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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 22nd July, 2019, 09:41 PM
    Interesting. I thought this was going to be more about players wanting more coherence in the adventure design, rather than the somewhat random assignments in days of old. Good that you’re taking advice to heart.
    15 replies | 447 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 09:48 PM
    Lawful Evil you say? Surely this campaign is Chaotic Evil? But perhaps with some edits it now actually follows the encounter building rules... ;)
    338 replies | 206548 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Sunday, 21st July, 2019, 04:50 AM
    I don’t believe the roil is some continuous thing? And I thought the swirliness of the continents gave the impression of a roiled world. :) but no worries.
    8 replies | 5396 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 04:51 PM
    Also just use the average damage for NPC attacks unless it's a crit.
    87 replies | 2672 view(s)
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    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:07 PM
    So I had another look at the Planeshift doc (i don’t have the artbook after being disappointed with the Kaladesh one) and once again this is a plane dominated by a single large city. So it’s really calling for a city map primarily, which is a different kettle of fish. The fact that there’s a big river means there’s a larger world surrounding it and perhaps that could be documented, but then I...
    8 replies | 5396 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 04:29 PM
    Here's my redesign of the front page to promote ability scores over skills:
    5 replies | 245 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 03:08 PM
    Heck, just bold or underline would do the trick!
    21 replies | 779 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:43 PM
    Well it's hard to say, because it depends on what the players do, but if they mix things up in a Drow HQ then there could be a decent number. Though I'd probably handle it in waves if possible.
    21 replies | 779 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:40 PM
    I'll think about it when I get some free time (which is not soon).
    8 replies | 5396 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:24 PM
    A spell digest would be a useful DMs Guild product.
    21 replies | 779 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 12:44 AM
    I'm running a game at a high level and in the next session there's a chance that a variety of mid-to-high level drow casters might be running around each with a different set of spell combinations. I find this to be a challenge on two fronts: 1) Simply remembering what each spell does and its limitations (we're talking about 40 spells that could be cast) 2) Tracking which slots for each NPC...
    21 replies | 779 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Sunday, 14th July, 2019, 07:13 PM
    The vinyl still has a kind of floppy feel. so it doesn’t feel plastic-y and the corners curl up in a nice way :) Not that I’ve tried it, but i believe that you can use wet erase markers on the vinyl with no trouble.
    58 replies | 9560 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 01:06 AM
    That’s lovely. Kind of wish WotC had offered a flipped version of the map as it’s obviously going to be used on the Sword Coast as you say. Nicely hacked! :)
    58 replies | 9560 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 11th July, 2019, 01:04 AM
    The 4e Menzoberranzan guide on DMs Guild: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/168539/Menzoberranzan-City-of-Intrigue-4e
    58 replies | 9560 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 10th July, 2019, 09:21 PM
    Latest print, a lovely map of Menzoberranzan:
    58 replies | 9560 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, 12:42 AM
    I don’t roll damage for NPCs, I just use the average (unless it’s a critical).
    76 replies | 5626 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 08:19 PM
    I also find myself hearing the word in my head and then having to remember the correct spelling in the context. :)
    1012 replies | 72456 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 05:01 PM
    I dunno. Spelling “there” as “their” certainly looks like a spelling mistake to me. I was not confused by their meaning (which is typical for grammar issues), just their spelling. But that’s enough on that.
    1012 replies | 72456 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 04:09 PM
    That's not grammar - those are spelling errors and those never look professional :)
    1012 replies | 72456 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 04:07 PM
    It certainly has been, but as time passes it's seeming more and more out of step. Like for the past 40 years...
    1012 replies | 72456 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 03:45 PM
    The beautiful thing about the English language, and its preternatural flexibility, is it just loves to fill holes. And sometimes that's just by extending a meaning.
    1012 replies | 72456 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 03:42 PM
    Something that really irks me (and to which I naturally adapt to switching to singular "they") is when I'm reading out rules for a new board game and the player is constantly referred to as "he". Can't believe that new games still print that (though mostly it's a Euro game it seems, so could be a translator working with a strict grammar book... ;) ) Does anyone else just go "wha...???" when...
    1012 replies | 72456 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 12:39 PM
    Perhaps this was a problem in years gone by and different editions, but I came in DMing 5e and took this play loop approach to heart after reading an AngryDM article on (adjudicating actions like a @#%% boss), and I’ve yet to have a problem. Do we occasionally run your sub loop to get on the same page sure, but that’s how reasonable people come to a shared understanding. Is it a fundamental...
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Friday, 28th June, 2019, 12:21 PM
    I dunno, you might not have said it explicility, but surely that is the implication of this?: A reasonable person has determined that the DM has made a bad ruling against the player. How many times does that need to occur before the DM is “ruled” ( ;) ) incompetent or unreasonable? I just don’t see the point of debating situations where the DM is a bad actor. The players are utterly at...
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 09:02 PM
    I think we have a case where a number posters think that DMs generally cannot adequately adjudicate their games and thus must turn to the rules first to ensure fairness. I'm not saying that there aren't bad DMs out there, of course there are. But I don't think we can fix bad DMing by turning to the rules (or adding more rules).
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 08:59 PM
    Not sure that was quite the point I was making :)
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 08:44 PM
    Good catch on "other dangerous situations" but to me that's allowing the PCs some cushion to survive falls, traps etc etc. For my NPCs it's all about their ability to put up a fight and evade the PCs attacks. I'm definitely not in the camp that the NPCs are exactly the same as the PCs. I definitely don't roll death saving throws for NPCs for example - but I would have to assume that others...
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 08:35 PM
    I'm confused as to why we argue things based upon unreasonable DMing... shouldn't the assumption be that the DM is at least competent at their job? I guess it could be argued that I was being unreasonable in my OP by adjudicating that the player had a chance of accomplishing their goal through their approach but there was some chance of failure with a cost. But I think that's taking...
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 04:59 PM
    To my mind the combat rules are provided to provide a system to resolve a conflict the outcome of which is uncertain - this uncertainty is guided by the CR expectation of the encounter: Easy, Medium, Hard, Deadly. As the party gains levels the CR of these encounters changes and it means that there are some combat counters which are completely certain and it would be ridiculous to drop into the...
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Thursday, 27th June, 2019, 04:32 PM
    I'd adjudicate it just like any other action a PC might take. I think iserith and others have summed up my point of view well in that this is really just a case of action resolution. The player wants their character to take out the unsuspecting guard with a single arrow shot. As they have time to take the perfect shot and an arrow to the head seems likely to kill an orc outright I can see that...
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 03:06 AM
    So it sounds like for most people so far (unsurprisingly :) ), HP is damage absorption regardless of whether any effort is being made to withstand attacks. So it would be perfectly reasonable for an NPC to not make any effort in a combat situation and they would get all their HP? They could just stand there and absorb the generally lethal blows and be fine? Do you see why I feel differently?
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 26th June, 2019, 12:37 AM
    To avoid more threadcrapping in Sacrosanct’s genre thread I thought I’d survey responses to this simple situation: The PCs have come across an Orc camp about 200ft away. They’re looking down from a hidden location and a bored guard in the rangers sights. The ranger wants to kill the guard so they can continue to stealth into the camp. The ranger draws their bow string and releases an arrow....
    178 replies | 5868 view(s)
    4 XP
  • robus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 25th June, 2019, 03:14 PM
    The action is the character recalling their knowledge and experience for help in interpreting the tracks. Yes, they're not moving their body, but that doesn't mean they're not doing something. And by describing their examination in such terms, connecting their characters experience to the task at hand, it clearly communicates to the DM that their character knows what they're doing and should...
    63 replies | 2162 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 05:00 PM
    You could also create a new "Parkour" skill that covers both acrobatics and athletics. :) If the players want to climb walls (where there's some cost of failure, of course) I would ask for Strength check (to which they could add their proficiency bonus if they have the Parkour skill). As for leaping down, I would ask for a Dexterity check (to which they can add their proficiency bonus if they're...
    34 replies | 1507 view(s)
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  • robus's Avatar
    Monday, 24th June, 2019, 03:41 AM
    Doesn’t Xanathar’s Guide add some magic item creation rules (ok guidelines...)?
    11 replies | 850 view(s)
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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 you’re attacking Imaro. Perhaps you should spend a bit more time lurking on these forums to pick up on the vibe around here. It’s actually quite a nice place and people don’t generally go looking for a fight. I’m quite pleasant and yet you’ve 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...

Monday, 23rd October, 2017

  • 10:05 PM - lowkey13 mentioned robus in post Thoughts on this article about Black Culture & the D&D team dropping the ball?
    ...l law is not necessarily a human resources issue; I understand your confusion with the initial reference to "hostile work environment," but this would be just as applicable to someone claiming that the machines seemed too pointy (OSHA) or that sensors were miscalibrated (federal and state environmental). Now you seem to have some bizarre notion that this has to be a "product or process issue." Which has nothing to do with the OP, but again is completely wrong. If an employee tells the employer, "Line 20 is 20% slower than the rest," does the employer say, "Dude. You didn't give me a solution. So that doesn't count. Suck it up, whiny buttercup, because I don't care about my profits. I only care about DeJoker's theoretical rules on the internet for what employers care about!" My practical experience tells me ... no. But moving on, you clearly have a need to highjack this thread and throw aspersions around. Seriously- look at the last 20 comments. I fully agree with what cmad1977 and @robus wrote, and they did so succinctly. Put another way, either everyone but you is missing the point, or you are. And given that I know the rest of these people (even though we often disagree on other issues), I am comfortable that I am not the one misreading this situation. The first rule of holes is to stop digging; we all get a little intemperate at times. I would really suggest looking at your posts and deciding if you want to be that guy. This is a forum about having fun with D&D; try and have fun.
  • 09:15 PM - DeJoker mentioned robus in post Thoughts on this article about Black Culture & the D&D team dropping the ball?
    @cmad1977 and @robus LOMFAO yes your hypocrisy is noted and that is what many folks seem to feel about straight forward blunt truth -- oh how insensitive that was -- I was not attempting to write a sensitive piece I was simply pointing out the over looked facts that the "overly sensitive out pourings" of the original author seemed to have not covered in their so heart felt dismissal of all those other folks. If he had not wanted a response he most likely would not have personally and condescendingly pointed me to it as the possible post the original individual had told me to go look at -- a fact that he could not say was even true making the condescending nature of his post that much worse which kind of explains why he so easily dismissed those others. Further no one seems to even care that the overly sensitive post was actually very insensitive as well -- must have simply had better window dressing. *shrug* Now seriously if I made a wrong statement by all means please point it out using true facts rat...

Friday, 20th October, 2017

  • 01:45 PM - Dax Doomslayer mentioned robus in post Ambient music
    robus - FYI - I believe you can make soundsets with Syrinscape but I believe you need to be a "SuperSyrin" subscriber. Here's the URL: https://syrinscape.com/about-syrinscape/syrinscape-soundset-creator/. I haven't tried it myself so I'm not how well it works though.

Thursday, 31st August, 2017

  • 04:46 PM - akr71 mentioned robus in post Enhancing "Rise of Tiamat" (Practical stuff to try at your table!)
    @robus - Thanks! I may have to borrow some of your ideas if/when my players do something unexpected or if my changes feel ham-fisted or forced. Now to read SKT in depth rather than just skim through it. Edit: I may recast the stone giants in HotDQ as cloud giants - perhaps minor courtiers or cousins - someone who has known him a long time, stuck by him and seen his fall. Now that VGtM & SKT are out, fleshing out the different giant races, xenophobic stone giants that shy away from the surface real doesn't really fit well. I have it now that if the encounter goes well, they receive a token of some sort so that Blagothkus is willing to parlay with the PCs.

Wednesday, 9th August, 2017

  • 07:02 PM - LordEntrails mentioned robus in post Why does WotC put obviously bad or illogical elements in their adventures?
    @robus, Well, as I just said, I probably didn't phrase that post well and I apologize for that. @Ovinomancer, As mentioned, I apologize if you felt that post was denigrating to people. Given that you are so ready to take me to task for rudeness, it is interesting to note that only now do you address Lost Soul's behavior. Maybe you don't think implying someone is a liar is a big deal and is only "coming on strong".
  • 01:49 PM - akr71 mentioned robus in post D&D Beyond - What's it for?
    robus I know some people will complain about having to "buy the books again" but I look at it as investing in tools to make running the game more efficiently. 3 books x $20 (or $19.99 :erm: ) If I buy right out of the gate. I don't see myself bothering with a subscription - if I need a tabaxi or Oath of the Crown, etc I can probably 'homebrew' it

Monday, 31st July, 2017

  • 02:26 AM - LordEntrails mentioned robus in post Why does WotC put obviously bad or illogical elements in their adventures?
    That's exactly what you're doing, ... There is a mirror somewhere around you I'm sure. You should try looking into it sometime. And yet when I tried to withdraw from the discussion two things happened; 1) You made an insulting wise-ass comment that attempted to goad me into continuing the discussion. So yes, to you and robus I have been condescending. You have earned such an attitude because of your comments. Ones that you have clearly stated and can not be misinterpreted. 2) Ovinomancer made a nice and polite request for me to continue to try and explain my position. So, because of Ovinomancer, I have attempted to continue to try and explain myself. At this point I would politely ask you dropbear8mybaby to no longer respond to my posts in this thread. They are not directed at you and are not for your benefit.

Sunday, 30th July, 2017

  • 06:25 AM - LordEntrails mentioned robus in post Why does WotC put obviously bad or illogical elements in their adventures?
    So I suggest you (@ovinomancer) start by re-reading post #10. Here robus disagrees with my statements made earlier by stating to the effect; 'Moronic hill giants are an illogical decision for the author(s) to have put in the adventure.' Yet myself and many others gave numerous examples of why such a design decision is logical (see post #68 as another example). I never said such was a good decision, and it is certainly a debatable decision. But that does not make it illogical. Yet Robus & Ovinomancer continue to insist in future posts that such a decision is illogical (example posts #69 & 71). Continuing to state that such design decisions are illogical belittles those that have shown logical reasons for said decisions. One can continue to believe such decisions are bad, but that is not the same as illogical. These "logical" assessments (which are never actually supported with a deduction of the logic used) appear to be based on personal preference for gaming styles, interpretation of how a fantasy world works, and the motivations for those characters (N...


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Friday, 28th June, 2019

  • 01:21 AM - 5ekyu quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    I think we have a case where a number posters think that DMs generally cannot adequately adjudicate their games and thus must turn to the rules first to ensure fairness. I'm not saying that there aren't bad DMs out there, of course there are. But I don't think we can fix bad DMing by turning to the rules (or adding more rules).Maybe, but I see what's being discussed here as two parts. Diceless vs Diced - pro and con. Rules that serve us vs rules we fight against. I have played and run both diced snd diceless games and they create very enjoyable experiences with the right groups. I have played diced games where honestly few dice were rolled. I tend to recommend that DMs play/run diceless gsmes a couple times, it really helps you in running diced games. But, as a general experience, the more into gritty details of character features you have, the more jarring or out of sorts the decisions of GM fiat resolutions become. In some ways, GM fiat undermines the effort even on success. It's le...
  • 01:01 AM - 5ekyu quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    Good catch on "other dangerous situations" but to me that's allowing the PCs some cushion to survive falls, traps etc etc. For my NPCs it's all about their ability to put up a fight and evade the PCs attacks. I'm definitely not in the camp that the NPCs are exactly the same as the PCs. I definitely don't roll death saving throws for NPCs for example - but I would have to assume that others posting here do, or else it would be unfair to the NPCs?The game rules as written leave it to the GM to decide which to fo snd gives a kind of general case in exsmple of not tracking DS for underlings but maybe doing it for named guys. It seems more a matter of convenience, you can bother with it if you see benefit in it or not if it isnt with the effort, not "npcs dont die like PCs do" It's kinda like how, you know, PC might have a full inventory of gear listed out but, you know, we dont assume an orc or goblin doesny have a pack or tinderbox or rations simply cuz their stat blocks in the MM dont incl...
  • 12:54 AM - 5ekyu quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    I'm confused as to why we argue things based upon unreasonable DMing... shouldn't the assumption be that the DM is at least competent at their job? I guess it could be argued that I was being unreasonable in my OP by adjudicating that the player had a chance of accomplishing their goal through their approach but there was some chance of failure with a cost. But I think that's taking unreasonable to an extreme... :)I dufnt think you were being unreasonable in your OP. A GM deciding the walls are guarded by creatures thst are solidly within the range of "those what can be One-Shot-Killed (OSK) is perfectly reasonable. But, deciding to then give the guards so many HP that you have to bypass the basics of combat to resolve it shows a real disconnect between the GMs vision and the execution. It would seem **reasonable GMing** to have put an orc out there on guard duty at 8 hp with the not unreasonable manifestation bring thst guard duty is not the assignments given to the bigger badder senio...

Thursday, 27th June, 2019

  • 09:38 PM - Tony Vargas quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    Fir one, tge play loop is as much rules as the combat section. It's right there in the front of the book as how to play the game. In 5e, it is. In 3e, there's Rule 0, instead. It's a subtle but important difference. In 3e, the DM's ultimate control of the shape of his own game - of deciding what game, and what variations on the game, he's going to run - is acknowledged, up front, in a "get it over with, but stick to it" kind of way. The expectation in the community was clearly RAW, and if you House Ruled (used Rule 0, or even just used a less-popular interpretation), you better stick to those house rules. Once play is joined, the expectation was that the rules were more or less set in stone. In contrast, 5e builds it's acknowledgement of the DM's primacy over the system into /every resolution that takes place in the course of play/. There is no game without the DM, and the DM comes before the rules every time. There's an elegance and an honesty to that is probably the closest mo...
  • 08:51 PM - Tony Vargas quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    I'm confused as to why we argue things based upon unreasonable DMing... shouldn't the assumption be that the DM is at least competent at their job? I mean, if you want every discussion to go something like: "What do you think of ______ variant where we resolve ________ by doing <something totally ridiculous and obviously broken>…?" "Should be fine." "Yup." "Don't see any potential problems." "Thanks, I already implemented and it was exactly as awesome as everything else I've ever run." ::thread ends::
  • 07:24 PM - Ellsworth quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    My reasoning is, HP models a character’s ability to put up a fight. If you’re not fighting back then you’re not expending HP and thus it is not a factor here. I haven't thought of HP as being conditional. Nice observation. However, the condition you propose may not be completely accurate per RAW. "Your character’s hit points define how tough your character is in combat and other dangerous situations." (PHB 12) The "dangerous situation" condition may apply to your scenario. Being an orc guard in an orc camp could be considered a dangerous situation. I think this is the best solution: It is an attack. The attacker is unseen by the target, so the attack is rolled with advantage. The PC is attacking with surprise. Advantage is powerful. If you're not convinced, arrow damage should be taken into consideration as well: The ranger simply can't do enough damage in one shot to take out the orc except on a crit and even that's no guarantee.
  • 06:15 PM - MarkB quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    I'd adjudicate it just like any other action a PC might take. I think @<i><b><u><a href="https://www.enworld.org/forum/member.php?u=97077" target="_blank">iserith</a></u></b></i> and others have summed up my point of view well in that this is really just a case of action resolution. The player wants their character to take out the unsuspecting guard with a single arrow shot. As they have time to take the perfect shot and an arrow to the head seems likely to kill an orc outright I can see that the action is achievable but has a cost (if the ranger misses the camp will be alerted). In my OP I was setting the DC to simply be the AC of the orc (because again the ranger has all the time in the world) - but other factors might complicate the ability check (perhaps there's a strong crosswind, or it's raining, or its dark). In that case I might set a separate DC. And sometimes, no matter the odds, luck just isn't on your side. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QicFJz4qcQ4 Sorry, couldn't res...
  • 05:18 PM - iserith quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    To my mind the combat rules are provided to provide a system to resolve a conflict the outcome of which is uncertain - this uncertainty is guided by the CR expectation of the encounter: Easy, Medium, Hard, Deadly. As the party gains levels the CR of these encounters changes and it means that there are some combat counters which are completely certain and it would be ridiculous to drop into the combat rules: * Level 1 PCs against an Ancient black dragon? Insta-death for the PCs, no combat rounds necessary. * Level 20 PCs against some goblins? Insta-death for the goblins, no combat rounds necessary. So given that the rules are modeling a battle between reasonably matched opponents (and HP is a large part of this modeling) why would we resort to the combat rules whenever a player wants to drop an NPC (and the NPC is not in a position to fight back)? If the action (goal and approach) can be adjudicated by the DM, the DM should do so. Just because a PC pulls out a weapon, it doesn't mean that ...

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 10:17 PM - Greenstone.Walker quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    How would you adjudicate the action and why? How would you handle it the other way around? The characters are camped, all asleep except for one on watch. An attacker with a bow takes aim... What would your players say if you just said, "Character Juma is dead."? Whatever ruling you make has to go both ways. Me, I'd call for Initiative and use the Surprise rules.
  • 06:59 PM - MarkB quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    For me, as the ranger has time to take the perfect shot and the Orc is unsuspecting, I would allow the shot to kill if it beats the AC. My reasoning is, HP models a character’s ability to put up a fight. If you’re not fighting back then you’re not expending HP and thus it is not a factor here. But I have a feeling I’m in a distinct minority :) So how would everyone else handle this? Where do you draw the line? And if HP isn't a factor here, what is? Would you make the same ruling for an attack against an unsuspecting ogre? An unsuspecting Glabrezu? An unsuspecting Arch-Druid? An unsuspecting dragon?
  • 11:03 AM - Rya.Reisender quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    So how would everyone else handle this? The moment the PC voices his intent to attack, I immediately start combat, roll stealth and initiative. Already before the attack if the stealth roll failed, the orc can alert the camp even before any attack rolls take place. If the stealth roll succeeds, then all PCs who rolled stealth (aka the ones who want to attack) can act in round 1 while the orcs can't. The orc will raise alarm at the start of round 2. So the only way to kill someone without him being able to react at all to it is to surprise him and kill him in one round.
  • 07:19 AM - Saelorn quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    So it sounds like for most people so far (unsurprisingly :) ), HP is damage absorption regardless of whether any effort is being made to withstand attacks. So it would be perfectly reasonable for an NPC to not make any effort in a combat situation and they would get all their HP? They could just stand there and absorb the generally lethal blows and be fine?Two things: 1) From a consistency standpoint, there are too many problems with treating HP as anything other than pure toughness. The things which deal HP damage are primarily physical in nature, and none of that damage is adjusted for skill on the part of the defender; or rather, it is, but it uses the existing HP mechanics. Throwing a conscious person off of a cliff does not deal more damage than throwing an unconscious person, unless the former makes a successful skill check to roll with the impact. Likewise, the difference between an aware guard and an unaware guard is that the latter is not going to succeed in dodging - hence, Advant...
  • 06:05 AM - Celebrim quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    So how would everyone else handle this? It's a normal combat situation. There is an obvious reason why. Suppose that the orcs now adopt the same tactics. How do your players feel about orc archers achieving die no save hits on the PC when they are not fighting back? I play a homebrew version of 3e and a sufficiently high level Hunter could pull of this sort of shot reliably, killing the orc with near certainty. It would be well within the rules for a high level hunter to make a single arrow shot that did 4d8+10 damage, with a 10% chance of a critical hit for about 10d8+30 damage - a total all but guaranteed to additionally provoke at least one and possibly two catastrophic damage checks with, because this is a Hunter, a very high DC to save even in the unlikely event this was a rather high hit point orc. A multi-classed Hunter/Rogue with suitable feat selection could also pull this off. And that's really not getting into all the possibilities available with magical weapons a...
  • 05:21 AM - Umbran quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    So it sounds like for most people so far (unsurprisingly :) ), HP is damage absorption regardless of whether any effort is being made to withstand attacks. So it would be perfectly reasonable for an NPC to not make any effort in a combat situation and they would get all their HP? They could just stand there and absorb the generally lethal blows and be fine? Do you see why I feel differently? I can understand why you feel differently. However, I think you might be allowing "realism" to override several points (most already made, but I'll reiterate): For one thing - this orc is on guard. It isn't that he's actually helpless - tied up or unconscious. He is bored, but not insensate. He can still hear the twang of the bow in the distance, is still able to move, roll with the impact when it hits, and so forth. For another thing - this is an Olde Tyme LongeBowe. Not a sniper rifle. It uses subsonic ammunition, large enough that wind effects are very significant. Yes, skilled arch...
  • 04:55 AM - Tony Vargas quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    How would you adjudicate the action and why? The ol' sneak up and kill a sentry? 5e: Narrate success or failure depending on which'd set up the better scenario - or, if it doesn't matter call for regular attack & damage. 5e has an assassin sub--class that pulls these kinds of murders as a defining feature, so giving it out for free could be off.... that said, a ranger should be able to manage some serious damage. 4e: Make it part of a larger skill challenge. After the second stealth failure, kill a minion sentry in one go or the jig us up. 3e: RaW, you get to attack from surprise, loss of DEX bonus, all that. Orcs didn't have that many hps anyway. AD&D: Almost sounds like a trick question, it was so improbable to stealth successfully. Probably roll the orc's 1 HD at the same time as the damage, behind the screen, and proceed much as in 5e. . My reasoning is, HP models a character’s ability to put up a fight. If you’re not fighting back then you’re not expending HP and thu...
  • 04:27 AM - 5ekyu quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    To avoid more threadcrapping in Sacrosanct’s genre thread I thought I’d survey responses to this simple situation: The PCs have come across an Orc camp about 200ft away. They’re looking down from a hidden location and a bored guard in the rangers sights. The ranger wants to kill the guard so they can continue to stealth into the camp. The ranger draws their bow string and releases an arrow. They roll an attack to see if the arrow hits cleanly (i.e. beats the orc’s AC) and the risk being alerting the camp to danger if it misses. The arrow obviously don’t do enough damage to kill the Orc outright in a regular combat situation, but this is out of combat. How would you adjudicate the action and why? For me, as the ranger has time to take the perfect shot and the Orc is unsuspecting, I would allow the shot to kill if it beats the AC. My reasoning is, HP models a character’s ability to put up a fight. If you’re not fighting back then you’re not expending HP and thus it is not a factor here. But ...
  • 04:25 AM - Elon Tusk quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    So it sounds like for most people so far (unsurprisingly :) ), HP is damage absorption regardless of whether any effort is being made to withstand attacks. So it would be perfectly reasonable for an NPC to not make any effort in a combat situation and they would get all their HP? They could just stand there and absorb the generally lethal blows and be fine? Do you see why I feel differently? No. I really don't. If the situation were reversed -- an orc ambusher attacking a PC, I don't see anyone arguing the PC won't get all their HP or that it wouldn't be combat. I don't see any RAW or feel any RAI that would make this situation different. You say the guard is bored but even being bored wouldn't cause a guard to lose toughness. Hit points define how tough your character is in combat and other dangerous situations (PHB p. 12). Even if you decide this isn't combat, it falls into the dangerous situation category. A dragon doesn't lose some of its hit points just because it's sleeping. If I ...
  • 01:53 AM - Umbran quoted robus in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    For me, as the ranger has time to take the perfect shot and the Orc is unsuspecting, I would allow the shot to kill if it beats the AC. My reasoning is, HP models a character’s ability to put up a fight. If you’re not fighting back then you’re not expending HP and thus it is not a factor here. But I have a feeling I’m in a distinct minority :) So how would everyone else handle this? It is an attack. The attacker is unseen by the target, so the attack is rolled with advantage. The PC is attacking with surprise. The character gets to apply whatever benefits are within their power (like, Sneak Attack, if they have that ability). But there's no "perfect shot - instant kill". If you can't pull together enough hit points of damage... well, that shot wasn't as perfect as you thought. Maybe the target coughed after you loosed the arrow, or something. In other systems, I might rule differently, but this is D&D's structure. If the players complain, ask them how they'd feel if you had...

Tuesday, 25th June, 2019

  • 04:27 PM - Ovinomancer quoted robus in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    The action is the character recalling their knowledge and experience for help in interpreting the tracks. Yes, they're not moving their body, but that doesn't mean they're not doing something. And by describing their examination in such terms, connecting their characters experience to the task at hand, it clearly communicates to the DM that their character knows what they're doing and should either get the information they need, or at least get some boost to any check that might be called.Thanks. I have 5ekyu on ignore, so I can't respond. You got it in one.
  • 03:26 PM - 5ekyu quoted robus in post Abilities....Which check would you use?
    The action is the character recalling their knowledge and experience for help in interpreting the tracks. Yes, they're not moving their body, but that doesn't mean they're not doing something. And by describing their examination in such terms, connecting their characters experience to the task at hand, it clearly communicates to the DM that their character knows what they're doing and should either get the information they need, or at least get some boost to any check that might be called.Got it. For me, rather than get the characters history for every stand around and think about stuff moment, I prefer to know say any proficiencies or features they might actually have that apply- like z background or class trait. See, that who " learned at the feet of Greenskin the Smelly" ain't really gonna get you much knowledge about tracking unless you represented that say by giving your character proficiency in Survival or higher Wisdom or some other way that it factors into the game. I mean, obviou...


robus's Downloads

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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!
3397 +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
336 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...
2579 +6 1 Sunday, 27th September, 2015, 04:07 PM Monday, 28th September, 2015, 10:42 PM

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