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 =)


  1. Let me begin by saying that you're doing a great job with this blog. It's tough to build up a solid readership, so don't get discouraged while you're still starting out.

    Your survival series provides excellent advice to players new and old. Too often players act rashly and fail to consider the outcome of their actions – whether it's forgetting to check for traps or assuming that the monstrous humanoids are hostile. A little foresight goes a long way.

    When I'm building encounters I try to offer different ways to achieve success. Killing the monsters is usually the most obvious way, but shouldn't be the only way. In my current home game the party is level 13 and has average Diplomacy and Bluff scores in the +18 range. So they always try to talk their way past problems.

    To your first point in today's article about diplomacy don't forget that not all talking needs to be cordial. PC might find that using Intimidate to instill fear is a good approach or that tricking their opponents could work with high enough Bluff checks.

    If the PCs know that talking might work (regardless of which approach they take) then they're more likely to try it. Depending on how much they’re willing to role-play the scenario, the DM should apply some bonuses as appropriate. Once they see how well it worked they'll be even more likely to try talking next time.

    But don’t let them talk past everything or else the PC who aren’t good at the social skills (Fighters, I’m talking about you) will get bored.

  2. @Ameron
    I agree. I was suprised that I would even get readers at all! Your point about the Intimidate and Bluff is good, too! Maybe I'll add that in another article?(Diplomancy VS Intimidate or something like that)

  3. This is actually a very useful post. I'd completely forgotten about bribery!

    Bluff is a favorite for the group of DMs I usually hang out around (we have a group of our own on the side and switch off leading it), with Diplomacy a close second. There's some extreme satisfaction in getting a former enemy to cover your back in the next battle, provided you're careful.

    To cheer you a bit: I found your blog on the first page of my google search of "d&d survival guide". You made an impact somewhere :-)
    On to read more of your posts!