Tag: Dungeons and Dragons

Christmas Ideas – Fantasy Fans

Christmas Ideas – Fantasy Fans

This is towards the end of Christmas ideas, because I know if you’re using of them, you need to plan for the shipping time. And I’m running out of different things to do these lists on. Today’s is like yesterdays where it’s more of a…

Christmas Ideas: RPG’s

Christmas Ideas: RPG’s

So, I had thought of splitting it into two parts, one for the players and for the DM/GM. But that felt a little bit silly, and I want to encourage more players to become DM/GM’s, so if you have a player in your life who…

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.…

Silly vs Serious D&D

Silly vs Serious D&D

The forest quakes as the heavy footsteps of the dragon shakes the trees. The critters are running away from the flames of the dragons breath. The village, not too far away is raising the alarm with a clanging bell, but that seems to be drawing…

You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

Final part of creating our NPC, Weasel Bob. We’ve gone over his motivations and we’ve gone over what he looks like. Really, I think that’s all you need to do to get an NPC with some depth into your game. The players are going to appreciate that level of work, but it’s possible that the NPC will continue to grow over time and eventually mean a lot to the PC’s. If you get to that point, you want to start to think about how you can create story hooks with the NPCs.

So, the easiest way you can do that is to threaten the NPC’s family or something that the NPC loves. And with Weasel Bob, we know that he’s motivated by money. Or that he wants to get money for some reason.

The first, obvious spot would be to focus on the business. Burning it down, having it robbed of some particularly unique items are definitely good options. I think that a theft makes the most sense because you end up with the players still having a long term reason to keep Weasel Bob happy, to do more business, plus get back this item that will be important to the larger story somehow. But if you destroy the business, that might just cause Weasel Bob to drop out of the game, which would be a shame.

Image Source: Troll And Toad

The other spot you can hit an NPC is family. And with Weasel Bob, I’m not sure that he’s married or that he has any kids. But in my version of him, he has some family that is left in a gnome town. His brother and sister-in-law were killed, and he has a niece left who is living with a family friend in a gnome village near the town, probably 4 days away by horse. Weasel Bob didn’t have that money in the gnome town, but he was good at spotting the true value of things, so he set his shop up in a big town where he’d be able to discern what more things are, and he sends money back to the gnome town to support his niece a couple of times a month and goes back to visit a couple of times a year.

There are a number of different things you can hint at to this story with the players, they can come back to town to find that Weasel Bob is gone for a couple of weeks, and maybe that’s when the store is robbed. It would cause the players to wonder where Weasel Bob is going, and probably lose some trust in him, but if they still like him, then, you can drop something happening to the niece, make the players feel bad and get a ton of buy in, because the players are going to want to do something better for Weasel Bob. I also think that there’s another story hook, and that’s what happened to his brother and sister-in-law. Because maybe they weren’t killed, maybe they just went missing or were presumed to be killed, but their bodies were never found, you can now create a story out of that.

So, while Weasel Bob might not have a wife and kids, there are ways that you can still interact with the idea of family or those close to him, so I think that having the niece there provides nice story hooks. Now, you don’t need to fully flesh this out, but it’s something you can think about when creating an NPC. It’s useful because you can start to work towards things. If you want, you can do two quests with Weasel Bob, the first being to find the item that was stolen from him and get it back, and start to hint that Weasel Bob leaves to go somewhere to do something he considers very important. Then you can drop the niece bombshell on the players and make the players have to deal with something having happened to the niece. Finally, you can loop back in what happened to the parents to the story. Though, you can really deal with the parents at any point in time as long as you don’t give away that they are Weasel Bob’s relatives. The reveal that the PC’s have met two gnomes named Mabel and Arthur when Weasel Bob finally tells them about his brother and sister-in-law, that would be a fun moment.

The main thing to get out of this, is that you can pretty quickly flesh out NPC’s and when the players have an NPC that they like, you can use them as quest givers and pull them into the story, and the players are going to be more apt to take those hooks. It’s not something I’ve been amazing at always, but it’s something that I hope to do more and to develop more in the games that I run.

So, what do you think of Weasel Bob, how would you use Weasel Bob? And how do you create NPCs?

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You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

You, Me, and NPC – Weasel Bob

We’re back with the next round of how to build an NPC with Weasel Bob. Last time we figured out his motivations. The next thing is going to be more of the look and feel of Weasel Bob. How squishy is he? Or maybe by…