Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Combining D&D monsters into a single monster

I create unique monsters by combining them into one multi-part monster.
Combining robots into one large robot is often found in fiction and I use it on D&D monsters.

You might know combiners from the Transformers franchise, Zords in Power Rangers and other fictional works. I bring this concept into D&D to create unique monsters and surprise the PCs.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Metagaming in D&D

When I first started playing D&D, I hadn't heard of metagaming.
This quickly changed when I became a DM and had some experienced players.
Metagaming is the use of player knowledge while playing a character.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Discrimination in D&D Societies and Settings

Discrimination in D&D depends on the societies and the settings in which people are playing.
I list my expectations for historical settings and the default D&D setting.
Small changes in settings have a large impact on the diversity of settings.

In the previous post I talked about discrimination in D&D writing.
I looked into the player's handbooks for D&D 4E and found that some societies in the core books have different gender roles.
I want to see what impact a setting has on discrimination.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Undead Stalking the Graveyard

I created a graveyard to scare PCs. It scared them because their enemies were unknown and could ambush them at any moment.

I'm participating in the October RPG Blog Carnival and its theme is horror.

I once had a party with a paladin and a cleric that were happy when they encountered undead.
These characters were extremely effective against undead.
So I created a cemetery with a huge underground labyrinth, crawling with undead.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Discrimination in D&D 4E Writing

I want more diversity in the D&D games I play in, mostly after reading about sexist art in D&D.
Although diversity can fixed by the DM, it's a lot easier if the core books and adventures fully support it, as a good example to new and experienced DMs.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Action Denying Conditions on PCs in D&D 4E

Action denying status effects deny player characters the use of their actions.
I examine stunned, unconscious, dazed, dominated, petrified, etc conditions.

Why action denial is problematic

Action Denial robs players of things to do during their turn.
Combat in D&D 4E at higher levels is often slow.
This means players are waiting a long time to do something.
Players generally get bored quickly this way.

Action Denial is tolerable if other PCs can help the afflicted PC.

Save Ends vs. End of next Turn

At higher levels, end of next turn is stronger than save ends because of many saving possibilities and bonuses. At lower levels, action denying effects that have save ends might take some turns to save against.


woman falling
"Free Falling - Explored" by SodanieChea on Flickr

This is the ultimate action denial, because stunned PCs can't take any actions.
I simply don't use this condition at all.

Dragons use this, I substitute it for a weaker condition like dazed and additional damage.


This is harsh action denial, but in some circumstances PCs can get rid of it by healing, heal checks or taking damage.
If there are no such circumstances I won't use the condition.

A Night Hag uses the unconscious and stunned conditions.


Dying PCs can't use any actions but other PCs heal them or use the healing skill on them.
So this condition isn't problematic.


Dazed is great action denial. Melee characters out of melee range can't move and standard attack, but they can still charge or use a weaker ranged attack.


Swallowed isn't an official condition but larger creatures like crocodiles or purple worms use it.
Swallowed PCs are restrained, take damage each turn and make a basic attack each turn.
The PCs are released only when the creature dies.

This can be boring because players have no choices, someone could roll for them and they go for a walk.

I solve this by allowing hard Athletics skill checks and successful attacks to escape the beast's stomach and mouth.


Dominated is less of an issue as a player gets to do something.
I use it with moderation, it is a charm effect so saving against it is easier.

The PCs are out of action, players are not as they can attack their allies.


A character gets Petrified in stages (slowed, immobilized, petrified) and the Remove Afflication ritual is house ruled to be usable in combat.

Cockatrices and Medusa cause this condition.
When these creatures are killed they provide a way to cure recently petrified PCs.
So I see no problem with this condition.

Do you use action denial conditions as written or do you have house rules for them?
If you have house rules, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Roleplaying Mental Dump Stats

Characters in D&D often end up with mental dump stats, stats that are below 10 for Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. When role playing any of these dump stats, a character is often portrayed as stupid or speaking in caveman talk.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Mind Flayers are running the Asylum Quest

A mind flayer is feeding of the patients in an asylum.
Will the PCs kill the mind flayer even if all its thralls revert to being insane?


hospital / asylum
Photo provided by State Records NSW
About a hundred years ago, a young half-elf physician named Derrin Urcabae began treating the mentally deficient and insane. As one of the few people in the city who would do so, he soon found himself overwhelmed with patients.

After his death, investigations discovered that Derrin Urcabae used his position and the facilities to perform inhuman experiments on some of the truly mad inmates.
He performed brain surgeries in order to fix the madness and had a special laboratory for this.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Benefits of Small D&D Parties

people joining hands
Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I prefer playing with smaller parties.
There are benefits and drawbacks
to having fewer PCs.

A while back there was an article about
handling a solo party.
I've never run a solo party but I've played with a small amount of players.

I like smaller parties but I can imagine there are DMs that like larger parties because there are more player interactions and large scale battles.