TSR [Let's Read] Polyhedron/Dungeon

What, you really thought I wouldn't include one of these? As if!


(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 98/157: May 2003



part 4/8



What's all this then?: Another year, another big shakeup. The polyhedron editorial explains what this means again from another perspective. Sure it’s scary, suddenly having to step up the amount of material you’re producing, but it also means they can cover current events in a more timely fashion (although they’ll still be several steps behind the internet forums) provide more variety of D20 material, and still deliver a full-sized minigame every other month. The Living Greyhawk stuff is returning to its proper home, they’ll be covering the RPGA in general more again and they even have room for a new comic. What’s not to like? Well, that depends if any of it is good. A wide variety of rubbish is still rubbish, as I found all too often in the Polyhedron UK’s. Many a formerly good thing has been ruined by stepping up the schedule to the point where they can’t come up with enough good ideas and get repetitive, or get sloppy on the editing. But I’ll keep on going anyway and hope that the last year and a bit of Polyhedron will have plenty of good bits mixed in, even it doesn’t please enough people to last forever.



Bolt & Quiver take a personality test. The results are completely unsurprising.



The Game Mechanics: Most of First Watch is missing, but they are still doing interviews of D20 companies. This definitely turns out to be a case where they’re trying to put a positive spin on a tough situation, as their interviewees are The Game Mechanics, a new company made up entirely of WotC’s most recent round of layoffs. Rather than go back on the tedious roundabout of job applications and interviews they decided to pool their skills and remaining cash and whip up some .pdfs to get back in the game. After all, they’ve still got all the skills they honed over years of working at TSR, then WotC. What they produce should still be good. True, but the same can be said of Monte Cook and Chris Pramas’s companies and they have several years headstart on you. Another illustration of both the good and bad parts of the OGL and D20 boom. Every time WotC drops developers who’ve done enough that they have recognisable names in their own right, they’re basically creating more competition for themselves. In a few years Paizo itself will be in that position when they end the Dragon and Dungeon licences and have to produce their own material, sometimes even beating WotC in sales. So this is really a demonstration of worker solidarity against the bean-counters. Just because people get fired, doesn’t mean they stop being friends and supporting each other on a personal level. Looking ahead, the company lasts until 2006, and even after that the individual writers still have gaming credits with other companies so while they might not have made as much money as they’d liked, it was enough to keep going and even when the company fails, a bit of networking and you soon come back as a freelancer or join a new one. RPG writer might not be the safest of careers, but it isn’t at the bottom of the pile either.
 

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(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 98/157: May 2003



part 5/8



Winter Fantasy 2003: The look back on this year’s big RPGA meetup is also presented positively but with signs of trouble underneath. All those attempts to convert 2e Living City material obviously became such a headache that the new owners nuked it and started an all-new version called Ruins of Raven’s Bluff where everyone has to start out with new characters. Doing a little googling, this turned out to be a bad idea that was very unpopular and caused them to haemorrhage players, resulting in it being shut down next year. But since both Living Greyhawk and Living Arcanis are going quite nicely it’s hardly as if you’re lacking in opportunities to play D&D. Living Arcanis in particular exceeded expectations, with a massive 6 hour event that sold out easily and had to be expanded to other rooms to fit more people in. Living Force also did pretty well for itself. However, they don’t mention any of the other Living campaigns at all, making it look increasingly likely that they’ve been pruning the smaller ones. WotC really are cutting quite a lot at the moment, and though some might be outsourced to third party companies, their survival isn’t assured there either. Just because you have the name of a formerly big setting, doesn’t mean there’s an audience now, particularly if the first product in the line gets bad reviews.



Unusual Suspects: Our first smaller D20 modern article goes to a pretty familiar and popular well. Ninjas! Sneakily engaging in crime and sticking it to the government is adaptable to any era and modern technology opens up a whole new set of opportunities to confuse and distract. So here’s an example of an elite yakuza team, recruited from the most promising young criminals. A team of 6, all 8th level characters, with very generic codenames built to work together effectively as a team. Hand-to-hand muscle, all-rounder, stealth, vehicle expert, shooter and face, all of them are multiclassed and all basic classes apart from Dedicated are represented in their builds, along with martial artist, infiltrator, daredevil and gunslinger advanced classes. Depending on your PC’s group size and competency they could be a challenge even for teams several levels higher when working together, or used individually against weaker groups. Or you could use them as pregens for a one-shot adventure if you can’t be bothered to come up with your own. So this is all pretty useful, being much better put together in terms of making them customisable for various campaigns and used in actual play than the old Rogues Gallery adventuring parties, with the little bits of new crunch being better balanced as well. As the number and variety of settings drops it’s important to appreciate the bits they do handle better now.
 

(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 98/157: May 2003



part 6/8



i, Jensaarai: They’ve finally managed to get some Star Wars material through approvals. We’re off to Suarbi 7/5 to stat out one of the alternate jedi orders from the novels. The Jensaarai reject the rigid binary of light and dark side and use powers from both. Reaching this balance wasn’t easy though, plus they had to deal with extermination attempts by both the old jedi order and Palpatine’s regime. This kept them in hiding until Luke Skywalker’s heroics finally convinced them to engage with the wider universe and send a delegation to his new academy. Unsurprisingly, their unique mix of powers is represented by a new prestige class, the Jensaari Defender. They can block force sensing, scramble electronic surveillance devices, launch telekinetic projectiles plus plenty of things from the corebook selection of powers and bonus feats. On top of that they can create special armor that shorts out lightsabers that hit it, forcing the opponent to waste actions turning it off and on again every single time. Definitely the kind of cheesy and irritating thing that a novel writer would come up with when trying to one-up previous stories without consideration of how that would affect game balance. A decent enough conversion of the source material, but also a reminder that the source material was very inconsistent in quality and increasingly convoluted & ridiculous as time went on. It doesn’t give me any desire to play in that universe.



Starships of the Galaxy: A little more Star Wars material before they move onto other topics. The Wayfarer class medium transport may not have a particularly cool name, but is easy to customise, with a detachable section that you can swap for different modules. Unfortunately, the company that created it went out of business and some of those modules can be pretty hard to find. That sounds like an adventure hook to me! So this is much shorter and more low key than the previous article, but also one I’m more likely to find useful, focussing on the day to day space trading rather than the increasingly cheesy secret orders of space wizards that managed to survive the so-called purge in such great numbers that their absence in the movies loses credibility.
 

(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 98/157: May 2003



part 7/8



Into the Bright Desert: For a complete change of pace, it’s time for another big article covering a particular region of the Oerth, like they used to do in the Living Greyhawk Journal. The Bright Desert used to be a prosperous kingdom in a fertile land until the ruler turned to Tharzidun to deal with rebellion. He was granted a magical artifact that turned all his subjects into manscorpions. Long-term this really didn’t help and the place has been a blasted ruin for several thousand years. So it remained until a few years ago, when Rary turned on his companions during the Greyhawk Wars, teleported his tower and followers into the middle of the desert to escape, and is now busily building a new evil empire there. The manscorpions joined up fairly quickly, but there’s plenty of other tribes that aren’t so eager to be his minions, particularly the desert centaurs, turning the place into a guerrilla battleground. So there’s plenty of enemies for adventurers going here to fight, but also more than a few allies who know the lay of the land and can keep you from dying of dehydration if you’re capable of being diplomatic. This packs plenty of history, geography and adventure ideas into its 12 pages, although it’s pretty light on the new crunch, with the only full statblock being a reprint of the Norker one for people who didn’t get the LGJ. If I were playing a Greyhawk game I could definitely get a decent amount of use out of it, so this is a pretty good bit of reading, although it does make me miss the days when countries would get full sourcebooks rather than just a chapter in a more zoomed out setting book. Maybe there’s some Living Greyhawk adventures set in the region that would give more detail on specific areas.



Living Greyhawk: The changes between 3.0 and 3.5 may be relatively minor compared to a full-on edition change, but they’re still not going to rush into them. Living Greyhawk will be using the old rules until the end of the year, giving them time to figure out what to do about things like Rangers and Bards. Their attitude to upcoming supplements is the same, sit on it for a while and only update the list of allowed and banned things every 6 months. After looking at the radical changes Living City is making and the audience response, that’s probably for the best. Not much news this time then. If anything it’s a deliberate absence of news as they choose to delay significant decisions rather than rushing to implement them as soon as possible. Nothing much for me to say in response then.
 

(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 98/157: May 2003



part 8/8



Global Positioning: We’ve had maps of mystery for quite a few years now. Now they decide to do D20 Modern equivalents, neatly laid out in 5 foot squares (unlike if you found building plans somewhere online) to make it easy for you to run combats on them. First up, a municipal police station, which is definitely the kind of place you have an above average chance of getting into a fight at, whether you’re guilty or innocent. (and even if you’re not guilty of the specific crime, breaking out of jail, maybe killing a few officers along the way is a big enough crime on its own that you’ll have to watch your back from now on) This is a welcome thing that they should be able to keep up for quite a few years without repeating themselves, particularly if they keep on mixing in the more fantastical locations as well in alternating issues.



Downer: After all these changes, they also start another new comic to finish things up. Downer is a Drow rogue guarding a beholder lair. Unfortunately, he don’t get no respect from either the wandering adventures invading the place or his cow-orkers, putting him on the verge of quitting. If he can survive long enough to resign properly that is…



The Polyhedron side of the issue is both varied and interesting, feeling more like the old issues than at any point since the merger. On the other hand, with only two small formulaic adventures and one long one that won’t be of much use unless you ran the previous one in the series, the Dungeon side feels distinctly anaemic and is one of the least generally useful ones they’ve ever come out with. And that’s when it’s taking up more than half the issue. Let’s see if they manage to be more efficient with their use of space when they’re supposed to be the smaller half, and if the minigame will be any good next time.
 

(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 99/158: June 2003



part 1/8



105 (120) pages. What is your wish master? Words that should strike chills into the heart of any players that hear it, knowing that the meaning of their words is likely to be twisted to screw them over in all sorts of ways. Time to see how one of the classics gets interpreted in an edition where things are supposed to be carefully balanced and if we’ll still have characters capable of going on adventures afterwards.



Editorial: The new adventure path continues to weigh heavily on their minds. They seem to have hit a snag somewhere in the production pipeline though, as the next instalment isn’t arriving until issue 102. Anyone who already started playing will have to put their campaign on hiatus or do a few filler arcs until the main plot picks up again. This is exactly what David Howery was worried about all those years ago! You’ve got to keep them coming at a rate equal or faster than the average group can get through, or the GM will just wait until the whole series is out before even trying to run them, which makes a big chunk of the magazine useless in the meantime. But anyway, this time Erik is giving his perspective on the playtests as a player. It is indeed turning out to be a pretty lethal game, particularly when he’s not there. This is the big problem with having flakey players, it punishes the people who do show up more than the ones who don’t, unless someone else plays your character while you’re away and you have to live with whatever the consequences are. The larger and more rotating a group is, the more you need a Caller or some other method of keeping people in line, helping everyone know what order they act in and getting them to decide on actions before their turn comes around so a decent amount actually gets done in a session. Despite being on the vangard of RPG periodical design, it’s more old school than you’d think in the Paizo offices.



Prison Mail: First letter is yet another one who thinks they shouldn’t shy away from including drugs and sex in adventures where it fits the plot. Why should parents get worked up about that anyway when they’re already killing things and taking their stuff every session?

Second is very pleased by everything in issue 97, and also has no trouble personally with vile & dark stuff, but accepts that others might not be so open-minded. Seems like half the problem isn’t people having a problem with seeing it themselves, but not wanting other people to know about it.

Third is one of said 14 year-olds whos parents would remove anything too spicy if they ever found out about it. Don’t be too obvious about it, but genuinely mature elements like showing both the short-term benefits and long-term dangers of drug abuse are very welcome.

Fourth is a more philosophical one from a person who’s been gaming for 19 years, and intends to keep on doing so for the rest of their life. It’s not a phase or something you grow out of, particularly when the game itself keeps on growing and evolving with you. (unlike monopoly or chess)

Fifth is someone who bought one of the many 3rd party D20 adventures that have appeared on the shelves lately, and found they paid twice the price of an issue of Dungeon for something smaller and far more poorly written than any adventure they’ve ever seen in here. For short adventures, they just can’t be beaten. You should see the number of adventures they have to reject to keep it that way.

Finally, someone who really liked Godlike and wants to know why it was missing last issue. It was always planned as a limited series and reached its natural conclusion. Go buy the books if you want any more material. Downer, on the other hand, does not have an ending all planned out and will keep on running as long as the art director remains employed here and can come up with amusing plots.
 

(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 99/158: June 2003



part 2/8



Critical Threats: We have two of these in quick succession before we get to any proper adventures. First is a particularly large spooky crypt to stumble across. 400’ high, with the bottom part flooded, with a massive headless statue in the middle and loads of sarcophagi around the edges. The perfect place to have a dramatic final boss fight, or to spend hours searching all the coffins on all the floors for that specific macguffin that’s been interred in one of them. I can definitely think of multiple video game examples of both of those concepts, so although it’s a bit of a cliche it’s definitely a very usable one.

Second is Phyx, a Choker who’s managed to accumulate enough class levels to qualify for Assassin. He was captured and trained by the Drow, who honed his skills to the extreme with their cruel training methods until an attack went particularly badly and the whole house was wiped out in retaliation. He managed to slip away in the chaos and now sneakily kills any spellcasters he encounters, having developed a pathological hatred of them over his time of enslavement. So you could find yourself making an alliance with him, but it’d be a fragile one against a common enemy, that’d be at risk as soon as he realises there are spellcasters in your party as well unless you very carefully work through his trauma. Far more likely the first thing you’ll know about him is when he springs a trap on you when you’re exploring the underdark. But since he’s pretty good at getting away if the fight goes against him, you may have more opportunities to develop some kind of relationship. This one definitely packs a lot of interesting ideas into its small package.



Quadripartite: What could cause the gods of good and evil to work together? Only a threat to the very foundation of the world that they fight over, that would destroy the world or change it so radically that morals as we know them lose all context. Dragonlance just barely managed to deal with the threat of Chaos, and it changed the very cosmology of the world for decades, with the consequences still felt today. Oerth’s brush with the Far Realm, on the other hand, is likely to be less devastating, as they have a lot more gods, who are less inclined to go off in a strop for centuries because people aren’t worshipping them the way they want.

Anyway, the PC’s are contacted by a priest of Nerull, who’ll deliver the exposition that the town of Shiboleth is ground zero for a new Far Realm incursion and they need to get hold of a macguffin called a Primal Anchor to have a chance of stopping it. This is of course hidden in a shrine full of puzzles designed so only the right sort of people can get hold of it. (which is obviously why he hasn’t already taken it himself) When you solve the first riddle to get in, you find out that the macguffin has been split into 4 pieces, which need to be combined in a magic cauldron to be used. On each side of the cauldron is another riddle, which you need to solve to get to each piece. You’ll get teleported to 4 different locations around the world, each with their own distinct challenges. A brass tower in the desert full of fire creatures. A sealed crypt full of undead. An icy tundra where you’ll face frost giants & winter wolves. The middle of the sea, where they’ll be promptly swallowed by a mechanical leviathan which has the final piece as its heart. Thankfully as soon as you find a piece you all get conveniently teleported back to the shrine, giving you room to rest up before tackling another one.

Once you’ve done all of these (in any order) you then have to go and use it on the colossal abomination rampaging across the land, which is still a decent challenge even after being weakened. Then once you’ve done that, it would be a very good idea if you followed the trail of destruction back to the cultists who summoned it in the first place, who predictably use the Alienist prestige class from their recent sourcebooks. If you didn’t kill the priest of Nerull earlier, he’ll try to steal the artifact and sneak off sometime during these last two fights, setting up further adventures. Another example of their new willingness to embrace epic but cheesy plots, this packs a lot into its page count and definitely looks like it could fill quite a few sessions. If you like old school nonsensical puzzle dungeons, putting together macguffins and fighting giant monsters it embraces the bit more wholeheartedly than 99% of adventures in here and definitely deserves some praise for that.
 

(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 99/158: June 2003



part 3/8



Map of Mystery is also a double bill. First is a Githzerai Monastery on the edge of a massive chasm in hostile terrain, which definitely helps make it more defensible. Lots of little cells for the monks to sleep and a large communal area in the middle. Second is a temple of Boccob, which is smaller and in more pleasant surroundings, but built on surprisingly similar lines. I guess they’re both religious institutions, and despite their very different ideologies still have the same practical day to day logistical concerns. That’s an important lesson to teach GM’s who aren’t trying to make endlessly sprawling nonsensical deathtrap dungeons.



Mount Zogon: Tony Mosely has been putting his own interestingly misanthropic perspective on the adventuring life over in Dragon for over a year now. Now he expands his workload with another comic in the same style. (and probably world as well) Galeena is a young druid who got a bit pre-emptive with the whole killing other druids to advance in rank business. This earned her an “accelerated graduation” from druid school, which both she and her talking mushroom seem completely unbothered by. Where will she go next? (the clue is in the title)



Fish Story: After one big adventure where it’s obvious who the heroes, villains and even worse villains are right from the start, it’s time to do one with a little more moral ambiguity. The PC’s arrive at the small town of Spate’s Grove, only to find it in a bit of a crisis. A bunch of locathahs have taken over the watermill and are making demands in Aquan, which unfortunately no-one in the village speaks. Presuming someone in the party does, (or has translation magic) and you don’t leap straight to the violent approach you’ll find out that they’re refugees, as the lake they live in has been attacked and they made an ancient treaty with the town’s ancestors for mutual support. Unless you want to break the rules of hospitality and fight them, or have them doing the equivalent of crashing in the townsfolks basements indefinitely until more accommodation can be built the best solution would be going back to the lake and clearing out the troublemaker. This turns out to be a fairly complicated business. The trouble is being caused by the ghost of an evil locathah who was trying to unravel the secrets at the bottom of the lake. A wizard once bound a water elemental down there to ensure there was always a plentiful supply of water in the region and the ghost wants to figure out the secret of it’s binding and take control. The elemental is of course very bored and lonely after centuries of being trapped down there and wants to be free, but if you just kill or banish it, the water levels will drop dramatically, leaving the other locathah unable to live there anymore anyway. To get the best ending, you need to lay the ghost to rest (which you can’t do just by beating it in a fight) and free the elemental but persuade it to stick around and be friends with the locathah, which isn’t quite as preferable to it as going home to the plane of water, but a lot better than the previous situation. So there is a “perfect” ending here where you don’t have to do much fighting and everybody lives except the ones who were already dead, but there are also a lot of lesser success states the more murderhoboey PC groups are more likely to stumble into. That makes this a very pleasingly written little adventure with plenty of hidden depths that you could run through with multiple groups and get very different results with. Not a record breaker, but well above average even by Dungeon’s standards.
 

(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 99/158: June 2003



part 4/8



Dungeon Dressing: After spending quite a few issues giving us sets of monster tokens, it makes sense that they’d move onto props to decorate your rooms with. So here’s a dozen cardboard bits that you have to cut out and fold up into the proper shapes. Some torch pedestals, columns and a big throne complete with draperies and armrest covers that’ll take some careful construction to put together. Can you find a villain that’s posable and the right size to sit on it? Will it be solidly put together enough to support being sat on anyway? This is where I really wish I had a physical copy of the issue rather than just a .pdf so I could put it to the test myself.



First Watch: Erik already did the main editorial, so he can’t be bothered to do another one on the Polyhedron side. Instead we go straight to the promotion of upcoming D20 Modern books with stats for Drop Bears. showing they are going to include some more wacky creatures from real world cryptozoology in the Menace Manual. It’s important to keep your sense of humour when trying to kill your players. They’re not that dangerous statistically, but the element of surprise counts for a lot, as we also know from Piercer encounters.

The Release Roundup is somewhat shorter than usual. Bastion Press take us Into the Green, for those who are too young to remember how to do wilderness encounters from the 80’s RPG books. Green Ronin show us how to do a core class Blackguard in The Unholy Warrior’s Handbook, and give us a whole load of new psionic monsters in Monsters of the Mind. Mystic Eye Games try out a whole alternate system of item crafting in The Artificer’s Handbook. Will the Charop boards be able to break it in amusing ways? Necromancer Games release Vampires & Liches, a fairly self explanatory book with a trio of short adventures. Sounds like precisely the kind of thing Dungeon does cheaper and better.



Bolt & Quiver get into a tiff over who’s the hero and who’s the sidekick. The clue is once again in the comic title.



Global Positioning gives us two floors of a large metropolitan bank, another location where PC’s are particularly likely to find themselves in conflict, whether they’re committing the crimes themselves or heroically foiling other robbers. Looks like there’s enough space in these issues for modern day and fantasy maps to co-exist rather than alternating.



Hijinx: Our D20 minigame is the most divergent yet. It’s time to play out your rock n’ roll fantasies with rules for putting a band together and engaging in musical competition to rule the scene. Not particularly gritty or realistic ones though, more based on the cartoon depictions of being in a band like Josie & the Pussycats or Jem & the Holograms. Since no-one ever really gets hurt in those, that means there’s no rules for combat at all! (although since the rules for musical battles use basically the same stats as D&D combat, only renamed, you can still make them work that way easily enough if you want to do crossovers or a slightly darker game) That’s a very interesting experiment indeed and one i’m particularly keen on seeing the reception to. It’s been a while since we had scenarios that could be resolved entirely without combat and it would be nice if they included a few, despite the XP system discouraging it. The graphic design is also a pleasing departure from the norm in here, going for bright secondary colours to accentuate the tweeness. Even more than the racing minigame, (which definitely has some common influences that would make them work well together) this is doing something they haven’t done before and are unlikely to ever do again. Even if I never actually get to play it, this definitely breaks up the monotony of the adventuring lifestyle.
 

(un)reason

Legend
Dungeon/Polyhedron Issue 99/158: June 2003



part 5/8



We're with the Band: The ability scores are the same as ever, but you substitute mental ones for physical ones when engaging in musical battles. Charisma replaces strength in determining how many Vibe points you inflict on the opponents psyche. Wisdom replaces dexterity in determining your ability to avoid enemy influence, while intelligence replaces constitution in determining how many “hits” you can take before being beaten. Unless you’re doing a crossover with some other D20 game, everyone is human, removing that avenue of customisation. However, the whole group gains a minor benefit based on what style of music they play, with 7 fairly basic genres listed here to choose from. That’s a concept that could probably be ported back to D&D in some way to represent team training. Similarly, there are 7 classes listed, each based around playing a particular instrument, which means there’s plenty of room to homebrew more should you be so inclined. These are interesting enough that they deserve individual examination.

Vocalists are fairly obviously based on Monks, as they have medium base performance bonus, but don’t need an instrument to be able to perform, plus their damage scales in a similar way, their base performance bonus for iterative attacks only decreases by 3 per time rather than 5 and they can deliver a stunning attack at higher levels. They’re a lot more tanky than Monks though, with not only d12 cool points per level, but the ability to shrug off an increasing amount of bad vibes from everyone on the opposing side apart from the Lead. (ie, probably the opposing singer) Make sure you share the spotlight at least occasionally.

Guitarists are probably the Fighter analog, with full BPB and special powers based around delivering the greatest number of vibe points per attack, but low skill points and not a lot of other features. If you want a simple character to play they’re the one to pick, which definitely doesn’t fit the stereotype of real world guitarists.

Bassists are a little bit Cleric, a little bit Barbarian, with the ability to restore cool points to their allies and increasing amounts of DR representing their ultra laid back ability to ignore bad vibes. Not a very good solo character, but invaluable to a party, which is definitely a case where the mechanics and fluff match up.

Drummers are a bit Ranger and a bit Bard, with lots of supportive effects, but also the ambidexterity/two-weapon fighting chain to represent that each limb is playing a different instrument simultaneously, giving them more attacks per round than otherwise.

Keyboardists are a mix of spellcaster and rogue, once again having some healing ability, but also the ability to fade into the background so no-one will attack you, boost the defence of other band members, switch their focus, have multiple focuses at once and become more powerful if one of your bandmates is taken out. All this flexibility is offset by being the only one with a 1/2 BPB, so they aren’t so great at actually attacking though.

DJ’s are pure rogue, with tons of skill points, sneak attack and the ability to steal the moves of others and turn them back on their user. Their big weakness is having the shortest range for their attacks, forcing them to get up close and personal with the enemy to use their powers to full effect.

Horn players are the exact opposite, with the longest range of all, AoE burst attacks and the ability to neutralise audience bad vibes with their sexy solos. They definitely don’t map neatly to any D&D equivalent.

So the notable thing here is just how many of the powers are based on helping other members of your group rather than directly attacking the opponents. Being a musician is a team activity and you need to build your band together for maximum effectiveness. Getting an ego and trying to go solo is an even worse idea than in regular D&D, which is definitely good game design.
 

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