Category Archives: Short Rest

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This article was first broadcast in Episode Eight on 17th January 2018. Ryu: Ok, I’ve fixed the spell, try the lights again Lennon: *click* Ahh, that’s bett–gah! *a crack of thunder, the sound of rain* Ostron: Hmm. That’s… ominous… although now I can barely see the script Ryu: Let me just cast the Light spell… Ostron: Much better! Last time, we discussed using weather as an encounter.  While this is one way to incorporate weather into a campaign, if your party members are all equipped with slickers +2 vs hailstones, forcewall umbrellas, and galoshes of dry socks, you might have overused the tactic just a smidge.  On the other hand, now that your players are paying attention to it, you can begin to expand the role that weather plays in your adventures beyond just weather encounters.  Since D&D is a storytelling game, it’s appropriate to look at how weather is…

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This article was first broadcast in Episode Seven on 10th January 2018. Ostron: It’s raining bears and frogs out there Lennon: Okay, the expression is cats and dogs and plate armor isn’t good in rain- Ostron: I’m going to stop you right there – look out the window. Weather: everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it. To be fair, most people can’t do anything about it…unless they’re the DM, in which case they can make it rain frogs for weeks because someone wanted frog’s legs for dinner. But aside from petty revenge and/or cheap laughs, it’s hard to know when or why to include weather in the game. In modern times, it’s largely demoted to be the bane of the commuter, but in earlier eras the prosperity of sailors, merchants, farmers, soldiers, and more depended heavily on the weather being cooperative. Since travel above-ground leaves the party…

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This article was first broadcast in Episode Six on 3rd January 2018. Lennon: Why does the break room wall have dry erase lines everywhere with some pictures of Duke Ellington, Elvis, and Christopher Lee from Star Wars? Ostron: Oh, yeah, we wanted to add some stuff to our campaigns and have it be authentic. Royalty! Kings, Princes, Dukes. I mean an evil baron- Ryu: Or Baroness! Ostron: -right trying to take over the kingdom is classic! But we wanted it to be authentic and we’re not used to the whole royalty, lines of succession thing. Lennon: Ryu, Ostron, I’m British. We’ve got this. Here’s your note sheet, here’s your note sheet…now, everyone follow along. We’ll have your Kings and Princes sorted out in no time.   What’s in a Name? When adding nobility and royal titles to D&D, the most common pattern is to have nobility named based on the…

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This article was first broadcast in Episode Five on 27th December, 2017. Ostron: Yeah, somebody’s been stealing lunches, so she’s taken to keeping it the vault. Lennon: …the vault?  Killer DM: Yes, you know, down the hall to the left, through the trap-filled corridor, over the pits filled with rabid vorpal weasels, in the mimic-filled chamber. Where you left your belovéd Killer DM hat, for “safe keeping”. So, continuing from last week, we’ll be looking at six more bonuses you can consider giving to your players… or applying to your own dice. We’ll look at the bonus, where it’s used, and look at the benefits and disadvantages of each one. So, without further ado… The 7th bonus is “Maximize”. Simply put, take whatever the maximum number your dice could potentially roll and that’s your result. In 5th edition, it’s used to determine starting hit points. Another place it’s used is…

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This article was first broadcast in Episode Four on 20th December, 2017. Lennon: Hey Ryu, what’ve you got there? Ryu: Oh this? It’s just a magic item I found in the Gnomish Workshop Lennon: Looks like a santa hat. Hmm, let’s see the item card: Hat of the Killer DM. When equipping this hat, make a constitution saving throw (DC15). On a failed save, the wearer becomes the Killer DM for the remainder of the segment. You may repeat the saving throw once per round. This sounds cursed. Ryu: I’m gonna put it on Lennon: That doesn’t seem wise—ok, you did it anyway. Ok, make a constitution saving throw… a 3. Really? Killer DM: Mwuahhahahaaa! Where is Ostron? He is late.   For our first bonus, we’ll look at one of the most common, the flat bonus: simply take your roll, and add a number to it, such as 1d8+2.…

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This article was first broadcast in Episode Three on 15th December, 2017. Lennon: Just to check, Ostron, you mean “Dying Characters”, right? Ostron: … suuuuuuuuuure. Most DMs know that only 10% of the reason you have a screen is to hide the notes of your nefarious plans from prying eyes of the players. Most of the time the screen allows you to avoid having a roadside bandit that wasn’t even supposed to make it to melee completely mutilate the level 1 bard because you rolled a critical hit followed by maximum damage. There are very different attitudes among groups and individual players about dying. There are also differences in opinion among Dungeon Master’s in how to respond. We’re going to quickly cover three general player attitudes toward character death, and three Dungeon Master approaches to killing playe–er, characters. Knights, Big Damn Heroes, and Roguelikes We’re going to group player’s attitudes…

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This article was first broadcast in Episode Two on 6th December, 2017. “You did well in your scouting, Sir Fluffykins, though I could have used less detail about that mouse’s nest you found,” Aristobulus grinned at his familiar. “Meow,” replied Sir Fluffykins wittily, because he was a cat and only had 3 intelligence. 5e’s Find Familiar is a useful spell, allowing a spellcaster to summon a magical animal companion to assist them in their adventuring, as well as letting the character partake in a fine storytelling and magical tradition going back millennia.  However, while many literary familiars are intelligent and capable of speech, 5e’s familiars are limited to the intelligence of the shape they take, which is to say animal intelligence. While this isn’t terribly limiting as far as game mechanics go, it makes it more difficult for the player to express the interplay between master and familiar.  Aladdin’s Jafar…

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This article was first broadcast in Episode One on November 29th, 2017. Lennon: So, you’ll have to forgive me. As a Brit, we don’t have “Thanksgiving” over here, so I’m not really familiar with it. When “Thanksgiving” comes up, what do you think of? Ryu: Druids! Ostron: Aarakocra! Lennon: I’ve got to be honest, that doesn’t seem quite right, but who am I to argue? I guess we’ll talk about Aarakocran Druids then… Aarakocra are a race of avians from the Elemental Plane of Air who were made available as a playable race in the Elemental Evil Player’s Companion.  Although gifted with the ability to fly, they suffer from a short lifespan, reaching maturity in only three years, while most die of old age by thirty.  On the Elemental Plane of Air, where nigh-immortal elementals and genies dwell in abundance, it’s hard to notice the difference; whether you live 70…

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