Category Archives: Short Rest

Armor class is one of the most consulted stats in D&D 5th edition. It could arguably be *the* most consulted stat, assuming your game has combat as a major part of the play sessions. Even if it’s a war of spellcasters, a number of spells use attack rolls that target AC. In any average combat, though, almost everyone including the DM is going to be looking at that Armor Class statistic multiple times. Now before we gets into the details, we’re going to talk about AC as a concept. Despite the name and the common ways to increase it, “Armor Class” is not only a representation of the amount of armor your character wears. If you think about it for a minute, you’ll realize that makes no sense. Rogues, Bards, and Monks can easily run around the battlefield with ACs of 16 or 17, and they’re dressed in ninja wraps,…

Read more

Combat in D&D can quickly become repetitive once the characters are at a high enough level and players are familiar enough with their abilities to figure out their best moves. This is especially true if there isn’t a lot of variety in the nature of monsters or environments combat happens in. Apart from changing the type of monsters (like using one or two large ones rather than multiple regular foes) the next easiest way to make combat different is to change the environment around. Pits, changing terrain, and verticality are easy ways to change up the battlefield. However, if you have a campaign taking place in a normalized environment like, say, Waterdeep, that gets a little harder. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a pit of lava guarded by Yetis in a warehouse down by the docks. And that’s apart from the fact the Yetis would probably…

Read more

Thessalar is a minor figure in the grand scheme of things, but his popularity got a slight boost a few years ago, albeit indirectly. A huge, amorphous monster appeared toward the end of Stranger Things season 1 and in the trailers for Stranger Things season 2. Given how much Stranger Things leaned on D&D for story elements and naming conventions, fans of the series and D&D immediately began to guess what the monster was or would be called. With no clues from the cast or writers, the internet as a whole eventually went with “thessalhydra.” And then a lot of people only familiar with 4th and 5th edition D&D went, “a what”? By the way, the creature from stranger things was eventually dubbed a mind flayer, but that’s not important right now. The thessalhyrda is a monster out of 1st edition. It originally appeared in the second monster manual. Like…

Read more

Like so many things, Graz’zt is fine as long as you’re a man. Graz’zt is a figure that can be very problematic in D&D. Certainly using him in a campaign in any way that’s true to lore and doesn’t just have him as an adversary to fight can raise some eyebrows or cause a lot of uncomfortable squirming in players. The demon lord is not new, but he wasn’t there from the very beginning like Orcus or Demogorgon. Graz’zt was, however, a Gary Gygax original for better or worse. Gygax also said in an interview that “Graz-it” was the pronunciation, so sorry to everyone who liked the “grazt” version.  The demon lord first appeared in a module for first edition D&D called “The lost Caverns of Tsojconth [SOJ-kanth]”. It was labeled as adventure “S4” and published in 1982, though the published version was a clean up and rewrite of Gygax’s…

Read more

This article was first broadcast in Episode Two Hundred and Twenty Nine on 16th November 2022. Note: This article was adapted from an episode script, and so there may be parts that don’t flow well when read, because they were initially designed for broadcast. People always point out that generalizing the behavior of a species based on the most frequently encountered groups or even the majority isn’t fair. Drizzt proved that not all Drow are Lolth-worshiping, murderously conniving slavers, Orc society is much more complex than them just being aggressive raiders that want to kill all the other races and conquer the world, and not all Kobolds are mindless dragon sycophants. On the other hand, there are some species where trying to find the diamond in the rough is a very long, fruitless dig. Locating a sympathetic vegetarian Mind Flayer is going to be a really difficult scavenger hunt; benevolent…

Read more

This article was first broadcast in Episode Two Hundred and Twenty Eight on 2nd November 2022. Note: This article was adapted from an episode script, and so there may be parts that don’t flow well when read, because they were initially designed for broadcast. The heroes being captured is a fairly common trope in most adventure stories. Princess Leia on the death star, Merry and Pippin in Lord of the Rings, the dwarves in The Hobbit, or James Bond…practically always. It’s usually used in the story to present an immediate problem for the heroes to overcome, and to showcase their capability when they don’t have all their resources or weapons available. It’s also sometimes used as a way to move the plot forward; either a villain will monologue at the heroes and divulge their plan for ultimate domination, or the heroes come across vital pieces of information while imprisoned, either…

Read more

This article was first broadcast in Episode Two Hundred and Twenty Six on 5th October 2022. Note: This article was adapted from an episode script, and so there may be parts that don’t flow well when read, because they were initially designed for broadcast. Lord Soth, in Dragonlance, fills in much the same niche as Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings or The Mountain from Game of Thrones; he is a secondary antagonist in most of his appearances, almost always working at the behest of someone else, and their backstory is…fraught. Soth’s first appearance in real life chronology was in the War of the Lance trilogy (The original three). He lived through that conflict (sort of…we’ll get to that in a bit), and became another significant pain for the heroes in the so-called “twins trilogy” that focuses on Raistlin and Caramon…and the short one whose name starts with a “T”.…

Read more

This article was first broadcast in Episode Two Hundred and Twenty Four on 7th September 2022. Note: This article was adapted from an episode script, and so there may be parts that don’t flow well when read, because they were initially designed for broadcast. Falling in D&D is something that’s often overlooked. For it to do a significant amount of damage the fall has to be from a rather high starting point, and unfortunately a lot of scenarios don’t have a great deal of verticality to them. Part of that is often practical; if you play in a game that uses minis on a tabletop or if you’re playing in a Virtual environment that’s top down rather than isometric, conveying height can be difficult. Also, many locations follow the Star Wars school of architecture and interior design; either there are small drops or minor changes in the landscape that are…

Read more

This article was first broadcast in Episode Two Hundred and Twenty Three on 31st August 2022. Note: This article was adapted from an episode script, and so there may be parts that don’t flow well when read, because they were initially designed for broadcast. Genasi are one of the more esoteric playable races in D&D, which is saying something given that giant frog and tortoise people are options. Like a number of the more unusual racial options in D&D, the genasi came about once planar travel, and Planescape in particular, became a major fixture of D&D. Possibly due to the gender makeup of TSR in the late 80s and early 90s, it was apparently assumed that if people were able to find exotic beings from other planes, one of the first orders of business would be to…how shall I put this…test biological compatibility. In 2nd edition, if a human got…

Read more

This article was first broadcast in Episode Two Hundred and Twenty One on 10th August 2022. Note: This article was adapted from an episode script, and so there may be parts that don’t flow well when read, because they were initially designed for broadcast. Demogorgon has gotten a lot of press lately and regularly promotes himself as the Prince of Demons and the strongest, baddest demon in the Abyss. But if you ask the being on the street it’s actually much more likely they’ll have heard of one of his main rivals. Orcus is opposite to Demogorgon in a lot of ways, both in the real world and in lore. He’s also a fascinating character to track through the history of the game because his star, or at least his skull-topped wand, has waxed and waned in popularity a lot through the years. Like Demogorgon, Orcus has the distinction of…

Read more

10/198