Matt Colville’s Strongholds and Followers

hawkeyefan

Legend
If you include the dozen or so pages in the bestiary section that are strictly art and/or lore, it's 80 pages - very respectable.


I've read some more of the Stronghold Actions and Class Feature Improvements. I feel some need clarification, and some I will definitely tweak for my own game.

The Fighter's Class Feature Improvement is neat, but unclear.

Class Feature Improvement: Fighting Surge
Whenever you attack by using your Action Surge, you automatically score a critical hit. You can do this for a number of surges equal to your stronghold level, after which you must take an extended rest to refresh this ability.

So, I like that it keys off of Action Surge, but is it supposed to turn every attack you make when you action surge into a crit? One attack per surge? When you specifically take the Attack action when you action surge? I mean, you don't technically attack with your Action Surge. Anyway, I don't expect the wording to be just like WotC's, but slightly stricter wording would be better.

My take on that Fighting Surge ability is that you can score a critical hit on a number of attacks equal to your stronghold level. Each critical counts as one use. Because a fighter will only ever get two action surges at level 17, and strongholds can be higher than level 2. I could be wrong, but that's how I read that.

There are a couple of instances like this where things are a little unclear based on the wording. Nothing drastic, but I've noticed some already. Matt also seems to not adhere slavishly to the WotC terminology....I see references to "Attacks of Opportunity" instead of the 5E term "Opportunity Attacks". That's very minor, obviously, but there may be other examples where it's a bigger deal.
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
[MENTION=6796661]MNblockhead[/MENTION] thanks for the reply, very informative.

Sadly, it is definitely not just his fast spoken delivery. I’m from California, and I consume a lot more YouTube and podcast media than I do traditional video media, so fast talk is where I live. When I have to call the support center st work, and get someone from Vest Virginia, I feel like I’m at the DMV in Zootopia. People talk soooooooo slooooooowwww.

He just annoys me. But, I don’t think it’s his diction, or vocabulary, or anything else that translates directly to print. I think it’s just him. I watched his video on the Star Wars sequel movies vs the prequels, and I just couldn’t stand the guy.

Part of what annoys me about him is what annoys me about so many of my fellow Millenials, and GenX ppl. That is, the rampant deeply emotionally stubborn nostalgia. I...just don’t experience nostalgia to anywhere near the same degree that others seem to, so when people seem to base their opinions strongly on it, I find it obnoxious. His line in what you quoted about being old fashioned immediately annoyed me.

But, maybe it’s just commentary and has no impact on using the product!

That said, the main thing that would deter me from paying 20$ for a pdf is, if it is going to take extra work is I want my Warlock to own a theater, or if I’d have to invent a proper Library for my buddy’s Bard/Fighter that gives library appropriate benefits from scratch. Or if it takes extra work to erase the assumption of a sinister nature of warlocks, etc.

I think I’ll have to find someone I know who has it, and read through it, before deciding.

I may find that I can easily figure out how to make a Keep for a Rogue work just fine.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
@MNblockhead thanks for the reply, very informative.

Sadly, it is definitely not just his fast spoken delivery. I’m from California, and I consume a lot more YouTube and podcast media than I do traditional video media, so fast talk is where I live. When I have to call the support center st work, and get someone from Vest Virginia, I feel like I’m at the DMV in Zootopia. People talk soooooooo slooooooowwww.

He just annoys me. But, I don’t think it’s his diction, or vocabulary, or anything else that translates directly to print. I think it’s just him. I watched his video on the Star Wars sequel movies vs the prequels, and I just couldn’t stand the guy.

Part of what annoys me about him is what annoys me about so many of my fellow Millenials, and GenX ppl. That is, the rampant deeply emotionally stubborn nostalgia. I...just don’t experience nostalgia to anywhere near the same degree that others seem to, so when people seem to base their opinions strongly on it, I find it obnoxious. His line in what you quoted about being old fashioned immediately annoyed me.

But, maybe it’s just commentary and has no impact on using the product!

That said, the main thing that would deter me from paying 20$ for a pdf is, if it is going to take extra work is I want my Warlock to own a theater, or if I’d have to invent a proper Library for my buddy’s Bard/Fighter that gives library appropriate benefits from scratch. Or if it takes extra work to erase the assumption of a sinister nature of warlocks, etc.

I think I’ll have to find someone I know who has it, and read through it, before deciding.

I may find that I can easily figure out how to make a Keep for a Rogue work just fine.

There's a building offered for each class, and abilities that go along with that building keyed to the class in question. For example, the Warlock's building is a Fane. However, there's nothing that says that the Fane can't be a theater or any other kind of building. It assumes some kind of shrine to the warlock's patron, but the fluff can really be anything.

If I'm following correctly, each Stronghold is one of the four main types....Keep, Tower, Temple, Establishment....so you can make a Warlock's Theater which would be an Establishment, or you can make a Warlock's Fortress which would be a keep....that kind of thing. Kind of like how race and class, or maybe more fittingly background and class fit together to make characters more unique.

And even if the actual combos available aren't to your liking, it seems that the abilities provided in the book would serve as ample material to tweak things to your liking.

Edited to Add: Regarding Matt Colville himself; I don't think nostalgia is as powerful an influence on him in gaming as you may think. I know the Star Wars video you are talking about, and I disagreed with him in a lot of ways. I'm not as into nostalgia as many others seem to be. I don't mind it a bit, but I don't want it to be a driving force.

I would say that Matt is an incredibly open minded designer. Even when he comes right out and says "I'm a fan of X..." he also points out that it's his personal preference, and there's no reason to limit the game to that. He mentions this often in the book, from what I've seen of my initial glances. "These tables are meant to inspire you, not limit you...." and so on.

He does have some opinions that seem to skew to a more classic view of the game, but he's also flexible and open minded about how to change the game and to change those classic takes.
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
There's a building offered for each class, and abilities that go along with that building keyed to the class in question. For example, the Warlock's building is a Fane. However, there's nothing that says that the Fane can't be a theater or any other kind of building. It assumes some kind of shrine to the warlock's patron, but the fluff can really be anything.

If I'm following correctly, each Stronghold is one of the four main types....Keep, Tower, Temple, Establishment....so you can make a Warlock's Theater which would be an Establishment, or you can make a Warlock's Fortress which would be a keep....that kind of thing. Kind of like how race and class, or maybe more fittingly background and class fit together to make characters more unique.

And even if the actual combos available aren't to your liking, it seems that the abilities provided in the book would serve as ample material to tweak things to your liking.

Ah, so you can have a Fane Keep or a Fane Temple or a Fane Tower?
 

Edited to Add: Regarding Matt Colville himself; I don't think nostalgia is as powerful an influence on him in gaming as you may think. I know the Star Wars video you are talking about, and I disagreed with him in a lot of ways. I'm not as into nostalgia as many others seem to be. I don't mind it a bit, but I don't want it to be a driving force.

I see what you did there. :p

Good assessment of Matt. When I first listened to him, I seriously thought his fast talking was an editing job to make his videos shorter - then, in a video, he actually responded to a comment something along the lines of "Yes, I do talk this fast and no I'm not related to Wolverine despite the hair." Matt does seem like a really good, open-minded, and talented guy to me, too - I'm glad to support his work... which by the way is very impressive... still working through it and can't wait to test it out soon with one of our groups!
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Ah, so you can have a Fane Keep or a Fane Temple or a Fane Tower?

That's how it seems to me, yes.

A keep grants specific effects; Raising Units and Training. These are martially based, but not limited to Fighters. It even provides examples of a Cleric built keep. The Training benefit gives boosts to specific equipment use, and allows you to switch the boost when you take an Extended Rest. So a Fighter, proficient with all weapon and armor, will have more options to choose from the Training benefit, but other classes will still benefit. The Tower seems more class dependent because the major benefit is Researching and Crafting New Spells. So it depends on the Stronghold type you build.

Then, based on your class, you get certain boosts to your abilities when you're in your Demesne. This is defined as within the same hex as your stronghold (assuming a 24 mile hex). So it's basically a Lair power like a legendary creature. And some of them are incredibly powerful.

Pretty sure you could mix and match things a bit if necessary to find something that works.

Overall, the book seems impressive, and fills a specific niche in the game world. Even if your game isn't going to revolve around the establishment of a kingdom and international conflict and the like, I think there is a lot here that can be used in many games.
 

5ekyu

Hero
My take on that Fighting Surge ability is that you can score a critical hit on a number of attacks equal to your stronghold level. Each critical counts as one use. Because a fighter will only ever get two action surges at level 17, and strongholds can be higher than level 2. I could be wrong, but that's how I read that.

There are a couple of instances like this where things are a little unclear based on the wording. Nothing drastic, but I've noticed some already. Matt also seems to not adhere slavishly to the WotC terminology....I see references to "Attacks of Opportunity" instead of the 5E term "Opportunity Attacks". That's very minor, obviously, but there may be other examples where it's a bigger deal.
I read it as all attacks during a surge that hit crit, as it limits the number of surges.
 

Mr. Wilson

Explorer
The bestiary appendix has some cool monsters. Not a fan of gem dragons, but I like additional fey, aberrations, elementals, fiends, and celestials.

I am curious as to why you dislike Gem Dragons as they've always been my favorite, especially the Sapphire Dragons. Is it the Psionics instead of magic part?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
That's how it seems to me, yes.

A keep grants specific effects; Raising Units and Training. These are martially based, but not limited to Fighters. It even provides examples of a Cleric built keep. The Training benefit gives boosts to specific equipment use, and allows you to switch the boost when you take an Extended Rest. So a Fighter, proficient with all weapon and armor, will have more options to choose from the Training benefit, but other classes will still benefit. The Tower seems more class dependent because the major benefit is Researching and Crafting New Spells. So it depends on the Stronghold type you build.

Then, based on your class, you get certain boosts to your abilities when you're in your Demesne. This is defined as within the same hex as your stronghold (assuming a 24 mile hex). So it's basically a Lair power like a legendary creature. And some of them are incredibly powerful.

Pretty sure you could mix and match things a bit if necessary to find something that works.

Overall, the book seems impressive, and fills a specific niche in the game world. Even if your game isn't going to revolve around the establishment of a kingdom and international conflict and the like, I think there is a lot here that can be used in many games.

Very interesting. That assuages most of what makes me hesitant to purchase the product. I wonder how hard it would be to train followers in magical stuff, but that’s gonna be super campaign and setting specific.

WRT MC: That’s fair, he seems like a pretty smart guy, and a lot of people I admire seem to admire him. I guess sometimes ya just don’t like someone, and as long as I don’t find myself being a dingus about it, I’m fine with that.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
I read it as all attacks during a surge that hit crit, as it limits the number of surges.

Looking at it again, I think you're right.

I was looking at it from a daily perspective....so a Fighter can only ever have 2 Action Surges in a day. So if the Fighter had a Level 4 Keep, he'd get no benefit. But because this ability is instead keyed off of the Extended Rest, it can cover more than one day.

So yeah, I think my interpretation is off, and instead it's literally "whenever you attack using your surge" so if you have any extra attacks you can make when you attack, they would be criticals, as you describe.
 

The Fighting Surge ability makes for some powerful nova. But I would love to see a side by side comparison of each ability to see If they come close to each other in damage/healing.
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
This sounds neat. This product didn't really pique my interest but hearing how well thought out it seems I'll probably pick it up for reading over the holidays. My current group has established an organization of sorts to help the disenfranchised refugees living in the main city. It hasn't been a big focus for a while now as adventuring is busy work, but this might give me some ideas on where to take that.

I'm also planning on running a Ravnica campaign and I could very easily see the players wanting to build a stronghold in the name of their guild once they are powerful enough to do so. Founding your own Izzet laboratory or building you own Orzhov basilica would be really cool.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
The Fighting Surge ability makes for some powerful nova. But I would love to see a side by side comparison of each ability to see If they come close to each other in damage/healing.

Each of them is potent like that. I don't want to spoil the book, but to give one more for comparison, the Ranger gets Chosen Enemy. When used, the Ranger's favored enemy gains vulnerability to the Ranger's attacks. This can be used on a number of damage rolls equal to the Ranger's stronghold's level, and then requires an Extended Rest.

The other classes are all equally potent, but each will likely only happen a couple times per adventure. Matt even points this out in a foot note. He wanted the abilities to make players say "wow I want to build a Stronghold" but for the DM to realize "okay, this will only happen occasionally".
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
@MNblockhead thanks for the reply, very informative.

Sadly, it is definitely not just his fast spoken delivery. I’m from California, and I consume a lot more YouTube and podcast media than I do traditional video media, so fast talk is where I live. When I have to call the support center st work, and get someone from Vest Virginia, I feel like I’m at the DMV in Zootopia. People talk soooooooo slooooooowwww.

He just annoys me. But, I don’t think it’s his diction, or vocabulary, or anything else that translates directly to print. I think it’s just him. I watched his video on the Star Wars sequel movies vs the prequels, and I just couldn’t stand the guy.

Part of what annoys me about him is what annoys me about so many of my fellow Millenials, and GenX ppl. That is, the rampant deeply emotionally stubborn nostalgia. I...just don’t experience nostalgia to anywhere near the same degree that others seem to, so when people seem to base their opinions strongly on it, I find it obnoxious. His line in what you quoted about being old fashioned immediately annoyed me.

But, maybe it’s just commentary and has no impact on using the product!

<SNIP>

I find that many people react strongly to opinionated people. Some people love them--find them more interesting and fun to listed to and argue with. Others find them annoying and full of themselves. When I moved to New York City, I fell in love instantly. Most Americans have negative stereotypes of New Yorkers. After moving back to the Midwest, I find I have to tone it down. Whenever I find myself conversing with someone who'll bluntly state a strong opinion on anything, I find it to be a breath of fresh air.

My wife, on the other hand, finds it exhausting to be around me and some of my friends. After a few drinks, when we are at the point of having heated arguments about garlic, she'll tap out.

And I don't think it is a millennial thing or a gen X thing as my grandfather and several of my uncles illustrate--especially those too-full-of-themselves uncles who moved to Los Angeles ;-)

Matt seems like a fun person to grab drink with and argue have friendly arguments about inconsequential details of pop culture.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I am curious as to why you dislike Gem Dragons as they've always been my favorite, especially the Sapphire Dragons. Is it the Psionics instead of magic part?

Well, at the risk of upsetting [MENTION=6704184]doctorbadwolf[/MENTION], I mainly dislike them because I'm an opinionated Gen Xer who believes that only Fey creatures, not Vampires or Dragons, should sparkle.

Also, I don't like the idea of psionic dragons. Leave that to the aberrations and their twisted thralls.

Really. No good reason. The artwork for the gem dragons in Matt's book are awesome. They look cool and are probably fun to use in a game. But the words "psionic gem dragons" just turns my stomach a bit sour.

Now a Fey flower-petal dragon that has no physical attacks, that's cool.

:)
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Well, at the risk of upsetting [MENTION=6704184]doctorbadwolf[/MENTION], I mainly dislike them because I'm an opinionated Gen Xer who believes that only Fey creatures, not Vampires or Dragons, should sparkle.

Also, I don't like the idea of psionic dragons. Leave that to the aberrations and their twisted thralls.

Really. No good reason. The artwork for the gem dragons in Matt's book are awesome. They look cool and are probably fun to use in a game. But the words "psionic gem dragons" just turns my stomach a bit sour.

Now a Fey flower-petal dragon that has no physical attacks, that's cool.

:)

All these dang olds, having opinions, liking old things! <flips table>
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
<SNIP>

I find that many people react strongly to opinionated people. Some people love them--find them more interesting and fun to listed to and argue with. Others find them annoying and full of themselves. When I moved to New York City, I fell in love instantly. Most Americans have negative stereotypes of New Yorkers. After moving back to the Midwest, I find I have to tone it down. Whenever I find myself conversing with someone who'll bluntly state a strong opinion on anything, I find it to be a breath of fresh air.

My wife, on the other hand, finds it exhausting to be around me and some of my friends. After a few drinks, when we are at the point of having heated arguments about garlic, she'll tap out.

And I don't think it is a millennial thing or a gen X thing as my grandfather and several of my uncles illustrate--especially those too-full-of-themselves uncles who moved to Los Angeles ;-)

Matt seems like a fun person to grab drink with and argue have friendly arguments about inconsequential details of pop culture.

I am one of those opinionated people, and you’re absolutely right. MC probably annoys me for the same reason my friend Paul annoys me. He’s just as opinionated as me, but he’s wrong! :D jk, obv. Not about Paul, tho. Paul is always wrong.

Seriously, though, you’re right. That, and his complaints about new Star Wars included stuff like “feeling betrayed”, which immediately put me off, and that was my second introduction to him, after him talking about how important it is to kill PCs, which also put me off! Lol
 

Well, at the risk of upsetting [MENTION=6704184]doctorbadwolf[/MENTION], I mainly dislike them because I'm an opinionated Gen Xer who believes that only Fey creatures, not Vampires or Dragons, should sparkle.

Also, I don't like the idea of psionic dragons. Leave that to the aberrations and their twisted thralls.

Really. No good reason. The artwork for the gem dragons in Matt's book are awesome. They look cool and are probably fun to use in a game. But the words "psionic gem dragons" just turns my stomach a bit sour.

Now a Fey flower-petal dragon that has no physical attacks, that's cool.

:)
Don’t they date to 1980?
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Don’t they date to 1980?

At my table they date to never.

But yes, according to Wikipedia, they date to Dragon issue #37, published in 1980, but they were not published in any D&D hard cover while I was playing (I switched to Warhammer in late high school and stopped role playing when I went to college.

Then I get back into D&D when 5e comes out and there are Tieflings and Dragonborn. Now you want me to adjust to gem dragons! An old man can only adapt so fast!
 
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Retreater

Legend
I backed the Kickstarter but haven't read the PDF thoroughly yet. I like that it attempts to find a use for gold in 5e and that it addresses mass combat.
 

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