Sunday, August 1, 2010

Character Builds Part 1

Let us examine character builds. What is a character build? It is a certain mix of Race, Class, Path, Feats and Powers that gives an interesting aspect to the character, or a powerful advantage. What exactly is an interesting aspect or a powerful advantage? Well, it depends on the character build, obviously. If you know the right character build, you could make an almost unkillable character, or an invisible rogue. Character builds are many, ranging from heavy hitters to healers that can regenarate obscene amount of health. Now, let us examine the featured character build in this post: The Revenant that never dies.

The unkillable character
This fascinating build, provided by Dungeon's Master, does not soak up damage. Instead, it's damage soaking ability is only average. It's only when you actually reduce it's health to zero when you realize that it's not dead...
Feats:Unnatural Vitality, Death's Quickening, Death Scorned
Path:Avenging Haunt
Recommended Items: Cloak of the Walking Wounded, Raven Cloak, Ring of Invigoration

I hope you enjoyed this post, and that you learned more about character builds generally, and building an unkillable Revenant specifically.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


As mentioned in "The unpredictability of PCs", the key to good DMing is improvising. It was also mentioned that an article about improvising would be coming soon. Well, here it is!
When you improvise, keep in mind the time. Don't make the players wait for 10 minutes for you to come up with what happens after they enter the cave. On the other hand, don't rush through it, either, as you have to make what happens reasonable, in-keeping with the rules of DMing, and fun.
In case you haven't noticed, the two are mutually exclusive, but you, as a DM, have to do them. The optimal time for improvising is usually about 5-30 seconds or so. Behind the DM screen, this is the secret life of the Dungeon Master that I hope to reveal and enrich. DMing is not just about coming up with a solution, and then making sure everyone follows it. It is also about making sure the solution appeals to all of the players.
Under all this pressure, a non-Dungeon Master may think that the role of controlling the D&D universe is a chore, something to be avoided like the plague. They would be wrong. Underneath all the fun of creating the campaign, there are tedious, tiring things to do. But under all the tedious, tiring things to do, there is always the fun of creating the campaign. And, of course, saying that improvising is a tedious, tiring thing to do, is my opinion. Some people may think it is actually a fun advantage of Dungeon Mastering that they look forward to. And you may be one of those people.
However you choose to view improvising, though, you have to do it. To bring us back to the subject, here are some tips that I discovered and found useful(Try using these the next time you write an essay... I discovered them while writing one. At least you call it an essay. In Singapore, we call it a composition.):
1)Do not choose the first thing you think of
Often it is a wild idea that the PCs will hate anyway
2)Break rule 1) as often as possible
When I say as often as possible, I mean when it's NOT a wild idea. If it's not, it's probably useful and will save you time in the long run
3)Make sure your ideas are reasonable
Even if you think carefully about your idea, MAKE SURE IT IS REASONABLE. A wild idea, which at least is different from the usual hack n' slash, is infinitely better than "As you walk into the legendary Cave of Eternal Peace, a group of demons attack you."
4)Make sure your idea is fun!
This is the golden rule. Even if the idea is carefully crafted,thought about and considered, if the PCs don't have fun, discard it forever, or at least until the next gaming group.

Look! It's the guy who killed the Beholder!

Fame and fortune are what most adventurers set out to achieve. Very few, however, actually earn it. But the point of playing D&D is because it's fun. Since fame and fortune is perceived as "fun", it makes sense to letting the players get known for their deeds and maybe earn some gold along the way. In fact, Wizards of the Coast themselves openly support fame(as shown ever since they introduced renown points)!
You can't just give out renown points whenever you feel like it, though. There are many consequences if the players have a large amount of renown points. Sure, abuse is one matter, but we covered that in Abuse of Power(which should be a few posts before this one). What is the real matter is, well, the most obvious one.
I assume all of us know the famous Genghis Khan(if you don't, pay more attention to your history lessons). When we ask people, "Do you know who is Genghis Khan?" they know. Similarly, the PCs should be just as famous as even though they may not have led a rampaging army across China, they probably did save a few(a few hundred thousand, that is)towns from the evil Warlord/Tyrant/Dragon/Beholder/Zombie King/Other super evil and powerful monster etc etc, and will probably be just as famous as Genghis(imagine this: one day you walk into history class, and your teacher Mrs Smith explains that today we will study Bob the Dwarven Fighter...).
The PCs should, in my opinion, also be awarded renown points if they show off their trophies(as mentioned in the post just before this one, "Trophies and Rewards"). Once you let them know that they will be actively rewarded fame, they will be much more likely to try and score renown points(and then show them off in the real world and gain even more renown points there, which will lead people to inviting them to join their gaming group-I call it the Snowball of Fame effect)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Trophies and Rewards

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." In our world, it means that only certain people know how to appreciate the beauty of something. In the world of D&D, with Wizards summoning comets every other day, and "Take care of the zombie infestation" has transformed from a seemingly impossible task to yet another household chore, it would probably mean that a beholder's eye on a wall is beautiful to look at. This is very true. We hang moose heads on our walls, but what about in D&D, where moose do not exist? Then they hang the equivalent of moose, such as Beholder Eyes or Dragon Heads.
When your party slays a Black Dragon, do they ever cut off it's head to show off to others? Or maybe keep its blood, which can revive dead people? I know I would. If PCs do such things, and then one of the PCs resigns, the DM knows he has hit the jackpot. If he is a creative and resourceful one, the players can almost confirm that he will make the resigned guy an owner of a tavern.... with the Black Dragon head on the wall.
Also, you can be sure that the players will need his help to kill the rampaging horde of orcs. After all, Moonstone the Wizard was useful in the past(cue epic flashbacks of times when Moonstone saves the party using his _______ spell/ritual), so why not ask for his help now? His pay is, by the way, much easier to get since:
1) He probably feels a sense of loyalty and is eager to get out his old Staff of Annihilation+1 again
2)He knows the value of a Goblinmade Magic Axe+1, unlike other tavern owners which require you to search for days for a cloth to mop the bar table.....
This is what Dungeon Mastering is all about. The expressions of shock on the players' faces when they see old Moonstone again, and the expressions of relief on the players' faces when they realize that means NO STUPID HUNTING IN THE MOUNTAINS FOR A ****ING CLOTH!
This could be continued in a cycle, with one of the PCs bringing back the Orc King's Head(or scepter or whatever).
In conclusion, Trophies can be a powerful element in your roleplaying if you know how to use it properly. They could change the course of the story.... and not to mention that instant increase in renown points once you start showing off that Death's Scythe +8 you got from the Grim Reaper...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

10th post Celebration:D&D blogging intro

There are now officially 10 posts on this blog(not including the announcement that we will be adding pictures)! Every time a milestone is reached(10th post, 25th post, 50th post, anniversary), there will be a short post about D&D blogging itself. Today's theme will be.... the introduction to blogging about D&D, of course!
1)Create A Blog
When creating a website/blog, I recommend either one made with website creators or one made using "host" websites such as this blog is created on) or, as custom HTML code websites take longer and are generally uglier-looking unless you are a HTML expert.
2)Choose A Topic
Obviously, the theme is D&D, but there are several aspects of D&D to blog about. Today, do you want to talk about encounters, or skill challenges? Maybe you should tell the readers how to make a good NPC? No, no, you should post a review on that new book that just came out. It could even be the discussion of a certain mechanic(Rituals, Retraining, Extended Rests, Swords, anything)! There are several things to try and avoid, however. Do not write about out of date versions is one. Currently, the most recent version of D&D(as released by Wizards Of The Coast)is 4E, so my blog posts are mostly about it. Another thing to avoid is charts. There is nothing more boring than staring at the list of Fire-Resistant Swords. You can, however, talk about Fire-Resistant Swords, then bring up one or two examples.
3)Remember To Keep Your Blog Updated!
There are several people out there that I know who would have written great blogs, and in fact they did.... but forgot to update it regularly. If you want to keep a healthy readership going, update your blog every now and then, reply to comments, and maybe even tweak it a little here and there, if the need for it arises. Otherwise, your blog will turn into a worthless page with 3 posts about D&D written 5 years ago... and they were about 4E, which by then will be outdated- 5.6E or so will probably have been released.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Unpredictability of PCs

PCs can be unpredictable. These 4 words should be carved in a DM's mind and used to guide him when he makes yet another adventure. On the surface, a good adventure may seem like just something to entertain people, but it actually takes a lot of work before it is created.
Just like the weather, PCs are nearly impossible to predict as nowadays, they are getting more creative. They don't know that you have written only one line of script for the retired soldier they met while going to the local tavern for a drink, and may be FAR more interested in him(What war did you fight in? What rank were you? What was it like?)then in the quest to save Archbishop Kendell's son from a group of barbarian marauders(Ah, that's boring. Not worth the effort.), and may even try to hire the ex-soldier into helping them with their quest!
They aren't unpredictable over only NPCs, though. If you present them with a cave which a horde of Ogres are attacking, it won't help to list down the damage all the items in the cave would deal if used as a weapon(Stalagmite-3 damage. Runestone-1 damage. Large rock-3 damage.)because you know what? In the end they will just make the cave collapse on the Ogres.
But how do you plan out what happens next, in that case? The answer: Improvise, Plan and Prepare. First, you prepare for the obvious routes like killing the Ogres or teleporting out with the new scroll of teleportation they just got. Then, you plan the results. In this case, if they fight the Ogres, there would be an encounter, obviously. Or they simply teleport out of the cave. Finally, when the actual thing comes, and the players to something you never expected(and believe me: it happens.), improvise! Make sure you come up with a result that is realistic, reasonable and meets the players' expectations.

For more information about improvising, see the next few posts. One of them should be about improvising. Happy Reading!;)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spice up your game

What is a typical monster? Usually it's a Orc blocking your path. After about 9000 Orc battles, though, the players might get a teeny weeny bit bored, you know. To add some flavour to your game, I'll present to you... the Top 5 anti typical monsters and characters!

1)Orc Paladin

2)Elf Fighter

3)Shardmind Druid

4)A level 1 rat who has resistance to all forms of damage

5)An Epic Tier Fighter who drops dead immediately after taking a specific type of damage

However, there are roleplaying and realisticality factors to consider. Why would a Shardmind want to protect forests when his main goal is to rebuild the Diamond Gate(or whatever it was)? That doesn't mean you can't use these monsters and characters in your campaign, though. Maybe the Shardmind believes that only the power of nature can rebuild the Gate? Or maybe the Epic Tier Fighter got cursed to be incredibly weak to fire damage? Could it be the rat's ability to adapt to living in sewers that grants it high resistance? Or perhaps the Orc has realized that evil will never win? As you can see, a creative DM can provide realistic reasons for the anti typical monsters to be anti typical.

Good News

Everybody, I'm finally going to put pictures on all posts from now onwards!

Abuse of Power

What happens if the PCs abuse their power? This is very unlikely to happen, but PCs are often unpredictable. If a town makes a PC the duke of the town, the PC *might* attempt to execute that guy in the tavern that they don't like or something like that. If you do that, the other townspeople may fear for their lives and run away from the town or maybe even revolt against said PC!
This, obviously, is not good. Even though the PC may kill them easily, it probably will lead any survivors into leading a bigger revolt with hired (and more powerful than normal townsfolk) mercenaries, and a gigantic group of angry people. And even if he eliminates everybody in the original revolt, he still will take damage. Also, I don't think the local magician who didn't participate in the revolt (and therefore wasn't killed) will be eager to help you anytime soon.

Another thing is, his fellow party members may try to stop him. For example, the Chaotic Evil Warlock who was trying to kill the local bartender will likely meet resistance from the good alignment Cleric. This could lead to BIG trouble. The Cleric may refuse to heal the Warlock from then onwards, and as a Level 9 PC, would deal more than a little damage to him. He/she might even leave the party!

As a general rule, try not to abuse your power, with the exception being if the bartender is actually a Werewolf or something. DMs can also add interesting plot hooks if abuse of power happens.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The D&D survival guide Part 3

fNow, let's say you followed all the intructions mentioned in Part 1 and 2, but for some reason you still died! We'll now look at the different ways to do after a PC's death
1)Bury him
For the sake of role playing, we'll assume that the party has a strong connection with the dead PC and decides to bury him. You can't just randomly bury PCs, however. I don't think the dead player would appreciate being buried in the middle of a monster infested dungeon or below the smoking remains of an evil villian's base. Try to bury the PC somewhere where monsters won't find him and eat his corpse. I suggest in a forest, where the creatures are mostly harmless or even if the are not that harmless, at least won't use the body in some complex ritual to summon/revive the King of Demons or whatever. An alternative method is to bury the PC in a town. There, you can safely say that nobody will disturb the remains. Be wary, though, if and when the DM decides to have a necromancer attack the town and turn everything in the graveyard into zombies...
2)Attempt to revive him
If you have a revival item on hand, I suggest reviving the PC. This will not only bring back a fallen party member, but also saves you the trouble of burying him. If you do not have a revival item on hand, then try to find some way to bring back the PC. For example, you could go through the Portal to Darkness that the DM told you about earlier, and try to make a pact with the demon/devil/evil monstrous abnomination there, requesting for the PC to live again in return for something.(very commonly, your soul but the DM may let you give GP as well)
3)Make sure his death isn't in vain
IF the dead guy consents(and he may not), you can loot his dead body and then burn it, thus ensuring that his death is not for nothing. Take note, though, of your moral alignment. Don't try to persuade a group of Good-alignment Paladins to burn their former friend and loot his corpse just to find a couple of health potions and a rusty dagger.

I know this post is short but I hoped you enjoyed it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The D&D survival guide Part 2

Now we'll talk about combat. Part 1 of the survival guide was how to avoid making silly mistakes. Part 2, in other words this, will be about avoiding combat, which is a large source of death.
The survival guide will have a lucky number:3. This means that everything comes in threes. In Part 1, we had the 3 top mistakes. In part 2, we will have the 3 best ways to avoid combat.

The Diplomacy skill is, in my opinion, underused, at least when it comes to dealing with monsters. This is the typical player's mindset: Hmm, a goblin. Better kill it. This is simply asking for trouble. It is directly asking for combat. I mean, it's not like the goblin attacked you. In fact, you're the attacker! If you really have to get past the goblin, then try this: Hey goblin, do you mind shifting to the side a little? We have to get through here to kill the Evil Witch. Chances are, a random goblin will NOT mind shifting a little. Most likely, it'll say something like this(if the DM is a good one): The Evil Witch? That b*stard killed my mother! Here, this magic sword +8 that I made might help. In this way, you get past and get a magic sword +8 too!

Using the goblin example, let's say that the goblin responded like this: Hey! I WORK for the Evil Witch! No way you're gonna pass! Now what do you do? Kill him? No, that would defeat the purpose of this post. What you should do is this: Creep past the goblin, keeping your heads down. If you choose this, you you have the highest chance of failing compared to the other options, so I recommend this ONLY as a last resort.

I know this sounds a little extreme, but imagine if a bunch of rich and famous people(armed with intimidating giant axes that used to belong to gods, which might affect your response)gave you a large sum of money(by your standards) to take a step to your right, would you move? Of course! However, you should only try this if your level is around Epic Tier, where you have tons of gp.

I hope this post is useful =)

Monday, April 26, 2010

The D&D survival guide Part 1

Ok, I admit it. I kinda ripped the idea off from another(unnamed to avoid lawsuits)website but hey, it's a completely different perspective! Anyway, as you know, death is not good. Not good at all. Of course, there are revival items and stuff, but you have to waste them. The prevention is better than the cure. But how are you going to prevent death? That's what these posts are all about: Surviving. There are 3 parts. This, the first part, is going be about mistakes that a player can avoid making in order to ensure survival. The second is going to be about avoiding combat, which is a large cause of death. The third is going to be about what to do after the actual thing: revival or burial(if you can't revive the PC)
Now, down to business. Here are the top three mistakes that cause death:
1)Not checking a room for traps before entering.
Shadow the rogue is checking patiently for traps in a room. Crusher the fighter, however, is not so patient and asks,"Hey Shadow, how long is this gonna take?" Shadow replies,"About a few minutes more."Crusher is not happy and instead chooses to barge recklessly in the room, ignoring Shadow's warnings. Suddenly, 5 magical spikes shoot out and hit Crusher. The good news is, his most prized possession, Slicer the +5 axe, was not destroyed. The bad news is, Crusher was not so lucky.
In this case, Crusher was too impatient and rushed out into the heavily trapped room. Luckily, this was not based on a real situation. However, most players DO actually rush out into rooms without checking for traps. The solution is simple and requires no extra resources, at the benefit of saving a PC's life: be more patient. This could save literally dozens of adventurer lives.
2)Forgetting to add spells when calculating entercounter attack damage.
After being resurrected and reprimanded by the rest of his party, Crusher now knows better than to run into a room randomly and is now not so stupid. The same cannot be said for Slayer the Warlock, however. Shortly after the spikes incident, there was a battle with some monsters. During the battle, Slayer got bloodied, resulting in Holy the Priest , Moonhat the Wizard and Healer the Cleric to protect him. When a goblin attacked Slayer, it scored a natural 20, severly wounding Slayer. Healer asked,"Did you remember to add in Holy's Inner Fire resistance?" "No.""What about Moonhat's Protective Aura?" "No." "You're not being healed by me anytime soon."
Instead of Crusher, we now have Slayer(to avoid "discriminating" against Fighters)making a foolish mistake. Moonhat and Holy could have saved him from going from bloodied to near death, but he forgot to add their spell effects. This can be also countered with a simple solution: Pay attention at all times, even during someone else's turn.
3)Trusting the shady NPC
Awhile later, the party met an NPC half-hidden in shadows while having a round of drinks in a bar. "Hey, I have a quest for you group." he whisperers, checking to make nobody notices. "If anyone's interested, meet me in the heart of the Dark Forest. I'll pay you 900000 GP for completing the quest." "Wow!" Ritual the Invoker exclaims, "900000 GP!" Crusher warns him that it may be a trap, but Ritual still insists, despite Crusher's warnings(well, he DID have a bad experience with some spikes earlier on!). When he reaches the middle of Dark Forest, suddenly 5 assassins drop out of nowhere and attack him. Outnumbered, Ritual is quickly defeated. In the distance, he can hear the NPC laughing cruelly

In this scenario, Ritual blindly trusted a shady NPC because of his greed for GP. This, once again, can be solved with a solution that requires almost no work: think carefully before following a shady stranger's instructions, even if you are tempted with some kind of a reward.

I hope that more people will now stop making these mistakes in the future. Thanks for reading! ;D

Thursday, April 22, 2010

DM's Brew: Mixing Veteran with Beginner Players

Recently, I read a very interesting article on DungeonsMaster that prompted me to create this post. I won't mention names as it is a very old article and you may not think it relevant, however, I will show you it's "offspring": this post.
What happens when you take an experienced player who has been playing for ten years, lets call him A, and put him in the same game as X, a beginner who has only bought the three core books and this game is his first. I think there are three possible outcomes:
1)A helps X to understand the game
2)A scorns X and his own bad luck
3)X screws the game up and A is angry at X
Let us look at 1) first. We'll cover 3 parts(A skill check, an entercounter and the end of the game):
A:Hi X, I heard you are a beginner. Do you want me to help you out?
(A few minutes later...)
X:Er.. What is a Perception Check?
(X bends down to check core book)
A:X, there's no need to check the Player's Handbook. It just slows the game down. I can help you with it, okay? Now, a Perception Check is.....(Explanation of Perception Check)
(A few hours later...)
X: Hmm... let's see.. the monster has attacked me for 10 damage so.. wait. I have only 7 hp left? Oh no!
A:Don't worry, X. Remember the spell Z cast on the monster? That reduces his dexterity, so would you mind rolling again, DM?
DM: Okay then. (Rolls)The monster misses X.
(After the game is over...)
X:Thanks for your help, A.
A: Glad to be of assistance.
As you can see,with A helping X, the game ends positively.

Now let's look at 2):
A:What?!! I got stuck with a newbie?!! Now he'll slow the game down! Darned luck!
(A few minutes later..)
X: What's a Perception Check? Hey, A. Since you're experienced, maybe you can help me?
A:Hahaha! Don't you even know what's a Skill Check? Go figure it out yourself, idiot!
(A few hours later...)
X:This is bad. The monster hits me for 10 damage but I only have 7 hp left!
A:That's too bad then. Why didn't you attempt to avoid that dragon even when you were marked? What a fool!
(After the game is over..)
X(thinking to himself):What a selfish player A is. I think I'll quit and find another gaming group!
In this case, X is angry with A and leaves the group, so the game ends negatively(obviously)

What about 3)? Well let us find out:
A:Hmm.. looks like X is a newbie. Ah well, it's nothing much
Now we'll skip the Perception Check part because the main focus is on the Entercounter part:
X:I'm in trouble! DM, I want to cast my Comet spell
DM: A comet flares across the night sky, obliterating the trolls but also crushing your group(Yes, I know he's unfair, but that's not the point. That sort of thing is more the focus on the first post.)
A:Arghh! X! You fool! Why did you cast that stupid comet spell?!! Now we're all dead!
(After the game is over...)
X:Sorry about the comet incident,A.
A(who has by then calmed down):Don't worry about it. Just don't do it again.
Here, the game ends neutrally.

Now, if you were A, which option would you choose? One, right? Okay then. If that's the case, I'll end this post with a question:
If you were honest with yourself, would you reallychoose option one?

Edit:I don't always put a "visit this blog" in my DungeonsMaster comments but most of the time I do, especially for the long comments.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do not write scripted endings

Have you ever used a scripted ending before? In case you do not know, scripted endings are endings where the ending is predetermined; all you do is guide the players to that ending. Now, I ask you, what if this happens?
DM thinks to self:" Hmm, according to this script, it should end with Averon thanking the players and giving them their reward."
Player:I kill Averon and steal his money.

If you were the DM in that scenario, wouldn't you be stuck? I know creative DMs can manage to somehow achieve the ending, but if you were to just improvise an ending, it would be much easier. Also, players can feel cheated if they spent 6 hours completing an adventure only to have an obviously-scripted ending. If I were the player, I would prefer to have an ending that is based on what I do during the adventure. Also, there are some DMs out there who do not have a sense of reality, having the town cheering for the PCs when all the PCs did was kill the person who was supposed to start the adventure in the first place. If they did that, I'll have the town get angry and kick the PCs out. Also, the town will hate the PCs and they are not welcome from that incident onwards. Oh, and since they didn't kill the monsters attacking the town, there will be several monsters hanging around in the woods/dungeon near the town. Now THAT is realistic.
I mean, think about it. If monsters were attacking your town, and the guy who asks the wandering group of adventurers for help gets killed by them, will you cheer them on?
Scripted endings also usually lead to bad script habits, such as relying on scripts or completely and utterly following the script. It will probably lead to other complications and problems, such as scripted item luck or scripted overpowered/underpowered monsters. However, I feel there's nothing wrong with establishing a ROUGH ending(by yourself and based on the party's situation), and then guiding the party to it with, say plot hooks("A nearby mage quickly runs over and revives Averon using *insert item name here*.). Obviously, the plot hooks must be reasonable and not too far-fetched, preferably having a realistic consequence/result (The newly-revived Averon says,"I was about to give you your reward but since you killed me.. I won't, *insert rude name or synonym for psychopath here*!!!)

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post. You can also find me posting comments here and there(to be honest, I actually post on about every new article :))under the nickname "Dungeon Newbie".
PS: If you think some one is impersonating me, check under my post. I will always have some variation of "Visit my D&D blog" there.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Players don't have "item luck", you know!

Looking at people's accounts of D&D games, I think DMs should not assume players have what I like to call "item luck". Item luck means that all items you get will fit in with the adventure or campaign you are playing. For example, just because you are mostly fighting monsters with weaknesses against fire, don't expect to always get Fire Swords and the like. This applies to both DMs and PCs. A PC should not be expecting item luck, and if he does, the DM should not comply with his expectations.
However, the DM should grant item luck INDIRECTLY. It's clever, cunning, and perfectly reasonable for a DM to give the PCs an extremely rare item that they can sell to buy the item that is strong against the monsters they are currently fighting and/or give the PCs an item that will be useful later on in the campaign or even adventure. Now, at this point, most players will be feeling indignant that if their DM reads this, he/she will not give them item luck anymore, but think about it. In real life, if you were having a headache, say, you really can't expect aspirins to drop randomly out of the sky, right?(if you do, SEE A DOCTOR!)
I once read about a DM who fits this example perfectly. He gave one of his players a Sunblade(I think it was a Sunblade, but anyway it was a fire-based sword). After finding that the Sunblade did not work very well against the monsters they were currently fighting, the player almost sold it. But just as she was going to, bam! The DM took them to a location where the Sunblade was EXTREMELY effective.
So the next time you don't get item luck, don't blame it on your DM(or me). Remember that he is just trying to make the game more realistic and may even be actually giving you item luck, just indirectly. In detective movies, the smallest clue may be significant or may come in handy. The same applies here. See you next time! :D

Note:I was inspired by to make regular updates, so I'll try to update this regularly. I can't take all the credit!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The DM is not the player's enemy

It is easy for DMs to assume that his/her's job is to kill the PCs. Now, don't get me wrong, I think that the DM should challenge the players, but there is a difference between a difficult encounter and giving level 1 PCs an inescapable, fight to the death encounter with 5 level 9 Red Dragons. A DM should make the game balanced, but still difficult. What's the point of giving a group of newly-started PCs a task for a level 12 PC, or tasking an epic tier group to kill a giant rat?
Not randomly killing PCs, however, should NOT be equivalent to fudging if at all possible. If you set a gigantic,fearsome, immortal creature against PCs who, it turns out, get their asses handed to them, it makes no sense for it to deal massive amounts of damage in the first 3 turns, then deal 3 hp damage on its 4th, just because "It bumped its head against a tree and is now bloodied. Also, it is confused and it does less damage." This is and obviously lame excuse for fudging rolls because the PCs were having trouble killing a monster you should have not made so powerful in the first place, or even worst, you fudged it just so that "Y'all can survive." If you were really fighting an immortal cyclops, do you think it would only gently swing its spiked club just because you were dying? No! This sort of fudging only reduces the fun of D&D(not that I know anything about it; I haven't bought a single thing related to D&D but I still think it probably would). Even if you really got it wrong and really tried to make a suitable monster, give a more plausible excuse like,"Suddenly, the ground shudders. It's an earthquake! The (insert monster name here)takes (insert reasonable number here) damage." This, of course should not be abused just so that bad DMs can randomly put powerful monsters in a group of weak PCs' way.
In conclusion: make the game fair and balanced, and try not to fudge rolls to help players if you didn't make the game fair and balanced.