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[D&D 5E] Xanathar's Guide to Striking a Nerve

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Posts

  • EinzelEinzel Registered User regular
    It felt like it was just Griffon's story hour featuring three guys who occasionally say a sentence. I'm glad it's atypical.

    tinwhiskers
  • CarnarvonCarnarvon Registered User regular
    So, I've got a pick up group on Monday that I'm DMing 5e for. Haven't been in the saddle for about a year, but I'm excited to start playing again. I was writing out my notes, and I figured I'd go through it long form and post it for new DMs. I'll make a post on how it went and what I changed after running it.
    Players are heading to Yogh. Hail and thunder begin. Good aligned players find a wounded halfling merchant by name of Tarpin "Three Leg" Gates (CG, level 1 Rogue), who has had his cart (filled with vegetables and fabrics) turned over and lost his horse. Tarpin asks for aid, and tells of an old tower over the hill. He'll pay the player when they get his goods to Yogh.

    Tarpin tells the players that the horse isn't worth anything, being old and apparently overly skittish. If prompted, the players can make a DC 14 perception check to find a small box containing gems (100gp) and an ornate, women's hairpin (20gp). Placing Tarpin in the wagon and pulling him up the hill is a DC12 STR check. Failing the check deals 1d3 damage from hail, the size of the damage die increasing with every failure. No check and no damage dealt if the player carries Tarpin to the tower, however the Halfling will be unable to pay them.

    Non-chaotic Neutral and evil players are in the tower already. Introductions are made, and Tarpin, if he hasn't been killed or left to die, begins making dinner and answers any questions about the area. After a few answered questions, thunder cracks and a bolt of lightning hits the tower, shaking it and tilting it off balance. The tower is still safe, but only a DC 14 Investigation check can determine that for sure. The shifting of the tower also block the doors from being opened, trapping the players in the tower.

    Looking up, there was a wooden spiral staircase leading to the top of the tower (60ft), but it has long since rotted out. Players thinking to climb up and out of the tower would see moss on the walls and loose bricks at the top of the tower, making the task seem foolhardy at best (three DC 22 climb checks). A few minutes after the tower settled, torchlight can be seen coming through the cracks of the blocks on the far wall of the entrance. The blocks can be removed easily by hand, but a DC 15 Sleight of Hand check (or similar) is required to keep the wall from collapsing, causing no damage but alerting the inhabitants in the next room.

    The next room is essentially a closet with a pile of leaves, some trash, and horrific smelling commode. A fresh torch has been placed on a sconce inside the closet, with a drape covering the exit. Savvy players will have no trouble spying on the next room, requiring only a DC 10 check to listen in and see the occupants.

    What is inside the next room is up to you. Typically I would place two or three Orcs and a cage containing the remaining players. You can skip the cage if you don't wish to stagger the introduction of the party, and the Orcs can be any creature that foreshadows the following story line.

    In this particular instance I plan to have Yogh besieged by Gnolls and undead, so I'll have the fort inhabited by Gnolls. Without prompting a roll, allow the players to eavesdrop on them talking about their successful raids on surrounding villages, and how they've managed to prevent word from reaching Yogh about the attacks. At this point, tell the caged players that they see the eavesdropping player's shadow outline from the torch through the drape. Allow the caged players to then construct a scenario on their escape; don't require rolls for this, just let them narrate their escape or collusion with the other players.

    Battle commences. The size of the room should fit the number of players and monsters, a table and some chairs, water buckets, some piles of detritus, and something gruesome or telling of the chosen monsters (severed heads for orcs, piles of broken trinkets for goblins, half-eaten corpses for gnolls), as well as the caged character's items. Once the gnolls have been slain, you can place any items you'd like to foreshadow, such as a letter or insignia, on the dead monsters.

    The room has two exits. One is a short hallway to the north, ending in a rotted out door. The other is a long hallway to the east that appears to have rain trickling through the ceiling, with a heavy drape at the end.

    The northern exit leads to a circular room with makeshift shrine to the Vulture (or evil god of your choice). A large, flat bowl sits in the middle of the room, with a crude vulture effigy sitting on the edge of the bowl. A treasure chest sits at the back wall. Attempting to open the chest without making an offering to the effigy causes the effigy to animate and attack. A DC12 Religion check would reveal this, a DC 15 Arcana check would reveal the effigy as magical, and worshipers of the deity would know this automatically.

    What counts as a proper offering is up to you; I recommend something macabre like one of the corpses from the previous room. Apart from the effigy, the chest is also trapped in a more mundane fashion. If the players specifically look for traps, DC 14 perception check reveals a poison gas trap on the back of the chest. A DC 12 DEX check disarms it successfully. The chest itself is not locked.

    For the effigy, use a Grell, omitting the grappling part of its tentacle attack, but allow it to make two attacks with the tentacles instead of the beak attack. The gas trap deals 2d10 damage to everyone in the room.

    Inside the chest is 100gp, two healing potions, a potion of lesser restoration, and some curios taken from raids. Whether the effigy was slain or given an offering, players notice that the head of the vulture is made of crystal, covered in leather strips. The Crystal Vulture Skull is a magical item requiring attunement, allowing its wielder to recover a first level spell once per day.

    Going through the eastern hallway reveals rope ladder that appears to be in good shape, leading up to the surface. Two Giant Spiders live in the hall past the rope ladder. Characters checking for traps are unable to see the web unless they are past the rope ladder, as the hail and rain coming from the ceiling obscures it. The two leading characters walking into the web may make a DEX save to avoid being attacked by a spider, but is still restrained by the web. If marching order has not been established yet, allow the players decide who walks into the web; if consensus is not quickly achieved, determine randomly.

    The two Giant Spiders, having no escape, fight to the death and have no treasure.


    Behind the drape lies a crypt, covered in mold and cobwebs; prompt characters taking special interest to the room to a DC 13 Perception check, revealing that the room has been accessed seemingly a few months ago (light cobwebs over handprints, faded boot prints). The walls are decorated with bas-reliefs of what seems to be a human in plate armor. A DC 16 History check would reveal that it is several hundred years old, from a ruined civilization, holding a deceased paladin of an unknown god. The reliefs show him raising the dead, leading an army, building a cathedral, and fighting a ten-headed hydra.

    In the center of the room is a gold-filigreed stone block with ten serpent heads carved into it, each having a mouth hole large enough to stick your arm into. Peering into the holes shows a series of smaller holes connecting the ten large holes together. Touching the block in any way causes every character in the room to hear a voice in their mind, telepathically.

    BRAVERY IS ITS OWN REWARD,
    COWARDICE YOU CAN'T REPENT
    PLACE YOUR HAND UPON THE SWORD
    OR FEEL THE VEN'MOUS SERPENT

    Each character that puts their arm in a hole rolls a 1d20. Characters who hesitate in any way take -5 to the roll. Characters rolling less than 3 feel a sharp pinch, receiving a dose of Hydra's Poison. Affected characters must make a DC 15 CON save against poison or take disadvantage on saving throws until their next long rest. If any characters refuse to place their arm in a hole, nothing happens until they leave the room. Characters who think to block the smaller inner holes are rewarded with advantage on the roll, but still suffer the -5 penalty.

    Once every character still in the room has taken the Hydra's test, a hidden door on the southern wall opens magically. Within the smaller room is an opened and empty coffin, save for an ornate, badly rusted, and cracked blade*. Unbeknownst to the players, the occupant was desecrated rather than consecrated by a disguised evil priest; vulture cultists found this out in an ancient text and raised the paladin as an intelligent undead.


    *The longsword is a Holy Avenger that has been exposed to intense evil for centuries and cannot be reforged or returned to its natural state. It functions as a +1 Adamantium Longsword that deals 1d6 radiant damage to creatures with a weakness to radiant damage; otherwise it functions as a +1 Longsword that cannot be broken further, and requires attunement. Lawful Good characters can wield the weapon normally, while evil or chaotic characters take 1d6 radiant damage per round if they try to wield it. Lawful Neutral, Neutral Good, and Neutral characters feel a deep shame as they wield the blade, causing them to take disadvantage to Charisma saving throws; this effect dissapates if attuned for over a week or if the character changes alignment to Lawful Good.


    In most of my variants of this dungeon, there's a mummy or some other type of undead bruiser back here. In this particular instance, the Paladin is going to lead a raid on Yogh, and in fact is currently doing so. In lieu of having a monster back here, I'll have an evil pulse revive the Gnolls and the vulture effigy. Tarpin the Halfling has also been sitting alone in the tower all this time, so I'll have the monsters attack him in two groups; the vulture (grell) and a Witherling (from Volo's guide) on Tarpin, and two Gnoll undead in the room leading to the tower.

    Depending on how dark you want your campaign, Tarpin could die here, could hold them off by himself, or you could have the players choose to sacrifice Tarpin or take the risk of fighting all four monsters at the same time.


    Conclusion: Once the dungeon is clear, if the night is still young for you and your group, you can have the rain clear and let the party climb the rope ladder to freedom. Otherwise you can have the hail continue and allow the party to rest for the night. Assuming Tarpin is still alive, he can be carried on someone's back, or the characters can leave the tower and try to open the doors from the outside.


    Summary: Stagger the introduction of players by alignment, introduce a NPC that can reveal information about the world, have players stumble into a dungeon, fight some bad guys that foreshadow a later plot, introduce important factions (in this case the Vulture cultists), scatter in some traps, opportunities for roleplaying and cleverness (Hydra test), unique magic items, and finally give them a safe place to rest.

    I'm allowing the players to use UA content and whatever races they want. I figure if anything is truly OP I'll have a chance to work with it ban it in the future. My party is almost entirely monster races (Hobgoblin, Minotaur, Yuan-ti Pureblood, and Dwarf). To make the party not stand out like that, I'm running a homebrew setting where nations are multicultural and governments aren't race based.

    I'm also running my custom gods that I used from Pathfinder, as I hate their pantheon, and 5e doesn't have any compelling options.
    You live on Torus, an Australia-sized island. For the most part there isn't an 'outside world' that anyone is aware of; some reefs, coves, and very small islands.

    There's three main civilizations. Livius to the south east, a temperate area with hills, deserts, and trees.
    Primaris to the north, a mountainous area with evergreens and meadows, mostly cold.
    Tetra to the south, which is a tropical region with beaches and palm trees
    The south western half of the island is mostly useless desert, uninhabited aside from nomads, outlaws, and mining crews.

    Livius is a roman-esque civilization, Lawful Neutral, and is beset by magical beasts.
    Primaris is more typical european medieval with a king, fortresses, and nobles; they're neutral good, leaning true neutral.
    Tetra is basically a huge expanse of ports and african villages that has grown out over time. There's no real government or building code so people put up a hut or live in the street.


    You're living in an era of mostly reliable peace, as the kingdoms are simply too far away from each other to make full scale war viable though you're aware that in history, there were many smaller nations. Scholars beleive that there was a vast and highly advanced civilization that was destroyed, and ruins are often uncovered during mining expeditions. Adventurers are typically seen as post men and monster hunters; they're the people who know how to move between cities without dying. The big cities have soldiers to deal with local threats, but smaller villages are almost always in need of some sort of monster killing service.

    Primaris's government tightly controls the production of Mithril, and they are the only people who know how to make it. Livius buys mithril en masse for use against their constant problem with magical beasts. Livius has a very high quality of living, but the citizenship tax is high, so Livians go to Tetra to join mining expeditions into the western desert. The Tetrans then sell the mithril to Primaris, and the trade cycle continues.

    Gods:

    The Pelican: LG God of Family, Righteousness, Motherly Love - Radiant, Flail
    The Dove: NG God of Romance, Companionship, and Nurturing Love - Fire, Dagger
    The Owl: LG God of Wisdom, Mentorship, and Truth - Thunder, Great Axe
    The Shrike: LN God of Retribution, Civilization, and War - Force, Longsword
    The Raven: N God of Knowledge, Invention, and Magic - Lightning, Quarterstaff
    The Peacock: CN god of Art, Romantic Love, and vanity - Acid, Warhammer
    The Hawk: LE God of Opportunism, the Hunt, Mercilessness - Psychic, Bow
    The Heron: NE God of Self-improvement, Accumulation, and Self-reliance - Cold, Glaive
    The Vulture: CE God of Necromancy, Independence, and Conflict - Necrotic, Hand Axe

  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    Hey guys I'm playing a kenku ranger at the moment and I'm trying to figure out my feats and I'm getting a bit stuck.

    I'm playing a ranged class so I've archery as a style and beast master cause I want a wolfie friend and my first feat is sharpshooter.

    My question is though, if I stick with bows, are there any other feats that are any good?

    Because I'm struggling as I don't think my dude would choose crossbow expert as a specialty because I don't think he really likes change to much.

    But on the other hand the synergies just seem pretty nuts, free reloads and an extra turn means if I have a one handed crossbow and combine with sharpshooter, fire again as a bonus action and something else like hunter's mark I could do 46-90 damage plus my wolf can spend his free action to give me advantage (this would be only for easy to hit targets though). Or I can just use a single heavy the rest of the time and switch when I have a target that is easy to hit.

    Does anyone have any ideas on cool feats that I could take or should the crossbow specialization? Thanks!

    Also as a side note. If I fire again with my crossbow as a bonus action, do I get to apply my dex damage to the second shot as they don't talk about that in the feat bonus.

    Blake T on
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Blake T wrote: »
    Also as a side note. If I fire again with my crossbow as a bonus action, do I get to apply my dex damage to the second shot as they don't talk about that in the feat bonus.

    Yeah, it'll work just like any other attack unless the text specifies otherwise (like two-weapon fighting does).

    As far as feats I don't think there's an equivalent to crossbow expert for longbows, and kenku don't really have any racial feat support either - if you want to stick with bows you're probably best off just pumping your dex in lieu of additional feats.

    Smrtnik
  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    Blake T wrote: »
    Hey guys I'm playing a kenku ranger at the moment and I'm trying to figure out my feats and I'm getting a bit stuck.

    I'm playing a ranged class so I've archery as a style and beast master cause I want a wolfie friend and my first feat is sharpshooter.

    My question is though, if I stick with bows, are there any other feats that are any good?

    Because I'm struggling as I don't think my dude would choose crossbow expert as a specialty because I don't think he really likes change to much.

    But on the other hand the synergies just seem pretty nuts, free reloads and an extra turn means if I have a one handed crossbow and combine with sharpshooter, fire again as a bonus action and something else like hunter's mark I could do 46-90 damage plus my wolf can spend his free action to give me advantage (this would be only for easy to hit targets though). Or I can just use a single heavy the rest of the time and switch when I have a target that is easy to hit.

    Does anyone have any ideas on cool feats that I could take or should the crossbow specialization? Thanks!

    Also as a side note. If I fire again with my crossbow as a bonus action, do I get to apply my dex damage to the second shot as they don't talk about that in the feat bonus.

    It's not an extra turn, it's an extra shot as a bonus action. If you're wielding a one handed weapon in the other hand (or another hand crossbow). There's no such thing as a free action in 5e, your wolf can Help if you use your bonus action.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Crossbow expert works even if you're wielding a hand crossbow in one hand. Its dumb, but that is RAW (and apparently RAI because Crawford doesn't understand his game)

    wbBv3fj.png
  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Crossbow expert works even if you're wielding a hand crossbow in one hand. Its dumb, but that is RAW (and apparently RAI because Crawford doesn't understand his game)

    I don't understand what the problem is?

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    You do not have to be holding another weapon in order to get the extra attack. You can be holding one hand crossbow and nothing else

    wbBv3fj.png
  • CarnarvonCarnarvon Registered User regular
    Variant Human, 6th Fighter with 20 DEX, take Crossbow Expert at level one, Sharpshooter at level 4. Archery combat style. All the sudden you're dealing 1d4+17 damage, three times a round, ranged and melee. You can even wear a shield, depending on your interpretation of the errata.

    It's not a problem that's hard to homebrew out. "...when you attack with a one-handed >melee< weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack..." means you're investing two feats into getting an additional attack with some extra damage at different ranges, rather than becoming a literal tank with four-inch armor plating and sabot rounds. Some people, however, don't like homebrew, or play in adventure leagues, etc. It is, also, not too much to ask for this shit to be balanced.

    As a DM without homebrew, you could also just not give the player a magical hand crossbow. At that point you just feel like a goose rather than it being a real way to combat broken interactions.

    Really though, the problem with CBE+SS and GWM+PM is that the other feats suck compared to them. Monsters aren't terribly well balanced/mathed out enough that you can just look at CR and throw together an encounter with zero thought, so having options that greatly increase damage isn't going to throw the math off that badly. The problem is that physical combat feats for shields, armor, dual wielding, finesse weapons, and everything else are garbage. There's only two legitimate builds if you're not specifically gimping yourself for the sake of balance.

    Elvenshae
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Carnarvon wrote: »
    Variant Human, 6th Fighter with 20 DEX, take Crossbow Expert at level one, Sharpshooter at level 4. Archery combat style. All the sudden you're dealing 1d4+17 damage, three times a round, ranged and melee. You can even wear a shield, depending on your interpretation of the errata.

    It's not a problem that's hard to homebrew out. "...when you attack with a one-handed >melee< weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack..." means you're investing two feats into getting an additional attack with some extra damage at different ranges, rather than becoming a literal tank with four-inch armor plating and sabot rounds. Some people, however, don't like homebrew, or play in adventure leagues, etc. It is, also, not too much to ask for this shit to be balanced.

    As a DM without homebrew, you could also just not give the player a magical hand crossbow. At that point you just feel like a goose rather than it being a real way to combat broken interactions.

    Really though, the problem with CBE+SS and GWM+PM is that the other feats suck compared to them. Monsters aren't terribly well balanced/mathed out enough that you can just look at CR and throw together an encounter with zero thought, so having options that greatly increase damage isn't going to throw the math off that badly. The problem is that physical combat feats for shields, armor, dual wielding, finesse weapons, and everything else are garbage. There's only two legitimate builds if you're not specifically gimping yourself for the sake of balance.

    You can't get 2 feats and 20 dex at 6th level, even as a human. Humans can't start a stat higher than 16, so you'd need 2 stat bumps and 2 feats. You'd have to be 8th level. (Theoretically you could roll stats instead of point buy, but then you're kinda already throwing any expectation of balance out the window.) On the other hand, hand crossbows aren't 1d4, they're 1d6, so the average damage comes out the same (notwithstanding the relative -1 to attacks).

    I'd agree, though, that the ultimate problem is just that there aren't enough good feats and so the ones that are good stand way out as a result. Crossbow Expert+Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master+Polearm Mastery have comparable output to each other, so it's not a case of one single feat being out of whack, and those top-tier builds wouldn't be nearly as problematic if there were similarly-valuable options for longbows and one-handed swords and so forth.

    The problem is exacerbated even more by the feats-or-stats system built into 5e. If you're not playing a human or a fighter, taking any feat before level 12 (which for most groups might as well be 'ever') comes with a pretty hefty penalty in the form of -1 to attacks/damage/spell save DCs from not boosting your primary stat, and most feats simply aren't worth that cost. As a result, you get a lot of identical characters because feats are one of the major ways of customizing a build and their rarity and cost puts almost all of them off-limits unless you're willing to take a performance hit for the sake of flavor.

  • AnzekayAnzekay Registered User regular
    Carnarvon wrote: »
    Variant Human, 6th Fighter with 20 DEX, take Crossbow Expert at level one, Sharpshooter at level 4. Archery combat style. All the sudden you're dealing 1d4+17 damage, three times a round, ranged and melee. You can even wear a shield, depending on your interpretation of the errata.

    It's not a problem that's hard to homebrew out. "...when you attack with a one-handed >melee< weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack..." means you're investing two feats into getting an additional attack with some extra damage at different ranges, rather than becoming a literal tank with four-inch armor plating and sabot rounds. Some people, however, don't like homebrew, or play in adventure leagues, etc. It is, also, not too much to ask for this shit to be balanced.

    As a DM without homebrew, you could also just not give the player a magical hand crossbow. At that point you just feel like a goose rather than it being a real way to combat broken interactions.

    Really though, the problem with CBE+SS and GWM+PM is that the other feats suck compared to them. Monsters aren't terribly well balanced/mathed out enough that you can just look at CR and throw together an encounter with zero thought, so having options that greatly increase damage isn't going to throw the math off that badly. The problem is that physical combat feats for shields, armor, dual wielding, finesse weapons, and everything else are garbage. There's only two legitimate builds if you're not specifically gimping yourself for the sake of balance.

    huh when I first read that feat I guess I always thought it was meant to be with a different weapon to the hand crossbow

  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    Anzekay wrote: »
    Carnarvon wrote: »
    Variant Human, 6th Fighter with 20 DEX, take Crossbow Expert at level one, Sharpshooter at level 4. Archery combat style. All the sudden you're dealing 1d4+17 damage, three times a round, ranged and melee. You can even wear a shield, depending on your interpretation of the errata.

    It's not a problem that's hard to homebrew out. "...when you attack with a one-handed >melee< weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack..." means you're investing two feats into getting an additional attack with some extra damage at different ranges, rather than becoming a literal tank with four-inch armor plating and sabot rounds. Some people, however, don't like homebrew, or play in adventure leagues, etc. It is, also, not too much to ask for this shit to be balanced.

    As a DM without homebrew, you could also just not give the player a magical hand crossbow. At that point you just feel like a goose rather than it being a real way to combat broken interactions.

    Really though, the problem with CBE+SS and GWM+PM is that the other feats suck compared to them. Monsters aren't terribly well balanced/mathed out enough that you can just look at CR and throw together an encounter with zero thought, so having options that greatly increase damage isn't going to throw the math off that badly. The problem is that physical combat feats for shields, armor, dual wielding, finesse weapons, and everything else are garbage. There's only two legitimate builds if you're not specifically gimping yourself for the sake of balance.

    huh when I first read that feat I guess I always thought it was meant to be with a different weapon to the hand crossbow

    I think that's the primary intent but there's no real reason it couldn't be two hand crossbows, or just one and a free hand.

  • iguanacusiguanacus Desert PlanetRegistered User regular
    I firmly believe that instead of nerfing PAM+GWM or SS*+CBE you should instead add feats or rejigger the ones that are there to make them as strong. Have the dual wield feat just straight up give you an extra attack in addition to what it gives you now (not a bonus action attack) but keep the light weapon requirement.

    Increasing the damage that martial classes do isn't really a problem because it's almost always single target. 5e just isn't balanced around single boss monster style encounters (out of the box anyway) so it's assumed that you'll be facing a bunch of mooks so mowing them down with high single target dpr is fine.

    *The reason SS is so powerful is because of archery fighting style. A +2 to hit is incredibly powerful in a bounded accuracy system and doing it always with no resources is a bit much. Changing that to ignoring half cover so firing into melee is more it's raison d'être is what I do at my table. I also change the part in SS that lets you hit at max range without disadvantage to only work once per turn but that's more me disliking one of my players tendency to run off the map and still attacking.

    I dunno, I take you seriously on some topics and dick rider is your profession
  • AnzekayAnzekay Registered User regular
    captaink wrote: »
    Anzekay wrote: »
    Carnarvon wrote: »
    Variant Human, 6th Fighter with 20 DEX, take Crossbow Expert at level one, Sharpshooter at level 4. Archery combat style. All the sudden you're dealing 1d4+17 damage, three times a round, ranged and melee. You can even wear a shield, depending on your interpretation of the errata.

    It's not a problem that's hard to homebrew out. "...when you attack with a one-handed >melee< weapon, you can use a bonus action to attack..." means you're investing two feats into getting an additional attack with some extra damage at different ranges, rather than becoming a literal tank with four-inch armor plating and sabot rounds. Some people, however, don't like homebrew, or play in adventure leagues, etc. It is, also, not too much to ask for this shit to be balanced.

    As a DM without homebrew, you could also just not give the player a magical hand crossbow. At that point you just feel like a goose rather than it being a real way to combat broken interactions.

    Really though, the problem with CBE+SS and GWM+PM is that the other feats suck compared to them. Monsters aren't terribly well balanced/mathed out enough that you can just look at CR and throw together an encounter with zero thought, so having options that greatly increase damage isn't going to throw the math off that badly. The problem is that physical combat feats for shields, armor, dual wielding, finesse weapons, and everything else are garbage. There's only two legitimate builds if you're not specifically gimping yourself for the sake of balance.

    huh when I first read that feat I guess I always thought it was meant to be with a different weapon to the hand crossbow

    I think that's the primary intent but there's no real reason it couldn't be two hand crossbows, or just one and a free hand.

    two hand crossbows makes sense yeah

    I get that it works fine as written with just one hand crossbow but it still feels a bit like a weird oversight to me, ah well.

  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    I don't know why, but all optimization talk for 5e just floats past me. It is like borderline unnecessary. I enjoy that you can do a little optimizing, but you don't really need to because if you just have appropriate stats and stay solid in one class you'll be fine for handling what's thrown at you, and you barely need to take any particular option to keep performing well. Iv'e had people take the skilled feat, and not have one complaint. The sharpshooters in my party often forget they have sharpshooter, and just don't use the -5/+10 ability. 5e, while allowing some level of it, just doesn't require the kind of power gaming previous editions did.

    GaddezMrGrimoireMrVyngaard
  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    I think that's why I like it. Everything is basically viable, and pretty hard to screw up unintentionally. But optimizing lets you eke out maybe 20% more. Contrast with 3.5 or something, where there are huge gulfs between good and mediocre characters.

    SleepMoridin889MrVyngaard
  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    I've found that the builds with GWM+PM grossly unbalance combat in the early levels. My guy was a straight up murder machine. It wasn't until level 9-10 that the rogue was finally able to start out damaging me.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    In both 4E and 5E I think the case is that you have to try harder to make a shitty character than you do to make an optimized character. Even with "non-optimal" choices your PC is still going to be at least average. 3.5 and Pathfinder are really the editions where you have to worry about accidentally making a weak character.

    SleepElvenshaeAnzekayFuselageA Dabble Of TheloniusLanlaornwebguy20ToxMrVyngaardAegeriMegaMek
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Optimizing lets you eke out a lot more than 20% extra.

    The CBE+Sharpshooter build we're talking about will push out, at level 8, 3 attacks per turn at +5 to attack for 1d6+15 damage per hit. average dpr against an AC 15 target is about 27.

    The same level 8 archery fighter with a longbow and no combat feats will have +10 to attack twice for 1d8+5 if he still correctly maxed his dex, and have an average dpr against AC 15 of about 14.

    That's a 50% gap, which widens rapidly when you start to account for things like the relative value of each fighter's Action Surge (Sharpshooter can expect ~18 damage out of his while the non-sharpshooter will average ~14) and optimal vs nonoptimal martial archetypes (Something like Champion is going to add very little to the longbow fighter - an extra 1d8 damage once every ~10 rounds of combat - whereas Battlemaster (or one of the battlemaster variants) or the revised Arcane Archer can easily add 40+ damage per encounter to a sharpshooter build by turning a bunch of the misses on those +5 attacks into hits for ~20 damage).

    And then there are multiclass options; dipping 4 into the revised Deep Stalker ranger (probably not until fighter 6) instead of going straight fighter nets you advantage on initiative checks, advantage on (effectively) all your attacks on the first turn of each combat (huge value for those otherwise-hit-or-miss Sharpshooter power attacks), and an extra attack on each attack action for the first turn of each combat - which stacks with Action Surge for +2 attacks if you pop action surge on turn one (which you're going to, because you also have advantage on all your attacks that turn). Plus, Hunter's Mark if you want it (and have a bonus action to spare) and +2 damage against humanoids and an extra fighting style (almost certainly Close Quarters Shooter for another +1 to your attacks), all without significantly impacting your stat progression (although admittedly at the cost of slowing down your 3rd attack per action).

    Up against that build, a turn one nova from the longbow fighter is 4 attacks at +10 for 1d8+5 each, while the optimized fighter is going to put out 7 attacks at something like +6 or +7 with advantage - giving each attack a better chance to hit than the longbow fighter's - for 1d6+15 damage each. Longbow fighter will deal about 28 damage. The optimized fighter will average a little over 100, depending on exactly which martial archetype it's using (and assuming it didn't preapply Hunter's Mark and isn't targeting a Humanoid (or other favored enemy), each of which would add another 12-15+ to the total average).

    A well-optimized character is going to be routinely capable of twice the sustained output of a mediocre one, and far more than that in bursts. The gap between good and bad characters is smaller than in 3.5e, but that's because 3e was so poorly balanced you could build a level 5 character that was immune to damage, or a mid-level character that could take 20 turns in a row, or add a warblade dip to any character to start taking 2 turns per turn at all times, not because 5e's gap is actually small in an absolute sense. As in any tabletop game, if everyone in the group is optimized to roughly the same level, it won't matter because the DM can just adjust the difficulty to compensate, but if some are building optimized characters (and playing them optimally rather than forgetting their feats) and some aren't, the difference is very apparent.

    ElvenshaeFry
  • A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    As always will be the case. If you have one optimizer in the party compared to everyone else making average choices, whether because they're new or they're picking based on rp, it can oh so easily ruin the game.

    Optimize wisely, guys.

    Insert the more you know here

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    SleepElvenshae
  • AnzekayAnzekay Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    That +15 damage is coming from 20 DEX and SS, right? or am I missing a modifier in there and it's not 20 dex?

    also woah what was the 3.5 build that could be immune to damage? I assume regular, non-magic, damage?

    Anzekay on
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    The real problem with CE and Sharpshooter is that they negate the disadvantages of being ranged in a way that makes the tactical aspect of having a ranged weapon uninteresting.

    No longer have to worry about being too far away? No longer have to worry about allies producing cover for enemies. No longer have to worry about enemies right next to you...

    The bonus attacks and damage are just icing on the cake and actually aren't that much of an issue comparatively.

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  • AnzekayAnzekay Registered User regular
    CBE might not feel so problematic if still required you to reload, maybe made reloading a bonus action or w/e

    just feels real weird that the traditional downside of crossbows is removed just like that

    Einzel
  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    Anzekay wrote: »
    CBE might not feel so problematic if still required you to reload, maybe made reloading a bonus action or w/e

    just feels real weird that the traditional downside of crossbows is removed just like that

    Eh it takes a while to get all those feats for anyone that isn't a fighter. It actually takes a fair bit of play time and chatacter experience to get em all.

  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Anzekay wrote: »
    That +15 damage is coming from 20 DEX and SS, right? or am I missing a modifier in there and it's not 20 dex?

    also woah what was the 3.5 build that could be immune to damage? I assume regular, non-magic, damage?

    Yeah, SS and dex. And/or some other stuff like the +1 from Arcane Archer's Magic Arrow feature, depending on the exact build and the exact level you're comparing at.

    re: damage immunity: (spoilered since it's long and kind of a tangent)
    non-magic damage, magic damage, whatever. Plus most other things! Immune to ability damage/drain, immune to mind-affecting, immune to poison, immune to death effects, doesn't need to eat breath or sleep, and so on.

    I don't recall the specifics because I don't have my 3.5 books in front of me but basically there's a warforged racial prestige class with (I think) 3 levels in it that you can qualify for very early and which capstones by giving you the Construct type - which comes with immunity to basically everything that isn't straight-up damage, like a golem. You play a warforged, take that PRC, and then pick up Regeneration from something.

    The way regeneration works isn't actually that you regenerate damage directly. It lets you regenerate subdual damage and turns all damage from sources other than your vulnerability type into subdual damage.

    Construct creature type comes with immunity to subdual damage. Presto change-o, any incoming damage except (usually) fire/acid damage gets converted to subdual damage by your regeneration ability and rendered irrelevant by your immunity to subdual damage.

    The biggest hurdle is getting actual regeneration. The lowest-ECL way to do it is through an ancestry feat, but you can also do it with templates or racial classes at higher ECLs (which have the fun benefit of turning your character into basically a cyborg troll who uses his regeneration to survive grafting robot limbs to himself). At higher levels still you can pick up different types of regeneration with more exotic vulnerabilities (like sonic damage or silvered weapons - if I recall there's a druid PRC that eventually lets you shapeshift into demons and whatnot with EX abilities included so you can pick up Regeneration (silvered).) to close up the obvious fire/acid hole in your otherwise-total immunity to everything. Aside from that, basically the only things that can actually harm you in a meaningful way are incredibly specific magic items like a Mace of Smiting.

    It's not really a fair way to actually play dnd, but it's a fun thought exercise and a great way to baffle your opponents if your 3e group runs a fight club before before the actual session while waiting for all the players to show up.

    Elvenshae
  • Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    So we gave the concept of "group initiative" a shot in my game yesterday, and it worked really well. The party coordinated their action choices and chose smartly and totally fucking destroyed a group of beholder zombies before they could do too much.

    It's nice to know this works, because now I know I can throw even tougher battles at them. And they were definitely all more consciously engaged in the fight than in years of individual initiative and turns.

    DenadaElvenshaeForar
  • CarnarvonCarnarvon Registered User regular
    Anzekay wrote: »
    CBE might not feel so problematic if still required you to reload, maybe made reloading a bonus action or w/e

    just feels real weird that the traditional downside of crossbows is removed just like that

    The problem with having to reload is that it makes the crossbow useless for anyone who gets multiple attacks. Historically it was mostly used by wizards in editions before they had 30 spells at level 4 and infinite cantrips (you could also give it to NPCs against flying monsters). Once 3.x came out it was entirely useless past fourth level, and unlike compound bows, you couldn't add STR to damage for a viable secondary weapon.

    Personally I think crossbows are pretty awesome, especially hand crossbows. The whole loading aspect of it is cool and all, but really doesn't work at all unless there are massive bonuses to offset iterative attacks, or the game has to not feature iterative attacks.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Its a problem with ranged weapons for any simulationist game is that the reality of ranged weapons effects on the tactical layer of the game does not mesh with the fantasy archetype.

    Tactically you want ranged weapons to either be a defendable asset or an expendable resource. Which is to say you want a striker/controller/leader or you want an encounter power.

    Wizards et all generally work as controllers to be protected. But archers do not work as strikers because they do not end up with low enough defenses when pressed. And so are just fighters/whatever have better attack and fewer weaknesses.

    My solution to crossbows is to force them to be loading but give them bonus W as the game moves up in teir. So you can shoot a crossbow and then drop it afterwards.


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  • Crimson KingCrimson King Registered User regular
    played this for the first time the other day

    it seems mostly good. super easy to use and everyone gets something to do

    i'm thinking of taking out cantrips. like, just straight up not having them in the game. the cleric has a big stick, he doesn't need to be able to shoot fire from his hands at will

  • AnzekayAnzekay Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    there's a lot of really important utility spells that were put into cantrips, tho, like Light and stuff

    Anzekay on
    ElvenshaeFuselageMoridin889
  • EinzelEinzel Registered User regular
    Take out cantrips - warlock ceases to exist.

    GaddezSleepFuselageA Dabble Of TheloniusMrVyngaardTheDrifterMegaMekMoridin889
  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Yeah, cantrips are critically important and I would recommend against trying to take them out. Without them most casters will be unable to contribute meaningfully unless you're only going like 1-2 fights per day.

    They're the casters' basic attacks, because most casters don't have a big stick, or at least don't have a way to use one very effectively. You can give them a weapon, but they won't be able to hit anything with it with their shitty str/dex.

    SleepFuselageLanlaornMegaMekMoridin889
  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    played this for the first time the other day

    it seems mostly good. super easy to use and everyone gets something to do

    i'm thinking of taking out cantrips. like, just straight up not having them in the game. the cleric has a big stick, he doesn't need to be able to shoot fire from his hands at will

    The thing is, not every cleric domain is intended for wading into the frontline swinging their mace around, and those guys *need* sacred flame to be viable in a support role.

    Further, sacred flame isn't even that reliable until at least 4th or 5th level due to the way saving throws work.

    Richy wrote: »
    But I think the resistance I’m getting more has to do with “rawr! Loklar said it! Rage!” than anything else.

    No, it has to do with the fact that you're done nothing but throw lies, blatant flasehoods, and downright dumb statements at us so far.
    SleepFuselageElvenshaeMegaMek
  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    Yeah pulling out cantrips kinda fucks the game at a basic level.

    FryFuselageElvenshaeMrGrimoireLanlaornAegeriMegaMek
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Cantrips are another thing that are more or less necessary from a design perspective because the game is multiplayer and not single player. Magic users need things to do every round that aren't worthless. Because otherwise the players don't have any fun when they're not bringing out the big guns.

    In a single player game its perfectly fine to have a single class have only expendable resources but this ain't a single player game

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    Elvenshae
  • ozone275ozone275 Registered User regular
    edited July 2017
    so today was suppose to be the big boss fight before moving on to the next campaign in tales of the yawning portal (Forge of Fury to Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan) and this is what happened

    So a few weeks back they accidently ran into the boss and TPK themselves. After waking from a strange dream where they dreamed about running into the boss
    Young Black Dragon

    they went back and pursued the rest of the dungeon to level up. fast forward to today and just as they finished to last room(they now went to EVERY room and fought EVERY monster in the dungeon) and are about to head to the boss room and most of the party decides to just leave and skip the boss fight. my scourge aasimar warlock was the only one to actually go so he went alone to face the boss. he wins initiative and preps suggestion and the dragon rolls an 11 wisdom save(DC 14) so the warlock ask him to give some info and his scales.

    bit of backstory on this, he read in volos about guard drakes, especially about the ritual which both myself and him found interesting, and wanted to see if he could grab one. considering they are level 5, drakes are CR2 and he is a warlock not BM ranger i decided to let him try at least as i didnt really want to say no but i did have restrictions: because he isnt BM the drake doesnt get bonuses from proficiency, doesnt level up so will only stary at CR2 and no increase of AC or health or anything and because of the source of the materials, his personality would be similar of that of the source but the warlock would be able to reign the drake in if needed

    so the warlock suggestion spell works but as per the spell, it immediately ends after completing the activity and the boss attacks dealing 50 acid damage and knocking the warlock unconscious, the cleric decides to go and check how the warlock is doing, which thanks to some bad rolls by me(which i later realised i didnt even have to make anyways) the cleric healed the warlock enough to both get out

    so now the party consists of the warlock, cleric, paladin, rogue/fighter, sorcerer and now a drake and we are off to the Shrine next week

    ozone275 on
  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    My table was ammusing yesterday, in that they got to have a taste of what I refer to as "AD&D nonsense" after having endured weeks of 3rd edition "tactics mcgee", specifically relating to a particularly horrible trap and the cost of not solving a puzzle properly.

    So the players had come across this door with a rather impressive lock on it, and not having a knock spell or a theif they elected to just use shatter spike to smash the door in. This had the unexpected and rather ammusing effect of causing a trap on the door to go off and immediately begin flooding the area with vapor and causing them all to make saving throws of 10 con.

    Now as I'm hastily reading this, I proceeded to have the worst poker face imaginable and audibly said "oohh!" as I read the consequences of failure on the save which two of my players immediately suffered; they would be poisoned for 5000 years and effectively be placed into ageless sleep during that time period. Furthermore, the vapor was persistent in the area and additional saves were required, causing me to snag the barbarian in the mix. Mercifully, the party's paladin was unaffected and was able to use lay on hands to clear the effects on his fellow party members.

    Also, earlier in the session the party was checking out a long tunnel and discovered what appeared to be a pair of hidden doors on either side of the tunnel. The paladin went to try and muscle it open with the rangers help, and when it didn't come open I suggested that it might come open if the barbarian helped out. Happily obliging, he went over and immediately the secret doors on either side of the tunnel opened up and a pair of logs came hurtling out like some sort of horrid ewok trap smashing the three of them for 9 damage (no saves!), and after a moment the logs stopped slamming into each other once the players stepped off. The 2 ladies in the party at this point, having watched what transpired tried to come up with a plan for defending against the logs but managed to make it across complely unscathed, and it was at this point that I admitted that the trap went off when three medium sized creatures stood on the pressure plate between the two doors :P.

    Also: the party beat the shit out of a talking hermit crab and it's giant crayfish companion.

    Temple of tamoachan is so much fun.

    Richy wrote: »
    But I think the resistance I’m getting more has to do with “rawr! Loklar said it! Rage!” than anything else.

    No, it has to do with the fact that you're done nothing but throw lies, blatant flasehoods, and downright dumb statements at us so far.
    FuselageSmrtnikMrVyngaard
  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    1473481050.nivomi_1.png
    Plans for next season are rapidly evolving as me and Ozone are preparing ourselves for "Operation Buffermanz"; The idea is that we will play a pair of characters dedicated to stacking the dice rolls as hard in the favor of certain party members as possible.

    For my part I am going to be playing a kobold mastermind from the hidden kingdom of Sovietski, where everyone works tirelessly for the betterment of the colony, and was chosen to go to the surface to try and spread the marxist values of the kobolds to the backwards people of the surface. While it is technically possible for me to do quite well for myself in combat despite my kobold (henceforth known as "lucky ted") having a laughable strength of 6 due to the vagaries of rogue mechanics, my intention is to challenge myself beyond anything I have in past seasons by going for a pacifistic run wherein I instead spam the help action in virtually every circumstance possible for the front line fighters.

    Furthermore, Ozone has had the delightful Idea of playing a cunning bard and stacking side buffs onto peoples rolls; as such bardic inspiration, guidance and bless are going to be flying around all over the place as well with other bits of nonsense thrown in as well when possible (experimentation with sanctuary spells to make ourselves safer is already firmly in his head).

    Also, we are liable to have a cleric of some sort added to the mix for further dives into buff stacking.

    At a glance, skill checks are going to look like 2 D20 (drop lowest)+prof+attribute+1d6+1d4.

    Plans are also underway for Singing a modified interation of the gen 1 pokemon theme song re dubbed "buffermanz" at the beginning of the first session.

    Lyrics will be posted upon completion.

    Richy wrote: »
    But I think the resistance I’m getting more has to do with “rawr! Loklar said it! Rage!” than anything else.

    No, it has to do with the fact that you're done nothing but throw lies, blatant flasehoods, and downright dumb statements at us so far.
    Rhesus PositiveElvenshaeSleepnever diedoomybear
  • FryFry Registered User regular
    Does anyone else feel that Guidance is kind of a goofy thing to exist? Having a cleric in your party means that all non-combat skill checks are automatically +1d4 at the cost of one cantrip known.

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    Fry wrote: »
    Does anyone else feel that Guidance is kind of a goofy thing to exist? Having a cleric in your party means that all non-combat skill checks are automatically +1d4 at the cost of one cantrip known.
    Get back to me when your Cleric of Lawful Lawfulness and Upholding the Law has used Guidance to improve the Rogue's chance to pickpocket or pick a lock, or tried to help someone tell a clever lie, or helped a poacher track a protected animal.

    Prayers should only work if the God involved is okay with the action, hence why Guidance isn't THAT bad.

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    SteelhawkSleepMrVyngaardMoridin889
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