Crossbow Man in Arcadia

An outer-planar, modular hex-crawl with a fabulous map and a provocative, exclusive miniature!

Trails of Arcadia Now on Kickstarter

Trials of Arcadia is the third module of the Circle of the Blood Moon adventure path for 5E and Pathfinder 1E. It is a 32-page adventure for levels 5-8 that you can run as a stand-alone or the next chapter of the campaign. It is also setting-agnostic, and you can easily insert it into any medieval fantasy world of your choosing – including Kingdom of Lothmar, our very own campaign setting.

With this Kickstarter campaign, you will be backing the production and publishing of the third module, Trials of Arcadia. Still, you will also be able to acquire the first two modules of the campaign at a preferred price through add-on products!

We are also bringing Kickstarter an exclusive miniature of one of the campaign’s antagonists, the celestial Naradul!

Click here to back us on Kickstarter!


Our printed products are gorgeous.

For our first Tales of Lothmar module, Burials of Teganshire, we used a new printing tier. The printed book is 8.5” x 11”, and the printer uses a digital offset laser press on premium 70# paper. This was taken with my crappy cell-phone camera:

That’s just the technical, physical side. We use a graphics designer and layout artist to layout the book. Guthrie is also a fellow RPG player, so he knows what is what. He has expert stat blocks, and the Tales of Lothmar layout he designed pops the text on the PDF, but especially in the premium printing. Our physical Tales of Lothmar books are some of the best in the industry.

So, if you’ve been on the fence about PDF vs. Print, go both: you won’t be disappointed.

For those of you outside of the US, international shipping has gone cra-cra. We don’t have a non-US print agreement in place (yet), but we do upload our print files to DriveThru RPG, and they have worldwide distribution for Print on Demand. Our distributor also has a relationship with Amazon, so our books show up there, too. So, for our international fans, hang-tight. One day we will offer better international shipping options, but until then, a digital pledge still goes a long way.

We love books at Griffon Lore Games. Placing great content in a premium book is our thing. Now is the time to back or change your pledge to physical goods if you haven’t already!

Thanks, everyone for your generous support!

Fire On Claymore Woods

Crossbow Man looks Premium in premium print.

I’m a big fan of magical items. At their core, they are more worthy and defining than (optional) feats and class powers. You can find magic items, kill for them, steal them, create them, trade them, and sell them.

Magical items can even be cursed, intelligent, malignant, or helpful.

For D&D (the Pathfinder variant, not so much), a DM can design a campaign that does not allow magical feats but has magical items that empower the PC with the feat’s power. If the player wants his character to have that power, they go on an adventure to obtain it. Especially in a sandbox campaign, these player-directed plot points add just that right roleplaying flair.

There can never be enough magic items in a DMs story-telling arsenal as long as the DM is not twinking out the players in some “I wish I were a player” wish fulfillment. Here are three that you can add to Fire on Claymore Woods or any other module.

True North

This +1 dagger is of dwarven manufacture (stamped with a small dwarven rune from its maker) but made for either an elf maiden or a human noblewoman. It is elegant and feminine in design and very sharp.

True North has an odd property for such a beautiful weapon. If spun on a flat surface, its blade will always point north when the dagger stops moving.

The Golden Pocket Stopwatch

A pocket watch.The Golden Pocket Stopwatch is a fantastic bit of engineering and practicality. It has two hinged openings:

  • On one side is a watch that tells time in hours, minutes, and seconds. The adjustable dials on the sides of the watch can manipulate and change the hours and minutes.
  • If the other side is open, it reveals a stopwatch. Pressing one of the small dials will reset it, while another will start and stop it. It has an hour, minute, and second hands.

The magic imbued in the watch does two things. It makes it impervious to the elements (the watch even works underwater) and serves as the tiny power source. It needs no winding.

On the interior of one of the watch’s doors is a handsome, mustached man’s face engraving. The other door has an odd phrase in draconic: “Everything lost in time except my memories.”

The Weirding Mirror

The Weirding Mirror has a bad reputation, but not of its own making. It’s a pocket silver mirror and has the passive benefit of raising a PC’s Charisma attribute by 1.

If someone looks into the mirror, it activates and goes well beyond showing the wielder a reflection of themselves. It takes a week of carrying around the mirror to attune and activate its properties.

After a week, the reflection moves and speaks to the wielder (in the owner’s voice) of its own volition. It is a sophisticated psychic construct of sorts, able to hold an intelligent conversation, remember details of what someone told it, and an understanding of the current world.

The talking reflection has one goal: to dispense relationship advice. It will listen to the PC and offer advice, usually practical. It has a keen understanding of human nature and will try its very best to have the PC meet their relationship goals, gently guiding a PC into a long-term relationship.

And that’s all the mirror does. However, things frequently go wrong with the use of the mirror:

  • The reflection for other people is only a reflection. The independent speaking and movement happen in the wielder’s mind. Observers of someone using the mirror usually think the owner is talking to themselves. Thinking to the mirror doesn’t work; to communicate with it, the owner needs to speak aloud.
  • The mirror design facilitates human relationships in a feudal society. Outside of that context, it is unhelpful and will admit as much. All it can do is offer pithy advice (get a haircut, clean your robes, etc.).
  • The mirror will get angry if the PC uses the advice to “love and leave” a paramour. If the PC does this on several occasions, it causes the construct to malfunction. It will turn into a sociopath, and the only way to get back to normal is to give the mirror to someone else, which resets its magic. However, if the PC keeps following the sociopathic advice, their alignment will shift to Chaotic Evil.
  • While the mirror does improve the owner’s Charisma, it dispenses advice and nothing more. However, over the years, people have accused it of manipulating the object of the owner’s affections. Many people react negatively to being magically charmed, even if they technically were not. The mirror warns the owner of this but unfortunately hasn’t figured out that telling the owner to hide its properties makes it more suspicious, not less.

If broken, the mirror will not function, but a spell caster can quickly repair it with a simple cantrip or other low-level magic. The magical properties are associated with the mirror’s silver frame. An owner can replace the mirror glass at any time.

There is still time to back Fire on Claymore Woods, an adventure module for 5E and Pathfinder 1E. Click here!

Fire On Claymore Woods

Crossbow Man would love the watch. He already has a magical dagger, henceforth named “Stab-Yer-Face.”

Fire On Claymore Woods

Built With BoldGrid


“A vain celestial, drunken fairies, and plotting druids. Meet the second chapter of the Circle of the Blood Moon campaign!”

Primary Link |  Back now on Kickstarter!



Choices and Consequences: which way will the PCs go, who will they support, and how far will they go to achieve victory?


In  Fire on Claymore Woods, we present the PC with many choices, including making no choice at all. For example, do they help the villagers protect the village core and its chapel with the mysterious obelisk, or do they help the surrounding farmers protect their farms?

But that choice is only available if the PCs solicit a knight in defense of the village. The knight is concerned with his farms and tells the PCs the villagers can rebuild it. But the Burgermeister counters that the farms rely on the village, and without it, everything from obtaining supplies to surviving the winter will be difficult and potentially catastrophic.

PCs might not even know the farms need protection! The local knight is the only NPC with the strategic training and forethought to realize their enemy will try to draw them away from the village by setting fire to structures far enough to draw them away from the chapel.

If the PCs don’t talk to him, they might never know.

Where do they go now?

That’s a sample of the decisions the PCs must make. Once they defend the village (or not), they need to find the druids to talk to them or exact revenge. But the Claymore Woods are wild and dangerous, filled with threats, supernatural shenanigans, and wonders. There is no map of the woods, the PCs are on their own, and they will need to explore.

The direction they choose sets the stage, but the deeper they go into the woods, the more dangerous it gets. They’ll need to do more than make a few tracking rolls. They’ll have to start thinking like their adversaries. They’ll need to decide how sneaky to be, or if a good-old-fashioned “kill everything that moves” play is in order.


We hope that gives you as a Game Master a sample of the adventure flavor in  Fire on Claymore Woods. Like most Griffon Lore Game products, there are no easy answers, and those answers are usually not right or wrong. Indecisiveness is the best way to “lose” our modules, and the players always have the ultimate choice:

Are their PCs Zeros or Heroes?

Back Fire on Claymore Woods today and find out!

Back now on Kickstarter!


Cyber Weekend Sale!

Announcing our Cyber Weekend SALE!!

Get 40% off All Digital Products on our online shop

Coupon Code: 40DIGITAL

(coupon is automatically applied at checkout)


Trouble? Email and we can help you out!



Need a challenging solo monster for your 5E game? Here’s a fantastic construct that can dominate the battlefield.

Clockwork War Dragon

Large construct, unaligned

Armor Class 18 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points 178 (17d10 + 85)
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft., fly 80 ft.

STR 23 (+6) | DEX 16 (+3) | CON 21 (+5) | INT 10 (+0) | WIS 8 (-1) |CHA 19 (+4)

Saving Throws DEX +7, CON +9, WIS +3, CHA +8
Skills Perception +8, Stealth +7, Survival +4
Damage Resistances Fire, Psychic; Bludgeoning, Piercing, and Slashing from Nonmagical Attacks that aren’t Adamantine
Condition Immunities ExhaustionGrappledParalyzedRestrainedStunned
Senses Blindsight 30 ft., Darkvision 120 ft., Unknown: Ethereal Vision — the Clockwork War Dragon can see into the Ethereal Plane
Passive Perception 18
Languages Telepathy 120 ft. or line of sight. Can receive thoughts but cannot communicate via telepathy.
Challenge 12 (8,400 XP)

Immutable Form. The clockwork war dragon is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.
Magic Resistance. The clockwork war dragon has Advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Magic Weapons. The clockwork war dragon’s weapon attacks are magical.


Multiattack. The clockwork war dragon makes three attacks: one with its bite and two with its claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 17 (2d10 + 6) piercing damage plus 3 (1d6) fire damage.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d6 + 6) slashing damage.
Fire Breath (Recharge 5–6). The clockwork war dragon exhales fire in a 30-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 17 Dexterity (Acrobatics) saving throw, taking 56 (16d6) fire damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one.

Cunning Action. The clockwork war dragon can take a bonus action on each of its turns to take the DashDisengage, or Hide action.


Clockwork Stalwarcy. If the clockwork war dragon is knocked prone, it immediately rights itself without a movement penalty. It executes a counter-knockdown, and the attacker that knocked it prone must make a DC 17 Strength (Athletics) saving thrown or be knocked prone themselves.

Legendary Actions

The clockwork war dragon can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The dragon regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.

Force Eye Beams. Glowing red darts of Ethereal force launch out of the clockwork war dragon’s eyes. Each dart hits only one creature of its choice that it can see within 120 ft. Each dart deals 1d4 + 1 force damage to the target. The darts strike simultaneously and are a single attack.

The clockwork war dragon prioritizes unconscious targets with its eye beams, inflicting 2 failed Death Saves on an Eye Beam attack.

Death Spiral Tail Launch. The clockwork war dragon launches its tail at any target within 30ft. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 30 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d6 + 6) piercing damage. The target must make a DC 17 Saving Throw or be knocked prone. Once the attack is complete, the tail retracts back into the clockwork war dragon’s body.

The clockwork war dragon prioritizes unconscious targets with its tail launch attack. If the attack renders an attacker unconscious or if the victim is already unconscious, then upon a successful attack, the tail skewers the victim and retracts, bringing the body to its metal jaws. The clockwork war dragon then bites the quarry in half, killing it instantly.

Spike Launch. Each creature within 15ft. of the clockwork war dragon must make a DC 17 Dexterity (Acrobatics) saving throw, taking 8 (2d8) piercing damage on a failed save or half as much damage on a successful one.


The terrible clockwork war dragon is part flat-black scaly flesh, part clockwork, in the shape of a dragon, designed as a killing machine from days long past. Once awakened, the construct goes active.

The construct, absent any coded telepathic commands from its long-dead makers, will rampage until destroyed. At one time, these creatures had extensive programming, but the relentless march of time has degraded its ability to function as an intelligent war machine. While it can leap and fly about, if it “decides” that a target needs neutralizing, it will engage in bite-range combat at the expense of using the landscape or aerial combat to its advantage.

Once in combat, the clockwork war dragon fights to the death.

Stalk Mode

Sometimes, due to its malfunctioning thought process, the construct will go into “stealth” mode and skulk about an area, usually at night. It will decide which creature in this arbitrary area poses the greatest threat and attack from the shadows, opening with a breath weapon attack.

The Tragic Nature of the Clockwork War Dragon

While it can receive telepathic communication, its creators designed the construct to respond to an encoded language. They did not give the clockwork war dragon the ability to speak back. However, over the centuries, this tragic monster “leaks” strange visions of symbols, a trait it acquired to make sense of the relentless loneliness it developed after its creators abandoned it.

If an expert in Arcana or Medicine examines the corpse of the construct once it is defeated, a DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) or Wisdom (Medicine) will reveal the flesh of the creature was at one point an actual dragon, the brain removed in the process of magically fusing its body with the construct.

You can find the Clockwork War Dragon on D&D Beyond by clicking here:

Behind the Scenes and Playtesting

We designed the Clockwork War Dragon as a Deadly encounter, and in the final playtest, the construct killed one PC and brought the party to the brink of a TPK. A Deadly encounter is an encounter that has a reasonable chance of killing half the party. In the playtest that dropped a PC, the Clockwork War Dragon was unable to rechange its breath weapon–but if it did, it’s a mathematical certainty half the party would have died. If the recharge brought down the party’s remaining healer, the Clockwork War Dagon would have finished off the survivors. A TPK.

Death Spiral Design

A bad decision, panic, poor teamwork, and of course, bad dice rolls can start a “death spiral” at the game table. This monster has the tools to kill unconscious victims (in 5E, PCs making Death Saves), both up close and at range. PCs that take damage from a successful attack and are Unconscious automatically fail two Death Saves.

In lore, the people creating this construct were both merciless and desperate. Clockwork War Dragons weren’t the worst thing they created, but they were one of their most effective killers, going so far as to dominate an encounter with an enemy and then hunt down fleeing opponents one-by-one.

As a DM, before using this monster in an encounter, think about the challenge outside of its mathematical rating. D&D is a game. Games have win and fail conditions; otherwise, it would not be a game but a convenient “story-telling” device. This monster was used in play-testing in a campaign–the players had an understanding that something bad was going to happen, so they prepared appropriately. And that’s exactly what happened–something bad.

The players enjoyed that encounter and now suspect that something awful happened to the people who used to inhabit their lands long ago. If those bygone people created this monster, what else did they create? And why? Looking at the clockwork strewn about the battlefield, the PCs have more questions than answers–and they are not sure they want the answers.

Good players need a good challenge, and a good challenge is possible within the confines of the rules for creating monsters without a bunch of tricks, hand-wavum, or tossing waves of monsters at the PCs until one drops. Often you hear that 5E is too forgiving as a rule system. This is definitely not true. What is true is that many DMs are too forgiving. Well, and the DMG doesn’t give proper guidance in creating encounters and monsters based on player makeup and role-playing game theory.

Here are the particular attributes that make the Clockwork War Dragon a formidable opponent:

Challenging Attributes

  • Fire breath weapon: this is a young red dragon’s breath weapon, with a standard rechange on a 5 or 6 on a six-sided die, rolled at the beginning of its round
  • As a construct, it is resistant to all forms of magic via its magic resistance in addition to other immunities and resistances
  • The physical attacks also come from a young red dragon and are specific to a CR 10 monster.
  • The cunning action bonus action ability adds a high degree of versatility, and deadliness, to this monster. It can move around the battlefield or even hide in gloomy terrain each round, like a rogue.
  • Its reaction is specific to its clockwork nature: the clockwork war dragon creators did not want to make it any bigger than a Large creature. Knowing that other Large creatures could knock it about, they gave it an “anti-prone” counter-attack.
  • The monster’s legendary actions separate this beast from a CR 10 monster template, adding to the challenging rating appropriately. When there are no unconscious PCs on the battlefield, they serve as extra damage per round. When a PC goes unconscious, it uses them to kill a PC and remove him or her from the battle, as it was designed to do as a war machine.
  • Finally, the Clockwork War Dragon does not communicate. It cannot be bargained or reasoned with. It exists only to kill and destroy, and a tiny part of it wishes someone, anyone, would put it out of its misery.

Alternate Versions

A fallen kingdom or empire created the Clockwork War Dragon long ago. However, it would be easy to modify the beast as a new creation for a supervillain’s minion. Increase it’s Wisdom to 12 and raise it’s Survival Skill to +7. Here it becomes a relentless tracker.

Another modification would be to add a swim speed and the amphibious trait.

Burials of Teganshire Post 31 of 30.

Harken ye to the master table of the 30-Days of Burials of Teganshire Posts.

Which one was your favorite? Leave a comment and discuss!

Index of Burials of Teganshire Marathon Posts







Running the Game















Running the Game





D&D 5E

Encounter & Monster


Pathfinder 1E

Encounter & Monster





D&D 5E




Humble Brag





D&D 5E



D&D 5E



D&D 5E



D&D 5E






Pathfinder 1E




Burials of Teganshire


D&D 5E



Pathfinder 1E




Running the Game



Burials of Teganshire


D&D 5E



Pathfinder 1E
















Running the Game

This post!

Burials of Teganshire on Indiegogo

Wait until you see upgraded Crossbow Man in the next module!

Previous 30 Days of BoT | The End!


A Demon Crocodile

Burials of Teganshire Post 25 of 30

The successful funding campaign is over, but Burials of Teganshire is still available on Indiegogo’s InDemand service. Click here to get your copy!

Is there an evil obelisk or demon in your swamp? Well, eventually, a demon crocodile will appear, and low-level PCs are in for a swim. A SWIM OF DOOOOOOOOM.

D&D Beyond Entry:

Tales of Lothmar Beastiary: the 5E Demon Crocodile

Demon Croc

Described by a ranger as “a jaw of doom attached to a body composed of hate and malice,” the demon crocodile is a manifestation of demonic corruption in a swamp or wetland.

Purely evil, the demon crocodile exists only to kill and will do so not only to feed itself but out of spite and enjoyment. Usually found in pairs, one demon croc will try to pull a victim underwater while the other croc lies in wait, hiding, to attack any swimming rescuers. The pair is not above surfacing a grappled victim to show any onlookers the horror of the attack. Once satisfied others have seen the display, they pull the victim underwater again.

Demon crocodiles are fast land runners, and will tirelessly run fleeing victims down. They will attack anything except a demon and innately target clerics or paladins wearing a holy symbol first, regardless of tactical significance. Drowning a good-aligned ranger is one of their favorite pastimes.

Back our new adventure on Indiegogo’s InDemand service, and support us making more monsters such as the DEMON CROCODILE! Click here to get your copy of Burials of Teganshire!

Burials of TeganshireCrossbow Man faces a foe a bit tougher than the demon crocodile. 

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Crossbow Man in print!
These are taken with my crappy cell-phone camera.
Stat blocks!
Bouncing Mutt tavern lady.
Mohr statblocks!

What a great layout!

You can still get your copy from Indiegogo InDemand by clicking here: