Tag: Dungeons and Dragons

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.

Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.

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 Cast a Spell on You

Dungeons and Dragons – I Cast a Spell on You

We’re on to the next topic about magic, and where as the first one was more focused on story and why you might be a spell caster and the different casting classes, this one is going to focus on casting spells. Spells have a lot…

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 various casting classes before, I haven’t talked as much about how the magic is different for them. So we’re going to do a bit of a dive into the different types of casters you can play in Dungeons and Dragons.

Since Dungeons and Dragons is a fantasy setting, you have magic in the same, I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. How much magic you have to vary a lot. Some worlds in D&D have a ton of magic with lots of people being able to use small spells and little things, like curing a small wound are going to be magically done or lighting a fire, magic might be faster. There are going to be other fantasy worlds where magic is extremely rare. If you have magic, you have way more value to the nations because of what you can do. In either of them, the PC’s (Player characters) who have magic are going to end up being more powerful than most other casters, because, otherwise, those characters would be saving the world, and you’d still be a farmer.

But within magic, there are a number of different ways that you can get magic or use magic. Which, mechanically speaking, are represented by the different classes you can be. A Cleric and Paladin get their magic from their gods whereas a Druid gets it through nature, a Sorcerer just has it, and a Wizard needs to learn it. That doesn’t even touch on the bard who signs theirs (but just kind of have it) and the Warlock who has made a deal for it. If you know you want to be a magic user, picking your class can help determine what sort of background you have because of how you got the magic.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Bard – This magical mischief maker generally gets their spells from their ability to weave word or song in such a way to alter the world around them either for attack or entertainment. A bard is generally going to be someone who has been trained, but not to improve their magic, but their performance ability. I think that the bard is a class that can be generally used for most backstories.

Cleric – The first of our magical classes that gets their magic from the divine. The god that they are worshiping is giving them the powers and has chosen them as special. In particular, they are giving them powers to help people, and while combat might not be their strong point, but healing and aiding other characters is what that character is going to be the best at. With a cleric, your backstory can be anything but you might want to focus more on a religious background and have it something you’ve been a part of for a while, not something that you just picked up.

Druid – The hippy of the magical classes, the druid is all about nature and their attunement to nature. In some ways, I would say that a Druid is a bit like the Cleric in that they get their magic from the divine, but for the Druid their divine is their connection to nature. The Druid is going to be the caster who has the most connections to nature and natural changes in the world. The outlander or hermit backgrounds actually make a lot of sense for a background for the Druid, because you need that strong connection with nature that makes most sense to be gotten on your own. The trick can be connecting back into the group.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

Paladin – Our second divine caster, the Paladin is what is know as a half-caster. What that means is that they have a more limited spell selection and a smaller number of spell slots with which to cast spells. What the Paladin does get is some of the healing abilities of the Cleric but much better punching power with their ability to handle weapons. They also get the ability to channel their divine magic into even more damage, at the cost of casting spells, but I still feel like it’s a spell like affect and is part of their magic. For a Paladin, your background can be much more open, because while they do have that divine magic from a god, their devotion to their religion is less strictly guided like a Cleric’s feels, though, they do need to maintain that collection.

Ranger – Another and last half caster, the Ranger pulls a little bit like the Paladin does from the Cleric, but for the Ranger it’s from the Druid. They get some of the connections to nature that the Druid has, but also then gets more focus in their magic for hunting down their enemies. Unlike the Paladin who has extra abilities they can do with their magic, the Ranger is more focused on just using their spells as spells. Their background is generally going to be fairly open, being a scout in the military or being a hermit all make sense, and even some of the more scholarly ones can make sense.

Sorcerer – The natural of the magic world, the bard might just use music, but the Sorcerer just gets magic. And they get amazing control over their magic. The Sorcerer is an interesting class in that they get things called meta-magics and meta-magic points that they can use to improve their spells. This might mean that they can cast them farther or do so silently so it can’t be countered. This allows a player to specialize their character so that their Sorcerer feels different from others. The Sorcerer definitely can come from any sort of background since their magic can be something that just newly manifested. It’s the magic class that you do if you don’t want to be beholden to anyone or anything.

Warlock – If the Sorcerer isn’t beholden to anyone or anything, the Warlock 100% is. They’ve made a pact with some powerful being, fey, elder god, or demon that is giving them their powers. And the Warlocks magic works differently than everyone else’s. They aren’t a half caster, but they aren’t really a full caster. They get invocations that can really make their cantrips much better so they don’t need as many high level spells, which is good, because they don’t get many spell slots. But when they cast a spell it’s always at the highest spot possible. I don’t know that they are that much harder to play than other casters, but how they work makes less sense. They, because they can have just gotten their magic, do have it in common with the Sorcerer that most any background works.

Wizard – Final one and definitely the most iconic. The Wizard has learned magic. You could say that Bard might be considered a bit of that if you consider them learning their craft of storytelling and performance, but for a Wizard, there are Wizard schools and you study and you need a spellbook to be able to prepare spells for the day. But, as a Wizard, you have access to more spells than any other class. Their specializations also makes it easier for them to learn more spells in certain areas, and while other classes can be capped on how spells they know, a Wizard can always add in more spells if they have the time and money to transcribe them into their spell book. A wizard, the Sage background makes the most sense because they’ve spent at least some of their life in school, but that might not be the defining feature for them.

That’s a lot just looking at the classes and how they use magic, I’m going to spend some time coming up here going into more topics on magic such as spell slots and spells known or high or low magic worlds that I touched on that the top of the article. Some of them will be more player focused and others more dungeon master focused. Is there a certain type of caster that you gravitate to?

Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.

Starting Up a New Nerdy Hobby

Starting Up a New Nerdy Hobby

We’re in a new year, so I want to talk about New Years sort of things at least for the next two days. With the new year, we often want to pick up a new hobby or a new good habit (or end a bad…

2020 Other Nerdy Things – What I’m Waiting For

2020 Other Nerdy Things – What I’m Waiting For

So, I thought about doing books, anime, manga, comics, or many other things split off into their own. But, I don’t know that I could do a full list, I just don’t keep up on them as much, so let’s talk about things that I…

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 general thing, not something more specific like a type of board games or RPG’s. I’m going to just briefly mention it now, a lot of the epic board games and the RPG stuff I talked about would work well on this list, and for that reason, it won’t be on this list.

Vintage Copies of Books – So, books will show up multiple times on the list in different ways, but I think that there are different types of books you can pick up for that fantasy fan. And one of the cooler ones is vintage books. Getting an older copy of Lord of the Rings, even if it has a little bit of wear and tear on it is going to be awesome for a fan of Lord of the Rings, because the vintage covers and just the feel of the books is different. Or, it could be any other vintage sort of fantasy book, but there’s just something about having that almost collectors type book, that fantasy book lovers will really like.

Image Credit: Flavorwire

Box Sets of Books – Here’s the other book thing. Box sets of books are also that other book lovers collectible thing. Again, box sets are the pieces that you can put on the shelf and show off. It also means that you can give them something they might not buy, for example, if they were picking up the Harry Potter books as they went along and they were published, they could have a mismatched set, but most book lovers will spend their own money on more books, not making a consistent collection, so you could give them that as a box set, so it is consistent, and it’s something that they’ll likely love.

Fantasy Themed Artwork – Now, this is a bit iffy to put on here, simply because, while Superhero artwork you can know has a recognizable superhero on it, fantasy artwork is all over the map. So, I would lean towards artwork that is based on something. So, Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter are good examples here. There’s going to be artwork that has been done depicting both of those stories, and if someone is a fan of that story, they’ll appreciate the artwork more so. That said, maybe the person has some obscure story that they like and there isn’t artwork on it, I’d be hesitant to suggest picking up large artwork, but postcard size stuff that is work appropriate and they can put up in a cubicle, that would work. Just don’t go with anything too large that they might not like because it’s just not their style.

Image Credit: Wikia

Fantasy Themed Magnets – Fairly specific with this one, but I’ve found that a lot of people have pretty boring magnets, if they have many magnets on their fridge. Or they might again be using them at work in a cubicle. This is where you can go with the more generic fantasy, because, again, it’s smaller. And especially going with a cute art style or maybe a chibi art style, those work for a nerdy person’s fridge. If the person has a beer fridge or a wine fridge you can put magnets on, getting the hobbits drinking pints in chibi form would be great, in my opinion, for something like that. Or maybe, the person doesn’t want chibi but loves Dungeons and Dragons fantasy, get them dragon magnets. This also has the advantage of being something if you get a magnet that you can use as a stocking stuffer.

Lego – Yup, there are plenty of fantasy Lego sets out there, some generic, and then Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Sorry for you Game of Thrones fans, no Lego sets. This is another display type thing, or if they are younger kids, something that can be played with. But in our house, we have a Hobbit Lego on one shelf and a Hogwarts up on top of another shelf. So, you can go small or big with this, but Lego is a bit on the spendier side of things with the larger sets. It is a lot of fun to put together, and if someone has time off over the holidays, it gives them something fun to do through their time off.

Image Source: Green Ronin Store

Video Games – Woo, another generic category, but there are a lot of fantasy games out there. You can go retro if they have an older system or a Retron system and get them things like the original Zelda or Final Fantasy. Or, there are middle aged games (not games in the middle ages) like the original Dragon Age that have been ported over to the newer systems, but if someone still have an XBox 360, you could find it for that. There are so many fantasy games out there, figure out if the person you are giving the gift to like the more sword and sorcery style games, more story driven games, fighting, whatever it might be, and you’ll probably be able to find something unique for them. And if they are already a video gamer and have a lot of them, you can look towards more of the indie titles and there are a lot of interesting fantasy games out there.

Classic Fantasy Movies/TV Shows – When I say classic, I more so mean old ones. Find the fantasy movies or TV shows that people might not remember from back in the day. I’m sure there are plenty of good lists out there, or you could find the B-Movie classics in the genre as well. Definitely a lot of them you can check out, and if they are more of a classic one, the cheesy nature of them works better versus a modern cheesy story. Now, you still end up with some of them being too cheesy or dated poorly in other ways, so do a bit of research, but you can probably find bluray or DVD collections of them that would have a good variety as well.

This list is a bit more generic, so I apologize because it’ll make you do more work tracking stuff down. But fantasy is a bit broader than the board game topics and even broader than superheroes, because, while there are indie superheroes out there, most people think Marvel and DC. I tried to suggest some ideas that are a bit more specific for Lord of the Rings fans or Harry Potter fans, but there’s so much in the fantasy realm that it’s hard to cover some of the broader stuff. For that reason, if the person loves reading, books is always a great option, next time you see their book shelf, look at it and find what books might work there.

Share questions, ideas for articles, or comments with us!

Email us at nerdologists@gmail.com
Message me directly on Twitter at @TheScando
Visit us on Facebook here.

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…