A repository for free homebrew material for D&D 5e.
In the interest of transparency we should note that we were paid to write this article for Scroll-io. All opinions expressed are our own.
Created by The Cobbler Barrel, Scroll-io is a site that will host a variety of homebrew material available for free. A promotional version of the site is up and running, hosting several creatures, items, and spells for you to peruse and get an idea of what the website and its content will be like. There is also a kickstarter project associated with it already running.
There are several things I find very promising about this particular kickstarter project. First of all, as mentioned above, we already have a version of the site up and running, and according to the information provided most of the technical work behind it (coding and such) is done. As such, I personally don’t have any worries at all about delays or problems down the line. If you are wondering what the kickstarter is needed for, part of it is to cover hosting fees, as well as getting more art for the homebrew content (more on that later).
Something that is important to note is that Scroll-io is not a marketplace like DriveThruRPG or itch.io – all content on it is freely available. However, it is also not a community collaborative project; you can’t upload your own items and such: (almost) all of the content is from Cobbler Barrel. Still, with hundreds and hundreds of pieces of content prepared, I think it is more than enough to warrant the support.
Now let’s talk about the backer rewards. There is nothing to produce or send, so again, no worries about delays, mix-ups with the delivery or, worse, customs; everything is digital. In particular, there are 7 tiers of backers, and each one gives an increasing number of votes. These votes can be used to suggest which item, creature, or website feature should be given higher priority in development. In addition, the 2 highest tiers, $30 and $75, give you the option to add your own homebrew idea to the site – 1 and 3 suggestions respectively. I’m sure that some people will consider these rewards underwhelming, but in my opinion they are perfectly fine. The way I see most kickstarter projects, especially smaller ones like this, is that you pay more to support the completion of the project and less to actually buy a product. Especially in this case, everything that will be produced is free, so I really can’t complain about the rewards.
Something that I am curious about is whether there will be future options to add your own homebrew after the kickstarter – either through paying or through something like a contest or a raffle. But enough about the technicalities; let’s move on to…
So far, the site contains creatures, items, and spells, however the kickstarter mentions there are plans for the future to include classes and archetypes, feats, maps, as well as even adventures.
The quality of the content presented is exceptional. Each and every one of the creatures has of course its statblock, but there is also excellent artwork, as well as further information – not only concerning the nature of the creature and where it came from, but also how to utilize it in combat and even how it might fit in your own worlds and campaigns. The items also have their own artwork, and from what I’ve seen so far there are a lot of fun effects and equipment you can play around with. Same goes for the spells; rather than having simply more evocation spells that deal X amount of damage in a Y area, there is real effort to produce unique and interesting effects that can lead to many fun situations and applications.
There is content for all levels of play; you have creatures with CR from 1/8 to 26, spells that range form a cantrip to 9th level, and items all the way to legendary rarity. As a side note, I really want to see what else is in store, especially in terms of classes and feats.
Finally, let’s talk about…
The site has a very nice, simple look and is easy to navigate. It’s obvious it was designed with usability as well as extensibility in mind; it looks good now that there’s only a few pieces of content, and it’ll keep looking good when there’s hundreds of them. It also has a lot of very useful features.
First of all, you can sort the content according to almost any characteristic you want; alphabetic, CR, size, alignment, rarity, spell level, type, etc. The same goes for search, allowing multiple parameters to be used. While this is something that you would normally expect out of this kind of website, I have seen several others that do not include such functionality, and certainly not to this extent; Scroll-io makes it very simple to find what you’re looking for.
Additionally, every time you might need to roll dice, Scroll-io has a built-in dice roller that gives you the final result as well as each individual roll, if there’s more than one dice involved. This includes attack and damage rolls, ability checks, as well as hit points. This lets you use these creatures very easily in combat, and especially when it come to hit points, add a bit more variety without having to keep rolling dice.
Overall, I have to say that Scroll-io is a very promising project. There is a LOT of content planned, the site is very easy to use, and the quality of everything is amazing. At the very least, give the kickstarter a look, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
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