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Monday, 24th July, 2017

  • 11:25 AM - clearstream mentioned Tobold in post Resting and the frikkin' Elephant in the Room
    Agreed, whether having 1 encounter or 6-8 encounters, both may be linear. From my point of view it is certainly harder to justify 6-8 encounters per adventuring day over a long campaign without forcing the linear issue. Just thinking about it logically: I HAVE to have 6-8 encounters per adventuring day no matter what choices the PCs make OR I can have have AS many or AS little encounters as the adventuring day requires according to the PCs actions. What inherently strikes you as more linear style play? My approach is pragmatic. I feel like I can offer greatest diversity when I can use both. I don't have to have 6-8 encounters. I'd like to sometimes have 6-8 encounters with a mechanically meaningful connection between them. There is more than one way to achieve that, but a simple way is resource management i.e. where PCs don't replenish all their resources between encounters. As Tobold observes, that situation also better diversifies class features. The simple example is the Warlock. If PCs always long-rest between encounters, a level 10 Warlock will really feel the pinch of only 5 slots. If PCs more often short-rest between encounters, those slots have more value. I'm not saying its impossible to create 6-8 encounters via sandbox but over a course of a campaign your average DM will create linear sessions to fill his encounter quota. I feel like the pressure you describe is fuelled by a mismatch between rest and campaign scale. Say I use the Gritty Realism option from the DMG. I can then indulge a great deal of wandering by the PCs. The standard 8-hour long-rest puts a pinch on that because my party will likely feel they can take a long-rest most calendar days and as you observe I might then enjoy less narrative freedom. It's important to stress here that we're not trying to get rid of the single deadly encounter that challenges a fully-tooled up party. We're tryin...
  • 11:02 AM - CapnZapp mentioned Tobold in post Do the official WotC adventures cheat with xp?
    Tobold, first off: thank you for your courteous reply. I really do not wish to antagonize you, but I do need to convey my own conviction here: As I see it, the claim that xp is about fairness is the illusion. But that's all I will say on this subject. Have a nice day.

Saturday, 22nd July, 2017

  • 12:49 PM - akr71 mentioned Tobold in post A Scale for my map
    Tobold's numbers are sound. I would use those. However, once you have put those 7 cities on the map, I would stop there. Planning an entire world from the top down is a huge effort. Pick a location where the campaign is going to start and flesh that out it detail. Preferably a small location - a town outside one of the cities or even better - a village outside of the town. From there, fill in the blanks as you need to - well, hopefully a bit in advance of when you need them, but your players will surprise you from time to time and you'll have to wing it. It is no fun to put a bunch of effort into describing an area that the players never visit. It is fine to have some rough notes on different areas of the continent, but there is no need to go into detail for every region in advance. In fact you can off-load some of it onto the players ;) If they say there character comes from far away, ask them where and what is it like there. Take their details and absorb/mold/refine it to suit yo...

Sunday, 16th April, 2017

  • 11:09 PM - Lanefan mentioned Tobold in post How do players know they are in the "wrong" location in a sandbox campaign?
    Tobold - on further review it's only just now occurred to me where you're possibly having problems: You're trying to run what is intended to be a one-after-the-other adventure chain (which PotA more or less is) as a sandbox. Were it me, what I'd do to make it more of a true sandbox would be to do away with the overarching storyline*; then take all (is it 15?) modular adventures or chapters that make up the chain, turn each one into an individual stand-alone adventure (most of them would work just fine for this) and scatter them around your game world along with various other adventures, encounters, and so forth as you see fit. * - thus removing any worry about having to hit the adventures in any particular order. Now you've got a sandbox, or at least a reasonable facsimile. Drop the puck, turn the PCs loose, sit back, and enjoy. :) Lan-"also note that there's a wide variance in the quality/playability of the individual adventures in PotA"-efan

Wednesday, 15th March, 2017

  • 06:25 PM - Quickleaf mentioned Tobold in post Stat block for a CR3 villain sorcerer
    Tobold Pretty sure that's exactly what Imaculata meant, it's just his first sentence was a typo. I think you've estimated the Challenge rating of your dragon sorcerer villain very well...but I would make some different assumptions about how I'd run him at the table. First, he needs some muscle to protect him or he's going to go down hard and fast. Second, I'd assume that he has enough forewarning of the PCs that he has 1 round before combat begins to cast blink. But even if he doesn't get to cast it in advance, blink is a sufficient game-changer at lower levels (when PCs can't perceive/enter the Ethereal Plane), that it would both define the fight and likely extend the number of rounds out about 5 (these are the hypothetical rounds used to calculate DPR). Third, while he's on the Ethereal Plane, he could use something to do besides watching and moving. Currently he has no spells that will help him while on the Ethereal (since all his spells besides blink are offensive, and low-level PCs ...

Friday, 10th February, 2017

  • 10:48 PM - efreund mentioned Tobold in post ZEITGEIST 5E
    Tobold: Even if adventure 1 starts at level 3 as written, it should be pretty easy to introduce some graduated steps within it, and start at level 1 anyway. For example, there is an introductory encounter right at the start of the first adventure that should be very easily to scale down to level 1 (it kinda doesn't matter what level you are for it), and even if for some reason something went terribly wrong with the dice, it's in a public area and the PCs could be assisted or bailed out by nearby NPCs. Then there's (an amazing!) set piece that happens soonish after that, where you could run it as level 2, but the context (stopping saboteurs aboard a ship) makes it easy to add in friendly henchmen to make up for the PC's weakness, either from the get-go, or as a backup if things go south. After *that*, the next major arc of the plot involves deploying the PCs to a remote location (invade an enemy-held island), and you would want them properly leveled before they go on that mission, as they a...

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Saturday, 11th May, 2019


Thursday, 13th December, 2018

  • 08:57 AM - doctorbadwolf quoted Tobold in post Two-weapon fighting paladin
    As only the fighter and ranger get the two-weapon fighting style, I don’t see the option to wield two weapons discussed much for the paladin class. I would like to discuss this option. Paladins get a series of “smite” spells, which they can cast as a bonus action. The problem with those is that the divine smite class feature is usually better, because it doesn’t use up a bonus action, and you can decide to use it after you know that you hit. The gap gets wider on a critical hit; being able to decide to add 4d8 (or more) after rolling a critical hit is just awesome. Thus the idea to build a paladin who is wielding two weapons. At level 2 that (nearly) doubles the chance of landing a critical hit. Using spell slots exclusively for those critical hits wrings the maximum amount of damage out of them. Alternatively the two-weapon fighting can be used to use divine smite on *every* hit, there is no “once per turn” limit; that burns your spell slots very quickly, but can be useful for situatio...
  • 12:58 AM - FrogReaver quoted Tobold in post Two-weapon fighting paladin
    As only the fighter and ranger get the two-weapon fighting style, I don’t see the option to wield two weapons discussed much for the paladin class. I would like to discuss this option. Paladins get a series of “smite” spells, which they can cast as a bonus action. The problem with those is that the divine smite class feature is usually better, because it doesn’t use up a bonus action, and you can decide to use it after you know that you hit. The gap gets wider on a critical hit; being able to decide to add 4d8 (or more) after rolling a critical hit is just awesome. Thus the idea to build a paladin who is wielding two weapons. At level 2 that (nearly) doubles the chance of landing a critical hit. Using spell slots exclusively for those critical hits wrings the maximum amount of damage out of them. Alternatively the two-weapon fighting can be used to use divine smite on *every* hit, there is no “once per turn” limit; that burns your spell slots very quickly, but can be useful for situations w...

Thursday, 8th November, 2018

  • 05:43 PM - RogueJK quoted Tobold in post Two-weapon fighting paladin
    You could theoretically push the concept of the critical hit divine smite over the top by multi-classing for example a fighter (champion) into the mix. That's the first thing I thought of partway through your post. A Champion3/PaladinX would have twice the critical range on each attack, plus TWF style to add STR to the off hand damage, plus Action Surge for occasional additional attacks. That should more than offset the delayed spell/smite progression, and delayed Extra Attack, at least for melee damage purposes.

Friday, 7th September, 2018

  • 03:35 PM - smbakeresq quoted Tobold in post Looking for help building a low level archer bard
    On the question of “what else does the party need”, the answer is always the same: A healbot. Nobody wants to play a healbot. I don’t want to play a healbot. But by making a bard who by default uses weapons rather than spells, I end up with unused spell slots which I can use to at the very least revive a fallen comrade with a healing word as a bonus action. As a side note, Bards make effective healbots. One level of Life cleric and magic secrets for Aura of Life is very effective. I am in a group with no Cleric, our Bard did this and took Healer feat and it’s not a problem at all.

Thursday, 6th September, 2018

  • 11:47 AM - cbwjm quoted Tobold in post Looking for help building a low level archer bard
    I have a hard time understanding why everybody here prefers College of Valor over College of Swords. College of Swords gives: - Medium armor just like valor - The ability to use your weapon as a spell focus, solving the problem how to cast weapon in hand. (Valor doesn’t have this) - Extra attack at level 6 just like valor - Blade flourishes at level 3 which to me seem to be far superior compared to valor’s combat inspiration So to me swords seems to be superior to valor in pretty much every way. On the question of “what else does the party need”, the answer is always the same: A healbot. Nobody wants to play a healbot. I don’t want to play a healbot. But by making a bard who by default uses weapons rather than spells, I end up with unused spell slots which I can use to at the very least revive a fallen comrade with a healing word as a bonus action. Reading through the swords bard, I'd probably go with that subclass over valour for an archer, since the flourishes definitely work with a bow, ...

Wednesday, 5th September, 2018

  • 09:34 AM - ad_hoc quoted Tobold in post Looking for help building a low level archer bard
    - The ability to use your weapon as a spell focus, solving the problem how to cast weapon in hand. (Valor doesn’t have this) You can cast just fine while holding a bow since you will have a hand free. - Blade flourishes at level 3 which to me seem to be far superior compared to valor’s combat inspiration Inspiration for damage is the worst use of them. That is pretty much all they do when you're using them at range. The armour one is okay, but will usually be a waste. The pushback is very situational. Instead you can give your inspiration to your allies and they can use it when it matters to succeed on Saving Throws and improve their AC to avoid a hit. A Valor Bard in the party makes the party much more resilient as the most fragile characters have that bump to AC when they need it. Saving Throws can also be the difference between life and death. Dealing an extra d8 damage is just not worth it. Instead of looking for ways to 'abuse' things, just play them as intended ...

Monday, 20th August, 2018

  • 09:04 PM - smbakeresq quoted Tobold in post Extreme self-preservation
    Well if the rogue shoots around the same corner every round, I would at the very least give the monster advantage on the perception check to spot him. And honestly I don' t believe that this is how the rogue is meant to be designed. Throughout most editions a rogue was somebody who stabbed monsters in the back with a dagger. In 5e I see most rogues going archer, which I don't think is the way it is meant to be. It isn’t, and since you can get the bonus damage once per TURN if your target has an enemy next to it you miss out if ranged. So with proper positioning you can get it on an opportunity attack granted by your cleric or Paladin commanding the enemy to flee or the bard using dissonant whispers or some fear affect forcing them to flee or on undead being forced to move away or on the bonus action attack from 2 weapon fighting. It also works on just a regular opportunity attack. That ally can be a PC, a familiar, a summons, or even your enemy if it’s an enemy of target also. You ...
  • 05:52 PM - Oofta quoted Tobold in post Extreme self-preservation
    Well if the rogue shoots around the same corner every round, I would at the very least give the monster advantage on the perception check to spot him. And honestly I don' t believe that this is how the rogue is meant to be designed. Throughout most editions a rogue was somebody who stabbed monsters in the back with a dagger. In 5e I see most rogues going archer, which I don't think is the way it is meant to be. That's an interesting point. I don't remember when it changed from "Back stab" to "Sneak attack". There's really no reason I can think of to not do ranged in 5E. I have a bit of a pet peeve when everyone at the table wants to be ranged so I sympathize with the OP.
  • 01:43 PM - Dausuul quoted Tobold in post Extreme self-preservation
    I think I didn’t explain it well enough. The hiding part was completely within the rules: Player moves away, around a corner to break line of sight, the uses a bonus action to hide. The question is about what happens next round, when he pops his head around that same corner again and uses a ranged weapon to fire into combat. What the players think is that they were effectively hiding, and thus they get advantage on their attack roll, for attacking while hidden. And they believe they can repeat that every round. My take is that yes, they are hidden while out of sight around the corner. But unless they have a way to fire through walls or around corners, they have to move into line of sight again to fire into combat. Even if they were well hidden before, moving into line of sight breaks the hidden status, and thus the attack has no advantage. Note that I might allow for advantage if the player is hidden around the corner before the monster arrives, and thus the monster doesn’t expect an attac...
  • 01:26 PM - BluejayJunior quoted Tobold in post Extreme self-preservation
    I think I didn’t explain it well enough. The hiding part was completely within the rules: Player moves away, around a corner to break line of sight, the uses a bonus action to hide. The question is about what happens next round, when he pops his head around that same corner again and uses a ranged weapon to fire into combat. What the players think is that they were effectively hiding, and thus they get advantage on their attack roll, for attacking while hidden. And they believe they can repeat that every round. My take is that yes, they are hidden while out of sight around the corner. But unless they have a way to fire through walls or around corners, they have to move into line of sight again to fire into combat. Even if they were well hidden before, moving into line of sight breaks the hidden status, and thus the attack has no advantage. Note that I might allow for advantage if the player is hidden around the corner before the monster arrives, and thus the monster doesn’t expect an attac...
  • 12:31 PM - Scary quoted Tobold in post Extreme self-preservation
    I am playing at a role-playing club, where we are currently running a long event which is basically a series of dungeon crawls with many players and multiple DMs. Only rule, players need to be back at base by the end of the session. Then the next session can be a different mix of players with a different DM. The format doesn't exactly inspire loyalty and team spirit, but lately I've been more and more running into extreme cases of self-preservation being players biggest concern. e.g. player A moves away from the monster and moves behind player B's character, hoping that the monster is attacking B rather than A; then B does basically the same thing, moving behind A, and player A starts shouting at player B. Today I was a player, playing a barbarian, we got into a fight, and at the end of the first round I found myself alone in the room with all the monsters, every other player in the group had moved out of the room and was hiding behind a corner or something. Okay, not very nice, but as a pla...

Sunday, 19th August, 2018

  • 03:59 PM - ccs quoted Tobold in post Extreme self-preservation
    Wow, that sounds like a crap game. What's the rational behind the characters must be back at base by end of the session rule? What happens if they aren't back? I know you said it's a series of crawls, but is there any kind of cohesion between them? Are there any limits on what kind of crawls you can run? As for monsters chasing down characters vs just attacking who ever is closest? 9 Hells yes. If you think that'll make for a more interesting encounter, then run those cowards down! Same goes for flanking, ambushing, traps, hazards, weird magical effects, AoE effects (especially on those trying to cluster back around the corner - "Fire in the Hole!":)), etc. Use anything & everything. And you should stock your encounters with enough monsters so that everyone gets to play. :) Ex: 5 characters = I've got a goblin for you, and you, and you & you too. And because #5 can kill two per round I've got 3 or 4 more for him. :) Rogues hiding & sneak attacking at range. You're ...

Monday, 16th July, 2018

  • 06:23 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Tobold in post Playing D&D much faster
    Sure, some of that is visibly the result of video editing. And every D&D player knows that in every real session some time is lost with talking about stuff that has nothing to do with the game. But still, the whole play style exhibited in these videos appears very fast to me. Is that just me? Are by freak chance all the players I have played with extremely slow? Is this some old school vs. new school thing? Is this the new D&D for the attention deficit generation? Is there some speed D&D “should” be played at, or does it vary widely from table to table? What do you think? Though it varies with the group, D&D /is/ a social activity, and often a lot of play time is bled off in what is essentially socializing. What isn't bled off in rules debates, protracted planning sessions, or the table-top equivalent of 'pixel-bitching,' that is. So I'd say what you're experiencing is pretty normal, and what you're seeing is the result of video-editing, maybe awareness of being on camera - heck, maybe s...
  • 03:12 PM - iserith quoted Tobold in post Playing D&D much faster
    Is that just me? Are by freak chance all the players I have played with extremely slow? Is this some old school vs. new school thing? Is this the new D&D for the attention deficit generation? Is there some speed D&D “should” be played at, or does it vary widely from table to table? What do you think? I agree with Sunseeker. It largely depends on the players. My regular groups are very fast. My pickup groups for one-shots tend to be less so, but I manage to keep them moving forward. Three things I put in my Tables Rules document that have the most impact on how quickly the game moves are: 1. Make use of the improvisational technique known as "Yes, and..." When hearing a serious idea or proposal from another player, accept the idea then add to it. Try to find the good in it and think of ways it can work rather than ways it can't. 2. Describe what you want to do by stating a clear goal and approach. A question is not a statement of goal and approach, nor is asking to make an ability c...

Sunday, 15th July, 2018

  • 11:26 PM - the Jester quoted Tobold in post Playing D&D much faster
    Sure, some of that is visibly the result of video editing. This, plus the invisible video editing, is the answer you seek. They don't necessarily play any faster than other groups, but all the unimportant stuff and side talk gets cut out in the edit.

Thursday, 21st June, 2018

  • 05:14 PM - Tormyr quoted Tobold in post Legacy of the Crystal Shard Mine of Phandelver
    I thought the "D&D Next" stats *were* 5e. Can you explain what the difference is? D&D Next was the public play test for 5e. The last couple revisions were still a bit different than 5e in several ways including: * PC creation * PC power vs monsters (PCs were updated, monsters not quite as much) * Encounter building I used the play test rules to calculate the D&D Next "Encounter Level" (to steal a 3.5 term) for each of LotCS's encounters and then made medium encounters for 4 PCs based on the Encounter Level. So an EL of 3 meant a medium encounter for 4 level 3 PCs, even if the party is level 2 at that point. That would make it a Hard encounter for the level 2 party. It was a quick and dirty conversion. I think I powered through it in a couple evenings so someone here would be able to use the adventure for their group. So no guarantee it is very well balanced. EDIT: Oops, I thought I had responded to a question like this before. I missed that it wasn't the last post in the thread.

Sunday, 17th June, 2018

  • 05:54 AM - 5ekyu quoted Tobold in post Do you increase monster hit points?
    As a DM I have two groups. None of the players are extreme min-maxers, but their characters are all reasonably optimized: They have an 18 in their main stat at level 5, they took a race that gives a bonus to their main stat, they selected spells and weapons that do good damage, they try to have a reasonable armor class. Result: When I play encounters from published WotC adventures, the fights are often extremely short, and the monsters go down very fast. Generally the players have higher attack bonuses and armor class than their opponents in a supposedly "hard" encounter. At level 5 the players have to hit bonuses of between +7 and +9, but the monsters they meet often have armor classes of 15 or less, so hits are far more common than misses. In the other direction the monsters frequently need to roll higher than 10 to hit the group tank. And the players also deal more damage than most monsters they encounter. As I don't fudge dice, monsters can easily die before actually landing a hit. As the...
  • 02:38 AM - pming quoted Tobold in post Do you increase monster hit points?
    Hiya! As a DM I have two groups. None of the players are extreme min-maxers, but their characters are all reasonably optimized: They have an 18 in their main stat at level 5, they took a race that gives a bonus to their main stat, they selected spells and weapons that do good damage, they try to have a reasonable armor class. Result: When I play encounters from published WotC adventures, the fights are often extremely short, and the monsters go down very fast. Generally the players have higher attack bonuses and armor class than their opponents in a supposedly "hard" encounter. At level 5 the players have to hit bonuses of between +7 and +9, but the monsters they meet often have armor classes of 15 or less, so hits are far more common than misses. In the other direction the monsters frequently need to roll higher than 10 to hit the group tank. And the players also deal more damage than most monsters they encounter. As I don't fudge dice, monsters can easily die before actually landing a h...

Monday, 2nd April, 2018

  • 02:31 PM - iserith quoted Tobold in post Gain 50 xp in the Abyss
    Either system would work for me. But is it too much to ask for a WotC campaign book to spell out exactly how they want level progression to work? If they want a milestone system, then why are there xp awards? Not that they may have included enough XP for characters to be at the intended levels, but milestone advancement does use XP. See DMG page 261. Non-XP advancement is either story-based or session-based.


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