View Profile: MerricB - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Today, 02:33 AM
    I look for something that is particularly different and compelling, and then hang from there. I like coming up with what's unique about the setting and crafting a story around that, which couldn't happen in a "standard" faux-european-medeival-wtih-magic world. Let me give an example of a D&D campaign I've got "on-deck" to show what I mean that the setting leads the story and the story the...
    13 replies | 232 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Liane the Wayfarer's Avatar
    Today, 12:42 AM
    This is awesome stuff. As a side-note, this was a 4E thread I rescued from the old Wizards of the Coast message boards, hence the "Originally posted by" bit at the top of each post. I added the Renaissance firearms from the 5E DMG pg 267 to my game, with the caveat that gunpowder was made with powdered dragonshards. Since dragonshards are very much a limited item that the party was...
    17 replies | 2999 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:08 PM
    I've been involved in time traveling as both player and DM several times, but never in a D&D-type game. Well, not entirely true, there was an adventure in the far past, but it was very strictly limited in scope. Superheroes has been the most common time-travel genre, up to the point where one player had a character who was a time agent who worked to keep the timeline "correct". (In a game...
    26 replies | 604 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:21 PM
    Blue replied to Balancing D&D
    It's amusing, but as an analogy misses the point. All of the pieces of a color are controlled by the same player - they are more like class features, not individual characters. The two players are balanced in features - the primary difference at the state of the game is who has initiative. :)
    80 replies | 2634 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:59 PM
    Blue replied to Balancing D&D
    Because a DM balancing a min/max build without overwhelming the players with regular builds is actually a real challenge. If I was going to be snarky, I would make a comment along the lines of "if a DM doesn't know that, then maybe someone else should DM" - really it's easy to adjust your challenges to a group that on even keel, be it all min/maxed or all median, or all suboptimal. The game...
    80 replies | 2634 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:54 PM
    Blue replied to Balancing D&D
    While he doesn't describe my table, I have seen plenty of it, especially at the AL games at my FLGS. We shouldn't try to be gatekeepers, dismissing other's style or games as not part of regular play.
    80 replies | 2634 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th June, 2018, 06:57 PM
    Blue replied to Balancing D&D
    Simplest doesn't always mean best though. The MC removal in particular sounds like using a shotgun to kill flies. Not as overwhelming as nuking ti from orbit, but still massive overkill.
    80 replies | 2634 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th June, 2018, 12:54 PM
    That's only two encounters per day, about 1/3 of what you can expect. Let's talk about the majority of the time, when rage isn't active. Or let's invest more in barbarian to get more rages. That's why I was asking for numbers - I don't see being very good at the STR checks. I see having a medium STR that struggles to succeed half the time, and two combats a day having advantage which...
    11 replies | 300 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th June, 2018, 01:11 AM
    Welcome to ENWorld, have some XP! There was a recent change in the order for triggered bonus actions, that they have to happen after the triggering action. So you won't get your Shield Master shove (to prone) until after your Attack action has completed. Makes it less useful. 2 rages a day is about 1/3 of your expected combats per day. Is it really worth delaying Extra Attack for? ...
    11 replies | 300 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 03:53 PM
    Nah, I'm calling myself old. But more seriously I don't have time for that anymore - play on evening every other week after work instead of a 12 hour marathon every weekend plus some other games during the week. I want to get to the "good parts", not spend 90 minutes mapping a maze.
    62 replies | 1568 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 03:08 AM
    AH, I've been playing that long as well, started back with Red Box Basic. I've just had my tastes in what I look for in a game mature over time. :)
    62 replies | 1568 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 03:07 AM
    To me, this feels like arguments against climate change. "Well, some scientists say yes, and some scientists say no, so there is no truth." When really, well over 95% of climate scientists have some strong level of agreement that it's happening and the gross symptoms and causes, even if they may vary in what particulars they have studied. Same for balance. It's pretty easy to get a...
    42 replies | 1506 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 02:39 AM
    You had a longer, nuanced post, but I needed to comment on this specific part. Because it implies that you never do anything outside of combat that requires a roll. Because every, every, EVERY one of those ability/skill rolls made outside combat has disadvantage with even a single level of exhaustion. And with how slow exhaustion goes away, it can last for the entire adventure.
    37 replies | 893 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Liane the Wayfarer's Avatar
    Friday, 15th June, 2018, 10:42 PM
    In Eberron, half-orcs can be produced naturally, from a human parent and an orcish parent, but they also breed true: the offspring of two half-orcs is another half-orc. One of the older cultures of Eberron is an orc/half-orc/human culture that brought the first druids to the continent of Khorvaire where most of the published stuff takes place.
    29 replies | 1240 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th June, 2018, 01:32 AM
    Avariel 18 Drow 13 Eladrin 22 Grugach 4 + 1 = 5 High Elf 25 Sea Elf 12 Shadar-Kai 11 - 2 = 9 Wood Elf 31 Grugach are so much cooler then those masby pamsy wood elves. They are all isolationist xenophobes - a non-evil race of elves that still isn't happy to see you. I like it.
    186 replies | 3498 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 10:33 PM
    Let me give an incomplete answer. 5e has cut down on the need and availability of "magic item christmas trees", where magic item pluses are part of character advancement math. Magic items are rarer, and pluses are not needed. It's much lower magic item then 3.x and 4e. 5e has cut down on the number of spells available to high level casters, especially reducing the number of most of the...
    52 replies | 1780 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 09:59 PM
    It really varies. While over the course of the campaign it might be in the same neighborhood as your once per 2-3 sessions, these things usually don't occur evenly distributed. They tend to bunch up against fights where we come in with poor tactics, or have a run of bad dice rolls that allow someone to drop and now everyone else is trying to pick up the slack and protect them and others drop. ...
    37 replies | 893 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 09:52 PM
    I'm not comparing against one subclass, I'm comparing against two other subclasses. For instance, Fighter (Samurai + Champion) can give themselves Advantage and take advantage of an increased crit range at the same time. Their power is straightforward increased as they both work at the same time in a multiplicative way. A Paladin (Devotion + Vengeance) will be able to benfit from both...
    12 replies | 280 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:50 PM
    Really good point. Channel divinity can join Ki as another example. And it could also be contention for other resources - for example if both subclasses grant special abilities that need a bonus action to activate, then it's either/or vs. other classes that could get all of their advantages at the same time.
    12 replies | 280 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:48 PM
    Wouldn't this be the opposite? Two of the same class are more likely to have overlap if they are picking two subclasses instead of one. That's not against the idea, just that that partial goal I don't think it addresses.
    12 replies | 280 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:43 PM
    I do mapping! Oh wait, I'm the DM. In reality, I make sure my players never have to do mapping. If I throw something like a maze at them, it's a skill challenge type-of-thing to work through it, not "you go 20 feet and can turn left or continue straight". I don't see the value in introducing meaningless points of decision. By meaningless, I mean that the players have no information to...
    62 replies | 1568 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:27 PM
    TwoSix said better than I can about how the best way to make the party look for non-combat solutions is to encourage those solutions, instead of making combat less fun / making players ultra-cautious. Even if exhaustion recovered completely every night, I don't think it's the mechanism for what you want - because the mechanics that support non-combat are ability/skill checks, and the very...
    37 replies | 893 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:03 PM
    Let me ask you the same question, but looking at the full impact of this. How could a few rounds of actions in a single combat possibly be as much fun as sucking on all in-combat and out-of-combat action for several days? How can a failed death save, with no long term consequences and easy-to-stand up with ANY healing compare to cumultive and crushing penalties for AT LEAST the rest fo the...
    37 replies | 893 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 02:00 PM
    I worry about how long it takes to all come together. At 5th level you have no ASI and are still levels away from getting the level 5 power bump. You're really hurting compared to others characters and aren't able to contribute at their level. At 5th other front liners are attacking twice with +4 to hit and damage, you're attacking once with +3 to hit and damage. With only a single attack,...
    5 replies | 14811 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 01:34 PM
    In the current campaign I run, it's one PC per player. In a different style of campaign I wouldn't mind a stable of characters - but I feel the campaign needs to be set up for that. Even then, it would be primarily one at a time, with occasionally RPing additional ones or rare circumstances where the situation demanded multiple characters from the same player to be present. Back in my...
    37 replies | 769 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 12:11 AM
    Pardon me if the following reaction seems a bit extreme. NO! Okay, now onto a slightly more nuanced evaluation. Shadowrun had a Death Spiral, where taking damage made you less able to resist damage, which made you take more damage, which made you ineffective and unfun to play, and then it killed you. Exhaustion does the same.
    37 replies | 893 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 11:02 PM
    The Patrons all come from points where they have power and agenda. Determine why your dead brother had power, and what his agenda is, and some may leap out at you. If the source of your twin's power is his unnatural death (or alternately he gave his life so you could live), then The Undying from SCAG might be a fit. If you are allowed the UA subclasses, then The Raven Queen might also fit...
    1 replies | 126 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 10:51 PM
    I'm reading the Dreamblood Duology by NK. Jemisin. Hard to tell, I feel I'm nearing the end of the first book (The Killing Moon). I am enjoying the book, and I am definitely enjoying non-faux-European fantasy. It's quite good, but it isn't hitting the threshold of fantastic that The Fifth Season instilled. I think it may be the more traditional storyteller's voice she's using -- it's good,...
    9 replies | 226 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 11th June, 2018, 02:06 AM
    That just made my house rules list. That's brilliant. It keeps doesn't increase player down time even with more creatures. (Well, it still can increase it if there are less summons then players for those without, but still.)
    31 replies | 2494 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th June, 2018, 08:27 PM
    Okay, looking at them both. Will start with a stream of conciousness, and then circle back around when I know more to evaluate. Starting with the House Rules: Hmm, don't know any of these subclasses mentioned. Strongly dislike language barriers in actual play. Something that should take up half a session of the entire campaign and then people should be able to move forward and play. ...
    5 replies | 245 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th June, 2018, 06:39 PM
    As a house rule, I allow Bards and Paladins to pick INT instead of CHR at 1st level for their features if it's more thematic.
    18 replies | 505 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 03:35 AM
    I'd like to add another poll option (not that we can): Tension/Pacing. When a DM can keep you riding the edge of your seat, not knowing if you will survive or even knowing you won't - there's a talent there. Not only questioning if you can survive the airship crashing, but also keep it airborn long enough to give you some distance between the entire battalion of orcs you were bombing who are...
    37 replies | 1049 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 03:13 AM
    Great question. The just-one poll choice - as intended - was a tough point. I went back and forth several times, but finally went for adaptability. I see this from two aspects. One is improv - being able to do an entertaining, rewards, and meaningful session when you are completely off your tracks. (But that has Organization as a foundation for that, since if you know the big picture...
    37 replies | 1049 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 02:17 AM
    Back in AD&D 2ed when a vorpal sword was 20=insta-kill I gave one out. However, I told them that it wasn't quite made correctly, and not to roll a 1.
    48 replies | 1705 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 02:15 AM
    Most excellent! I've seen DMs who said they were doing something like this, but still the lion's share of XP was from combat such that it didn't make a difference really. We'd still engage in combat at the drop of a hat because a session with a few encounters would be worth 20x the XP of a session with no encounters but full of good RP and moving the plot. Maybe not that much, but "you get 200...
    33 replies | 875 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 03:57 PM
    When I was a teen, a local used book store opened up called Chapter II Books. A friend mentioned that the font made it look like "Chapter 11 Books". Sure enough, it didn't survive. Though one smart thing it did was used textbooks for the several neighboring colleges. Those things were dang expensive.
    32 replies | 967 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 02:33 PM
    Your statement - resisting a save-or-suck spell you would otherwise fail vs. a single round of keeping a foe close - is generally true. But the frequency of them coming up makes a big difference in utility. I'll say that being very hard to hit, most foes will not want to concentrate on you. Getting up to one and marking them (soft forcing them to concentrate on you if they stay adjacent) is...
    23 replies | 1065 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 02:16 PM
    I think I would boil this down to a simpler point: If the game mechanics defines the players "winning" as the group overcoming obstacles, then getting to be more competent/powerful will be a player goal. If the game mechanics defines the players "winning" as telling the best story, then having lots of hooks and ways to mechanically use flaws and rising/falling tension The game mechanics...
    32 replies | 1056 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Olaf the Stout's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 01:02 PM
    This is the first I've heard of it, which is surprising as I backed 2 of their other Kickstarters. I wonder why they didn't put out an update on those other Kickstarters to let previous backers know about this new campaign?
    3 replies | 300 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 02:59 AM
    Hopefully then I can give you better math that whomever calculated it out. The problem is that the XP budget is calculated with a modifier based on the number of foes, but that modifier doesn't affect the XP actually awarded. For a party of 3-6 people, if you have a foe per PC then it's a x2 modifier. So each PC ends up getting about half the XP per enounter listed. Sure, sometimes it's a...
    33 replies | 875 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 01:19 AM
    Are your rates the same for different activities as long as they are meaningful? For example, is an hour long meaningful combat with good player focus and a hour long meaningful interrogation session with good player focus both worth the same?
    33 replies | 875 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 01:12 AM
    So we're looking at about 3 weeks to 20th level if they happen to adventure every day? 19 advances. 18 of them at 8 challenges, 1 at 4 challenges is 148 challenging encounters. If we go for the recommendation of 6-8 combat encounters (avg 7) per day, it's slightly more than 21 days. I don't know how many challenging non-combat encounters you have, but all it will do is lower the number of...
    33 replies | 875 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 3rd June, 2018, 05:05 PM
    Except that hurts more than it helps. Because the goal isn't just to be well defending, it's also to defend the others in the party. This is done two ways - sentinel and cavalier marking. Cavalier's Unwavering Mark has two aspects. The STR times per had doing extra damage isn't for this low-STR build, so the foes marked having disadvantage is the big part. And that only works within 5 feet...
    23 replies | 1065 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 3rd June, 2018, 04:11 PM
    I don't think you can have a legal character doing these at level 5. Please post.
    35 replies | 8069 view(s)
    0 XP
  • CharlesRyan's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd June, 2018, 10:59 PM
    Don't forget The Dungeon Bastard! He was there too!
    1 replies | 265 view(s)
    0 XP
  • chibi graz'zt's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd June, 2018, 05:13 AM
    Urban adventure at last! and my favorite city next to Sigil!
    272 replies | 11981 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 1st June, 2018, 09:39 PM
    I'm going to spin this around a little - what's a good rate that you and your players like to level? I bring this up because adding task-based XP on top of encounter XP will mean more total XP per session and more rapid levelling. Since I don't like rapid levelling, I find the question expands from non-combat XP, to rebalancing all XP. I tend to ignore the combat vs. non-combat portion. ...
    33 replies | 875 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 1st June, 2018, 08:04 PM
    Varies if I'm a player or DM. OAs are serious, but not the end of the world - there are times they should be accepted in order to do something else. If I'm the DM, I run creatures based on intelligence, aggressiveness, pain tolerance, etc. Some will, some won't. As a player, I'm wary of triggering and OA but not afraid of it, but I'm in a minority. It's a good rule - it really makes...
    42 replies | 1678 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 08:20 PM
    I really like Nolzur's Marvelous Pigments. And will echo iserith on the Immovable Rod. My favorite combo of items is no long in the DMG. We still have the Decanter of Endless Water, but that was the most fun when paired with Boots of Water Walking. Go a geyser at an angle, run up it. Just lots of inventive uses for interacting with the environment with that pair. Oh, and as for the Ring...
    48 replies | 1705 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 07:25 PM
    I wasn't. I gave a clearer example of why just because you can not use something for a build doesn't mean banning it is not balanced across all builds. Please don't mix up "possible to build" with "remains balanced". You focused too much on a specific example and totally missed the point I was making. Let's try try to explain it again - I can build a viable wizard without using any spells...
    44 replies | 1637 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 03:46 PM
    I was reading a thread about homebrew feat costs, and Lucky was in the same highest tier as SS and GWM. There's been a lot of discussion back and forth about the later two, but Lucky seems to be more of a solid choice then an overpowered choice. Among the friendly gang of optimizers that is a good chunk of my FLGS's AL league, I can't point out that I have any memories of it in play. And...
    50 replies | 1446 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 03:34 PM
    Blue replied to Feat Points
    Thanks for stating your goal, that makes it easy to evaluate in that context. I think this works well. A few questions or comments but overall I'm positive to this. What is the purpose of being able to spend every other level? The only times I can see it coming up are a variant human picking up a 2 point feat at 1st and 2nd, and a fighter or rogue getting a 2 point feat on an even level...
    21 replies | 614 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 03:17 PM
    Okay, that's just awesome. Extremely flavorful, effective in an unusual way, effective in a way that helps everyone in the party shine so everyone gets spotlight. Bravo! I tend to think that when players intentionally invest resources like a feat into a specific type of action, they intend to use that action. The player decided upfront they wanted that to be part of their character's...
    348 replies | 10361 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 03:03 PM
    There's a lot of ways to increase hit chance, both for yourself and by others in your party. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy - one character picks up SS/GWM, suddenly the Cleric makes sure they are one of the Bless targets, others see how much damage they do on a hit so they start helping - more buffs like haste or greater invisibility, debuffs on foes so they grant advantage when...
    348 replies | 10361 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 02:42 PM
    On further thought, I think the reaction use is a show stopper. Cavalier's Unwavering Mark only provides disadvantage if the creature marked is within 5ft of you. Having Sentinel to stop movement of anyone who tries to move away is really important to the integrity of that, which means your reaction really needs to be available for OAs. Plus Warmage doesn't grant +2 to AC, it grants +2 to AC...
    23 replies | 1065 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 02:07 PM
    If you were dropping Monk, would you stay DEX? In a vacuum, DEX is better than STR with a one handed weapon because of all the rest it adds in (major save vs. minor, initiative, more skills, etc.). But a higher STR would allow you to change races from Dwarf without getting a penalty to speed in heavy armor. Is there a better race that would be worth the switch? Nothing leaps out at me.
    23 replies | 1065 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 01:36 PM
    I agree, most of the balance problems I've seen is multiclassing - it's so much easier to shoot yourself in the foot and create an accidentally bad character with multiclassing then it is with single classes. Quite the opposite of 3.x and 4e where multiclassing was the path to power. Even with the AL optimizers at my FLGS it's rare to see multiclassing except for a few occasional picks like...
    44 replies | 1637 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 01:32 PM
    I don't think that stands up to further examination. If I said "You can use point buy, but not increase DEX", it's not balanced across all characters just because someone could chose not to increase DEX for some builds. Same here - just because feat-only is one way to build a character, that doesn't address if eliminating the ASI option has the same impact on the various classes and builds of...
    44 replies | 1637 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 01:00 PM
    If the trap has a listed +X to hit, it's the attacker. Is it visible? Depends on the circumstances. A big blade that comes down and slices is visible when attacking, so that seems obvious. Contact poison coating a door handle probably isn't - though that's a poor example since that's probably a save. Except for extenuating circumstances (invisible blades, certain spell attacks, etc.) I'd...
    10 replies | 357 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 12:46 PM
    No, the spell also specifically describes that it creates a weapon. the weapon is created by the spell, not part of the caster. It just needs the caster to direct each attack.
    10 replies | 357 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 10:14 PM
    You're right, I confused myself moving back and forth between different builds. Good catch.
    13 replies | 486 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 10:12 PM
    For me, this is the poster child for when to use passive investigate. It's for something the character could notice, but when asking the player to make a check would tip them off.
    58 replies | 1359 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 09:37 PM
    My mistake, I missed the utility of Cavalier in marking. Thanks for taking the time to lay it out. Three more levels of fighter will give two ASIs and another use of Indomitable. While not huge, that could be Resilient (Wis) and something. At first I was thinking Shield Master, but that Dex boost only adds if it's single target, and the other features compete for your bonus action and...
    23 replies | 1065 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 05:48 PM
    morris, want to share your experiences DMing AiME? Also, what do you think about Lancelot's two long descriptions? It may explain some of the differences your players were feeling.
    38 replies | 2120 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 04:38 PM
    I like how it all comes together. That's pretty impressive survivability. With a DM who does 6-8 encounters a day, it will be a while before you get enough slots to cast Shield of Faith regularly enough to include it in you "all day" AC - but you'll still have it for whenever things get tough. You do not get a monk bonus action attack when wearing armor or a shield (in the PHB, second...
    23 replies | 1065 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 04:14 PM
    That last point you make is pretty important. I've also found that characters that help make others shine are rarely considered overpowered because they are good at sharing the spotlight. Monk's Stunning Strike definitely fits into that category, allowing the others to (also) get Advantage to hit and deliver their big attacks on a critical foe.
    13 replies | 486 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 04:11 PM
    I agree with this. Both when you cast, and when you use a bonus action to attack with it, the spell clearly says that "you" make an attack. This is further pushed that it a melee spell attack. It's using your spellcasting ability, not some score for a conjured weapon, and it's attacking as a spell not as a weapon. All of that said, at my table I'd let my players respond if they can see...
    10 replies | 357 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 02:05 PM
    8th? Okay, that gives us some room to play. Here's a few ideas to flesh out. (BTW, both human and half-elf have two floating +1 to ability scores. if you go half elf, just add in +2 to CHR as well. And get a lot of elven goodies instead of a feat. Both are solid choices, do whatever feels better except for the few I specifically point out variant human.) Lightening Stick Monk (Kensei)...
    13 replies | 486 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 03:20 AM
    Woo! Yesterday night I wasn't sure what to read from my pile. I picked up a book and read 7 pages before falling asleep... ...right now, I'm 344 pages into Jacqueline Carey's _Dark Currents_. Been reading all evening. No netflix, no computer games, no ENworld or bookFace or other site. And dang if it doesn't feel good.
    32 replies | 967 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 29th May, 2018, 11:02 PM
    Welcome James, have some XP. Great backstory, and with your DM's flexibility reskinning I think we can fit in the cool stick-fighting ideas you have. Well, D&D combat is a little abstract, so close-in vs. "sword length" away we don't model that closely, but we can get enough that you can describe it as you like. You mentioned a feat, I was wondering what level your character would be. ...
    13 replies | 486 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 29th May, 2018, 03:26 PM
    This was errata'd off the table several years ago.
    20 replies | 716 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 29th May, 2018, 12:36 PM
    I agree it's too fiddly, but also think it's too irrelevant. Only a fraction of humanoids will be wearing heavy armor or wearing shields. In a urban campaign that would be a reasonable ability. But humanoid are only a small percentage of foe types. Most foes have natural armor and weapons, making the ability useless against well over 95% of foes. Unless you want to extend it out. Say,...
    51 replies | 1670 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 29th May, 2018, 03:18 AM
    Just finished The Truth by Terry Pratchett. Took me a bit to get into it, but then the second half flew. Have a deep To Be Read pile right now, will post when I decide what's next. :)
    32 replies | 967 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 29th May, 2018, 03:16 AM
    My take is that Star Wars is Space Opera, and focuses on specific heroes changing the universe. Star Trek, while having heroes, often seems like those heroes only have local influence and it's the groups that have the power. Yes, you have the Rebel Alliance, but it's rag-tag - if it didn't have individual heroes it wouldn't be so effective, while the Federation would be hit for losing any...
    48 replies | 1300 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 29th May, 2018, 03:03 AM
    One concern I have is strictly table based - what's your range of play. For example, most of the games I'm in use point buy, in seem to last until the 8-10 range. So for about half of play there are no feats (except variant human), half has a single ASI/feat, and a little bit with two ASI/feats. With feats only, that means that except for the very end, a 17 that can be increased to an 18...
    44 replies | 1637 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 28th May, 2018, 03:24 PM
    I was addressing this - that the concept covered currently by half casters can be done better by multiclassing a full caster and a non-caster if you have this rule. As a full-caster they get access to this which a half-caster wouldn't, and they are even better at recovering slots then a straight caster because they have some bigger HD. That wasn't quite what I was suggesting. I was...
    41 replies | 1539 view(s)
    0 XP
  • grodog's Avatar
    Monday, 28th May, 2018, 04:42 AM
    Thanks muchly Alphastream! == Echohawk: time to add the 5e book Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (both standard and limited editions). Also: I found a new t-shirt: an Against the Giants 25th Anniversary shirt, provided as part of the Adventurer's Guild materials. That puts it in the July-Sept 1999 timeframe. There were also some promotional posters issued for the AG at that time too;...
    123 replies | 38193 view(s)
    0 XP
  • grodog's Avatar
    Monday, 28th May, 2018, 04:28 AM
    The Greyhawk Guide is here now: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?332812-Greyhawk-Collector-s-Guide I'm not sure if you can get to the other guides from there, but I do know that Echohawk still answers Qs in each guide's original thread, too (it may just take a little while to notice a post there). Allan.
    27 replies | 59174 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 27th May, 2018, 11:13 PM
    How did the cleric do for the other 5-7 encounters in the day? If the answer is "the party didn't have 5-7 more encounters that day", then you really have no comparison to evaluate. The #1 point I hear about encounters being easier than expected has to do with characters with daily resources who get to use them in just a few encounters. It is an often repeated myth that harder encounters...
    136 replies | 59964 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 27th May, 2018, 11:05 PM
    I'm not 100% I have your concept, let me restate and see if I have it right. During a rest, HD spent can regain spell slots as well as HPs for full casters, at the rate of 5 HPs per spell slot level. This will result in more total spell slots per day, not replacing normal recovery. I think this would be very powerful. And common. But not common as in regaining a bunch of 1st level spells....
    41 replies | 1539 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 27th May, 2018, 10:57 PM
    Ignore this - was trying to respond to an alternate in a comment and responded to the main thread instead.
    41 replies | 1539 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 25th May, 2018, 08:57 PM
    To riff off Gavin's idea: triggers are usually related to stress. Having to do meaningful things with repercussions if they fail (the only time you roll d20s), really does make it sound like you should trigger on some d20 roll. But a 1 means that it always triggers on failure. With 12 personalities, I'd trigger the change on a 12. Sometimes it's a success, sometimes a failure. But it's a...
    2 replies | 275 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 25th May, 2018, 07:40 PM
    If you've seen all those without rules changes to support the individual settings, then you're missing out. Some will play base 5e just fine, but others like Dark Sun played base 5e rules with cleric, no psionics, no muls or half-giants, no despoiling - that's not Dark Sun. Same for Dragonlance, Eberron, Ravenloft, etc. If you have played with alternate rules for them, then you see how...
    17 replies | 701 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 25th May, 2018, 03:31 PM
    Okay, assuming that you want to be good at this while also being good at other things. If that's the case, CHR-caster seems part of what you need. But you need to be able to do this sans-magic. From XGtE, the Rogue (Mastermind) at 3rd will all you to unerringly mimic speech patterns and accent as well as giving proficiency with both disguise kit and forgery kit (to help mimic handwriting). ...
    1 replies | 332 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 25th May, 2018, 02:58 PM
    Your last sentence catches why they can't do this. The mechanics need to support the setting. And to a lesser degree, the setting needs to support the mechanics. For example, straight D&D 5e doesn't strongly support a Middle Earth type setting, because of the high levels of magic and such. You'd want to either adjust the rules (like has been done in 3rd party suppliments for ME) or adjust...
    17 replies | 701 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 25th May, 2018, 02:23 PM
    Very much agreed. Maybe as a conditional bonus so it's noticeable when it comes up. Elixir of Final Effort When consumed, this gives you superhuman effort but burns you out. Your proficiency bonus increases by four, you gain proficiency on all saves and resistance to all damage types for 10 minutes. For the duration, you must make a DC 25 Constitution save every minute starting immediately...
    15 replies | 543 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 25th May, 2018, 02:00 PM
    That was actually a fairly large plot point in a pair of 3.0/3.5 campaigns I ran. Immortal beings (my elves and dragons didn't die of age) had spirits, but that also meant that their base nature was immutable. One of the reasons why chromatic dragons were always evil. (And that my orcs were NOT irredeemable and just murderhobo fodder). Elven spirits returned to a great vessel of spirits,...
    377 replies | 13083 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 25th May, 2018, 03:38 AM
    Firm rule. We play down one, we cancel down two. We used to try to reschedule a missed sessions, but only with everyone (since otherwise it's a popularity contest), but that ended up not working out often anyhow. When we had one player who was holding down several jobs and another who was a bit erratic with their work, we went up to six and played down two, cancelled down three. (So it...
    19 replies | 593 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 24th May, 2018, 02:04 PM
    Okay, just thinking about this in the abstract: If casters still have a large number of slots, they have both nova and staying power. I would need to greatly reduce the number of available slots. Like the caster vs. warlock, it's nova vs. recharge. Say one per spell level and eventually getting a second. That will weaken some low level utility spells like Shield that expect to be able to...
    41 replies | 1539 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 23rd May, 2018, 09:41 PM
    Blue replied to Core+1
    This is actually one of the main points I have. I don't think this is reasonable in all circumstances. I do find it reasonable in any home game environment, where the DM and players default to a long term relationship. Which is not where PHB+1 exists so it doesn't matter. (Regardless of Mearls & Crawford's personal opinions about how they design, it's not a rule anywhere in the core books.)...
    159 replies | 5674 view(s)
    0 XP
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Australian rpger, boardgamer and commentator on aforementioned games.
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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 they’re completely separate from each other and the actual dungeon. One of them – Oola – is great, sure, but that’s also all that’s 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 Schwalb’s fascination for the morbid and the grim, but that’s nothing new. On it’s own I’d 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 !

Wednesday, 14th October, 2015

  • 03:09 PM - Li Shenron mentioned MerricB in post Pre-generated characters - a character sheet format question
    So my recommendation would be that *if* you didn't want to have a complete skill list on the charsheet (for just the reasons you suggested, Li Shenron)... then the best way to get that across would be to put all four to eight proficient skills and both proficient saves in their own box called "Proficiencies" with the Prof Bonus right there with it. That way the players can see that it's these few things they are really good at (separate from the abilities themselves) and that each person has their own list of "good stuff". You are right. I would like to have the same kind of character sheet (if I only I could learn how to properly create one in OpenOffice...). MerricB in addition to these considerations, one more thing to consider (if you aren't doing that already) is to present a character's special abilities sorted by action type. Have an area of your character sheet which looks like this: [ACTIONS] Attack + Extra Attacks(2) Cast a spell [BONUS ACTIONS] Cunning Action: Dash, Disengage, Hide Cast "Healing Word" [REACTIONS] Opportunity Attack Cast "Feather Fall" [OUT-OF-COMBAT ACTIVITIES] Cast a Ritual (>10min) [SHORT REST ACTIVITIES] Regain HP from HD Regain all Superiority Dice Arcane Recovery (1/day) [DOWNTIME ACTIVITIES] Crafting Recuperating Training It doesn't always work perfectly, but I find this idea to be really useful most of the time, especially with spells that have different casting times than 1 Action, players easily forget about those if they are buried in the known/prepared spells list. Look for usability rather than completeness. For instance, you can decide to totally skip abilities that are co...


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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 isn’t 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 :(

Sunday, 16th April, 2017

  • 01:43 PM - Inchoroi quoted MerricB in post How do players know they are in the "wrong" location in a sandbox campaign?
    ...onally characters learn this by going into an area and getting whomped by whatever lives there and fleeing... The trick is that they need to be able to flee. "Turn left and get killed by a Red Dragon, no save" doesn't make for good adventuring. Princes of the Apocalypse has a problem in that the characters can be following the story and end up in very dangerous areas, which make perfect sense for them to be in as they follow the clues. This is a problem. The solution is, as the DM, to throw the option of numerous side-quests at them. (There are several in the PotA book, but you'll probably want to invent more). Yes, they're able to go to the Wind Temple, but if there's immediate trouble in other locations, then they can be distracted away from the area which they can't handle yet. So: provide side-quests for the players to go on, and make them want to go on them. That way, the characters can gain enough levels to properly deal with the dangerous areas. Cheers! The brilliant MerricB has the right of it! Perhaps plumbing the depths of the DMsGuild for ideas might be worthwhile, or the Adventurer's League adventures on offer.


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