Tag: Druid

D&D Alignments – Chaotic Evil

D&D Alignments – Chaotic Evil

We’re wrapping up our D&D alignments today with your most evil character as we look at Chaotic Evil. Now, I say most evil, but I don’t think that it has to be, I think that when people want to play that really evil character, though,…

D&D Alignment: True Neutral

D&D Alignment: True Neutral

The alignments are interesting because, in the middle you have this state of both being neutral on the good and evil axis and the law and chaos axis. And I don’t know that I have the greatest grasp on what this true neutral position is…

D&D Alignments – Neutral Good

D&D Alignments – Neutral Good

Neutral is an interesting position to talk about when it comes to Dungeons and Dragons characters. I mainly have a harder time nailing down what I think it is and how you use it in role playing.

I think, the best way that I can describe neutral is that you’re going to do the best option in a given situation based off of the other part of your alignment. So a neutral good character is going to do what they perceive as the best option after they’ve thought about it. Neutral is going to lean away from the impulsive that you can get with both Chaotic and Lawful alignments. In the case of a neutral good character, if they are in a just land, they are going to appear fairly lawful, because the laws are just. However, they aren’t basing their decision off of the law being there, they are basing off of what they believe to be good in the given situation.

Image Source: D&D Beyong

This is going to create a more introspective character, which is going to be better for a character who is less combat focused. The martial classes like fighter and barbarian aren’t going to be the best fits. And as normal, classes like rogue and warlock which can have a more chaotic bent to them, don’t fit the easiest. With that said, any class can be any alignment. I think the two classes that I would lean towards playing Neutral Good would be Druid and Monk.

For me, both the Druid and the Monk classes are those more focused on the long view of things. The druid is surrounded by nature which is going to do what is good for it, and when looking at how long a tree can live and how unchanging mountains are, a druid will take a longer view and more of a loo at what is good. And they are not just going to look at the good for the people living in the land, but also of the land itself. A monk has meditation and that calm and martial arts sort of feeling for their play style. While they can go out with a rush of action and hit you a lot, it seems more like their traditions are built around the discipline of learning those skills versus using them, so again it fits with that long view of figuring out what is good before taking any action.

Let’s look a little bit back at some of them that are less ideal? How could you make a fighter into a lawful good character? I think that it is not that difficult because you would have the jaded soldier who thought that the laws of the land were good, but then saw violence done in the name of those laws against those who were only guilty of not being from that land. While they understand that the sword can be a tool of justice, they weigh it out to determine if using the sword is going to be the just option and the good option or if there is another way. And while they might not themselves know how to do the other option or at least do it well, they can know that the sword is not the right option. The rogue is also fairly easy, because they can have a Robin Hood sort of mindset. They will only ever steal from someone that they know is evil. And they will only do so to improve the state of the common folk who are being oppressed, and not for their own riches.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Now, you still need to tie those things into why you’d go adventuring. Even the monk and druid. Generally you have to threaten something that they think is good. For a druid that might be their grove. For a fighter that might be a people that they see as innocents. If I were to play a neutral good character that would be the direction that I’d lean into it anyways. I’m sure that there are other ways to play a neutral good character that I haven’t mentioned yet.

If you have some interesting ideas for playing a neutral good character, leave them in the comments below. If you have played one, let me know how you did that, and what the story of your character was.

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D&D Alignment – What is Alignment?

D&D Alignment – What is Alignment?

I think this is the last big character creation piece that I haven’t touched on. I’ve previously done series of articles on the Classes, Backgrounds, and how to develop an interesting backstory. But I’ve only touched on the various alignments in passing. Some of that…

D&D Party – Congo Alignment

D&D Party – Congo Alignment

Final topic for things to think about with a party. We’re going to try and figure out what alignments you should have in your adventuring party. Probably a trickier subject because some people really don’t want an evil character with their good character, or they…

D&D Party – What Size To Party At?

D&D Party – What Size To Party At?

We’re back with some D&D. This time we’re looking at Party Dynamics and how you might want to create your party so that you feel like you’re a good part of the game.

The the first thing I’m going to to talk about is the size of the party. This means, how many players do you want around the table. Assuming everyone is controlling one character, which they should be, is there an ideal number?

Wizards of the Coast in their D&D books would suggest that 4 is a pretty strong number. It allows you to have the balanced party of a magic user, a healer, a tank, and a rogue-type character. That keeps you bases fairly covered for what you need in a game to do well against a lot of what a DM might throw at you.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

But do you need to have four players, can’t you go above four? Critical Role starts with eight players, if I remember correctly. And they consistently have a fairly high number of players, possibly seven most of the time, it’s been a long while since I watched. So you can certainly play with a larger number. You can also play with a lower number. I ran Dungeons and Flagons with 3 players for a long time, and often without that traditional combination.

The there are two things you need to know as a DM when you do that.

First, the math for encounters will change. Basically, the more people you have, the monsters you can throw at them, the less people you have, the less monsters you can throw at them. In the Dungeon Master’s Guide, they tell you how that math works. However, I recommend not doing the math yourself, you’re going to be doing enough math in the encounter anyways. Instead there’s this very handy Encounter Calculator that I found from http://dhmholley.co.uk. This is going to do the math for you so that you can see the XP budget that you could be using for different types of encounters. I believe that D&D Beyond has an encounter creator as well, and if you have a subscription for that, it would be great to use that.

The other thing, and this is more with the larger groups, but with larger groups as a DM, you need to keep everyone involved. It’s easy to simply pull a single person’s story and make it the biggest focal point and focus on that person who will interact with you the most. But you need to keep everyone involved and keep things moving at the table. One thing you’ll probably have to do is ask someone who hasn’t spoken up in a little bit, specifically, what they want to do, or what they think of a situation. Sometimes you’ll need to pull out that interaction. And that suggestion isn’t just for the DM, sometimes as a player you will have to do that to another player as well. But there will also be some people who, in combat, take up considerably more time than everyone else, so it feels like the focus is really on them. I would suggest implementing a rule (made to be used sometimes), where players have to have an action ready when you come around and if they don’t, they have a signature action that they can use without having to think about it. The reason I say this rule is made to be broken, because sometimes you’ll have a player who wants to target a certain bad guy or wonder about a situation, but they should still have a plan and something to fall back on.

With smaller groups, you can really focus in on each players story and give them all the spotlight from time to time. You can certainly run into the issue of focusing on one players story too much, but with less people, it’s easier to move around and engage everyone. The tricky thing with a smaller party is creating encounters. You might have a barbarian who is extremely adept at killing everything, so you might throw in something that is going to be able to hold up to him, but now is that going to just murder the wizard? Or maybe it’s resistant to magic because the wizard has been mind controlling and polymorphing everything, now does that mean you ruined the druids fun who casts smaller spells? I personally have kind of rotated combats so that sometimes the magic users have the advantage in the battle, and sometime the melee combatants do.

Image Source: Encounter Roleplay

So, what is the right number? I don’t think there is a right number, games can work well at higher numbers and lower numbers. Personally, I like running for a smaller group, 3-4 seems ideal to me. But for you, that might be a large group and having that dynamic is what you want. If you are just starting, I’d suggest starting with a smaller group and then working up to a larger group.

Do you have a preferred number of players to run a D&D game for? Or, as a player, do you have a preferred number of other players to play with?

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Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half-Orc

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half-Orc

Back into Dungeons and Dragons character races, here is one of the two half races, along with Half-Elf. The basic ideas is that it’s a half human and half orc, but there’s no real reason, other than that they are statted in a way that…

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Halflings

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Halflings

I’ve talked with Dwarves and Elves about how they were inspired by Lord of the Rings. But there aren’t any Halflings in Lord of the Rings. There are Hobbits, obviously. So how close are Hobbits to Halflings? Very close, Halflings are the fun loving, food…

Welcome to the Dungeon! – What is a Dungeon?

Welcome to the Dungeon! – What is a Dungeon?

Wait, there was a Dungeons and Dragons post yesterday, and there will probably be a Friday Night Dungeons and Dragons post tomorrow, so even more Dungeons and Dragons?

Yes!

Image Source: D&D Beyond

I wanted to talk about one half of Dungeons and Dragons, and that is the dungeon. I haven’t talked about dragons yet either, but that will be some time later. Instead, I wanted to talk about how you can build interesting dungeons in your D&D game if you want to use them. Dungeons aren’t something that I use that often, or at least what would be considered a dungeon traditionally.

So let’s define what a “dungeon” is for the sake of this article.

A Dungeon is any sort of building or location where the players need to get through it by progressing forward, either to a goal or an exit.

So that might seem wrong to you, you’re thinking of some labyrinth hidden deep under the ground in some remote area that has been long forgotten. That certainly is a dungeon, but a mad wizards tower climbing high into the air is a dungeon. A Minotaur’s labyrinth is also a dungeon. It could be the ruins of a city on the surface, or a druids grove that they’ve grown up to protect them.

All of these options really do want you to move forward or are likely to have something that you want at the end. You’re going to have to fight through monsters and deal with traps.

Let’s also talk some about what dungeons aren’t?

Dungeons aren’t a static thing. The old school dungeon was a collection of monsters and traps thrown together to create a challenge for the players. You’d have an orc in one room, a bugbear and some goblins in another room, a handful of drow the level down in the dungeon with a bunch of random traps and puzzles thrown in the middle of them.

Instead, Dungeons are living locations. While the current inhabitants might not be the original builders of the Dungeon, there is going to be a reason for the monsters to be there. Maybe there are goblins living on the upper levels, and some drow on the bottom levels of the dungeon, but they aren’t going to be living in rooms next to each other, they’d have killed each other. So maybe they would split up floors of a dungeon, leaving buffers between them. The same way, it’s going to have traps or puzzles, have the monsters figured out how to deal with them, or do they just avoid the section that has managed to squish members of the goblin tribe, so it makes where the trap is obvious to adventurers?

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Dungeons also aren’t there for no reason. Someone has built them, so they are going to have had an original purpose, which might be the same purpose as of now, but there was a reason. So there also has to be a reason why it is like it is now. But if you’re going to put a random wizard tower deep into the forest, there are going to be stories and legends about this place and a reason the wizard put it there for a reason.

So now that we’re all on the same page as to what a Dungeon is, let’s talk about what is going to come up after this?

Image Source: Wizards

We’re going to talk about the ecosystem of your dungeon and why that matters.

We’re going to talk about using puzzles in your dungeon and what that might do to a dungeon.

We’re going to talk about how traps work, and how you avoid bogging down your dungeon with traps.

We’re going to talk about why you’d use a dungeon in your game.

So join me in those upcoming articles as you think about building a dungeon for your game of Dungeons and Dragons.

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D&D Campaign Building: Magic

D&D Campaign Building: Magic

So a couple of days ago I started building out a D&D Campaign – the first part can be found here. I want to try and write on it and add in more things a couple of times a week at least, might be more…