Tag: Fighter

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 – Lawful Neutral

D&D Alignment – Lawful Neutral

I debated what direction I wanted to go. Did I want to go across the top and do all of the good ones, or down the side and do all the lawful ones, or be chaotic and just randomly pick the next one to do. […]

D&D Party – Party People in the House

D&D Party – Party People in the House

Alright, you have your number of people and you’re sitting down at the table. It’s session zero and everyone wants to play a wizard, is there a right way to create your party?

I think that this is a more interesting question than the party size question, but has just as vague and answer. It’s totally acceptable to have a party that is all wizards, as a DM, you just have to adjust for that, but there is an ideal party balance. However, 5e is built so you can ignore that if you want.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

The ideal party balance goes back to what I said in the previous article, it assumes that you are going to have a Wizard, a Cleric, a Fighter, and a Rogue, or someone that fits into each of those archetypes. But I think a more useful way to look at it is do you have someone for each pillar of the game?

Wait, what are the pillars of D&D?

Exploration, Combat, and Social are the three pillars that most D&D games are built on, though fairly often I would say that exploration is not fully used. Some of that is because people just don’t like the resource management aspect that can be in exploration. It’s also more fun to fight something or talk to an NPC than it is exploring which seems more passive for the players and more on the DM to describe what is going on.

These pillars are important though when creating your adventuring party. You want to have player characters who do cover all of these. Now, I generally wouldn’t say that each character should be good at all of them, but all of them should be good at either social or exploration and then generally you want them to be competent at combat.

If the players and DM focus on hitting these pillars in session zero, the ideal party combination doesn’t matter much. For example, I’ve run games where we have two rangers, a paladin, and a wizard. We don’t have a tank character, but you just have to change which monsters you select and how they work. Maybe they are harder to hit, but don’t deal tons of damage as the paladin is the closest we have to a tank. Or were there was a fighter, wizard, and rogue. In that case, you have no healing, so you either have to hand out some healing potions, or have larger fights, but less fights during a day, so the player characters are less likely to die.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

So, to recap, any party combo is going to work. It’s probably more important that they work in your world, such as don’t have a party of wizards when wizards are really rare, unless they are fine being extremely unique, and maybe that’s the plot there. But make it work for your world and your game, but any combo is playable in Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons.

What are some odd player character combinations that you’ve had? Are there any that you thought didn’t work or that were weird but fun to play?

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Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half Elf

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races – Half Elf

Final character race in the Player Handbook. There are plenty more in other books like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything or Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica. I’ll let you explore those as I haven’t explored all of them yet either. Half Elves fall into the category of […]

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Dragonborn

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Dragonborn

And after a week of Avengers: Endgame (no spoilers in this post), we’re finally getting back to some D&D. This time we’re looking at the Character Race of Dragonborn. Dragonborn, are a bit like tieflings or other races where they get some heritage from something […]

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: Humans

Dungeons and Dragons Character Races: Humans

This is going to be a shorter article I think. Humans in Dungeons and Dragons and fantasy in general are going to be a little bit more basic because they can be anything and there isn’t some defining trait. They don’t love an extremely long […]

D&D Campaign: Session 1

D&D Campaign: Session 1

Alright, I said I was going to talk about town building, but I am going to wrap that into what I would then do to plan session one. I think that a fair amount of my work is already taken care of when it comes […]

D&D Campaign Building: The Hook

D&D Campaign Building: The Hook

Every D&D game that you’re going to run is going to have some sort of hook for the players. To me, this is a two part thing. The players have to be willing to invest in the story as it gets going, even if that takes a little bit of time, but as the DM, you also have to be able to build a hook that gets them involved in the game fast enough.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

In the story that I’m creating, I started talking about what is going to lead into the hook. That’s the two opposing factions, that of the state sanctioned noble and the wizard who lives in the tower. This doesn’t mean that this is the whole plot, that will probably be the next article on the big bad, but it’s going to start leading into that.

Now, I don’t know what my players are leaning towards playing yet, again this is a hypothetical gaming example to show how it could worked and how I go about my process. Let’s assume that I have a pretty standard group of four or five players. In a four player game they suggest you have a party of a fighter, rogue, wizard, cleric so you got your basis covered. That’s a bit boring but not that outside of the normal.

I’d also have used a session zero for the players to determine how they know each other and how they are tied into the town. Let’s assume that the fighter and rogue go to the cleric fairly often for healing and to pay their respects to the deity that the cleric follows. The Wizard has worked with the rogue and fighter on some odd jobs, and knows the cleric in passing but doesn’t really agree with her, but also doesn’t just follow what the powerful wizard wants.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

In the town there are tensions because the wizard has declared that people need to bring her gems and other items for some magical spell otherwise something bad will happen. The noble in the area is strongly disagreeing with that as that would cut into what the people would have to pay for taxes. So, what are the players going to do, a lot of the people in the town are not giving their gems tot he wizard who hasn’t said anything more than her vague threat. So now there’s a lot of struggles as to what is actually going to happen in the town, who will win out.

So how does this affect the players? Obviously there’s a line being drawn in the sand and riots happening and people are upset on both sides because some people don’t want the bad thing the wizard says is going to happen to happen, and others don’t want to lose their jewels. The temple itself has a number of jewels. The temple is now paying the fighter, rogue, wizard, and cleric to defend against the riots and those on the wizards side who might want to steal the jewels. The riots have come to the church doors with the wizards side certainly trying to get the jewels, but the other side worked up and looting as well.

Which side do the players help? They are getting paid to help one side, but that side seems better equipped. They can’t fend off both sides as they push against the door of the temple, they are going to have to try and divert the riot one way or the other away from the temple, but by doing so, they are going to have to either help those who are more supporting the noble or those who are more supporting the wizard, or they can let the gems be taken.

So there’s the hook, the players have been tasked with something before the game started that is now actively going on. Even though the fighter, rogue, and wizard might not be directly invested in the conflict, though I’d probably give the wizard a gem of some sort to start the game, because you know the player will be greedy as well, since they have a pre-existing relationship with the cleric, they will want to help them.

What happens with the different ways that the players can take the hooks?

If they join forces with the wizards side, the wizard or some emissary will definitely come knocking on the door, thanking them for the help and demanding the jewels. The noble will be annoyed as well, as that will mean that more people’s jewels are in the hands of the wizard.

Image Source: Encounter Roleplay

If they join forces with the nobles side, the wizard is going to be pissed off at them, but the noble would likely see that they are capable and level headed and give them more work.

If they decide to take on both, neither side is going to be all that happy with them, and the church won’t be happy with them, so they are going to have to figure out how to get back into the good graces of someone. In particular with the cleric, how is she going to get back into the good graces of the temple?

Now, I’ve given myself a whole lot more work now, because I don’t know what direction the players are going to go. I don’t think that this actually changes who the big bad will be in the story, but it will change up what sort of quests they have to go on surrounding that. And I haven’t actually changed up too much for the planning of the game. I’m mainly looking to create those big story points that are going to be consistent throughout the whole thing. It also works because the conflict and a little bit of immediate before and after makes up a solid first session. There’s going to be some fighting, there is going to be some role playing ahead of time, there is going to be some time for them to plan, and there is going to be that quick immediate fallout that happens in the game.

Alright, now we’re going to be moving onto the big bad. That’s probably going to be some of what is going on in the background, or maybe it is the wizard? We’ll find out in the next article.

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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 […]