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  • Blue's Avatar
    Today, 12:47 AM
    Projected Impact at my table: "I'm thinking of playing a front line melee character, so my job as part of the party is to take hits. A few poor rolls can lead me to be out of HPs. Before, no problems, I pop back up with healing, sometimes not even missing an action because the healer's initiative is between the foe that dropped me and mine. "But now I have disadvantage on attacks, plus...
    8 replies | 220 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:50 PM
    There is a gaming convention at Princeton University that's been going on for 43 years and counting that recently switched to 5e. You create a character when you register and they advance over the course of the weekend, with shared setting and a dozen DMs with 4-6 sessions each one their own theme and furthering the convention-wide plot. For decades it was running on their own (evolving) system...
    5 replies | 212 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:45 PM
    My guess is that is is in line with 5e's "Rulings not rules". So the DM determines when morale breaks and it can differ by table, by campaign, by foe, etc. This also sidesteps the 3.x "Intimidancer", someone focused on Intimidate and able to mechanically force encounters to end well before they should.
    43 replies | 885 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:22 PM
    How about an alternate suggestion - tell the players to make up their wish-lists but they can't include any +X items. Half the items you give will be fully random and hopefully the party either has a use or can trade it, the other half from wish-lists. Oh, one potential issue with wish lists that can be headed off with a little early communication - I had a DM that asked for wish lists but...
    14 replies | 282 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:11 PM
    I agree with Oofta, Ymdar - changes in assumptions. These all make some choices about baselines. Here's the assumptions for how many rolls on each table for the link I gave: Next assumption is has to do with there are no per-PC rolls, it's per party. So changes in party size will impact the number of items. The link I did had a party size of 4 - different party sizes may have...
    14 replies | 282 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 06:08 PM
    Your proposal is much more generous then expected items in both power of items and also allowing choice. As such items will have a bigger impact then expected and characters will be a lot more powerful. (Which also leads to defeating more powerful foes and gaining more XP so advancing faster, etc.) Here's how I would modify it to bring it in line with expectations. First, here's a...
    14 replies | 282 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 05:56 PM
    Yeah, I put in creatures both way above and way below the PCs power. And make sure that it comes across in my descriptions. Start them early with a fight they know they can't win, so they understand that there are times retreat or at least not a frontal assault is their best option. And then have them with a substantially similar fight later int eh campaign, where they can beat it and know...
    19 replies | 678 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 08:53 PM
    Eh ... you are correct, but in a way that makes me cringe. D&D sidesteps the idea of having to deal with unintentionally captured enemies by making foes die at zero. But if the in-game narrative holds true, it makes a weird case for every single inhabitant except the PCs. In that everythign they have ever experienced is that if you intend the last blow to be a killing blow IT IS - except for...
    35 replies | 1067 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 08:27 PM
    If you order a creature you summoned to attack and then afterwards cast Sanctuary, does it break it when the creature attacks? If you order a paid mercenary to attack and then cast Sanctuary? If you order a party member completely not under your control to attack and then cast sanctuary?
    27 replies | 902 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 12:53 PM
    They actually expand on that in the following books, it becomes more solid.
    29 replies | 640 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 12:35 PM
    But the question was not about an anachronistic weapon, or rather it was already acceptable that they had grenades. It was about a weapon that did greater damage. That's like saying an ogre's club is anachronistic because it does as much damage as a chainsaw.
    25 replies | 1164 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 04:08 AM
    I have monsters attack according to the monster. Some are beasts and go after those that hurt them or are the closest. Some are tactical warriors who focus fire. Some are honor bound that go one on one. Some are undead that will stop to feast. Some have area of effect attacks and will inflict additional hits to finish off opponents. Others have goals that involve defeat but aren't...
    35 replies | 1067 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 04:04 AM
    Exhaustion on Death saves leaves to death spirals like Shadowrun. It starts by making you bad at EVERY SINGLE THING outside combat besides spells - because the only mechanical support for anything outside combat is an ability check (all skills are ability checks) and you have disadvantage on them. Then you become worse at combat, so you get more, and then you likely die. And because of the...
    35 replies | 1067 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 10:41 PM
    Here's how I look at things. A complete character fits both the setting and the rules. There are plenty of examples where a character doesn't fit the rules and would not be allowed. But not fitting the setting is also a thing: Burger McKing the Cow-stealer probably wouldn't fit into a grimdark setting even if the rules are correct. For many, the idea of making a pact with a patron and...
    176 replies | 4321 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 10:11 PM
    Shadowrun is one of the well know examples of death spirals. Taking damage makes it harder to resist damage makes you take more damage (and start to suck in other ways) and if it continues, you die. Death spirals just aren't fun to play. You get one character who has a few unlucky rolls and they are at a whole reduced level of survivability that makes them a lot less fun to play when it...
    39 replies | 862 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 12:56 PM
    If you double the damage, you need to double just the rolled damage and then add in the static numbers. If your base damage is 3d6+4 it becomes 6d6+4, not 6d6+8.
    38 replies | 1805 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 04:43 AM
    This is sort of like that for damage, but still pays attention to the tactics and being able to stop enemies from getting to all targets in all numbers. As for HPs, I yoinked 13th Age's Mooks rules. If eight goblins have 12 HP each, I just do a pool of 96 HPs for them, killing one off every 12 HP dealt. So yes, a crit might kill two - and I'm fine with that. I just have the player describe...
    6 replies | 158 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 04:39 AM
    Because I can't do that math as quickly as multiplying two integers. Trying to work out fractions and having different damage for every character (as their AC varies) would lose all the time saved by not rolling to hit. That doesn't meet the stated goals. If you can work out "I have +8 with this monster and they have an AC of 16 so I need an 8 or higher which is 13/20 so what's 13/20s of 17...
    6 replies | 158 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 04:32 AM
    Hey TwoSix, I finished Marked. I was happy to see how competent Alex had gotten, but I agree that except for Anne there wasn't much of the supporting cast. A bit of Luna and generic named NPC levels for Vari and Arachne. And while I'm glad for the dramatic development, I don't feel like much of the series plot arcs progressed. Yes, and , but nothing new from , just the same sort of ploy as...
    29 replies | 640 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 10:09 PM
    One issue that has come up at tables is how summoned creatures take time to run. I've seen good advice to just let other players run them (NOT the caster), but I was also thinking about how much time they add. Then I was thinking about the same thing from the DM side, where if you want a horde of stooges it's still a lot of individual rolls to hit. Even D&D 4e Mooks or 13th Age Minions still...
    6 replies | 158 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 08:20 PM
    Eldritch Smite is limited to Warlock spell slots only, it can not make use of Sorcerer slots. This is int he description of Eldritch Smite. This is unlike Divine Smite which can was had errata to allow use of any spell slots. So multiclassing to feed slots to ES won't work, unlike a Paladin.
    2 replies | 238 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 05:55 PM
    Disguise Self + Friends.
    8 replies | 333 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 03:53 PM
    I disagree. Monk's Unarmored Defense starts at 10 and it also uses Wisdom - a casting ability for a full caster. Heck, Barbarian's uses CON -- helping both not get hit and having more HPs and better HD healing if you are hit is definitely multipliers. With 8 + DEX + INT, you max out at 18 - the same as you can get with full plate but without NEARLY as large an investment and plate gives...
    34 replies | 913 view(s)
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  • Mythmere1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 02:58 PM
    Me. :)
    20 replies | 549 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 02:07 AM
    One of the house rules I played with was: When you gain Heavy Armor Proficiency, you may swap it out for: Unarmored Tactician: When unarmored, your AC is 10 + DEX + INT. Only problem is it was too cherry-pick-able for wizards.
    34 replies | 913 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 02:03 AM
    Perdido Street Station seems to be one of those books you love or hate. Or maybe love AND hate it. It was my first Mieville, and none of the others that I read have hit those same rarefied heights. Or maybe it was just in contrast of reading too many "our elves are different!" (but everything else is the same) fantasy books at the time.
    29 replies | 640 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 08:55 PM
    Back in earlier editions of D&D when some races had Infravision and saw by heat, I had dwarven runes designed that they were clearly readable with light or if you rubbed your hand on them to heat the surrounding area with friction.
    27 replies | 516 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 08:53 PM
    Wow, just read Lesser Restoration - you can go up to a creature that species never had eyes, and end the Blinded condition on it. I was going to ask about those born blind vs. having become blind, but your species doesn't need to be sighted to have it remove blindness. That's ... interesting. Now all it is is poor vs. those that can afford to have a 2nd level spell cast on them.
    27 replies | 516 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 03:55 PM
    With the idea that you're attacking foes engaged with other party members it's great for you ... but not so good for the party. With barbarian HPs and especially with resistance during rages, part of what you contribute in a combat is spreading the damage around. Mobile leaves it all on others. Now, if you have a primarily melee party then this isn't a big deal. But if you have just one...
    69 replies | 1692 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 03:38 AM
    I'd recommend two tone for Oath of Devotion's Sacred Weapon depending on Charisma invested. With a 20 CHR it is superior to Oath of Vengance's Vow of Emnity which is sky blue. Advantage from Vow gives a variable amount that tops at +5 if you need exactly an 11+ to hit, any other roll is less bonus. Sacred Weapon is +5 at all times. If you have Sacred Weapon and get advantage, you chance...
    20 replies | 915 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Olaf the Stout's Avatar
    Sunday, 8th July, 2018, 11:48 PM
    Iíve still found the details on them a bit shallow compared to metal minis or something like the GW plastic minis. I recently painted the half-elf sorcerer with the flame coming from his hands as my Wild Mage PC in our current ToA campaign. I found the eye sockets on that mini to be the smallest Iíve ever painted before (it was something of a minor miracle that I managed to not make him...
    44 replies | 5422 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Mythmere1's Avatar
    Saturday, 7th July, 2018, 03:34 PM
    For those who are tracking the ENNIEs, I've done interviews on Uncle Matt's D&D Studio with several of the people who are now nominees for ENNIE awards. For anyone who wants to get a face-to-face introduction to some of the nominees, here is the list of links to those interviews: Jason Hobbs: Best Podcast (Hobbs & Friends of the OSR) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxCohPrACLQ This is a...
    0 replies | 148 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 11:08 PM
    My preorder of Marked is within reach, but I've been finishing up two other books. It's next on my list.
    29 replies | 640 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 11:02 PM
    Well, both Saelorn and I gave XP to your post, so you probably hit a reasonable middle ground. :) It comes down to opportunity cost. To get the 2nd-4th level benefits, you are giving up the opportunity to take 1st level in other classes. Some classes give more than others at 1st. Depending what you are looking for, clerics (with domains and proficiencies even if nto your 1st class),...
    86 replies | 3396 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 10:48 PM
    If I'm picking a single classed character, but it's against the rules to pick any full caster - well, that right there shows that fully 6 of the 12 classes (the full casters, including warlock) can't be done better with multiclassing. Okay, so let me pick among the remaining classes. Let's go simple: A front line melee tank/striker/support - the Oath of Ancients Paladin. Features I'm...
    86 replies | 3396 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 10:25 PM
    Spells: There are some quite good 2nd level spells. And, of course if you are mixing caster and non-caster you're also losing spell slots known - something I hadn't mentioned the first time around but there's a big difference between 2 first level slots and 4 first level plus 3 second level slots. +1 hit/damage I assume is your assumption for the ASI. That and +1 DC is a common ASI at 4th -...
    86 replies | 3396 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 07:24 PM
    The main thing is hitpoints ... and subclasses. And spells known of higher levels. And advancement of things like rages, spell points, combat wildshape, action surge, ki, divine smite, sneak attack damage, invocations, and other features that support the first class. Oh, and your first ASI/feat. Sorry, let's replace that with "levels 2-4 give a huge amount to making a character work, to the...
    86 replies | 3396 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 07:16 PM
    I have to disagree. Sure, I can build a character that "at level X only" may be better, not having to worry about getting there or advancing past that point. But when making a character I am playing over the course of a campaign I don't think that the general statement of "the same multiclass character will be better then a single classed character at levels as they advance through levels at...
    86 replies | 3396 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 07:11 PM
    The biggest problems with multiclassing is that it's easy to unintentionally shoot yourself in the foot and make a character that is far below the average character when you wanted someone on-par. This is especially true the earlier levels. They have done a good job of moving back important features from 1-2 level to avoid cherry-picking, and the ASI advancement tied to class level is the...
    86 replies | 3396 view(s)
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  • grodog's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th July, 2018, 11:48 PM
    A less-ad-intrusive link might be: http://www.geocities.ws/jsage_1974/Greathawk.htm Allan.
    18 replies | 1547 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 02:41 PM
    Hye, I have a side book I'm reading on my phone for when I'm waiting somewhere without a book. "Scoundrels: Star Wars Legends" by Timothy Zahn. I've long been a fan of Zahn's work, reading his Cobra books back in the library when I was a teen. And many know his Star Wars credentials of Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade. This is a Han Solo focused book, placed after A New Home. It's a heist...
    29 replies | 640 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 02:33 PM
    Yeah. My only quibble is that I really disliked how Sanderson wrote ... okay, SPOILER ... . . . . . .
    29 replies | 640 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 2nd July, 2018, 04:25 PM
    Still on my Terry Pratchett kick, though my TBR pile of other books looms at me. Just finished up Going Postal, like the newly introduced Moist von Lipwig. What a horrible name. Quite the thrillseeker, and I love the idea that anyone can shoot for the possible, so shoot for the impossible. Started the next book with him, Making Money. Trying to avoid spoilers, I'll say I'm far enough in...
    29 replies | 640 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st July, 2018, 07:14 PM
    Shadowblade is a great spell, though it wasn't out during the part of 2017 that the rest of this thread was written in. However it's a concentration spell, so there's an opportunity cost in that you can't have up any of the other fantastic buff or debuff spells.
    40 replies | 11717 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st July, 2018, 07:04 PM
    I think you'll find it's very rare the table that regular exceeds the 6-8 encounters per day recommended by the DMG - in fact the most common thing I see is tables not getting near 6-8 regularly and having less, if more difficult. If you regularly hit 8-12 encounters a day I can see conserving higher level slots by using Bless on easier encounters, even with the bounty of slots a 15th level...
    14 replies | 662 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st July, 2018, 03:57 PM
    Improving healing by a few HPs that won't make a huge difference at the levels 15+ to give up on 8th level spells. Ouch, as well as moving bardic inspiration up to d12s. That's quite the trade-off. Heavy armor is a complete trap unless you switch from DEX (which has so many advatnages) to STR so that you aren't slowed. Bless IS a really nice spells - but takes up your concentration slot just...
    14 replies | 662 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st July, 2018, 03:23 PM
    If you want to "game it" more, give the players a few "easy" tokens each session. Tell them that they can decide if any particular DC is easy, medium or hard. If they chose easy they need to either spend a toekn or there will bea consequence even if succeed ("Yes, BUT ..."). If they decide something is hard, if it'a a meaningful test (not like cooking for dinner, something with a real...
    9 replies | 384 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 29th June, 2018, 09:40 PM
    Blue started a thread Balancing flexibility
    Say you are designing a D&D-like RPG. There are two builds that you are trying to balance focusing on combat. (Assume there will be other passes about balance for other pillars of play.) Both exercise their combat prowess as shapeshifters. Alpha can assume a potent combat form that great at doing damage. Beta can assume a variety of potent combat forms, including ones focusing on...
    3 replies | 178 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 29th June, 2018, 03:50 PM
    Just finished Monstrous Regiment. Left me interested in seeing more Polly Perks stories after the character growth during the book. Started Going Postal, and I've heard a lot of comments in the past about enjoying the main character so I'm happy to finally be getting to him.
    21 replies | 909 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 29th June, 2018, 03:44 PM
    When you're looking for advice on a specific character build that is single classed (or mostly so), is it better to create a new thread, or to ask it in an appropriate guide. Putting it in a guide means everyone from now to the death of the edition will see it - which could be gold if you've got a unique build, or could be dross if you're covering details already covering in the guide. ...
    2 replies | 204 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 29th June, 2018, 03:31 PM
    Okay, this seems to have two parts. Rejoice that your players come up with plans like this. You can't hold onto your sunk planning time. Don't be afraid to kill your darlings - don't fall so in love with what you planned or with your NPCs and plots that you won't allow players to do something that invalidates them. That way lies railroading and players with no sense of agency. The second...
    43 replies | 1256 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 29th June, 2018, 03:16 PM
    As a bard, remember the Beatles: "I get by with a little help from my friends". You may not have a "I win" combo by yourself, but you have so much that helps your team exceed. Greater Invis and a Bardic Inspiration just in case can make sure that rogue or someone with GWM/SS never fails to deliver. Not that you have nothing. You mentioned Otto's - ready that to go off after a big boss...
    14 replies | 662 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 10:28 PM
    Blue replied to Giant Soul Sorc.
    I haven't seen it played yet. I did think Brandes Stoddard's breakdown of the subclass was pretty good: https://www.tribality.com/2018/06/11/unearthed-arcana-giant-soul-sorcerer-breakdown/
    3 replies | 274 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 09:14 PM
    Welcome to ENWorld, have some XP. I agree with you, a lore bard can definitely be a valued member of the group at those levels. Well, any 15th level caster who can poach spells from any other list with Magical Secrets is going to be a strong contender to start with. You have good uses for bonus actions in handing out Inspiration abnd/or reaction in using Cutting Words. Need to be careful...
    14 replies | 662 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 08:47 PM
    Blue replied to Spoiling Secrets
    Eh, I mentioned several, but none of the others were as interesting so I didn't post them above. Here they are for completeness. Both were from the 80s, when gender and orientation were more taboo. One was a male elf whom another party member, a female human wizard, had a crush. The elf was friendly but just seemed not to notice - he was urbane and polite with everyone. Almost Spock-like...
    7 replies | 318 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 07:54 PM
    Blue replied to Spoiling Secrets
    I've had a couple of characters with big secrets that came out. Some were bad for the character, some amusing, and one had some great roleplaying. I was joining an existing Champions (superheros) game. Great game, and a lot of internal character drama that the players were happy with - good RP, not inter-player problems. With the DM and the player of the leader of the team, we worked out...
    7 replies | 318 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 06:08 PM
    Would Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade and Carpe Jugulum be enough of the witches to get the context? :) Do love them witches.
    21 replies | 909 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 04:22 PM
    Well, I just read Thud! for more Vimes action, and then picked up Monsterous Regiment, which has some Vimes in it. I haven't read any of those yet. With them being listed as YA I had picked others first. I've got Going Postal and Making Money on deck. We seem to have similar tastes, so I'll ignore the YA part and pick one up.
    21 replies | 909 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 04:10 PM
    Blue replied to D&D CRPGS & You!
    Pillars of Eternity, Pillars of Eternity II, and a bundle with both and all the DLCs are on sale on Steam right now thru July 5th.
    7 replies | 350 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 03:59 PM
    I was with you, wrote a big screed against Exhaustion ... then noticed that he completely changed the effects of it. Not it's just a -1 to various checks per level of exhaustion.
    6 replies | 377 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 03:57 PM
    Thanks for starting with your goals - that really gives a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve and we can evaluate them in that light. These are fairly big changes, I suggest you leave yourself open to changing them once you have more experience with how they affect your table, and let your players know you are open to concerns. General Comments It looks like you're...
    6 replies | 377 view(s)
    0 XP
  • grodog's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 04:51 AM
    I'll be publishing some more info about the True Dungeon Greyhawk modules soon Echohawk, but while searching around for those, I found that they published a soundtrack one year too!: https://www.amazon.com/True-Dungeon-Hommlet-Thomas-Gowen/dp/B000CA4BFI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1530157573&sr=8-2&keywords=%22true+dungeon%22 Allan.
    125 replies | 38824 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 04:00 PM
    I'm strongly on the Yes side - with the caveat that the player(s) need to give me a reason why that we fit into the narrative. So no mechanical issues, just have it make sense. (And that "makes sense" could even include thinks like making a pact with a patron like a warlock does.) I have player(s) allowing the plural there because the whole group brainstorming these out (with me included as...
    199 replies | 6752 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 03:40 PM
    EDIT: Found something that invalidated what I said. Rewriting. -- Okay, this can happen fairly easily if someone moves then jumps - because you subtract it from your movement speed. Amusingly, the same thing is listed for swimming, which seems to invalidate swim speeds > land speeds for aquatic creatures. Technically, your move is up when you reach the end of your move speed, leading...
    146 replies | 3430 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 03:39 AM
    Okay, let's try this from the top. It's not actually expected to work as a feat. I wouldn't want it in a game, it makes no narrative or game sense. Please don't try to fix it. But, it brings up interesting questions. It's a thought experiment to see what numbers make it a god feat and what merely makes it competitive. It's completely understood and discussed that it's no good at low...
    5 replies | 337 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 01:58 AM
    Instead of Excel, have you thought about Visio, or mind mapping software? So you can have a circle marked "Gnolls", and draw a red line (for enmity) to a circle for Gerald and another to Teck-Ed. And maybe the Gnolls want to destroy Keep Ardess which is on their ancestral lands (more circles and lines). Fletch has been and enmity with Duchess Traliv of Keep Ardess (another circle, and a...
    16 replies | 577 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 12:51 AM
    A recent thread about Heavy Armor Mastery got me thinking. It's mostly good at lower level when it stops a higher percentage of the damage. When you have a CR 8 frost giant hitting for 3d12+6 it's not a big deal. One issue with HAM style "DR" (vs. Resistance which just halves the damage) is that it applies the same regardless of how many dice of damage are getting rolled, so it doesn't scale...
    5 replies | 337 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 04:09 PM
    Variant humans are just that - an optional rule. I don't allow them in my game. With them, normal humans lose out. Without them, well there's something to be said for +1s across the board. I think you'll find that without the variant option, humans will be picked on par with other races. Mind you, there are a few races that are picked a lot - human AND a bunch of the others are less likely...
    14 replies | 544 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 02:24 PM
    Actually, I noticed nothing of the sort. I noticed that the OP reduced all weapons mechanics to their mechanics. I don't see anywhere where they also said that all fluff must change and that weapons couldn't or shouldn't be described. Since they call out specific weapons by name that are changed by this, I fully believe that the original poster still expected weapons to be able to be named and...
    70 replies | 2012 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 02:16 PM
    Completely agree with you, but the topic of this post is explicitly between 4e and Essentials. So only looking at the context of those two, this was one of the bigger changes. As you and others pointed out, there had been some variation before this, but they were at least on the same page. Essentials classes though didn't attempt to mimic the same framework of power acquisition.
    61 replies | 2002 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 25th June, 2018, 02:09 AM
    I think you overly focused on "AEDU" and didn't realize that that was only part of what I said. I took what you quoted and did some bolding so it's obvious what the entire context was. So, where each character has the same number and types of powers, and there is a shared framework for what power types and the rate of accumulation by level and those powers are described by AEDU - that's what...
    61 replies | 2002 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 02:20 PM
    I'd be worried she wouldn't keep up. At 12th I'd really expect every character to have a 20 in the attack ability score. +3 means she misses 10% more, and does less damage every hit. She'll be spending hose divine smites just to make up the difference, not to do greater damage like the other martial characters do. Vengeance, being only once per short rest, will not make up that difference in...
    4 replies | 261 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 02:00 PM
    Mechanically, the characters were entirely different (sorry Jester David). They entirely went away from the AEDU framework where each character was designed the same with the same number of powers. They had an entirely different mechanical feel, and that lead to some play differences as well. Now, they were numbers-compatible with the earlier characters - it was the same edition so they...
    61 replies | 2002 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 01:35 PM
    I never steal player agency from them. If they want to do something that they know is dangerous I wouldn't make it less dangerous. That's invalidating their decision. Mind you, in my current campaign of 4 years, there's been only 1 PC death and it wasn't in combat. My players have learned that there's things they can't face and retreat or don't engage. This may have been starting training...
    294 replies | 6937 view(s)
    2 XP
  • grodog's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 05:08 AM
    1) New Unofficial Greyhawk miniatures: Secret Skeleton Miniatures @ http://www.miniatures-workshop.com/lostminiswiki/index.php?title=Fiends_of_Fantasy included some Greyhawk-with-the-serial-numbers-filed-off figures: - Demon Witch of the North (aka Iggwilv) - TSR Lizardman logo mini Some incubational discussion on Canonfire! @...
    125 replies | 38824 view(s)
    1 XP
  • grodog's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 04:32 AM
    Bump! Allan.
    1590 replies | 396587 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 01:23 AM
    mrpopstar, with this change and the armro change, you're really moving close the 13th Age. 13th Age is a d20 OGL from a lead designer of 3.0 (Jonathan Tweet) and of 4e (Rob Heinsoo). It came out before 5e but shares a lot of both DNA but also design philosophy - play quick & streamline, don't overburden with mechanics, let's focus on the play. 13th Age has a complete SRD with everything you...
    70 replies | 2012 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 01:15 AM
    That sounds like a DM who thinks there is nothing but mechanics. With that literalness I can picture an encounter: "You see five 16 HP medium sized gnolls and one 22 HP medium sized gnoll shaman. The gnoll shamman rolled a 24 for initiative so it will go first. It casts summon ghost hyena." Vs. "Six gnolls cackle at you, their insane laughter echoing in the cavern. One of them has...
    70 replies | 2012 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 01:06 AM
    My post was a single sentence starting with "To add to my own post", which is a clue that I am only adding onto the defining traits I had listed. It contained nothing about being easy to DM, so that part could not have been "part of" it. Now, others may have mentioned "easy to DM", but the post you are quoting is explicitly not referencing anything except my own definition. Which did not...
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 08:19 PM
    To add to my own post - a trait that defined it from the preceding edition was that Monsters were exception based instead of built like characters.
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 04:20 PM
    From two tables I played at where we got into the mid-teens to low 20s, it really helped with the option paralysis of Paragon+ characters. In my experience some players worked well and some players took a long time with a bunch of thematically linked by fiercely individual powers in terms of how they affected the fight dynamic and range/area which needed to be evaluated every turn. But I was...
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Liane the Wayfarer's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 06:45 PM
    Xanathar's Guide has arctic encounter tables on page 92-93. They should be adaptable to Icewind Dale.
    14 replies | 4028 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 06:04 PM
    Core defining trait of 4e. Hrrm. How's this: Characters are archetypes defined sharply by role and power source to populate a standardized array (AEDU) of primarily combat abilities centered around dynamic and highly tactical group combat system. It attempted detailed mechanical resolution of non-combat processes as well (skill challenges), and was willing to rewrite rules and subsystems...
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 04:00 PM
    No idea what "The Magic faraway Tree" is. If it's a M:tG reference I haven't played that for a pair of decades. Hmm, research, research, research. Ah, it's a set of kids books where there's a tree that the top goes to another land, but the land changes and they can't stay too long. Yes, that it close to part of what I had. Missed the whole refugees, the ruined worlds, the big secrets about...
    29 replies | 884 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 04:22 AM
    One additional thought: I despise when people open up a thread for a long time ago where rules have been errata'd or clarified since and call the original poster all sorts of unpleasant named because "that's not how it works". Sorry, even in a contemporary thread calling someone names is ungood and just to make yourself feel superior. When it's also because you are ignorant of what the...
    25 replies | 794 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 08:59 PM
    Most solo encounters are much weaker in 5e then they seem on paper because of the disparity in the number of actions a single creature gets vs. a full party. I wouldn't use your hatchling - it's a bag of HPs that if it hits does minor scratches, to be attacked by everyone else in the party and worn down quickly. Unless it stays far up, in which case the ranged characters will be the only ones...
    23 replies | 757 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 08:04 PM
    Blue replied to D&D CRPGS & You!
    BTW, in the same ida as the two Balder's Gate's games was Icewind Dale. Same basic idea, you know what you are getting into. Oh, and if you haven't played them yet, the old Dragon Age games and Mass Effect games. Which as first-person and not turn-based. It's three person teams and you only have full control over yourself in terms of both build and actions - you level up the others and...
    7 replies | 350 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 07:28 PM
    Just finished Night Watch by Sir Terry Pratchett. I've always liked Vimes, how can you go wrong with Fifth Elephant or any of the other stories highlighting him and the Night Watch? This one I especially enjoyed. Just who is Sam Vimes when he's free of any external expectations about who he is. (Well, perhaps except from some external pressures from himself, which is a sentence that will...
    21 replies | 909 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 05:23 PM
    Just remembered a bit of time travel in a less than serious game with rotating DMs. The party was in an inter-dimensional bazaar where anything was for sale, and they needed to be able to time travel (I don't remember why). So they tracked down a lead where to go and are heading there, when across a busy street they see themselves. The other set of them wave and yell out over the traffic...
    48 replies | 1243 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 02:44 PM
    Blue replied to Suspense in RPGs
    Just to add to your list, players buy victory with a lot of non-mechanical currency as well. Trading in that favor they are owed. Accepting loss of face to the court to beg the king to intervene. Promising an open-ended favor to an honorable villain for him to withdraw his support from the irredeemably evil big bad. Sacrificing themselves to allow the ritual to be stopped and the world saved.
    161 replies | 5125 view(s)
    0 XP
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About MerricB

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Australian rpger, boardgamer and commentator on aforementioned games.
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Tuesday, 30th January, 2018

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

Wednesday, 3rd January, 2018

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

Monday, 6th November, 2017


Sunday, 20th August, 2017

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

Sunday, 16th April, 2017

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

Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017


Wednesday, 4th January, 2017

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

Tuesday, 3rd January, 2017

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

Sunday, 24th April, 2016

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

Tuesday, 12th April, 2016

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

Friday, 8th April, 2016

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

Tuesday, 29th December, 2015

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

Monday, 28th December, 2015

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

Tuesday, 8th December, 2015


Monday, 7th December, 2015

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

Sunday, 6th December, 2015

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

Monday, 30th November, 2015


Friday, 6th November, 2015

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

Thursday, 5th November, 2015

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

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 isnít a big chan...

Thursday, 7th December, 2017

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

Monday, 27th November, 2017

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

Wednesday, 22nd November, 2017

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

Monday, 20th November, 2017

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

Sunday, 19th November, 2017

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

Tuesday, 14th November, 2017

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

Wednesday, 30th August, 2017


Friday, 16th June, 2017

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

Monday, 12th June, 2017

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

Monday, 17th April, 2017

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

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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