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[DnD 5E] What happens when four friends stop being nice, and start being adventurers?

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Posts

  • bunnyroll20bunnyroll20 Registered User new member
    Ken O wrote: »
    Playing in my weekly Roll20 game right now. Thanks for making it so easy to get my weekly game in. I've played with the same group since the 20+ years. Now most of us have kids and a few have moved across the US; Roll20 let's us still get together.

    Thank you, that's fantastic to hear! Gotta say, the parenting gig makes scheduling a thousand times more difficult, yeah? My only in-person game is once a month, being able to play online is huge.
    Are you going to be trying out the Acq Inc adventure?

  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    edited June 20
    Who's playing Acquisitions Incorporated on Roll20? I'm really psyched for the Adventure Addon, totally trying to use it to rope some friends into D&D for the first time. And I love how the maps came out.

    In case any of y'all are anxious to play, you don't have to wait for a book: http://roll20.io/AcqIncPA
    (As my handle suggests, yes, I'm from Roll20 and I cleared this with Tube)

    My group plays in person but has 1 person playing from Canada and often another person that's local but can't make it in. We use Skype with camera pointed at the table. We tried using roll20 and just could not figure it out and both of the people that DM for annoyed and said "not doing it" (i was one of them).

    We are just about done with Curse of Strahd (I'm DMing), and we are early on in Waterdeep (the other DM). Not surprised what's next. I just got the AcqInc book in mail, so haven't read it yet, but I'll probably try to steal something from it at some point to use in a game.

    Smrtnik on
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  • Ken OKen O Registered User regular
    I grabbed a physical copy of the book. We're in the middle of a campaign already so I doubt we'll switch gears to Acq Inq anytime soon. Some of the spells, monsters, etc..may pop up though.

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  • bunnyroll20bunnyroll20 Registered User new member
    Smrtnik wrote: »
    My group plays in person but has 1 person playing from Canada and often another person that's local but can't make it in. We use Skype with camera pointed at the table. We tried using roll20 and just could not figure it out and both of the people that DM for annoyed and said "not doing it" (i was one of them).

    We are just about done with Curse of Strahd (I'm DMing), and we are early on in Waterdeep (the other DM). Not surprised what's next. I just got the AcqInc book in mail, so haven't read it yet, but I'll probably try to steal something from it at some point to use in a game.

    Hey, whatever works! Some of the users on our site make it look wicked easy. My in person games are all homebrew so admittedly for me, having maps and stuff at my fingertips without having to create them myself when I use Roll20 is a nice break. Definitely jealous of the GMs I see going all out with macros and their audio and all sorts of extras.

    I hope you get a chance to check out the Acq Inc book soon, it's obvious a heck of a lot of love was put into it.

    ArcanisTheImpotentElvenshae
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Roll20 is nice in theory and its good when you have no way to get together but its waaay too slow. Needs a desktop application really badly.

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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited June 20
    Tynnan wrote: »
    Have a whole story arc where the vampire grad student has to contend with a cantankerous thesis committee.

    I'm stretching this campaign out over literal decades, since the party has interacted more with the two hirelings than I expected I've flushed both their characters out and planned on both of them having to deal with graduation:

    The male grad student is the third son of a baron, and I was planning on having him get shit faced and forget to finish his thesis, but somehow pass anyway. They have a library named after his grandfather after all.

    The female grad student, being poor and only getting inducted into the Cobalt Soul from merit, I was going to have her thesis get a much harsher flogging (counting on the party's Scholar cleric backing her up, he's the superior of both of them so his word counts a lot)

    Now I'm considering having them dump all over her thesis, which will be about vampires, and have her go into an unholy rage and eat one of the professors, which would make her a pass as the remaining consensus would be that she did a good job. I'm not necessarily of the mind that conversion to werewolf or vampire or whatever must make a creature evil, barring specific curses, only that it fills them with urges that predispose them to commit evil acts, and despite being a good person I would imagine academia could drive an otherwise benign vampire into a murderous bloodlust

    override367 on
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  • TynnanTynnan seldom correct, never unsure Registered User regular
    edited June 20
    Tynnan wrote: »
    Have a whole story arc where the vampire grad student has to contend with a cantankerous thesis committee.

    I'm stretching this campaign out over literal decades, since the party has interacted more with the two hirelings than I expected I've flushed both their characters out and planned on both of them having to deal with graduation:

    The male grad student is the third son of a baron, and I was planning on having him get shit faced and forget to finish his thesis, but somehow pass anyway. They have a library named after his grandfather after all.

    The female grad student, being poor and only getting inducted into the Cobalt Soul from merit, I was going to have her thesis get a much harsher flogging (counting on the party's Scholar cleric backing her up, he's the superior of both of them so his word counts a lot)

    Now I'm considering having them dump all over her thesis, which will be about vampires, and have her go into an unholy rage and eat one of the professors, which would make her a pass as the remaining consensus would be that she did a good job. I'm not necessarily of the mind that conversion to werewolf or vampire or whatever must make a creature evil, barring specific curses, only that it fills them with urges that predispose them to commit evil acts, and despite being a good person I would imagine academia could drive an otherwise benign vampire into a murderous bloodlust

    Ah yes, the classic:
    thesis_defense.png


    Also yes the bolded is quite accurate.

    Tynnan on
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  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    Playing Storm Kings Thunder right now and while our DM is doing a good job DMing I feel like things are happening to us to keep the story rolling forward versus us having good info to go explore the world ourselves.

    Campaign spoilers

    For example we're doing quests from tribor after repelling some fire giants. We were only there because zephyros brought us there because we were the chosen ones to help solve the ordening issue.

    So we're doing these quests, im trying to find out anything more about giants but nobody has info. Finally we talk to the dwarves and a wagon was raided by fire giants so we run them down because it's our first lead. We kill everything but one fire giant who fleas, and while that one is running away an apparently friendly ice giant adventurer slays them and then is all "i can take you to a prophet to find out about this stuff!"

    So yea over a few sessions of game play we've made like one active decision that seems to tie into the greater plot but everything else just seems to happen.

    I'm still having fun and everything, don't get me wrong, but this is like our third or fourth published module and I wish maybe we could branch out into homebrew. I find the modules a bit lacking and the most interesting parts are things the DM has came up with on the spot or modified ahead of time.

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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited June 20
    My party found a hidden extradimensional lab behind zephyros' bookcase with the discarded remains of previous adventurers he'd gotten to help him, most of them burnt to a crisp by lightning, also the preserved body of the storm giant queen on a big stone table

    He assured them that he had no idea who those people were and then got upset and demanded to know who they were and how they got on his cloud tower and what they've done to Queen Neri. Then he remembered that king hecaton was missing and went back to his orb and set a course for Triboar (Silvercut Crossroads in my game). When they got there he mumbled somthing about a vonidad and won't Duke Zalto be surprised. He polymorphed himself into a fish and went swimming in the river leaving the party more or less stuck there and having to deal with the fire giants

    At present the party has the ranger Zindra Winterbow, a hireling you can pick up in Triboar, watching over Zephyros as a kind of caregiver to keep his mind on track. I have flavored his madness as a punishment by the allfather for trying to steer the course of events, instead of letting each kind of giant sort itself out as was his intent.

    I've heavily truncated sections of the module and added a lot of homebrew flavor. In the Everwyvern house I had dopplegangers at the expensive restaurant killing nobles, serving them as food to other nobles, and then taking their place. The inquisitive party put a stop to this and found clues about The Kraken Society, a thread they've been pulling since they heard a doppleganger say the name "Slarkrathel"

    I'm using a guide to storm king's thunder, and adding my own flavor, because like most published modules it requires a lot of DM help to get at the really good creamy center of the module. The one that probably requires the least work to be great is Curse of Strahd, followed by Tomb of Annihilation (as long as the DM pre-rolls random encounters)

    override367 on
  • NarbusNarbus Registered User regular
    STK is really sandboxy, it can be hard for a DM to balance out giving the players freedom and moving the plot along. I'd suggest a chat with the DM about it.

    It's a common issue with that adventure.

    Steelhawkoverride367Moridin889
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    Narbus wrote: »
    STK is really sandboxy, it can be hard for a DM to balance out giving the players freedom and moving the plot along. I'd suggest a chat with the DM about it.

    It's a common issue with that adventure.

    I've found this really useful and have been stealing from it

    it's free too

  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    My party is also playing SKT and we just finished Triboar. We also skipped chapter one, so yes, there is really zero push towards the main plot until you get to a certain point in chapter 3. The idea being that the whole region is suffering because Giants are futzing around. The party is supposed to ask themselves, "What is the deal with all of these giants?"

    That was my problem with the module too, in that there is very little driving the main plot until well into the module.

  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    edited June 20
    Yea my main issue was we are asking, but could get no answers until a chance encounter brought us in contact with a friendly one.

    I think it could have been more fun if we'd been able to figure things out and be proactive versus going on side quests until the story is ready for us to proceed.

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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    In our STK the ranger only just learned to speak Giant. We play about once every few months, so I fully expect us to have forgotten that by the time the stars align again.

    --

    My plans for a homebrew are coming along nicely. I intend to use my book on the history of the Dutch East Indies Company to fit in a mercenary corp that will borrow heavily from the Acq Inc book. Players could start as an outfit of that corp.

    Elendil wrote: »
    said Aldo hazily, before clop-clop-clopping out of the room
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  • Ken OKen O Registered User regular
    Wednesday night we hit 11th level in my weekly game. I'm so excited about Otto's Irresistible Dance that waiting for that first dramatic use is going to be painful.

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  • KadokenKadoken One batch, two batch, poyo and hIIIIII Registered User regular
    edited June 22
    I played out my third level and my choosing of Sun Soul for my monk’s tradition as her meditating for a night and remembering the shitty things (she thinks) she’s heard about her throughout her life. It was like the beginning of “No Vaseline” where I played out the “Here’s What They Think About You” over the different examples. Her brother, her mother, and her master telling her she’s being stupid and brash, she’s weak, and she’s clouded by anger. She thinks of her getting stronger in the campaign and continuously proving them wrong. She gets to a tipping point and says out loud

    “Fuck all y’all”

    And that focus that came from reflecting on anger brought out the energy within. She was elated. She started performing a kata and playing with the energy along to “Wrong ***** To Fuck With”

    Then I set my thrall’s bed on fire and paid him later to not talk about it.

    (I say “thrall”, I mean continuously paid guide goblin whose leading us somewhere who I give cuts of money I earn along with paying him to do stuff like carry my things).

    Kadoken on
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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    Just saw a Kotaku article mentioning upcoming changes to the Ranger:
    I can say purely from a tabletop space, one of the things we found was that the ranger character class, in tabletop players really felt the first couple of levels, they weren’t really making choices that they felt were having a real impact on gameplay... One of the things we learned is that we had some assumptions about how exploration would play out in the game back when we were developing 5th edition—we thought, “Oh, we’ll give the rangers some of these toys to play with because exploration is part of the game.” And we’ve just found that either a lot of DMs don’t use a lot of the sub-systems that those spoke to, or they weren’t really coming up on a level of play at the table that was actually impactful to the narrative.

    The ranger, for instance: Oh, I’m gonna pick desert as my favored terrain. We can’t get lost in the desert. Which sounds great—I wouldn’t want to get lost in the desert. But when you’re playing a tabletop role-playing game, it basically means, “OK, you’ve crossed the desert, you’re done.” It’s not really giving the ranger a chance to shine. So we’re looking at maybe play-testing this summer some new options that complement what’s there without overriding it. One of the hard things about working in tabletop is you can’t patch a physical book—unless you’re willing to break into everyone’s house and paste in new things.

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  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    It feels like people making D&D don't actually play D&D. Would explain a lot of the higher level "...I get what? Um. Okay. That level's a bust I guess" class features.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    Personally once I start my next campaign I think I'm going to try and utilize some of the sub-systems I've ignored in my current one, such as the exploration rules, rations, etc.

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  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    4E: People don't really use a lot of stuff outside of combat. We're going to make rules for all of it, but not go crazy. The big focus is going to be on really good fights, which is what most of D&D is.

    People: Fuck you why did you give us a video game this isn't D&D everyone is a wizard it's all combat where's the RP!?

    5E: We hear you! Exploration and Roleplaying are key pillars of D&D. Class features related to those should be just as important and valuable as combat features!

    People: The ranger sucks in combat, no one even uses these out-of-combat rules wtf are you doing Wizards!? 5E is perfect, fix it!

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  • KadokenKadoken One batch, two batch, poyo and hIIIIII Registered User regular
    After being reticent for about 3 sessions, I gave a very truncated version of my back story in character to the player character who has been a little wary of me because I never offered anything up. I wasn’t being angsty I just thought the past was never that important to tell. I guess we saved each others’ lives enough to give him an answer, though.

    I did this while my gnoll monk’s back was on the floor of an inn room and my legs elevated to a bed where I paid my (and I gave him 10 gold to start off so *my*) goblin guide/follower to give me a foot massage after having to sprint after a slippery wizard for a couple hours in the rough woods with my bare feet.

    The guy then offered the goblin to come live in a goblin majority village he grew up in after the guide work was done and in the middle of the conversation, while the goblin was still giving the massage, I say, “hey mind the paw pads, son, damn. They sensitive.”

    Also I got a Shaolin style black overcoat and wide brimmed hat. Finally got some good money. I got clothes and a matching hat for the goblin too because he was wearing a raggedy mess ever since we met him and we finally got back to town. I bought myself some boots as well but their human foot shape wasn’t playing well with my haunches so I pulled them up to force my foot claws through to make them more comfortable.

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  • NarbusNarbus Registered User regular
    Denada wrote: »
    4E: People don't really use a lot of stuff outside of combat. We're going to make rules for all of it, but not go crazy. The big focus is going to be on really good fights, which is what most of D&D is.

    People: Fuck you why did you give us a video game this isn't D&D everyone is a wizard it's all combat where's the RP!?

    5E: We hear you! Exploration and Roleplaying are key pillars of D&D. Class features related to those should be just as important and valuable as combat features!

    People: The ranger sucks in combat, no one even uses these out-of-combat rules wtf are you doing Wizards!? 5E is perfect, fix it!

    That's awfully reductive. The real issue is that the rules they gave out for the other two 'pillars' of the game are tied to a single stat for RP and basically bookkeeping for exploration.

    If you're RPing then the party will and should just shove the most charismatic PC to the head of the line and let them go at it, which isn't a really deep, rewarding experience.

    If you're exploring, then it's roll a die, fire up the spreadsheet to note how much food and water you spent/found, and how exhausted you are, maybe fight an owlbear, then roll to find a campsite for the night. If any of the above went wrong, cast goodberry and repeat.

    People complain about non-combat class features because the underlying rules of the game don't support them for dick, not because players are dumb.

    Nerdsamwich
  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    Narbus wrote: »
    Denada wrote: »
    4E: People don't really use a lot of stuff outside of combat. We're going to make rules for all of it, but not go crazy. The big focus is going to be on really good fights, which is what most of D&D is.

    People: Fuck you why did you give us a video game this isn't D&D everyone is a wizard it's all combat where's the RP!?

    5E: We hear you! Exploration and Roleplaying are key pillars of D&D. Class features related to those should be just as important and valuable as combat features!

    People: The ranger sucks in combat, no one even uses these out-of-combat rules wtf are you doing Wizards!? 5E is perfect, fix it!

    That's awfully reductive. The real issue is that the rules they gave out for the other two 'pillars' of the game are tied to a single stat for RP and basically bookkeeping for exploration.

    If you're RPing then the party will and should just shove the most charismatic PC to the head of the line and let them go at it, which isn't a really deep, rewarding experience.

    If you're exploring, then it's roll a die, fire up the spreadsheet to note how much food and water you spent/found, and how exhausted you are, maybe fight an owlbear, then roll to find a campsite for the night. If any of the above went wrong, cast goodberry and repeat.

    People complain about non-combat class features because the underlying rules of the game don't support them for dick, not because players are dumb.

    If they'd added a million more rules to really focus on exploration and diplomacy in a way that managed fun for the whole table, my one 5E game would have been much more fun. Lots of room for all that in Chult.

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    Ivellius
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Denada is poking fun at people who acted like 4e was the worst thing ever but can't recognize the problems that 4e had were inherent to D&D and existed before 4e and persisted after 4e.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    Oh I mean I'll go further than Denada in this matter. I'm a full on 4e partisan. Just I think 5e could have been better if it focused on exploration and diplomacy and made them fun

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  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    edited June 23
    They just need to come out with the DM's guide 2, "Of Society and Survival" and completely overhaul the two pillars. I still don't know if the core mechanics of D&D can support robust roleplaying and survival gameplay. I'd love to see the effort though.

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  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Yeah it's just the cycle of D&D that I'm making fun of. And in particular how 5E is incredibly similar to 4E in many ways, the designers just smeared some paint on it so it was harder to see. Now that the game is reaching the same age the cycle is beginning again, I think.

    Can't rewrite the PHB huh? Maybe this is a great time to release a new starter set. Hmm and maybe we could update some of the core classes, kind of get down to their Essential roles and play with their mechanics in new ways that wouldn't have worked at the edition's launch...

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  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Oh I mean I'll go further than Denada in this matter. I'm a full on 4e partisan. Just I think 5e could have been better if it focused on exploration and diplomacy and made them fun

    Sure, but how do you do that? What mechanical hooks exist for those things?

    DnD's fundamental task resolution mechanic is to roll a d20 and add a bonus, then compare to a target number. If you can't map the roll and target to specific actions/objects/qualities, that basically leaves you with skill checks, which is what they already use for that stuff. You could try to string a bunch of skill checks together in a way that mimics the repeated rolls and checks of a combat encounter, creating some sort of structured Skill Challenge, but it turns out those aren't super interesting either.

    And of course you've gotta have a failure penalty. In combat, that's simple - you miss your attack, so the enemy gets another turn in which to drain resources from you. What's the penalty for failing your Survival check to navigate? You could drain some resources, but the party is just gonna rest to get them back and it's not like you can practically say 'there is no opportunity to long rest during your week-long hike'. You could make the lost time a penalty unto itself, but then you need some sort of system by which time is mechanically converted into campaign events, which in turn either forces every campaign into a particular time pace or becomes yet another optional rule system that you can't integrate well with the rest of the game because it's optional. You could use exploration failures to force combat encounters, but now you're just making the game about combat again.

    DnD just isn't very good, mechanically, at representing exploration in an interesting way. And even if it was, exploration is often a pretty uninteresting part of the story, which is why most stories tend to gloss over travel in the first place.

    There's probably a way to make exploration interesting if you map out an overworld and set up specific rules for overland travel and its consequences in an environment that is hostile enough to require meaningful decisions, but that's a pretty big undertaking that only fits a relatively narrow set of campaigns and even if you did it successfully the same clowns who complained that good combat rules made DnD a video game that cared too much about fighting would just complain that the good exploration rules made it into a board game that cared too much about moving pieces around a hex map.

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  • GlalGlal Registered User regular
    Personally I just wish they'd redo the skill/check system so each stat has roughly the same number of skills it affects (poor STR). I don't like that certain classes get stuck with bugger-all out-of-combat roles just due to the nature of the stats they use, while someone like a Warlock has their cake and eats it, too.

    Also, racial stats. Take that shit out of here, just give me a spread of options I can pick from and let me play what I want to play without penalising me for not being a god damned human/elf/half elf. "But it forces roleplay!" No, it forces you to pick roleplay or being effective, but not both; that's a shit choice.
    Also also, after playing a Bard for ~3 years, I do not like how magic (spell DC) works in 5th. I want to roll god damnit, I don't want the GM to make dice noises behind the screen and tell me if my spell worked.

    ...I feel I'm getting off course here.

  • HellboreHellbore A bad, bad man Registered User regular
    Glal wrote: »
    It feels like people making D&D don't actually play D&D. Would explain a lot of the higher level "...I get what? Um. Okay. That level's a bust I guess" class features.

    AFAIK, both Crawford and Mearls heavily homebrew content in their home games, which is the impression I get that they expect other DMs to solve their problems with homebrew.

  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    Yea I think pretty much all my beefs with 5e is with that I don't think it's a solid foundation to teach NEW players how to play the game well. I think this leads to making home brew by novices harder as well. It's like walking in sand versus on a nice path. You're going to get there, but it's going to be a lot more work. A big example being natural language versus the more technical language of 4e.

    I honestly think a homebrew guidebook would be a great addition to the releases. Just how the guys who design D&D also modify it to fit exactly what they want to do in their home games. You can get a lot of this from lots of people on youtube, but having a guide in book form I think would allow a lot of folks to feel more comfortable with modifying the game.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    Totes agree that making diplomacy and exploration a focus would require a big departure from previous editions and probably a new resolution mechanic

    As to new players, I think it's actually a great system for new players, with an expert DM. Obviously that's not much of an endorsement

    sig.gif
  • hlprmnkyhlprmnky Registered User regular
    I read the “well, we can’t get lost in the desert; that’s great, right? But then, that boils down to ‘you cross the desert. A week passes’” and thought
    why in the fuck isn’t something important happening in the desert, friends? One of your players chose to make their character a member of the Apostles of the Whispering Sands, able to coax water from downhill of a thorndevil’s burrow, find ossified-but-edible rope-cactus tubers based on the smell of the wind, and navigate by the stars even in true, deep desert where the ensorcellments of the Great Blue Dragon Auchinex ripple and warp the bowl of the night like mirage, and all you give ‘em back is ‘You cross the desert’!? Put something important in your Ranger’s favored terrain. Sheesh.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    I'm trying to do something with a sea voyage (through Stygia) in my campaign, but I'm having a hard time making it feel right. Combat is broken into discrete turns and rounds with clear rules, whereas the travel, exploration, and ship rules don't seem to gel together as well. I really want it to feel more satisfying, though.

    Despite that, we still had a fun session today. The party encountered a colossal demon whale that monsters were effectively using as a ship. When it first surfaced it caused a huge wave, which the druid/ranger countered with the tsunami spell. The paladin and druid/ranger took care of the monsters the demon whale released, at which point the wizard used polymorph to turn the demon whale into a rat, crushing all the monsters still inside of it. Further, the demon whale had been in the River Styx, whose effects it was immune to in its normal form. As a rat it was no longer immune and became subjected to a feeblemind effect. Also, it drowned. Victory!

    I think RAW the demon whale would have reverted back to its normal form with the hit points it had before transformation, but we were running out of time and I thought the idea of killing a colossal demon whale and the creatures inside it by turning it into a drowning rat was pretty memorable.

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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    hlprmnky wrote: »
    I read the “well, we can’t get lost in the desert; that’s great, right? But then, that boils down to ‘you cross the desert. A week passes’” and thought
    why in the fuck isn’t something important happening in the desert, friends? One of your players chose to make their character a member of the Apostles of the Whispering Sands, able to coax water from downhill of a thorndevil’s burrow, find ossified-but-edible rope-cactus tubers based on the smell of the wind, and navigate by the stars even in true, deep desert where the ensorcellments of the Great Blue Dragon Auchinex ripple and warp the bowl of the night like mirage, and all you give ‘em back is ‘You cross the desert’!? Put something important in your Ranger’s favored terrain. Sheesh.

    That's kind of where the DM comes in though. Yeah, the desert is a terrible place, thank Jeebus we has a sand ranger with us!

    While not mechanically interesting, I'll admit, in my ToA game that the dangers of Chult where built up very much by me and made trivial by the Ranger. The dangers were investigated, the proper preparations were made by the party and the Ranger PC made an effort to look at the survival skills, and his class features and explained exactly how his Rangeriness would help mitigate the awful jungle they were about to jump through. As a DM, I rewarded this by building up a particular hazard here and there, explaining how much it was going to suck, and then dropping it by explaining that their Ranger, upon passing a survival check, guided them past the worst if it.

    Again, not very mechanically interesting, but my party appreciated it and was glad to have the ranger along. And the ranger PC had his moment to shine, narratively if not combat-wise.

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  • MsAnthropyMsAnthropy Our Lady of Perpetual Mazes The CageRegistered User regular
    Totes agree that making diplomacy and exploration a focus would require a big departure from previous editions and probably a new resolution mechanic

    As to new players, I think it's actually a great system for new players, with an expert DM. Obviously that's not much of an endorsement

    It doesn’t necessarily need a completely different core mechanic. I mean, Adventures in Middle-Earth manages to get a solid Diplomacy system into the 5e framework, and while it is not Exploration, the travel system works well too.

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  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    hlprmnky wrote: »
    I read the “well, we can’t get lost in the desert; that’s great, right? But then, that boils down to ‘you cross the desert. A week passes’” and thought
    why in the fuck isn’t something important happening in the desert, friends? One of your players chose to make their character a member of the Apostles of the Whispering Sands, able to coax water from downhill of a thorndevil’s burrow, find ossified-but-edible rope-cactus tubers based on the smell of the wind, and navigate by the stars even in true, deep desert where the ensorcellments of the Great Blue Dragon Auchinex ripple and warp the bowl of the night like mirage, and all you give ‘em back is ‘You cross the desert’!? Put something important in your Ranger’s favored terrain. Sheesh.

    That's kind of where the DM comes in though. Yeah, the desert is a terrible place, thank Jeebus we has a sand ranger with us!

    While not mechanically interesting, I'll admit, in my ToA game that the dangers of Chult where built up very much by me and made trivial by the Ranger. The dangers were investigated, the proper preparations were made by the party and the Ranger PC made an effort to look at the survival skills, and his class features and explained exactly how his Rangeriness would help mitigate the awful jungle they were about to jump through. As a DM, I rewarded this by building up a particular hazard here and there, explaining how much it was going to suck, and then dropping it by explaining that their Ranger, upon passing a survival check, guided them past the worst if it.

    Again, not very mechanically interesting, but my party appreciated it and was glad to have the ranger along. And the ranger PC had his moment to shine, narratively if not combat-wise.

    I think having a good ranger lets your party explore out of the way areas where if they didn't have the ranger they wouldn't be able to get off the beaten path due to survival. So the jungle itself isn't as dangerous, but the Ranger is able to find a path to an old ruin full of undead and a nice piece of loot if the players so choose.

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    hlprmnky wrote: »
    I read the “well, we can’t get lost in the desert; that’s great, right? But then, that boils down to ‘you cross the desert. A week passes’” and thought
    why in the fuck isn’t something important happening in the desert, friends? One of your players chose to make their character a member of the Apostles of the Whispering Sands, able to coax water from downhill of a thorndevil’s burrow, find ossified-but-edible rope-cactus tubers based on the smell of the wind, and navigate by the stars even in true, deep desert where the ensorcellments of the Great Blue Dragon Auchinex ripple and warp the bowl of the night like mirage, and all you give ‘em back is ‘You cross the desert’!? Put something important in your Ranger’s favored terrain. Sheesh.

    Because if something important is happening in the desert its not travel its a destination. Travel is, almost definitionally, plot adjacent at its best. And as DnD moved more towards story and villain rather than “here is a dungeon with stuff in it” the travel must move to the wayside.

    So if you put something important in your rangers favored terrain you get “you cross the desert to the thing and then cross on the way out” nothing terribly important has changed. Moreover if you dont have a ranger you end up either just resource taxing them or not. The margin on playing the ranger is really easy to see as soon as you understand that your dm wont tpk you randomly. When things plot important aren happening then travel becomes montage; narration. Regardless of whether or not youve got a ranger.

    This means that in order to have valuable travel you have to craft your plot to be important in every area of the map the players might go. This is a lot of work

    There are number of other reasons why its hard to do well. The non-linearity of it makes it more linear/non interactive a huge amount of time. The setting(how filled in it is) can preclude significant exploration as a mechanic*. The mechanical structure of rests makes it hard to place appropriate threats.

    * Points of light, the 4e base setting, is really freaking good for allowing travel and exploration in ways that FR and Eberron just arent.

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  • AldoAldo Hippo Hooray the swamp, always the swampRegistered User regular
    edited June 24
    Glal wrote: »
    Personally I just wish they'd redo the skill/check system so each stat has roughly the same number of skills it affects (poor STR). I don't like that certain classes get stuck with bugger-all out-of-combat roles just due to the nature of the stats they use, while someone like a Warlock has their cake and eats it, too.

    .

    Its in the PHB that you can tie your skillchecks to other stats at the DM's discretion. Crawford uses it in the AI live games.

    So you can put intimidation (STR) in there to appear imposing or survival (STR) to determine how well someone can push through undergrowth or nature (DEX*) when someone would climb a tree and uses their discerning eye for finding good branches to put their weight on. There's no reason to ignore stats as long as your table is willing to use the options described in the book and looks a bit further than "it concerns the spoken word, so it must be CHA".

    *I had agi here first, because I was a bit SPECIAL.

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    Elendil wrote: »
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  • AbbalahAbbalah Registered User regular
    Aldo wrote: »
    Glal wrote: »
    Personally I just wish they'd redo the skill/check system so each stat has roughly the same number of skills it affects (poor STR). I don't like that certain classes get stuck with bugger-all out-of-combat roles just due to the nature of the stats they use, while someone like a Warlock has their cake and eats it, too.

    .

    Its in the PHB that you can tie your skillchecks to other stats at the DM's discretion. Crawford uses it in the AI live games.

    So you can put intimidation (STR) in there to appear imposing or survival (STR) to determine how well someone can push through undergrowth or nature (DEX*) when someone would climb a tree and uses their discerning eye for finding good branches to put their weight on. There's no reason to ignore stats as long as your table is willing to use the options described in the book and looks a bit further than "it concerns the spoken word, so it must be CHA".

    *I had agi here first, because I was a bit SPECIAL.

    Yeah, but in practical terms it doesn't apply that often. It's pretty easy to justify using STR for intimidation checks or CON for survival checks, but once you get beyond that the justification for the stat swap starts to get pretty thin unless circumstances are weird, and the swap option tends to benefit the stats that already get a lot of skills as much or more than the ones that are shorted. In your own example, if you want to use STR to climb a tree, that's already probably just an Athletics check, and if you use the stat swap option at all it's probably gonna be to let the cleric use Athletics(WIS) to climb the tree in a way that is cognizant of where the good footing and handholds are. It's a lot easier to come up with clever ways to sub WIS or DEX for an Athletics check than it is to come up with clever ways to use STR for an Insight or Stealth check, largely because using STR or CON usually means brute-forcing the task and brute force usually isn't the clever, unexpected solution.

    Personally my biggest gripe with the stat/skill system is that they made all these int-based knowledge skills but then also made sure that int is virtually never used for anything else and that there was only one int-primary class and that there very few int-secondary ones and they were also niche ones that are less popular to play, so that unless your party has a wizard in it absolutely nobody is going to be remotely good at any knowledge skill unless you let one of the spellcasters use WIS for them or something, expressly to solve that problem.

    Bring back "highest of INT or DEX" as your initiative modifier! Stop pretending you're actually gonna use INT or CHA saves with any kind of regularity and go back to three paired saves using the highest of int/dex, str/con, and wis/cha! How did you sit down to make a simplified, streamlined, accessible version of DnD and conclude that doubling the number of different defensive modifiers to check and track was the way to do it?

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