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  • robus's Avatar
    Today, 03:27 AM
    From the thread title I thought it was to be some mammoth treatise :) a video seems more digestible...
    5 replies | 102 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:03 PM
    Well the proof will be in the pudding with the Dungeon of the Mad Mage campaign. That's supposed to level all the way up to 20, so we'll finally get to see what WotC thinks a campaign at that level should look like and we'll get some first hand reports from tables trying to play it. DMs will of course have to turn some knobs to tune to their table (I wonder if there'll be guidance on that...?) ...
    65 replies | 2241 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:56 PM
    robus replied to Dragon Heist TPK
    I dunno, there is zero foreshadowing that the PCs are getting in over their heads: The way to the hideout is clearly marked, there's one guardian on the route. The goblin guards are sleeping and will probably remain that way, doors are all unlocked. A couple of folks otherwise preoccupied. This is the poorest excuse for a secret hideout I've seen in a while. :) Compared to the goblin hideout...
    71 replies | 2371 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:43 PM
    robus replied to Dragon Heist TPK
    Sure, but what confuses me is the inconsistency in the level of characterization. Some random NPCs get lots of detail and others (seemingly more central to the story - such as a "boss") get little to none. What is the purpose of this hideout? What is the mind flayer doing there? Just interrogating Floon? And with its detect thoughts why is an interrogation even needed? Weak story logic is not...
    71 replies | 2371 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:52 PM
    robus replied to Dragon Heist TPK
    That is the key question! It must have been crits all round! Or there are 10 PCs in the party! :D
    71 replies | 2371 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:57 AM
    robus replied to Dragon Heist TPK
    Just finished that chapter, and while they do say the mind flayer heads off when the PCs arrive, itís all a bit meh as far as a scene goes. The mind flayer doesnít really care that some PCs infiltrated the secret hideout? Iíd expect some repartee at least: ďoh look, some foolish creatures have come to rescue this worthless dreg. Deal with them!Ē and then off it goes or something. Itís a bit...
    71 replies | 2371 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:49 AM
    Ok, cool :)
    167 replies | 11759 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:37 AM
    Cool map, pondering using it for some underdark travel, but Iím confused about the secret door off the main entrance. it looks like it leads to a lower level given the dotted lines, but I donít see stairs anywhere to indicate a level split?
    167 replies | 11759 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 24th September, 2018, 09:04 PM
    I guess you're technically right, but FR is at least heavily favored. :) One of the great services the popular streams like Critical Role provide is demonstrating that D&D can be played in worlds other than FR and, in particular, in worlds of your own design. Imagine if they just ran through the published adventures?! (Also it protects them somewhat from a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacking,...
    65 replies | 2550 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 24th September, 2018, 08:45 PM
    robus replied to Dragon Heist TPK
    So you're claiming that the designers put a "gotcha" encounter for level 1 characters? There was no foreshadowing? No "reputation" hints given to the players (no roll needed because the Waterdeep NPCs with dangerous reputations are generally avoided by the regular folks of which the PCs are recently members :) ). I just don't understand how the PCs went into this encounter guns blazing if the...
    71 replies | 2371 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 24th September, 2018, 07:31 PM
    Wow!
    30 replies | 592 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 24th September, 2018, 05:08 PM
    Well the OP did out himself as a particular kind of person, so, yeah, I think he rightly feels singled out by Mearls's tweet ;)
    65 replies | 2550 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 24th September, 2018, 03:32 PM
    robus replied to Dragon Heist TPK
    I'm more thinking Alabama 3 (A3 in the USA) "Woke up this morning" ... ! ;)
    71 replies | 2371 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 24th September, 2018, 02:38 PM
    robus replied to Dragon Heist TPK
    I love this setup to the adventure,even without an initial TPK! Much more distinctive than the one in the book.
    71 replies | 2371 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 24th September, 2018, 02:30 PM
    Well Iím surprised at how many say they do! I didnít until recently, when I got a request for a picture of something from a player. Now I take pictures of things and have them on my iPad ready to show during the session. I think Iíll try and do both a verbal and a picture. I was disappointed by the request, actually, and took it as a note to improve my monster/NPC descriptions. The players...
    30 replies | 592 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd September, 2018, 10:10 PM
    Finally got my copy of Dragon Heist and Iím starting to read it. Whatís shocking me is that there is no heist to retrieve the dragon hoard from the villainís lair. (Iíve noted this oddness in other threads, but reading it for real makes it puzzling all over again.) If I get to run this adventure, the PCs will be beaten by the villain to the hoard, the mission will then be to extract the hoard...
    18 replies | 844 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Saturday, 22nd September, 2018, 04:09 PM
    Well thatís disappointing, though I guess a DM is under no obligation to run it by the book, but then youíd be on the hook to add all the motivation/backstory (basically NPC complexity) thatís missing. Not that WotC is great at this either...
    28 replies | 829 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 21st September, 2018, 11:21 PM
    And that's what makes this quite different from really any other game. The DM really manages the dramatic flow in order to produce the desired sense of challenges with their associated victories and defeats. If the PCs never win (or always easily win) then the result is a boring slog. Realizing when the party needs a boost from a victory or to be given a reality check of a brutal loss is all part...
    42 replies | 1146 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 21st September, 2018, 06:17 PM
    Seems like some beholders should be able to fire laser beams from an eye stalk: Blast ray (Dex): 4d10 radiant damage
    10 replies | 323 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 21st September, 2018, 06:06 PM
    And, of course, there's Paizo's Bagel Emporium that's opened right next door! Edit: Speak of the devil: http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?5626-Pathfinder-s-Runelords-Are-Returning!
    582 replies | 13435 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 21st September, 2018, 05:20 PM
    This is perhaps why Paizo continues to do well and perhaps it is healthy for the hobby as a whole as there are more playstyle options available: those wanting a more mechanical approach to the game can find lots of support in Pathfinder, while those wanting a looser, more DM arbitrated game can hang out with D&D. I'm not trying to start a war, but simply saying that there is a system, that's very...
    582 replies | 13435 view(s)
    6 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 21st September, 2018, 05:00 PM
    pukunui: In my high level reboot I kicked it off with the quest from the Dwarven King (name escapes me at the mo :) ). I didn't bother cluttering the party up with an army (and they were 15th level when we started). The quest is - clean out the Underdark of Demon Lords before they find a way through to the surface. My rough outline is: Head to Gravenhollow to gain more intelligence on the...
    3 replies | 189 view(s)
    3 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 21st September, 2018, 04:19 PM
    I'll add it to the "Best of" (if it's not already :) )
    582 replies | 13435 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 21st September, 2018, 06:54 AM
    Cool. Iím reworking OotA to be a high level campaign where the PCs have to be the demonbusters and clean out the Underdark :) This is after LMoP -> ToD with SKT thrown in for good measure!
    65 replies | 2241 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th September, 2018, 09:16 PM
    Sounds like we're running similar high-level campaigns, my group is about to start their journey to take on Demogorgon. :)
    65 replies | 2241 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th September, 2018, 09:14 PM
    Excuse me for being a bit thick, but what are the obvious repercussions? :)
    57 replies | 1028 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th September, 2018, 09:08 PM
    Right - the DM can only say what the character senses, not what they do with that sense. So a failed check simply means the character is unable to spot an obvious tell that the NPC is lying. The player is under no obligation to believe the NPC. If they want to role play that they're going to assume the NPC is trustworthy that's great. So just communicate what the character senses, not what the...
    57 replies | 1028 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th September, 2018, 04:40 PM
    Right it's similar to how in a book when an author takes time to establish the setting at the beginning of a scene. Once that's finished there's little need to refer back to it. But it's highly important to set the tone.
    42 replies | 1146 view(s)
    2 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 20th September, 2018, 02:36 PM
    That describes me - I think it's the experience of both running the game for that long and getting familiar with the antics of a particular group. Knowing what their typical response to a big challenge is (gung-ho, cautious, whatever) really helps a DM choose the right mix. It's not like the boosts at each higher level massively change - it's incremental, but the damage increments do seem (at...
    65 replies | 2241 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th September, 2018, 10:38 PM
    I'm learning to take my time in setting the scene, too often I'd rush through atmospheric description (focusing just on what they see, not what they feel, hear and smell). Adding those senses (when appropriate) has really helped enhance the immersion. I've also tried to improve my description of creatures too, where before I was rushing into the encounter without fully filling in the picture....
    42 replies | 1146 view(s)
    4 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 19th September, 2018, 07:49 PM
    I was wondering if there was a connection... :)
    33 replies | 1011 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 09:37 PM
    Hey - it was just a joke :) Quickleaf knows I'm only playing.
    111 replies | 2353 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 09:27 PM
    Perhaps you picked the wrong implementation of Tomb of Annihilation? ;)
    111 replies | 2353 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 08:38 PM
    I picked up the Here's to Crime DM's Guild offering and it's pretty slick. The flashback feature is very cleverly done. The whole thing is definitely a lot lighter on its feet than what I would have come up with.
    33 replies | 1011 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 08:35 PM
    I guess that should have been obvious :) so sorry that I was part of the chorus stating the bleeding obvious! That is frustrating if they're not picking up the hints and constantly policing it is exhausting. All I can suggest is perhaps there needs to be a retraining day? Perhaps a "one-off" with some pre-gens and you describe how you want to the game to flow and ask them to help police...
    111 replies | 2353 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 03:54 PM
    I deal with "I'll roll too" in a couple of ways: I'll offer the original roller advantage (so they can roll again) because the other player wants to "help". If it's something the other player could reasonably assist with. Or I'll ask the new roller to explain what is different about their approach to the same goal before they roll (if they rolled before I ask then it doesn't count of...
    111 replies | 2353 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 03:45 PM
    Meanwhile I see that this interesting item has been uploaded to DMs Guild: Here's To Crime: A Guide to Capers and Heists
    33 replies | 1011 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 03:40 PM
    I'll try and accumulate the best relevant DMs Guild products in this post: Guild Adept Content Unseen Waterdeep Waterdeep: City Encounters
    18 replies | 844 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 03:07 PM
    Sure, but whose plan are they executing? The DMs??!! ;) There's a reason RPGs are different from books and movies after all! :)
    33 replies | 1011 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 03:08 AM
    Given the players are 13 and generally newbies, I think thereís no need to over think it! :)
    21 replies | 444 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 18th September, 2018, 12:02 AM
    OB1ís experience is matching mine, weíve just entered tier IV PCs at level 16 and bringing a challenge is tricky but doable. Theyíve easily smacked down one NPC I expected to be more of a challenge, but that was my mistake. The players seem to be having fun and also want to make it last.
    65 replies | 2241 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th September, 2018, 11:04 PM
    Iíve not looked at Leverage yet (and it sounds cool!), but as for ďplot couponsĒ one could interpret inspiration in this way perhaps. The players during planning or execution could accumulate inspiration such that it could be used as a pool in order to finagle a clever escape at the end? How many plot coupons equivalents are we talking? :)
    33 replies | 1011 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th September, 2018, 07:22 PM
    Well the obvious answer is the mine connects to some Dwarven community (disused because the ore is tapped out - so now it's a home to nasties that have started harassing the Dwarves?) - perhaps they encounter a raiding party that's trying to deal with the same problem they are? Perhaps there's some argument over who wants to get the glory? Drow vs Dwarf might be an interesting dynamic? (and if...
    21 replies | 444 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th September, 2018, 04:51 PM
    robus started a thread Running an actual heist?
    So Waterdeep: Dragon Heist apparently provides more of a race to the treasure than a heist in a traditional sense, and this made me wonder, is it possible to pull of an elaborate heist in D&D (and for it to be a fun experience). Traditionally a heist is split into three parts: 1) Research 2) Planning 3) Execution The research part includes determining all the security measures (both...
    33 replies | 1011 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 17th September, 2018, 04:20 PM
    Added the Chapter breakdown and indexed the first post. :)
    18 replies | 844 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th September, 2018, 02:39 PM
    And the only player decisions required are those that evoke the characterís intelligence, just play to the characters backstory and experiences so that they constantly appear to be knowledgeable about stuff. Itís imaginative play just like most everything else in the game, IMHO.
    50 replies | 1503 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th September, 2018, 09:44 PM
    The same way you play a character who is much more attractive than you are? In other words, you actually role play in such a way as to allow your Int ability score to either automatically resolve a challenge or at least warrant a check: "Thanks to my time studying at the "Library of Higher Learning" (or wherever), I read up on this thing we've just heard about and the DM is now going to tell...
    50 replies | 1503 view(s)
    3 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th September, 2018, 03:45 AM
    Thanks, a Beholder is coming up in my Oota reboot and this is just the thing.
    10 replies | 323 view(s)
    0 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th September, 2018, 03:44 AM
    Or donít buy more books in one go than you can read! I asked before what the rush was, especially for out of print copies... :D
    5 replies | 315 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 10th September, 2018, 08:22 PM
    Hmm - how about this... You get knocked to 0 HP, you're grievously wounded. You begin your death saving throws as usual but unless someone has tended to you, you roll them at disadvantage. If you've been given a potion of healing you roll death saves normally. If you've been given a potion of greater healing you roll with advantage.
    58 replies | 1835 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 7th September, 2018, 12:34 AM
    Well they do say familiarity breeds contempt. I think this is a big factor in why I want to start each campaign in a unique setting.
    91 replies | 2558 view(s)
    0 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 5th September, 2018, 01:37 PM
    Thereís always one isnít there! :D
    23 replies | 837 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 4th September, 2018, 05:20 PM
    Potential spoilers below but really LMoP is ancient history these days :) I have a number of issues with LMoP as a starter adventure, but probably the biggest is the wimpy ending. The Black Spider definitely needs some beefing up (including HP and lair actions - such as reinforcements, tactical building collapse) if you don't want things end with a whimper. In my inexperience I doubled the...
    23 replies | 837 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 3rd September, 2018, 10:14 PM
    Funnily enough the "Best of" thread provides exactly that for this very reason :) Edit: Err, except for the new one.... paging @Charles Rampant ;)
    23 replies | 837 view(s)
    3 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 31st August, 2018, 07:42 PM
    Well surely itís both? itís a role-playing game for goodness sakes, so good role-playing (active or descriptive) should be rewarded IMHO. i think weíre kidding ourselves if we think anything is evenly applied in a game of make believe! :) Even you want even adjudication play a CRPG... We can never forget that at its heart D&D is a social game of real people coming together to play a...
    119 replies | 3886 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 31st August, 2018, 12:26 AM
    what was the rush to buy them all at once? Especially the bottom three, theyíre probably awaiting a reprint?
    6 replies | 395 view(s)
    0 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 30th August, 2018, 08:08 PM
    It seems like Mezro should house a significant clue that the source of the curse is in Omu (and perhaps reveal its location relative to Mezro?) Perhaps there's a cool relief map of Omu there with some terrible symbol over the location of Omu? (I'm thinking Indiana Jones style reveal of the location of the Lost Ark?) Or perhaps the gods of Chult give indicate that the sickness permeating Omu has...
    22 replies | 687 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th August, 2018, 05:50 PM
    as for video game inspiration, not much so far, but I would love to set some Myst style puzzles for my players (I know youíre not a fan, but my players claim to love them :)
    8 replies | 359 view(s)
    0 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th August, 2018, 05:46 PM
    First off, great idea that should be lots of fun. For the fruit, perhaps acts as a healing potion, perhaps it repels (or gives disadvantage to) ghost attacks? what attacks/damage to the ghosts do? Iíd imagine 1/3 hit points and the player is teleported back to the start position? :) as for the prize? the player gets the ďPac-Man-dalaĒ which bestows advantage on attacks against ghosts?
    8 replies | 359 view(s)
    1 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 28th August, 2018, 02:27 PM
    how about advantage on grappling?
    91 replies | 2651 view(s)
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Tuesday, 18th September, 2018

  • 06:30 PM - Quickleaf mentioned robus in post Mitigating players spamming Help, Guidance, Bardic Inspiration, and oh Iíll roll too?
    iserith robus ad_hoc A lot of advice about ďPlayers donít decide when to roll, the DM does.Ē Yep! My issue is not that I donít practice that; it is that I am getting worn down constantly policing the players on this issue & constantly finding new ways to explain this specific to a scenario as one or more players eagerly reach for their dice. Itís tiring for me because I love to say ďyesĒ to my players & the policing part is my least favorite part of DMing. ďNo, you canít Help/Work Together because you havenít said anything that would be helpful in this negotiation. Is there something youíd like to speak up and add to support the Bardís arguement?Ē ďNo, Bard player, you canít roll to beat the druidís Nature check because you havenít proposed doing anything substantially different. Besides the Druid is the *best* in your party at Nature lore. You might try a new approach?Ē ďNo, Sorcerer player, you canít make a History check here. Because nothing in your background as a native of the forests ...

Tuesday, 28th August, 2018

  • 06:30 PM - DM Dave1 mentioned robus in post Video Game Inspiration for D&D 5e
    Prize: The four colored spheres become elemental gems that can only be activated by the winner Fruit: I like what robus suggests... make them healing/defensive potions of various strengths such as: Cherry = Potion of Healing Strawberry = Potion of Necrotic Resistance Orange = Potion of Greater Healing Apple = Potion of Heroism Melon = Potion of Superior Healing Galaxian = Potion of Longevity Bell = Potion of Supreme Healing Key = Potion of Speed

Tuesday, 21st August, 2018

  • 04:57 AM - iserith mentioned robus in post Missing Rules
    ...hat the winning jump at the 1896 Olympics was over 22 feet, I don't think that the outcome of an attempt by a muscled and athletically trained human in the D&D world to jump an 18' chasm is certain failure. Obviously, given the rule on p 64 and assuming less than 18 STR, it is not certainly successful either. Hence it would be determined by a STR (Athletics) check made against an appropriate difficulty. My reason for spelling this out is simply to demonstrate the point that what is at issue in this thread, at least as far as the current discussion is concerned, is not the proper way to adjudicate 5e, nor the closely related issue of whose job it is to call for checks, nor the issue of whether or not "I clear the chasm by jumping over it" states an approach to the goal of getting across the chasm - it manifestly does. What is at issue is what the rule on p 64 makes certain and leaves uncertain. On this issue of jumping the chasm, that's the sole point of difference between me and @robus and I think @SkidAce, @5ekyu and @Reynard, on the one hand, and you and @Charlaquin on the other. I still think this comes down to approach. There are two goals here, you might say: Jumping Normally and Jumping An Unusually Long Distance. You can certainly achieve the second goal, in some circumstances, given a viable approach. This might mean interacting with the terrain in some fashion that is unusual, getting the assistance of an ally, or using a resource that reasonably helps. The resolution of that outcome may or may not involve a Strength (Athletics) check. What is a viable approach requires context and, even if we're all looking at the same context, we may rule differently as to its viability. Some might say it works, others that it doesn't - no roll. Some might say it's uncertain and call for a check. Among those latter folk, the DCs may vary. Do I think a character can jump an unusually long distance? Yes. The rules say it's possible. What matters is the approach they off...
  • 04:30 AM - pemerton mentioned robus in post Missing Rules
    ...the winning jump at the 1896 Olympics was over 22 feet, I don't think that the outcome of an attempt by a muscled and athletically trained human in the D&D world to jump an 18' chasm is certain failure. Obviously, given the rule on p 64 and assuming less than 18 STR, it is not certainly successful either. Hence it would be determined by a STR (Athletics) check made against an appropriate difficulty. My reason for spelling this out is simply to demonstrate the point that what is at issue in this thread, at least as far as the current discussion is concerned, is not the proper way to adjudicate 5e, nor the closely related issue of whose job it is to call for checks, nor the issue of whether or not "I clear the chasm by jumping over it" states an approach to the goal of getting across the chasm - it manifestly does. What is at issue is what the rule on p 64 makes certain and leaves uncertain. On this issue of jumping the chasm, that's the sole point of difference between me and robus and I think SkidAce, 5ekyu and Reynard, on the one hand, and you and Charlaquin on the other.
  • 03:29 AM - SkidAce mentioned robus in post Missing Rules
    robus said it well.

Monday, 20th August, 2018

  • 05:08 PM - iserith mentioned robus in post Missing Rules
    Except that the rules also state that you can jump further than usual, which is something you don't seem to have explained. I've explained it at length, over and over again: An approach is required to determine if the character can actually jump an unusually long distance. "An Athletics check" is not an approach. It is a mechanic to resolve a declared approach to a goal that has an uncertain outcome and a meaningful consequence of failure. I am in no way against a character trying to jump an unusually long distance. The question is "How?" The gray area, as I pointed out to robus, is that the efficacy of the player's answer to "How?" is going to be judged differently by different DMs. He's okay with "I try harder..." (or words to that effect). I am not. Neither of us are wrong.

Monday, 30th July, 2018

  • 09:08 PM - guachi mentioned robus in post Running 5e published adventures
    I hate the fact that 5e adventures don't have inline monster stats so much I don't run 5e published modules. I just convert older modules and just combine my conversion time into adding concise monster stats to an Excel spreadsheet and I print the stat block up separately for each encounter. It also serves as a convenient place to track HP, too. Yes, it takes time. But my time at the table (which this saves) is more valuable than my time in prep. Another benefit is that typing out the abbreviated stat block and treasure list is that it gives me a much better grasp on the encounter. I get a much better feel for encounter difficulty this way. I've only ever seriously misjudged one encounter - with three hellhounds. LOL - I just realized I said basically the same thing robus did.

Friday, 27th July, 2018

  • 07:19 PM - Cyber-Dave mentioned robus in post For those who know, are Ravnica vampires like Zendikar vampires or Innistrad vampires?
    @robus Outside of D&D, vampires do not come with a "very specific set of aspects." They are, in fact, a relatively recent mythological development. Right now, the term "vampire" coheres with exactly two core qualities that are common to every instance of the creature in fiction: it thirsts for something related to one's life energy; it comes correlated to the promise of longevity. D&D vampires are more specific than that. D&D vampires generally look like a conflation of the vampires from Bram Stoker's Dracula and the film Nosferatu. The vampires of Innistrad are the same. That isn't true of Magic the Gathering. The vampire's from its different planes retain the core aspects that have defined vampires across all their variations, but each plane presents a different variation of the creature. In some planes, they are living creatures infected with a disease a la I Am Legend. In others (like Innistrad), they are creatures out of a gothic horror story. Arguing that vampires belong only in on...

Wednesday, 18th July, 2018

  • 06:04 PM - iserith mentioned robus in post Critical Role Episode #26 - spoilers!
    ... time they can impose a negative effect on themselves. The player can describe the character as closing his or her eyes. The DM then applies the appropriate rules to that action, as necessary. So why can't a player declare "I'm terrified of spiders and suffers from acute arachnophobia. I'm making myself frightened of the drider."? Why do they need to ask "DM may I?" to hinder themselves. Is any DM really going to argue? The DM saying "No, you are NOT frightened" is so much worse... Per the rules, a player can declare being terrified of spiders and having arachnophobia. A player cannot say the character is Frightened in a mechanical sense. My assertion is that this is the DM's role and the burden of proof for that assertion is satisfied in my view by pointing to the rules of the game. Now, if you or @Istbor want to allow players to decide the mechanical effects of their actions, nobody is stopping you. I'm just saying that's not what the rules say and it's likely why someone like @robus would find what he saw on Critical Role strange (in addition to it not being telegraphed). I would find it strange, too, and said as much. Personally, I would advise a player against this. A player-imposed hindrance to a character is a hindrance to the entire team to varying degrees. It messes at some level with the difficulty of the challenge. I would instead encourage the player to write an appropriate personal characteristic (personality traits, ideal, bond, flaw) for the character regarding his or her fears, portray it accordingly with no mechanical hindrance, then take Inspiration for doing so. This encourages the behavior rather than discourages it via a disincentive.

Friday, 11th May, 2018

  • 03:43 PM - DM Dave1 mentioned robus in post Can a Critical Hit miss?
    You are no longer hidden if you attack someone even if the attack misses (unless you have the Skulker feat). {snip} At least, that's the rules. I'd argue they are wise ones. As soon as you start letting creatures attack and auto-hide due to existing cover and make them immune to being perceived, players will start massively abusing that when they can. It's not a particularly good path to go down, in my opinion. It's pretty clean and simple that when you attack you're no longer hidden. These are great points. At the very least, there needs to be a contested skill check for the Move and Hide after the crossbow shots (as robus mentions above). Example 2: "what was the players intent and how would the players character approach that task" {snip} Player said do I see where the arrow came from not do I see who shot it. I think its bad GMing but people have different styles. Agreed. The DM in the situation was too nitpicky with PC#2's Perception check. Succeeding on Perception should have given away the crossbowfolks' position, too. All of that said, if I were this DM and bungled the various rulings up to the point where PC#2 shot, I hope I would have had the sense in the moment to rule as follows on the Crit: "Your arrow flies through the thick foliage. You hear your arrow ricochet off of something hard and then you hear an audible yelp about 10 feet away from the spot. Roll your crit damage." That would be much more satisfying to the table than just saying "Sorry, even though you rolled a 20, you missed" in this situation - especially with the lack of solid RAW/RAI justification for everything ...

Wednesday, 9th May, 2018

  • 10:50 PM - dave2008 mentioned robus in post Disintegrate vs Forcecage
    I should have specified that I'm using @dave2008's beefed 5e monsters. His version of Yeenoghu has Disintegrate instead of Teleport. But you're right that some limited teleport would be a good addition for Demon Lords. @robus, I just wanted to point out that my Demon Lords have some standard spells that they all have access too. If you look at the demon lord traits, all demon lords have the following spells: At will: comprehend languages, darkness, detect magic, detect thoughts, polymorph, see invisibility, telekinesis 3/day each: arcane gate, dispel magic, fear, teleport 1/day each: forbiddance, symbol So my version of Yeenoghu does still have access to teleport. However, as @MonsterEnvy noted, I plan to add limited range at-will teleport abilities in future updates.

Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018


Sunday, 28th January, 2018

  • 09:42 PM - monkeydm mentioned robus in post passive perception vs active perception
    what i meant by not really looking is this: the orcs dont know there are any elves. They are just marching to their base camp for instance. but in the PHB on pg 177 (block on Hiding), it states that PP can be used even when characters arent really looking. Which kind of contradicts what robus said about PP not being a radar for anything. This rings true to me as wel. Because even if you are not looking for elves, you can spot one (by accident).

Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018

  • 08:46 PM - iserith mentioned robus in post Luring new people into D&D
    Yeah, do a graphic like @robus suggested, but replace the game-related clip art with a white windowless van and a clown. That'll lure 'em.

Wednesday, 8th November, 2017

  • 06:04 PM - volanin mentioned robus in post Roshambo-Style Theatre of the Mind Combat
    This is it! Version 1.3 of Roshambo-Style Theatre of the Mind is up! I rewrote most of the PDF to make it much, MUCH clearer, and incorporated a lot of suggestions that were proposed since the last version. - The PDF now is 4 pages long (instead of the original 2 pages) - Mechanics have been cleaned up a lot, with better pictures (as suggested by @Stalker0 and @OB1) - Spells have been very simplified and their rules have been made explicit (as suggested by @Yaarel) - I added an actual-play example to all of the mechanics (as suggested by @robus) - Other small corrections and game rebalances. I am quite satisfied by the result, and I'd really like to thank everybody for demanding explanations, cleanups, and proposing improvements! I guess this is it, time to stop fiddling with the D&D rules and start playing more! For those interested in great Theatre of the Mind combat, check it out here: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/224253 If anybody ever try these rules in their games, even a one-shot, please tell me how it went! Thanks again, :D

Sunday, 29th October, 2017

  • 11:05 PM - pukunui mentioned robus in post [SPOILERS] Enhancing Tomb of Annihilation
    robus: I know just how you feel, and I often give the NPC stats to the players as a result. They have Meepo's stats, for instance. But in this case, I don't think I want to give them the guides' stats, since so many of them have secrets. I don't want them to know that Eku is a couatl, for instance ... and if I give them Qawasha's statblock, they'll wonder why I'm not also give them Eku's.

Wednesday, 25th October, 2017

  • 03:06 AM - volanin mentioned robus in post Roshambo-Style Theatre of the Mind Combat
    Congrats - just picked it up from there. Well done! :) I just picked up a copy as well! Great job! Thanks a lot for all the help and suggestions, I hope these ideas are able improve the combats of more people who play TotM style as much as they're improving mine right now. Also, although this PDF is meant to be distributed for free, there were 4 people that decided to pay a little for it, for a combined total of $6 ($3 after WotC's 50% cut). While this is a symbolic value, it makes me extra happy to know that they decided to show their appreciation like this! Consider yourself with Thanks Advantage! robus - May I suggest adding this thread to the "Best Of" sticky thread? I see that robus added this thread to the "Best Of", thanks a lot! I changed the name of the thread to make it easier to google, and I hope it doesn't break the link there. (Confession time: I've never realized that there is a "Best Of" thread before... I have to read a lot of things there that caught my interest).

Tuesday, 24th October, 2017

  • 09:11 PM - pukunui mentioned robus in post [SPOILERS] Enhancing Tomb of Annihilation
    Excellent work, robus! That certainly will make this thread more user-friendly.
  • 08:58 PM - OB1 mentioned robus in post Roshambo-Style Theatre of the Mind Combat
    I just picked up a copy as well! Great job! robus - May I suggest adding this thread to the "Best Of" sticky thread?
  • 01:51 AM - DeJoker mentioned robus in post Thoughts on this article about Black Culture & the D&D team dropping the ball?
    The hilarious(?) thing is how oblivious you are to the negativity you introduced in this thread from you first post. And now youíre attacking Imaro. Perhaps you should spend a bit more time lurking on these forums to pick up on the vibe around here. Itís actually quite a nice place and people donít generally go looking for a fight. Iím quite pleasant and yet youíve accused me of wanting to start a flame war! You should probably join me in stepping away from this thread. Hmm interesting @robus, you twist the meaning of something I said to make it seem more negative than it was and then state that I am oblivious to introducing negativity -- I would counter that with I did not introduce the negativity -- however I will admit I have a tendency to cause it to become a pink elephant in the room when it chooses to surface its ugly head -- the fact is that Imaro's first post to me was delivered in a very condescending manner (whether intentional or not) and then when called out on this no apology just more condescending comments. Then there is you, the "quite pleasant" person who creates more negative disrespectful crap and seems to think that this is just a-okay *sigh*. So again it seems like the negativity has always been here and just no one was interested in calling it our for what it was. So do not blame me for what was already here. And if you and Imaro were such wholesome individuals as you claim, it most likely would never have gone down the route it did. It takes two t...


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Tuesday, 25th September, 2018

  • 04:27 PM - Gradine quoted robus in post Dragon Heist TPK
    Just finished that chapter, and while they do say the mind flayer heads off when the PCs arrive, itís all a bit meh as far as a scene goes. The mind flayer doesnít really care that some PCs infiltrated the secret hideout? Iíd expect some repartee at least: ďoh look, some foolish creatures have come to rescue this worthless dreg. Deal with them!Ē and then off it goes or something. Itís a bit lackluster. I mean, it could have been prescriptive in that regard, and people would have complained about DM agency and boxed text and the like. I don't personally mind being left to figure that stuff out for myself.
  • 04:26 AM - Dyson Logos quoted robus in post I draw the occasional D&D map
    Cool map, pondering using it for some underdark travel, but Iím confused about the secret door off the main entrance. it looks like it leads to a lower level given the dotted lines, but I donít see stairs anywhere to indicate a level split? There's almost definitely a slope leading down from that secret door.

Monday, 24th September, 2018

  • 06:38 PM - Oofta quoted robus in post Do you show players monster pictures?
    Well Iím surprised at how many say they do! I didnít until recently, when I got a request for a picture of something from a player. Now I take pictures of things and have them on my iPad ready to show during the session. I think Iíll try and do both a verbal and a picture. I was disappointed by the request, actually, and took it as a note to improve my monster/NPC descriptions. The players seem happy to see pictures though. I wouldn't be disappointed. Some people are just more visually focused than others. Even the best description in the world wouldn't be as satisfying as a picture. It's one of the reasons I also frequently try to include pictures of NPCs, towns and regions if I can. It just works better for some people.
  • 05:51 PM - Parmandur quoted robus in post Art and Ideas from Ravnica to Inspire Your D&D Game
    I was wondering if there would be a separate art book as well? Yup, coming out early next year. Wyatt has detailed that he see the art book, the card set fluff and the Planeshift (which is a full book in this case) as the three parts of his work as setting guru for Magic, and what will be seen going forwards still.

Sunday, 23rd September, 2018

  • 09:24 PM - S'mon quoted robus in post How have you improved as a DM?
    The DM really manages the dramatic flow... I don't. :) I play to be surprised by what happens, like the unexpected horrible death of the elven princess guest star PC today. Managing outcomes would ruin my fun.
  • 06:18 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted robus in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    And, of course, there's Paizo's Bagel Emporium that's opened right next door! Edit: Speak of the devil: http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?5626-Pathfinder-s-Runelords-Are-Returning! IMO, honestly, PF isnít a particularly good game. If youíre going to make an option heavy, mechanically complex and clearly defined, game, it needs to also be fairly well balanced. PF is only balanced in comparison to late 3.5 with all the official supplements available. As a total aside, I never understood power gamers who exhibited this behavior. I love players who build their characters around their concept with no concern for mechanical effectiveness. (This isn't passive aggressive condescension, they're really my favorite type of fellow players.) I can do the heavy lifting during combat, and they can be the focus of the attention during the exploration/puzzle solving/planning stages of the game, when I usually prefer to take a back seat. It's a synergy that we appreciate. indeed. Heck, I use C...
  • 12:26 AM - Demetrios1453 quoted robus in post Enhancing "Dragon Heist"
    Finally got my copy of Dragon Heist and Iím starting to read it. Whatís shocking me is that there is no heist to retrieve the dragon hoard from the villainís lair. (Iíve noted this oddness in other threads, but reading it for real makes it puzzling all over again.) If I get to run this adventure, the PCs will be beaten by the villain to the hoard, the mission will then be to extract the hoard from the villainís lovingly detailed lair (that the authors suggest could be skipped!). The dramatic googdness of this approach seems so obvious I have to wonder if they considered it and rejected it because of some reason? They kept the name but dropped the actual heist chapter? Anyway, https://www.dmsguild.com/product/252431/Heres-To-Crime-A-Guide-to-Capers-and-Heists will be indispensable to any DM wanting to try this variation. Edit: the fact that the Character Advancement section indicates that the lairs are designed for level 5 shows that tackling a lair was supposed to be the finale of this bo...

Saturday, 22nd September, 2018

  • 07:39 AM - MNblockhead quoted robus in post ÖWait till you see Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (Spelljammer?)
    Cool, though I have a small suggestion: Ditch the textured background behind the text (or make it much more subtle). My old eyes would get very tired very quickly reading through the doc (this is based on the preview - so if that's misleading then OK.. :) ) Or offer a "printer-friendly" version. Many content creators provide two versions of their PDFs, the fancy version with the colorful illustrations and backgrounds and printer-friendly grayscale versions with backgrounds removed. I almost always read the later exclusively.

Friday, 21st September, 2018

  • 02:25 AM - Reynard quoted robus in post Tell Me About Your Experiences With High Level 5E
    Sounds like we're running similar high-level campaigns, my group is about to start their journey to take on Demogorgon. :) We recently finished Out of the Abyss at 14th level and when the DM asked what our PCs were doing, I said my half-orc barbarian was trying to figure out a way into the Abyss because it just didn't seem right that they weren't really dead. Hopefully we get to eventually roll Tier IV versions of our heroes into the Lower Planes to finish the job.

Thursday, 20th September, 2018

  • 11:07 PM - Ovinomancer quoted robus in post An "Insightful" Question
    Excuse me for being a bit thick, but what are the obvious repercussions? :) Ovinomancer I get what you are saying. However what happens if a PC is just engaging in a conversation can they just pick up deceptions without actively trying? Do they have to keep trying? What if the enemy is being controlled but is telling truthful information, can you tell they are under control of another creature? I tried making it active too but it just ended up that the PCS trusted no one and actively probed everyone who they spoke with. It slowed it down too much.To answer both, a failure causes a setback with that NPC -- they become angry at the PCs, or become violent, or refuse to help the PCs, or increase the DC of future checks against them. The consequences are based on the situation, but should obviously flow from the NPC reaction to a botched attempt to probe for information. This is aided by not withholding information. If the NPC is nervous, describe that without a check. The PC should ...
  • 06:18 PM - Greg Benage quoted robus in post Tell Me About Your Experiences With High Level 5E
    That describes me - I think it's the experience of both running the game for that long and getting familiar with the antics of a particular group. Knowing what their typical response to a big challenge is (gung-ho, cautious, whatever) really helps a DM choose the right mix. This, which is also why it's tough for the publisher to do all the work for the DM. The higher the level, the more a group's capabilities will depend on the specific players and PCs. I ran a campaign from 3 to 20, and played in two campaigns that went to Tier 4. My opinion is that 5e works really well at high level, both as a player and a DM. In terms of combat, the only thing I'd emphasize that hasn't been mentioned in the thread is lair design. Cool and challenging lair effects are a blast and reasonably freeform and easy to create. More than anything else, I found, the right environment and lair effects really evoke the "epic" feel of combat at this level. And, of course, this whole thread has focused on combat. Th...
  • 04:34 PM - Ralif Redhammer quoted robus in post How have you improved as a DM?
    Same. The rule I keep telling myself is that every time they enter a new area, or encounter a new monster or NPC, take a few moments to describe things and bring the game to life. Iím also leaning more into improvisation than ever. I still come up with an adventure, but I view it more as a toolkit to pull from and reassemble in response to PC actions. While I wasnít a railroader, some of my adventures wereÖless flexible than they should have been. I'm learning to take my time in setting the scene, too often I'd rush through atmospheric description (focusing just on what they see, not what they feel, hear and smell). Adding those senses (when appropriate) has really helped enhance the immersion. I've also tried to improve my description of creatures too, where before I was rushing into the encounter without fully filling in the picture.

Wednesday, 19th September, 2018

  • 06:26 PM - jimmytheccomic quoted robus in post Running an actual heist?
    I picked up the Here's to Crime DM's Guild offering and it's pretty slick. The flashback feature is very cleverly done. The whole thing is definitely a lot lighter on its feet than what I would have come up with. Thank you! That was my work, I'm glad you enjoyed.

Tuesday, 18th September, 2018

  • 10:01 PM - Quickleaf quoted robus in post Mitigating players spamming Help, Guidance, Bardic Inspiration, and oh Iíll roll too?
    Hey - it was just a joke :) Quickleaf knows I'm only playing. Indeed I do, sir! ;)
  • 09:32 PM - Reynard quoted robus in post Mitigating players spamming Help, Guidance, Bardic Inspiration, and oh Iíll roll too?
    Perhaps you picked the wrong implementation of Tomb of Annihilation? ;) 101528 I always find it interesting when people are willing to call someone else's style of play "not roleplaying" with such abandon.
  • 08:58 PM - Quickleaf quoted robus in post Mitigating players spamming Help, Guidance, Bardic Inspiration, and oh Iíll roll too?
    I guess that should have been obvious :) so sorry that I was part of the chorus stating the bleeding obvious! That is frustrating if they're not picking up the hints and constantly policing it is exhausting. All I can suggest is perhaps there needs to be a retraining day? Perhaps a "one-off" with some pre-gens and you describe how you want to the game to flow and ask them to help police themselves. When something goes haywire you stop and talk about why it's backwards. Perhaps you also need to be open with them about how frustrating it's becoming for you to constantly have to manage their premature/over rolling? Basically this group needs go to a re-education camp! :) Well, itís a good reminder to me as well! Thereís six of them and one of me, and I noticed last session I was starting to get sucked into their style of ďroll firstĒ gaming (for lack of a better word for it). It was definitely the opposite of what I want from D&D! Yeah I can bring it up that I donít like that sty...
  • 08:33 PM - Umbran quoted robus in post Running an actual heist?
    Sure, but whose plan are they executing? The DMs??!! ;) In Ocean's 11, it is Danny Ocean's plan. He spent his time in jail coming up with most of the plan. The movie research is on some details surrounding the execution of that plan. So, the film elides over much of the research and planning step. There are ways to handle this that are not "execute the DM's plan" but D&D, specifically, does not have any purpose-designed mechanics in place to help produce the plan. And, your players are not Danny Ocean with significant time in jail to think about the problem.
  • 10:56 AM - CapnZapp quoted robus in post Running an actual heist?
    So Waterdeep: Dragon Heist apparently provides more of a race to the treasure than a heist in a traditional sense, and this made me wonder, is it possible to pull of an elaborate heist in D&D (and for it to be a fun experience). Traditionally a heist is split into three parts: 1) Research 2) Planning 3) Execution The research part includes determining all the security measures (both animate and inanimate) that are protecting the loot. It might include timing the guard patrols, identifying the maker of the safe, measuring the distances of rooms, halls, ceilings, figuring out the weight/size of the treasure etc. I can see this being fun as it involves a lot of stealth-ing and exploration The planning part takes all the information gleaned from discovery and attempts to devise a cunning plan that will circumvent all the obstacles found during discovery. This part worries me because the players, despite all their best efforts, would still have imperfect knowledge (perhaps that's realistic th...
  • 12:35 AM - Mad_Jack quoted robus in post Running an actual heist?
    Iíve not looked at Leverage yet (and it sounds cool!) The original tv show was five seasons of really damn good television, and definitely worth watching even just for general RPG inspiration.

Monday, 17th September, 2018

  • 07:52 PM - Umbran quoted robus in post Running an actual heist?
    The research part includes determining all the security measures (both animate and inanimate) that are protecting the loot. It might include timing the guard patrols, identifying the maker of the safe, measuring the distances of rooms, halls, ceilings, figuring out the weight/size of the treasure etc. I can see this being fun as it involves a lot of stealth-ing and exploration There is a sort of problem with the research part, though - heist fiction is written sort of assuming the conclusion. The Heist *will* happen, the characters *will* find most (but perhaps not quite all) of the relevant pieces of information, and that information *will* be relevant to the plan. The characters are almost invariably absurdly competent in their roles (heist stories are often classified in the "competence porn" genre). But, in an RPG, we the writers don't' know ahead of time which pieces of information will be relevant. In most games it is not a sure thing that the PCs will find enough information to...


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robus's Downloads

  Filename Total Downloads Rating Files Uploaded Last Updated
Player Quick Reference
Here's a short summary of the key rules relating to combat, resting, conditions and exhaustion that players frequently need reminding of during play.

I find it much handier than leafing through the PHB!
2803 +4 1 Tuesday, 23rd May, 2017, 04:05 PM Tuesday, 23rd May, 2017, 04:05 PM
SKT Runes for Chapter 4
A handout for the runes would be nice for the players to reference so I made one.

Hopefully others find it useful too
292 0 1 Sunday, 23rd April, 2017, 11:40 PM Sunday, 23rd April, 2017, 11:40 PM
Out of the Abyss: Gracklstugh Encounter Map
Reading through the Gracklstugh chapter gave me a headache with all the cross-referencing buried in the text, so I decided to make a map of the encounters and the transitions between them.

Hopefully it's useful.

Updates

v1.0.1
* Fixed the DarkLak...
2169 +6 1 Sunday, 27th September, 2015, 04:07 PM Monday, 28th September, 2015, 10:42 PM

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