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[DnD 5E] It's not that kind of Warlord.

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Posts

  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited March 20
    ENWorld has a thread on peoples' experiences running fights against the demon lords from Out of the Abyss, and it overwhelmingly looks like most parties don't have much trouble. This makes me worried for my lich...

    I do plan to give my lich some special tricks and environmental advantages for the campaign's final battle, though (at which point the party will probably be somewhere around 16th or 17th level):

    - Pre-cast foresight
    - Ability to cast spells of 1st through 3rd level at-will, including mirror image, shield, and misty step
    - Upcast counterspell prepared
    - "Curse of Spilt Water" recharge ability to cause a dying PC to instantly die and their body to transmute to salt water
    - Pressure Sphere spell (from online homebrew supplement Codex of Waves) to deal damage to the party caster and inhibit spells with verbal components
    - Miscellaneous forced movement spells from Codex of Waves to position enemies
    - Invisible in Water trait, with pools and walls of water to utilize
    - Can cast Control Water at-will and without having to concentrate
    - Grim Harvest trait and NPC captives to kill for healing (evilicious...)
    - Zuregurex, a bound gargantuan water demon lord, acts on initiative 20, forming watery tendrils to try and pull a PC into itself at which point they are affected as if by pressure sphere until escape

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  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Terrendos wrote: »
    Elvenshae wrote: »
    Terrendos wrote: »
    I finally revealed my character's dark secret in last night's game! The rest of the party was getting suspicious about some inconsistencies in the story that Tarsus the Devonian, my Oath of Devotion Paladin had told them. Visiting Bregonne, a town in the enemy empire that he'd claimed to have been before, they figured out enough that he had to come clean.

    My character is actually a man named Wulfric, a former member of the Bregonne militia. Under the orders of his tyrannical ruler, he killed a lot of innocent townspeople, and the real Tarsus. The guilt overwhelmed him, so he took the Paladin's cloak and maul and fled, taking up his mantle to try and make up for his own misdeeds. He tracked down as much information as he could about the real hero, then filled in the blanks with generic archetypal hero stuff.

    A couple of the players were suspicious OOC that he wasn't who he claimed, but nobody knew that he was literally his own nemesis. And with this comes the reveal that, although on the surface he was this relatively simple person, he's probably the most fundamentally broken member of the group. Lots of buried self-loathing and idolizing a dead man who Wulfric has built up as an absolute paragon of virtue.

    So now we're in a town filled with people that hate me as much as their tyrant, and we need to figure out how to kill said tyrant since he keeps sending men to kill me/various NPC allies. Ultimately I think the rest of the party is going to help me decide whether, after this is over, Wulfric drops the facade and lets people despise him, or continue living a lie so that the people who need hope have their hero.

    Now, how big is his sword? :D

    I don't get it.

    Oh - sorry. It looked like you were riffing a bit on Final Fantasy 7.

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  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    Parties in 5E have a huge narrative disconnect and problem, which I have often opined in previous DnD threads. The game starts out as early seasons of Game of Thrones, where main characters can and will drop like flies. Then over time and leveling up, more HP, abilities and similar essentially make them later season "core" characters who just will not die. Also the DM gets lazier and just starts not caring how fast players move across absurdly long distances (but that's a side point).

    Monsters in 5E, frankly, don't have the abilities, firepower and similar required to threaten higher level PCs. Lair and Legendary actions can help a bit, but the power of spells and effects in 5E is pretty considerable. Only a handful of high level enemies are genuinely an actual threat to PCs and they start becoming extraordinarily resilient to death around level 4 and then at level 6+ they're really hard to hurt for most enemies in the Monster Manual.

    4E solved this with massive maths changes, but also a lot of incredibly clever design built into monsters as well. This clever design and synergy between monsters is sorely lacking in 5E, while monsters face well oiled PC parties that are monster mincing machines in response. There should be little wonder why there is essentially no challenge to many encounters without massive engineering on the part of the DM as a result.

    Meanwhile, I have now run 7 5E sessions every week, for over 1.5 years now. It's finally got to the point where, as much as I love introducing DnD to so many people and running roleplaying games, I just can't run this many games at this level now. It's getting to the point where I spend more of my time designing my DnD game than I do just about every other event I run in my store combined. It's unfortunate, but I'm going to knock down the number of games I run and restructure it. A part of this is because there isn't the same benefit to running DnD to the store anymore as their used to be (with WPN changes) and another part is that I just don't like 5E enough to do this.

    I'll finish the current campaign first, but there are some big changes coming for the way I do things. Especially because I want a lot more smaller RPGs in my life like Warhammer Fantasy roleplay, Vampire, Cthulhu and similar.

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  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    Yeah when I get bored of it I force players to make new characters.

    My game has a high retirement rate. I'll bring characters back narratively, and have maybe a game or two of old characters getting to play with their toys hand em a level to reminisce a little and figure out what they're getting into narratively.

  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    Aegeri wrote: »
    Parties in 5E have a huge narrative disconnect and problem, which I have often opined in previous DnD threads. The game starts out as early seasons of Game of Thrones, where main characters can and will drop like flies. Then over time and leveling up, more HP, abilities and similar essentially make them later season "core" characters who just will not die. Also the DM gets lazier and just starts not caring how fast players move across absurdly long distances (but that's a side point).

    Monsters in 5E, frankly, don't have the abilities, firepower and similar required to threaten higher level PCs. Lair and Legendary actions can help a bit, but the power of spells and effects in 5E is pretty considerable. Only a handful of high level enemies are genuinely an actual threat to PCs and they start becoming extraordinarily resilient to death around level 4 and then at level 6+ they're really hard to hurt for most enemies in the Monster Manual.

    4E solved this with massive maths changes, but also a lot of incredibly clever design built into monsters as well. This clever design and synergy between monsters is sorely lacking in 5E, while monsters face well oiled PC parties that are monster mincing machines in response. There should be little wonder why there is essentially no challenge to many encounters without massive engineering on the part of the DM as a result.

    Meanwhile, I have now run 7 5E sessions every week, for over 1.5 years now. It's finally got to the point where, as much as I love introducing DnD to so many people and running roleplaying games, I just can't run this many games at this level now. It's getting to the point where I spend more of my time designing my DnD game than I do just about every other event I run in my store combined. It's unfortunate, but I'm going to knock down the number of games I run and restructure it. A part of this is because there isn't the same benefit to running DnD to the store anymore as their used to be (with WPN changes) and another part is that I just don't like 5E enough to do this.

    I'll finish the current campaign first, but there are some big changes coming for the way I do things. Especially because I want a lot more smaller RPGs in my life like Warhammer Fantasy roleplay, Vampire, Cthulhu and similar.

    Run Genesys! Particularly the new Android expansion.

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    Aegeri
  • ZomroZomro Registered User regular
    Terrendos wrote: »
    I finally revealed my character's dark secret in last night's game! The rest of the party was getting suspicious about some inconsistencies in the story that Tarsus the Devonian, my Oath of Devotion Paladin had told them. Visiting Bregonne, a town in the enemy empire that he'd claimed to have been before, they figured out enough that he had to come clean.

    My character is actually a man named Wulfric, a former member of the Bregonne militia. Under the orders of his tyrannical ruler, he killed a lot of innocent townspeople, and the real Tarsus. The guilt overwhelmed him, so he took the Paladin's cloak and maul and fled, taking up his mantle to try and make up for his own misdeeds. He tracked down as much information as he could about the real hero, then filled in the blanks with generic archetypal hero stuff.

    A couple of the players were suspicious OOC that he wasn't who he claimed, but nobody knew that he was literally his own nemesis. And with this comes the reveal that, although on the surface he was this relatively simple person, he's probably the most fundamentally broken member of the group. Lots of buried self-loathing and idolizing a dead man who Wulfric has built up as an absolute paragon of virtue.

    So now we're in a town filled with people that hate me as much as their tyrant, and we need to figure out how to kill said tyrant since he keeps sending men to kill me/various NPC allies. Ultimately I think the rest of the party is going to help me decide whether, after this is over, Wulfric drops the facade and lets people despise him, or continue living a lie so that the people who need hope have their hero.

    This is some awesome stuff. It's a terrific moral dilemma. At first, one would think that he should come clean, as honesty is the right thing. But it could be considered a somewhat selfish action. By admitting it, he can free himself from some of his guilt at the cost of the hope that his assumed identity gives people. But keeping it hidden could mean giving people hope during a desperate time but having to shoulder the guilt and shame alone, or one could think him cowardly for not admitting it.

    Both outcomes can be considered both moral and selfish. There's no winning play, and I love it. I'd really like to hear how it turns out for the charcater later. It's compelling stuff.

    webguy20KhildithJustTee
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited March 23
    Aegeri wrote: »
    Only a handful of high level enemies are genuinely an actual threat to PCs and they start becoming extraordinarily resilient to death around level 4 and then at level 6+ they're really hard to hurt for most enemies in the Monster Manual.

    Which monsters would these be, in your opinion?
    Aegeri wrote: »
    4E solved this with massive maths changes, but also a lot of incredibly clever design built into monsters as well. This clever design and synergy between monsters is sorely lacking in 5E, while monsters face well oiled PC parties that are monster mincing machines in response. There should be little wonder why there is essentially no challenge to many encounters without massive engineering on the part of the DM as a result.

    Is there no way to port some of the 4E monster synergy to 5E? Also, what are some of the 4E monsters you think are particularly cleverly designed?

    While looking at Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes I thought I detected some 4E-style design, such as the Wastrilith's ability to pull a target a long distance and cause the water around it to become difficult terrain, preventing other PCs from approaching and to keep its chosen target close. There's also a duergar warlord who can let its allies attack, as well as two ogre variants with good area control (one able to swing a chain around it to hit many targets or strike a single one to temporarily stun it, and one that has a sentinel-like capability to shut down movement and deals extra damage on OAs).

    I don't have the Ravnica book yet, but glancing at it I did notice interesting monster mechanics, such as one who could use its reaction to make a reach attack against a PC who attacked one of its allies.

    My general impression is that many of the newer monsters are being designed with 4E-inspired capabilities, whereas the original Monster Manual in particular is lacking.

    EDIT: Also, Jesus, you've been running seven games a week?! I've been stressing over how to bring mine to a satisfying conclusion a good bit over the last few weeks and I'm only running one!

    It doesn't help that I sent the party off to collect three MacGuffins months ago without deciding beforehand what they do when combined. I still haven't been able to decide!

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  • AegeriAegeri Plateau of LengRegistered User regular
    I'll respond more later, but yeah I've been running 7 games (1.5-2 hours) every week for just over a year. It's also a shared campaign - so all of those 7 groups can (and often do) interact with one another.

    It's been an effort.

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  • SleepSleep Registered User regular
    Aegeri wrote: »
    I'll respond more later, but yeah I've been running 7 games (1.5-2 hours) every week for just over a year. It's also a shared campaign - so all of those 7 groups can (and often do) interact with one another.

    It's been an effort.

    I've kinda wanted to try such a scenario but I don't have the time or the players for it. It does seem like both an awesome way to run, and also incredibly taxing and liable for collapse if folks aren't broken off and into their own motivations properly.

    Hexmage-PAwebguy20
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    I'm guessing this has been thought of before but I came up with it last night: Have my four players arrive at a three way crossroads with very clear differences.

    The shiny, nice road pulls the warlock as her patron promises her great things to come if they follow it. A generic, safe looking road with clear line of sight that the hunter knows will get them some magical prey with magical properties. Dark, gloomy woods that the druid feels tugging at her to come help with the promise of a great reward.

    Meanwhile the rogue feels nothing and is the deciding vote. Everyone makes the case for their path and, if I'm lucky, argues non stop for a solid hour knowing my friends.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    So my lich villain got completely shut down by counterspell. I only had one wizard PC before, but a PC died last session and was replaced by a second wizard.

    They haven't destroyed his phylactery so I can bring him back, but damn did they make him look like a punk.

    Right now the party is going sight-seeing in the Nine Hells. They've split up, with some in Dis, some in Stygia, and one in Nessus (she said she's one of Asmodeus' daughters and I'm just gonna run with it).

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »

    Is there no way to port some of the 4E monster synergy to 5E? Also, what are some of the 4E monsters you think are particularly cleverly designed?

    You absolutely can.(giving and using a lot of spells helps a bunch)

    But:

    1) 5e isn't really designed for interesting combats like 4e was. Its designed for interesting "situations" which feel risky even when things aren't in combat.

    2) Its a lot of work to make the 4e monster synergy work

    In general the better way to make 5e "work" is to design interesting and deadly situations and then hope everything works out. Combats won't ever be much more than quick and deadly affairs (or quick and not deadly). This, separately from making 4e monster synergy work, is a lot of work.

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  • italianranmaitalianranma Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    So my lich villain got completely shut down by counterspell. I only had one wizard PC before, but a PC died last session and was replaced by a second wizard.

    They haven't destroyed his phylactery so I can bring him back, but damn did they make him look like a punk.

    Right now the party is going sight-seeing in the Nine Hells. They've split up, with some in Dis, some in Stygia, and one in Nessus (she said she's one of Asmodeus' daughters and I'm just gonna run with it).

    When I run villain encounters I give them what are essentially Lair actions to help balance out the action economy. This last session I ran was a Necromancer and zombies v a low level party. The Lair actions were to dispel any light sources (which let the zombies function normally while the players had disadvantage on attack rolls) or to re-animate a zombie from a pile of corpses. Additionally, the various corpses strewn along where dangerous/difficult terrain where the PCs had to make a saving throw to cross them or be grappled. I downed 2/6 PCs before the fighter (battlemaster) got the Necromancer to low health, and he dashed out of the encounter allowing the party to easily finish off the remaining zombies and my Necromancer to be a returning villain (score!).

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  • italianranmaitalianranma Registered User regular
    Speaking of that encounter though, I think I neglected my own advice wrt interpreting player action. So through clever role playing they were able to trick the Necromancer into thinking they were from the Cult of Life Eternal, a general antagonist group in my campaign, who the Necromancer is actually working with. They were able to get a little information out of him while the Paladin and Warlock conspired in the corner debating whether or not they had the remaining spells and HP to confront this guy now, or if they should risk coming back for him later. The party Bard on the other hand decided to Leeroy Jenkins by casting Sleep on the Necromancer. Now the guy had 40HP (+15 tHP), so even an up-casted sleep spell had very little chance of taking him out, but standing next to him was the party's Wizard, and amoral fellow who was leaning over the Necromancer's shoulder trying to sneak peaks at his spell book. I think the Bard's intent was to cast the spell in such a way so as not to endanger his friend, but the room simply wasn't big enough for it to be placed anywhere safe, and instead of just telling him that, I used that as my excuse to start the encounter.

    Now the Necromancer had zombies in this encounter just doing various tasks for him, and I had them spread out throughout the room, so one was pretty much adjacent to the Bard at the start of combat. My zombies always grapple and then auto-hit with a bite if they're successful/grappled (I find that it's more thematically appropriate, and otherwise they're just a big speed-bump of HP and not-dying). Unfortunately this meant that the Bard was swiftly grappled and then proceeded to roll extremely poorly trying to escape the grapple. So instead of cleverly solving this encounter, he essentially started it in about the worst way possible. I think it makes for good storytelling afterward, but I could overhear him at the end of the session grumbling about his character, and I think he's going to ask me to change it into something else next session.

    Now I don't have a problem with players changing characters, nor do I have a problem with this player personally. He's a good kid: 23 years old, a vet, and super creative. On the other hand, he's a bit needy. He likes dark, brooding, sub-optimized characters that sometimes do aggressively stupid things and gets frustrated when he doesn't do well. His current character is a kenku Bard with a 14 Charisma and all utility spells. No Cure Wounds, no damage (aside from vicious mockery). This isn’t to say he doesn’t have his niche: he’s infiltrated a cult, fooled villains into laying out their plans, and single-handedly prevented a TPK with Suggestion. He’s just not optimized for combat, and he’s impulsive.

    My worry is that if I allow him to change characters, he’s going to go through the same cycle again in a few weeks. Alternatively he might still think I have it out for his character or him in particular, which is ridiculous: I’ve created a lot of content just for him, not to mention how much I have to improvise each session. Like I said, sometimes he’s aggressively stupid: definitely would be the guy who pokes the sleeping bear and say “well I didn’t think it would wake up.” Any suggestions for me?

    飛べねぇ豚はただの豚だ。
  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    I actually did use both legendary and lair actions. Problem is whenever the lich would cast a spell one of the two wizards would reply "counterspell". The paladins dealt a ton of damage, too. I think it could be that my party is just a well-oiled lich busting machine.

    However, now that I know how the party would handle the lich (and now that the lich is especially pissed-off at being made a fool of), the lich can plan his revenge and a better thought-out battle strategy.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    So I'm looking into it more, and I'm seeing sources say that it is rules legal for a caster whose spell is targeted by counterspell to themselves use counterspell against the opponent's casting of it, negating the first counterspell.

    If true, this could be very interesting...

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  • KhildithKhildith Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    So I'm looking into it more, and I'm seeing sources say that it is rules legal for a caster whose spell is targeted by counterspell to themselves use counterspell against the opponent's casting of it, negating the first counterspell.

    If true, this could be very interesting...

    Yup! Though it uses your reaction so whoever has more casters wins the counterspell fight. Of course you could have the lich able to 'buy' a second reaction for two legendary actions. Or even have a legendary reaction to counterspell without using his reaction.

    webguy20SteelhawkMoridin889
  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    edited March 25
    Yea If I was a lich in my place of power I would certainly have some artifacts enchanted with Counter spell. Lore could be that it takes a mountain of resources to imbue an object with a spell that is naturally trying to dispell magic, so it might have taken him a few decades to have an object with just a few counter spells in it.

    Make it something big too that the martial players could target once folks realize whats going on. Or maybe it's something they have to destroy first before facing down the lich.

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  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    So I'm looking into it more, and I'm seeing sources say that it is rules legal for a caster whose spell is targeted by counterspell to themselves use counterspell against the opponent's casting of it, negating the first counterspell.

    If true, this could be very interesting...

    It is, but it's a reaction that they only get one of. And the party has 2 wizards.

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited March 25
    Maybe I could try to spin their easy victory over the lich as a means of luring them into a false sense of security. However, I also have a hard time imagining that a lich could stand to throw a fight even if it hypothetically served a higher purpose. It's kinda disappointing that the lich got humiliated so thoroughly, though.

    Alternatively, he could have lost fair and square and is now so pissed that he decides to thoroughly fuck over the party.

    I could have him prepare a ton of spell glyphs, I guess. Control Water: Whirlpool and Symbol of Death combo, maybe?

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Got an idea for a magic item that I thought I'd toss up for some feedback. Couple different ideas as balancing measures on it.

    Mantle of Minds
    Version 1: Appearance: The Mantle of Minds is a grey cloth mantle or short cloak that fades into black cloth at the bottom. The mantle is held shut by a pink granite cabochon clasp.
    When attuned, this stone will reshape itself into an exact duplicate of the wearer's brain.
    Effect: The Mantle provides a +1 bonus to constitution.
    When attuned, the Mantle of Minds allows the caster to maintain two concentration spells simultaneously, any con checks that are made while using this feature are made for both spells at disadvantage.

    Version 2: The Mantle of Minds is held closed by a trio of of pink granite cabochon buttons. When attuned, these stones will reshape themselves into exact duplicates of the wearer's brain.
    Effect: When activated, the Mantle of Minds allows the user to maintain a second concentration spell. After using this effect, one of the stones will return to it's previous, unshaped state. Once all three stones have returned to their unshaped state, this feature cannot be used until it is recharged.
    The Mantle will recharge 1d4-2 charges at the end of a long rest.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    edited March 25
    Edit: Wrong thread!

    Anyways, we just finished up Lost Mines and are getting ready to move into Storm Kings Thunder after 18 months of in game down time. We're all excited.

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  • KhildithKhildith Registered User regular
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Edit: Wrong thread!

    Anyways, we just finished up Lost Mines and are getting ready to move into Storm Kings Thunder after 18 months of in game down time. We're all excited.

    I'm running SKT right now! Are you DMing it?

    Ivelliusoverride367
  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    Khildith wrote: »
    webguy20 wrote: »
    Edit: Wrong thread!

    Anyways, we just finished up Lost Mines and are getting ready to move into Storm Kings Thunder after 18 months of in game down time. We're all excited.

    I'm running SKT right now! Are you DMing it?

    Nah a player in this one. I'm excited to try it out. I heard it's pretty sandboxy and our is real creative.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    Speaking of that encounter though, I think I neglected my own advice wrt interpreting player action. So through clever role playing they were able to trick the Necromancer into thinking they were from the Cult of Life Eternal, a general antagonist group in my campaign, who the Necromancer is actually working with. They were able to get a little information out of him while the Paladin and Warlock conspired in the corner debating whether or not they had the remaining spells and HP to confront this guy now, or if they should risk coming back for him later. The party Bard on the other hand decided to Leeroy Jenkins by casting Sleep on the Necromancer. Now the guy had 40HP (+15 tHP), so even an up-casted sleep spell had very little chance of taking him out, but standing next to him was the party's Wizard, and amoral fellow who was leaning over the Necromancer's shoulder trying to sneak peaks at his spell book. I think the Bard's intent was to cast the spell in such a way so as not to endanger his friend, but the room simply wasn't big enough for it to be placed anywhere safe, and instead of just telling him that, I used that as my excuse to start the encounter.

    Now the Necromancer had zombies in this encounter just doing various tasks for him, and I had them spread out throughout the room, so one was pretty much adjacent to the Bard at the start of combat. My zombies always grapple and then auto-hit with a bite if they're successful/grappled (I find that it's more thematically appropriate, and otherwise they're just a big speed-bump of HP and not-dying). Unfortunately this meant that the Bard was swiftly grappled and then proceeded to roll extremely poorly trying to escape the grapple. So instead of cleverly solving this encounter, he essentially started it in about the worst way possible. I think it makes for good storytelling afterward, but I could overhear him at the end of the session grumbling about his character, and I think he's going to ask me to change it into something else next session.

    Now I don't have a problem with players changing characters, nor do I have a problem with this player personally. He's a good kid: 23 years old, a vet, and super creative. On the other hand, he's a bit needy. He likes dark, brooding, sub-optimized characters that sometimes do aggressively stupid things and gets frustrated when he doesn't do well. His current character is a kenku Bard with a 14 Charisma and all utility spells. No Cure Wounds, no damage (aside from vicious mockery). This isn’t to say he doesn’t have his niche: he’s infiltrated a cult, fooled villains into laying out their plans, and single-handedly prevented a TPK with Suggestion. He’s just not optimized for combat, and he’s impulsive.

    My worry is that if I allow him to change characters, he’s going to go through the same cycle again in a few weeks. Alternatively he might still think I have it out for his character or him in particular, which is ridiculous: I’ve created a lot of content just for him, not to mention how much I have to improvise each session. Like I said, sometimes he’s aggressively stupid: definitely would be the guy who pokes the sleeping bear and say “well I didn’t think it would wake up.” Any suggestions for me?

    you probably just have to let him change characters and see the same thing in a few weeks, unless you're willing to say some of this to him.

    if you say "sure, you can definitely change your character, and you don't even have to continue this conversation with me. But are you open to talking about why you decided your character tried to cast sleep while your fellow players had their characters trying to decide whether to fight or not? It took that decision away from them, which ended up not being fun for you and not being fun for them, so if we can figure out why that happened and avoid it in the future, that might be worth thinking about as you reroll" he'll probably be pissed but maybe not for too long?

    There's no easy way to bring up "you're never varying your character and some parts of the character you always play suck for everyone," but talking openly about it or just letting it happen are both wiser moves than any sort of in-game or storytelling solution.

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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 25
    I just started running SKT tonight, were putting tomb of annihilation on hold for a while, mostly because we’ve been running that campaign for a while and while they’re nearing the final stretch, its going to be a bit of a slog and they just did that.

    I moved SKT to Exandria, after a fair bit of effort moving Faerun locations to Exandria’s map, and the well known (to my players) locations being replaced (water deep > emon, Triboar > Silvercut Crossroads, Bryan Shander > Whitestone). We ran for 8 hours, I have run this before so I truncated Nightstone, no Zhent showing up (no Zhents at all!), The orc army showed up at the end of the session and zephyros’ flying tower landed on the warchief, sending the other orcs fleeing. No elves showing up. Those 3 events just turn nightstone into a slog

    The party dragged the noblewoman off to get resurrected, which the module doesn’t expect players to do. The party’s rogue has Clasp Agent as a background, which is wonderful because it makes you a member of the mob and you can ask for anything reasonable from the Clasp, but they give you the “someday, and this day may never come, I will ask you for a favor” ultimatum when you do - which is a fantastic DM tool.

    Putting this in Exandria is great because there aren’t a thousand high level heroes I have to explain away, the world is young and heroes are rare

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  • evilthecatevilthecat Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    Maybe I could try to spin their easy victory over the lich as a means of luring them into a false sense of security. However, I also have a hard time imagining that a lich could stand to throw a fight even if it hypothetically served a higher purpose. It's kinda disappointing that the lich got humiliated so thoroughly, though.

    Alternatively, he could have lost fair and square and is now so pissed that he decides to thoroughly fuck over the party.

    I could have him prepare a ton of spell glyphs, I guess. Control Water: Whirlpool and Symbol of Death combo, maybe?

    RE: counter-spelling

    Not sure how your players swung that so convincingly.
    You need to expend the correct spell slot level to counterspell a spell without having to roll for it.
    And per RAW you don't automatically know which spell is being cast.
    Counterspelling needs to be a risk vs. reward decision, if it isn't you're nerfing yourself.

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  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    You don't need to know anything other than that you have Counterspell prepared. It just stops spells 3rd level or lower and you get to roll to stop any spell of higher level. If you cast it from a higher level slot, then you automatically stop any spell of that level or lower. It's RAW in the spell itself.

  • italianranmaitalianranma Registered User regular
    Speaking of that encounter though, I think I neglected my own advice wrt interpreting player action. So through clever role playing they were able to trick the Necromancer into thinking they were from the Cult of Life Eternal, a general antagonist group in my campaign, who the Necromancer is actually working with. They were able to get a little information out of him while the Paladin and Warlock conspired in the corner debating whether or not they had the remaining spells and HP to confront this guy now, or if they should risk coming back for him later. The party Bard on the other hand decided to Leeroy Jenkins by casting Sleep on the Necromancer. Now the guy had 40HP (+15 tHP), so even an up-casted sleep spell had very little chance of taking him out, but standing next to him was the party's Wizard, and amoral fellow who was leaning over the Necromancer's shoulder trying to sneak peaks at his spell book. I think the Bard's intent was to cast the spell in such a way so as not to endanger his friend, but the room simply wasn't big enough for it to be placed anywhere safe, and instead of just telling him that, I used that as my excuse to start the encounter.

    Now the Necromancer had zombies in this encounter just doing various tasks for him, and I had them spread out throughout the room, so one was pretty much adjacent to the Bard at the start of combat. My zombies always grapple and then auto-hit with a bite if they're successful/grappled (I find that it's more thematically appropriate, and otherwise they're just a big speed-bump of HP and not-dying). Unfortunately this meant that the Bard was swiftly grappled and then proceeded to roll extremely poorly trying to escape the grapple. So instead of cleverly solving this encounter, he essentially started it in about the worst way possible. I think it makes for good storytelling afterward, but I could overhear him at the end of the session grumbling about his character, and I think he's going to ask me to change it into something else next session.

    Now I don't have a problem with players changing characters, nor do I have a problem with this player personally. He's a good kid: 23 years old, a vet, and super creative. On the other hand, he's a bit needy. He likes dark, brooding, sub-optimized characters that sometimes do aggressively stupid things and gets frustrated when he doesn't do well. His current character is a kenku Bard with a 14 Charisma and all utility spells. No Cure Wounds, no damage (aside from vicious mockery). This isn’t to say he doesn’t have his niche: he’s infiltrated a cult, fooled villains into laying out their plans, and single-handedly prevented a TPK with Suggestion. He’s just not optimized for combat, and he’s impulsive.

    My worry is that if I allow him to change characters, he’s going to go through the same cycle again in a few weeks. Alternatively he might still think I have it out for his character or him in particular, which is ridiculous: I’ve created a lot of content just for him, not to mention how much I have to improvise each session. Like I said, sometimes he’s aggressively stupid: definitely would be the guy who pokes the sleeping bear and say “well I didn’t think it would wake up.” Any suggestions for me?

    you probably just have to let him change characters and see the same thing in a few weeks, unless you're willing to say some of this to him.

    if you say "sure, you can definitely change your character, and you don't even have to continue this conversation with me. But are you open to talking about why you decided your character tried to cast sleep while your fellow players had their characters trying to decide whether to fight or not? It took that decision away from them, which ended up not being fun for you and not being fun for them, so if we can figure out why that happened and avoid it in the future, that might be worth thinking about as you reroll" he'll probably be pissed but maybe not for too long?

    There's no easy way to bring up "you're never varying your character and some parts of the character you always play suck for everyone," but talking openly about it or just letting it happen are both wiser moves than any sort of in-game or storytelling solution.

    Oh yeah, I'll tell him all of this. We're both vets, so we're used to the debrief construct. Point of order through, it was fun for everyone else in the same way that unexpected shit happening in Dwarf Fortress is fun. Waiting on this encounter was not going to do them any favors as the Necromancer would have had time to see the havoc they caused on the way in and then prepare for their return. These players are generally too cautious, and I need to crank up the stakes to prevent them from exercising the single-fight adventuring day at every opportunity.

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  • PowerpuppiesPowerpuppies Registered User regular
    Well fair play to Leeroy then!

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    italianranma
  • evilthecatevilthecat Registered User regular
    Nealneal wrote: »
    You don't need to know anything other than that you have Counterspell prepared. It just stops spells 3rd level or lower and you get to roll to stop any spell of higher level. If you cast it from a higher level slot, then you automatically stop any spell of that level or lower. It's RAW in the spell itself.

    You don't understand.
    I'm not saying that it doesn't work that way.
    What I'm saying is if the DM is announcing which spell the lich is casting at which level then he's doing it wrong.
    If he's explicitly telling his players that it's the liches turn then he's shooting himself in the foot.

    Legendary action, cast cantrip, watch the PC wizard blow his spell slots on garbage. Force the PC to think about what he's doing.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    evilthecat wrote: »
    Nealneal wrote: »
    You don't need to know anything other than that you have Counterspell prepared. It just stops spells 3rd level or lower and you get to roll to stop any spell of higher level. If you cast it from a higher level slot, then you automatically stop any spell of that level or lower. It's RAW in the spell itself.

    You don't understand.
    I'm not saying that it doesn't work that way.
    What I'm saying is if the DM is announcing which spell the lich is casting at which level then he's doing it wrong.
    If he's explicitly telling his players that it's the liches turn then he's shooting himself in the foot.

    Legendary action, cast cantrip, watch the PC wizard blow his spell slots on garbage. Force the PC to think about what he's doing.

    Especially in a two caster party it's irrelevant. Have each blow their two highest level spell slots and have the rest of the party create lich pâté.

    The chief problem is the near zero action cost on counterspell. A monster like a lich is already at an action deficit typically. Being able to neuter the spell casting is just super harsh.

  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited March 25
    Keep in mind you can have an enemy spellcaster walk behind cover, hold an action to cast a spell, and then walk back out of cover and release the spell and it cannot be counterspelled. They can also do fun stuff like sit inside a darkness bubble or sit in a globe of invulnerability

    Acererak stole some winged boots from my party and the last time they ran into him he floated inside a globe of invulnerability up in the air cackling and throwing fireballs at them, just for his own amusement, before departing

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  • Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    I weirdly feel guilty for not using the lich to his fullest potential...

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Hexmage-PA wrote: »
    I weirdly feel guilty for not using the lich to his fullest potential...

    A friend of mine was infamous for similar stuff but with Dragons in 3rd edition. See, in 3rd Dragons were very much monster PCs. They were like "Here's the base stats for a dragon of age x, then add feats, stat boosts, spells, macguffins, chocolate sauce, all the things that make them scary." Except that was a very, uh, impromptu game so he never had them prepared. Dragons in 3rd were entirely capable of being ridiculous rat bastards and that's before you add in silly stuff from their own monster book. It happens.

    Of course, the best bit about Lichs are you get a second bite at the apple since they didn't find the phylactery.

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    Keep in mind you can have an enemy spellcaster walk behind cover, hold an action to cast a spell, and then walk back out of cover and release the spell and it cannot be counterspelled.

    Why does it work this way? I don't get why holding an action makes the spell uncounterable.

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    Kay wrote: »
    Keep in mind you can have an enemy spellcaster walk behind cover, hold an action to cast a spell, and then walk back out of cover and release the spell and it cannot be counterspelled.

    Why does it work this way? I don't get why holding an action makes the spell uncounterable.

    Mostly guess: Held actions are technically reactions and you can't have a reaction in response to a reaction?

    Honestly, doing it that way is just begging your players to call bullshit on the rules and encourage them thinking of it as a complicated board game. YMMV on how you feel about that.

    italianranma
  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    Kay wrote: »
    Keep in mind you can have an enemy spellcaster walk behind cover, hold an action to cast a spell, and then walk back out of cover and release the spell and it cannot be counterspelled.

    Why does it work this way? I don't get why holding an action makes the spell uncounterable.

    Mostly guess: Held actions are technically reactions and you can't have a reaction in response to a reaction?

    Honestly, doing it that way is just begging your players to call bullshit on the rules and encourage them thinking of it as a complicated board game. YMMV on how you feel about that.

    If that was the case, then a Rogue couldn't use Uncanny Dodge to halve the damage on an Opportunity Attack, and I'm pretty sure they can.

    Also a third caster can Counterspell someone else's Counterspell, so...

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  • evilthecatevilthecat Registered User regular
    Afaik his party only had the one wizard.

    Not saying counterspelling isn't an option but I feel like if you play a lich out to his fullest potential then it won't be such an ass whuppin'.
    Add a few minions to buy the lich some time and if you're getting the PCs to blow their reactions and high level slots on cantrips or lower level spells then you're winning!

    As others have said, you can also distort the use of counterspell:

    - darkness: liches have truesight.
    - hold a spell: not sure on this one, DM fiat, but if you allow it ..
    - mirror image: have a guess at which one to counterspell!
    - greater invisibility: can't counterspell something you can't see!
    - fly: perhaps combined with something to stand on at height. those fighter types can't hit what they can't reach!

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  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    edited March 25
    Kay wrote: »
    Keep in mind you can have an enemy spellcaster walk behind cover, hold an action to cast a spell, and then walk back out of cover and release the spell and it cannot be counterspelled.

    Why does it work this way? I don't get why holding an action makes the spell uncounterable.

    Because when you cast the spell, you weren't visible. When you release the spell as a reaction to "stepping out of cover" there is nothing for the opposing spellcaster to counter, the spell has been cast. It does cost both your action, move, and reaction though so it's pretty rough on an already tight action economy.

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