Tag: Wizard

Magic Economy in D&D Mechanics

Magic Economy in D&D Mechanics

So, I put down the word mechanics, because, magic economy could also describe the level of magic in your world and how much of a vibrant magic trade set up there is. But in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition, you have a magic economy of […]

Total Party Kill – What can you do about it?

Total Party Kill – What can you do about it?

You’ve had a long running campaign. The players were really into the story. They’d spent a bunch of time planning on how to infiltrate this tower. You’d told them the wizard in it was too powerful to fight. Everything is going to plan… LEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOY JENKINS! […]

PvP in D&D

PvP in D&D

I’m going to continue doing some articles hitting on lesser talked about things in Dungeons and Dragons. There’s a lot for building your character and campaign and I’ve talked a lot about them as well. There are less articles talking about things like death of a D&D character or, today, player versus player in Dungeons and Dragons.

Now, Player versus Player (PvP) is something that might never come up in your game of Dungeons and Dragons. There can be moments that make it worth it for the story to have some PvP, but that’s not that norm.

So, let’s start out with some reasons that you might have some PvP in your game?

A lot of the reasons that you might have PvP aren’t good reasons. The players out of game (or in game) might not like each other, so they might fight. This happens when you have an unbalanced party, when you have a chaotic evil wizard and a lawful good paladin, you might end up having PvP in the game. You can also run into it when you have a rogue or greedy character who is stealing from the players or is hording the good loot because, even though they can’t use it, they want to keep it because it’s pretty.

Image Source: D&D Beyond

You might also get PvP, and this is a good reason, when there is a tournament. Maybe there is some sort of challenge that all the players enter into and in the end they have to face off against each other. This is something that works best when you have players who really want to show off their characters mechanical abilities for a session or two.

Finally, it might be a turn, to borrow a wrestling term. When someone turns, it means that they are going from being the good guy and helpful part of the party to possibly becoming the BBEG or some level of villain. This one is neither good or bad because it could be a really cool moment for the players if it’s done correctly and planned out. If it just comes out of nowhere and there’s no reason for it other than the player got bored, then that’s considerably less ideal.

How do you then deal with it these are some of the reasons.

If it is for a “bad” reason, I think you have to deal with it differently than you do with a “good” reason. With the some of the “bad” reasons, I’d start with an above table discussion. Take it out of the game and figure out how you can avoid conflict against two opposing characters for whatever reason that might. Odds are in those situations, one person is going to end up feeling like their character is being picked on in the game by the other character, and that can lead to issues outside of the game. But it is always possible that these players have been intentionally playing their characters in a way to build to that moment. If you don’t know as a DM, you should take that conversation out of the game for a moment before you sit back and watch them go at it.

If it is one of the “good” reasons, try and make it feel unique. If it’s a tournament, make it some reward that all the characters would want to win or need to win for their party so that they can continue going forward with their quest and the story. Or if it’s a turn, make that moment as rewarding as possible. Build to it slowly, pass a note to let the player know when it’s the right time, and then spring it on the other players. Hopefully it’ll be a shock and a good shock, and then let that combat happen. However, if you are doing this and you want that character to end up as the BBEG, give specific instructions when to run and get out of the combat, because up against a single character, the party is probably going to make quick work for them. Or give them something that will allow them to put up a better fight that the players don’t know about. I would also recommend, after that first encounter, you take over the BBEG, former player character, in any of the combats, and let the player roll up a new character.

For both of the good reasons for PvP, I would use them sparingly as if it draws out too much, you are likely going to lose the focus of some of your players at the table. When you are doing PvP with a group of people at the table larger than two, that means that you are going to have some players just sitting around and watching, and unless it’s compelling for the reason for it, or if it’s the whole party against the one character who has turned on them, So keep things moving, keep it interesting, and create some sort of countdown for the players so that it doesn’t end up being a long and drawn out slug fast, though, I doubt it will be. Also, try and avoid fatalities, unless it’s supposed to be a a situation where, going to the example of the character who turned, that they are not the BBEG, but have just been giving information to the BBEG. Then see how many of the party members they can take out before they are taken out.

Overall, I think that PvP in D&D is something that can work sparingly. And I think that’s something that needs to be done carefully. There are plenty of ways for it to go bad, particularly above table that you don’t want to create resentment at the table. You are going to have to get the buy-in from the players to make it really work. Like I’ve already said in the article, keep it moving as well, don’t let it drag out too long, because you might not have the whole party involved in it, and you don’t want them to be bored at the table.

Have you run into a situation where there was PvP at a table that you were a player at or that you were running the game? How did that work for you?

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Friday Night D&D – The Virtual World

Friday Night D&D – The Virtual World

This came up because of an episode of Total Party Thrill, where they were talking about how you could you virtual worlds or illusion worlds in a game. So what happens if you play a game where this is the main theme of the game? […]

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, […]

Friday Night D&D – Things that Go Bump

Friday Night D&D – Things that Go Bump

I think that this idea can be used as a campaign or as a one shot, depending on what you want to do with it. When using iconic monsters like werewolves, vampires, and other classic monsters, you can always turn it into a one off where you face off against a single monster.

For a campaign though, I think that you have to find some lower level monster that seems classic campy horror that starts out harrowing the town that the 0 level or maybe level 1 characters are based out of.

Just as an aside, you might be wondering what a 0 level character is. That is basically that you’re just playing a villager, someone who wants to become a wizard might have a cantrip or two, but no first level spells. The characters probably don’t have anything more than a rusty short sword and a little bit of leather armor at best. Basically, you are really leaning into them launching into being heroes.

Image Source: Forgotten Realms

Anyways, back to what I’m going for. In the world you’re building these monsters should be normal. The players should know that the scary castle a long way up in the mountains that seems to be always casting a shadow over this town as a monster in it. They should know that the woods has werewolves in it. The creature from the Black Lagoon should be a few towns over, and this is a world that has campy and classic monsters around.

Now, something like this could just be the monster of a week, and while that is going to be good for a little while, eventually I think you should start dropping hints of something or someone bigger controlling everything. You don’t need to use Strahd’s stat block for your vampire lord, it can be lesser than that. I think that it would make sense for a Mummy Lord (or maybe a Lich) to be running this group. They are experimenting with other ways to extend life or something like that, or maybe the bodies are going missing and the Mummy Lord is using the monsters to kill off to create an army of the shambling dead.

Image Source: Wizards of the Coast

I’d play around with whomever your BBEG is, give them some sort of curse. And make that a way either for the players to eventually win by solving the riddles and taking care of the mummy’s curse, or the riddles/curse could just reveal a weakness that the players will be able to exploit. The BBEG should also be very into monologues and having that evil genius mindset, though that might make more sense for an evil wizard in a tower or a lich as compared to a mummy lord, so there are different ways that you can lean into campiness and movie monsters.

What would probably take the most time would be finding those classic monsters you want to use. Some of them don’t fully exist in D&D. However, there are going to be things close, and just reskin them so that they look like what you need at the challenge level you need. And if you wanted to you could also pull in horror movie villains like Freddy Krueger or Jason Vorhees for your game to flesh out the cast of characters. Or you could also steal monsters from things like The Dresden Files and Supernatural to get an idea of how to be a bit campy, but also to use a wide variety of monsters instead of just limiting yourself to the classic movie monsters.

I think that something like this could be interesting for a game personally. It would allow you to pull in the players real knowledge of these things while they have to deal with them in the game. And it wouldn’t have to be a super high level campaign at the end, but you’d get a nice building feeling, especially starting at level 0 and going up.

What do you think? Would you want to play in this game? Have you used classic movie and movie monsters in your games?

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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 – 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 – 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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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 […]