[D&D Discussion] The real monsters are the friends we made along the way.

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  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    Darmak wrote: »
    If all else fails, use @The Zombie Penguins random beast generator and really fuck with em

    Using my Grand Beast Generator should clearly be the FIRST port of call, not the last, @Darmak Get it right man

    Last session i used it to set 4 Cat/Mollusc hybrids on the party. They were all medium sized, had bite/claw attacks, a tail that could pick up and throw things and grapple, and could roll into balls in mid air and attempt to slam dunk people. It was freaking awesome.

    Though, side note, my GBG does not provide mechanics, just inspiration for what the creature looks like and how it behaves. the idea is that it provides enoguh traits you can then use to hang mechanics off/create a unique fight, while being able to tune it to your party's level and/or items and capabilites.

    Hence why these things grappled, because i knew that'd make stuff interesting, and having them throw items at them also made it fun - The party seemed to really enjoy fighting though. (I think i made them a bit tough - the big one had 60 hp, the rest had 45 hp, so a grand total of 195 hp for a level 3 party to chew through, but they got through just fine - One party member lost 30 hp total i think, and the party used up a bit of healing. It was impressively low-resource on my party's part!

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    What's the player etiquette on reading monster stats at table while you're fighting that monster? Its bad form, yes? Uncool. Uncouth, even. I did not appreciate it.

    My party was fighting ghosts and two of them were possessed. At least two of the players are following along in the SKT module we are playing using DnDBeyond & Roll20 and reading the description of how the possession works and second guessing me on which stats I was using to make save, the ghosts or the players. (I rolled a 19 on the die vs DC14. I don't care who's stats say +1 or +2). And then I got a tiny bit of sass back when I called him out on it. Last session I was reading something from the book and another one of them says, "I can just read it from the book here on the site."

    These motherfuckers are getting on my nerves!

    Honestly even with players who aren't super knowledgeable about D&D monsters I often change details about them, give them a new feature, or use lore and game mechanics from previous editions to modify their abilities. For example, when I recently used grell I gave them the 1-hour duration Dominate Person spell as a once per day ability and equipped them with special rods that fired electricity (+2 to hit, 60 foot range, 3d6 lightning damage) and were only usable by them (the rods are designed to only function when a grell tentacle is wrapped around them in a certain way). Similarly, a player of mine commented on how many Underdark races actually have resistance to mind flayer abilities, so I've elected to equip the ones the party will encounter later on with psionic blades, laser pistols, tentacle extensions that give their tentacle and extract brain attacks a reach of 10 feet, and grenade-like "tanglers" that unfurl into masses of gripping, electrified tentacles when thrown (because surely such intelligent creatures would seek to find a way to overcome their enemies' resistances to their powers).

    I also like giving monsters feats, class features, and magic items that make sense (the recurring ogre NPC in my campaign has Large-sized adamantine plate armor, a periapt of wound closure, and the Shield Master feat), as well as converting monsters from older editions (like my personal favorite weirdo elementals, the rukarazyll and the writhing crag).

    Mordenkainen's Fiendish Folio has a number of obscure monsters drawn from D&D history, like the blindheim (who fire radiant energy blasts and rays from their eyes) and jermlaine (which are invisible to creatures relying on darkvision).

    Here's another free one: the vril from 3.5's Drow of the Underdark are basically hobgoblins with slightly batlike features that can unleash sonic screeches. Take a hobgoblin, give it a climb speed, add blindsight 60 ft alongside darkvision, add sunlight sensitivity, maybe introduce a bite attack, and give it Thunderwave and Shatter as Innate Spellcasting choices.

    vril.jpg

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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    Changing things around and other solutions are all fine and dandy, but was not really my point, I suppose.

    These motherfuckers are rude, is what I am saying. And I had come here last night to bitch about it.

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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    The flip side is my noob group where I do a "cinematic" as their first encounter, at level 1. It's a dragon turtle and I want to give them an unexpected inconvenience (they thought they'd just sail peacefully where they are going but instead get to do a 4 day trek through the jungle with no specific jungle supplies (it's ok, it's trimming wheels jungle)) plus a long term goal (kill the Dragon turtle when we are stronger).

    Me: "the water in front of your little boat churns violently. You almost capsize as an island emerges in front of you. Two eyes the size of kitchen tables open up, look at you, and a cavernous mouth demands treasurer"

    My players look at each other and go "oh neat a fight. I ready my bow".

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  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    Changing things around and other solutions are all fine and dandy, but was not really my point, I suppose.

    These motherfuckers are rude, is what I am saying. And I had come here last night to bitch about it.

    You need to tell them straight up that what they're doing is ruining the game for you, and potentially other players. It's incredibly rude, and quite frankly, piss-poor behavior at the table. It's like showing up to a dramatic reading by an author, and you reading aloud their own book in the back of the room.

    Stop the behavior before it completely eats away at your enjoyment of the game, or ask the players to recuse themselves from the game.

    Don't let it linger.

    Or drop a giant rock on them.



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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    I just sent this note to my group via our groupchat:
    Gents,
    I had a good time last night and we should definitely start planning the next one.

    A general note though: It is typically considered bad form & rude in any TTRPG to read along/ahead in the adventure module and/or to read the monster stats in a encounter that you are in at that very moment.

    I appreciate that you all seem excited and want to know. I get that and I dig it. But please lets not play a game with the walkthrough open beside you.

    Thank You,
    Your Dungeon Master. 🙂

    Steelhawk on
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  • Ken OKen O Registered User regular
    Great way to handle it. To the point and very fair. You probably handled it much nicer than I would have.

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  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    Ken O wrote: »
    Great way to handle it. To the point and very fair. You probably handled it much nicer than I would have.

    Yeah. A giant rock solves everything.

    That's what you're referring to, right? :biggrin:



  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    Remember the Hellboy D&D 5E announcement and how weird a lot of people thought it was?

    Welllll...
    Renegade Games Studios who have a partnership with Hasbro for the 2018 Power Rangers: Heroes of The Grid board game today announced an expansion of that relationship.

    The first game from the pair will be the Power Rangers Role Playing Game which will use Dungeon & Dragon’s 5e system, which Hasbro owns through Wizards of the Coast. Renegade have their own systems in games like Outbreak, Overlight, and the popular Kids on Bikes but these won’t be used for Power Rangers.

    Source

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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    The first notice is the polite one. Then the rocks fall. :evil:

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  • joshgotrojoshgotro Queen CityRegistered User regular
    Is Morphin Time going to be a level/day power up?

    +AC, + to hit, and a giant sized animal companion tied to a 1d6 round timer?

    I'm sure someone has homebrewed the piss out of PR already.

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  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    Well, at least if it's power rangers you can then reverse engineer into it the actually good super sentai. *ducks for cover*

    Okay more seriously, that Sure Is A Thing, and DnD seems like... not a great system to do it with, honestly. At all. Like i'd love to see a henshin class in DnD, but that's somethign that should be built to fit dnd's whole... thing.

    Trying to shoehorn in power rangers/super sentai into dnd... they really dont share a lot of dna to be honest. Good luck to the designers, i guess!

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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    When I first started DMing I was just making up abilities for monsters and like, they flew in towards a dungeon once and the orcs holding it saw them and their shamans did a chant that caused the players to be struck by lightning and one of the players threw a fit saying "Call lightning doesn't have a 1 mile range" and I was like "its not that though" and he said "monsters can't have spells players don't have" and I was like "shit maybe that's true" and relented


    Now older and wiser, 3 weeks ago he told me that he was immune to charm from a creature since he saved the previous round. I told him that he's going to spend his turn taking the dodge action to think long and hard about metagaming if he kept it up and he shut up and accepted his being charmed

    I do encourage my players to PRIVATELY message me if they think I'm screwing something up, like the aforementioned "immune to charm after succeeding", but I no longer tolerate being told "X can't do that" in front of everyone

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  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    On a different note: One of my players got a magical flintlock.

    It's ended up being named Lovelife, which is just a fantastic name for a gun. Especially a gun wielded by a Merfolk Rogue Bartender.

    Ideas hate it when you anthropomorphize them
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  • evilthecatevilthecat Registered User regular
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    What's the player etiquette on reading monster stats at table while you're fighting that monster? Its bad form, yes? Uncool. Uncouth, even. I did not appreciate it.

    My party was fighting ghosts and two of them were possessed. At least two of the players are following along in the SKT module we are playing using DnDBeyond & Roll20 and reading the description of how the possession works and second guessing me on which stats I was using to make save, the ghosts or the players. (I rolled a 19 on the die vs DC14. I don't care who's stats say +1 or +2). And then I got a tiny bit of sass back when I called him out on it. Last session I was reading something from the book and another one of them says, "I can just read it from the book here on the site."

    These motherfuckers are getting on my nerves!

    Do the SKT ghosts work differently from the normal MM ones or why are you rolling as the dm for the possession save?

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  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    “monsters can’t have spells the players don’t have”

    hahahaha

    oops

    on a more serious note, Matt Colville is 20000% right when he says the Players Handbook is meant for Players

    the DM should break the rules for his monsters in their design in the pursuit of fun

    like i ALWAYS change stuff or homebrew my shit because i have veterans and they like being challenged and surprised

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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    evilthecat wrote: »
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    What's the player etiquette on reading monster stats at table while you're fighting that monster? Its bad form, yes? Uncool. Uncouth, even. I did not appreciate it.

    My party was fighting ghosts and two of them were possessed. At least two of the players are following along in the SKT module we are playing using DnDBeyond & Roll20 and reading the description of how the possession works and second guessing me on which stats I was using to make save, the ghosts or the players. (I rolled a 19 on the die vs DC14. I don't care who's stats say +1 or +2). And then I got a tiny bit of sass back when I called him out on it. Last session I was reading something from the book and another one of them says, "I can just read it from the book here on the site."

    These motherfuckers are getting on my nerves!

    Do the SKT ghosts work differently from the normal MM ones or why are you rolling as the dm for the possession save?

    It wasn't the possession save. One of the players was trying to cast Tasha's Hideous Laughter on the possessed player in order to make it an unpalatable host. Which I thought was a baller idea, but alas. Regardless of who's save I was using, the dice did the job.

  • evilthecatevilthecat Registered User regular
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    evilthecat wrote: »
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    What's the player etiquette on reading monster stats at table while you're fighting that monster? Its bad form, yes? Uncool. Uncouth, even. I did not appreciate it.

    My party was fighting ghosts and two of them were possessed. At least two of the players are following along in the SKT module we are playing using DnDBeyond & Roll20 and reading the description of how the possession works and second guessing me on which stats I was using to make save, the ghosts or the players. (I rolled a 19 on the die vs DC14. I don't care who's stats say +1 or +2). And then I got a tiny bit of sass back when I called him out on it. Last session I was reading something from the book and another one of them says, "I can just read it from the book here on the site."

    These motherfuckers are getting on my nerves!

    Do the SKT ghosts work differently from the normal MM ones or why are you rolling as the dm for the possession save?

    It wasn't the possession save. One of the players was trying to cast Tasha's Hideous Laughter on the possessed player in order to make it an unpalatable host. Which I thought was a baller idea, but alas. Regardless of who's save I was using, the dice did the job.

    Ah, that paints a way more favourable picture!
    Have you tried emotionally manipulating them?
    Them reading the MM as the adventure progresses is practically calling you dishonest and untrustworthy!
    Aim at their conscience, warp their humanity!

    tip.. tip.. TALLY.. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    For my veteran player group in CoS a couple of them got upset when Strahd cast Animate Object and it was stronger than they thought it should be. TBF, I misread what it does, but regardless this is what it does now. Did you make a deal with the Elder Evil powers? No? Ok then.

    They were salty though.

    Full context: the wizard player did some spell where he manifested a rock from thin air, made it grow big into a boulder, then chucked it at Strahd. I had told them they are allowed to use some sort of expanded list of spells they had asked for at start of the campaign so it came from there (not phb), and I didn't know where exact details. What i did know was that Strahd would be pissed ("you attack me with Barovian land? I AM the land") and then Animate Object the boulder into 8 animate rocks that then swarmed said wizard. An awesome moment, in my mind, but then the whining started that that's not how AO works.

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  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    i've told my players straight up

    "i am cheating, and it will be fun"

    i basically cheat in two ways: in the backend monster design by giving singletons heinous abilities (like seriously, every solo should have legendary actions/resistances. if they don't you're asking for them to get destroyed)

    for example, i just did a HUGE setpiece encounter for my 17th level party against Yan-C-Bin (not running PotA, it's a homebrew thing, but it pulls on the elemental eye as the main antagonist yada yada)

    and not only did he have new abilities, but he also got two(!!) initiative counts

    and not surprisingly, the players still beat him pretty convincingly, and that was with lair actions and heavy battlefield manipulation

    anyway, and i also cheat in the moment occasionally, usually by adjusting HP totals on the fly or adding more guys (basically the same thing, just in a different way). it's an art more than a science, but sometimes monsters need more HP, sometimes they need less. essentially the best combats IMO last anywhere from 4-6 rounds in total, and you should always be ready to calibrate accordingly

    i know this goes sharply against the grain of "DM should always be Fair" but i only take that to mean in adjudicating and making rulings; the idea of "fairness" in the actual game seems silly to me in that the game is cooperative, everyone really is on the same "team"

    the DM's job is to set up the bowling pins to make it fun. it's like designing a golf course, or a race track

    you want it to be fun, you want it to be challenging, and ultimately you want them to win, and maybe you want them to sweat a little while doing it

    fuck "fair"

    my .02

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  • The Zombie PenguinThe Zombie Penguin Eternal Hungry Corpse Registered User regular
    Too bad, he's made tiny barovian stone versions of himself to kick the shit out of hte wizard.

    Also never let that player watch the most recent episode of AcqInc - they had the lead rules designer allowing Animate Object be used to turn a mechanical object into... an organic mess for a while. which was awesome

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  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    Well, I would argue that you do want to be fair and consistent, with the overall idea that you're orchestrating an event that should be a good time for all.

    Fair is when the players are trivializing an encounter that you wanted to challenge them more with by ratcheting up the difficulty on the fly. But fair is also turning the heat down a bit on the fly if what you thought was a simple encounter starts wrecking players.

    Fair is making sure your players don't one shot your favorite villain before he has a chance to do some cool stuff in a battle. But fair is also making sure he doesn't one shot one of your players before they have a chance to do something cool.

    Fair is catching your players by surprise with a "MHWA HA HA!" moment because they didn't think of something or planned poorly. But fair is also making sure your player gets to shine in the spotlight if he does something really cool that you didn't plan for or weren't prepared for.

    Fair is exploiting the weaknesses of your players by not letting one-trick ponies always prance. But fair is also letting a smart player exploit the vulnerabilities of your monsters, and using their strengths.

    Etc, etc...

    It should all come out in the wash at the end of the game, and everyone should consistently leave the table feeling like the had a good time. I use that word "consistently" because the dice also don't always roll in your favor, but you should never feel like you're constantly showing up to a game of "Watch the DM screw me for six hours" & Dragons.

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  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    i've told my players straight up

    "i am cheating, and it will be fun"

    i basically cheat in two ways: in the backend monster design by giving singletons heinous abilities (like seriously, every solo should have legendary actions/resistances. if they don't you're asking for them to get destroyed)

    for example, i just did a HUGE setpiece encounter for my 17th level party against Yan-C-Bin (not running PotA, it's a homebrew thing, but it pulls on the elemental eye as the main antagonist yada yada)

    and not only did he have new abilities, but he also got two(!!) initiative counts

    and not surprisingly, the players still beat him pretty convincingly, and that was with lair actions and heavy battlefield manipulation

    anyway, and i also cheat in the moment occasionally, usually by adjusting HP totals on the fly or adding more guys (basically the same thing, just in a different way). it's an art more than a science, but sometimes monsters need more HP, sometimes they need less. essentially the best combats IMO last anywhere from 4-6 rounds in total, and you should always be ready to calibrate accordingly

    i know this goes sharply against the grain of "DM should always be Fair" but i only take that to mean in adjudicating and making rulings; the idea of "fairness" in the actual game seems silly to me in that the game is cooperative, everyone really is on the same "team"

    the DM's job is to set up the bowling pins to make it fun. it's like designing a golf course, or a race track

    you want it to be fun, you want it to be challenging, and ultimately you want them to win, and maybe you want them to sweat a little while doing it

    fuck "fair"

    my .02

    The fairest thing I do in my 13th age game is roll my d20s in front of the table (monsters use static damage in that system by default). I might adjust HP or abilities on the back end on the fly, depending on how the encounter is going, but the d20s are out there for all to see, which certainly adds a bit of excitement to the whole proceedings.

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  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    yeah i used to do that, i just ask the players to validate rolls and peek behind the screen for big consequential rolls, otherwise i'd be standing up a lot just to roll over my screen, and our table is already crowded due to webcams (we have a remote player that we've set up an entire dual-camera setup for, and put a monitor in his chair... it's kinda dope but it crowds the table just a bit)

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  • joshgotrojoshgotro Queen CityRegistered User regular
    edited October 1
    If one of my players has a Monster Manual out at the table, I guess he's DMing that night.

    BRB gotta grab my spare character sheet.

    I can't understand the thought process there.

    We're here as a group, to slay monsters, and grab loot. Rolls are going to get you killed, not lack of knowledge on the + or - to a mutated rats charisma stat.

    The MM is baseline mutated rat.

    My mutated rat might be Brolly tonight. Could be Riddler mutated rat tomorrow.

    Why does this anger me so?

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  • ArcanisTheImpotentArcanisTheImpotent Registered User regular
    also high level combat is pretty interesting

    i've never run a campaign this long before, and being able to experiment with boss encounters and make up crazy setpieces has definitely been cool, but man it does expose somewhat how not-cinematic D&D is at times

  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    Lately I’m big on monsters having a second stage that has a fresh set of HP.

    That way it’s perfectly fine if a player rolls max damage and takes out a monster, it just brings on the second phase sooner. It avoids awkward moments where your boss just dies in the first round, but allows for crits to be meaningful still. Plus I give the monsters overall lower HP, because they’re guarantied an extra round.

    I do like to be fair though, visible rolls and all that. I haven’t altered HP on the fly yet, but I do cheat in so much as I’ll make a monster progressively stupider the longer the players are losing.

  • TynnanTynnan seldom correct, never unsure Registered User regular
    The more I play 5e, the more I appreciate Blades-style clock systems. Characters can advance those any number of ways that aren't just trimming %attack worth of HP from the enemy, and it feels more natural.

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  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    yeah i used to do that, i just ask the players to validate rolls and peek behind the screen for big consequential rolls, otherwise i'd be standing up a lot just to roll over my screen, and our table is already crowded due to webcams (we have a remote player that we've set up an entire dual-camera setup for, and put a monitor in his chair... it's kinda dope but it crowds the table just a bit)

    When I was doing in person gaming the table was wide enough that I was able to have a little dice tray to the side of my screen I could roll in. Everybody could see it if they wanted, but it wasn't smack in the middle of everything. Now with Roll20 its just easy.

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  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    DndBeyond is the culprit here....or rather, with DnDBeyond is never been easier to read that you are not supposed to be reading. Bad form from the player(s) is still the culprit.

    Nowadays (especially with content sharing) everyone in your campaign has access to the module. Not just the DM holding a physical book. Everyone has access to every NPC and Monster stat because the handy search bar is right there. When I think my player on the zoom call is scouring his character sheet for something they're cool to do, they are apparently scouring the MM entry for a ruling I've fucked up or a loophole they can exploit.

  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    So my party is continuing to have fun exploring saltmarsh, and have discovered a staple of oldschool D&D: trap laden hallways, all with their own horseshit triggers that have caused all kinds of problems but especially for the party's barbarian. So far he's fallen into illusionary pit's, had the ceiling collapse on him and positioned himself to get shot by a ballista trap twice (though to be fair the sorcerer took the brunt of the damage from that one and as such I ruled that the damage was bits of half elf shrapnel).

    That having been said, I had a rule zero moment that caused a bit of consternation when the players were attacked by living metal statues and the bard went to use Heat metal which put me in an akward spot as a GM; the statues had as I understand it no internal components or organic occupant so the spell shouldn't actually damage it in any way, and strictly speaking the statue is a creature and not an object. So I split the difference and made it so the statue was taking half damage from the spell (much to the consternation of the bard who was reading the spell's description to me, as though I didn't know the implications of the spell).

    The best part of this is that the players are continuing to explore this place despite having gotten what is most likely the hoard.

    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.
  • SniperGuySniperGuy Also known as Dohaeris Registered User regular
    I wanted to speed up part of the module that we were playing last night. So because I knew my players could absolutely handle two cultists all by themselves, I let them know the cultists were coming down the hall and because they were mostly in the dark at the end of that hall, they could ambush them.

    So the cleric hands the barbarian a flask of alchemist fire and they decide the barb will huck it at one of them from stealth.

    Nat 20.

    The two cultists were speaking in quiet voices to each other, paying more attention to their conversation and the slippery stones ahead of them than anything that might be lurking in the dark. "Man, I really hate incense duty, you know?" "Ugh, yeah dude. It smells awful out here and it's just so boring! I'd much rather be inside wor-"

    The alchemist flask smacked into the first one's head, didn't break, ricocheted into the second one's face, broke, caught fire, killed them both.

    The party loved it and I felt pretty good about giving them that on the nat 20.

    So far Descent into Avernus has been a pretty fun module, if a little tough in the combat. They're level 4 now though so things are starting to solidify and become less terrifyingly lethal.

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  • SchadenfreudeSchadenfreude Mean Mister Mustard Registered User regular
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    DndBeyond is the culprit here....or rather, with DnDBeyond is never been easier to read that you are not supposed to be reading. Bad form from the player(s) is still the culprit.

    Nowadays (especially with content sharing) everyone in your campaign has access to the module. Not just the DM holding a physical book. Everyone has access to every NPC and Monster stat because the handy search bar is right there. When I think my player on the zoom call is scouring his character sheet for something they're cool to do, they are apparently scouring the MM entry for a ruling I've fucked up or a loophole they can exploit.

    In your campaign settings on Beyond you can disable sources available to players. It's no good if they've bought their own copy obvs, but if you own it and are sharing it you can cut them off. If you view your campaign there's a blue-boxed "Content Management" button that lets you play with their permissions.

    Contemplate this on the Tree of Woe
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    “monsters can’t have spells the players don’t have”

    hahahaha

    oops

    on a more serious note, Matt Colville is 20000% right when he says the Players Handbook is meant for Players

    the DM should break the rules for his monsters in their design in the pursuit of fun

    like i ALWAYS change stuff or homebrew my shit because i have veterans and they like being challenged and surprised

    Well.. yes

    It’s not that monsters cannot have abilities that players cannot have but monsters(and particularly not intelligent monsters casting spells) should not operate on different rules than the players. An Orc Shaman should not get 1 mile call lightning because it breaks the verisimilitude when you go to your player druid and tell them they cannot recreate that effect. Or if your wizard, suddenly knowing that the rules of spells are out the window wants to start defining their own spells.

    This is fundamentally an expectation problem. Players are interacting with the world and in a way that has a set of expectations and you’re breaking them and not in a way that is good. In a way that likely would have changed their behavior had they known and in a way that they probably should have known.

    Your players may be at the table for a variety of reasons. From role playing to power fantasy to puzzle solving to social interaction only. And messing with expectations in a lot of ways are going to break many of the reasons for playing DnD for players.

    There are solutions to this. Edge cases in the rules that the players expect. Particularly for the Orcs you could have made this a ritual spell. Because then not only is it learnable but it has some important restrictions. It works for the power fantasy player (it’s power they can acquire and use) it works for the puzzle solver (it has defined rules they can use to mix up the problem).

    The effect of having your players read the module while you’re at the table might have to do with them being new and not knowing what to expect but it could also be about you violating their play preferences and working as a way push back against that.

    I once played with a DM who pulled this exact kind of thing all the time. We were fighting Orcs and Orcs had an ability to that lets them run super fast when they’re going towards an enemy. I did not know this and it fundamentally changed how I would have played the encounter.

    Except that I should have known this because a) theyre Orcs in forgotten realms everyone should know how Orcs work and b) the Orcs had been crossing like a 400 foot field which they would only do 90 feet at a time using their ability. And our party was shooting arrows at them so like... yea we should know either way. But we didnt... the early rounds were narrated in a way that hid it and then the whole “actually they’re super fast you’re boned” was sprung on us out of the ether. This ruined my enjoyment of the game and not because the Orcs didn’t have that ability. But because I like puzzle solving and changing the rules of the puzzle after it’s presented while not letting your players know what is up is some bullshit. If I had access to the book I might have been reading on along just for the fact that I could know like... how basic things in the game world work when I should know how they work.

    Particularly with the charm and the possession. A big player purpose is agency. If you’re denying them agency then it’s highly likely that this is breaking their will to play. They want to be able to act and have an effect on how things turn out and if you are messing with possession or charm to make it harder for them to do that they’re not going to be having fun and there will be an impulse to ensure that you’re not fudging things against them because doing so makes the fact that they are low on agency even worse.

    Here is an example. I once had a character die to DM fiat. I am unconscious but with 1 HP next to a goblin. The party is 1/2 rnd of climbing away. So obviously I get stabbed 12 times. No attack roll to hit my AC (even with advantage), no death saves. Just dead. This is functionally the same as “adding a new ability to the goblin” as is “adding a new ability to an orc shaman”. But damn if it didn’t make everyone at the table real fucking salty. It removed the agency of the players coming to save me. It modified my expectation of the danger I had put myself in. And sure the “DM can do anything” and that is in the rules but functionally no that is not how the game works.

    This is because DnD is, at its heart, cooperative storytelling. The rules exist primarily to give structure to the path of the story and to resolve disputes as to how the story plays out. When these rules are violated the DM is benefiting their story at the expense of their players story. And your players are likely to feel slighted as a result; because they really were slighted.

    TL;DR. The rules do not govern the game world they govern your interactions with your players and breaking them very potentially breaks the social contact you made with your players.

    wbBv3fj.png
    ironzerg
  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    DndBeyond is the culprit here....or rather, with DnDBeyond is never been easier to read that you are not supposed to be reading. Bad form from the player(s) is still the culprit.

    Nowadays (especially with content sharing) everyone in your campaign has access to the module. Not just the DM holding a physical book. Everyone has access to every NPC and Monster stat because the handy search bar is right there. When I think my player on the zoom call is scouring his character sheet for something they're cool to do, they are apparently scouring the MM entry for a ruling I've fucked up or a loophole they can exploit.

    In your campaign settings on Beyond you can disable sources available to players. It's no good if they've bought their own copy obvs, but if you own it and are sharing it you can cut them off. If you view your campaign there's a blue-boxed "Content Management" button that lets you play with their permissions.

    OK, fair enough. But in my case. 1) We've all pitched in, both of my groups and I, on all of the purchases so even though I technically own it all I won't in good conscience cut them off from it. and 2) What am I? A fucking kindergarten teacher? :)

    Smrtnik
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    Gaddez wrote: »
    So my party is continuing to have fun exploring saltmarsh, and have discovered a staple of oldschool D&D: trap laden hallways, all with their own horseshit triggers that have caused all kinds of problems but especially for the party's barbarian. So far he's fallen into illusionary pit's, had the ceiling collapse on him and positioned himself to get shot by a ballista trap twice (though to be fair the sorcerer took the brunt of the damage from that one and as such I ruled that the damage was bits of half elf shrapnel).

    That having been said, I had a rule zero moment that caused a bit of consternation when the players were attacked by living metal statues and the bard went to use Heat metal which put me in an akward spot as a GM; the statues had as I understand it no internal components or organic occupant so the spell shouldn't actually damage it in any way, and strictly speaking the statue is a creature and not an object. So I split the difference and made it so the statue was taking half damage from the spell (much to the consternation of the bard who was reading the spell's description to me, as though I didn't know the implications of the spell).

    The best part of this is that the players are continuing to explore this place despite having gotten what is most likely the hoard.

    If the statue is a creature then you cannot heat it since you may only heat objects. And you should have let your player know so they would not waste the spell.(you start the components but discover that you cannot target any aspect of the statue). If the statue has a component that is a manufactured object then it should take full damage since it is a creature and the spell was legitimately fast on an object.

    Thematically this works as well. Heat metal isn’t functionally different than fireball. If a metal golem is being heated up and taking damage from a fireball they should take damage from heat metal. So thematically heat metal should be a damn hard counter to living metal statutes. And it’s fine to let your players get those solutions and use them.

    Because the other side is that your players were in a situation where they thought they had either lucked into or smarted their way into a solution to the encounter and in the end you split the baby when the baby was entirely theirs and there should have been no dispute. So your player feels like you had denied them something that was rightfully theirs. The thing being denied was the sense of accomplishment that they felt from discovering the solution.

    Goumindong on
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  • SchadenfreudeSchadenfreude Mean Mister Mustard Registered User regular
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    DndBeyond is the culprit here....or rather, with DnDBeyond is never been easier to read that you are not supposed to be reading. Bad form from the player(s) is still the culprit.

    Nowadays (especially with content sharing) everyone in your campaign has access to the module. Not just the DM holding a physical book. Everyone has access to every NPC and Monster stat because the handy search bar is right there. When I think my player on the zoom call is scouring his character sheet for something they're cool to do, they are apparently scouring the MM entry for a ruling I've fucked up or a loophole they can exploit.

    In your campaign settings on Beyond you can disable sources available to players. It's no good if they've bought their own copy obvs, but if you own it and are sharing it you can cut them off. If you view your campaign there's a blue-boxed "Content Management" button that lets you play with their permissions.

    OK, fair enough. But in my case. 1) We've all pitched in, both of my groups and I, on all of the purchases so even though I technically own it all I won't in good conscience cut them off from it. and 2) What am I? A fucking kindergarten teacher? :)

    I mean, it kinda sounds like it :P

    Contemplate this on the Tree of Woe
    SteelhawkDarmakwebguy20Elvenshae
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    the orc shaman didn't get a 1 mile call lightning, the group of orc shamans did a ritual that was mechanically similar to call lightning but larger, kind of like control weather

    and my player was wrong, they absolutely can, because I was creating the adventure and in the adventure, the orcs who worship the storm lord had cool storm powers

    You should have an in-universe explanation for their powers, but having played a bunch of WOTC written adventures, they are full of things that you can't actually do

    EG: Glyph of warding that creates flameskulls and resets itself after a short time, a lich that can just change its prepared spell list at will, etc

    The correct way to handle that would be: "Do I think it's normal for orcs to be able to project lightning that far?" and not breaking out of the game and calling the DM out out of character. The first question had an ingame answer: NO! It is NOT normal! There's some fuckery afoot!

    DMs should try to not break versimilitude, but some DMs are inexperienced and make mistakes and it's almost always better to roll with it, in my experience, and bring it up later or private message the DM or something, otherwise you should try to keep it in character "Is this level of speed normal? it seems way too fast". At my table most of my players just want to play, it's just the one player that tries to drag everything to a halt (I swear to god we spent like 15 minutes arguing about Tiny Hut, and I ended up being right RAW anyway, but he should have just accepted my ruling when I said "That's how it is")

    override367 on
    joshgotroNipsElvenshae
  • ironzergironzerg Registered User regular
    Goumindong wrote: »
    This is because DnD is, at its heart, cooperative storytelling. The rules exist primarily to give structure to the path of the story and to resolve disputes as to how the story plays out. When these rules are violated the DM is benefiting their story at the expense of their players story. And your players are likely to feel slighted as a result; because they really were slighted.

    Very well put. It's a cooperative game, which doesn't mean the D&D gets a free pass to cheat when they feel like it benefits them. Again, per my post above, you can certainly use your powers as the DM to smooth out the wrinkles in a game, but it has to be done in a fair and logical way that provides benefit to the game, and generally improves the cooperative element.

    It's not rare for a DM to forget that D&D is a cooperative game AND he is part of the same team as his players. He just has a different role, but he's as much a part of the game as his players, but he's not above the players. Nor is he above the general rules and principles prescribe in the books that we spent hundreds of dollars on each time there's a new edition goddammit.

    But that's hard to do, which is a big reason, in my opinion, finding a DM and a group that can run a D&D game for longer than a few sessions honestly ends up being a pretty remarkable task.

    I've been playing D&D for over 20 years now. I can't count the number of characters or groups I've joined, but I can count on a single hand the number of games that have lasted more than 10 sessions.



  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited October 1
    So DMs shouldn't create homebrew creatures?

    Is it still okay to use WOTC created creatures that have abilities that are total bullshit?

    override367 on
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