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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Today, 07:52 AM
    Many monsters and NPCs will have time-based powers through spells. The following spells could be given as spells or powers of creatures or NPCs: Time Stop (9th), Gental Repose (2nd), Contingency (6th), Slow (3rd), Haste (3rd) MONSTERS WITH TIME-BASED FLAVOR AND POWERS Gyno Sphinx and Enhanced Sphinx Gyno: Basic Rules , pg. 348 Enhanced: Lost Laboratory of Kwalish , pg. 10
    7 replies | 115 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Today, 07:36 AM
    There is a Fighting Style for that - Protection. Its an amazing Fighting style, that is often overlooked for Defence. At-will (uses your reaction) disadvantage to an attack against an ally is huge. A shield wall of 10 spear+shield guys with that Fighting style, in 2 ranks of 5 x 5, imposing disadvantage on all incoming attacks against each other. The guys in the front rank have...
    59 replies | 1151 view(s)
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  • pukunui's Avatar
    Today, 06:02 AM
    Aha. Makes sense, I guess. The beholder does have a few wonky effects (like the petrification ray having a Dex save rather than a Con save).
    4 replies | 100 view(s)
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  • pukunui's Avatar
    Today, 05:20 AM
    MonsterEnvy: Thanks. Out of curiosity, what is the source of the line you've quoted?
    4 replies | 100 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Today, 04:48 AM
    There are two active discussions in this forum that got me thinking about this. The first is: "What are your pedantic complaints about the D&D?" The second is "What are your favorite single game mechanics?" Participating in these discussions got me to thinking about mechanics, practices, and game aids that are often decried, or that I realize are not particularly elegant, but which I am...
    0 replies | 61 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pukunui's Avatar
    Today, 04:26 AM
    pukunui started a thread Disintegrations
    Hi all, During the last session of one of my campaigns, the PCs ventured into the Underdark, where they encountered a beholder. They rather foolishly decided to engage it in combat. While they ultimately managed to defeat it, one of their number was sadly disintegrated in the process. I now have two questions: 1) Did all of the PCs' magic items get disintegrated as well? Or are they...
    4 replies | 100 view(s)
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  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:20 PM
    And its for exactly this reason that no one who actually has played Eberron before really needs to buy the upcoming hardcover Eberron book. Nor why anyone really needed to buy the Wayfinder's Guide. Or needed to buy the 4E Eberron Player's Guide or the 4E Eberron Campaign Guide. Or the 4E Adventurer's Guide To Eberron or the 3E Player's Guide To Eberron. All of them have and will be...
    29 replies | 710 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:43 PM
    I agree with you. You're deliberately choosing not to enforce resource usage of your players... in a game with a central mechanic of resource management. That's entirely your choice, but surely you can see the problems here? You cant really put your hand up (as DM) and comment about anything to do with resource management and blame it on anything else but your decision you made not to...
    63 replies | 1657 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:30 PM
    I dont get how they 'forget' to use them. Remind them to do so. Heck, politely order them to do so. After each ability usage ask them to 'tick it off the list'. It's like someone 'forgetting' to write down the damage they've just taken or something. Surely you ensure they record that right? Do they forget to write down XP and magic items they find as well? I do character sheet audits...
    63 replies | 1657 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:19 PM
    Have you read the Multiclassing section of the PHB? It answers all these questions. A Wizard 1/ Warlock 1 has: 2 Wizard spell slots, that refresh on a Long rest. 1 Warlock spell slot, that refreshes on a Short rest. His Spells known are his Wizard spells (as a 1st level Wizard) and his Warlock spells (as a 1st level Warlock). He can cast his spells known through either class through...
    6 replies | 167 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:36 AM
    The Goading attack maneuver (BM) imposes disadvantage on creatures attacks against anyone other than you. The Compelled Duel spell (Pal 1) does the same. Cavalier Fighters get 'marks' that do the same (and trigger a free attack if the ignore). The Sentinel feat gives you an AoO if they swing at someone other than you. Swashbuckler Panache also imposes disadvantage on creatures attacks against...
    59 replies | 1151 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:52 PM
    Record resource usage on a sheet of paper. Request that sheet be handed to you at the end of the session. Problem solved. I mean, your players should be recording resource usage as they go anyway. It's not like you're asking them to do anything special.
    63 replies | 1657 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:46 PM
    For reactions it has both Protection fighting style, and Cutting words. On its turn it can: 1) Heal people or grant them temp HP (rally maneuver, spells, turn the tide) 2) Give them free attacks (Commanders strike), 3) Move them into position (maneuvering strike). 4) Give them advantage on attacks (Distracting strike) 5) Buff allies (Bardic inspiration, Bless, Heroism, Aid)
    59 replies | 1151 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 09:04 PM
    I've run AD&D, BECMI and Pathfinder modules in 5E with minimal prep-work. Examples include Pazios Crown of the Kobold king, the entire Age of Worms adventure path, AD&D's Lost Island of Castanamir and more. Literally; a half experienced DM can run them on the fly no-worries at all. Monsters are a 1 for 1 swap most times, ditto with NPCs. DCs are made up on the fly (10 for easy, 15 for...
    13 replies | 491 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 08:18 PM
    For a Warlord: Battlemaster 3/ Crown Paladin 6/ Lore Bard 5 Other levels to suit. Feats: Inspiring Leader. Expertise: Persuasion, History Skills: Lots Ability Scores: Strength and Charisma
    59 replies | 1151 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 08:04 PM
    Cavaliers can Mark each opponent they attack from 3rd level onwards. Each marked creature gets disadvantage to attack anyone other than you, and if they deal damage to anyone other than you, you get a free attack against them (bonus action, bonus to damage, with advantage) on your next turn. Add on Sentinel for even more fun. They also then provoke an AoO from you if they attack someone...
    59 replies | 1151 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 07:19 PM
    Solamnic Knight should be a Paladin Oath. Ditto with the Knights of Takhisis. WoTL Sturm was a Fighter who simply followed the Oath. High Sorcery Wizard should be Wizard arcane tradition.
    61 replies | 14919 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 06:43 PM
    I got it straight away. An en:):):):)er is when the DM throws a Balor at a party of 3rd level PCs.
    63 replies | 1657 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 06:40 PM
    I've been intrested in a 'Porcipine' build for a while. I had a Fighter 1/ Fiend Blade Lock 7 (V-uman, HAM) who (along with a friendly Cleric with Warding Bond) with Shadows of Mail that was pretty effective. He had 20 Temp HP from AoA, and reduced damage by 3 (HAM) and then halved it (Resistance from Warding Bond). The latter meant that AoA stayed 'up' for multiple encounters, dealing...
    59 replies | 1151 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 06:24 PM
    You cant manage that in game? Like; get them to have a separate sheet of paper. On that sheet of paper resources are tracked. It looks something like this (Lets presume something complex like an 11th level MC character with a ton of resources - a 5th level Vengeance Paladin, 3rd level Battlemaster Fighter, 3rd Level Warlock; Vuman, Lucky feat, Rod of the Pact Keeper): ...
    63 replies | 1657 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 05:54 PM
    I'd like to see some ToB style stuff personally.
    100 replies | 2084 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 05:52 PM
    I've been trying to whack together a build that forces enemies to attack you (Sentinel, plus 3 levels of Cavalier fighter), while also making it a bad idea to attack you (Armor of Agathys, Hellish Rebuke, Shadows of Moil). Half Elf seems to work pretty good. Blade Pact, Hexblade, Sentinel, HAM, EA + PAM. Bonus points if you have a friendly Cleric nearby to cast Warding Bond on you. AoA...
    59 replies | 1151 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 05:29 PM
    Great, but long rest resources dont come back at the end of a session. They come back once you've completed a long rest. I know it's convenient to 'long rest at the end of a session' for many, but as long as your Players are accurately tracking resources (and you audit the suckers with a few questions at the start of the next session) it shouldnt be a problem. ...
    63 replies | 1657 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 04:56 PM
    Vuman Cavalier Fighter . Use a halberd for reach. From 1st level you have Sentinel (AoO if your target moves away (reducing their speed to 0) or attacks someone other than you). From 3rd level you can 'mark' creatures you attack; they have disadvantage to attack anyone other than you, and if they damage anyone other than you, you get a free attack against them the following round (at...
    59 replies | 1151 view(s)
    5 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Saturday, 20th July, 2019, 12:47 PM
    Based on what players of the individual editions have said about what was required to make the game like their edition, I suspect they realized early in the process that there was little they could do to make a majority of those players happy. No matter what they put in, they'd be a dollar short. So they did what they could to put in variant rules to help bridge the gaps between the 5E they...
    100 replies | 2084 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 08:55 PM
    is not =to . A creature that makes 3 attack rolls against one target might only make one mighty swing. The inverse is also true; a creature that makes a single attack roll, might be stabbing his target multiple times. Same deal how a 'hit' with an attack roll, doesnt necessarily mean you actually strike your target with your weapon. They could dodge or parry the blow at the last second...
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 07:55 PM
    It's only an issue if you (the DM) let it be an issue. It's no different to a hidden creature initiating combat (which triggers initiative, possibly allowing an Alert combatant to go before the surprising hidden creature.) Your 'solution' to a problem that doesnt exist unless you (the DM) want it to, is to nerf the Rogue. I swear this is anti-rogue week. Threads on arbitrarily nerfing...
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 05:57 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    Sure, and that argues for page-setting when playing with new players, just as would be the case in my view for playing any game with new players. I run a fair amount of pickup games (not as much as I used to) and the first thing on my table rules is: "Before doing or saying anything, remember to consider the goals of play by asking yourself, 'Is what I'm about to do or say going to be fun for...
    34 replies | 879 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 05:41 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    Yes, I think what is frequently forgotten in these discussions is that the players, regardless of the situation, are obligated to pursue the goals of play, that is, everyone having fun and contributing to the creation of an exciting memorable tale. It's spelled out right in the rules. Whether you know the module backwards and forwards or not, your decisions as a player still have to achieve...
    34 replies | 879 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 05:32 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    Yes. Players frequently replay my one-shots with full knowledge of what to expect, sometimes many times over. This just isn't a problem in my experience. That said, there is no module I have ever run as-is because they are in my opinion frequently terrible. Especially the plot-based ones. My question is less about what people's particular opinions are on this (which are varied and...
    34 replies | 879 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:56 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    I personally would not say that.
    34 replies | 879 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:39 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    It's not clear to me where the presupposition that players shouldn't be drawing on hard-won information even comes from. It seems to me to be as old as the hills but I don't really recall any rules books saying we should be doing this. And it certainly doesn't say that in the D&D 5e books. "Metagame thinking" is solely a risk to the player in that he or she might be basing character actions on...
    34 replies | 879 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:02 PM
    So dont run the race in combat rounds.
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 03:29 PM
    iserith replied to Double Dash
    You have to flip this around and make the fighter the quarry for this to work most of the time. Quarry gets a chance to hide at the end of every round as long as there is something to hide behind. Rogues are typically not too shabby at hiding which means the rogue will generally get away. This has to be taken into account in my view if an argument is to be based on the DMG chase rules. (There...
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 02:34 PM
    You could just have the NPCs or monsters do something other than mindlessly attack the PCs until slain. Perhaps they rush the PCs, try to steal something valuable, then run away. Maybe they trail the PCs at a safe distance, not making their intent known, and then when the PCs encounter something tougher, they jump into the fight to try to take out a single PC. You could also have it be a social...
    28 replies | 664 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 02:22 PM
    iserith replied to Is This Odd?
    I don't care if someone reads the Monster Manual during play. If the difficulty of my challenge is hugely affected by players knowing something about the monsters, then I've designed a poor challenge. I don't expect veteran players to pretend like they don't know something about a monster they've been fighting for years and years. Basically the same thing in my view. If I want the difficulty of...
    34 replies | 879 view(s)
    6 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 11:56 AM
    I ran a Call of Cthulhu campaign that took place in Evan's City (Pennsylvania), made famous by Night of the Living Dead. Several locations, such as the cemetery from the movie featured prominently in the campaign. The campaign didn't revolve around zombies however, but about a cult that was messing around with some sort of Lovecraftian timemachine. But it was fun to incorporate some actual...
    25 replies | 749 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 06:49 AM
    How on earth are you doing martial arts katas learnt as a Human... as a Wolf? How is the physcial form of a Wolf, capable of doing what a Human can? How? How is a Wolf deflecting arrows, or delivering a snap kick, grappling something (other than with a bite), or even simply punching someone? Like... if Jackie Chan was somehow turned into a Wolf, how on earth is the Wolf blocking...
    18 replies | 583 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 06:35 AM
    But it's castable as a bonus action, meaning it comes with an action economy buff. It allows someone who knows the spell to cast it and immediately take the Hide action (rendering themselves largely immune to most attacks). Reduced duration drops it a level; but improved action economy and usage brings it back up a level.
    11 replies | 446 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:40 AM
    I'm not sure. I'm a 40-something, white American who has lived and worked in a number of countries, mostly India, China, and Taiwan. Violence as entertainment is not an American or European anomaly. I've yet to encounter a culture where violence was not regularly depicted in their TV shows, movies, and books. American TV, movies, and many books do pretty darn well overseas as well. ...
    74 replies | 2225 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:16 AM
    Okay, you've convinced me.
    74 replies | 2225 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:11 AM
    They can attack and then dissapear and move away. Being invisible (but not yet hidden) they're immune to AoO's and most spells and class features that require a 'target you can see' (which is most of them). When they walk off, their opponent cant make an AOO against them. Their target then gets their turn. Presumably they walk over and attack the Ranger (at disadvantage due to...
    11 replies | 446 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Friday, 19th July, 2019, 04:01 AM
    But they're not. Rogues are more manouverable in combat. Cunning action isnt some objective measure of a creatures overall speed; it's simply a class feature that models a Rogues greater manouverability in combat situations. In a leg race a Rogue with 30' movement speed is no faster than a Fighter with a 30' movement speed. The winner of such a race would be simply determined by an...
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 08:04 PM
    'Medium sized creature' is not an 'object' and picking someone up, and moving them 30' certainly isnt incidental to that movement. For mine, it's a Grapple check (likely unopposed seeing as he is your ally) as part of the Attack action, followed by 1/2 movement (as normal for being grappled) and then you can release them (as normal for grappling) and continue with the rest of your attacks (if...
    13 replies | 463 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:58 PM
    Why roll Hide into it? Thats the benefit of having it quickened as a bonus action. Bonus action cast, Action to Hide, move away (or whatever). Personally I would have duration be lowered to 'until the end of your next turn', and remove the auto-hide function.
    11 replies | 446 view(s)
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  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:54 PM
    What is this anti-rogue week? Threads bemoaning Dexterity to hit and damgae, TWF and now cunning action Dash. Not a single thread bemoaning God Wizards or CoDzilla. Welcome to 5E. I for one welcome our new Rogue and GWM fighter overlords.
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:49 PM
    iserith replied to Double Dash
    I use the Chase Rules a fair amount and I also see nothing against the rules about bonus action Dash under that system. The limiting factor for the rogue is Constitution here and burning out twice as fast. This is really only a problem though if the rogue is the pursuer rather than the quarry since, unless there is no chance of hiding, the rogue has often successfully escaped at the end of the...
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 01:52 PM
    I also probably would have applied the "half-speed" movement penalty to carrying an ally (a la moving a grappled person). After all... whenever a player had ever tried lifting and moving/dragging an unconscious ally I always applied the have-movement as a matter of course, so there's no reason to think doing the same to an upright conscious ally should be any different. At this point, it...
    13 replies | 463 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 08:46 AM
    During 3E and PF we whinged about the difficulty of obtaining +Dex to damage. 5E gives us +Dex to damage, and we whinge about it existing. Never change people. Never change.
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 08:40 AM
    Youre OK to do it that way, but if a Rogue with 30' movement dashes twice and moves, he has 90'of movement that round. Dashing is an action that grants you additional movement equal to your speed. Nothing in that prohibits a Rogue from using the same action twice and gaining aditional movement equal to 2 x speed. Same deal with action surging fighters who + + move, or Action surging...
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 07:12 AM
    Stewart's quote seems a tad disingenuous and a bit disrespectful to their business partners. They are licensing content to D&D Beyond, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc. So they are allowing for digital options. They don't like PDFs because it makes piracy easier. Also, yes, PDFs are not a great experience IMHO, but DriveThru RPG and the many publishers who offer PDF versions of their print products...
    74 replies | 2225 view(s)
    3 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:52 AM
    Fair enough. I'm a fan of one-shots, but get it that character growth and getting to dive deep into storylines is the secret sauce for many and that such folks would find one-shots lacking.
    29 replies | 1073 view(s)
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  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Thursday, 18th July, 2019, 06:47 AM
    Sorry for my ignorance, but was that not the case in other editions of D&D? I played 1e in the 80s and I don't have the 1e DMG anymore, so I'm not sure if it was a rule that the DM called for rolls, but I recall playing that way. Or maybe my memory is being shaped by my recent experiences with 5e. I never played 2nd though 4th edition.
    49 replies | 1789 view(s)
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  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:30 PM
    Getting 6 identical clones in Paranoia.
    49 replies | 1789 view(s)
    3 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 07:00 PM
    I allow it, but: 1. I enforce encumbrance rules 2. It is not "treasure": You don't get XP for the GP value of the sold items For those scratching their heads or taking umbrage at these two points: For point one: we use D&D Beyond, so tracking encumbrance is pretty easy. But it is enough of a hassle that they generally do not want to bother. That said, they've recently been building up...
    20 replies | 673 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:45 PM
    I'll echo "stunt points" mentioned above from the AGE system. I was introduced to the mechanic with The Expanse. I also like "fortune" in The Expanse. I think this also comes from the AGE system. Basically, you have an amount of fortune points that refresh after an "interlude" (kinda a mix of an extended long rest and downtime) and you get more as you level up. You can spend fortune points to...
    49 replies | 1789 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:34 PM
    jaelis is absolutely right on what the rules are in this situation. That being said... this is the sort of interesting character design concept that I as a DM would be happy to work with a player on to eventually allow to happen. Adding Martial Arts to Primal Savagery would basically be along the lines of the damage gained by certain magic items, so there's nothing inherently unbalanced by this...
    3 replies | 187 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:16 PM
    DEFCON 1 replied to Double Dash
    As a table rule I allow every PC to triple-move, as well as double-move with disengage. My table rules for the Dash action and Disengage action are as follows: Full Sprint: If you use your action to Dash, you may also Dash with a bonus action. Tactical Retreat: If you use your action to Disengage, you may also Dash with your bonus action. When you take a PC's movement also into account,...
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:10 PM
    I've found that feeling you have to put together a campaign can be a block to enjoying the hobby. One shots are a great way to get people together without worrying about whether that same group will be available next week/month. Also, it makes it easier for players to say yes as they don't feel pressured into a long-term time commitment. Also, you can play more characters and try different...
    29 replies | 1073 view(s)
    3 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:00 PM
    iserith replied to Double Dash
    For what it's worth, the rules also specifically call out a character's or monster's speed as being "short bursts of energetic movement in the midst of a life-threatening situation."
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
    1 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:00 PM
    . . . Okay, I'll ask: How does the Linguistics skill work in Pathfinder?
    163 replies | 6934 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 03:14 PM
    You're right and it drives me crazy when I turn up in a game where a DM rolls individual initiative for monsters. Though it's still the same amount of actions to resolve, it really does slow things down because the initiative rolling takes longer and then, if those monsters are interspersed with PCs or other monsters, there's a "gear-changing" that eats up additional time. It really adds up!
    13 replies | 479 view(s)
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  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:53 PM
    The RAW is that like creatures share initiative anyway. It's still 10 creatures on one initiative count, but it's not like you're rolling 10 different initiatives for them, if that's a concern. As for your swarm, it seems a sound idea, but someone better at math than me will have to say if it has parity with the spell as written. But anyway, players have an obligation to pursue the goals of...
    13 replies | 479 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:36 PM
    What Hriston said - most monsters' stuff is just junk. There are some exceptions that I will make an effort to describe, such as a hobgoblin in plate armor or the like. Sometimes I'll describe something resplendent a monster wears that would be damaged in combat and made less valuable in order to set up a challenge for the players to take out the monster without damaging their loot. It makes them...
    20 replies | 673 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:49 AM
    Oh absolutely. But I dislike the D&D version. They are like crossbow machineguns. I recently got the Pathfinder Ultimate Equipment book, (which is an amazing comprehensive book btw) and my eyes almost shot fire when I read the description of Studded Leather Armor. It was so dumb. How do they keep getting this wrong? Is anyone going to correct this at any point? "An improved form of...
    163 replies | 6934 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 11:42 AM
    And those are great, if you paint them yourself. But I don't like painting miniatures, and I'm also not very good at it. I prefer to have them pre-painted. There's been two excellent sets that I recently acquired: Dungeon of the Mad Mage has some awesome laboratory props, and there's an amazing Pathfinder cemetery set as well.
    23 replies | 2693 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 06:27 AM
    That's basically what my players do. They police themselves for speed and that includes just keeping them on a single target. It's not really about banning the spell BlivetWidget. It's just players realizing that it can slow down play and taking reasonable steps to mitigate that.
    13 replies | 479 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Wednesday, 17th July, 2019, 02:59 AM
    Alright, can you give a breakdown of the two PCs (Rogue and Paladin) for me, so I can see why this Rogue was leaving the Paladin feeling second rate?
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:13 PM
    The mob rules worked fine, but also working in my favor is that the table rule is that if you're the sort of player who can't manage this sort of spell without bogging down the turn, you simply don't cast it. The player has a responsibility here in my view. (Same for summons, pets, etc.)
    13 replies | 479 view(s)
    1 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 09:20 PM
    iserith replied to Double Dash
    Yes on the double-dash. There tends to be a LOT of movement in my games due to terrain, so it comes up quite a bit.
    123 replies | 3519 view(s)
    2 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:41 PM
    You can resolve by applying the mob rules in the DMG (pg. 250) which foregoes any attack rolls, saving time. Then use average damage.
    13 replies | 479 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 06:55 PM
    Level 5 Rogue. 1 attack (rapier) at +7 dealing 3d6+1d8+4 damage (presuming adjacent PC to trigger sneak attack) = around 19 damage. Level 5 Paladin. 2 attacks (Greatsword) at +7 dealing 4d6+8 damage -re'roll 1s and 2s = around 25 damage. The Paladin also has roughly 6 x smites and/or smite spells, 3 x divine channels (including either +Cha to hit and damage or advantage to hit), and damage...
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:44 PM
    Its your game and do what you want, but not only do I not see the need to do what you're suggesting, I think it's a poor choice. Will you be imposing a similar rule forcing Spell Casters to use Int for Spell Attack rolls (spell power), Wisdom for Spell save DC's (will power) and Charisma (force of will) for Spell damage... or will they continue to use one stat for literally everything, while...
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:39 PM
    But they do anyway, seeing as Paladins and Barbarians already suck at ranged combat. Every single Paladin or Barbarian I've seen packs some Strength based throwing weapons and focuses on mobility (getting toe to toe as soon as possible). Why are we forcing MAD on Martials anyway? They already need , and Con. And why are we forcing them to use two different Stats for combat, when Casters get...
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:20 PM
    No I'm saying if the game presumes Multi-classing and Feats, Strength is clearly superior to Dexterity on Paladins and Barbarians (at a bare minimum). Seriously how many Dex + Sharpshooter Barbarians or Paladins have you seen exactly? And dont try and sell me that the combo is any good'; it's awful on those classes. When it comes to Fighters, for every Dex based Fighter with Sharpshooter...
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 04:10 PM
    ??? How many casters exactly. Ive run games of over 20th level (epic boons) with a 5 man party dealing with a half a dozen encounters per long rest featuring death knights, Liches, Vampire shadow dancer mooks, undead Cleric 'leaders' and so forth. Examples include: Encounter 1:
    21 replies | 762 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:38 PM
    In my games all weapons can be re-fluffed. It's not just a thing Monks can do. That includes damage type. For example a Sabre (same stats as a rapier, deals Slashing damage) is a thing. As is a Sap (same stats as a dagger, deals Bludgeoning damage). Bam presto: archetypal finessable bludgeoning weapons now exist, and the weird mental image of someone dual wielding rapiers is resolved....
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    1 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:28 PM
    In my humble opinion, I suspect the REAL issue here is that there is only a single d8 Finesse weapon in the game, and thus people are just tired of seeing the word 'rapier' everywhere. The mechanics are negligible enough that most people probably don't really care about it (okay, a d8 finesse weapon, great)... they just want to cut down on the number of "rapiers" used across the game. The...
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:25 PM
    So Finesse weapons are only a problem: 1) In featless games with no multiclassing, in which case it amounts to (at best) a minor if indeed any benefit to fighters, and a net loss to Paladins and Barbarians. 2) In games with feats... due to Sharpshooter (i.e. on characters that dont even use Finessable melee weapons)? If we're doing Dex to hit and Str to damage for martials, lets also...
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • iserith's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 03:15 PM
    It doesn't matter if you keep track, really. The PCs should be counterspelling everything anyway.
    21 replies | 762 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 11:59 AM
    I've got one more: You roll a die to hit, but you don't roll a die to defend, unless it's a saving throw. I've always felt there's a lot of missed opportunity there regarding how dynamic and strategic D&D's combat could be. It would probably also become way more complicated, but it just feels like something is missing.
    163 replies | 6934 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:47 AM
    So what's our assumption here? A feat-less game that also bans Multiclassing (where Str 13 is required for Paladin and Barb?). Failing a Str save often means being knocked prone or restrained or pushed somewhere you dont want to go. They're rarer but often have bad status effects imposed. Failed Dex saves usually just mean 'more damage'.
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 08:38 AM
    If they're taking either of those feats, they're ranged characters and the rapier is for show only. Finesse is a non issue. No, they're not. Firstly, you need Str 13 to MC as a Barbarian or Paladin. Secondly Dex based barbarians miss out on Rage damage with dex. They miss out on using reckless attack + advantage to land GWM hits. Their capstone becomes half useless. The advantage on...
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:59 AM
    Shadow Hound (Shadow Sorcerer) is a bonus action + 3 sorcery points summons that (in addition to the monster summoned) imposes disadvantage to ALL your targets saves while it's adjacent to your target. Instrument of the Bards imposes disadvantage to saves vs Charmed condition from spells cast through it. Combine with Hypnotic pattern for encounter auto-wins against anything that isnt immune to...
    7 replies | 359 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:44 AM
    Like seriously. Give me 4 fighters. At 5th level - 3 are Dex Fighters (defence style) using rapiers and sheilds. (15+Dex AC). AC 19, 1d8+4 damage (8.5 average), +7 to hit, 2 attacks, +4 Initiative. No feat exists to make rapiers better; shield master might be an option? The 4th is a Plate wearing Greatsword guy (same style). AC also 19, 2d6+4 damage (11 average), 2 attacks, +7 to hit, Power...
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Flamestrike's Avatar
    Tuesday, 16th July, 2019, 07:33 AM
    Is Dex to hit in melee any good? I mean when it comes to Melee damage the main offenders are: 1) GWM 2) PAM (and GWM!) 3) Barbarians 4) Paladin smites (And Paladins need Charisma, Con and Strength, and get heavy armor meaning they invariably dump Dex) I've never known 'Rapier' to be any sort of 'go-to' for damage builds. I mean Rogues often use one (unless TWF) but so what?
    87 replies | 2865 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 08:31 PM
    You could. Or you could assume that there are different distinct sentient, humanoid races, that can or can't interbreed and enjoy worldbuilding and roleplaying around what that might look like. I've been thinking of creating a campaign based on real-world archaeology. Set 50,000 to 80,000 years ago when homo sapiens was spreading out an encountering the neandrathals (homo neanderthalensis),...
    107 replies | 3956 view(s)
    2 XP
  • MNblockhead's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 07:53 PM
    Yeah, non-elves either want to eat them or breed with them. Exception being Dwarves, the bitter jealous brothers of the elder races. Yet, it is humans who actually breed most indiscriminately. Why do all half-breeds tend to be half-human? Looking at the flavor text for Orcs in the MM, I would think that half-orc/half-elf should be as common, if not more so, then half human.
    163 replies | 6934 view(s)
    0 XP
  • DEFCON 1's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 03:01 PM
    It's a question that I've struggled with on occasion as well. Every time I decide on a new campaign and I start going through the lists of races, backgrounds and classes the list keeps getting larger and larger with more and more overlap in identity and ideas until it just becomes the Mos Eisley Cantina again. And I keep trying to find ways to shrink things down but it never seems to work. ...
    107 replies | 3956 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Imaculata's Avatar
    Monday, 15th July, 2019, 11:55 AM
    1. Dragon Alignments and breathweapons by color. Just because a dragon has a certain color, doesn't mean it isn't evil, and it doesn't mean it spits lightning/poisongas/ice instead of just fire. 2. Automatic Crossbows. Get that nonsense out of here. 3. Studded Leather Armor. What do the studs even do? 4. Elves and orcs. Yawn! 5. Classes that have boring new abilities (filler) at higher...
    163 replies | 6934 view(s)
    1 XP
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Friday, 19th July, 2019

  • 04:23 PM - DM Dave1 mentioned iserith in post Is This Odd?
    ...he DM asked the players their thoughts on (it is a really bad save-or-suck), and from that we learned it had a range limit. And at least one player's character "just happened" to be just outside that limit for the rest of the combat. So not everyone is good at separating player and character knowledge and is removing the temptation to metagame in that way a good thing? I'm not sure there is a universal answer about unfettered MM access. Personally I tend towards restricted use of anything but the PHB at tables I'm at. And as a player I have pre-printed out polymorhs or wildshapes or whatever so I don't need the book. But half of that is not having to stick it in my bag and carry it. I am about to run a game for all D&D newbies and since they are on the same playing field I'm asking them not to read anything in the MM so they can experience it first-hand - but because they are the same level there's no system masters vs. new player issues going on. Good stuff. As a DM, I'm in @iserith's camp of not caring what the players know. If they bring in prior knowledge of the MM from their playing experience or even from reading it, that's fine. The challenge I lay out should not be strictly based on the "hidden" info in the MM. When I introduce a monster at the table, however, I'll use paper to block out all but the image when I show they what they are up against. The name and stats remain hidden, just to give the illusion of a sense of mystery. Players, in general, seem to like this and I haven't had anyone bust open a physical copy of the MM at the table to "solve" a monster. Maybe they've done it on their phones, but it seems that would be against the spirit of play that we're implicitly agreeing to. Either way, I don't really worry about it. I've mentioned this anecdote before on the forums here, but I think it is worth repeating because it's an example where player knowledge of the MM created an awesome scene in our game: In our Curse of Strahd campaign, the PC...

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019

  • 05:21 AM - Elfcrusher mentioned iserith in post Players choose what their PCs do . . .
    I didn’t mention the maiden’s wink. I’m asking if combat mechanics for a game worked in such a way that the player decided the outcome of combat for their character, would you consider such a system more or less risky than the traditional D&D combat system? Well, that's exactly how I handle PvP. (Thanks, iserith!) I'm actually tempted to ask you to define "risky", but I'll assume the LCD meaning and say "less risky". Point?

Tuesday, 9th July, 2019

  • 08:35 PM - Fenris-77 mentioned iserith in post A Reliable Talent for Expert Stealth
    iserith - if you think the social interaction rules in the DMG are fine and sufficient we'll just have to agree to disagree. You're going to put it down to issues of spotlight management and DM control, which, I'll admit, I find just a wee bit insulting given that you have no idea who I am or how I run my table, but again, fine, that's something else I will put down to differences in style and taste. I have reasonable-to-good game design skills, and a more than passing familiarity with both 5E and other systems. The 5E SIP rules are under-written for what I want, and cause balance issues for the party in the kind of game I want to run. That's more in the way of fact than opinion. It's only fact for my game of course, not the system in general, nor anyone else's game necessarily. That said, if anyone else wants to suggest that it's my lack of rules knowledge or lack of table control that are the problem, feel free to message me, but's let not clutter up the thread with it.

Thursday, 27th June, 2019

  • 09:15 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned iserith in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    ...fort to be clear on the situation, doesn't actualky address the method. You say "at least I got a roll" as if this protects against jerks. It diesn't, it's weak, and I'd rather address the jerk involved as the problem. [Quite] The core play loop you described is idealized, and does not include subtle factors relating to how both the GM and players are imperfect humans, with social dynamics and expectations, and major expectation failures are a failure mode for play.[/QUOTE] This is absolute hogwash. 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. Two, it doesn't rely on mythical perfect people, nor is it more prone to degenerate play than your preferred more 3.x style of hard mechanics. If this was true, it would be impossible for those of us that report excellent results to be anything other than liars for no perceivable reason. I used to play as you argue -- I got in some ugly arguments with iserith, refusing to believe he could possibly be honest in how he presents this playstyle. I can't say what started me listening, but everything I believed before - that you have to have strong codification of mechanics and that you go to mechanics first - is wrong. Not that it's wrong to play that way, or less fun, because that is 100% untrue, but that playing another way is just as good and still within the rules. And, I like this way better - I'm more attentive, more productive, my games move faster and have more player engagement. YMMV, and probably does; what works for me works for me, it's by no means universal. But, by golly, does it chap my backside when someone spouts ignorance like this. Which is probably karma for me doing it years ago.
  • 04:32 PM - robus mentioned iserith in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    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? 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 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. As for these other situations I would probably rule differently. If the creature is suitably tough skinned enough then absolutely not, a single shot to kill is impossible, no roll required. An unsuspecting humanoid Arch-Druid? They can certainly try... :) And, absolutely, I'm not interested in applying this ...

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019

  • 12:40 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned iserith in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    D&D has always had a hard transition into combat from other play. And, D&D has always had a hard line in detail between combat and other play. Because of this, it makes it difficult to do things that are very near or even astride that line, like the situation in the OP. There will always be many that say that since you've touched on the combat pillar, the hard transition must be accomplished, else you're devaluing portions of the game, or violating parity between the PCs and the hordes of DM controlled NPCs operating in the DM controlled environment (an argument I find silly, as you might could tell, although I once was a vocal proponent of it). In this case, I think relying on the 5e core play loop offers insight, much as iserith and others have mentioned. The DM narrates a scene, players declare actions, DM determines success (often via mechanics), DM narrate results, repeat. This loop functions both in and out of combat -- it's universal to the entire game. In combat, it's more structured and the DM has more tools, but no one could say that the DM couldn't make a ruling for an outcome in combat, so let's go with that angle. Here, the goal and approach are clear, and you, as DM, are free to determine if the action is successful or not via whichever resolution mechanic you choose to use. The combat mechanics are there, very details, and could be used, but they are not required to be used to resolve a character action. You could modify them to suit your needs, and that's within the rules of the game. Now, practically, I'd be leery of letting this situation be an easy one. You might have elided the details prior, but I wouldn't let such a situation occur without having it embedded in a larger series of ...
  • 07:57 AM - Nevvur mentioned iserith in post Attacking defenseless NPCs
    To the OP, it's a surprise attack, and I don't think the rules books are unambiguous about how to handle the situation. So the question I'm hearing is, "Is this a good house rule?" IMO, it is. It works as you described, but I think iserith made the best suggestion at the top of the thread: As well, however, this strikes me as an obstacle in an overarching exploration challenge that only looks somewhat like a combat challenge. The task is neither impossible nor trivially easy. You could say there's an uncertain outcome and the meaningful consequence for failure is there - so some kind of roll is appropriate. I think it's fine to resolve it without relying upon the combat rules. Call it a Dexterity check with proficiency at disadvantage against a hard DC to account for range and the difficulty of ensuring a kill shot. Someone throws guidance or enhance ability on the ranger. Maybe he or she spends Inspiration. Go, teamwork. I understand and respect the positions stated by others pertaining to equanimity with NPCs, e.g. if you can one shot NPCs in this scenario, they should be able to one shot you, etc. As a GM, I've never given NPCs and PCs exactly equal footing, and frankly find it unfun when such policy is followed d...

Tuesday, 28th May, 2019

  • 06:07 PM - DM Dave1 mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...d secret doors in the given game, but it can be for other reasons. If your players are experienced and know the Monster Manual pretty well, then they might not see value in recalling lore on monsters, which argues for changing up the monsters (if that will be fun for everyone). So it might be worth examining the game you're presenting to see if that is adding to the game-induced impetus to dump Intelligence. So I've been struggling a bit with coming up with some meaningful consequences for failure of knowledge checks when fighting monsters. On a success, the PC recalls some helpful lore On a failure, the PC doesn't recall lore (which falls a bit flat since that is essentially "nothing happens") Perhaps better: On a failure, the PC doesn't recall lore and the enemy becomes offended at the PC's probing, if not somewhat confused, stare down. Enemy will gain advantage on next attack against PC. I know we don't have a specific example here but, in general, what might you do, iserith?
  • 05:57 PM - Fenris-77 mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    iserith I agree with you - the Ranger would seem to be a great candidate for that. However, in order to be able to do that you mostly need to slight your actual core abilities to fight and track stuff. Like I said, this is eminently fixable in a given campaign given a GM with a desire to do so, and my issue (problem? whatever...) isn't with specific games, but rather with the optics and feel of our common frame of reference characters. This wasn't supposed to be contentious (not that you personally have been contentious about it). I don't like the feel of exemplar heroes with multiple negative attributes in common areas based on class.
  • 02:48 AM - Ovinomancer mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    If I may, at this late juncture... This argument is about something that's entirely downstream of the real issue, which isn't being address clearly enough (although iserith has touched on it repeatedly): what a character thinks is irrelevant to the game structure. The game let's players have the authority to declare actions for their characters. This is, really, the only authority players have outside of character build (creations and leveling). What a character thinks is just something the player establishes as color for the action declaration if they care to do so. So, of course the player has complete authority over what the character thinks, because the rule say that they player has complete authority over what the character tries to do. You cannot have the latter if you have restrictions on the former. So, in the case of the thunderwave scrolls, the player has the authority to declare this action for their character. What the character is thinking here is color -- it's not important at all; the game doesn't care at all. If, however, the player wants information from the setting, then they can establish an action declaration for how their...

Friday, 24th May, 2019

  • 06:20 PM - jaelis mentioned iserith in post Control Flame in Combat?
    Personally, I wouldn't let you use the clothing as fuel. But if they are standing on something flammable, sure. I agree with iserith that the create bonfire mechanic seems applicable.

Thursday, 23rd May, 2019

  • 09:27 PM - 77IM mentioned iserith in post Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, off to a good start
    ...enging issues, you don't get XP. Burning down a house is something anyone can do, and takes no special effort - oil, toches, whoomph! Done. Why should they get a reward for that? IF burning down the house doesn't do anything towards the goals, then there's no XP to get, and no XP to "lose." So I agree with that part. My point was that, if the house is full of dangerous enemies, then burning it down definitely DOES do something towards the goals. It does a lot. Awarding or withholding XP based on the PC's method of achieving the goals turns one of the primary decisions the players get to make into a meta-game decision. Rather than "How should we overcome this challenge?" it becomes "How does the DM want us to overcome this challenge?" IF burning down the house doesn't do anything towards the goals, then why did the players decide do it? My players are not stupid people. If that really seems like the best course of action, maybe I've miscommunicated somehow? I agree with iserith that the players do bear some responsibility for making "fun" decisions instead of purely pragmatic ones. For example, for most PCs, the purely pragmatic decision is to sell most of your starting gear and become a farmer. ;) My group of PCs literally met at a bar (location 8, the Empty Net) and decided to adventure together for purely meta-game reasons. One thing I'm considering is giving characters a Wisdom (Insight) check to get "hunches" about the consequences of major actions. Like, "maybe you'll miss important clues if you burn the house down." This would really just be an excuse for me to tell them things at a meta-game level, without breaking immersion. I'm hesitant though, because for some people doing that would break immersion even worse.

Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

  • 01:34 AM - Bawylie mentioned iserith in post Brainstorming TotM
    ...big set-piece "Marvel Battles", but I was curious if there are other DMs out there who have the same issues using TotM in 5E. The biggest issue I see with TotM in 5E is that it puts all the stress for managing and directing the flow of the action on the DM. I think this strips a lot of agency from the players, and can leave the DM with all the blame if the fight "goes south". What, as a DM, are your experiences with narrative combat in 5th? Are there any special tools or systems you use to make it more accessible for your players? I think it’s wise to divide the combat encounters between big set pieces and minor skirmishes. Because by doing that, you can spend your prep time designing your set piece encounters while leaving “trash” combat encounters (random encounters, unexpected fights, etc.) to a very quick and improv-friendly rules set. If I were in your shoes and table-time was at a premium, I would run my minor skirmishes narratively. (I can’t emphasize enough how important iserith ‘s advice is, so definitely keep a “Go back to 1” post-it handy). Anyway for narrative skirmishes, I want to dispense with absolute positioning in favor of relative position. You see this is some of the rules sets mentioned up thread. For me, there are only two zones/areas I need and two I *might* need. I need: 1.) the Melee. Everyone who’s in the melee can move around and hit anyone else in the melee. These combatants are all engaged, close, whatever you want to say. They’re in melee. 2.) at Range. Everyone not in the melee is at Range. When you’re at range, you can shoot spells or missiles into the melee or at anyone else at range. I might need: 3.) Above - aka “the dogfight” for aerial combats or higher platforms. 4.) Below - aka “the pitfight” for submerged or lower platforms. That covers basically every range/area I need for a quick and dirty narrative combat. Special considerations: •Anyone can move into or within the melee freely, but anyone leaving it must Disengage (...

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 06:10 AM - Hussar mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    *ducks back in, waving a white flag* Totally, totally not trying to start anything. Honest. I just want to point something out iserith. When three different posters, at least, at three different times - myself, Oofta and now Tony Vargas, all come to the same, or at least very similar conclusions based on what you are posting, perhaps, and I'm not saying this is true, but, perhaps, the point you are trying to make isn't as clear as you think it is. I mean, you're dismissing Tony Vargas because apparently he's been scarred by edition wars. You dismissed oofta so hard that he's still on your ignore list. You dismissed my points as well. I'm not saying you're wrong here. I'm not trying to pick a fight and my horse in this race is long dead. I'm just saying that perhaps, just maybe, your point could be misconstrued. I mean, heck, once you actually pointed out an actual example, I realized that there is not much difference between your table and mine, I just don't insist on such strict adherence to formula - I skip steps. Otherwise, the end results between your table and mine are probably pretty close. How...

Wednesday, 8th May, 2019

  • 03:43 AM - Elfcrusher mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    But you haven't answered the underlying question. Does Francis the Guard exist? Can the player track them down in that town, now that they have pulled that from their backstory? I'll try to answer that, and maybe this will help pemerton, too, who keeps trying to get me to define this boundary. Francis the Guard exists if that suits my purpose. He exists only in the player's imagination otherwise. Or he died. Or maybe he does exist, but this isn't Francis. As iserith points out, the player has absolute control over the character's thoughts and beliefs, and the DM has absolute control over the environment. Both may cede some of that authority if they want, but that is going outside the rules. Now, I think your question (and maybe pemerton's...I may be wrong) is really asking the question of how you define a clear boundary, to prevent players from trying to grab too much of the DM's authority. That what's needed is some kind of clear rule, that can't be debated or refuted, right? No. Wrong. This isn't a problem of unclear rules. This is a problem of players sometimes being jerkwads, and I don't need rules to protect my games against jerkwads. I have a door for that. I also don't need rules to protect me from jerkwad DMs. This door is a magical door, and it also works, albeit in a slightly different manner, as protection against jerkwad DMs.
  • 03:37 AM - Chaosmancer mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...nsider that a perfectly fine thing for you to assert. Trouble is, it doesn't change the fact that you will get no special treatment from me unless your character also has spent CharGen resources on whatever lore skills are necessary to actually learn facts about monsters. If you, as a player of a character that has no lore skill regarding monsters, assert that your character was told a lot of stuff, the very fact that your character does not have a bunch of points spent on monster lore proves that what you were told was probably incomplete, or common knowledge, or just plain wrong. The facts on your character sheet disprove your claim of special knowledge - or else they don't. That call out to your background may perfectly explain why you do have all that lore on your character sheet. Or it may just explain that natural 20 you rolled to identify this particular monster. Again, according to some of the people I've been discussing this with, you are completely wrong. In fact, iserith went so far as to state in the insight thread that a player never has to justify why their character knows something. There is no roll, there is no story, the player says their character knows earth elemental are vulnerable to thunder damage, so their character knows that. Now, iserith was also very quick to state that assuming what you know is accurate is a dangerous thing, because the DM could have changed anything and your assumptions might be woefully inaccurate, but I disagree with the premise, not the exception. It was why I disagreed with the Elder telling you all the monster secrets, that everyone seemed to agree was perfectly okay. No CharGen resources needed, no lore rolls required, you know what your character thinks, therefore you know those facts about those monsters. However, when it turned to a social event where a roll could be bypassed, the player was outside the rules of the game, as everyone has stated repeatedly. That was why I brought this up, because o...

Tuesday, 7th May, 2019

  • 08:29 PM - Satyrn mentioned iserith in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    Quoting Myself For Great Justice! That was me for most of 3e! I meant to also say that I started DMing so much better when I adopted what I think of as the AD&D mindset. I didn't change the rules of 3e, I just started asking the players "whaddya do?" instead of n telling them whatta do. And then 5e came along doing the same! I wasn't even part of the playtest . . . I'm glad you were, though, @iserith. :p
  • 03:41 AM - Chaosmancer mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    I would say that D&D 4e prior to Essentials with its embrace of "Yes, and..." and encouragement of the DM to accept ideas outside the character's control that the player proffers could be such a game. There's a sidebar in the D&D 4e DMG that uses an example from one of the designers wherein the player suggests there is a trap on a statue that is protecting a treasure. The DM rolls with it, they play out the trap challenge, and the player's character gets the treasure. But even that requires the DM's assent and the limits (the designer above remarks that HE would be the one to decide what treasure it was!) are likely understood formally or informally in the form of a table rule. I wasn't planning on jumping into this thread, and this post is far back in this thread, but were you iserith, not the one who told me repeatedly in the insight thread that the DM cannot and should not tell a player what they think? This was your justification for players having knowledge of monsters that they otherwise might not have, because the player got to decide what was reasonable for them to know, and the DM could never tell them that they could not think that. So, since this "Francis the Guard" example evolved from the "Orc Elder" example of hearing stories which told them the weaknesses of monsters, where does it go to far? Is the player correct about having been raised in an orphanage? Is the player correct that they were raised with a boy named Franics at said orphanage? Is the player correct that Francis and the PC were very close and dear friends? Is the player correct that this guard looks like Francis? Is the player correct that this guard is Francis? Is the player correct in that Francis the Guard still thinks of them as a friend and wants to help them out? ...

Monday, 6th May, 2019

  • 08:22 PM - Elfcrusher mentioned iserith in post If an NPC is telling the truth, what's the Insight DC to know they're telling the truth?
    @Elfcrusher, I'm with @5ekyu on this. I don't place traps randomly. I don't use them very often and when I do it's in fairly obvious locations an situations. As I've stated before, when I do I rely heavily on passive checks. "Obvious locations" is a form of telegraph. If a player is thinking, "This door to the treasure room is probably trapped" then we are talking about player skill, right? That's why the only way to not telegraph, at all, is to place them randomly. Or maybe you had a different idea in mind when @iserith and others started talking about 'telegraphing'? Maybe you thought, oh, I don't know...how about: signs that say "trap here". If so, I'm glad we had this little chat and cleared that up. Now, I think 'obvious locations' is a particularly uninteresting form of telegraphing. Sure, it still relies on player skill, but not a very engaging or rewarding form of player skill. Or really very much skill. I never get that little rush of satisfaction, the one that I get when overcome something novel and interesting, just because I remembered to check for traps in an obvious place. But, hey, it's telegraphing. I've never had a 5E game devolve into checking for traps every 5 ft. Has anyone on this thread ever claimed they were in a game where that happened? Because it seems to be a strawman. "Devolve"? No. Play that way in the early 1980's because that was what the adventures required, and even because it seemed fun at the time? Sure. And, anyway, I was pretty clear that I was just tr...

Thursday, 2nd May, 2019

  • 12:11 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned iserith in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    ...thread, Elfcrusher gave an example of a player authoring shared fiction invovling the stories told to a young PC by trial elders. I don't think many posters regarded this as a usurpation of the GM's authority. The general response to my post seems to be that the player deciding that the gate guard is her/his PC's childhood friend Frances is a usurpation of the GM's authority. But in some other recent threads I've seen criticisms of a GM narrating failure as some sort of oversight or carelessness on the part of the PC as a usurpation by the GM of the player's authority over deciding what his/her PC does, thinks and feels. Likewise there's a widespread view that it would be usurpation for a GM to decide that a PC didn't do what the player has said s/he does, because the GM thinks it is inconsistent with the PC's stats. These boundaries aren't crystal clear to me, and I'm a pretty experienced RPGer. I don't find them clearly articulated in the 5e Basic PDF. I'm sure I could get by in iserith's game playing a "man with no name"-type character, but nothing in these threads has given me any indication of how I might go about playing a character who is genuinely embedded in the social context of the gameworld - even though the Tika/Artemis sidebars, and the more general tenor of chapter 4 of the Basic PDF, all give me the impression that the game is focused on such embedded individuals. Goal and approach is - as I understand it - all about engaging the fiction so as to mitigate the difficulty of the challenge (or, perhaps, aggravating it so as to earn Inspiration). I'm not disputing that a boundary can be articulated which explains why I pull out my crowbar and use it to lever the door open is OK but There's my old friend Frances, one of the guards now - I ask her to let us through is not. I'm just saying that I haven't seen it articulated yet. And although you emphasise not carrying baggage from one game to the next, at the moment the only grasp I am getting on the boun...


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Friday, 19th July, 2019

  • 09:59 PM - DM Dave1 quoted iserith in post Player's Attention
    The biggest improvement I saw at my table was to switch form asking the group "What do you do?" to asking individuals "What do you do?" Now every player knows that in a given scenario they are gong to be asked what their character does, they can't just sit around let the bigger personalities at the table make all the decisions until initiative is rolled. So they spend more time thinking about what their character is going to do and the phones just took care of themselves. I also found it helped my players get more equal spotlight which has been a huge bonus to my game too. I think this will help with my group’s indecision problem too. It reminds me of the thing where, in a crisis, if you say “someone call an ambulance,” everyone waits for someone else to do it, so you have to tell someone specific to call. It’s the kind of advice that, once you hear it, seems obvious in hindsight. Which is usually the best kind of advice. It works. My entire game is run like that, almost as a one-on-one...
  • 07:42 PM - Blue quoted iserith in post Is This Odd?
    Yes, I think what is frequently forgotten in these discussions is that the players, regardless of the situation, are obligated to pursue the goals of play, that is, everyone having fun and contributing to the creation of an exciting memorable tale. It's spelled out right in the rules. Whether you know the module backwards and forwards or not, your decisions as a player still have to achieve those goals. Players with exact knowledge of the module can, knowing they have this responsibility, make great decisions that support the goals of play. It's the players that don't know they have this responsibility that are the issue, but that is a separate matter from simply having knowledge about elements of the module. Well put. Thanks for taking the time to answer. If I may summarize to make sure I understand: access to information isn't a problem; spoiling of fun at the table is a problem (be it by that information or otherwise). Okay, I can get behind what you are saying.
  • 05:50 PM - MarkB quoted iserith in post Is This Odd?
    Yes, I think what is frequently forgotten in these discussions is that the players, regardless of the situation, are obligated to pursue the goals of play, that is, everyone having fun and contributing to the creation of an exciting memorable tale. It's spelled out right in the rules. Whether you know the module backwards and forwards or not, your decisions as a player still have to achieve those goals. Players with exact knowledge of the module can, knowing they have this responsibility, make great decisions that support the goals of play. It's the players that don't know they have this responsibility that are the issue, but that is a separate matter from simply having knowledge about elements of the module. This is probably one reason why something like this is more likely to crop up in the situation described in the OP - a person running games in a public setting like a game store, rather than at home with friends. You're more likely to encounter people who aren't so familiar with the...
  • 05:07 PM - Blue quoted iserith in post Is This Odd?
    It's not clear to me where the presupposition that players shouldn't be drawing on hard-won information even comes from. It seems to me to be as old as the hills but I don't really recall any rules books saying we should be doing this. And it certainly doesn't say that in the D&D 5e books. "Metagame thinking" is solely a risk to the player in that he or she might be basing character actions on bad assumptions. If that's a risk they want to take, that strikes me as no different than any other risk an adventurer might take. It's a risky job and the player's role to mitigate said risk to avoid undesirable outcomes. If you were running a published adventure, would you be fine with players reading that adventure and learning plot twists, NPC motivations, and the like? Without changing it - the question here is about player knowledge. I personally would not, and have had this come up before when I was a player years ago (AD&D 2nd era). I was very angry at another player who read the module...
  • 04:51 PM - DM Dave1 quoted iserith in post Is This Odd?
    It's not clear to me where the presupposition that players shouldn't be drawing on hard-won information even comes from. It seems to me to be as old as the hills but I don't really recall any rules books saying we should be doing this. And it certainly doesn't say that in the D&D 5e books. "Metagame thinking" is solely a risk to the player in that he or she might be basing character actions on bad assumptions. If that's a risk they want to take, that strikes me as no different than any other risk an adventurer might take. It's a risky job and the player's role to mitigate said risk to avoid undesirable outcomes. Yup. Insisting that players pretend they don't know something just doesn't make sense IME. A DM saying "Your PC would not do/say/think that" is even worse (and old DM me had done that once - and it created unfun awkwardness at the table). Better to let folks role/roll with it and get on with the fun.
  • 03:52 PM - Esker quoted iserith in post Double Dash
    You have to flip this around and make the fighter the quarry for this to work most of the time. Quarry gets a chance to hide at the end of every round as long as there is something to hide behind. Rogues are typically not too shabby at hiding which means the rogue will generally get away. This has to be taken into account in my view if an argument is to be based on the DMG chase rules. (There is also the matter of chase complications but because that affects both, we can probably discount.) Yeah. If there are places to hide, the rogue is probably going to get away. As they should; they're a rogue. Being slippery is like their whole thing (though if the fighter has survival proficiency, it gives disadvantage to hide checks). But if there's a chase out in the open and the rogue can't hide, the fighter's endurance is likely going to win out. This all seems right to me.
  • 03:40 PM - Blue quoted iserith in post High level and trivial encounters
    You could just have the NPCs or monsters do something other than mindlessly attack the PCs until slain. Perhaps they rush the PCs, try to steal something valuable, then run away. Maybe they trail the PCs at a safe distance, not making their intent known, and then when the PCs encounter something tougher, they jump into the fight to try to take out a single PC. You could also have it be a social interaction challenge rather than a combat - the NPCs have information or an item that is useful to the PCs, but have to be convinced to give it up. But ultimately, if the encounter is dinging the PCs for a few hit points here and a few spell slots there, over the course of an adventuring day this actually starts to add up, constraining the players' choices in later, more challenging situations. That's what they're supposed to do. Not every encounter needs to have a high difficulty. I'm very much with both parts of what Iserith says. First is that they aren't epic, but they are a resource drain and D&D is balanced around those. But more importantly, they aren't just bags of HPs to defeat. They have a reason they are there and doing things. Maybe they see the PCs and run away to get more goblins and now it's a running chase where keeping them quiet and killing them quickly at range while rushing into unknown areas is the goal. (And goblins could be leading the PCs into a trap.) Even non-intelligent creatures might end up using resources for a speak with animals and some food to convince them not to attack - and now they might have info for the players instead. If you really don't like them, I enjoy the 13th Age montage system where you just got around the table and the players describe how they have dealt with a challenge, form a weak encounter to crossing a jungle. Short wall clock time, chance for the players to have some narrative chops. But it doesn't cover the D&D resource attrition that th...

Wednesday, 17th July, 2019

  • 03:10 PM - BlivetWidget quoted iserith in post Swarms of animated objects
    The RAW is that like creatures share initiative anyway. I forgot this, and thought it was an optional rule because it's not how everyone plays. PHB189 says you are very much correct. Solution to my problem was sitting in the core rulebooks the whole time... thanks for the reminder!
  • 02:41 PM - BlivetWidget quoted iserith in post Swarms of animated objects
    It's not really about banning the spell I'd never consider it. But it doesn't take much looking around these forums to see that's a common response to rules and often spells people don't like at their table. I have a strong inclination towards RAW, but if letting the objects share initiative seems to work for people, I think that may be the best solution. Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
  • 01:43 AM - BlivetWidget quoted iserith in post Swarms of animated objects
    The mob rules worked fine, but also working in my favor is that the table rule is that if you're the sort of player who can't manage this sort of spell without bogging down the turn, you simply don't cast it. The player has a responsibility here in my view. (Same for summons, pets, etc.) Indeed, that's exactly what I want to avoid - banning spells based on inconvenience. And let's face it, nobody can manage an extra 10 creatures without it bogging down the turn. Their very existence on the battlefield will slow everyone down, in fact, no matter how good of a job they do (all the LOS and AoO complications). That's why I'm looking to swarms. I do like your idea of just using the average damage, though. As an alternative idea, we could let groups of tiny objects share initiative and move together. Up to 8 tiny creatures can fit in a 5x5 medium-creature cube. So 10 tiny creatures could easily be treated as two medium "creatures" with multiattack (one per tiny creature). Using average dama...

Tuesday, 16th July, 2019

  • 10:28 PM - BlivetWidget quoted iserith in post Swarms of animated objects
    It's a good goal, since creating so many creatures really bogs down the game if you don't have a good way to deal with it. (and other good thoughts) Yes, I definitely agree with most of your thoughts! I would expect it to take 2 fireballs to destroy the tiny objects entirely though, since they are quite dexterous (many will probably pass their save). And there would be collateral damage, since some of the objects might be in amongst foes by the time someone can drop a fireball on them, and all would definitely be by the time a second fireball can be used. The fireball would need to be cast at level 5 to be statistically likely to drop them in one go (which isn't a terribly good use of a spell slot). As for strengths, the resistance to AoE seems to just come with the territory of swarm creatures. Not sure if there's a solution to this, or if there even needs to be one. As for weaknesses, the loss of action economy in compressing them into a single creature is sort of in the same boat. ...

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019

  • 05:49 PM - DMZ2112 quoted iserith in post A Reliable Talent for Expert Stealth
    In my games, if the Monster sees you going into your hiding spot (and that's objectively where you are) you cant hide relative to that monster; your Stealth check to Hide fails. A Rogue that pops down into a box (in full view of the enemy) and closes the lid, cant Hide. His Stealth check fails; the enemy monster knows exactly where he is. It's a different case if the Box concealed a secret passage in the floor and the Rogue used that to slink off and Hide. It's a matter of context. Honestly, I think that is how I would prefer it to work, but it is not the assumption the rules make. The rules assume that if the rogue is not engaged (or actively being targeted by a ranged or spell attack), the rogue can slip out of sight. I know I just got done saying that game designers are full of s**t, but the key is whether or not a bad rule makes the game less fun. In my opinion, Reliable Talent makes the game less fun, while rogues being able to hide during combat makes the game a lot more fun. Nerfi...
  • 05:12 PM - DMZ2112 quoted iserith in post A Reliable Talent for Expert Stealth
    Oh my gods, six pages. Thank you all for taking the time to respond. 75% success against a garden-variety monster, under adverse conditions, seems pretty reasonable to me. If you want to have a particularly alert guard, you can give it proficiency, or even expertise, in perception. You are not wrong, but this is not in line with your original proposal. You said that high-level rogues should have the chance to sneak when no one else could. I agree with that idea, but that is not what this is. This is a high-level rogue having a chance to be detected when anyone else would be detected as a matter of course. To actually get to the point where such a rogue feels challenged, the monster would require a truly ridiculous bonus to their roll, well in excess of +10. Seems you have a good handle on it and don't need my advice. Enjoy it! I hope I didn't shut you down, Ovinomancer; I have a tendency to speak in absolutes that is easily interpreted as a lack of interest in discussion. I'm not ...

Tuesday, 9th July, 2019

  • 10:21 PM - Fenris-77 quoted iserith in post A Reliable Talent for Expert Stealth
    No insult is intended. Certain of your specific objections seem rooted in issues of spotlight management and other issues that are not the fault of the game. I make no judgment as to what you should or shouldn't do in your own game, only that some of your objections are easily solved without modifying the rules.Ok, cool. Lets call it some but not all of my problems then. That leaves us broadly on the same page and no one is upset. I can live with that.:cool:
  • 07:46 PM - 77IM quoted iserith in post A Reliable Talent for Expert Stealth
    House rules are fine, but the issue in this situation for me is that the players always determine how their characters think and what they do and say. That means there is never uncertainty as to the outcome of the NPC's attempt to persuade and thus no ability check. What if there IS uncertainty, on the part of the player, as to what their character thinks and does and says? In that situation, shouldn't the DM call for an ability check of some sort? It might be analogous to knowledge checks: "I try to recall the lore about grungs..." = roll Intelligence (History or Nature) against a static DC "I struggle with whether or not to take the grung's offer..." = roll Wisdom (Insight) against the grung's Charisma check This is certainly how I run NPCs when I DM. If I'm certain what the NPC is going to do, then the PCs can't make a Charisma check to determine the outcome (this is how I interpret "Charisma is not mind control"). It's only when I'm uncertain what this particular NPC is going ...
  • 03:39 PM - Fenris-77 quoted iserith in post A Reliable Talent for Expert Stealth
    I think they're okay for D&D standards. But almost nobody uses them in my experience because I don't think many DMs actually read the DMG.No, no they don't.:p The problem is that 'ok for D&D standards' is still pretty abysmal generally. What we have is a group of unevenly turn out ideas that are kinda sorta loosely connected because they are about the same thing (social interaction). What we don't have is any kind of actual system with rules that are designed to work together, and that's what I'd like, so I'm going to bang it out myself. I don't think there's any reason that D&D can't have a useful and serviceable system for social interaction either - just saying "the game isn't designed for it" is lazy thinking IMO (replying to someone else upstream). The basic tools are there for sure, and the rules in the DMG are where I'm starting too - there are some good ideas there buried under the dreck. The rogue isn't being skipped and it isn't really planned though - at least no more than combat ...
  • 05:30 AM - Fenris-77 quoted iserith in post A Reliable Talent for Expert Stealth
    "Party balance" in what sense? Why is it bad that this character can do a thing well and others can't? Wouldn't it be the case that this expert won't be able to do other things as well in this or the other two pillars? Also, how is "deception in the hands of a creative player" troublesome? Setting aside that the DM decides whether there is a roll or not in the first place, what's the actual trouble here? That the NPCs get messed with? Because, if so, that's kind of what the characters do, right?Your missing my particular context. In an intrigue campaign, you're putting additional emphasis on skills, and you are going to tend to have parties with more homogeneous skills sets as a whole (deception, investigation, stealth etc). That one character isn't niche anymore, and his massive skill check takes away any real interest other party members are going to have in using that skill. It also makes it difficult to build narrative tension by providing appropriate challenges. Example one: Lets say t...
  • 05:00 AM - Fenris-77 quoted iserith in post A Reliable Talent for Expert Stealth
    Why do you think that is a problem?Because you can't challenge the party, only that particular character? The whole 3rd pillar is bare enough of nuance that this is, or often can be, a pretty significant barrier to party balance. Deception in the hands of a creative player can be especially troublesome when the mod is high enough.
  • 04:44 AM - Fenris-77 quoted iserith in post Expertise is RUINING THE GAME!
    Out of curiosity, if you have a problem with expertise, do you also play the game such that players ask to make or declare they are making ability checks?As opposed to the GM telling them what ability to roll? On a separate note, I have decided to dub problems of this nature, ones where there is significant difficulty aligning massively differential stats within a party, the Glitterboy Conundrum. Trademarked.

Monday, 8th July, 2019

  • 03:23 PM - nobody69.420 quoted iserith in post Player's Attention
    First, ask for them to pay attention, then ask them what about the game isn't holding their attention. From your own observation, what parts of the game are they tuning out on? What can you do to minimize those parts of the game or make them more interesting? Thanks!


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