As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/

[D&D Discussion] The World's Greatest Boxed Soup(TM)

DenadaDenada Registered User regular
edited May 15 in Critical Failures
In these trying times, we should all take a moment to reflect on what's truly important in life. Like buying this hit board game that's streaming all over the damn place, Dungeons and Dragons:
24pdhfofkldx.jpg


We're all in this together, and to help you and your family get through these uncertain times, you can also buy the home version of Dungeons and Dragons:
2txl0v7niw07.jpg


Remember, every dollar you spend is a dollar closer to getting back to normal. Buy comfort. Buy health. Buy freedom. Buy D&D.



In this thread, we talk about Dungeons & Dragons, one of the most well-known tabletop RPGs of all time. Its quality is debatable (and oh do we debate it, frequently), but no one can deny its popularity. It has spawned numerous editions, offshoots, play-alikes, and subgenres. We talk about all of that here. Chainmail, 1E, 2E, BECMI, 3E, 3.5E, 4E, 5E, Pathfinder, Starfinder, Gamma World, it’s all fair game because it’s all D&D or basically D&D. Also we just can’t help ourselves; trying to make this thread strictly about D&D 5E is a fool’s errand.

With that being said, 5E is the current version of D&D, is extremely popular, and is what most people are playing or want to play right now. With that in mind, here’s some possibly useful information about 5E:

What You can Get for Free
  • The 5E Basic Rules are available in both PDF and web versions. Note that these rules do not include all of the available character options, monsters, and other material. A free D&D Beyond account also has access to Basic Rules material.
  • There is a 5E SRD. Same caveat applies about it not having everything. There are a lot of different versions of this out there, so just search engine it and use the one you like.
  • There's an amazing OneNote notebook that contains all of the freely (and legally) available 5E content that was out there at the time it was last updated.
  • There are a lot of character sheets, both official and unofficial. Pick one that makes sense to you. Yours truly just uses the standard one, but tastes vary.
  • There's Dragon+, which is a free digital magazine. I've never read it so I don't know if it's any good.
  • There are no full-content PDFs legally available.

What You Can Buy if You Want
  • The Starter Set is generally considered to be a pretty good option if you want to dip your toe in. The included adventure is well-liked by most, though it has a few gotchas that can sometimes trip up unsuspecting groups.
  • The Core Three books (Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual) are your standard initial investment.
  • Most of the official adventures are somewhere on the scale of fine to great. Your mileage will vary depending on your group, but they're all at least okay if you don't want to write your own stuff.
  • 5E content is available for purchase on a few different platforms. None of these digital purchases overlap, meaning if you buy into Fantasy Grounds, you'd have to pay again for Roll20 or D&D Beyond.
  • The DMs Guild is a branded DriveThruRPG sub-site that's full of D&D content, both official and third-party. Some of it is free. Some of it might be good.
  • Some companies produce accessories and other merch for D&D. These things can be nice to have, but aren't necessary for playing the game. Personally I like the spell cards, though they are a bit pricey.
  • There are no full-content PDFs legally available.

Where You Can Play
  • In-person with your friends is what most people want to do. The expected party size is one Dungeon Master with four Players. You can play with more or less players, and adjusting isn't really that hard. Really big groups can be hard to handle, but some DMs like them. If you want to (or have to) play as a duo of one player and one DM, go for it. It will be a different experience from "regular" D&D but it can be really fun.
  • You can also play online if in-person sessions aren't going to work for you. Roll20 and Discord are the big players in that space, but really you just need a way to talk to each other and maybe share a screen if you want to use a map. There are lots of different ways to do that.
  • Asynchronous online play can happen too, usually via PbP (Play-by-Post) games. We used to have a lot of those here in Critical Failures, but not so much anymore.
  • If you don’t want to or can’t play yourself, Penny Arcade has Acquisitions Inc and the C Team for your viewing and/or listening pleasure. You can also watch a lot of other people play on Twitch, Youtube, and probably other platforms. If you prefer an audio format, there are many, many podcasts of people playing all sorts of games, D&D included.

Denada on
NipsThawmusElvenshaeRhesus PositivemrpakuHexmage-PAVirgil_Leads_YouMrVyngaard
«13456713

Posts

  • ThawmusThawmus +Jackface Registered User regular
    Started playing Pathfinder 2E for the first time this past weekend.

    I like it a lot. There are things I don't like about it, like how rules-heavy it still is, but otherwise I really like it a lot. Hard for me to really grade it yet off of one session but for character creation alone I liked it more than I like D&D 5E.

    I'm currently playing an Elf Investigator in the Abomination Vaults campaign. I'm leaning super hard on Battle Medicine and am basically the party medic. My character is using our adventure to fuel his book: "Scribe 'L' for 'Legolas'", a detective novel he's attempting because his research papers describing new ways to collect and test evidence was too dry and nobody read it.

    steam_sig.png
    Twitch: Thawmus83
    Youtube: Thawmus
    WhelkElvenshaeRhesus PositiveNipsRingoShawnaseeironsizide
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited February 17
    Ran a session today where I had the party go up against a homebrew "nightmare ettercap". Here's the stats I came up with if anyone is curious:
    Nightmare Ettercap
    Medium monstrosity, neutral evil

    Armor Class 13 (Natural Armor)
    Hit Points 55 (10d8+10)
    Speed 30 ft., climb 30 ft.

    STR 14 (+2) DEX 15 (+2) CON 13 (+1) INT 11 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 8 (-1)

    Skills Perception +3, Stealth +6, Survival +3
    Condition Immunities frightened
    Senses Darkvision 120 ft., Passive Perception 13
    Languages telepathy 120 ft.
    Challenge 2 (450 XP)
    Proficiency Bonus +2

    Frightful Infestation. Any creature that starts its turn within 5 feet of the ettercap or hits it with a melee weapon while within 5 feet must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or take 1d4 psychic damage and become frightened. At the start of each turn the creature takes 1d4 psychic damage, and at the end of each turn the creature may repeat the saving throw to end the effect.
    Spider Climb. The ettercap can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
    Web Sense. While in contact with a web, the ettercap knows the exact location of any other creature in contact with the same web.
    Web Walker. The ettercap ignores movement restrictions caused by webbing.

    Actions
    Multiattack. The ettercap makes two attacks: one with its bite and one with its claws.
    Bite. +4. 1d8+2 piercing damage plus 1d8 poison damage. The target must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or be poisoned for 1 minute. The creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
    Claws. +4. Reach 10 ft. 2d4+2 slashing damage.`
    Embrace (Recharge 5-6). +4. Reach 10 ft. 4d4+4 piercing damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 13) if it is a Medium or smaller creature. Until the grapple ends, the target is frightened. The ettercap can grapple only one creature at a time.

    Bonus Actions
    Shadow Teleport (Recharge 5–6). As a bonus action, the ettercap and any creature it has grappled can teleport to an unoccupied space within 30 feet of it, provided that both the space it's teleporting from and its destination are in dim light or darkness. The destination need not be within line of sight.
    Web (Recharge 5–6). +4. Range 30/60 ft., one Large or smaller creature. Hit: The creature is restrained by webbing. As an action, the restrained creature can make a DC 13 Strength check, escaping from the webbing on a success. The effect also ends if the webbing is destroyed. The webbing has AC 10, 5 hit points, vulnerability to fire damage, and immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage.

    Lair Actions
    • Three creatures must make DC 13 Strength saving throws. On a failure, a creature is pulled 15 feet in a straight line by a strand of webbing that manifests.
    • Every creature within 15 feet of the nightmare ettercap must succeed on a DC 13 Wisdom saving throw or be affected by Frightful Infestation.
    • Three giant wolf spiders under the control of the ettercap appear. No more than six can be present at one time.

    The battle itself began with three giant wolf spiders appearing in a chamber with a narrow chasm bisecting it save for small bridge. One of the PCs was pulled across to the other side of the chasm by one of the lair actions, and upon trying to move to the bridge to cross it the nightmare ettercap dropped down from the ceiling to attack. Two members of the party are barbarians (a harengon and a fairy) who weathered many of the blows thanks to Rage, and once the second wave of three giant wolf spiders emerged from the chasm the party decided to focus fire on the nightmare ettercap. Upon the monster's death the three surviving giant wolf spiders attempted to flee. Two of the PCs, bloodthirsty killers they are, made sure none escaped and even followed two down into the chasm to finish them off.

    Hexmage-PA on
    Friend Code: 1590-5696-7916
    Friend Safari Type: Rock
    Nips
  • AmarylAmaryl Registered User regular
    I used to have a copy of that boardgame, it was pretty bad but still played it way too much. I don't think a group ever got past scenario 4. my mom brought it home once, because; you like fantasy and stuff, and this is Dungeons and Dragons, I heard good things about that!

  • Virgil_Leads_YouVirgil_Leads_You Proud Father House GardenerRegistered User regular
    z1r6ck6fg81r.png
    this art is incredible. Put that on the Sistine Chapel.
    The ghost is my favorite.

    VayBJ4e.png
    kimeThawmusElvenshaeZonugalWhelkGlalMoridin889Incenjucarironsizide
  • NipsNips Luxuriating in existential crisis.Registered User regular
    edited February 17
    I spent a solid 20 minutes this morning trying to find out the provenance of that art and game.

    A game from 2003? With art reminiscent of old D&D products? 40 miniatures in the box?!?! What even is this?

    It's like a weird precursor to the wave of giant-pile-of-miniatures-in-a-box games that have been crowd funded more recently. But in 2003? As a retail product?

    I'm so confused. And yet almost want it just to see how weird it is.

    Nips on
    JXUBxMxP0QndjQUEnTwTxOkfKmx8kWNvuc-FUtbSz_23_DAhGKe7W9spFKLXAtkpTBqM8Dt6kQrv-rS69Hi3FheL3fays2xTeVUvWR7g5UyLHnFA0frGk1BC12GYdOSRn9lbaJB-uH0htiLPJMrc9cSRsIgk5Dx7jg9K8rJVfG43lkeAWxTgcolNscW9KO2UZjKT8GMbYAFgFvu2TaMoLH8LBA5p2pm6VNYRsQK3QGjCsze1TOv2yIbCazmDwCHmjiQxNDf6LHP35msyiXo3CxuWs9Y8DQvJjvj10kWaspRNlWHKjS5w9Y0KLuIkhQKOxgaDziG290v4zBmTi-i7OfDz-foqIqKzC9wTbn9i_uU87GRitmrNAJdzRRsaTW5VQu_XX_5gCN8XCoNyu5RWWVGTsjJuyezz1_NpFa903Uj2TnFqnL1wJ-RZiFAAd2Bdut-G1pdQtdQihsq2dx_BjtmtGC3KZRyylO1t2c12dhfb0rStq4v8pg46ciOcdtT_1qm85IgUmGd7AmgLxCFPb0xnxWZvr26G-oXSqrQdjKA1zNIInSowiHcbUO2O8S5LRJVR6vQiEg0fbGXw4vqJYEn917tnzHMh8r0xom8BLKMvoFDelk6wbEeNq8w8Eyu2ouGjEMIvvJcb2az2AKQ1uE_7gdatfKG2QdvfdSBRSc35MQ=w498-h80-no
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Nips wrote: »
    I spent a solid 20 minutes this morning trying to find out the provenance of that art and game.

    A game from 2003? With art reminiscent of old D&D products? 40 miniatures in the box?!?! What even is this?

    It's like a weird precursor to the wave of giant-pile-of-miniatures-in-a-box games that have been crowd funded more recently. But in 2003? As a retail product?

    I'm so confused. And yet almost want it just to see how weird it is.

    https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/6366/dungeons-dragons-fantasy-adventure-board-game

    2003 is also when they started the "D&D Miniatures" line where you got packs of randomized minis so initially I was thinking maybe it was going off of that, but the ones in the game box look...a lot worse than those did:
    https://cf.geekdo-images.com/wmPMh-vEk_P4ERlpNUulFg__imagepagezoom/img/NTpSXaRsOnMKZREqjY6slQwmp-Q=/fit-in/1200x900/filters:no_upscale():strip_icc()/pic199768.jpg

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
  • NipsNips Luxuriating in existential crisis.Registered User regular
    Yeah, I landed on that BGG listing. Well, after hitting a wall of other "Dungeons & Dragons" products first in their search. Blech, terrible search.

    The hero and gnoll figs look passable, but WTF is going on with the rest of those sculpts? Yikes. It's like they were intentionally trying to invoke the bad sculpts from the original old games like Heroquest.

    JXUBxMxP0QndjQUEnTwTxOkfKmx8kWNvuc-FUtbSz_23_DAhGKe7W9spFKLXAtkpTBqM8Dt6kQrv-rS69Hi3FheL3fays2xTeVUvWR7g5UyLHnFA0frGk1BC12GYdOSRn9lbaJB-uH0htiLPJMrc9cSRsIgk5Dx7jg9K8rJVfG43lkeAWxTgcolNscW9KO2UZjKT8GMbYAFgFvu2TaMoLH8LBA5p2pm6VNYRsQK3QGjCsze1TOv2yIbCazmDwCHmjiQxNDf6LHP35msyiXo3CxuWs9Y8DQvJjvj10kWaspRNlWHKjS5w9Y0KLuIkhQKOxgaDziG290v4zBmTi-i7OfDz-foqIqKzC9wTbn9i_uU87GRitmrNAJdzRRsaTW5VQu_XX_5gCN8XCoNyu5RWWVGTsjJuyezz1_NpFa903Uj2TnFqnL1wJ-RZiFAAd2Bdut-G1pdQtdQihsq2dx_BjtmtGC3KZRyylO1t2c12dhfb0rStq4v8pg46ciOcdtT_1qm85IgUmGd7AmgLxCFPb0xnxWZvr26G-oXSqrQdjKA1zNIInSowiHcbUO2O8S5LRJVR6vQiEg0fbGXw4vqJYEn917tnzHMh8r0xom8BLKMvoFDelk6wbEeNq8w8Eyu2ouGjEMIvvJcb2az2AKQ1uE_7gdatfKG2QdvfdSBRSc35MQ=w498-h80-no
  • Undead ScottsmanUndead Scottsman Registered User regular
    edited February 17
    Remember those board games they did briefly? (Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon, Legend of Drizzt) They were a fantastic way to get your hands on a handful of unpainted minis for cheap. I think I liked the idea of them more than I like them, though, even though I made an effort to get all of the promo cards for the game.

    EDIT: Huh, it looks like they've made more of these since then.

    Undead Scottsman on
    ThawmusElvenshaeA Dabble Of TheloniusMoridin889
  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    Remember those board games they did briefly? (Castle Ravenloft, Wrath of Ashardalon, Legend of Drizzt) They were a fantastic way to get your hands on a handful of unpainted minis for cheap. I think I liked the idea of them more than I like them, though, even though I made an effort to get all of the promo cards for the game.

    I think they're still making them. Or at least they put one out in 2021, "Ghosts of Saltmarsh". I've been thinking about picking up the Tomb of Annihilation one as a way to trick my boardgame group into starting a D&D campaign.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
    Elvenshae
  • ThawmusThawmus +Jackface Registered User regular
    The games themselves were also fairly decent.

    steam_sig.png
    Twitch: Thawmus83
    Youtube: Thawmus
    BrainleechElvenshaeDenadaA Dabble Of TheloniusMoridin889BrodyKayne Red Robe
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    For those interested the final three episodes of season one of The Legend of Vox Machina are out. I just finished them myself.

    Friend Code: 1590-5696-7916
    Friend Safari Type: Rock
    NipsElvenshae
  • Virgil_Leads_YouVirgil_Leads_You Proud Father House GardenerRegistered User regular
    Heroquest minis, after expanding my minis to hundreds of minis, are still to this date some of my favorite, not gonna lie.

    VayBJ4e.png
    Elvenshaerahkeesh2000
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Welp, found the downside to rune knight. A ton of abilities are reaction based. One turn i had tonight i could have done 4 useful things, but had my one reaction.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
  • WearingglassesWearingglasses Of the friendly neighborhood variety Registered User regular
    So I found some books that for some reason have markdowns, so one of my buddies asked for Curse of Strahd (they'll be the DM), and polling the other players resulted in me with Descent into Avernus.

    So I've seen some of the critiques regarding the set up missions pre:HELL, so I'm consuming Sly Flourish (Lazy DM) and Alexandrian suggestions on how they're rejiggering the whole start to get the player characters better hooks and a better narrative to want to go down to Hell. Also helps that, except for one player who has a collection of Drizzt novels, none of the others have much knowledge about Faerun, so I can afford to be more loose with history and shit.

    Aside from checking out the dedicated subreddit, and the aforementioned resources, any more tips for running Descent into Avernus?

    Nips
  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    So I found some books that for some reason have markdowns, so one of my buddies asked for Curse of Strahd (they'll be the DM), and polling the other players resulted in me with Descent into Avernus.

    So I've seen some of the critiques regarding the set up missions pre:HELL, so I'm consuming Sly Flourish (Lazy DM) and Alexandrian suggestions on how they're rejiggering the whole start to get the player characters better hooks and a better narrative to want to go down to Hell. Also helps that, except for one player who has a collection of Drizzt novels, none of the others have much knowledge about Faerun, so I can afford to be more loose with history and shit.

    Aside from checking out the dedicated subreddit, and the aforementioned resources, any more tips for running Descent into Avernus?

    My party of 5 players struggled with the book encounters (multiple almost TPWs, one dead character) in the early game, and that's with overleveling the content (i started the game in Elturel and had them ding lvl 2 in reaching BG). So, yeah, beware of that.

    Especially egregious is the cultist patrols you can get on the random encounter table.

    steam_sig.png
    WearingglassesElvenshaeJebusUDYoshisummons
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Rime of the Frostmaiden Spoilers, around level 7ish stuff.
    So let me preface this by saying all the players were totally cool with this.

    So we are on the island of the Frostmaiden, and are down in the basement where the trials are. We did "preservation" On Friday, successfully defending the kid. Then today on our long session we did Endurance, and when we finished that up I realized we were going to see all the tribes, where my character is a member of the bear. We still have isolation and cruelty, and I figure isolation will be the bear tribe based on their problems, and cruelty with the tiger clan. We do Isolation next and when it turns out to be the tiger, I get concerned. we pop out after completing it and my character is not quite dreading what he is going to see with his people, when the test is cruelty.

    I'm not going to spoil it for those reading along, but we fractured the party based on the decisions we made in Cruelty. I did the deed along with one other party member, while one of the others didn't get involved and one stood directly against us. I was able to take him down without killing him, but he stood against us due to his core tenants, and I did what I had to do "for the greater good" and to give the tribe a final chance. It was right near the end of the session, and now that one character is unconscious, we are back in the test chamber and we're all wondering how we're going to deal with this.

    On top of that, one of the other PCs at the very last saving throw of the isolation failed and rolled a 100 on whatever result table was involved with it. The player knows what happened to them, but the rest of us our left in the dark.

    It was a very emotional final last half hour of our session, and I can't imagine doing those tests in a different order with these outcomes. Just goddamn. It was maybe the best hour of roleplaying we've ever had, and we've been playing D&D with each other for 6 years all together.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
    ElvenshaemrpakuNipsWhelkSmrtnikCalica
  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    Smrtnik wrote: »
    So I found some books that for some reason have markdowns, so one of my buddies asked for Curse of Strahd (they'll be the DM), and polling the other players resulted in me with Descent into Avernus.

    So I've seen some of the critiques regarding the set up missions pre:HELL, so I'm consuming Sly Flourish (Lazy DM) and Alexandrian suggestions on how they're rejiggering the whole start to get the player characters better hooks and a better narrative to want to go down to Hell. Also helps that, except for one player who has a collection of Drizzt novels, none of the others have much knowledge about Faerun, so I can afford to be more loose with history and shit.

    Aside from checking out the dedicated subreddit, and the aforementioned resources, any more tips for running Descent into Avernus?

    My party of 5 players struggled with the book encounters (multiple almost TPWs, one dead character) in the early game, and that's with overleveling the content (i started the game in Elturel and had them ding lvl 2 in reaching BG). So, yeah, beware of that.

    Especially egregious is the cultist patrols you can get on the random encounter table.

    Yeah, the Baldurs Gate encounters can be brutal and are way overtuned. Tone them down if they are struggling

    I'm running it with the Alexandrian Remix, threw in a Candlekeep Mystery at the appropriate level.

    Thr way The Alexandrian does it worked great. They never were at a loss for where to go next.

    Thr book does a great job with building out Baldurs Gate as a seedy place where all kinds of craziness happens. I really emphasized that, everyone is out for themselves to some extent, everyone has a deal for you, everyone (at least everyone seeking any kind of power in society) has motivations move up in life, all deals are kind of bad but also you might have to accept anyway. It plays up that Avernus devil themes that way.

    Really read the encounters and the locations for Baldurs Gate in the back and work them in if you can. For example, there is a newspaper mentioned in the back, every morning they left a tavern I'd have it mention some things, locations, crime, important people, etc. But I did it in such a way for it to be like the NYPost. Sensational tabloid propaganda funded by nobles.
    i really leaned into Flame Zodge working for thr Portyr family more than having s generalized allegiance to the Fists. Other fists might work more for the Vanthampurs. And the more things spin out of control with the sudden power vacuum these become more important.

    The paper was more Vanthampur funded propaganda. So it would slyly talk trash about Lord Portyr. Or about how Lady Stelmane is unwell, and unfit to be the new leader. It's all a power play.

    Everyone is affected by this Game of Thrones style power struggle.

    Emphasize the later themes (questionable deals for power, lawful punishment, moral compromise) by showing that everyone is sort of already in hell in real life.

    I write you a story
    But it loses its thread
    SmrtnikWearingglassestzeentchlingFencingsax
  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    I used the Shemshime Candlekeep mystery because it's the only one that both takes place at actual Candlekeep and is about the right level.

    I also had them all rolling a lore check (straight int), while in the cellar for researching the evil outer planes. 10 days of research, some modifiers along the way (disadvantage for the one that chose but to take a long rest, no roll for the one that didn't feel like concentrating on but humming, +10 for the one that got a natural 20, etc...)

    Added up all the roles against a 1000 point table i had built up earlier. Then have them lore based on their score. They scored just barely over the 500 mark. It was mostly the flavor descriptions of the various layers of gel, their rules, and the devils. Some blood war and contract stuff. I layered it by how difficult the info would be. Doesn't give then stat blocks, but for example when they ran into a weird guy in Hellturel covered in chains and friendly, they were all on edge and super suspicious because they had read the flavor text for Chain Devil in-character.


    That newspaper thing is brilliant @JebusUD , i wish i had thought of that.

    steam_sig.png
    ElvenshaeWearingglassesRhesus Positive
  • AmarylAmaryl Registered User regular
    Nips wrote: »
    I spent a solid 20 minutes this morning trying to find out the provenance of that art and game.

    A game from 2003? With art reminiscent of old D&D products? 40 miniatures in the box?!?! What even is this?

    I know exactly where it is, it's in my parents basement, and It will stay there until it withers away, as plastic is won't to do... fuck its going to outlive me.

  • GaddezGaddez Registered User regular
    So I found some books that for some reason have markdowns, so one of my buddies asked for Curse of Strahd (they'll be the DM), and polling the other players resulted in me with Descent into Avernus.

    So I've seen some of the critiques regarding the set up missions pre:HELL, so I'm consuming Sly Flourish (Lazy DM) and Alexandrian suggestions on how they're rejiggering the whole start to get the player characters better hooks and a better narrative to want to go down to Hell. Also helps that, except for one player who has a collection of Drizzt novels, none of the others have much knowledge about Faerun, so I can afford to be more loose with history and shit.

    Aside from checking out the dedicated subreddit, and the aforementioned resources, any more tips for running Descent into Avernus?

    My take away from having played it, is to carefully take into consideration the early Pre-hell parts of the story; some of the fights are *ridiculous* for players to deal with (first fight litteraally has a bandit captain and a bunch of goons; remind me again how this is balanced for a party of 4 level 1's? Another one haas an enemy mage with fireball against a party that's under level 4) but by the same coin there are items and decisions that players will make in baldur's gate that will have ramifications for their time in Avernus.

    Overall though, the main things to emphasize as much as you can IMHO would be how inhospitable avernus is; the heat, lack of water, smell... all of those should be emphasized as much as you can since they play into the theme of ticking doom that is present in the campaign.

    SmrtnikNipsElvenshae
  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    And that mage can choose to turn the fireball into necrotic damage too!

    And and how about the CR 2 rogue that has an aura that causes vulnerability to piercing damage and has auto-invisibility as part of their dagger stab action?

    steam_sig.png
    JebusUD
  • WearingglassesWearingglasses Of the friendly neighborhood variety Registered User regular
    *scribbles* Okay, have.... players... make... second... characters...

    I haven't reached the bit with the food in Hell - Do shitty food matter mechanically (need to roll Survival to scrounge up delicious food, otherwise get exhaustion), or is it a matter of flavor?

    Elvenshae
  • Cobalt60Cobalt60 regular Registered User regular
    Change up the stat blocks to whatever you feel is more appropriate. You can just have the master of souls not use fireball.

    Nips
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Also if you have a wizard, give em a heads up that fire magic isnt gonna work too well in most cases.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
    SleepMoridin889
  • TastyfishTastyfish Registered User regular
    edited February 22
    *scribbles* Okay, have.... players... make... second... characters...

    I haven't reached the bit with the food in Hell - Do shitty food matter mechanically (need to roll Survival to scrounge up delicious food, otherwise get exhaustion), or is it a matter of flavor?

    Food, either ignore it and just mention that their rations taste bad now (no effects, but they might panic and throw them away) or make it a bit of a minigame.

    Definitely don't use survival to find something palatable, 2nd ed Planescape had most of the vegetation in Avernus be indigestible, but a few bits were edible. Fires of Dis adventure said this:

    "FINDING FOOD
    Hopefully, the PCs brought along enough rations to survive for
    several weeks on Baator (either guide would certainly insist on
    it). But they can also stay alive on fire fungus, the only local
    food source edible to nonbaatezu. It’s a warm, wriggling, dull red
    growth usually found in patches recently hit by fireballs - which
    means it’s all over the plane. The stuffs not tasty, hut it’s marginally nutritious.

    [Two hired guides] both know the fungus is edible, as do the
    sods of Darkspine. The fiends know, too, of course, but whether
    they share that information with the party depends on how well
    the PCs handle encounters. The DM could also let the PCs
    observe nonbaatezu eating the growth, in order to help them get
    the hint"

    Nothing is good on this plane, but not everything will kill you - a survival check, from a mortal of the Prime Material, would get you some options. It's mostly a blasted wasteland, but a relatively straightforward DC10 test would let you know where you might look for something in a dry or perhaps swampy climate (and perhaps even choose the right kind of knowledge they want to use, or get a +5DC). A high level survival test (maybe DC20) might let them turn something that isn't safe to eat into something unpleasant but nutritious, passing with a lower level might get you the next step but the resulting foodstuff would taste bad and still be poisonous (a low passive DC to still taste it.)

    Think something along the lines of all the mad steps that are needed to turn Cassava (a staple crop in Africa) into food. It looks a bit like some other edible root, but in order to get rid of it's laundry list of toxins first you need to mash it, turn it into a paste and let it dry out into powder. Then let it ferment, then cook it and even then you might find it leaches some nutrients from your body and leaves you with goiters. Having to find some acids, or lye or even fresh water are all plot hooks for a quick side quest if you have a ranger that wants to do the survival element.

    Alternatively, chasing big fireballs works the same way, let them panic for a bit then do an easy DC passive check to notice someone eating the Fire fungus and throw that in occasionally - especially if a particularly dense storm appears on the horizon but another team of warmachines are racing to harvest the first fire fungus sprouts, perhaps one of the few things on Avernus that has close to a good taste. You could even spice things up and have new sprouts, fed with a little blood, even giving a point of inspiration for the next hour to someone who eats it within 10 min of picking and feeding it, however the blood donor feels drained and will have disadvantage at some point in the next hour or otherwise feel dreadful. But one donation can 'spice up' enough fungal shoots for a few people.

    As for wizards, you level up fast in Avernus so I'd point spell casters towards the Metamagic adept feat, having them get more familiar with how casting works in the planes and after eating enough of the food, breathing enough of the air and dust or even just being saturated by it (you're guys are washing themselves after riding through the desert on a truck, right? Or just spending their days, literally caked in Hell?) that they can change their elemental powers to something linked to the plane. Acidic slimes, Earthquakes, Lightening etc.

    Perhaps whilst also seeing how to mask their magic in the ambient glow of the plane (for silent spell).

    Tastyfish on
    Wearingglasses
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Rime of the Frostmaiden Spoilers, around level 7ish stuff.
    So let me preface this by saying all the players were totally cool with this.

    So we are on the island of the Frostmaiden, and are down in the basement where the trials are. We did "preservation" On Friday, successfully defending the kid. Then today on our long session we did Endurance, and when we finished that up I realized we were going to see all the tribes, where my character is a member of the bear. We still have isolation and cruelty, and I figure isolation will be the bear tribe based on their problems, and cruelty with the tiger clan. We do Isolation next and when it turns out to be the tiger, I get concerned. we pop out after completing it and my character is not quite dreading what he is going to see with his people, when the test is cruelty.

    I'm not going to spoil it for those reading along, but we fractured the party based on the decisions we made in Cruelty. I did the deed along with one other party member, while one of the others didn't get involved and one stood directly against us. I was able to take him down without killing him, but he stood against us due to his core tenants, and I did what I had to do "for the greater good" and to give the tribe a final chance. It was right near the end of the session, and now that one character is unconscious, we are back in the test chamber and we're all wondering how we're going to deal with this.

    On top of that, one of the other PCs at the very last saving throw of the isolation failed and rolled a 100 on whatever result table was involved with it. The player knows what happened to them, but the rest of us our left in the dark.

    It was a very emotional final last half hour of our session, and I can't imagine doing those tests in a different order with these outcomes. Just goddamn. It was maybe the best hour of roleplaying we've ever had, and we've been playing D&D with each other for 6 years all together.

    I put the kid in my bag of holding immediately in the one trial and the DM was like ... "I mean... yeah...I guess?"

  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Rime of the Frostmaiden Spoilers, around level 7ish stuff.
    So let me preface this by saying all the players were totally cool with this.

    So we are on the island of the Frostmaiden, and are down in the basement where the trials are. We did "preservation" On Friday, successfully defending the kid. Then today on our long session we did Endurance, and when we finished that up I realized we were going to see all the tribes, where my character is a member of the bear. We still have isolation and cruelty, and I figure isolation will be the bear tribe based on their problems, and cruelty with the tiger clan. We do Isolation next and when it turns out to be the tiger, I get concerned. we pop out after completing it and my character is not quite dreading what he is going to see with his people, when the test is cruelty.

    I'm not going to spoil it for those reading along, but we fractured the party based on the decisions we made in Cruelty. I did the deed along with one other party member, while one of the others didn't get involved and one stood directly against us. I was able to take him down without killing him, but he stood against us due to his core tenants, and I did what I had to do "for the greater good" and to give the tribe a final chance. It was right near the end of the session, and now that one character is unconscious, we are back in the test chamber and we're all wondering how we're going to deal with this.

    On top of that, one of the other PCs at the very last saving throw of the isolation failed and rolled a 100 on whatever result table was involved with it. The player knows what happened to them, but the rest of us our left in the dark.

    It was a very emotional final last half hour of our session, and I can't imagine doing those tests in a different order with these outcomes. Just goddamn. It was maybe the best hour of roleplaying we've ever had, and we've been playing D&D with each other for 6 years all together.

    I put the kid in my bag of holding immediately in the one trial and the DM was like ... "I mean... yeah...I guess?"

    Haha thats awesome.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited February 23
    I looked at ENWorld a while ago and saw a post about how to both roleplay and DM for religious characters. One part of it that suggested divine magic could impart certain feelings on their targets (feelings of divine mercy on allies, feelings of divine wrath on enemies) really inspired me.

    One of my players in the campaign I'm running is a cleric of the goddess of redemption, and after reading that ENWorld post I'm thinking I could house rule things so that her magic has a chance to shake the resolve of evil creatures, even possibly opening up a chance for their redemption. For example, a necromancer follower of Orcus hit by one of her attack spells might feel not only pain, but a sense that her deity wishes that they might turn from evil so they can be spared. It also feels like a good way to expand the options on dealing with enemies non-violently as well as making the choice to play a cleric and use their powers feel more significant in terms of RP; whereas a sorcerer's fire bolt just burns bad guys, a cleric's sacred flame might also impose an additional feeling that the cleric's deity truly wants a reason for the villain to prove that they aren't irredeemable so that they can be spared.

    I think mechanically I could handle it similar to the suggestion for enemy morale rules in the DMG. In the example I described, after being affected by one of the cleric's spells and reduced to less than half their max hit points the necromancer may be shaken and become unsure if continuing the path he’s walked is wise, choosing to flee or beg for mercy from the cleric. If the necromancer decides to stay and fight, though, he might intentionally try to target the cleric as a means of violently defying the cleric's goddess.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Hexmage-PA on
    Friend Code: 1590-5696-7916
    Friend Safari Type: Rock
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    problem 1) Mechanics are... well i don't know how exactly i would do it. For flavor i can see it.

    Problem 2) I think specific feelings is a little... agency removing. I would shy away from specific feelings and move towards how the deity feels towards you. Some deities may feel positively or negatively or even disappointed. If there was a specific history involved this may matter. Additionally DnD is usually a setting with more than one god. And how a necromancer of Orcus responds to the god of Redemption when they don't feel they need to be redeemed because they're doing exactly what their God has commanded may produce a different result

    wbBv3fj.png
    Nips
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    I'll only ever tell a player how they feel about something if mental manipulation/charm magic is involved

  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    I'll only ever tell a player how they feel about something if mental manipulation/charm magic is involved

    To give more concrete examples of what I mean, if an ally received a casting of Cure Wounds from the cleric of the goddess of redemption I might could describe it as "a sensation like a wave of pure compassion washes through your body, sealing the wounds it finds and taking away your pain before departing", and if the fighter were to be affected by Bless to fight bad guys I could say "you feel a guiding force lend you aid; it has a tinge of sorrow to it, but wants the battle to come to a swift end so none suffer more than they have to." Basically, anthropomorphizing the spell's effects to a degree.

    Friend Code: 1590-5696-7916
    Friend Safari Type: Rock
    Elvenshaeoverride367webguy20Zonugal
  • WearingglassesWearingglasses Of the friendly neighborhood variety Registered User regular
    Is it possible to run Avernus in a more comic / humorous bent, or will it blunt the adventure's themes? More often than not my group has responded more favorably to funny scenes and I've had some trouble setting up moments of gravitas (I don't actually think I've succeeded in that, really)

  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    Is it possible to run Avernus in a more comic / humorous bent, or will it blunt the adventure's themes? More often than not my group has responded more favorably to funny scenes and I've had some trouble setting up moments of gravitas (I don't actually think I've succeeded in that, really)

    A couple of Acq Inc episodes take place there in their usual style so i guess so

    steam_sig.png
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Our Avernus jaunt was a nice mix of horror and humor.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
  • webguy20webguy20 I spend too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Oooh im excited for D&D tonight and to see what the fallout is from our actions last week.

    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    Mt SKT group survived, and even thrived in Maelstrom, managing to bring the Storm Giants on side and exposing the machinations of the evil dragon on disguise. Damn these bards rolling a 31 on Persuasion checks!

    I plan on changing the whole Golden Goose thing entirely and place it in Luskan (or maybe a ship constantly travelling between Waterdeep and Luskan) or something similar. But also bumped my party to Level 10 because I really wanted them to fight the Kraken at the end of the chapter.... but after last nights session I read up on the Kraken again and, level 10 or not, they're going to get their clocks cleaned. I still want this to happen though! But Slaktharel is too much, and nerfing Slaktharel in some way would be...unsatisfying.

    Any suggestions?

  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    Mt SKT group survived, and even thrived in Maelstrom, managing to bring the Storm Giants on side and exposing the machinations of the evil dragon on disguise. Damn these bards rolling a 31 on Persuasion checks!

    I plan on changing the whole Golden Goose thing entirely and place it in Luskan (or maybe a ship constantly travelling between Waterdeep and Luskan) or something similar. But also bumped my party to Level 10 because I really wanted them to fight the Kraken at the end of the chapter.... but after last nights session I read up on the Kraken again and, level 10 or not, they're going to get their clocks cleaned. I still want this to happen though! But Slaktharel is too much, and nerfing Slaktharel in some way would be...unsatisfying.

    Any suggestions?

    If they are buddy buddy with the Storm giants, maybe the Storm giant court can do a ritual spell that gives a temporary stat boost to the party. Maybe a +6 to modifier of player choice for 24 hours?

    steam_sig.png
  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    edited February 26
    Smrtnik wrote: »
    Steelhawk wrote: »
    Mt SKT group survived, and even thrived in Maelstrom, managing to bring the Storm Giants on side and exposing the machinations of the evil dragon on disguise. Damn these bards rolling a 31 on Persuasion checks!

    I plan on changing the whole Golden Goose thing entirely and place it in Luskan (or maybe a ship constantly travelling between Waterdeep and Luskan) or something similar. But also bumped my party to Level 10 because I really wanted them to fight the Kraken at the end of the chapter.... but after last nights session I read up on the Kraken again and, level 10 or not, they're going to get their clocks cleaned. I still want this to happen though! But Slaktharel is too much, and nerfing Slaktharel in some way would be...unsatisfying.

    Any suggestions?

    If they are buddy buddy with the Storm giants, maybe the Storm giant court can do a ritual spell that gives a temporary stat boost to the party. Maybe a +6 to modifier of player choice for 24 hours?

    Buffing the party gives me the same feeling as nerfing Slakrathel though, and if thats the case I'd rather nerf the monster than buff the party. I'd rather they felt like they earned it than were given something to help them get over, ya know?

    I feel like this party, in this module in particular, has by virture of plot narrowly avoiding a big end of chapter fight at the hands of a TPK capable dragon (Iymrith at the Oracle and again at Maelstrom). That party is intended to last one or two rounds against the baddie until plot shifts the bad guy away. And now the module is essentially doing it again by leaving a big TPK capable fight at the end of another chapter that is meant to be only hinted at and not to be properly engaged in. (I.e. the Kraken onlys up IF the parry has lingered too long, and if it does show up it smashes a boat, takes what it wants and fucks off.

    Its giving my players blue balls, man! Or at least its giving ME blue balls!! :)

    As I type this though, I realize the very next big encounter is the final conflict with the BBEG. And having two huge fights right next to each other robs the climax of its value.

    So maybe all I need is more patience, and to forget about Slakrathel and just swap it out with a giant squid fight and call it a day?

    Steelhawk on
  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    Could also take one if those mini modules intended for one or two levels of play from Candlekeep book or Tavern book.

    steam_sig.png
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited February 27
    arent there potions of giant size in the maelstrom that can be given as reward

    I would have the giants provide mariners armor or cloaks of the manta ray (I dont think they are attunement?) it seems like the kind of thing they'd have access to that makes the fight much less unwinnable

    override367 on
    Smrtnik
Sign In or Register to comment.