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Made in us
Member of the Ethereal Council




USA

That would be interesting. I feel like I already get that reaction though. Every time we finish a fight, when I say "I want to scavenge the bodies for anything useful" and the DM says "those femurs are pretty flexible, you could probably make a short bow out of them" *que mix of laughter and weird looks for the other players*

Another thing I thought of was replacing my armor with bone/leather/whatever I scavenge up, but maybe keeping a few pieces of metal here or there as a reflection the dual nature of his skillset. Then whenever we run into a more traditional Druid, maybe they do a double-take "what the feth are you wearing"

   
Made in ca
Krazed Killa Kan




Monarchy of TBD

https://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/features/warriors-3900-year-old-suit-of-bone-armour-unearthed-in-omsk/

Point your DM at this. Made from common, low level badguys, you could probably treat it as scale mail- once you upgrade to bones from inherently magical creatures, it could 'scale' up from there!

Like you said, totally fitting for lizardfolk.

Klawz-Ramming is a subset of citrus fruit?
Gwar- "And everyone wants a bigger Spleen!"
Mercurial wrote:
I admire your aplomb and instate you as Baron of the Seas and Lord Marshall of Privateers.
Orkeosaurus wrote:Star Trek also said we'd have X-Wings by now. We all see how that prediction turned out.
Orkeosaurus, on homophobia, the nature of homosexuality, and the greatness of George Takei.
English doesn't borrow from other languages. It follows them down dark alleyways and mugs them for loose grammar.

 
   
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

I would be pretty happy with a bone alternative to full plate, particularly if it involved hunting exotic beasts for their bones.

   
Made in us
Committed Chaos Cult Marine






 Red Harvest wrote:
The author of this story has a long standing history of animosity to Gary Gygax, and to D&D, at least the original game. I would not trust a word she wrote. She very much has an agenda.

She's also not much for fact checking. Kuntz published his book already, late last year, IIRC. He has a tell-all book planned too. I'd bet there are plenty of other errors in this article. It makes for an amusing read, if nothing else.

She wrote a strange piece on Gail Gygax, Gary's widow not long ago. here. https://kotaku.com/fantasys-widow-the-fight-over-the-legacy-of-dungeons-1833127876

Her dislike of Gygax, a relevant screenshot
Spoiler:





Why anyone would trust anything written on Kotaku, let alone from Cecelia who has a long history of just harping on Gary. Not that I think Gary doesn't deserve some of it. But, yeah.

Anyways,

So my group has requested a one off session on Halloween, and I am considering trying to run a survival game with all kinds of nasty monsters, skeletons and ghosts. The idea is that a medium sized village has been overrun by the servants of a trio of necromancers, long though defeated by an ancient order of knights. Every year, for one night the town gets overrun by the horros of this trio as they attempt to retake what was once theirs. The players will have to successfully defend the town and will have 24 hours to prepare for the onslaught. Encounters will come in waves, along with some fun triggered events!

If the players can survive all 10 waves, they get the chance to end forever the necromancers and their plans. If they fail, however, their characters are consumed into the armies of the necromancers. They will have to wait until Halloween 2020 to try again!

Thoughts?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/09 20:12:13


 
   
Made in us
Member of the Ethereal Council




USA

I think it's a cool idea, especially if the players can make use of terrain, traps, and maybe some hirelings. I'd enjoy playing around with that kind of one shot idea.

And if they lose, then their characters become the 10th wave next year

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/09 21:21:48


   
Made in us
Committed Chaos Cult Marine






 LordofHats wrote:
I think it's a cool idea, especially if the players can make use of terrain, traps, and maybe some hirelings. I'd enjoy playing around with that kind of one shot idea.

And if they lose, then their characters become the 10th wave next year


I rolled 8 Characters at level 1 and then made character sheets for each one from level 1 to level 7 and gave each one a unique activated or passive ability. The game will consist of 8 waves, with the 8th wave being a ginormous boss fight.

Between each wave they get a short rest, and all abilities that say 1/day or long rest are changed to 1/wave and short rest.

The characters will be able to collect blood gems from monsters among other treasure during the waves, which they can spent at a wizards table in the inn they are defending between the round. The Mad Wizard will conjure random items off a table that includes awesome and crappy items at random.
   
Made in us
Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

An interesting scenario. You'll have to post a write up about how it goes.

 
   
Made in hk
Mekboy Hammerin' Somethin'





USA

This is a little similar to Togusa's question from two pages ago, but..

I'm curious if everyone would like to share how they handle when the party manages to (or is about to) bypass a part of the campaign. This is probably more applicable to those of us who run the premade modules than the homebrew DMs.

When my party found a way to bypass a large section of "Lost Mines of Phandelver" I was tempted to railroad them as they were skipping the part I was prepared for and had spent weeks making the models and terrain for. It didn't seem right though, and I felt they should get to skip the stuff since they were clever enough. They spent a lot of time exploring, and the session ran out of time during a random encounter. To get them some XP, and fill the void in the adventure module for the direction they were taking, I added some oneshots to encounter along the new route.

Would anyone like to share when this kind of thing happened to them when DMing, how they handled it, and/or advice to other DMs on what you find best for this kinds of situations?

   
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

I think for a terrain making DM this is very hard to deal with. Before I painted minis and made terrain, I was pretty unconcerned if players skipped something I had planned. Now, epsecially if it is a large chunk of content, it might be many hours of work and I will be disappointed that I do not get to show off my stuff.
An example from my campaign- when the players finished the first arc of the campaign they were discussing what to do next and decided to explore the ruined city nearby. I spent weeks painting minis and writing up the city ruins in detail, drawing maps by hand and all that. We came back after the holiday and they just changed their minds and went north into the mountains instead. I had to paint a pile of stuff on short notice. Or more recently we were running a dungeon and they said they would just leave the dungeon and go elsewhere (this was a short, dungeon focused "break" from the main campaign). I said fine, but the campaign ends then and I will be taking an extended break to work on the main campaign.

It really sucks. In every case, I have just rolled with the punches.
I do have some ideas about how to make it suck less though.
- Resolve to re-use the content later. I will run that ruined city, all the work is done for it now, so it is not going anywhere. Sometime in the next year or two I will run it.
- Make your terrain and so on in a way that means it can be used in multiple scenarios. I know that you craft a lot of set pieces and I think the stuff you make is fantastic. But those set pieces might be able to be used in other scenarios too, and then you would not feel that it was "wasted" work. That is why I put a lot of effort into making things modular or dual use at least.
- When reading adventures, try to identify points where players can skip, and focus your prep elsewhere. Do not make an elaborate set up for something the players are likely to skip.


The last thing I can say is, if the players do not have a good mental picture of your world you could potentially move an encounter so that they run into it anyway. I think this is unsatisfying and risky because if the players catch on they will feel very annoyed that their clever planning is for naught. But there might be cases where it is possible to do that without causing that reaction.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2019/09/17 12:44:35


   
Made in us
Focused Fire Warrior




United States

 Syro_ wrote:
This is a little similar to Togusa's question from two pages ago, but..

I'm curious if everyone would like to share how they handle when the party manages to (or is about to) bypass a part of the campaign. This is probably more applicable to those of us who run the premade modules than the homebrew DMs.

When my party found a way to bypass a large section of "Lost Mines of Phandelver" I was tempted to railroad them as they were skipping the part I was prepared for and had spent weeks making the models and terrain for. It didn't seem right though, and I felt they should get to skip the stuff since they were clever enough. They spent a lot of time exploring, and the session ran out of time during a random encounter. To get them some XP, and fill the void in the adventure module for the direction they were taking, I added some oneshots to encounter along the new route.

Would anyone like to share when this kind of thing happened to them when DMing, how they handled it, and/or advice to other DMs on what you find best for this kinds of situations?



Mine wasn't this extreme, but I had used the 4th ed City Tiles box to create a big layout of a city for a large chase scene/combat encounter and my players were like "We already got paid. If the guy that hired us gets mugged. its not our problem" So they didn't chase after the people.

I was running an original campaign. So it wasn't difficult to just readapt. Flip over the tiles and use the sewer side for a "where did the bad guys go?" mission.
   
Made in hk
Mekboy Hammerin' Somethin'





USA

Thanks for sharing Da Boss and balmong. It is a real pain when players annouce their intentions and then change their minds next session after you spend so much time preparing. Thanks for the advice D Boss, and balmong, I'm glad what your players did was minor and that you were able to role wit it so well.

   
Made in us
Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

Syro_, you need to be prepared for the unexpected player decisions. This means planning to improvise. Exploration is one of the pillars of 5e, no? Pre-made adventures are starting points. You do not need to follow them exactly. Take notes about the session, especially things you improvise, and make adjustments to the campaign. Things that they were supposed to encounter may move on to other areas, for example.

Bear in mind, I started playing in '78 -- The blue book and then the 3 LBBs -- so my ideas about how to play, and Dm'ing are very much of the Old School.

Best advise for improv skills: read a lot of Fantasy and Sci-Fi to get ideas and just keep them in your head, or note them. The 5e DMG has a whole list of books worth reading, and some crap too.

 
   
Made in us
Dominating Dominatrix






I avoid minis and tiles for exactly this reason.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in gb
Mekboy Hammerin' Somethin'





Dorset, England

My DM has a box of pretty generico miniatures rather than getting specials for each encounter, if those little goblin minatures happen to be kobalds or boglings that day then no problem!
   
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

I think there is a pretty strong argument for avoiding tiles and minis for that reason, yeah. I played for years without, and only started in recent years from a desire to get some use out of my minis since I had stopped wargaming.

I think it is important to be able to just roll with theatre of the mind when needs be, and not to sweat it too much. The players quickly adjust in any case.

   
Made in us
Focused Fire Warrior




United States

Now that I have the set up to just display digital maps on the table. I just have a big library of generic maps that I can use for any unplanned combat encounters. So the payers messing with my plans doesn't matter too much.
   
Made in gb
[MOD]
Et In Arcadia Ego





Canterbury

Some fights are just described, some are roughly sketched out on a whiteboard/similar.

Sometimes I print off a picture or a map .

If they're exploring a dungeon use tracing paper and sketch it out as they explore.


on the subject of maps

https://campaignwiki.org/gridmapper.svg

only had a little play around with it but might be handy for some old school maps.

The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn't; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all
We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us. We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them, and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what we wish we could be.
One reason a good humanities education is important for computer scientists is that a familiarity with Faust is useful for understanding how privacy policies work.
 
   
Made in us
Stealthy Warhound Titan Princeps




 Red Harvest wrote:
Syro_, you need to be prepared for the unexpected player decisions. This means planning to improvise. Exploration is one of the pillars of 5e, no?


It isn't, no. The 'Pillars' thing was going to be a series of modular rules (and rulebooks) that they talked about producing during the playtest for 5e. It never actually materialized, and exploration and the like have some handwaved 'rules' covered vaguely by skill and ability checks.

The sum total of exploration rules for 5e cover not quite 2 pages in the DMG (there is a half page picture) and cover travel pace (mostly in hexes and squares, with two brief asides for miles, one of which is only for flight and magical movement), opposed stealth vs perception checks (for groups trying to sneak up on each other) and tracking DCs for snow/mud, dirt and bare stone. That's it.

Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
Made in us
Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

Actually Voss, it is. A quick search will turn up all sorts of things, including this Unearthed Arcana article from Mike Mearls, https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/unearthed-arcana/3pillarxp


 
   
Made in us
Stealthy Warhound Titan Princeps




Ah. One Mearls' unfinished back-of-a-napkin playtest articles. Which... just gives XP based on how much money happens to be in the location? That's not at all helpful.
And similar XP for rolling high when roll-playing social interactions. Huzzah.

The former is a vague callback to the old GP brought home = XP of old editions, but it doesn't give you any rules at all for actually running exploration of any kind.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/09/29 01:41:58


Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
Made in hk
Mekboy Hammerin' Somethin'





USA

Thanks for all the responses, everyone

   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Voss wrote:
but it doesn't give you any rules at all for actually running exploration of any kind.


What sort of rules are you actually looking for, though?

Between Survival, Perception, Investigation and History you have the necessary skillset for exploring, and with tool proficiency, physical skills and the players' own nous, they're equipped to overcome the challenges of a location or region. You can do this as off-the-cuff checks or a more structured Skill Challenge a la 4e, but either way, you've got what you need to cover the act of exploration and discovery. The DMG gives info on travel speeds and dangers in various environments, to set up random or prepared encounters. The monster books are full of lore to tie monsters into various locations as more than combat encounters.

I honestly don't see what part of exploration isn't covered by the tools the game already gives you. I know I favour going as mechanics-light as possible and others do prefer more robust systems, but even then in this instance I really don't see what more explicit rules could actually add.

   
Made in us
Dominating Dominatrix






 Paradigm wrote:
Voss wrote:
but it doesn't give you any rules at all for actually running exploration of any kind.


What sort of rules are you actually looking for, though?

Between Survival, Perception, Investigation and History you have the necessary skillset for exploring, and with tool proficiency, physical skills and the players' own nous, they're equipped to overcome the challenges of a location or region. You can do this as off-the-cuff checks or a more structured Skill Challenge a la 4e, but either way, you've got what you need to cover the act of exploration and discovery. The DMG gives info on travel speeds and dangers in various environments, to set up random or prepared encounters. The monster books are full of lore to tie monsters into various locations as more than combat encounters.

I honestly don't see what part of exploration isn't covered by the tools the game already gives you. I know I favour going as mechanics-light as possible and others do prefer more robust systems, but even then in this instance I really don't see what more explicit rules could actually add.


You could have regional event tables that are more than combat encounters. You can have wear and tear on the players for pushing too hard and adding levels of exhaustion. You can rules for those skill checks resulting in slow downs, getting lost, turns of good luck, etc etc...

Lots of things can be done with exploration. Mainly whats lacking is the not combat things.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

I shan't go on too much as you and I have had this discussion before and I don't think we're changing each other's minds , but is that not already catered for or obvious? Penalties for failing skill checks is surely no different to the usual implementation of such checks? Exhaustion kicking in after extended or harsh travel is exactly what that rule is for.

More specific random tables I'll grant you could be useful if you like such things, but for me at least it's just as easy to prepare specific themed events and encounters for a session in that particular environment based on the lore from monster/setting books or whatever.

More information and guidance is always good, but specific rules for this just strikes me as largely redundant.

   
Made in us
Stealthy Warhound Titan Princeps




Wasn't a problem for past editions- there were quite a few rules (and entire books) centered around exploration rules.

Not sure what you mean by penalties for failing skill checks. Beyond not succeeding, does 5e even have penalties for failure?

If so, shouldn't there be guidelines somewhere?


Off the cuff and rules light is, basically, my problem with it. I want consistency in my games and if I'm paying for a rule set, I expect them to do the work. If they're not, I don't need anything they produce.

And 5e still has the 4e problem- if it isn't combat, there is very little (or no) meat on the bones.

Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
Made in us
Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

 Paradigm wrote:
I shan't go on too much as you and I have had this discussion before and I don't think we're changing each other's minds
I see that you are familiar with the internet

5e, at least the core books were intended as rules light, so AD&D levels of hand-holding were never going to happen. Although, quite a bit of the AD&D rules were there to set up for domain play. I speak of 1e AD&D. I don't know much about 2e, other than I disliked quite a bit about 30 years ago.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least to learn that WotC plans a splatbook for exploration, or expects a 3rd party publisher like Kobold Press to publish something. However,it's coming on 5 years since release, so maybe there never will be such a splatbook.

Now what 5e really needs:
1. Good morale rules
2. Good henchman/hireling rules. -- the sidekick rules in The Essentials box are Meh.
3. Good rules for running away from combats, evasions and pursuits. What is there now is piss poor. It's due in no small part to the really " basic" movement rates, among other things.

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Voss wrote:

Not sure what you mean by penalties for failing skill checks. Beyond not succeeding, does 5e even have penalties for failure?

If so, shouldn't there be guidelines somewhere?


I mean, the narrative moves forward and there are (presumably) consequences for the failures. If you're trying to find Location X and you totally mess up the Survival check* then you're either going to take longer to get there, or not get there at all. That in turn means other individuals you might be racing to that location get there first and begin to achieve their goals. It might mean you're forced to camp in a less safe or harsher area, at greater risk of exhaustion or coming under attack while you rest. It might mean nothing at all, if there aren't any particular stakes to that specific check, though that's unlikely.

The point is that while the rules might not say 'you lose 5xp and take a point of Exhaustion if you fail to navigate using Survival', the simple nature of trying do achieve something (ie. making a check) means that if you don't achieve that, there will be some consequence. It is the job of the DM to determine what those consequences are, as is relevant to the situation, narrative and factors in play. On the most basic level, adjudicating the effects of success and failure is what the DM is for, and I don't see how a rule that says 'failing X check in Y terrain results in Z effect' actually helps there.

Out of curiosity though, could you suggest the kind of rule you think would actually make exploration more interesting?



*incidentally, I do think Geography or Navigation should be parted out from Survival as a separate skill.




Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Red Harvest wrote:

3. Good rules for running away from combats, evasions and pursuits. What is there now is piss poor. It's due in no small part to the really " basic" movement rates, among other things.


Perhaps the one actual mechanic I'd like to see added to 5e is an update/reintroduction of Skill Challenges for exactly this sort of thing (whilst also having far wider utility for anything from pitched battles to social stealth). They're the perfect midpoint betweem the structure and tension of initiative-based combat and the freedom of non-combat interactions that makes those sorts of chases/action sequences much more interesting and compelling.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2019/09/29 19:27:24


   
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress/43568/roleplaying-games/game-structures-addendum-system-matters

This is an interesting article that explains how the rules for certain kinds of play have atrophied from the game over the years. I think it helps explain why some older gamers are at times a little let down with 5e, even though it is a great system and probably my favourite overall.

   
Made in us
Dominating Dominatrix






 Paradigm wrote:
Voss wrote:

Not sure what you mean by penalties for failing skill checks. Beyond not succeeding, does 5e even have penalties for failure?

If so, shouldn't there be guidelines somewhere?


I mean, the narrative moves forward and there are (presumably) consequences for the failures. If you're trying to find Location X and you totally mess up the Survival check* then you're either going to take longer to get there, or not get there at all. That in turn means other individuals you might be racing to that location get there first and begin to achieve their goals. It might mean you're forced to camp in a less safe or harsher area, at greater risk of exhaustion or coming under attack while you rest. It might mean nothing at all, if there aren't any particular stakes to that specific check, though that's unlikely.

The point is that while the rules might not say 'you lose 5xp and take a point of Exhaustion if you fail to navigate using Survival', the simple nature of trying do achieve something (ie. making a check) means that if you don't achieve that, there will be some consequence. It is the job of the DM to determine what those consequences are, as is relevant to the situation, narrative and factors in play. On the most basic level, adjudicating the effects of success and failure is what the DM is for, and I don't see how a rule that says 'failing X check in Y terrain results in Z effect' actually helps there.

Out of curiosity though, could you suggest the kind of rule you think would actually make exploration more interesting?



*incidentally, I do think Geography or Navigation should be parted out from Survival as a separate skill.




Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Red Harvest wrote:

3. Good rules for running away from combats, evasions and pursuits. What is there now is piss poor. It's due in no small part to the really " basic" movement rates, among other things.


Perhaps the one actual mechanic I'd like to see added to 5e is an update/reintroduction of Skill Challenges for exactly this sort of thing (whilst also having far wider utility for anything from pitched battles to social stealth). They're the perfect midpoint betweem the structure and tension of initiative-based combat and the freedom of non-combat interactions that makes those sorts of chases/action sequences much more interesting and compelling.


The issue is those skill checks are binary. You succeed at DC x skill check and gain y amount of ground or fail and don't move at all. There are no degrees of success or rules to implement degrees of success. You should be able to make ground but gain exhaustion. Or loose ground because you got lost and have to reestablish you heading. Or succeed so well you made it farther then you thought you would in the day.


These are my opinions. This is how I feel. Others may feel differently. This needs to be stated for some reason.

 JohnHwangDD wrote:

The Nazis were right. It's better to be a Nazi than a fan.

Thank you for getting me on the side of Milo and the Nazis.

 
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK


You succeed at DC x skill check and gain y amount of ground or fail and don't move at all.


Only if the DM decides that failure means you all stand there looking at a map for 6 hours of would-be travel... It's just as likely that the DM decides that the failure means you take twice as long to reach your destination, or reach a different destination, or loop round in a circle. The rules tell you how to determine whether something succeeds or fails, but it's the DM that has total control over how those successes or failures are reflected.

As for degrees of success/failure, it's a fair point, if we're talking letter of the rules. My counterpoint would be that you've put forward an alternative and more interesting way of doing things in the space of a couple of sentences, so is that not problem solved?

I imagine a lot of DMs do that sort of thing subconsciously anyway, using checks not just as a binary pass/fail state and taking the roll as a measure of how well a thing is done or not done. It might not be there in the letter of the rules, but it makes perfect sense that, say, a player who rolls a 25 to recall information in, say, a History check, gets more than the player who rolled a 15. Both pass the check, but there's absolutely no barrier to the DM giving the former player more information than the latter. To me, at least, that all comes into the adjudication of success and failure.

There is perhaps a pertinent point here about how that's essentially received wisdom/common sense/meta-level interpretation of the mechanics which is different from the game itself on paper. As the article Da Boss linked says, the rules as presented and as they exist in the heads of players and DMs are entirely different things, though I don't really see that as a bad thing. If, for instance, attributing degrees of success or failure to RAW binary checks isn't in the text, but is often employed by DMs anyway (because they see other people do it, or it's common sense to them), that's not really a problem to my mind. That's just people taking the game into their own hands, which is something 5e especially is constantly encouraging its users to do.

Some might take the 'license' to hack and alter the rules as a cop-out, but I take it as more of a statement of intent. WotC expect people to mess with this stuff to play the version of the game they want to play, and the fewer prescriptive rules exist the easier this is to do. It's far easier to add stuff to a ruleset yourself than it is to work around omitting parts of it.

   
 
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