View Profile: MerricB - Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:55 PM
    I don't know that we're too far apart. I'm fine with multiclassing to get a mechanical benefit because it fits your vision of the character. It's the difference between playing a holy knight of the god of magic that you realize as a paladin/sorcerer vs. playing a grim vengance-knight where you take levels of sorcerer just to fuel your Divine Smite slots and for the CON save. I'm also big on...
    6 replies | 189 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:29 PM
    So when crafting Jillian's personality, I really ran with the halfling's Fearless racial ability - Jillian just didn't have fear. Didn't mean he rushed into things - he was canny and would try and come at things from the best angle, but he never had a doubt they'd win. Amusingly he had the lowest HP and AC in the group, and twice he went from full to unconcious with non-crit attacks against...
    7 replies | 268 view(s)
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  • MerricB's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:46 AM
    I went with AD&D (1st edition). There's a certain purity in the concepts of the game back then, and it's had enough time for some of the oddness of Original D&D to disappear. Yes, it's got lots of things that are still odd about it, but we ignored most of those when playing it. 2E did a lot of interesting things with the game, but I felt that, mechanically, it lost something, even while making...
    74 replies | 1835 view(s)
    1 XP
  • grodog's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 06:59 PM
    Le bump! Allan.
    1612 replies | 408800 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 06:11 PM
    From what I understand RP has done some pretty good jobs acting in other movies. The fact that friends don't let friends Twilight is besides the point.
    18 replies | 392 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 06:00 PM
    For me, multiclassing is a great tool for building a concept that falls between some classes. I've seen multiclassing to two and even three done quite well. On the other hand, I've seen multiclassing being used to cherry pick advantages from various classes - those can fall flat with even just 2 if you're doing it for mechanics instead of for a concept. "My paladin is going to take a level...
    6 replies | 189 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 05:48 PM
    Perhaps drawn cards do not immediately reappear. Perhaps they do in 10 years. So there's a reason to lock decks up - keep them for use at a later point, especially as you start to know what cards are in the deck. This avoids the repetition, gives a reason for guarding them but not carrying them with you, can fuel plot hooks liek a temple of a god of luck being known to have a particularly...
    3 replies | 262 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 18th May, 2019, 05:02 PM
    Blue started a thread End of campaign salute
    Last night was bittersweet. A rousing conclusion of a D&D campaign, with two of our long-time nemesisses (nemesi? nemessen?) working together to overtake the kingdom we have spent so much of the campaign trying to restore, surrounded by fighting armies of orcs and our displaced barbarian friends. What started as the likely-mad man who claimed to be the King of Pal, a nation no one in...
    7 replies | 268 view(s)
    8 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 09:01 PM
    I read it and came to 100% the opposite conclusion than you. This is a subclass that will support how I want to play it. Want to be DEX based, it can do that, use my limited slots on arcane weapon, and be a crossbow-wielding hunk. But Arcane Weapon takes concentration, which locks you out of a bunch of options. Want to be INT based, it can do that. Don't need slots, cast scaling,...
    64 replies | 2275 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 08:46 PM
    Player crunch sells books. You don't have to worry about going out to your players to deny it - I believe this will be embedded in the Eberron sourcebook they are selling, not a general expansion like XGtE. (As a side note, I'm actually happy with the XGtE subclasses I've seen hit the table in the games I play. I don't want to derail this, I personally had more problems with the races in...
    64 replies | 2275 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 08:04 PM
    A related question about advancement systems - how fast for skills you're not so good at? For example, say we have a character that is advanced via whatever method the system uses. Level in a D&D-type game, etc. They want to start using a new skill. Or just do - the hacker finds herself in more and more social forums trying to drum up support for their cause and while she wasn't designed...
    20 replies | 513 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 04:25 PM
    I have to admit that I'd be tempted to go base human, pop all of those 14s to 15 (and the 15 to 16) and then as I hit ASIs use nifty half-feats to bring them up to 16s. (Since you mentioned variant human I'm assuming you're using feats.) Talking out-loud: Your highest is INT. However, almost all of the others can get up to the +3 modifier range if picking a +2 ability race. not sure how...
    6 replies | 183 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:12 PM
    I haven't gone over the changes in detail, specifically the new subclasses but also looking for other changes since February. The XGtE spells was a good add. I think they updated the Infusion list which is somethign I wanted, but I need to compare. I still don't like the turrets from the Artillerist. They don't scale, becoming less important than a cantrip. They are in that in-between...
    64 replies | 2275 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 01:42 PM
    I'm in a game with a Swords Bard and she's awesome. Defensive Flourish is her go-to when there's several foes abotu, and she just gets in there and foes either waste their time missing her as she steadily cuts them down, or runs off to elsewhere in the combat triggering opportunity attacks.
    156 replies | 204693 view(s)
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  • DLIMedia's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:11 AM
    Darklight Interactive - creators of the 2013 ENnie-nominated adventure A Night in Seyvoth Manor - have launched another Kickstarter for a small adventure called Witness Protection. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dlimedia/witness-protection-a-dandd-5e-side-trek The adventure is a short side trek, theoretically playable in one session, for a party of 1st level characters that can be...
    0 replies | 77 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 09:19 PM
    If you're against a single opponent, without reach, and you need to move - then it's decent. Though it's not "free", it costs one of your bardic inspiration dice. Often Defensive Flourish can grant you a good enough AC against multiple attacks that mathematically it's superior (as in it saves more damage over it's length statistically) than avoiding a single attack of opportunity that may or...
    156 replies | 204693 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 09:10 PM
    What about making it narrative? Any time the character succeeds at a meaningful and important* task they may instead fail and improve the skill. * Defining & measuring "meaningful" and "important" are left as an exercise for someone smarter than I.
    20 replies | 513 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 12:37 PM
    They scale slightly (HPs with level and INT mod for other things), with the only real level-based bonus is being able to summon a second turret once a day at 14th. (And activate them both with the same bonus action). So yeah, I'm with you - they barely scale.
    116 replies | 5304 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 11:56 PM
    Yes, and so what? Nova-ing isn't inherently bad. As a matter of fact, it's a feature of daily resource usage vs. a more spread at-will (or somewhat spread short rest). So it looks like it is something intentional from them designers. Let's not move the goalpost. The question is about replacing removed mechanical ways to help avoid 15 minute adventuring days.
    35 replies | 1206 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 14th May, 2019, 02:35 AM
    Everyone else posting was doing it in 2014. At the very least, mention Undertaker Sheep, jodyjohnson and Olaf the Stout so that they know to read this five year old post about your request. (The others haven't logged in in 2019.)
    12 replies | 10138 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 05:01 PM
    Bards get this as well. So, make it the norm. But don't forget what the druids get out of this - perhaps they require no expansion of civilization into natural areas, so they can't build more farms -and now with population increasing they require the druids just to avoid starvation. Sure, so some. Others would likely rather do it in unspoiled areas rather than crops meant to be...
    118 replies | 4358 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 03:34 PM
    Great googly moogly! Knowing that you have a movie focusing on you coming up that you have no idea what your character will be like, but needing to portray that character accurately in a different movie filming first, showing second, that will have a huge audience. Ugh, I do not envy Brie Larson. This does explain why they kept down the numebr of character interaction scenes. Not...
    176 replies | 4689 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 03:24 PM
    I'd be hesitant to do this. One of the cooler bardic abilities is Magical Secrets, which allows picking spells off of other lists. But that's a class feature, and not a minor one. So I'd suggest that a balanced way to do it would have to swap out a class feature in order to do this. Maybe swap out Destroy Undead (not particularly thunder/lightning) and grant a lightning/thunder spell known...
    12 replies | 428 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 03:14 PM
    This is mischaracterizing my question. We're not looking for a 100% solution -- that's a different thing. There are mechanics that help reduce 15 minute adventuring days. Having cantrips that allow a caster to contribute *meaningfully* without using a slot is one of them. Havign a large number of slots (vs. effectively reducing the number of slots by consolidating to fewer high level slots). ...
    35 replies | 1206 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 01:03 AM
    Replacement for the /rule part/ solution that he removed - cantrips which can be done at-will. There is also the DM and adventure parts of avaoidign 15 minute adventuring days. He removed a mechanical fix, so I was looking for a mechanical replacement for it. Not a hand wave to put more on the DM. Calling it "One True Pace" really sounds like "this is the only way to play". I'm not...
    35 replies | 1206 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 06:29 PM
    From our playtests, the case wasn't "slightly" worse, it was much more pronounced. But either way, cantrips were a mechanical safety value designed to deal with this exact problem (as well as others). So it looks like the proposal is both (a) worsening problem (regardless if it's "slightly" or "much" and (b) removing the design safety to deal with this. Taking that and putting it on the...
    35 replies | 1206 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 02:14 PM
    Actual experience of several people on this thread (myself included) is that many players don't have the mindset to conserve points, and in reality will instead push for a 15 minute adventuring day. So, assuming Novaing will happen if allowed, how would you adjust the proposal to provide a hard stop instead of a soft stop to that?
    35 replies | 1206 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 07:23 PM
    Just search the web. People have been doing this since not long after 5e came out. And back then there was no dmsguild so it was all free.
    3 replies | 323 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 05:22 PM
    We playtested it as a few different level points. We found that it strongly encouraged casting higher level spells - basically novaing all the time. better action economy, kill foes quicker, etc. But because of that casters ran out quickly and advocated for 15 minute adventuring days. If there was some adventure reason they couldn't take a long rest then instead ended up using mostly cantrips...
    35 replies | 1206 view(s)
    6 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 12:32 AM
    No extra rolling, but loads more fiddliness and math. In the two games I'm in there are at least one person per game that needs to be coached through the math for every roll, even when it's written on their character sheet. This spell now gives three different cases that are not obvious to that type of player: I don't have a proficiency, so I need to add +3. I have proficiency, but it's...
    16 replies | 676 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 09:49 PM
    So in addition to the wrist-breaking six-volumes-in-one, I also have a ebook I'm reading. The Wendy by Erin Michelle Sky is a retelling, or rather a re-imagining, of Peter Pan. I'm not far into it, but so far I am very much enjoying the narration style, one that almost chats with the reader. I have never read the original Peter Pan, but I can easily believe it was (or should have been) written...
    18 replies | 446 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 02:02 PM
    In my game, anything that's a feature of your character (class feature, result of a spell, etc.) are 100% under your control. (And when I'm a player, I expect the same - that's part of my character, and I am absolute authority on is how my character acts (baring spells, etc.).) Anything else (NPCs, trained/befriended animals, etc.) are under the DM's control - who may cede it to the player's...
    25 replies | 785 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 10th May, 2019, 02:34 AM
    Barbarians don't have enough rages to have it up the majority of combat at low levels. Planning on say one rage and one warlock-slot driven combat per short rest works out to extend them.
    8 replies | 331 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 09:55 PM
    Warlord.
    63 replies | 2582 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 03:34 PM
    Great googly moogly. Really nice rolls so you can ignose ASIs for feats, plus one of the balance points of multiclassing removed. That can be a killer "warrior". I'd be really tempted to go for pact of the blade as well because you can use CHR with your pact weapon regardless of category (it's split onto the next page in XGtE) and eventually taking GWM - big weapons do more on crits even...
    8 replies | 331 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 01:31 AM
    Though as a bit of a continuity bobble - why didn't she lose to Thanos as well? Where was she? End of Ragnarok she was on that singular ship with Thor, Heimdeil, Loki and the rest. Which is destroyed in Infinity War. But here's Valkyrie as well as Korg and Miek. But yeah, she stepped up in the 5 years.
    176 replies | 4689 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 8th May, 2019, 01:23 AM
    Dammit, being reasonable. What type of warped internet debate is that? ;) Okay, I see your point. And you're right, people will try to Ready anything. As you as you have reasonable players (and I find they are the most fun to run with), it works out fine.
    25 replies | 785 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 08:28 PM
    I was talking to my wife (always smarter than I) about Thor's end. To her, it was like growing up in a small town and then getting out to see the world. Even if you were the mayor's kid and a shoe in to be mayor yourself one day, maybe you aren't happy with just that small town any more. Even if it's a pretty spectacular small town.
    176 replies | 4689 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 07:03 PM
    I picked up cheap a several inch thick softcover that's six or so novels that are the complete Jill Kismet series by Lilith Stormcrow. Not sure who has the more pretentious name. I'm fairly early in the book. Somewhat standard urban fantasy - quite powerful but emotionally scarred protagonist facing off something that scares everyone else. The prose is a bit florid, perhaps even shading...
    18 replies | 446 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 06:57 PM
    "Worst" case of not knowing the rules in terms of impacting play speed was trying to have one player run another player's paragon 4e character when they were out. The misunderstandings, retcons because "oh, that's how it works", and time spent were ridiculous. This happened on a regular basis in one game, where the character was still there (and needed) regardless if the player could make it. ...
    19 replies | 1094 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 06:37 PM
    This is a textbook example of a design fail. Think of the non-combat pillars of play. Some classes are better at accomplishing tasks using mundane abilities. They have skill enhancers like expertise and possibly other class features to make them good at it. Some classes are better at accomplishing tasks using magic. They have enormous flexibility, enough that they could step on the...
    27 replies | 1071 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 06:28 PM
    Here's how it looks like it differs from base 5e. 1. Bounded accuracy takes a big hit at higher levels. This is the to hit/DC portion of this. This will make foes very easy to hit / affect because AC and non-proficient saves don't get proficiency. At my table I'd want to balance that out ... but probably by not doing it instead of introducing an offsetting mechanic. 2. Expertise is a...
    27 replies | 1071 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 03:15 AM
    Just to share, the line from my youngest daughter on the car ride home was "I'm not sure I like that NoobSlayer69 existing is now canon for the MCU." :) You mean like they already did to Cap in Spider-Man: Homecoming? Where there was the running gag about his gawd-awful PSAs for students that he was decades out of touch with? All of the MCU movies have humor. Look at how many times...
    176 replies | 4689 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 7th May, 2019, 02:47 AM
    As a minor he would have had to have his parent or legal guardian sign them, and Aunt May doesn't seem to know he's Spidey. So it seems pretty clear he couldn't have signed them / had them signed on his behalf.
    176 replies | 4689 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 6th May, 2019, 09:11 PM
    The stacking rules are in the DMG errata. Basically, unless they have the exact same name they stack. So +2 arrows and a +1 bow will give you +3 to attack and damage.
    20 replies | 675 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 07:16 PM
    I'm good with this - as long as it's consistant. Actually, I'm more than good with extending out Concentration. I used Concentration for non-casting some back in 3.0 and 3.5, but with the granularity of skill ranks really the only ones who bothered to be good at it were casters so things like keeping up a counter-chant the PCs had been taught to an evil ritual while fighting had mechanical...
    25 replies | 785 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 07:05 PM
    If what the characters in the film described was the complete truth, then I disagree to a point. Of course, it's time travel so there's probably no objective truth. What I got was that there was one timeline and every time time travel caused a change then it caused a split and there was the original timeline and the new timeline. Who know how many times this has already happened in the past,...
    176 replies | 4689 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 06:49 PM
    I agree, just want to add. Until the moment that Nebula's memories sync'd, that was "the timeline". But as soon as it did it created an alternate timeline that wasn't the past that the Avengers were on. So Thanos came from that alternate timeline exactly as you say - it just was a recently diverged timeline. But still not the Avengers past any more.
    176 replies | 4689 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 06:41 PM
    Okay, thoughts as I read through, then I'll pull them together at the end. Like the art at the beginning, but the red outline on "It Came From the Shadow Realm..." doesn't work well. Printable adventure - I'd make sure my color art is still readable in B&W. And as many have ink-jet printers perhaps use thinker fonts if over art, if the "It Came From The Shadow Realms..." is an indication....
    18 replies | 525 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 05:44 PM
    If you can hold it, does this mean you can pre-cast out-of-combat and hold it until a combat starts? This gets you things like if you are expecting a combat casting a spell with the trigger "if I see a foe", and getting a reaction at the very top of initiative when they burst open a door (or whatever). It could also lead to things like pre-casting a longer-than-one-round spell that you...
    25 replies | 785 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 05:40 PM
    Are you are also doing away with the fact that it takes Concentration, since that's part of the holding spells? If you are going to make a major change like that, don't hide it. If you aren't going to make a change like that, then the spell obviously was cast and the rational for the proposal doesn't hold up.
    25 replies | 785 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 05:33 PM
    I go with the simpler: if the results of success or failure aren't interesting, no check. So no one makes a check to climb a normal ladder under unchallenging circumstances.'
    13 replies | 633 view(s)
    3 XP
  • MerricB's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 03:05 AM
    Bizarre! Almost as bizarre as a small English fishing town (Saltmarsh) being relocated to Turmish. ;) Cheers!
    46 replies | 3195 view(s)
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  • MerricB's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 02:57 AM
    Here you go: http://media.wizards.com/2019/dnd/dragon/25/DRA25_DDAL_GOS.pdf Cheers!
    46 replies | 3195 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 01:41 AM
    This would have been cool, though since her power is from one of the stones in the first place I wonder how it would have affected her. But yeah, that makes sense. I think she wasn't there just so they could have the dramatic entrance. They were expert and whipsawing our emotions up and down throughout the movie and that fight scene. I had two thoughts about the drowning scene with...
    176 replies | 4689 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 5th May, 2019, 01:30 AM
    There was a five year gap. We got to see several characters how they grew during those five years. Cap leading small counseling sessions because he cares about actual people. Tony and Pepper starting a family. Nat burning herself out trying to hold her chosen family together. And Banner/Hulk resolving the issues from the end of Infinity War, finding his center and coming to peace with...
    176 replies | 4689 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 4th May, 2019, 04:17 PM
    Just to let you knwo, the public copy shows a dialog that "File is in the owner's trash You will soon loose permanent access to this file. For continued access please make a copy" (And, of course, it's not editable.)
    150 replies | 166532 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 4th May, 2019, 04:11 PM
    :) In one 4e game about a decade ago we used to have the "Wall of Dell", where everyone kept their character electronically because fo the great tools, so looking around the table there was a wall of laptop lids blocking you from seeing anyone. Problem was that it was sooooooo easy to engage with during down time, be it when you were not going in a combat not involved in a scene. Even in...
    74 replies | 3112 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 4th May, 2019, 04:07 PM
    We played 4e on a weeknight, and when we got to mid paragon the average combat was lasting more than a full session. The time spent was ridiculous. It took over so badly that it prevented fun. So it was really about time for us. We had a typical group of gamers, not a tactical live-for-combat wargamers. One players needed to reevaluate all of their available options every round, another...
    74 replies | 3112 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 3rd May, 2019, 12:57 PM
    Permanent character retirement is even more harsh then save-or-die. The 5e way of handling those seems to be to put in place multiple rolls. How about this: Requires attunement. Can not be re-attuned while the being it it attuned to lives. On use, make a death save. On failure, gain 1 permanent Evil Inclinations mark. When you gain the third, you turn LE and your character is retired. ...
    51 replies | 1251 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 09:09 PM
    To compare it to Shield, it would need to force a reroll of the next hit, rather then d20 of what could both be misses. Because Shield doesn't even have a chance to trigger without a hit, so it's never wasted. But yeah, it's quite good.
    79 replies | 35718 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 09:07 PM
    So many other DMs would go the other way but I really applaud you going this way. If they've doubled down on the feature, let it feel like it's making a real difference.
    79 replies | 35718 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 02:31 PM
    These are strictly better than any existing one, since they have full damage plus inflicting a condition, prone. The only possible downside is bludgeoning damage which actually has a lot less creatures in the MM with immunities and resistances then some of the elemental types. Note that unlike a lot of other powers, the proning also doesn't have a max size. So you can knock down titans with...
    9 replies | 377 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 02:11 PM
    From the 13th Age Bestiary 2 Kickstarter extra, may I present the snow owlbear cub: Cuteness personified.
    33 replies | 990 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 2nd May, 2019, 12:25 AM
    It still takes a spell prepared, or worse, spell known. Plus foes can still use it against you. Plus at the higher levels it's your god refusing to talk to you because someone else's god talked to them earlier in the day - why? My original read through thought this was an unintended consequence, but when he confirmed it's very intentional that it can be used to block PCs, that's ... not...
    30 replies | 1127 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 1st May, 2019, 10:53 PM
    Okay, if it's going to be used this way, then I'm against it. It totally negates someone using a resource if will always come back with "Reply hazy, ask again later". That's not fair to the players. Better not to have the spell at all so they don't spend the slot. And when you're casting a 5th level spell to directly talk to your deity or their divine proxy, and they leave you hanging...
    30 replies | 1127 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 1st May, 2019, 07:23 PM
    In general I think these charges are well considered, with minimal ripple effects, and supportive of the style fo campaign you are running. I do have comments on two of them: Does this mean that organizations with access to several casters (or just one high level one) can intentionally keep everything hazy for anyone else by just casting this about things they don't want others to know...
    30 replies | 1127 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th April, 2019, 09:05 PM
    Several times during really tough encounters, but usually zero during the vast majority of encounters. The poll needs more irregular options.
    42 replies | 1388 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MerricB's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th April, 2019, 04:30 AM
    Update based on Lysa's explanation in Adventurers Wanted: * You choose a season when you create your character * Content from Seasons 1-8 count as one (mega) season * Content from Seasons 9+ are individual seasons So for a new character, you could create a "pre-Season 9" character or a "Season 9" character. And eventually, Season 10... Cheers!
    46 replies | 3195 view(s)
    3 XP
  • MerricB's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th April, 2019, 04:09 AM
    Story awards may have greater effect in Season 9. Without having to worry about your characters also having them in Season 10, you can increase some pay-offs. Cheers!
    46 replies | 3195 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th April, 2019, 03:50 AM
    Back in AD&D 2nd I had a cleric who was convinced that there was an absolute morality because no matter the position of the deity, spells like Know Alignment and Detect Evil would always return the same. In 5e, as you say, not so much. Even spells like Detect Evil and Good are just about their type, and will not be able to tell anything about two humans be one a saint and another a heretic.
    68 replies | 2205 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th April, 2019, 02:59 PM
    Druids to me can be good, evil or neither in the settings I run, as these are orthagonal to base morality the druid needs to embrace. Even within the druids there can be a lot of variation. Wildfires are a necessary part of forest management, yet many would look askance at that from someone they would consider "nature loving". But that word "loving" is the trap there - nature is. Just like...
    68 replies | 2205 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th April, 2019, 01:48 PM
    Before anything else, the firearm rules aren't balanced against normal D&D weapons. Considering how powerful ranged already is, those will change the whole balance. So trying to critique this class agaisnt an unkwnon balance is a bit hard. (Note that the reload is absolutely no limitation - for those without multiple attacks all except the shotgun should last a full combat, and for those...
    16 replies | 677 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 26th April, 2019, 06:01 PM
    Hmm, is that so. Wonder what the OED says. Pulling out just the relevant parts (not needed that's a type of American frisbee.) You've already opening up the skill being increased beyond proficiency by various things such as expertise. Is there something beyond what you described? Yes, higher results boosted by feats and abilities scores. Therefore "just expertise" isn't ultimate. ...
    106 replies | 3767 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Orius's Avatar
    Friday, 26th April, 2019, 03:13 AM
    Well it went like this: Without the second date, Ed and Kelly never married, and never got divorced. Without the chain of events that eventually made Ed the captain of the Orville, Isaac never bonded with Claire and her kids, and thus never developed sympathy for humans, and he stayed deactivated on Kaylon. So the Kaylons were able to take everyone by surprise. And it got nasty. We got...
    433 replies | 17469 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 26th April, 2019, 02:45 AM
    Blue replied to Hexblade Feats
    The layout of XGtE unfortunately cuts the last sentence of Hex Warrior in half, putting most of it on the following page. That sentence reads: "If you later gain the Pact of the Blade feature, this benefit extends to every pact weapon you conjure with that feature, no matter the weapon's type." So you are correct that Hexblade will not let you use a weapon with the two-handed property. But...
    8 replies | 484 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 26th April, 2019, 12:16 AM
    Feats and multiclassing were easy adds, and with feats you can add the variant human. I personally like the variant which allows using different ability scores with skills for specific uses. Two we tried and did not like. Flanking trivialized Advantage, for both sides. It really was no good. Also we tried the Spell Points instead of Spell Slots option, and at higher levels it led to...
    19 replies | 891 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 25th April, 2019, 11:49 PM
    But you haven't described "ultimate" skill, you've described "casual skill by a master". "Ultimate" skill is boosted by expertise, by natural ability (ability scores), perhaps by feats. This is the difference between "I don't know this" and "I have familiarity with it and in general a lot of experience".
    106 replies | 3767 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 25th April, 2019, 05:37 PM
    There's an important distinction between those. Sure, a character without a player isn't anything. Maybe you could mathematically model DPR or somethign to see if it passes a threshold, so that could be a "challenge", but any real-world tabletop challenge for the character is the player playing that character. With emphasis on both player and character. I'm a better storyteller then...
    570 replies | 19496 view(s)
    1 XP
  • grodog's Avatar
    Thursday, 25th April, 2019, 06:03 AM
    Le bump! Allan.
    1612 replies | 408800 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 25th April, 2019, 05:03 AM
    Blue replied to Hexblade Feats
    I think there are a few weapon focused feats that you are missing because of the choice of the longsword. Picking a spear instead of longsword lets you play with Polearm Mastery, now that it's been errata'd in (Nov '18 errata). (This is assuming that you didn't like the legal option before of a 1H quarterstaff.) Extra attack as well as more chances to use your reaction to attack. And still...
    8 replies | 484 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th April, 2019, 02:39 AM
    I'm with you. Heck, you can play a Fallen Aasimar as a subrace so they can be edgy too, but no "Redeemed Tiefling".
    90 replies | 5387 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th April, 2019, 02:19 AM
    I think this is how Drow became a standard race. Some may blame that poser Drizzt but really, if you do a google for images of Drow, well, it's a thing. For this, I need to reach back into the annals of RPG history. Real Men like half nekkid demon chicks. And playing the "bad boys". Real Roleplayers feel Tieflings have such wonderful pathos to build upon. Real Loonies like to blame...
    90 replies | 5387 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th April, 2019, 02:08 AM
    Completely agree more attacks are a great way to have a better chance to land SA. And you are right, your crit change will go up because you can have a miss then a crit, which before would have just been a miss. The way I read the phrasing had me worried that it was rolling all your attacks, seeing if any were a crit, and then assigning SA to that one. You've since shown that I was in error...
    95 replies | 296145 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th April, 2019, 02:02 AM
    This isn't a thing at all. Period. This isn't 3.x, only PCs need be made with PC rules. If you want to make an NPC with PC rules you're welcome to do so, but you don't have to. The Monster Manual doesn't feel the need to stick to closely. Heck, the Druid entry is a 4th level caster without Wildshape. Second, the game isn't going in that direction in terms of realism. Look at the crafting...
    118 replies | 3949 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd April, 2019, 08:13 PM
    I was overlooking that the WIS was boosting your AC - since you pointed it out I'd keep it the way you have it and save the slot you'd use for mage armor to cast Shield / Absorb Elements - another good way to keep your saves. Changing direction for a moment, I tried playing a touch with if Bladesinger could work better than Sorcerer since INT and CHR are equally non-useful for a Monk. ...
    10 replies | 575 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd April, 2019, 06:02 PM
    Well, part of only having a 12 CON a conscious decision to favor WIS over CON - perhaps not the best call for a melee character in the first place due to HPs and HD healing. But even with a 12 CON, don't discount the warlock. Going with the numbers that most campaigns have the majority of play (or all play) in the first 2 tiers, the warlock having twice as many slots of 2nd level or higher at...
    10 replies | 575 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd April, 2019, 11:22 AM
    To deal with the number of slots, I'd pair monk up with warlock instead. Both are short rest recharge classes, and warlock 3 you get two castings of Shadow Blade per short rest. As long as you can really push for a short rest every other combat you're fine. And if you go up to warlock 5 then both of those slots are 3rd and your Shadow Blade does 3d8 base. Until you hit warlock 3, hex is...
    10 replies | 575 view(s)
    0 XP
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Wednesday, 13th March, 2019

  • 10:41 PM - pukunui mentioned MerricB in post Running a DDAL season as a home campaign
    Thanks, MerricB! I was looking at a post on your blog and came up with another option: I could follow the story of the Moonsea seasons and run Season 1 all the way through, then move on to the Tier 2 mods from Season 2, then move on to the Tier 2 and/or 3 mods from Season 3 and maybe some Lost Tales as well. Would that be doable? So many options!

Saturday, 2nd March, 2019

  • 12:21 PM - Li Shenron mentioned MerricB in post Can a wizard learn a new cantrip from a scroll?
    So let's say a wizard finds a spell scroll for a cantrip from the wizard list that he doesn't currently know. The DMG says this type of magic item has a rarity of "common", meaning that scrolls like this should be inexpensive and easy to find, even in (magic-item-sparse) 5E. Can the wizard learn a new cantrip from scroll? What MerricB said. Narratively, you can say you learn your additional 4th and 10th level cantrips from that scroll, for example, but you can't increase the number of your known cantrips by copying scrolls to your spellbook.

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



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Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 10:51 PM - Staffan quoted MerricB in post Paizo To Make Kingmaker Bestiary... For D&D 5E!
    This is a key point. It's very hard to ignore the extra content when the official adventures use a LOT of it. And using optional content is to a large degree a selling point with the APs. Back in 3.5e, adventures rarely used non-core stuff (plus setting core book stuff for adventures based in a particular setting). So you might have bought Tome of Battle, Tome of Magic, the Expanded Psionics Handbook, Dragon Magic, Magic of Incarnum, and all seven Complete books... but you won't see any of that stuff in a published adventure, so if you want those things to have a place in the world you need to make that place yourself - or if you did see a feat or something used, it would be reprinted to avoid confusion. Pathfinder, by comparison, revels in using stuff from many different sources. For example, the Battle of Bloodmarsh Hill (Giantslayer 1) has stuff from a dozen books in addition to the core book and the Bestiary. Paizo can get away with this because all that stuff is available online, but the...

Sunday, 5th May, 2019

  • 03:02 AM - Remathilis quoted MerricB in post Season 9 Adventure changes
    Here you go: http://media.wizards.com/2019/dnd/dragon/25/DRA25_DDAL_GOS.pdf Cheers!Thank you. For the life of me I couldn't get it to download from my phone or PC!

Tuesday, 30th April, 2019

  • 06:56 AM - Enevhar Aldarion quoted MerricB in post Season 9 Adventure changes
    Update based on Lysa's explanation in Adventurers Wanted: * You choose a season when you create your character * Content from Seasons 1-8 count as one (mega) season * Content from Seasons 9+ are individual seasons So for a new character, you could create a "pre-Season 9" character or a "Season 9" character. And eventually, Season 10... Cheers! To further add to this, per the article, any character can still play in any season's adventures, with the restriction that a pre-season 9 character cannot gain story awards or magic item unlocks from season 9+, and a season 9 character can play in season 1-8 content, but again cannot earn story awards or magic item unlocks. Treasure checkpoints, advancement checkpoints, renown, and downtime are still earned regardless of what season a character was created for. Otherwise, there are no restrictions on what content you can run your characters through. So yes, you can grab that character that does not match the season being run and help a ...

Monday, 29th April, 2019

  • 06:34 PM - Nagol quoted MerricB in post Season 9 Adventure changes
    Update based on Lysa's explanation in Adventurers Wanted: * You choose a season when you create your character * Content from Seasons 1-8 count as one (mega) season * Content from Seasons 9+ are individual seasons So for a new character, you could create a "pre-Season 9" character or a "Season 9" character. And eventually, Season 10... Cheers! That update reassures me somewhat. I have time to play 2-3 times per season. I skipped two of the last 3 because of the (for me) draconian season rules (get locked in Ravenloft! Adventure with only 25% of your hp and stay dead if you die!). The league would be completely unavailable if it required 1 character per season and I had to hunt around for an adventure worth playing on those few occasions where I am available. At least with all 8 of the early seasons in one lump, I can probably find someone running something compatible.

Friday, 19th April, 2019


Thursday, 18th April, 2019

  • 12:16 AM - lowkey13 quoted MerricB in post Grogbards, Tell Me Stories of Greyhawk
    My articles on the setting: https://merricb.com/2015/01/25/a-short-introduction-to-the-world-of-greyhawk-2/ https://merricb.com/2019/02/28/a-short-introduction-to-greyhawk-part-2/ https://merricb.com/2019/02/28/a-short-introduction-to-greyhawk-part-3/ Cheers! Great and short intro!

Tuesday, 16th April, 2019

  • 10:57 PM - OverlordOcelot quoted MerricB in post To boxed text or not to boxed text
    The Season 8 adventures would make anyone in favour of boxed text... but they actually just demonstrate how not to organise information. Boxed text would at least give the DM a starting point for running those encounters, but I'm not sure if it would save it by itself! It's not just a matter of organizing information, it's a matter of not including it at all! But I agree, I'm amazed at how much text they'll give to an NPC while managing to not reveal things like... what they even look like, or what their building looks like.
  • 02:48 PM - lowkey13 quoted MerricB in post Why is the shortest lived edition, still one of the most popular?
    Still not quite right. The timeline goes: 1974: Original D&D is released 1977: Basic D&D (edited by Eric J Holmes) is released. This is an introduction to how to play Original D&D, including a couple of concepts from the Greyhawk supplement, and a very few from the in-progress AD&D books. Again, let me quote the pertinent part that you elided- "Okay, so let's start with that. We have the original (OD&D) that peters out around 1976 due to the publication of both the PHB (AD&D) and the Holmes set (and there is the whole "Arneson/Gygax" IP issue there, but that's another story). So until the publication of the DMG in 1979, people who were playing "D&D" were usually playing a melange of OD&D, Basic, and PHB-style D&D, with 3PP and Dragon Magazine articles thrown in. But in terms of what we call "B/X" the real time line is 1977 - (at least) 1983, with the Holmes/Moldvay sets. Most people would include the Mentzer expansion in that lineage, at least the B/X part of BECMI. Which continued throu...

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019

  • 06:51 AM - pukunui quoted MerricB in post Running a DDAL season as a home campaign
    Just use milestone advancement, and you should be fine. :)Are there any guidelines for using milestone advancement in AL adventures? I was going to use XP since it's nicely built-in, but I do actually prefer milestone leveling myself. Also, I note on your blog that you've run Season 3 several times now. Do you have any tips on running it as an ongoing campaign? Any issues I should look out for? Do you know if there are any additional resources for the Moonsea region - e.g. maps and such? Or will I need to scrounge up older edition maps of the area?

Tuesday, 12th March, 2019

  • 01:02 PM - jasper quoted MerricB in post WotC Considering NPC Stat Format Change
    As an experiment, try converting the clay golem into a short statblock. It's one of those monsters that makes "three lines" look quite optimistic! :) Incidentally, you might find this article interesting: https://merricb.com/2019/03/12/encounter-writing-introductory-paragraphs-and-room-descriptions/ Cheers! Since every DM needs the MM to run. I can to do in one line. Clay Golem AC 14 HP 133 XP 5,000 MM 168 Evil jasper, " I can do in 14 characters" Clay Golem MM 168 Nice Jasper , " I do in one line and add flavor text" Clay Golem MM 168 Looks lie Granny from Bevelry Hillbillies and uses a frying pan for damage.

Monday, 11th March, 2019

  • 11:40 PM - wcpfish quoted MerricB in post one line vs three
    Works great for AD&D. You've got to love most of the creature's abilities triggering off Hit Dice. :) Alas, not a great option for 5E, where there's a lot more variance in abilities. Ability scores that matter take up a lot of space, just to begin with - then there's lots of rider effects on attacks and the like. Even the damage type needs to be listed. In theory, you could have an undead deal 1d8+4N, with the N standing for Necrotic, but we end up with too many abbreviations to remember. Cheers! fair point Merric and pleasantly and respectfully expressed thank you! But yeah, for 5th edition if the "one line" became "three lines" I'd still be okay with that. I think the key for me is looking down at the encounter and having the description of what the PCs see/experience first and foremost without digging for that AND having mechanics bullet pointed or bolded or whatever (even a simple indent) makes a world of difference. Cheers to you as well, good sir!

Sunday, 10th March, 2019

  • 10:40 PM - jayoungr quoted MerricB in post Running DDAL04 Adventures as a Campaign
    Best of luck! I've run through the entire series twice, and it needs some work to make it all hang together. Any tips that aren't covered in your blog? Also, just so you know, your review of DDAL04-04, "The Marionette," doesn't have the "Curse of Strahd" tag, so it doesn't show up on the link above. (I left a comment there too.) That said, I'm really unsure how to make the leap to The Executioner, especially the elapsed time that's assumed to have passed. Orasnou is right next to Vallaki; maybe have them do stuff in Vallaki after "The Beast" and then come back for "The Executioner" a bit later? To ensure that my players will come back to Orasnou, I had Gregori promise them that the burgomaster would pay them for finding Alina and Laszlo, but the burgomaster was out of town. They'll go back to get their payment. Might work for your group too. ETA: Oh, also, if your party is level 1, I'd suggest making one of the encounters before the werewolf's den a non-combat one. I used two comba...
  • 07:54 PM - GlassJaw quoted MerricB in post Running DDAL04 Adventures as a Campaign
    Best of luck! I've run through the entire series twice, and it needs some work to make it all hang together. Some of the adventures are awesome, others less so. There's a couple of things in it that were included to set-up details for future seasons of the DDAL adventures, but then they moved away from the Moonsea and that work was wasted - and leads to some unsatisfying material in this season. Cheers! Hey Merric, your blog is great! Very helpful. Just wondering if you had a quick & dirty outline of what you would change/cut/edit to run the AL modules in series? Basically, I'm thinking of including Orasnou as a side trek questline in a normal CoS campaign. I like The Beast and the Laszlo-Alina storyline and the impending storm. It creates a very foreboding backdrop. I like the idea of the players arriving in town and suddenly becoming trapped in a sense. That said, I'm really unsure how to make the leap to The Executioner, especially the elapsed time that's assumed to have p...

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...


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