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  • Blue's Avatar
    Today, 06:29 PM
    Great question, let's give it some numbers. Let's assume the conservative 5 encounters of 4 rounds each. That's 20 actions to cover. Add in an extra spell per encounter - say a reaction like shield or a bonus action. That's 25. Let's assume you cast some spells a day cast outside combat - be it utility, mage armor, foresight, what have you. When you have more slots you're more likely to...
    84 replies | 1987 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Today, 06:12 PM
    And it's also been pointed out and had a whole post explaining in a high level of detail that people focusing on the word "thinks" in order to avoid what is very obvious a question about skill usage are missing the point.
    265 replies | 4430 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Today, 01:55 AM
    This sounds like it works fine at your table. However, I have never come across anything like this in the rulebooks so unless you can provide a citation I'm going to consider it a house rule that some skills (and spells?) don't work depending on the combonation of who is listening and who is speaking. (Or can NPCs not use skills to determine anything about PCs either, leaving a DM to fiat...
    265 replies | 4430 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:24 PM
    Whenever a Concentration spell is up, all other spells require a higher level slot to cast with no other benefit. You may have multiple concentration spells (up to your proficiency bonus) - each adds one slot level to other casting as well as needs to be saved separately from damage. Buff and matching debuff. Yes, this does add in a real general debuff to all casters in return for the extra...
    23 replies | 443 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:20 PM
    I can only give schnee XP once for this post, so the only other way I can agree how important these questions are is to quote them and talk about them. This definitely increases the power of casters. Are you planning on increasing the martial and monsters, or putting a corresponding debuff on casters? If the debuff is only on when concentrating on more than one, it's not enough because...
    23 replies | 443 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:25 PM
    With Druid, were you picturing Moon for HPs, Shepard for summons, or is there even more to the druid in terms of filling multiple roles I'm missing?
    10 replies | 212 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:52 PM
    Shield's +4 when I need it will always be better then a bit of damage. Shield is a good example of spells that stay relevant at higher levels. Cantrip damage also stays relevant - via scaling. I'm saying this to point out that you aren't comparing cantrips and 1st level spells, you're comparing cantrips and 1st level damage spells, and even there you're only comparing them at higher...
    84 replies | 1987 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:25 PM
    We have very different feels - which is all to the good! For me, the fact that casters never need to "descend to the mundane", be it to light their pipes or to shoot a crossbow because they are out of offensive spells - helps to drive home the high fantasy nature of 5e.
    84 replies | 1987 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:58 PM
    I personally feel that cantrips are orthogonal to 1st-9th casting. They form a separate known list, not even a wizard can get more in their book. They are something similar to spells, but innate. What they aren't are the pre-5e notion of "0 level spells". If they were 0-level spells, I'd agree with you. Why should a 0th level be better than a 1st? But instead I see them as a separate...
    84 replies | 1987 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:46 PM
    Sure thing. characters live in the world. Therefore it is my responsibility to give the characters the information they would notice simply existing. If I told one character "You see what look like words in some language engraved on the sealed arch" and another character "you see the sentence 'Speak Friend and Enter' in dwarven runes around the sealed arch", I am having the characters do...
    265 replies | 4430 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:35 PM
    Thanks for pre-judging. If you notice I haven't taken sides anywhere else in this thread. I was attempting to get information about this when it wasn't player agency at risk. I am unaware that there was any requirement that he needed to respond to a question that did not apply to him or his table. Exactly. And therefore I correctly called him out for not adding to the discussion.
    265 replies | 4430 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:15 PM
    I'm not sure about that. Many species grow based on available food - but having killed half the life in the universe that means that anything that consumes life (plants, animals, etc.) will find their food supplies similarly shrunk. (Predators also are a big factor, but the ratio of predators to prey has remained the same.) Sentients can decided to breed quickly, and to change their...
    21 replies | 650 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:51 PM
    Hmm, the fact that you are the only front-liner and that the campaign will go long are a bit at odds. Just to talk out what this means to me, hopefully you can zero in on what's important to you: As the only (or 1 of 2) front-liner, your concentration spells will have a greater chance to be disrupted. This will make concentration spells like debuffs have a bit less utility, reducing...
    9 replies | 381 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:50 PM
    I like leveraging the smaller party size to be able to have a good stealth for everyone. That will definitely help but it's harder to do with a party of 5. And hitting on summons to provide additional meatshields and actions is a great way to buff up a party missing those exact things. That gets around neither of the characters being "tanky". Does the summons keep filling this role all...
    10 replies | 212 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:46 PM
    I completely agree with what you say. 1st level is fantasy Vietnam, and with fewer PCs against challenges meant for 4-5 characters it would be brutal. I was avoiding the kill-1st-level-characters by asking for the pair that would be viable at certain levels - 6th, 12th, 16th. 6th is enough that you can have the level 5 power bump and a level of something else (or the next class features,...
    10 replies | 212 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:40 PM
    I see your point. I'm not in agreement but it could be me that is the one that is wrong. If a DM does a (hidden|passive) perception check and tells a player, "Your character doesn't see anyone" vs. "You see the escaping urchin hidden behind a barrel", the DM am using skills to help me determine what details to describe to the character. To me it seems the same for "The duke seems to be...
    265 replies | 4430 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:32 PM
    When the obvious intention of the post is to ask about a skill check between characters, zeroing in on the word 'think' and giving a non-answer around that doesn't help advance the conversation. Because the question is if a CHARACTER knew if another CHARACTER lied. There's a difference between player knowledge and character knowledge.
    265 replies | 4430 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:41 AM
    Mercurius had an thought provoking post about going through a published dungeon crawl with a small party, possibly a two person group. http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?655479-quot-Solo-crawling-quot-Dungeon-of-the-Mad-Mage That got me to thinking. We often discuss optimization of a single character, but how about a pair of characters (only!) that need to complement each other. ...
    10 replies | 212 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:43 AM
    I put it originally in such a way that the DM could call for a roll if they wanted to, of whatever type they wanted. But then I got fancy footwork that avoided the question and did nothing to advance the discussion. Assuming that this was a misunderstanding as opposed to trolling, I spelled it out in a high level of detail. If you read the original so you have context of what we are talking...
    265 replies | 4430 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:45 AM
    Instead of playing word games, answer the actual question. I tried to phrase it in such such a way that those who "don't let players call for rolls" would accept it, and now you're dodging the question with fancy wordplay. This does not add to the conversation. Character B is attempting to figure out if "A" is lying. Regardless if "A" is a PC or NPC. There happens to be a useful skill...
    265 replies | 4430 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:55 AM
    Yeah my biggest problems when my kids were young wasn't understanding the rules, it was not being fettered by them when coming up with their character ideas, and then being disappointed by the rigidness of the classes. (And the ability score system that doesn't allow equally viable characters of a class with any arrangement - the low wis, high int druid not being as viable in a standard party as...
    17 replies | 453 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:51 AM
    Let me ask this from the other side. One that doesn't affect character agency. Character A tells the group something. The character is lying. Character B is suspicious - maybe they think character A is charmed, or carrying out a mission for their faction, or it doesn't jive with other information. Player B asks the DM if their character thinks Character A is lying. Is it in-line for...
    265 replies | 4430 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:26 AM
    Paladin and Bard? Both can stand up the other if they drop. Bard works best if they can have a non-support character to make shine. Valor bard doesn't get the juicy magical secrets at 6th for a single AoE direct damage and some other goodies like revivify, but their better armor does help their survivability. Or maybe cleric (life) 1 / bard (lore) X instead. And with only 2 characters,...
    8 replies | 298 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 11:12 PM
    Can I make a small suggestion: Sometimes, slinking down and not causing others to target you can be the choice the player wants.
    30 replies | 467 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 10:58 PM
    In a helpful way, for kids young enough to take out all that, I'd suggest another game. When my kids were that young, they got caught up in things like having character concepts that weren't described well by any class. By havuing the ability scores explained and wanting a low wisdom because they wanted to play an impulsive character with little common sense - but the play a druid or cleric. ...
    17 replies | 453 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th December, 2018, 01:42 AM
    I haven't been keeping up with the X-movies, which gives me a different viewpoint on this not knowing the actors or the current interpretations of the characters. With that said, I don't see MCU continuing the Fox characters - they have a long running terd for making characters moviegoers like, and with changes in writers, directors, production style, and possibly tone, it seems like brought...
    14 replies | 249 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 11:14 PM
    Because of ease of long rest, damage nor a single level of exhaustion is any stakes at all. I'm make the stakes Respect. You mentioned that they saw climbing it as a test of the person - have it impact the character's (and to a lesser degree the party's) opening RP with them. Could be fun if the high CHR, low DEX person fell several times and they didn not want to talk to them.
    51 replies | 855 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 7th December, 2018, 09:29 PM
    How's this: I want races refactored so that there's enough design room to include more powerful but not uncommon player wishes. Half Ogres, minotaurs, centaurs, fliers, what-have-you. Which will also allow more design space for the existing races to make them more interesting. (Bonus point: For some races there are racial classes you can multiclass into that further expand out the race...
    106 replies | 2449 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 04:30 PM
    At higher levels I find that clerics are using more and more spells offensively. Especially higher level and area effect spells. Of course, this can go two ways - get booming blade now while it's useful if you enjoy melee, or improve your spell DC save. Not knowing your party makeup, I can't say about how important it is that you remain front line. Booming blade, a familiar to give you...
    9 replies | 381 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 6th December, 2018, 02:34 PM
    I picked Shaundakul as one of my favorites as well ... but it was because my (AD&D 2ed) Cleric of Mask pretended to be a Cleric of Shaundakul to join the party without them knowing he was evil. (It was okay, the players knew. And he was "petty evil" that fit well with the "we have a good reputation because we do all these heroic things but we're really neutral out-for-glory-and-gold" party.)
    41 replies | 1438 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th December, 2018, 05:18 PM
    Now with your revised table ... damage seems too low on the high end. There is definitely a resource rarity that would come into play. The opportunity cost of not casting some other high level spell is large. Slightly over 100 HPs for a 9th level single target spell is laughable compared to the foes at that level.
    20 replies | 696 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 09:00 PM
    I'm a big fan of making the rules support the settings and the feel, so adding, removing, and modifying are on the table. That covers both #3 and #4. I'd rather tell the players about them ahead of time. Unless there's something that emerges during play -- I've seen (more in some earlier editions) broken combos and talked to players and removed them, so #5 really is a better fit. Character...
    93 replies | 2598 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 08:29 PM
    Look, the OP talked about rating features that are mandatory. If you think those don't exist, go argue farther up the chain.
    110 replies | 2074 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 06:29 PM
    I have not done the math, this is more top of my head wondering about the numbers than saying they are wrong. Please take the below lightly. more me musing then saying there is a problem. 1. The high level spell damages look very high. I would think that part of it is not just resource expenditure, but also action economy. Such that a single action shouldn't be that much of an impact even...
    20 replies | 696 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 06:04 PM
    Hmm, do I want to take the level of fighter first or wizard? Oh, I can avoid this red bit if I take fighter first. There's a lot where it's useful for multiclassing choice. "Well, should I go grab X now or another level of Y? Hmm, Y has nothing inspiring this level - but next level has a Sky Blue. Hmm, do I really want to push that off even further? Especially since the adventure only...
    110 replies | 2074 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 03:48 PM
    With all of the additive spell slot classes this is true. Warlock is not one of them. And Eldritch Strike specifically calls out that it's Warlock slots - after they had to errata to correct paladin slots from the PHB, that's not a mistake.
    8 replies | 426 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th December, 2018, 01:31 AM
    Please note though that the Eldritch Smite can only trigger off Warlock spell slots, while the Paladin (after errata) can trigger of any. So this isn't a combo that can occur often - twice per short rest at most unless you are quite a high level warlock.
    8 replies | 426 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 06:26 PM
    I was coming to say the same thing. To break the rules, you first have to understand why they are there.
    48 replies | 1160 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 05:05 PM
    Really, this heavily depends on the setting. Taking half-elves out of Eberron means removing one of the Dragonmarked Houses. Taking them out of my Errantas setting removes the mortal/fae connection that was a big deal since my elves were immortal in that they never died of old age, but had issues bringing back from the dead because the had unchanging spirits instead of souls. Removing...
    192 replies | 6312 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd December, 2018, 04:45 PM
    Do you have the same problems with humans?
    192 replies | 6312 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd December, 2018, 10:09 PM
    Finished the Agent of Hel trilogy. The first two books felt like she was writing a series, the last book felt like the last in a trilogy. Like there were all these long term threads for a series, and poof let's wrap them up. It was still enjoyable, but one really big payoff moment from all three felt like it zoomed by. I'm back to Pratchett, this time reading Thief of Time. I've read it...
    19 replies | 519 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd December, 2018, 07:04 PM
    Absolutely tailor what's available in your setting to the feel you want. Always edit - adding, subtracting, modifying. For "general" D&D, none of the half races are listed as common. The half-elf goes back to Tolkien, with many of them, including the well known Elrond. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-elven. There have been various D&D attempts to codify playing traditionally evil...
    192 replies | 6312 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 2nd December, 2018, 02:21 AM
    Think like this: Say that Fire Giant's boulder will do 29 damage on a hit, and it has a 50/50 chance of hitting. So 14.5 expected damage. The disadvantage reduces it to a 25% chance to hit (yes, I did pick the best mathematical place for advantage, but with bounded accuracy it should in the range). So now expected 7.25 damage. So it's a cantrip that prevented ("healed") 7+ damage on average...
    63 replies | 29251 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 1st December, 2018, 04:14 AM
    But since you control your move and your target, I think that in practice the ally unfriendly / enemy friendly part is greatly reduced. Line may occasionally get in your way, but Spell Surge just specifies from a point they occupy. if you do it one of the corners of the square you're not hitting all adjacent squares, just three. Easy to control. Why? Dominate person doesn't do...
    5 replies | 276 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 10:23 PM
    I've done two lengthy example posts about Challenges (nixing the word "Skill") this year, one just six weeks ago. Here they are: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?654101-Doh!-Killed-my-party-with-a-skill-challenge&p=7507743#post7507743 http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?618220-Do-you-use-skill-challenges&p=7348264#post7348264 Sorry for just the link, but those are...
    21 replies | 667 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 30th November, 2018, 03:12 PM
    At my table we make frequent use of Challenges, which have evolved from the concept of Skill Challenges but hold remarkable little mechanically in common - mathematically the X successes before 3 failures has a non-intuitive relationship to chance of failure (usually punatively) that also has an outsized penalty for characters ebver reaching outside their comfort zones of high skills, plus it...
    21 replies | 667 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 05:17 PM
    Blue replied to Wizard Feats
    Couple of thoughts. First I echo other's concerns about this on multi-target spells. Second, Paralysis is really strong because of the auto-crits. The spells that grant it like Hold Person grant a save every turn. Third, I'm a bit leery of stepping on sorcerers toes. Their niche is that they can adjust spells - this gives out that concept to anyone. Fourth, we already have a mechanism...
    40 replies | 1406 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th November, 2018, 03:45 AM
    Usually, but not necessarily. The rules fully allow you to take a reaction on your own turn, and there are a lot of use-cases for it like casting shield after getting hit by an OA triggered by your movement. PHB pg 190: I believe in an earlier edition reaction was barred from your turn, and that change isn't obvious.
    19 replies | 506 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 26th November, 2018, 06:50 PM
    You make very telling points. I'd be interested in seeing the sales number after the holiday season.
    92 replies | 4395 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 26th November, 2018, 05:28 PM
    Finished Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. Had some fresh twists on fae court urban fantasy, which you need since that's a common subgenre. I haven't picked up later books in the series but I'm open to it. Also finished The Shepard's Crown, Sir Terry Pratchett's last Discworld novel. It's Discworld, Tiffany Aching, and the closure of . What's not to enjoy? Also, also finished the...
    19 replies | 519 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 25th November, 2018, 10:14 PM
    Just make sure the scout brings back information that the dragon is really fearsome. You mentioned this is a newer group of players, hopefully they haven't picked up the "the DM wouldn't have put it here if we weren't meant to fight it" mentality yet. Make them afraid. If they don't have a clue they aren't ready to face it yet, that's the DM's failing in inadequate descriptions. The players...
    41 replies | 1203 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 25th November, 2018, 04:55 PM
    Robert Heinlein had a number of SF story ideas become real. Water beds were inspired by his water-filled acceleration couches, but even more direct are waldos - in the story "Waldo" he named them after their (fictional) creater Waldo Farthingwaite-Jones.
    15 replies | 386 view(s)
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  • Orius's Avatar
    Saturday, 24th November, 2018, 06:52 AM
    I don't think we have enough data to even come close to answering this question yet.
    354 replies | 4787 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 23rd November, 2018, 10:49 PM
    Nothing. It doesn't exist. Unless, of course, you have something that grants you one. And then it's clearly defined. This isn't like a earlier editions where the bonus action is part of your action economy. It literally does not exist. It's something you do while something else, not a little slice of time you can do something in. Having generic bonus actions muddies thewaters and...
    20 replies | 529 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 23rd November, 2018, 10:44 PM
    I'd need to retrain my group some - if a DC is announced they just give the "pass/fail" response. I'd probably be a little more direct - ask for saves, and when they fail by the 3 difference (between the +1 the added and the -2 it really is), announce how they feel off and fail. If you want to make it clear what it is, have them "off balance", and let them try to figure out what they have...
    15 replies | 554 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 22nd November, 2018, 04:43 PM
    Except this isn't true for PAM and Shield Master. If you take the Attack action (and still have live opponents adjacent after) you WILL be able to use them. And if you don't take the Attack action, you won't be able to use either. So they have 100% overlap for the situation you can use them. They aren't filling in gaps where one could be used and the other can't. This is all true in a...
    15 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 22nd November, 2018, 04:29 PM
    Exhaustion is a punitive measure. It only goes away at one level per day. So someone like a front-liner who drops more than once in a day will start accumulating them, building up. The very first level of exhaustion gives disadvantage on all ability checks (which includes all skill checks). In all the other pillars of play outside combat, these are the primary mechanical interaction. So...
    84 replies | 2077 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 22nd November, 2018, 04:01 AM
    I do believe that over the life of the universe there will be countless (but finite) sentient races. But ones that coexist at this time that we can currently sense, or existed before us and we have not yet found/understood that we have four artifacts and signs of them - that I think is a very small number. On that's increasing at a dramatic rate based on what our technology has done in the at...
    354 replies | 4787 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 22nd November, 2018, 03:49 AM
    +12. The numbers are close either way, but +12 means that you can reach DCs up to 32, while with +8 and advantage you can only reach DCs up to 28. Plus you can get advantage other ways, to make the +12 even stronger.
    10 replies | 357 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 22nd November, 2018, 03:36 AM
    You claim to understand what I said. If that was the case, this would have gone under the example where there is an overwhelming force that would kill the party no matter what. I've reiterated this several times for you, please go back and read what I said. Not what you think I said.
    39 replies | 980 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 21st November, 2018, 11:56 PM
    At this point, I am unsure if you are trolling me, since I've explained it so many times already. Neither of your statements above are correct. COMBINING them is correct. A lethality of an encounter has to do with BOTH (a) the foes you fight, terrain, hazards, and all the rest that are inherent to the encounter, and (b) the resources you have for the encounter. Let me try another...
    39 replies | 980 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 21st November, 2018, 11:27 PM
    The UA Spear Mastery also wants your bonus actions. I do like the +1 to hit and increase to d8 damage, but neither do anything special with PAM.
    15 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 21st November, 2018, 10:38 PM
    That is NOT the counter-hypothesis. Going back to the c+bi, that spectrum implies that c can't be the course of death - when of course it can be. That's never been a question. Sufficiently deadly encounters can always be a course of death. The question is can lack of resources push a non-lethal encounter into a lethal encounter. Asking about an encounter that would be lethal anyhow is...
    39 replies | 980 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 21st November, 2018, 05:03 PM
    First, I was the first to suggest a poll, I don't consider it out of line that I put one up. You had been on to reply and had not done so, so I figured I'd put one up instead of waiting. Second, I think this clearly already shows that the "notoriously short encounter day" isn't as common a factor as you claim. Third, Polls on ENworld get a lot of activity. I wouldn't worry about "Poll...
    39 replies | 980 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 21st November, 2018, 04:18 AM
    I'm with you. But after several back-and-forth comments I suggested a poll to see what others thought. When they were for it but a bit laggard (that they'd create it tomorrow) I figured I'd just get the ball moving.
    39 replies | 980 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 21st November, 2018, 02:25 AM
    Both want your bonus action. I don't really see any synergy between them.
    15 replies | 786 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 21st November, 2018, 02:21 AM
    I put one up: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?655098-Does-limited-resources-affect-a-battle&p=7525533#post7525533
    15 replies | 672 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 21st November, 2018, 02:09 AM
    Having a discussion in another thread about chance of character death in an encounter. I've put forth that with your average party, there's a big difference if you have a series of encounters with no rests or if every encounter separated by a long rest. The idea of running out of resources over the course of the day seems to be foreign, not something that actually happened. A poll can help...
    39 replies | 980 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th November, 2018, 11:28 PM
    Since that varies greatly from the 6-8 encounters per day that the DMG recommends, and that we have penty of empirical evidence that ti breaks down the balance between the at-will, short-rest, and long-rest resource classes, we should NOT assume this to be true on a regular basis. First, it's outside the rule recommendations, and second, it breaks inter-class balance. Then you are a...
    15 replies | 672 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th November, 2018, 08:22 PM
    I've had people who need help with it each time. They usually fall into a few categories with their own solutions. New to the game (or new back to the game) but doing it on their own (slowly): Time solves these. Bad at math: Suggest they write up their full bonuses on their character sheets. I had one of these in 3.0 with power attack, where you could take -X to hit and do +1.5(?)X...
    55 replies | 1900 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th November, 2018, 07:00 PM
    No. What I am saying is that the chance will fluctuate dramatically based on the number and distribution of short and long rests within f. A single DM can easily vary the number of encounters per day based on storytelling (and other) needs - this need not be a per DM variation. You are using the wrong numbers because you are ignoring a factor in them, so that it doesn't matter if...
    15 replies | 672 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 20th November, 2018, 01:37 AM
    No, it really doesn't. I laid out specifics which you ignored. You're just handwaving them away by claiming what you have is "reasonable"; not addressing the point I made in the least. Okay, let's take the most absurd case: Take a tough encounter. Case A: That encounter is your only fight of the day for 12 days. Case B: You have that fight 12 times on the same day with a short rest...
    15 replies | 672 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 19th November, 2018, 09:41 PM
    First, Bard is choke full of bardic spells with Concentration - any direct damage with concentration means one or the other doesn't get cast. I strongly suggest don't go for one with concentration. From a damage output, Fireball wins over a lot, upcast or not. And having one you can use lower level slots on means more castings per day. But if you're starting at 11th and going up from there,...
    8 replies | 518 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 19th November, 2018, 08:57 PM
    Encounter lethality is only partially dependent on that encounter. A part (possibly even the largest part) is the condition of the PCs as they enter it in terms of resources available. I can run 12 medium encounters in a day and kill off PCs because they ran out of spells, feature uses, HD, etc. I can also run two deadly+ encounters in a day and they PCs come out just fine because they went...
    15 replies | 672 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 19th November, 2018, 05:46 PM
    I think you are looking toward his post as something it is not. There is no attempt to say GWM is or is not OP. Let me repeat that. There is no attempt to say GWM is or is not OP. All it discusses is if you have GWM, when should you activate the -5/+10 and when shouldn't you in order to maximize your average damage.
    23 replies | 991 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 19th November, 2018, 05:41 PM
    I've done this - had encounters (both planned and "random") that were well above what players can handle. I've also used various tools to make sure these need not be TPK if the players don't "want" them to be. Had other "win" conditions besides slugging it out. Telegraphed the danger of an opponent before they closed with it, had them spot things at a distance they could decline to close. ...
    29 replies | 835 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 19th November, 2018, 05:16 PM
    While in traditional publishing where your cost-viable print run size and distribution costs put a barrier to entry, I don't see this holding true in the digital publishing age. When over the lifetime of a product you might make tens or hundreds of dollars, spending several hundred for a few pieces of quality art can turn all of your work into the red financially that, if ever recovered, may...
    18 replies | 644 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 19th November, 2018, 04:51 PM
    This isn't correct. My fighter can not take the "Cast a Spell" action. There is no way in the rules to attempt in the first place. So it's not mechanically supported. If all you are looking for someone to say "the rules don't allow that", you can get that in any game. I can try to steal from the bank in Monopoly and be told no just as easily. And you've missed the entire point...
    22 replies | 619 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 19th November, 2018, 04:14 AM
    I'm reminded of playing 4e. I wanted to trip someone in combat. Because there were powers that would knock someone prone, it was determined that I could not do it without an appropriate power. That seems to be more in the prescriptive. A more general example is that I can't have my fighter just decide to cast a spell. Or my star trek doctor cast a spell. Or my hard-boiled detective. ...
    22 replies | 619 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 19th November, 2018, 02:40 AM
    I don't need a lot of art, but I prefer art that looks professional and consistent throughout the work. Mind you, "professional" can be sketches, there's some well done RPG books that do great with that. I'd rather have no art then off-putting art. Off-putting: badly executed art, cartoonish, distorted or "silly" art without a particular reason. Actually, I'd rather a publisher focuses...
    18 replies | 644 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 19th November, 2018, 02:30 AM
    Where Hyperion has an advantage (heh, pun not intended but appreciated) is the characters that can take advantage of crits. GWM for a bonus action attack, Half-Orc Savage Attacks, and paladin's Divine Smite are melee so they are out. Worst I could see a rogue having fun with it - until the target dies once they get a hit they can auto sneak attack, and sneak attack damage goes up nicely with a...
    43 replies | 1416 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 18th November, 2018, 08:29 PM
    Not knowing the damage they do on base, it's hard to say how much of a bonus the Torgue gun is doing. Now, if you are keeping to bounded accuracy in what you need to hit, I'm going to say that advantage is turning 20% of your misses into hit, with disadvantage doing the opposite. So before you hit, you are, over a statistically large amount of rounds, doing 20% less average damage. After...
    43 replies | 1416 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 18th November, 2018, 07:57 PM
    Advantage never increases the maximum number of what you can roll - a d20+1 is infinitely better than a d20 with advantage if you need a DC of 21. It doesn't make you able to do thing you couldn't before. What it does is make you more reliable at things. Earlier editions of D&D you could stack so many bonuss that low-skilled characters couldn't even reach the DC with a 20. Advantage and...
    43 replies | 1416 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 18th November, 2018, 04:57 PM
    Can you give us a little more detail on your player complaints, or better yet get some of them to post directly ? If half the party is unconscious several times per day, it probably is too hard. If every combat takes 3 hours it might be that they want it over sooner, and it's not about the challenge. If a few characters don't contribute much and those are the player who don't like it, it may...
    42 replies | 1111 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 18th November, 2018, 04:20 PM
    If you really have a statistically significant number of rolls at 18+, I believe we can then say that that campaign is outside the design space of bounded accuracy, and that the results don't apply to a general discussion of the mechanic.
    43 replies | 1416 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 18th November, 2018, 03:19 AM
    Except that it's lacking all of the direct and indirect limitations of that spell, such as being a druid. I don't think there you will find a consensus anywhere that thinks that Shillelagh, improved for any weapon, would be a reasonable Paladin cantrip. A CHR focused front liner, a much more powerful framework then Druid for a melee spell. Yeah, we basically avoid paladins dipping...
    29 replies | 1118 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 18th November, 2018, 02:26 AM
    Previous lowest level spell to remove one level of exhaustion: Greater Restoration. 5th, with 100gp diamond dust consumed. New lowest level spell to remove one level of exhaustion: Revivify. 3rd, with 300gp diamonds consumed. Not a big deal, but one of the groups I'm in we have a Barbarian (Path of the Zealot) from XGtE. No material components for revivify. I wonder if it will ever...
    10 replies | 870 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 16th November, 2018, 08:34 PM
    Hey, Polearm Mastery was expanded to include spear. Which makes sense. But as a second non-reach, one-handed option it's pretty clear it's intended to be able to work like that. Quarterstaff was so contentious. A problem I see is the new change for Disintegrate contradicts the Sage Advice about a disintegrate and a wildshaped druid. And and Exhaustion got nerfed. You can now lose one...
    117 replies | 5741 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 16th November, 2018, 08:16 PM
    Well, with those rolled ability scores you are about 2-3 feat/ASI ahead of expectations for point buy - might as well revel in it. Especially with fighter bonus ASI. Any idea how far you expect you campaign to go? That will give you an idea how much time you have, and if you want to focus on getting feats early so you have the capabilities for most of your play vs. the math advantage of...
    24 replies | 28371 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 16th November, 2018, 05:23 PM
    Thanks for your feedback. My friend who's running is also allowing gunslinger and blood hunter which I haven't seen but your comments lead me to believe might be trouble. Would you share your thoughts on those as well? Thanks.
    6 replies | 459 view(s)
    0 XP
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About MerricB

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Australian rpger, boardgamer and commentator on aforementioned games.
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Wednesday, 17th October, 2018

  • 02:42 PM - Ristamar mentioned MerricB in post I was right about Shield Master
    ...ce of Shield Master and everything to do with not nesting a Bonus action within its own trigger. Say what you will about the current efficacy of the feat, it's totally understandable why you'd want to avoid setting a standard with that sort of logical mess. Since the design team doesn't seem interested in rewriting the printed rules, the feat it isn't likely to be changed in the future despite it only needing a simple edit to have it trigger off of an Attack (akin to a Smite spell) rather than the whole Action. Whether that is good or bad policy is a wholly separate discussion. FWIW, I think Shield Master remains a decent feat, particularly if you have a magic shield with a bonus to further boost your Dex saves. The clarification might also make Two Weapon Fighting slightly more attractive to those groups that follow the "official" rules yet still want to be able to execute a bonus shove during a string of attacks. * EDIT: For reference, a great article on the topic from MerricB.

Tuesday, 30th January, 2018

  • 05:56 AM - pming mentioned MerricB in post 5e adventures set in swamps or arid lands?
    Hiya! Can't give you anything specific...but, our very own MerricB here has done an absolutely FANTASTIC job of making a list, with links, of 5e adventures...he even has them listed by level range and in order of level range! :) Here's the link: https://merricb.com/dungeons-dragons-5e-adventures-by-level/ ^_^ Paul L. Ming

Wednesday, 3rd January, 2018

  • 01:35 PM - CapnZapp mentioned MerricB in post suggestions for a level 8:ish adventure that starts in Port Nyanzaru?
    Quickleaf: I do too, but I'm afraid I have some bad news in this case: I think he oversold the module quite a bit. But let me post my comment to his site: MerricB: First off thanks for your review (and all your other reviews)! However, I think you shower too much praise on this adventure (Watchers of Meng). Essentially, your review reads as if the hooks (and your own imagination!) sell you on the entire adventure, despite there being next to no actual connection between the hooks and the adventure. As I read it, sure there are a few adventure hooks, but theyíre completely separate from each other and the actual dungeon. One of them Ė Oola Ė is great, sure, but thatís also all thatís great about Watchers of Meng; there is no actual follow-up to that greatness. The initial hook idea is all there is to Oola. The dungeon itself is small and haphazardous and not especially noteworthy. It features Schwalbís fascination for the morbid and the grim, but thatís nothing new. On itís own Iíd say the adventure is okay:ish, a weak three stars perhaps. After your glowing review, however, it was a let-down. best regards,

Monday, 6th November, 2017


Sunday, 20th August, 2017

  • 09:35 PM - Remathilis mentioned MerricB in post Advice for Extending or Expanding on Curse of Strahd
    Off the top of my head... Expedition to Castle Ravenloft gives Strahd some secondary goals that change the nature of the adventure. It also includes new NPCs to use and the "fane" subplot which can replace the Heart of Sorrow if you want them to wander around more. There are the 10 Adventurer League modules form season 4, which include a new town, new NPCs, and its own subquests away from Strahd proper. You can also search around the DM's Guild for some additional resources, like MerricB 's "Death in the Cornfield" sidequest. Lastly, if I were to re-run it, I'd definitely stack the Tarroka deck a bit. Good luck!

Sunday, 16th April, 2017

  • 01:10 PM - Redthistle mentioned MerricB in post How do players know they are in the "wrong" location in a sandbox campaign?
    I really like MerricB's idea of the side-quests (see comment #8 in this thread). It keeps the game moving forward without letting it drop into a TPK, and may also be utilized to provide foreshadowing for when the party is ready for the more dangerous scenarios. Here's a notion that can be used on a limited basis, but that you wouldn't want to overuse: Passive Insight check, aka the "hunch." Pass information to the player(s) with high enough Insight, saying something to the effect that the hairs on the back of their necks are rising; their guts feel like they're turning to ice water; there's a mounting sense that there is something here that is just not right; or the like. By experiencing this hint every once in awhile it will hopefully provide your players with the knowledge (it might be for replacement PCs, mind you) that although there might be something very interesting behind that door, now might not be the best time to go knocking on it. It depends, of course, on how far into the location they've...

Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017


Wednesday, 4th January, 2017

  • 12:38 AM - hawkeyefan mentioned MerricB in post Secret Character Creation
    My group has done things like this a lot in recent years when we start a new campaign. We've also picked characters randomly and swapped characters and things like that. We've found that it can really help make the game interesting in new ways. My group has been playing together for a long time, and I think that helps with these kinds of experiments. I think more groups should try this kind of thing to try and open up new avenues of enjoyment with the game. Good luck, MerricB. Let us know how it goes.

Tuesday, 3rd January, 2017

  • 06:02 PM - Blue mentioned MerricB in post Mike Mearls on D&D (New Interview with James Introcaso)
    Thanks for the summary MerricB, lots of good info. I'm a bit torn how they are realizing story-first. It seems that they are coming out with an adventure path and then discarding the story. I'm happy for some APs because of all of the gaming in my FLGS, but I'm not their purchasing target. But I'd love for there to be more around it then a brief flare and then it's last year's news, even if that seems to be the intent because they don't want to break up the message by having consumers split their focus.

Sunday, 24th April, 2016

  • 07:04 PM - robus mentioned MerricB in post Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    ...t apparently they've become too attached). My plan is to have Nezznar be a member of the cult and the raids he's been running have been to gather tribute for Tiamat (the mine being a potential jewel in the crown.) when the PCs have their final confrontation he'll teleport away to join Rezmir (if he gets a chance) in any event they'll find a letter connecting him to the cult. When the PCs return to Phandalin I'll have Sildar fill them in a bit but also point them to Leilon where they should meet Ontharr Frume (moving him there to make the geography make sense). There he'll give them more background on the cult and speak of an agent who's gone missing (Leosin) and say his last known destination was the roadhouse on the high road. And thus the transition is achieved and the major characters introduced. I intend to have Leosin imprisoned at Castle Naerytar where they'll also encounter Nezznar again (if he managed to escape) where he'll be tasked with defending Rezmirs escape. Thanks to @MerricB for recommending that connection point. I think this is going to work well and after running away from the dragon in Thundertree I know my players are looking forward to another chance to encounter them.

Tuesday, 12th April, 2016

  • 12:47 PM - Connorsrpg mentioned MerricB in post To Serve (Slave BG etc)
    Just thought I would put a shout out to our (Black Hill Games) first DMGuild product (though I have written a few EN5ider articles). It is only a small one to test the waters. It talks about slavery in the game and incs the following game rules: * Slave BG * Monk Tradition. Would love a review or 2. You can preview the whole doc and PWYW. Cheers, check it out: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/179963/To-Serve?filters=45469_0_0_0_0_0 MerricB: has posted a review here: https://merricb.com/2016/04/07/5e-supplement-review-to-serve/#comment-6100

Friday, 8th April, 2016

  • 02:56 AM - Quickleaf mentioned MerricB in post Wilderness Travel & Encounters/Day - How do you handle it?
    arjomanes Well, you've got some solid answers already, ranging from Saelorn's astute recommendation to change the rules, to MerricB's suggestion to do away with random encounters entirely. So let me offer a slightly different take... You've got a high-level party right? You mention them wiping encounters with high-level spells, so that's what I'm assuming. Generally, in D&D exploring the wilderness is a challenge for low-to-mid-level characters. "Dangerous" wilderness exploration isn't something typically associated with high-level D&D... I could definitely see it if there were a war, a supernatural event, or the players were in a hostile plane, or something like that. From the encounter examples you gave, a theme of your setting seems to be demon cultists corrupting the land, pursued by witch hunters. So I'm going to assume that the point of your random encounters in this adventure is to reinforce that theme. All of your example solutions assume that the main purpose of an encounter is to threaten the PCs' lives. I'd challenge that assumption. Especially for random encounters, and especially for high-l...

Tuesday, 29th December, 2015

  • 09:27 AM - pukunui mentioned MerricB in post Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    ...uing. Payback I'll just run this as written, I think. Unwanted Attention, Who's Your Friend?, Murder Most Foul Haven't really given these ones much thought yet. I'm pondering whether or not to include the High Holy Day event as well. Might ask Steve if he has any ideas about how to make it more interactive. EDIT: If I do use this, I'll set it on the day of the autumnal equinox, when the followers of Loviatar practice the "Rite of Pain and Purity", which apparently involves "dancing on glass, thorns or barbed-wire while being whipped by higher-level Loviatans". Events I'm not planning on using: - Adventuring Life: Just doesn't seem that interesting to me. - Everything Has a Price: The only obvious things the PCs have are their cool magic items, and I don't really want to take one of those away in the manner described in the event description. - Roadside Hospitality: This seems like one that could be fun if it naturally falls together (like it seems to have done for MerricB's group) but could also come across as really forced, so I don't think I'll use it.

Monday, 28th December, 2015

  • 09:21 AM - pukunui mentioned MerricB in post Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    I'm also having a little issue with the logistics of the caravan. Since my players opted to have their PCs all hire out separately, they are going to be all spread out during the journey. I'm struggling to see how to make some of the encounters on the road work so that all the PCs can be involved. And the logical part of my brain is telling me that some of the more experienced NPC guards would reasonably get involved in some of them - like the peryton attack, for instance - but that'll really slow things down at the table and also potentially make the encounters too easy. Anyone who's run the caravan trip already got any tips on how to manage it? jayoungr? MerricB? vandaexpress?

Tuesday, 8th December, 2015


Monday, 7th December, 2015

  • 03:04 PM - Charles Rampant mentioned MerricB in post Eberron popularity in 5E
    I think that a suggestion made in this thread - by MerricB - that we may see APs being used to 'update' settings is an interesting one. So, we might get an Eberron AP. It features, uh, a plot about a Dragonmarked house doing nefarious stuff, and has stuff with, you know, zepplins and visiting the Voodoo Elves island and whatnot. Cool. And in the back of said book, taking up about 40 pages, would be the crunch for said adventure. So the book itself won't update the setting very much - really only covering the exact locations travelled to - but it would serve as a vehicle to allow crunch for the setting to be sold, within an interesting adventure path that can have a unique hook to sell itself to DMs with. Though we should probably also note that Chris Perkins, in that interview with the mega-thread attached, noted that WotC don't feel bound to any particular formula for releases. Just because so far we have received an AP-heavy release schedule, doesn't necessarily mean that this is a hard and fast rule.

Sunday, 6th December, 2015

  • 08:45 AM - Quickleaf mentioned MerricB in post The Best Unofficial 5e Adventures?
    So, we know all about the official WotC releases, but what do folks feel are the best unofficial 5e adventures out there? There are dozens and dozens of unofficial 5e adventures, some free, some to buy, but which adventures among them, short or long, do folks highly rate? - Jargogle I think MerricB has a listing of third-party 5e adventures....ah! here it is: http://merricb.com/dungeons-dragons-5e/dungeons-dragons-5e-adventures-by-level/ Most of these I don't own and haven't played. I can say that I've been impressed by Kobold Press' products in general.

Monday, 30th November, 2015


Friday, 6th November, 2015

  • 08:55 AM - BoldItalic mentioned MerricB in post Tap Tap Tap
    "For more than a year," said BoldItalic, "I have been living in two worlds, as have many others who are our friends. Some, for far longer than me. When the gods decreed that Trevor's world should end, preparations were made to welcome as many who wanted to come here as there might be." He paused for a swig of ale and stirred the fire in the hearth with a +1 Poker of Poking that he had won from a half-orc in a game of knuckle-head. "People laboured mightily to save the scrolls they treasured. The god of this world, the great Morrus, gave us a ship to ferry them between the worlds and a famous wizard called MerricB devised a cunning engine that made it easy for us to copy scrolls quickly and with great accuracy so that knowledge was not lost." At that moment, there was a tapping at the window. [ TAP! TAP! TAP! roared the audience on cue ] BoldItalic rose and threw open the casement. A raven flapped in with a croak, and settled itself comfortably on the back of a chair. It seemed quite at home. "You will like it here, Rylnethaz. It is a benign world; there is less strife and the guardians are more zealous in keeping unruly elements in their place." For a long time, far into the night, they traded memories of past ages. In the morning, there was a bright dawn and the sun rose clear in a cloudless sky. "Come, let us follow the trail through the woods and see where it may lead," said BoldItalic, tapping out his pipe in the hearth. [ You get the idea ] Sir Rylnethaz hefted his red shield, BoldItalic took up his staff with the knobbly end, and they set off. Rounding a corner in ...

Thursday, 5th November, 2015

  • 01:49 PM - Ant mentioned MerricB in post GMing tips talk at PAX Australia
    It's been a long, long while since I posted here but for those interested, I ran a panel at PAX Australia about Games Mastering. Sort of a hints and tips hodge podge. It turned out pretty well overall and we've learned a lot if we do one again next year. The audio of the session can be heard here: http://thefourthplayer.com/project/episode-85/ What was also cool was that there was a Newbies Guide to RPG groups on before mine. It was great and I got to finally meet the wonderful MerricB !


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Wednesday, 10th October, 2018

  • 07:37 PM - Tim Freerksen quoted MerricB in post Make a monk/sorcerer not suck.
    Well, anything that includes "monk" is definitely suboptimal to begin with. Not really, monks are always slowburners. They are suboptimal in the beginning but eventually become very powerful, especially with some monk only items. The big problem with a Monk/Sorcerer is the fact that charisma is completely irrelevant to a monk while it is needed for a sorc.

Monday, 23rd April, 2018

  • 07:39 AM - Li Shenron quoted MerricB in post Awarding One Magic Weapon only to each player in a campaign
    Is this how you do it? Or are weapons replaced more in your games? I haven't gone that far yet, and currently our campaign is made of a series of older- edition adventures converted to 5e, so my way of dealing with magic items at the moment is to just give whatever items are featured in those adventures. If a 5e version of the item exists in the DMG, they get the 5e version, otherwise they get the original version with possibly some adjustments to the 5e rules. However, I am always using the 5e versions of monsters and NPCs instead of the adventures originals, so there aren't many magic weapons to take directly from them. IMHO not having every NPC with magic weapons after a certain level is a huge liberation. I do not like the idea of PCs getting rid of older magic weapons, and I do not generally feature a market for magic items (these are presumably part of my general dislike of "magic as technology"). So something I usually have in mind in all my campaigns is to end up having magic ...

Saturday, 21st April, 2018

  • 03:08 AM - Blue quoted MerricB in post Awarding One Magic Weapon only to each player in a campaign
    While in previous editions there'd be lots of magic weapons lying about (so many guards armed with +1 swords), the approach of 4E and now 5E has changed that. As a result, I'm considering how in a campaign I might only award one magic weapon EVER to a player. If you go by the distribution in the DMG, I know many player who would be happy if they never get a magic weapon. The distribution for 5e is sooo much flatter. Here's a thread where they work out what you should be getting levels 1-20. It then codifies it, breaking it up four ways, to give guidelines: 1 uncommon permanent item at level 4, and another at level 7. 1 rare permanent item at level 10 and another at level 13. 1 very rare permanent item at level 16. 1 legendary permanent item at level 19. That's 6 items over their entire 1-20. Many characters not focused on weapon combat would probably be happy to get something else instead. Last campaign I was a player, we were just shy of 12th and we had my +1 weapon, and a +2 with som...

Sunday, 4th February, 2018

  • 09:09 AM - Kevtron quoted MerricB in post How to calculate Passive Perception
    You'll find the full rules on page 175 of the PHB and page 59 of the free Basic Rules. Looking in the PHB it looks like passive for any skill is 10 + all skill modifiers If you're trying to determine if a character notices a stealthy monster, then you check the result of the monster's Dexterity (Stealth) check against the passive Perception scores of the characters that are Keeping Watch. If the result of the Dexterity (Stealth) check exceeds a character's passive Perception score, the character is surprised. Looking at stealth vs perception: If my lvl 3 rogue (with +3 dex + proficiency + expertise) currently has +7 to stealth, is my passive stealth 17? If so... what does that mean exactly in terms of game play? If a goblin's passive perception is 16 or less (and assuming they aren't actively looking for me) would I even need to roll? Sounds to me like I'm 'naturally' more stealthy than the goblin is 'naturally' perceptive. edit. the more I think about this I guess it would be unfair/ove...

Thursday, 1st February, 2018

  • 03:23 AM - ad_hoc quoted MerricB in post Old School Initiative
    I had a lot of problems with the "Greyhawk" initiative system when I used it (detailed here: https://merricb.com/2017/07/22/greyhawk-initiative-another-look-2/). I'm happy to run games with predeclared actions, but the way rogues work in particular (bonus action hide or disengage) causes a LOT of trouble when using them with 5E. AD&D's predeclared system worked mainly because movement wasn't a factor: once you were in melee, that was it. You didn't move again. Once you allow a lot of free movement, then things fall apart quickly. Cheers! At our table movement is free and so are bonus actions unless the bonus action would take more time than the regular action. Basically everyone rolls 1 die, the highest of their actions and bonus actions. For example, if someone shoots and casts Healing Word, they roll 1d10 rather than 1d4. One really nice side benefit of the system is to ask the players what their characters are doing in each scene rather than rolling for initiative. Instead of rolling for initiative and then asking the player what they want to do on their turn and having them...

Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018

  • 05:27 PM - CapnZapp quoted MerricB in post Season 8 will switch to the Organized Play rules presented in XGTE
    My article on the potential changes, from November: https://merricb.com/2017/11/13/are-the-dd-adventurers-league-rules-about-to-change/ Regarding No More Experience Points: shrug. It was a long time ago I realized experience points are just pointless clutter. I'm going to level up when the DM deems it appropriate; everything else is just self-deception. Those checkpoints looks like a reasonable implementation; in a home game you'd just say "level up after about three game sessions" (or whatever). Of course, in a home game things would get out of whack if you just sit tight back at the inn in the hopes you'll level up and out of the challenge zone of the actual adventure. But in practice, does that ever happen? In organized play, it's not an issue. Sure, one group decides their own voices are more interesting than the actual adventure. But four hours later that's irrelevant (even if the DM was bored), and everybody goes on to new adventures. Regarding No More Gold in Adventures: I vehemently disagree "No gold in an adventure isnít a big chan...

Thursday, 7th December, 2017

  • 05:33 PM - Piratecat quoted MerricB in post Designing Investigative Adventures
    It is, although I've found the GUMSHOE system (in particular, Trail of Cthulhu) pretty impenetrable when I try to read it. I found it terrible at explaining HOW to use it. Merric, you may have read one of the earlier versions of the rules. Nowadays in TimeWatch, Night's Black Agents, and the like, the rules are really straightforward and much easier to wrap your arms around.

Monday, 27th November, 2017

  • 04:43 PM - Pauper quoted MerricB in post Death Curse: Waiting it Out
    Just checking my interpretation of the rules... * A DDAL character who plays any Season 7 or CCC adventure becomes affected by the Death Curse. Agreed. * Once the T3 adventures get released (January 2018), that character can no longer play Season 7 Tier 1 or 2 adventures or Tomb of Annihilation. If the character chooses to be free of the Death Curse at that time, then yes. I see nothing in the Death Curse primer to suggest that characters are *required* to undo the Death Curse on the release of T3 adventures, simply that it's allowed. (A character who doesn't undo the Death Curse is basically still adventuring during the time the Curse is active, thus prior to Acererak's defeat.) Such a character could either play ToA themself and end the Death Curse by defeating Acererak, or simply end the curse by effectively stating that Acererak has been defeated by others, ending ToA and the T1 and T2 Season 7 adventure line for that character. * This leads to the situation that a char...

Wednesday, 22nd November, 2017

  • 02:21 PM - Ovinomancer quoted MerricB in post Designing Investigative Adventures
    Very true! Probably a bad term in reference to how I'm approaching this adventure: in fact, they're mostly the results of alternative (false) interpretations of the clues. In a normal game, I'd cheer this, but it's a four hour con game. Get simple. That doesn't mean stupid, but things need to be straightforward. In fact, i'd recommend that the mystery not be the actual focus, but just the motivation to move through the challenges. Again, for a con game in a 4 hour slot you want to avoid turning the game into a discussion about what the clues mean and more into a 'ah, another clue, we now know we need to go do this.' Pacing is critical in con games, and leaving the clues ambiguous and open to (false) interpretation will kill your ability to pace the game.
  • 11:06 AM - briggart quoted MerricB in post Death Curse: Waiting it Out
    * This leads to the situation that a character who plays a T1 Season 7 adventure in February 2018 can't play another Season 7 T1 adventure. :) I thought that once the S7 T3 content is released, characters "can choose" to be freed from the curse by waiting it out, but they are not required to do so. If the characters are ok with keeping the curse, they can continue adventuring in ToA and S7 T1 and T2 modules as normal.

Monday, 20th November, 2017

  • 08:39 AM - pemerton quoted MerricB in post Designing Investigative Adventures
    One of the things I feel quite strongly is that looking for clues isn't that interesting - it's what the players do with the clues once they find them That's an interesting approach. I'll have to remember that.I think it's the underpinning of the GUMSHOE system.

Sunday, 19th November, 2017

  • 08:28 AM - pukunui quoted MerricB in post Designing Investigative Adventures
    One of the things I feel quite strongly is that looking for clues isn't that interesting - it's what the players do with the clues once they find them...That's an interesting approach. I'll have to remember that.

Tuesday, 14th November, 2017

  • 01:13 PM - neogod22 quoted MerricB in post They Broke Arcane Archer!!!
    It's been added to the DDAL Player Pack. (It's part of the guidelines for using XGE in the DDAL). Cheers!Yeah I just found it. Thanks. Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk
  • 01:00 PM - neogod22 quoted MerricB in post They Broke Arcane Archer!!!
    This errata was released, in an AL document, four days ago.Do you have the link for that? Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

Wednesday, 30th August, 2017


Friday, 16th June, 2017

  • 02:19 PM - Corwin quoted MerricB in post Is WotC ever going to release something high level? Even as UA test material?
    I ran two campaigns of 4E to 30th level. We had fun all the way through - and combats at 30th didn't take us that long in the most part. If we had a bunch of min/maxing "how do I get every action and reaction" players, I think our experience would have been different. But 4E is the only version of D&D that I think actually runs fine at higher levels. It certainly worked better than high-level 3E (two campaigns to 16th level and one to 21st level...) Okay, cool. Me too. I loved 4e and played the heck out of it for years. Sometimes high level, as well. Hasn't anything to do with my previous response, though.

Monday, 12th June, 2017

  • 10:34 PM - Soul Stigma quoted MerricB in post New DM Hoard of the Dragon Queen
    One other thing: Don't be afraid to add things to the adventure. It doesn't lay everything down in stone; it gives you a good starting place, but there are lots of things you can do to enhance it. Just pay attention to what your players are enjoying and enhance those bits! Cheers! This advice is so solid. Don't be afraid to let things get "out of control", either. If you find your players focusing on something not meant as part of the published hooks, let it develop. One of the best generic DM bits of advice I can give is let your players' decisions and ideas tell you what they want from the game. Sent from my iPhone using EN World mobile app
  • 09:00 AM - Li Shenron quoted MerricB in post Will your campaign be purely adventuring?
    The early days of D&D included this assumption that player characters would end up building strongholds and assuming positions of responsibility - fighters ruling land, rogues becoming the head of thieves' guilds, and the like. Generally, I don't expect my campaigns to last that long... ...but if they do, it's up to the characters what they want to do.

Monday, 17th April, 2017

  • 05:13 PM - Jer quoted MerricB in post Which Greyhawk?
    One of those questions that I wonder about is this: If Greyhawk were to come back as a setting (even if only enabled for DMs Guild creators), which version of the setting would you want to see? And, to some extent, my answer to that question is "none of them! I want to see mine!" Yes. This is why I think any updated version of Greyhawk is essentially doomed. Greyhawk as a published setting is an artifact of its time. The kind of fantasy it represents is a mid-70s aesthetic. Some folks like to say that the difference between Greyhawk and FR is that Greyhawk is "sword and sorcery" while FR is "high fantasy", but I think that's not quite right. Greyhawk has its share of Tolkien tropes and FR has its share of Howard inspired sword and sorcery tropes and you can do either high fantasy or sword and sorcery in either setting. It's more that Greyhawk as published is a very 1970s vision of fantasy, while the Realms as published are a very 1990s vision of fantasy (except for the grey box...
  • 02:06 AM - dropbear8mybaby quoted MerricB in post Which Greyhawk?
    I do know that Mike Mearls has spoken of a possibility of - if there was a Greyhawk supplement - of just doing it set in 576... So no Sargent :(


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