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  1. Rod Staffwand

    D&D 5E House ruling toward simplicity

    Ah, yes. I neglected to mention that play is focused on levels 1-11, with a practical limit being more around level 7. Trained skill users in prime stats keep pace over this range, while others will slowly fall behind. I'm fine with this since I don't like to coddle higher-level characters (and...
  2. Rod Staffwand

    D&D 5E House ruling toward simplicity

    For my current campaign: 1. Initiative. The DM chooses which side goes first, generally based on context but occasionally with a roll. Each side goes in an order of their choosing from round to round. Anything else takes too much time for practically no benefit. 2. Race Options. These are...
  3. Rod Staffwand

    Want to shake things up: Doorways, Scouting, Caution

    Some good suggestions here, and I would add: 1. Fighting from the Doorway. I don't think anyone mentioned having the monsters appear after the PCs enter the room. You can have hidden monsters, monsters that are out of line of sight, magically summoned monsters, or monsters that are just happen...
  4. Rod Staffwand

    D&D 5E Difference between being hidden and being unseen

    The mechanical benefit of being hidden is that an enemy has to guess your location. Instead of thinking of it as you being "hidden", think of it as your position being "hidden". If the enemy wasn't already aware of your presence, you can also consider it as your presence being hidden, such as...
  5. Rod Staffwand

    'Room of Silence' Ideas

    Maybe there are four alcoves with levers and a door, all out of line of sight with each other. The door has a tumbler with a symbol that randomly matches one of the levers. When that lever is pulled, the tumbler changes to another symbol/lever until all four levers are pulled in the correct...
  6. Rod Staffwand

    Video Game Dungeons

    I steal (uh...find inspiration) from everything, including video games. I don't port whole dungeons, but I'll grab puzzles, tricks, tropes and encounters galore to fill out my own dungeons. I keep a notepad of such ideas when I come across them and just refer to that if I need some sort of gag...
  7. Rod Staffwand

    D&D 5E Riddles and Puzzles in Gaming and Dungeons and Dragons in particular.

    I wouldn't want to play in or run a D&D game that didn't include puzzles. Everything else is just rolling dice.
  8. Rod Staffwand

    Feature or Bug: D&D's Power and Complexity Curve

    I actively dislike the expected campaign (more or less 1-20) level advancement of D&D, particularly in 5e for many of the same reasons as the OP, but it's very much a feature. The designers have opted for lots of levels to make players feel like they're progressing and to give them new...
  9. Rod Staffwand

    D&D 5E Druid Armor Restrictions

    Who cares, what with the steady diet of acai-kale smoothies giving that sweet +4 to Con, Str and Dex?
  10. Rod Staffwand

    How many attacks does it take to take the Attack action?

    I go by what the rules say: Taking an attack action requires you to make an attack. Thus, I'd rule that an attack needs to be rolled to qualify. After that, the player can use a bonus action whenever they see fit as per the rules for bonus actions (unless the text of the feat or power indicates...
  11. Rod Staffwand

    The help action is not broken, but Working together is

    Shiroiken has it right. There's a whole section on this: Working Together, p. 175. If a second character can meaningfully contribute (in the DM's estimation), then advantage. Otherwise no.
  12. Rod Staffwand

    D&D 5E Old Vexed Question: All too Important Dexterity Stat and Finesse Weapons, namely the Rapier

    In most of my games, Dexterity traditionally doesn't add to damage for any weapons for balance and conceptual reasons. However, I've lately scaled back player-facing house rules when playing 5e for simplicity. In my latest campaign, I just give Large and larger monsters resistance to finesse...
  13. Rod Staffwand

    Illusions, lighting, and reflectance

    Yes. Alice is now standing in darkness unless she perceives the wall to be an illusion. Casting a shadow (blocking light) is one of the primary features of a physical object's appearance. If illusions don't block light, any shifting light source (such as torches) will give away the illusion...
  14. Rod Staffwand

    Is it just me or is the spell Rope Trick kind of absurd?

    I haven't included this spell in any of my campaigns going back to the 2e era, primarily for absurdity reasons. The 5e version has not given me any reason to include it. I believe it is, RAI, designed to facilitate short rests yet the ambiguous writing doesn't mention short rests once. Instead...
  15. Rod Staffwand

    What solution for "Cantrips don't feel magical"?

    As a serious response to the OP, I don't think players of wizards should expect to overcoming all-problems all-the-time with magic in order to feel magical. If you imagine your PC as magical, then they'll feel magical. As a corollary, would you expect a fighter to solve all-problems...
  16. Rod Staffwand

    What solution for "Cantrips don't feel magical"?

    You could ban cantrips and have wizards name their crossbows "Magic".
  17. Rod Staffwand

    Long Jump questions

    Trick questions. PCs shouldn't get bored in a well run game.
  18. Rod Staffwand

    D&D 5E Hit Point Maximum and Exhaustion

    1) The effect that reduces "max hp" will specify the duration or action required to end. If no duration or action is specified, the effect would theoretically be permanent. 1a) Yes. There are no rules passages that tell you to do this. It is a task implicit in the nature of max hp reduction...
  19. Rod Staffwand

    Scary situations that aren't

    The 1st-level create or destroy water spell creates said 10 gallons of water within range in an open container or as rain. To get the full 10 gallons you do need to have a 10 gallon container, rig a contraption to catch the rain, or cast it multiple times in smaller containers. In the purple...
  20. Rod Staffwand

    Designing Adventures with Lethality in Mind (Kobayashi Maru)- the Poll!

    As a DM, I look at over-powered enemy encounters the same way I do 1000 foot cliffs: both exist in the world and both can be lethal to the unwary or the reckless. It's not up to me to tell players not to have their PCs jump off those cliffs or engage in those encounters. It is up to me to not...