• posted a message on Encounter of the Week: The Dying Unicorn
    Quote from Prof_Moriarty >>

    I love the flair of this, but anyone who has seen Die Hard with a Vengeance will be able to solve this in seconds. 

    There are dozens of other water jug puzzles out there in the world. If you think your players will blow right through it, you can modify the size or number of the vessels to make a different puzzle. Don't forget to alter the fable to fit!

    EDIT: I recommend trying a 10, 5, 6 variation, or a 12, 8, 5 variation.

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  • posted a message on How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier
    Quote from Dokalfer >>

    Where's the Mind Flayer space ship in DOTMM

     I did a quick scan and I must have been mistaken. That's on me!

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  • posted a message on Critical Role Spotlight: Episode 47
    Quote from Some_RPG_Nerd >>

     Sure, this article is fine and whatnot, but can someone link me to a website that still does recaps of Critical Role? I don't have time to watch nor listen to the show, but I still want to keep up to date. Much appreciated.

    Geek & Sundry releases video recaps of Critical Role every week on their YouTube channel. Their recaps come out just before a new episode debuts every Thursday, so the recap of episode 47 will come out next Thursday. 

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  • posted a message on Encounter of the Week: The Abandoned Festival
    Quote from HuntmasterBrian >>

    Are there other adventures that have been posted here that I have missed. I am running sessions at a ren fair and this had the perfect lenght, just feel devils may not be the best intro for new people of all ages. If there are or if you will post another one soonish, that would we amazing

     This is the first installment of the Encounter of the Week series. Stay tuned for next week's encounter.

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  • posted a message on How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier

    Hey folks! I've updated the giff race to tweak a minor error (it had Loxodon in its Languages, oops). Doing so has required me to upload a new version, and I've updated the link in the article to that new version. Please make sure you're use the latest one! Here's the current link, just in case: https://www.dndbeyond.com/characters/races/96485-giff

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  • posted a message on How to Play a Giff like a Bombastic Bombadier
    Quote from thricebedamned >>

    A Strength and a Dexterity bonus? And not Constitution? I'd give them Con over Dex. Sure they wouldn't get a stat bonus around their signature weapon attacks, but who cares?

    You're playing gun-toting, uniformed anthropomorphic hippos. From space.

    By Jove, I would play without stat bonuses of any kind - that would be such sport, eh Pakka? Those beggars haven't got a prayer.

    I think the ability score bonuses were the part of this subclass I waffled on the most. But I'm convinced that Strength and Dexterity were the right way to go. Several people have asked why the giff race has this stat spread, so I want to show my thought process. Now, in the long run, my reasoning doesn't mean much. This isn't a defense of the decision—I'm convinced of it, I don't need to defend it—but I think showing my process is important to anyone who's considering making a homebrew race.

    Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution are the most important abilities for the archetypal giff described in this article. Strength and Constitution in particular directly impact the giff's racial traits. Strength improves the damage from your Headfirst Charge, and Constitution improves your Armor Class granted by Natural Armor. Those are huge signposts that +# Strength and +# Constitution are the way to go. I chose not to for a couple of reasons.

    The main reason is actually mechanical. Giff may have an ability that lets them headbutt you, but their main mode of attack is with firearms. Ranged weaponry. If you're playing a giff, you want to be a beast with a blunderbuss. The Giff Weapon Training trait makes this viable by letting you ignore the Loading quality of firearms, thus allowing giff fighters, rangers, and so on to use their Extra Attack feature with a firearm. Any character who intends to be focused on ranged combat wants to start play with a Dexterity score of 16. If you're playing using point buy or using the array, that's not possible without at least a +1 racial bonus to Dexterity. 

    The other reasons are miscellaneous story reasons that I felt justified giving such big, bulky creatures a +1 bonus to Dexterity. Giff are trained from birth in the art of war. It stands to reason that their standardized military training would give them keen aim and "twitchy" shooter reflexes, even if their general manual dexterity was slightly lacking. Researching hippopotamuses themselves shocked me. Hippos are fast. They can outrun humans at an average pace of about 20 MPH. I don't usually take land speed into account when thinking about Dexterity (we have Speed to account for that), but real-life hippos aren't slow dullards. 

    All that said, if you think STR and CON is the right way to go, go for it, I think they're all pretty valid options. Same for DEX & CON, CON & STR, any permutation of that. Even +1 to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution is a fine choice in my mind. The D&D police won't come to your door if you want to build your giff differently from my interpretation. 

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  • posted a message on Encounter of the Week: The Abandoned Festival
    Quote from halisme >>

    Kinda new to GMing, can I ask how easily a level 5 party would actually defeat three barbed devils? It gives the encounter a total CR of 15, which seems a bit high.

    Great question. First of all, I'm not sure what encounter building tool you're using, but D&D doesn't rank encounters themselves using a CR system. Only monsters have a challenge rating. I'd use the encounter-building guidelines in the Dungeon Master's Guide instead. Since this encounter is balanced around tiers (tier 2 encompasses 5th to 10th level, in this case), an encounter with three barbed devils is definitely going to be easier or harder depending on your party's level and the number of characters in the party.

    The DMG's encounter-building math says that a Deadly encounter for a party of four 5th-level character has an XP threshold of 4,400 XP. An encounter with three barbed devils is worth 10,800 XP [1,800 XP times 3 devils times 2 for a group of multiple monsters]. So that's a pretty ruthless encounter, on top of the environmental damage from the burning statue.

    If your party has six 5th-level characters instead, however, they have an XP threshold of 6,600 XP and the bonus for a group of multiple monsters decreases to 1.5. The encounter value is now 8,100 XP. This is still a Deadly encounter, but it's much more manageable. 

    So, to answer your question, if your party is made up of four 5th-level characters, this fight seriously threatens a TPK. You may want to tone it down by halving the devils' hit points. If your party has more characters than that, or your characters gain a level or two, they'll have a much easier time.

    This was a great question, and it's inspired me to go back and revise my encounter building a bit to bump the barbed devils up to a 7th-level party and add a different set of devils for 5th-level characters.

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  • posted a message on What Might Be Next for D&D in 2019?
    Quote from OfficerSalt76 >>

    2018 was a great year for D&D! I truly sunk myself into my play this year. The only complaint I have is the switch to black and white maps instead of full color. In no way is that an enhancement or a benefit.

     It is for people who print their maps at home! I hear you, though. I do love to look at Mike Schley's full color maps. But Dyson's B&W maps are super easy to use on the fly.

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  • posted a message on Encounter of the Week: The Abandoned Festival
    Quote from Torrso >>

    this is perfect! I’m definitely going to use this in my OOTA campaign! Just imagine an empty deep gnome town, might replace devils with demons though

     Yes! That's a wonderful idea! I recommend swapping out the monsters like so: 

    • 3rd-level party: replace imps with quasits.
    • 5th-level+ party: replace barbed devils with barlguras.
    • 11th-level+ party: replace horned devils with glabrezus, but increase their hit points to 225 and their attack bonus to +10. There aren't any CR 11 demons in any book, so this gives them a little more staying power. Be prepared to adjust this on the fly, if the encounter is too hard or too easy.
    • 17th-level+ party: replace ice devils with goristros. 
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  • posted a message on Encounter of the Week: The Abandoned Festival
    Quote from AuburnElvis >>

    Good work, James. I look forward to this ongoing series. I have a suggestion for the final reward - instead of just saying the characters get the charm of the New Year, how about adding some text like this to the end?:

    As the ashen debris of the statue begins to drift across the festival grounds you notice [number of party members] charred, but intact, ribbons of parchment fluttering along the ground.

    Once the characters inspect the pieces of parchment, they find them to be sections of arcane scroll work that have retained some of their magical properties. Each section of scroll work is a talisman that automatically grants the owner resistance to fire damage for 10 days, after which, it crumbles away into ash.

     That's a great addition! Very evocative.

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  • posted a message on Fighter 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Heroic Combat
    Quote from Sillvva >>

    Interesting thing to note. If you cast a leveled spell as a bonus action, you can only cast cantrips with a casting time of 1 action even if you have access to Action Surge. "You can't cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action." is pretty clear.

     Yup! I think that's a bit of a dodgy rules interaction, though, and I would consider houseruling that away.

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  • posted a message on Fighter 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Heroic Combat
    Quote from SeveredNed >>

    If you choose the Eldritch Knight subclass at 3rd level or you decide to multiclass into wizard (etc.), you can use your Action Surge to cast two spells in a turn, which has incredible combo potential.

     This is either encouraging an illegal move or just simply terribly worded.
    If you cast a spell of 1st level or higher on your turn then attempt to cast a second spell during that same turn, using your action surge or bonus action, the only other spells you can cast are cantrips.
    This is a magic rule that applies to all spellcasters and it was an oversight to not include a reminder within the Eldritch Knight and Quickened Metamagic descriptions.

     I regret to say that yours is an incorrect reading of the rules. The only rule prohibiting the casting of multiple leveled spells in a turn is specific to bonus actions. From the Player's Handbook: 

    Bonus Action

    A spell cast with a bonus action is especially swift. You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven't already taken a bonus action this turn. You can't cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

    While this does preclude casting two leveled spells using the sorcerer class's Quickened Spell Metamagic, it does not prevent an Eldritch Knight (or other spellcaster/fighter multi-class characters) from using an Action Surge to cast two leveled spells in a turn. This interpretation of the rules is supported by Jeremy Crawford.

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  • posted a message on Critical Role Recap: Episode 46
    Quote from JavierSalomonCL >>

    Is there any plans to translate the series to other languages??? I'd love to include more friends from Latin América - spanish speakers with no knowledge of Engish THAT actually have to wait for me to explain the chapters and story lines- (I'm actually Mexican and Living in Tabasco, México).

    Is there a way some of us "English speaking fans" - from outside the US- could be allowed to trranslate the show for our friends?

    I'm so glad you love Critical Role, and thank you so much for wanting to spread the love. It brings a big smile to my face. Please check out https://crtranscript.tumblr.com/. This project is a fan-led effort to caption Critical Role. I recall the project existing in multiple languages, but I'm having difficulty finding non-English resources.

    This is a similar project, with translation as a primary focus. https://crtranslate.tumblr.com/

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  • posted a message on Critical Role Recap: Episode 46
    Quote from Terivan >>

    I believe it was determined that the twitching "undead" weren't actually undead at all due to Caduceus' Eyes of the Grave, but that's just a tiny thing.

     Well spotted. My guess is that Matthew converted skum from 3rd edition, but that's pure speculation.

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  • posted a message on Warlock 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Eldritch Might
    Quote from irrelevant_ibis >>

    This isn't about warlocks but LET'S CELEBRATE!! THERE'S NOW A FULL SET OF D&D BEYOND CLASS GUIDES!!!! 




    Also, can you do guides for the UA classes (Mystic+Artificer)? They're not official but they seem really fun to play and thematically+functionally are just great.

    I'm afraid that I don't feel right doing a class guide on classes that are still in flux, like the Mystic and Artificer. The same goes for the Blood Hunter, which Matthew Mercer has told me is still in a state of design. That said, who knows what 2019 will bring? If we get new classes, I'll gladly do a 101 guide for them. If we don't, then perhaps you'll see a 201 advanced guide for the core 12 classes next year. :)

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