Tag: Druid

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 […]

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 is because the alignment system can be somewhat controversial and can be used as a reason to be a jerk while playing. What I’m hoping to do with this series of articles is go through and show how you can use alignment in your game to inform your characters decisions.

Image Source: Wizards

So, let’s start, what is alignment?

Alignment is the moral touchstone for your character that has been laid out in Dungeons and Dragons and used some in other role playing systems to give you a better idea how to play your character. There are two axis for alignment, from good to evil and from lawful to chaotic, with neutral between both pairs, so you end up with nine different alignments.

When you create your character, you select one of these nine different alignments for your character. You can use that alignment as a filter to make the decisions for your character. And it’s possible during the game that your alignment will change, but that will be up to you and possibly your Dungeon Master if that happens. In most cases, going up from Neutral to Good or Evil to Neutral will be informed more by your Dungeon Master, but if you have a character that falls from Good to Neutral that’s something that can come from either direction.

How do you pick an alignment?

I personally think that it ties into what you want to do for your backstory a lot. The story you will create will help inform if you are a law abiding character or a character who is out to cause trouble. Your class can also determine some of that as well, though there are both Paladin and Cleric sub classes that allow you to play a fallen or evil version of both classes. However, normally both will align with Good or at least Neutral and generally both will lean more lawful while someone like a Rogue would be more chaotic.

If you don’t have an idea for a backstory, the Dungeons and Dragons backgrounds can help you pick out your alignment as some of the items that you roll, personality traits, flaws, bonds, and ideals will help inform that decision and give suggestions base off of which one you pick from the list or randomly roll.

But what does alignment really mean?

Image Source: D&D Beyond

This is where alignment is controversial. Some people use it as a crutch for their character to be a jerk. Something like a Chaotic Neutral Rogue stealing from party members would be an example of this. It might annoy everyone at the table, but if they can’t roll a high enough perception to catch her as she stealth’s and steals, there’s nothing that the players can do. Or the dumb Barbarian who gets bored as a Chaotic Neutral character and randomly picks fights, and then in the presence of the king decides to pick a fight. Players at time will say something along the lines of “It’s what my character would do because I’m chaotic neutral.” But really it’s more about wanting to play that jerk character and have the spotlight. The same can be the case for the Lawful Good Paladin who won’t go into the tavern because they don’t drink, who will stab anyone if they do anything wrong, but then will also refuse to go along with any plan that might be a little bit morally grey. Or it would be the true neutral druid, so neutral on both the lawful and chaotic scale as well as the good and evil scale, who then refuses to get involved in anything and won’t latch onto they are neutral and just at peace with the world.

But that’s the extreme. When alignment works well, you use it to inform some decisions and a touchstone for your character in the long run. That means that your Chaotic Neutral rogue might not steal from the party, though borrowing something from someone they don’t like and forgetting to return it, that’s a possibility. Or a Paladin might look the other way when the rogue does steal a bunch of money, and even take a share that they then donate to the church. But those are all fairly specific examples still, I think more generally, alignment is what you use when you aren’t sure which of two options or more that your character would take. Instead of agonizing over a long time, if you can’t come to a fast decision, you look at see which options aligns most closely with your alignment. Using it that way, you can have a fully developed character, as even in real life, some people might be lawful good when it comes to one area and chaotic neutral in another area of their life. So don’t let your alignment stop you from playing like you want.

So what’s coming next in this series on alignment?

We’re going to go through the nine different spots on the alignment matrix. I’m going to do an article on each one of those so you can get a better idea of what they mean and how you can use them in your role playing.

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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 […]

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 makes sense for that, that you couldn’t have it be half another race as well, you’d just have to make a few minor tweaks to it.

Image Source: Wizards

When playing a half orc, like the Tieflilng, you have to know that you’re going to stick out like a sore thumb as you’re going to be larger than most any human or smaller than most any orc. It’s really a race that is stuck between two things. I think a half-orc adventuring makes a lot of sense for that reason, because you don’t fit into human society, you might take up adventuring or mercenary work to get into a situation where you can become a hero, or people like you because you are big and strong. And with getting stat bumps to strength and constitution, you are certainly big and strong.

Half-Orcs, beyond their strength score bump are really made for melee characters. They get two abilities, relentless endurance and savage attack that make them great at going into the middle of things. Relentless endurance allows them, once per day, when they would have hit 0 HP, they go back up to 1 HP. And savage attack means that when they strike with a melee weapon and get a critical hit, they do an extra die of damage which means that they hit even harder. Things like Champion Fighter and Barbarian really are where the Half-Orc is going to shine.

When role playing one, it is really about playing a character who is out of place. In a human society, people are going to be scared of you because orcs are a monstrous race. In orc society, you are going to be a weakling and a liability on their hunting and raiding parties. Those things are reason enough to play against type if you want to. Since you would be stuck with menial tasks in an orc tribe, maybe you’ve spent more time honing magic or some other skills such as scouting, since you’d be the smallest orc. Or in human society, maybe you joined a religious order as a way to show that you aren’t just a big brutish monster.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Let’s hop into some backstory ideas, as I think there are interesting game elements that you can tie into a half-orc.

Times were difficult in your tribe and being the child of an orc who loved a human was even more difficult. When a drought hit and all the animals left the area and food was scarce, you were the first to be kicked out of the tribe. You were small for your tribe and you couldn’t hunt as well. You had to make it on your own if you wanted to survive, and you learned to live off of the land better than your old tribe had. Now you’ve been doing that for several decades, and the drought has come back every ten years, to the date and you are worried about the land you live on and that something more might be happening than just a weather pattern.
Class: Druid
Background: Hermit/Outland
Alignment: Neutral/Neutral Good

They said that you were lucky, besides your larger size, you don’t look that unlike a human compared to other half orcs. That made you a perfect choice to join the kings guard, someone who is stronger than the other guards. That worked out great and you grew to be one of the favorites of the King. You followed his rules to the letter, but the other guards became jealous and planted fake letters from you to the prince/princess and had those shown to the King. As a lowly kings guard and a half orc at that, you were kicked out and banished from the kingdom. Little did the guards know that you actually do care a lot about the prince/princess and they care for you. Now you have a new goal, to get back to them.
Class: Fighter
Background: Soldier
Alignment: Lawful Neutral/Chaotic Good

You have a very nice job working for the Black Coat Mercenary guild. They pay you well and give you a spot where you feel like you fit in. You mainly go on missions that are to squash insurrections or other things like that, bolster a kingdom when needed. You aren’t supposed to have any attachments, but when you saw that one mission was supposed to have you kill a well known wizard who was helping a town survive from a powerful kingdom that wanted that land, you decided not to do your mission. Instead you helped the wizard and the townfolk move miles away and relocate then you went and burned down the village. But now that wizard has popped up again under a new name, and you are worried that your secret is going to come out and your standing with the guild will be ruined and you might become their next target.
Class: Rogue/Fighter/Ranger/Barbarian
Background: Soldier/Criminal
Alignment: Lawful Good/Neutral Good

Have you played an half-orc before? Were there anythings that you leaned into with playing a half-orc? Would you play on of these backstories?

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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! I wanted to talk about one half of Dungeons and Dragons, and that is the dungeon. […]

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 often than that.

Now, I will say that this is a bit more granular than I might build, but I do think it’ll be a good exercise for me as I look at getting back into DM’ing after a few weeks off. I also think that a little bit more detailed approach, especially up front, will help me know what to do next in the story.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

But let’s talk about Magic!

Where we left off in the previous article was some world building. I had determined that I wanted to play in a smaller location than world hopping adventurers. So it was a trade town known for mining granite for nobles. So the question is, how much magic would there be in a town like that?

I think, starting looking at it, there would probably be a fair amount of magic from whatever temples are there. So there is going to be a fair amount of divine magic, I’d think. So you’d have your paladins and clerics who are casting some spells and probably are there primarily as healers.

I also think, because it’s a fairly remote area, you’d likely have some druids around as well. While they might not be a part of the normal society, they likely would be around the fringes, taking care of the woodland creatures, and probably butting heads with the town in some ways. If the mining starts to displace creatures or destroy groves, they likely would take up issue with them.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Warlocks seem to naturally show up in most D&D and fantasy RPG societies, because as long as there is someone who has a lot of power, there are people who are going to be willing to make a deal with them for better or worse, and the same with Sorcerers because a Sorcerers magic happens more naturally and flows out of them without the training you need to be a wizard.

That brings us to the one that is the biggest question, would there be a wizard in the town? Wizards are generally very learned, and I don’t think even a medium sized trading town, like the one that I’m building, would have a wizarding school in it. That education wouldn’t be something that is highly valued. So anyone who does show that ability would either get limited teaching from some voodoo style of wizard, which there might be one or two in the area, but that would be about it, or they would get sent off to a larger city to learn. Obviously, that would only be the children of some of the richer people in the town, the poorest would likely only get that limited training focused more on controlling the magic than anything else.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

However, for this campaign, I think that there is one person in the town who is a powerful wizard, and they have a tower. I see it as part of the towns political structure. There’s the noble who is in charge of the town, but the wizard, who is kind of a recluse has a lot of sway over the town as well, because they are powerful and people are scared of them. This can be a solid starting point for conflict in the story. The wizard says one thing and the noble says another. Do you disobey the person who can blast you with lightning or do you go against the person who could raise taxes or arrest you?

I think that actually is starting to lead us into the next part which will come out next week, D&D Campain Building: The Hook.

How would you have used magic in the society that was built in the first article? Would you have put in a wizarding school? Is magic common in your games?

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What’s My Motivation? – D&D

What’s My Motivation? – D&D

This ties into the articles I’ve written on different characters class, backgrounds, and most recently on having a happy backstory instead of having a darker backstory, so it’s area that I’ve covered a fair amount, but I wanted to write about it really focusing in […]