Tag: D&D

Dungeons and Dragons: A Great Experience

Dungeons and Dragons: A Great Experience

One of the parts of Dungeons and Dragons that people really love is leveling up their characters. You get more cool things that you can do almost every level or new spells you can use or even improved stats so that you can hit harder.…

Dungeons and Dragons: High vs Low Magic as a Player

Dungeons and Dragons: High vs Low Magic as a Player

I’ve previously posted about this (You can find it here), but that was from more of a world building aspect, if you’re playing in a game of Dungeons and Dragons, and your character is magical how does that affect how you might role play your…

Dungeons and Dragons – Picking Your Spells

Dungeons and Dragons – Picking Your Spells

You’ve now figured out what type of spell caster you want to be, so you have to go through and pick your spells and there are a lot of them to choose from. Good news, I’m here to help talk you through what you might want to consider when picking spells.

In my opinion, the best starting point is to look and determine if your character is a “support” or “attacker” character. Now, It’s possible to be a blend of both, and even if you lean towards being a support character, you should have at least an attack spell option, and if you’re an attacker, you should have some more support style spells for non-combat situations. It’s very tempting to go all in on either side, but there will be times when you need the other spells.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

For example, if you’re a support character and you’re in combat, you’re at the point where most of the party is down but the monster is mainly dead. If you take a good hit from the monster, you’re probably dead as well, and that would end the combat with you all losing the fight. You could get someone else back on their feet with a couple of hit points, but at this point in time, you’re more apt to survive an attack than they would be. Do you just do the support thing and heal someone, watch them get knocked out again, heal them again, and keep that up until you run out of spells? That doesn’t sound like that fun at the table, and it also doesn’t really sound like it’s going to win the combat for your adventuring party. So you can attack, but you didn’t take a good attack spell or any attack spells, so you’re kind of stuck just healing.

The big thing that’s happening in the scenario is that you’re creating a prolonged and possibly stalemated battle for a chunk of time. And while attacking might not be what your character would normally do, a good attack would potentially end that stalemate. But it’s going to cause people to have more fun at the table because it isn’t a cycle of revive, monster knocks out, revive, monster knocks out, and so on and so forth. Adding in attack spell doesn’t stop you from being mainly support, but it can keep the game moving and keep it more interesting. The same goes for the flip side, maybe you’re a fire wizard and you’re up against a dragon that is resistant to fire damage. First, your DM’s a bit of a jerk if it happens all the time, but now you’re out of combat, so what do you do? You can attack, but it won’t do as much, but if you had a support spell or two, you’d be able to still interact with the combat. Or, maybe you want to be the best in combat, why not have your signature attack spell(s) but then also have the ability to support yourself so that you can truly be the best in combat and not have to rely on others for that aid.

This is all good to think about when picking your spells, but not actually picking spells. Let’s go with a Wizard as an example like I did in a previous article on magic. Our Wizard is fairly smart, 16 intelligence, so we get start with 4 spells known and 3 cantrips at first level. We have 2 first level spell slots as well, and I want to be an attacking focused Wizard. I believe in calling down the powers of the elements to smite my enemies and I might like fire a bit too much.

When I’m looking at cantrips, I know for sure that I want to get at least one, if not two attacking cantrips out of the three. These, at low levels, are going to be my go to spells (and even at higher levels), so I want something that feels like a signature ability that I can theme my character off of, or that has fire, because I’m a pyro. So the first cantrip is going to be Fire Bolt, a good attack spell with really good range, 120 ft. That allows me, since I’m a wizard and am always going to have lower armor class and hit points, to be at a safe distance for attacking and not being attacked. The other attack one I’m going to take is Thunderclap, this one is a bit of a jerk spell, because it can hit my allies, but it’s an area of affect, so that is a nice way to hit a lot of creatures if need be. Finally, a utility cantrip of light, simple spell, even if I have darkvision, that doesn’t mean I can see in pitch black, so good utility for outside of combat. Now we’re onto the first level, and with four known spells at first level, I’m going to consider a couple more attack spells, but again, we’re a pretty quishy character, so I’m going to grab shield as a spell. That is going to help keep you up. Witch Bolt is a good ranged spell that does lightning damage. Longstrider is going to be my first enhancing spell for my abilities on the combat field with an extra 10 feet of movement. Magic Missile is then my final one, a spell that doesn’t do massive damage, but it will do consistent damage.

Image Source: D&D Beyong

Let’s break down what I picked, I’ve already done some why. Thunderclap and Fire Bolt both give me consistent spells to attack with. Witch Bolt and Magic Missile give me damage when I need a boost of damage. Magic Missile is the consistent damage when I need to finish everything off. The damage ones are definitely the most obvious spells, the others are just fairly obvious, but what I’m trying to create with my attacking wizard is a situation where I can keep out of range, Longstrider, boost my armor class to avoid an attack as needed, Shield, and be able to see outside of combat or even in combat if I’m fighting something with truesight or blindsight. But with so few spell slots available to me, I’m not going to use the first level spells for attacks all that often, it’ll mainly be for shield and then I’ll use my cantrips for attacking. There is a downside for that because cantrips aren’t as good for attack spells, but with a fairly high intelligence, it helps out the odds.

And, I only picked 4 of my 7 spells as attack spells. But even with that, I have a variety of damage, thunder, fire, lightning, and force, so I can get around most damage reductions. And while Fire Bolt will be my signature, the others have good utility for combat. Thunderclap has an area of affect, Magic Missile will never miss, and Witch Bolt can hang around for a while and continue to do damage. When I get to hire levels, I already have picked some utility damage spells, so I can focus in on more fire damage because I know that is going to be my signature element, but I have enough that I can still be effective if fire isn’t.

And when picking utility spells, I looked, besides the cantrip, as to what can boost my effectiveness in combat. Sure, I might want to use magic missile a one of my first level spells, but Longstrider allows me to avoid, which, again, I’m squishy, cause I’m a Wizard, and Shield is there for the same reason. I can’t be an awesome fighter if I’m constantly getting knocked out. At higher levels I’ll be able to improve upon those options as well with spells like Blur which make me even harder to hit.

I can flip this as well, and while I’d probably still keep a spell like Fire Bolt and Magic Missile (it’s kind of a signature of Dungeons and Dragons for a spell), I’d focus more on what can help other people. Longstrider on a Dwarf would allow them to charge into combat faster. Though, a Wizard probably isn’t the best support class out there, they do have some decent options as you get into higher levels. A class like Cleric would give you more support options.

When picking spells do you pick a variety of them or do you really focus in on attack spells or support? Have you every made a mistake with the spells that you’ve picked? I guess, that’s the last bit to write about for me, the mistakes and what what can mean. In Season 2 of Dungeons and Flagons the wizard picked a lot of weird attack spells, but they are were all area of affect spells, so that meant with two melee characters rounding out the party, he was always, when attacking, going to do damage to them as well. So thinking through your spells is important.

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Dungeons and Dragons: Warlocks as Spell Casters

Dungeons and Dragons: Warlocks as Spell Casters

One of the main Dungeons and Dragons spell casting classes is the Warlock, and Warlock is a popular class. It allows you to play an edgy sort of character, because you’ve made a deal with a demon, elder god, or high fey for some reason,…

Dungeons and Dragons: I Got That Magic In Me

Dungeons and Dragons: I Got That Magic In Me

So, it’s been a little while since I’ve written much about Dungeons and Dragons. But I did run a game not that long ago, and I got to thinking about all of the different types of magic in D&D and while I’ve talked about the…

Malts and Meeples – Drinking in D&D Character Creation Rush

Malts and Meeples – Drinking in D&D Character Creation Rush

Almost forgot to share this, it was a rush, but I go through nine different level 1 characters for Dungeons and Dragons. I was hoping that I could knock them out fast, but it took a little bit, but I got them done. And I demonstrated how you can use D&D Beyond to create your characters as well.

These will be a characters that I’m going to be using in a one shot. So I created a good variety of characters. I had a question asked that I missed last night, but basically, I didn’t go with two personality traits because I wanted to keep the characters more generic for a one shot.

The beer last night was from Indeed Brewery. Mexican Honey Light Lager. It’s a good beer and a nice light one. Not the best winter beer, but I wasn’t feeling a big and heavy beer last night.

Bottoms up!

Friday Night D&D – Looking for Love in Eberron Places

Friday Night D&D – Looking for Love in Eberron Places

So I just picked up the Eberron source book for fifth edition. And I’ve been waiting for it for a while. With the games that @evilsanscarne and @Mundangerous have run or played in that they talk about on the @TPTCast (Total Party Thrill) podcast, I…

Malts and Meeples: Drinking in D&D – Character Sheet Part 2

Malts and Meeples: Drinking in D&D – Character Sheet Part 2

Back with some D&D streaming, this is because I have a D&D game coming up this weekend, so I’m getting ready to generate some characters. This time, I’m looking at the rest of the character sheet, the spell and background pages, but also the traits,…

Win with the Min in D&D

Win with the Min in D&D

Yesterday’s article was about min/maxing a character. Just a quick recap, this is where you make the ideal build for your character so that you are the best at whatever area of the game you want to be in and have the most optimized build for your race, class, and background combo. This can be a fun way to play D&D, and provide a different type of challenge for the game.

However, you don’t have to play a min/maxed character when playing D&D, and I actually think that can lead to some better game play than if you do have min/maxed. The issue with min/maxed character can often lie with them being too good at everything and not having anything unique about them. A skilled player can role play a min/maxed character just fine so that they have depth and are a unique character, but they aren’t going to have as much to over come.

Image Source: Wizards

An example of a poorly min/maxed character is Robert Langdon from The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. In the book, he is figuring out all of these puzzles with no problem, he’s able to do fairly athletic things no problem. And for a long time, you don’t really think that he has any flaws. Then he has to get into a small car and you find out that he has claustrophobia, which is then “cured” the next page. Now, this is clearly an example of how not to min/max a character in a story so that you don’t end up removing anything interesting or unique or challenging for them. But the same holds true, in a world of magic and fantasy, when you have a character doesn’t naturally have some flaw, it’s easy to play them without flaw, and often times, without character because of that.

So instead of min/maxing the heck out of your character, you might want to go about creating a character who isn’t the ideal combination of things, but is still effective in the game. This gives them a true weakness and true strength in given situations. Let’s look at our Mountain Dwarf Fighter, the tank/fighter build that we did. Without using anything special, we were able to create a character that was going to be getting a lot of hit points each level and had a lot of armor class from the very early levels. Yes, they were weak-ish to magic, but they were meant more to deal with melee combats, and with their hit points, unless they are being mentally dominated, they are going to be tough to get out of a fight.

There are certainly other ways to bring in flaws and issues to the character for role playing purposes, we didn’t touch on the background items like Personality Traits, Flaws, Bonds, and Ideals, which I’ve done articles on previously. But those are limited to role playing for a character like our tank, and more likely than not, the person playing the tank would be there for the combat more than the social encounters anyways. So those things might be lost on the character sheet.

If, however, you wanted to create a more flawed tank, but still be a tank, you can certainly do that. When we created our tank, we gave them both solid dexterity and strength. The advantage of having both of those solidly stat’ed is that you can get into combat quickly and still hit well. Let’s say instead, for the tank, that they were actually a nerd growing up and loved brewing, keeping the Mountain Dwarf and Fighter in the mix and same equipment, we can just adjust the stats to make it a very different character.

If, instead, we keep the 14 in Constitution because it becomes a 16 with our racial bonuses, so that we still get our +3 to health each level until we hit our first ability score increase, where we can make it a four. Then, instead of doing strength and dexterity, we focus on intelligence and wisdom, we get a very different character. We still have 19 for our armor class and 13 HP at the first level, but we’re now not that great at hitting anything with a lower than average strength, since I put an 8 in there. That becomes a -1 for a modifier, though, we are proficient with the weapon, which gives us a +2 bonus for a +1 bonus overall, the damage output is just going to be bad. Now, you still have a character that can tank and is actually better at dealing with mental domination than our previous one was, but is worse at fighting.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

We’ve also created a character with a more unique backstory for role playing purposes. Why are they so good at deflecting punches and hits? Maybe they were bullied as a kid, and they never learned to fight, but instead they developed the skills to take a punch and not be affected by it, and that’s how they dealt with their bullies. That skill then translated well for them when they decided to go out adventuring to learn more about the world and find out information that they don’t know, because they can go around and if something tries to get them, they can still take a punch. That’s more of a unique character that easily comes out of the choices we made in not making a character with their ideal stats.

When you create characters, do you strive for a character that is the ideal at one thing, such as combat or social interactions, or do you seek to create a character with a more interesting story naturally built in?

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D&D to the Max and the Min

D&D to the Max and the Min

If you’ve been around pen and paper RPG players or computer game RPG players, you might have heard of a term called “Min/Maxing”. This is the practice of putting together a character that is the most efficient for what you need in a given game.…