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Lorfarius
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I think the problem with LMoP is that it feels like the WotC solution to getting people into D&D was simply to make a completely normal campaign, but smaller. Which helps to a certain extent as it's certainly less overwhelming than a normal published adventure but it lacks the more formal structure of the Essentials Kit (which I assume was a reaction to LMoP). A combination of the LMoP adventure with the Essentials Kit structure would probably make for a best of both worlds learning experience.

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On 04/12/2020 at 14:05, Seamonster said:

I guess the main thing I lost track of was 'what is the main story thread?'. It just felt like the search for Gundren/The mine went completely unmentioned, which was my fault obviously, but switching between the different locations/NPCs as the PCs trundled around town was problematic.

 

It was also too easy to just read up on the NPCs and and have not much for them to say/do other than deliver a quest. I need to get it feeling more organic than that and act as useful/interesting characters to begin with and bring their quests in as needed. I think I overwhelmed the PCs with side-quests...

 

Funnily enough we finished LMoP at the weekend and had a bit of a debrief after. One of the criticisms was about the story being difficult to follow and not always really understanding why the players are somewhere/doing something. Now that isn't just the books fault obviously, but it's certainly made it clear that everything needs to hang together a bit better.

 

The problem with the latter bit is that I think my PC's approached it as you might a video game, speaking to everyone they could, getting all of the side quests they could. In hindsight rationing the side quests (while still giving them some choice) might have been a better approach. Or at least linking the side quests together better.

 

The book also doesn't do a great job of explaining NPC's motivations sometimes. The NPC's in the town were fairly well fleshed out but unless I missed something somewhere the Wraith in Wave Echo Cave is terribly described, who's motivation (remove the Spectator) doesn't tally at all with his goals (protect treasure so never leaving room).

 

@Graham S What do you use for maps out of curiosity?

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4 hours ago, phresh said:

 

@Graham S What do you use for maps out of curiosity?

 

I've tried quite a lot of different stuff. I haven't DMed much online and when I have I've used roll20. I don't love it, in fact it's pretty clunky. My daughter has had more success with beginners just sending screeshots of maps via discord, you can crop to show where they are now. Next time I'll probably try https://www.owlbear.rodeo and I might try it in person too, when the world resumes.

 

In person I've tried just about everything. I've tried roll20 with a couple of laptops. I've printed things out. I've used various methods at screensharing from a macbook to an iPad in the middle of the table. I've tried whiteboard markers and a "Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Basic". That was reasonably successful, as I let players draw their own battle map with some parameters I supplied, which worked quite well.

 

Sometimes I've not shown them maps at all, even if I had one of my own and kept combat entirely theatre of the mind.

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Good to see that experience players struggle with it as well! It's tempting (or has been for me at least) to try and find a one size its all solution. I tried Roll 20 but it was clunky as hell and really put me off. I had a look at Avrae + Discord but unless the players know how it works (which doesn't matter too much with Roll20) it's not really going to work.

 

I had a go with Owlbear Rodeo and it seems really good, just does the simple things really well - it was a ballache to align grids on Roll20 but this even autodetects it on some maps. I think I might try and go with Rodeo / Discord for the PC facing bits and then Improved Initiative / Onenote for the DM stuff. 

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So one useful thing I discovered today (for chrome at least) is you can drag links into the app screen (chrome://apps), right click them and tick the 'Open in New Window' option and when you click on them they will open without any tab, address or bookmark bar. Handy with so many windows open!

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So ran the first part of LMoP again to the new group and it went really well. The players are all brand new, really enjoyed it and can't wait to play again. It was understandably a lot easier this time, combat was a lot smoother and I kept the pressure on to keep the pace moving. Owlbear rodeo worked great (I was screen sharing with it rather than players accessing).

 

Applying the lazy dm tips to the campaign helps a lot. FIrst time I DM'd this I was in an almost constant state of panic that players wouldn't discover particular bits of information. In hindsight that is obviously ridiculous and I probably should have worked out that disconnecting secrets/clues from NPC's/locations would make this a lot easier.

 

The only depressing thing about all of this is that it's taken the two groups i'm playing with until our late 30's to discover it!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 22/12/2020 at 00:20, phresh said:

The only depressing thing about all of this is that it's taken the two groups i'm playing with until our late 30's to discover it!

 

Honestly, it might well be better this way if you manage to sidestep all the "why can't I be a Katana-Vampire, I found this homebrew and it's clearly balanced?" questions, and the endless trips (or attempted trips) to every brothel in the game world, where the GM attempts to force exciting RP opportunities on either a player of the sex they're attracted too IRL or failing that, the closest player who looks uncomfortable with the whole thing.

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:lol:


A quick perusal of D&D horror stories on Reddit makes that abundantly clear! I think the most difficult thing coming to this a bit older is getting players to come up with more creative solutions, but that’s a process I feel.

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29 minutes ago, phresh said:

I think the most difficult thing coming to this a bit older is getting players to come up with more creative solutions, but that’s a process I feel.

 

The fact that your players are coming up with solutions is amazing, though - remember that the game grinding a halt doesn't mean a good time for anyone unless you're a just a dickhead adversarial GM. I often find that the players getting creative just ends up with quality (or alternatively "quality") content just writing itself.

 

I'm thinking about running a forum one shot, which is going to hinge on players getting "creative" as I (like much of the country) am in Tier 4, and it would be nice to do something.

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OK, really really basic question:

 

No one has really been using magic in our campaign... up until now. And as a result I'm reading the PHB about actions and spells and I'm getting mildly confused.

 

If a spell has a casting time of '1 bonus action' then that indicates how long it takes to cast the spell, but does it mean that someone who has learnt the spell automatically gets a bonus action on every combat turn with which to cast the spell?

 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Seamonster said:

OK, really really basic question:

 

No one has really been using magic in our campaign... up until now. And as a result I'm reading the PHB about actions and spells and I'm getting mildly confused.

 

If a spell has a casting time of '1 bonus action' then that indicates how long it takes to cast the spell, but does it mean that someone who has learnt the spell automatically gets a bonus action on every combat turn with which to cast the spell?

 

 

 

 

Basically yes.

 

The rules about bonus actions are as follows:

 

Quote

Bonus Actions

Various class features, spells, and other abilities let you take an additional action on your turn called a bonus action. The Cunning Action feature, for example, allows a rogue to take a bonus action. You can take a bonus action only when a special ability, spell, or other feature of the game states that you can do something as a bonus action. You otherwise don't have a bonus action to take.

You can take only one bonus action on your turn, so you must choose which bonus action to use when you have more than one available.

You choose when to take a bonus action during your turn, unless the bonus action's timing is specified, and anything that deprives you of your ability to take actions also prevents you from taking a bonus action.

 

So yes, you do get one bonus action on your turn, but only if you have something that lets you make a bonus action, otherwise you don't have one. A common one available to most classes would be

 

Quote

Two-Weapon Fighting

When you take the Attack action and attack with a light melee weapon that you're holding in one hand, you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon that you're holding in the other hand. You don't add your ability modifier to the damage of the bonus attack, unless that modifier is negative.

 

One thing to watch out for with bonus action spells is that their are limitations on casting two spells in the same turn:

 

Quote

Bonus Action

A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven't already taken a bonus action this turn. You can't cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

 

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Thanks @Graham S!

 

For me, I just think the spell listings combined with the line from the PHB you quoted above (‘You can take a bonus action only when a special ability, spell, or other feature of the game states that you can do something as a bonus action’) don’t quite mesh and cause the confusion, for a hardened pedant such as myself. Most spells with casting time of ‘1 Bonus Action’ don’t explicitly state that you can perform them as a bonus action. Whereas Cunning Action and Two-Weapon Fighting do. Conversely, a spell with a casting time of ‘1 action’ doesn’t grant me an action, but a spell with a casting time of ‘1 Bonus Action’ does grant me a bonus action...

 

I get it now, but there’s something about the above that’s not quite consistent enough.

 

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Yes, I think players find the action / ready an action / bonus action / reaction / free object interaction all a bit complicated and you can imagine this being simplified in a new edition. I tend to help players through it, and as most low level PCs don’t have features that allow bonus actions most of the time it doesn’t come up until they’re ready for it. 

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My character died tonight. Like, dead dead. 
 

I’m playing Pathfinder with some friends. Prior to lockdown it was once a month face to face but since about April it’s been fortnightly. We’re playing the Giantslayer campaign and have been playing about two years now I reckon. I’m playing an Alchemist, I’m level eight now. I’m focusing on mutagen, turning into a big beastly Mr Hyde type and am the party tank, more or less. I’ve got 67 max health and 27 AC buffed. 
 

Tonight we took on a boss of a chapter, a big giant who had two dire bears and two stone giants. My party took out everything but the boss. We’d hurt him but he healed for 250hp, basically negating all the damage we’d done. I’ve taken one hit and am at 55 HP. 
 

I get across to him and he casts bane, then triple hits me. 62 damage, which puts me to negative 7, plus another 20 from bane, which puts me below my con level. That’s it. Character dead. 
 

No heroic death. No epic story moment. Just ‘sorry man, your character is dead’. Felt really ignoble and anticlimactic. 

 

Was told I can either try and wait to see if the rest of the party can res me in a couple of weeks (they’re not high enough level yet), or roll another character. 
 

Not really sure what to do. 
 

 

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On 03/01/2021 at 00:49, Doctor Shark said:

My character died tonight. Like, dead dead. 
 

I’m playing Pathfinder with some friends. Prior to lockdown it was once a month face to face but since about April it’s been fortnightly. We’re playing the Giantslayer campaign and have been playing about two years now I reckon. I’m playing an Alchemist, I’m level eight now. I’m focusing on mutagen, turning into a big beastly Mr Hyde type and am the party tank, more or less. I’ve got 67 max health and 27 AC buffed. 
 

Tonight we took on a boss of a chapter, a big giant who had two dire bears and two stone giants. My party took out everything but the boss. We’d hurt him but he healed for 250hp, basically negating all the damage we’d done. I’ve taken one hit and am at 55 HP. 
 

I get across to him and he casts bane, then triple hits me. 62 damage, which puts me to negative 7, plus another 20 from bane, which puts me below my con level. That’s it. Character dead. 
 

No heroic death. No epic story moment. Just ‘sorry man, your character is dead’. Felt really ignoble and anticlimactic. 

 

Was told I can either try and wait to see if the rest of the party can res me in a couple of weeks (they’re not high enough level yet), or roll another character. 
 

Not really sure what to do. 
 

 

That seems.... unreasonably harsh. 

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Started using onenote for the last few sessions and that has been quite helpful, certainly just in terms of having easy access to my notes. In what I imagine was no small task someone has also converted all of the SRD resources into a one note notebook (available here http://www.cryrid.com/digitaldnd/). It's nothing that can't be found online or in a rulebook, and it's obviously limited to the SRD contents, but it's so much quicker to search than any of those. Well worth a look if you're using onenote.

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Matt Coleville, writer of the Strongholds and Followers book that was sucessfully Kickstarted a couple of years back has just published the first issue of his latest venture - Arcadia.. which is due to be an ongoing periodic digital D&D 5E magazine...

 

It's free for his Patreons and $7 per issue via his website for a download..

https://shop.mcdmproductions.com/products/arcadia-issue1

 

Each issue is presented as a PDF including a full several hour quest/side mission/one shot adventure complete with maps etc.., newly invented/playtested rules/subclasses/spells etc..  The first issue contains an adventure set in a wizard's workshop that has developed a mind of it's own, a new sorcerer class, a fully featured ruleset for mounted combat and a high level enemy creature complete with detailed lore to be an end-game boss for your own home campaign..

 

Early word is that the content is excellent and the accompanying text for DM's is much better at detailing implementation and suggesting ideas etc for it's use than the official WotC books are..

 

 

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Ah I wondered what Arcadia was when I saw it in my YouTube recommendations but never got around to taking a look. 
 

I’ll definitely chuck $7 at the first issue and see how it is. I’ve had way more than that amount value from his YouTube videos. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

On a slightly bizarre tangent, Polygon are promoting a module for you and your first-time-D&D-playing friends: Curse of mother-effing Strahd. 
 

https://www.polygon.com/2021/1/25/22240563/dungeons-dragons-best-campaign-beginners-curse-of-strahd

 

I can only understand this to be an infomercial, because that’s pretty much the worst thing you can recommend to a starting group imo. The thing is lethal both to play and to prep. Just wow...

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One thing i'm struggling with (and this is with both groups) is running any sort of dungeon crawl (however small) where there are multiple encounters with low level creatures (think the piles of goblins in Cragmaw Castle). I understand the concept of wearing down the party but it's a real struggle to make the combat interesting. Even the pile of Goblins in the kitchen/dining area were reasonably easy to dispatch and it was only when getting to some of the Hobgoblins that they took a few hits. How do people generally approach these sorts of combat encounter as part of a crawl?

 

On the flipside the group have for some reason decided to take a short rest in Cragmaw Castle despite a couple of enemies escaping :lol:. So i'm going to do one (or both) of the following;

 

1) Have the hobgoblins lure the Owlbear to where the having the rest and barge through the door

2) Have the doppelganger pretend to be Gundren and infiltrate the group

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22 minutes ago, phresh said:

One thing i'm struggling with (and this is with both groups) is running any sort of dungeon crawl (however small) where there are multiple encounters with low level creatures (think the piles of goblins in Cragmaw Castle). I understand the concept of wearing down the party but it's a real struggle to make the combat interesting. Even the pile of Goblins in the kitchen/dining area were reasonably easy to dispatch and it was only when getting to some of the Hobgoblins that they took a few hits. How do people generally approach these sorts of combat encounter as part of a crawl?

 

On the flipside the group have for some reason decided to take a short rest in Cragmaw Castle despite a couple of enemies escaping :lol:. So i'm going to do one (or both) of the following;

 

1) Have the hobgoblins lure the Owlbear to where the having the rest and barge through the door

2) Have the doppelganger pretend to be Gundren and infiltrate the group

 

Generally a lot of the LMoP encounters don't challenge my PCs, as written. I buff them up a bit, change out monsters or add additional ones and also try to use some tactics if applicable (the book/blog The Monsters Know What They're Doing is a great resource for this).

 

LMoP Cragmaw Spoilers

Spoiler

E.g. for the kitchen fight, I gave the cook an extra ability or two. He could fling goblin soup from his cauldron for AoE damage and a bonus action to command one of his minions. Some of the goblins flipped tables over for cover and shot at the party from behind them, using their bonus action hide. Another couple skirted the meat shields with their bonus action disengage to attack the squishies. The goblins tried to run once the cook went down and the racket attracted a couple of hobgoblins. I had one of them hold the door, just using dodge, while the other ran to alert King Grol (party managed to stop him though was successful in adding some tension/urgency).

 

Goblin fights are easier to make interesting than say, a horde of skeletons, because I can RP throughout the fight and give them some character and fun voice lines. More difficult with beasts or automaton style monsters.

 

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