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Jon Peterson Shares Aronson's Original OD&D Illusionist Friday, 8th March, 2019 05:10 PM

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Wednesday, 30th September, 2015

  • 09:25 AM - pukunui mentioned MrZeddaPiras in post Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    MrZeddaPiras: It hasn't been a problem so far. Governor Nighthill's quests are all pretty straightforward, and he stays in the keep, so the PCs will always know where to find him. And when he asks them to follow after the raiders, it's with the expectation that the PCs will report back to him. Again, when they rescue Leosin and get him back to Greenest, he asks them to go back to the camp and then report back to him (and/or Ontharr) in Elturel. It's only here in Episode 4 where the matter of reporting back appears to have been forgotten. As for everything that comes after - well, it's all part of the mission the PCs are given in Episode 4, so I'm not sure it's going to be a problem again. It's just this one time.

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Saturday, 9th March, 2019

  • 01:24 AM - Aaron L quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Jon Peterson Shares Aronson's Original OD&D Illusionist
    I've always thought so. You summon monsters but you evoke energies. It works, I guess. I guess that makes sense in some way! Summoning is for physical things, evocation is for non-physical. I guess it's as good an explanation as we'll come up with. I kind of pictured Evokers calling upon (evoking) extradimensional spirits/powers/deities to provide the energy, like Dr. Strange. The Crimson Bands of Cyttorak as an Evocation spell? (Bigby's Hand?) Shield of the Seraphim (Shield?) Daggers of Denak (Magic Missile?)

Wednesday, 25th January, 2017

  • 03:36 PM - Salamandyr quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Swords & Wizardry Is Back With New Art And New Energy
    I think the quality of the new pictures is mostly better than those in the old edition, but it just feels like they really wanted to find in the game something that is not there. The new art has got this fairy tale vibe, and think some manga influences, and those are not the first things I think about when I think OD&D. But I imagine that was the point. This..it's not the talent, that's evident-they artists are quite good--though the cover is quite a comedown from Erol freaking Otus. It's the subject matter. I get the sense they're no longer satisfied with their current audience and want a new one. Which is fine...I guess. Though I can't really see their old audience sticking with them through the change, and frankly, the audience they're chasing has other options.

Friday, 15th January, 2016

  • 05:53 PM - I'm A Banana quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Scabbard of... Silence?
    The players in my Tiranny of Dragons campaign acquired the intelligent sword Hazirawn and decided to use it. The sword is evil and it is currently held by a paladin, so it has been unable to charm him, but it started to complain and speak out in very bad moments. For example, it got the party into a fight the dragon at the end of HotDQ, while the players were trying dupe him. I thought it was very clever on my part, but one of the players almost rage-quit :]. Go figure. So the party wants to have a magical scabbard crafted, that will silence the sword as long as it is in it. I looked up the crafting rules in the DMG and I figured it would cost 2000 gp all included, considering the scabbard should have to be made with expensive materials to start with. So the artisan could start by asking 4000 gp, and drop down the price a little if the negotiations go well. Any advice or suggestion on all the above? You can do that if you want. Seems a bit dull to me to just pay to get rid of it, though, per...

Thursday, 14th January, 2016

  • 10:13 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Scabbard of... Silence?
    The scabbard was delivered during last night session. I warned the player that the sword would have considered that an insult, but the player did not put it in the scabbard right away. We'll see how it plays out... I'm thinking it should play out like stuffing an unhappy cat in a carrier.

Tuesday, 12th January, 2016

  • 06:13 PM - iserith quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Scabbard of... Silence?
    The players in my Tiranny of Dragons campaign acquired the intelligent sword Hazirawn and decided to use it. The sword is evil and it is currently held by a paladin, so it has been unable to charm him, but it started to complain and speak out in very bad moments. For example, it got the party into a fight the dragon at the end of HotDQ, while the players were trying dupe him. I thought it was very clever on my part, but one of the players almost rage-quit :]. Go figure. So the party wants to have a magical scabbard crafted, that will silence the sword as long as it is in it. I looked up the crafting rules in the DMG and I figured it would cost 2000 gp all included, considering the scabbard should have to be made with expensive materials to start with. So the artisan could start by asking 4000 gp, and drop down the price a little if the negotiations go well. Any advice or suggestion on all the above? I tend to make such things lead to adventure rather than a scene involving haggling with an a...

Sunday, 6th December, 2015

  • 07:27 PM - jrowland quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Would you change a monster's hit points mid-fight?
    Saying that a GM should change things around to shape the narrative because "the rules are guidelines" is not really pertinent, in my opinion, because this matter is really about the style of the game and the social contract between the players. The Hard vs Guideline is part of the style and contract. A DM following Rules as Guidelines will run a different game than RAW and that could have consequences for player expectations in the contract. For me: RAW DMing is a bore, on both sides of the screen. As a DM, being a slave to the "pre-written" story/stats means awesome moments can be lost. Sure, a DM can be capricious and thwart things to make things un-awesome, that's where mutual trust comes in. As a player, knowing that the encounter I face is "Hard" vs our PCs and the DM wouldn't dare throw in more monsters even though we are decimating them, is a bore. I'll take the occasional disappointment in my own choices in return for a good story.

Friday, 4th December, 2015

  • 03:49 PM - jrowland quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Would you change a monster's hit points mid-fight?
    So the topic of this thread, to me, is not really about hard rules vs guidelines. It's more a matter of transparence. That begs the question: Transparency to what? If you mean the degree of transparency to the "rules", then we are talking about Hard Rules vs. Guidelines. The trouble is, in my opinion, is expectations. Every player, including he DM, has different expectations. Even if everyone laid them bare, those expectations change, are not articulated well, and are interpreted poorly. To circle this back to the OP, HP are a gaming device to determine when a combatant is no longer "in the fight". There is a base assumptions here that I don't think is valid: A DM doesn't arbitrarily assign HP but rather perfectly pre-determines HP to create encounter to create a perfect challenge. Obviously this isn't true (beyond the semantics of "perfect"). DMs typically us MM HP and just go, or if they do roll HP or pre-determine them, it's rarely with an eye towards adjusting encounter difficulty. Pe...
  • 12:06 PM - Imaculata quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Would you change a monster's hit points mid-fight?
    Because I'm playing a tactical game of problem solving and resource management, and the epic moments have value only if they emerge naturally. They still emerge naturally, because its in response to an action by a player. But it is up to the DM what to do with those numbers. I've been in situations where a player scored a critical when throwing a spear at a fleeing guard, just as he was reaching for the door. Statistically the guard still had 1 or 2 hit points left. I ruled that the guard was pinned to the door, still struggling, but basically helpless and awaiting the inevitable execution. I could have ruled it either way. I could have had the guard shrug it off, and continue to fight with what few HP he had remaining. But D&D is also about story telling. And having an enemy die 1 HP earlier is not going to invalidate any of the problem solving, strategy or resource management. I could have continued the fight one more round, and have the guard die from a normal attack. But from a storytelling ...

Wednesday, 11th November, 2015

  • 04:02 PM - jayoungr quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    Ok, but what if the characters did not acquire the castle but just liberated it from the Cult of the Dragon? That's what happened in my campaign. There are a few references to that option in the book, so clearly the designers saw it as a possible outcome. It's just that the other two scenarios have more consequences for the PCs and/or easy ideas for follow-up events. I suspect this is a casualty of the page count; we know that a section transitioning between HotDQ and RoT was cut from the second book, since there is a published map showing a giants' hall that didn't get used in the printed product. You can find some people's ideas on how to use the map at this link. Note that the map shows a crashed flying castle, but if the group didn't crash the castle in your game, you could always make that the ruin of another one, perhaps an ancient one (an early experiment in flying castle magic?). Negotiating with the giants to join the alliance could still be a part of the game, much like the neg...

Saturday, 3rd October, 2015

  • 03:38 PM - jayoungr quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    My players didn't feel they had a valid reason of going into the cave in chapter 3 for example. They might have decided to go back to Greenest to tell Nighthill and Leosin about the cult's disappearence. There's no reason they can't do that. Going through the cave is not required; you just have to remember that Cyanwrath and Frulam Mondath are still around in that case, and they could pop up later to cause trouble. Did the PCs find out about the dragon eggs? Then later someone will ask them why they didn't want to go in and destroy them, and their answer will tell everyone something about the characters involved. If you go on to Rise of Tiamat, the Emerald Enclave will be very happy that they didn't destroy the eggs. Later, when they got to the bullywugs' castle, they debated that they should have tried to go back and alert Leosin because storming a castle full of frogmen and lizardmen wasn't a smart move. Their mission was to find out where the treasure had gone and they could be reasonab...

Wednesday, 30th September, 2015

  • 03:32 PM - cmad1977 quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    My players actually ended up strinking a deal with the bullywug chief... long story. They never talked to Snapjaw because they killed on the spot the troglodytes in both patrols they met before reaching the castle. In describing the castle I tried to point out the incompetence of the defenders (the open gates, the lazy guards...) so the players considered sneaking into the castle as a valid option, but surely there was also a lot of out-of-character reasoning involved. Neat. Mine dealt with Snapjaw, infiltrated the castle. Got the weapons to te lizard men and started a revolt. Borngrey wound up rallying th cultists in his tower and leaving the bullywugs to fend for themselves, even offering to aid the lizard men in exchange for being left in possession of the castle. Heroes wound up fighting Pharblex in the courtyard, then pursued him downstairs when he escaped. I had a clever ambush planned at the lake with frogs and bullywugs erupting from the water around Pharblex himself... But heroes being ...
  • 10:07 AM - pukunui quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    My players didn't feel they had a valid reason of going into the cave in chapter 3 for example. They might have decided to go back to Greenest to tell Nighthill and Leosin about the cult's disappearence.Huh. I didn't have any trouble getting my players to send their PCs into the cave. They seemed pretty keen to go exploring after talking with the hunters and getting a bit of a sense of who and what was in there. Plus, the rogue used his Cult Infiltrator background feature - and a stolen uniform - to infiltrate the cave as far as the cultists' barracks before reporting back to the others. Later, when they got to the bullywugs' castle, they debated that they should have tried to go back and alert Leosin because storming a castle full of frogmen and lizardmen wasn't a smart move. Their mission was to find out where the treasure had gone and they could be reasonably sure that was the castle.This is a fair point. Any suggestions on how to account for that?

Saturday, 1st August, 2015

  • 01:11 AM - Remathilis quoted MrZeddaPiras in post New D&D Monthly Survey: Mystics & Psionics
    I absolutely agree. What I really liked about Mystara was that you could pick any Gazetteer and you had a pseudo-historical campaign setting, and the character could travel to the next kingdom and basically find themselves into another historical period. Of course I understand that commercially and creatively WotC would be better served if they supported a second setting that is not classic fantasy, like Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Planescape, etc. I wonder if the books that are coming out this fall will start some sort of pattern: a campaign for levels 1-15 followed by a setting book focusing on the regions featured in the adventures. My pitch: a campaign all set in Barovia, leading to a final confrontation with Count Strahd, and a setting book for Ravenloft focusing on one domain, and without the mini-biography of each and every dark lord. The problem with Ravenloft is that each domain is basically one story. Barovia is all about Strahd and his castle. Yeah, the 3e Gaz's tried to flesh out Barovia...

Friday, 31st July, 2015

  • 10:52 PM - aramis erak quoted MrZeddaPiras in post New D&D Monthly Survey: Mystics & Psionics
    So basically no one cares about the Known World/Mystara anymore? That's disappointing. Those of us who do are deep into the lore, and really, don't need new products. Plus, much of it is actually rather mechanically tied to BECMI/Cyclopedia, and the rest is exemplifications of how to add to it mechanically. If anything, it's even more gonzo a setting than the FR... You have such wildly different groups in such close proximity - vikings next to arabs, for example... Much as I love it, and much as it's my first choice, if I were in their shoes, i'd put it way on the back burner, behind GH.

Wednesday, 29th July, 2015

  • 07:04 PM - Dire Bare quoted MrZeddaPiras in post New D&D Monthly Survey: Mystics & Psionics
    So basically no one cares about the Known World/Mystara anymore? That's disappointing. But not surprising, nor unfair. I'd say that "Known World" and "Forgotten Realms" are both massive misnomers at this point. Heh, yeah, WotC should probably have the two settings switch names! Mystara is now the "Forgotten Realm" and Toril is know the "Well Known World"! :) Mystara has about a dozen strikes against it; less known due to being the Basic D&D setting (opposed to the much popular AD&D settings), its spread out over a dozen gazetteers instead of one big book/box, generic enough that it doesn't look too different than Toril or Oerth at first glance (pseudo Medieval setting populated with stock MM critters) and been out of the public view since at least the late 1990 (and only because of a slight AD&D revival). Like Greyhawk, its primarily remembered for its modules (Keep on the Borderland, Night's Dark Terror, Isle of Dread, etc) than for anything unique to it. As a Mystara fan, its ha...
  • 04:10 PM - Remathilis quoted MrZeddaPiras in post New D&D Monthly Survey: Mystics & Psionics
    So basically no one cares about the Known World/Mystara anymore? That's disappointing. Mystara has about a dozen strikes against it; less known due to being the Basic D&D setting (opposed to the much popular AD&D settings), its spread out over a dozen gazetteers instead of one big book/box, generic enough that it doesn't look too different than Toril or Oerth at first glance (pseudo Medieval setting populated with stock MM critters) and been out of the public view since at least the late 1990 (and only because of a slight AD&D revival). Like Greyhawk, its primarily remembered for its modules (Keep on the Borderland, Night's Dark Terror, Isle of Dread, etc) than for anything unique to it. As a Mystara fan, its hard to say this but I think Mystara and Greyhawk probably need to just enjoy retirement. Both have heavy online fan communities and need little in the way of support material outside the core rules. (Well, maybe a few races, spells, or items converted. Easy stuff). The core brand of D&D ha...
  • 02:41 PM - TwoSix quoted MrZeddaPiras in post New D&D Monthly Survey: Mystics & Psionics
    So basically no one cares about the Known World/Mystara anymore? That's disappointing. I'd say that "Known World" and "Forgotten Realms" are both massive misnomers at this point.

Thursday, 2nd July, 2015

  • 02:37 PM - Uller quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Enhancing "Hoard of the Dragon Queen" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    Rezmir sleeps in the third floor apartments in the south-east tower. Borngray's rooms are on the second floor of central tower. During the day they are around the castle apparently, doing stuff. Yeah...I got that. I'm also running Princes of the Apocalypse...it does a much better job at giving you locations and activities of NPCs that are time dependent. No big deal. I'll just pick a location for each of the important NPCs and go with it...

Friday, 17th April, 2015

  • 01:10 AM - The Human Target quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Would you change a monster's hit points mid-fight?
    I don't let them peruse the Monster Manual at the table because I feel that would mess with the flow of the game. Apart from that, any meta-game knowledge they might have, they can use. I don't require the players to pretend they don't know silver is for werewolves and holy water for vampires, we're much too old for that. Do you let them look at the stats of the monsters they are currently in combat with?

Tuesday, 10th March, 2015

  • 02:38 PM - Nebulous quoted MrZeddaPiras in post Spell-less Ranger
    It depends on what you would like the ranger to be, as an archetype: D&D's ranger is basically Aragorn. If you'd like a Robin Hood kind of character, why not try a fighter with outlander or folk hero background and an appropriate choice of weapons and skills (bows, survival and so on..)? Default ranger seems more magicky than Aragon to me. Part of the problem with the class is that it is essentially a Fighter with some different perks. Well, not a "problem", per say.


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