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5e: HARDCORE MODE
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5e: HARDCORE MODE

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In a game’s maturity, the chase of character evolution has limits. After a few life cycles, players are looking closer, thinking deeper, and asking for more substance. Challenge becomes a word often heard at the table, and the GM feels a pressure that isn’t easy to satisfy. It’s time, then, to cook with fire. It’s time to go to HARDCORE MODE.

This D&D fifth edition rules mod from RUNEHAMMER and DRUNKENS & DRAGONS will push your game to the limits of simple, fast, deadly play. Keep your core books, and mind your feet. It's dangerous to go alone. 

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Reviews (1)
Discussions (6)
Customer avatar
alistair L February 18, 2020 3:09 am UTC
“The requested URL was not found on this server” when I try to view the full preview.
Customer avatar
February 15, 2020 2:17 am UTC
PURCHASER
Finished reading it all. LOVE it. I plan on implementing these mechanics in an upcoming campaign.
Customer avatar
Attila G February 13, 2020 9:46 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hankerin is my spirit animal. That is all.
Customer avatar
J. W February 13, 2020 3:37 pm UTC
PURCHASER
On page 14 where you talk about the ramifications of the one CR to rule them all.. you state that higher CR monsters "worth far less XP" ... CR1 x 200 = 200; CR20 x 200 = 4000 ... ?? I think it's a typo.
Customer avatar
Nathan P February 13, 2020 8:37 pm UTC
PURCHASER
He means when compared to standard 5e. A Pitfind (CR 20) is worth 25,000 exp in standard 5e, vs 4,000 in Hardcore
Customer avatar
J. W February 13, 2020 11:23 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Gotcha ... but since the characters never go past level 10 and there is the classic XP chart included ... I don't see that too terrible. 36kXP for Level 10 ... 1 kill gets you there?
Customer avatar
Nathan P February 14, 2020 2:55 am UTC
PURCHASER
Its actually fairly significant. 36K for a fighter to hit 10. a Pit Fiend gives 4K; so a level 1 fighter would have to solo 9 pit fiends; 9 Pit fiends with AC 30, 200 HP, an attack bonus of +20, and all their special abilities. And remember, if he gets any help at all, that 4K EXP gets divided, so that's 18 pit fiends for two guys to hit 10. The XP granted via the XP thresholds is fairly minor as well; and that's if your DM uses them instead of going with classic "XP from monsters only".

In the end, the way it looks to work is that early game XP is about the same, maybe a bit more; but late game it gets harder to level up. As well as altering the XP progression to work a bit better with the lower cap it also changes how incentives work.
Customer avatar
brandon G February 15, 2020 1:27 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Yehp, Nathan has it on the nose... p value is SHARED, and kills are hard to come by, much less monster AVAILABILITY... unless your game is a sort of monster grocery store :P And yes, in the final analysis it shouldn't balance out terribly 'off.' Much of the challenge of creating this mod was keeping what feels good to 5e players.
Customer avatar
Raymond W February 12, 2020 2:58 pm UTC
All this and not one mention of the OSR? It seems almost intentional.
Customer avatar
Jerry L February 13, 2020 3:34 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I'm not sure the OSR has a trademark on lethality.
Customer avatar
Nathan P February 13, 2020 8:45 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The experience block really gives off the OSR kinda vibe for any of us who played 2nd edition; but when you really look at it, there isn't much OSR going on. Asides from 3d6 straight & EXP the other portions (Spellcasting, Zymers Candle, Zones, Skills) Is more of a, and pardon me, hardcore take on more new school mechanics.

Player Friendly Reset button, Theater of the mind friendly movement and targeting, super simplified skills, mages being able to toss out lots of magic. Pretty modern design elements, just ground down to a lethal point.
Customer avatar
Sigve S February 14, 2020 2:54 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Why should OSR be mentioned?
Customer avatar
brandon G February 15, 2020 1:28 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
That it is Raymond. I find that term to be a form of 'looking back.' Also, an erroneous descriptive term for a time with just as many play styles as today.. and a term often used to shoo newcomers from our glorious hobby.
Customer avatar
brandon G February 15, 2020 1:28 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
:D
Customer avatar
Raymond W February 15, 2020 8:04 pm UTC
@brandonG Eh, you may be right about that. I love what the OSR has done but it does have some crusty gatekeeping, so I can see why you wouldn't want to associate yourself. Still, there's nothing wrong with looking back, and I wouldn't call it erroneous - it's just a term/expression for a playstyle that has its roots in the past. To be honest, I consider it a modern style, because more people play that way today than back in the day of Monty Haul campaigns and spamming Resurrect spells. I suppose it can be misleading, though.

@NathanP Depends how you define it. I don't go with the more narrow interpretation as "OD&D mechanics" - for me it is a kind of play style. You can play OD&D as a storygame and Dungeon World as OSR, if you so please.
Customer avatar
Nathan P February 12, 2020 1:53 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Pretty good read so far. Not much of a 5e Player/gm but I might give Hardcore Mode a run with my group to see how it goes. I've noticed a few issues and wondering if the author has any input; so that I might weight it against my own interpretations.

Pg 6. - Size & Mass states HD gives a sesne of size & general HP then directs us to learn more on pg 12. Monster info is resumed on pg 14 rather than 12, but makes no mention of HD in favor of the CR rule of thumb. Is this portion just a holdover from a prior revision?

Pg 10. Placement of the Zymer's Candle is a bit unclear. Is it left in the area the players wish to reload (Portable Bonfire) or is it activated there and carried with the party? I'm partial to the latter and will likely implement that version for the sake of forward progress over backtracking to pick up a candle (with some caveats of its own); but interested to hear the author interpretation.

Pg 10b. Any recommendations on how to prevent players from save-scumming...See more
Customer avatar
brandon G February 12, 2020 2:56 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
good catch on that page reference! 1.4 will have that fix.
as for save scumming... just no... players who would do that are not my players :P but no mechanical solution against it.
as for candle placement.. i think questions are healthy here.. how DOES it work?
as for monk.. comparable to cleric, i'd say
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on February 11, 2020.