamous Vow of Poverty feat from the Book of Exalted Deeds.

5. Top Five Fighter Feats
An opinion on D&D third edition’s best Fighter bonus feat options.

6. Stalagmen
Another monster from Penny Arcade.

7. FATAL – Most Misogynistic RPG Ever?
A link to a review of what many reviewers consider to be the most offensive roleplaying game ever devised.

8. How Much Is a Gold Piece Worth?
An article calculating the value of one gold piece in modern world, using the prices of gold and beer as a guide.

9. Vow of Poverty, Revisited
A follow-up to an earlier article on Vow of Poverty.

10. How Do You Roll Characters?
An article on methods of rolling for ability scores.

Here’s to the next three hundred! Leave me a comment with any suggestions you have for future articles – what would you like to see in 2009?

Dice Contest Winners Announced

posted Thursday, January 8th 2009 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

December’s dice contest received twenty-four entries, and picking winners was especially tough. First and second place each win a set of dice from Game Master Dice.

First Place

Winner of first place is Trask, with his anecdote about Jack the Barbarian. Trask’s tale of incredible ineptitude is something most players can relate to. I think we’ve all gamed with a “Jack” at one point or another, or perhaps been Jack ourselves.

Second Place

Second place goes to Patriarch917, with his short and hilarious tale:

The player was looking through a portal into a room that contained a demon. The demon entreated the player to join him in his war against humanity, offering power, treasure, etc. The player, trying to buy a little time, mumbled “I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it. How’s your dental plan?â€? The demon, without missing a beat, replied “Excellent. All the teeth you want.”


Unfortunately there are only two prizes available, but if I had more, they’d go to these witty gamers:

  • Kayumi’s epic tale of the most horrible DM of 2008
  • Samuel Van Der Wall, with his ledge-battling vampire story
  • Berman’s heavy dwarf forsaker

Worst Pun Award

A special award goes to Bog97th for the “Deck of Many Things” story, for the most groanworthy pun of the contest. It may take you a while to get it.

Thanks to all who entered, and thank you for continuing to read D20 Source!

Happy New Year 2009!

posted Thursday, January 1st 2009 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Merry Needfest to D20 Source readers!

I’ve been going over the statistics for this site, and 2008 has seen a fantastic rise in popularity. Unique visitors are up 155% from 49,615 in 2007 to 126,796 in 2008. The number of feed subscribers has risen from under 150 to around 600.

There’s still time to enter the D20 Source gaming anecdotes contest, which closes on Tuesday 6th. The contest is open to all stories from the gaming table, and you may enter more than once, but remember that it’s quality over quantity.

Thank you for more than doubling D20 Source’s readership during 2008, a feat which I hope we can repeat in 2009. We return in a week’s time with the regular content – special thanks if you’ve got any ideas for future articles, which you can e-mail in or leave as a comment.

Win Gemstone Dice – Tell Us Your Gaming Anecdotes

posted Tuesday, December 23rd 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

D20 Source is no stranger to anecdotes, with stories like Hold On, Your Character’s Named Sephiroth?, Another Anecdote, Amusing Orcish Anecdote.

Now it’s your turn. D20 Source has teamed up with Game Master Dice to give away a rather unique set of dice made from Botswana agate.

All you need to do to enter is to share an amusing roleplaying game anecdote. Simply post the funniest story from your gaming table. Leave your post as a comment on this entry. Be sure to fill in your correct e-mail address so that you can be contacted if you win.

The winner will be announced in two weeks’ time. Second place wins a set of red opaque dice, and runners-up will be posted on the site.

Bones, IRC Dicebot – New Version

posted Sunday, August 17th 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

For anyone interested in online D&D, I’ve just released a new version of Bones, the IRC dicebot. Bones makes it possible to play D&D via normal internet chat by simulating dice very effectively, using a straightforward and and a flexible command system. New features:

  • Now joins channel correctly on startup with more servers
  • No longer confused by mIRC colour codes
  • Fixed crash on overly long dice sets

If you’re interested, Download Bones v0.0.3.

For Your Game: Seventeen Relics

posted Sunday, February 24th 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Over the coming weeks I’ll be posting a series of new magic items to use in your game. Relics are items that once formed part of the body or possessions of some great figure, and by connection to these people they are mysteriously imbued with special power. These rare and priceless lesser artifacts were originally published in 17 Relics published by The Le Press.

What are Relics?

Ever since adventuring parties began coming together in the search for rare and valuable magic items, they have done so by looting the bodies of slain enemies and emptying tombs of their worth. Among the great and many magic items in invention, however, some of the most interesting are those rare artifacts which are not simply forged or created in the conventional sense, but unpredictably derive their power from some obscure, and often unique, set of circumstances.

A relic, in the traditional sense, is a piece of the body or possessions of a saint or other such pious person, often with some supernatural power attributed to it since the person’s death. In a world where many people, creatures, objects, places and beliefs hold magical power and the deities are many and influential, this definition can be expanded to include a greater variety of objects. In this sense, a relic is any part of a person or creature’s body or something very closely associated with them, which, despite not having been deliberately imbued with magic, has somehow found itself with supernatural power.

Relics cannot be made or replicated by the usual means of magic item creation – a relic’s power comes from divine providence, force of the original owner’s personality, unique and unusual circumstances, random bursts of magic or any combination of these. As such, you will not find item creation guidelines for any of these relics, nor should your character expect to be able to purchase them. The prices listed are given only as a guideline so that GMs can more easily judge their value as treasure. Should the player be lucky enough to find a relic for sale, its price may vary considerably depending on whether or not the seller realizes its value or knows how rare (often unique) the item really is.

Although earlier editions of the game defined relics as synonymous with artifacts, none of the items in this collection are beyond the power level of mortal magic items. However, they certainly are unique (or in some cases are nearly so) and are unusually resistant to the ravages of time and the wear and tear of daily use. GMs may consider making a relic the object of a quest or adventure, perhaps tying several adventures together in this manner. Alternatively, they might be given to the campaign’s villains or important NPCs, giving the players something to strive towards by creating potential loot or reward.

Feedback Time

posted Monday, January 21st 2008 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Once again, I’d like to request your honest feedback on D20 Source. What articles and content would you like to see more or less of? What sites should be linked to? Do you want to see more or less discussion of 4th edition? Is the site design good, or could it use an overhaul again?

I’d be most appreciative if you could leave a comment and voice your opinion.

Alternatively, if you’d like to leave some non-public feedback, you can send e-mail at feedback@jonnydigital.com.

Who Wants Free Dice?

posted Sunday, December 23rd 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Anyone up for some free dice? Kobold Quarterly has an offer until January 10th: subscribe now, get seven free dice, and get one-third off the magazine’s cover price. The next issue is out soon and the list of articles definitely piques my interest, and if it’s anything like the first two issues we can expect it to be the most thoroughly interesting Dungeons & Dragons publication this month.

It’s not often I endorse a publication like this, but Kobold Quarterly comes with my thorough approval. If you’re too stingy to shell out US$36/year for interesting D&D material, there’s a PDF edition for $16/year (but don’t expect to ‘download’ your free dice). Clicky link!

Top 50 RPG Websites

posted Tuesday, December 4th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Links and ResourcesNews, Reviews & CultureSite Announcements

Today I discovered that fellow D&D blog Dungeon Mastering has published its list of Top 50 RPG Websites. It’s a fantastic list of Dungeons & Dragons resources and interesting blogs like this one. Among the top ten are Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips, fan-favourite news site EN World and Monte Cook‘s site. Definitely a list worth reading.

I’m quite honoured to find that I’ve been rated #15 on the list, above the D20 SRD, RPG.net and popular webcomic Order of the Stick. There are a lot of excellent sites on this list, several of which are new to me. So far they’re looking pretty good, so I encourage you to check out this list.

Livejournal Feed Now Open

posted Saturday, December 1st 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Those of you who use Livejournal and would like to read D20 Source on their Livejournal friends page can do so now at http://jd20.livejournal.com/.

The rest of you can plug my RSS feed into their reader at http://d20.jonnydigital.com/feed. If like me you prefer old-fashioned websites, simply hit your Bookmark or Favourites button now.

IRC Dice Bot: “Bones”

posted Wednesday, October 10th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Astute users will have noticed the “Roleplaying Tools” section on the right where I’m hoping to apply my programming knowledge to the field of roleplaying games. Today’s update is Bones, anIRC dice bot programmed in Ruby. In short, Bones connects to Internet Relay Chat and rolls dice on command, allowing you to play online.

Among the features of this bot are multi-channel and multi-server support, public and private rolls, and most significantly, heavy support for complex dice notation – including adding or subtracting any number of dice or integers. I’ve made Bones available for free. Clicky link!

Suggestions Box!

posted Monday, October 1st 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

It’s a new month, so I’m opening a suggestions box. Hit the comment link below and tell me what you’d like to see at D20 Source in the coming year.

D20 Source’s New Look

posted Saturday, September 15th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

I’ve finally gotten around to sprucing the place up with a new look. Have a comment, compliment or bug report? Hit the comment link there and let me know what you think.

Only Pagerank 3

posted Friday, June 1st 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Welcome to June! Back in October I reported that D20 Source had made it to the lofty heights of pagerank 4. Unfortunately, it seems that since then I’ve dropped to only pagerank 3. Pagerank is Google’s method of determining a site’s significance based on how many websites link back to them.

This means that you need to link more!

Requesting Your Feedback!

posted Tuesday, May 29th 2007 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

Hey, readers. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you for some feedback about D20 Source. Have you any ideas about what you might like to see more of on the site? I’d be grateful if you could hit the comment link there and let me know.

Further, if you run a blog or an RPG website, how about passing a link to this site? A little improved readership would be much appreciated!

Title Image Breaks in Firefox?

posted Thursday, November 16th 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

I just updated Firefox and noticed that this site appears to break in Firefox – the title “Jonathan Drain’s D20 Source” doesn’t display.

Has anybody else noticed this?

Pagerank 4 at last!

posted Monday, October 2nd 2006 by Jonathan Drain
Site Announcements

I’m pleased to announce that this blog has reached the lofty heights of Pagerank 4. That’s two whole points higher than the previous score, so it seems that we’re going places!

For those of you who aren’t web development afficionados, Pagerank is Google’s scoring system for determining how popular a website is depending on how many websites link to it. (The rarely-attained maximum score is 10–perhaps only two dozen websites currently hold this score.) Google recently updated their Pagerank statistics for the quarter, and I’m pretty pleased to find that my site has jumped two notches from PR2 to PR4.

By comparison to other D&D websites, PR4 places me on an equal footing with Martin Ralya’s Treasure Tables. At PR5 we see Mike Mearls‘ livejournal and d20srd.org. The official D&D website, meanwhile, shares the commendable Pagerank 6 with ENWorld. Can anyone find a roleplaying games website with a higher Pagerank? Comments are open.