When we left the group last Bokken was talking with Sanphire and learning how to use a throwing dagger. Thrain and Barrai are down in the tunnel getting ready to explore the area that they had found out about during the dragon attack when they …
Tag: Wizards of the Coast
Now, this monster is a bit different than the other ones that I’ve talked about. This one is just a monster not with abysmal intelligence but with fairly low INT at 7 (-2 modifier), so it isn’t going to be your plotting or planning sort of monster. Now, that doesn’t mean that it’s dumb, the wisdom is actually fairly high. So let’s look at what this monster does.
A Behir is a monster that lives in the underdark and is a huge creature that lives in the tunnels, paths, and dark recesses down there. The advantage for the DM of it being a huge creature is what it has some fun abilities. It can swallow your medium sized PC’s no problem or wrap it up and constrict it. So it’s something different than your normal bite and claw attacks that you get. In fact, while it can certainly bite you, and needs to do so to swallow you, it doesn’t have a claw attack at all. Instead, it gets lightning breath which is something that the PC’s will undoubtedly appreciate.
Now, this creature is clearly not one to be trifled with, at a CR of 11, you are looking at a party of four at eighth level to be able to take it down in a hard combat. If you’re adding in any additional monsters, it is going to be even tougher to take down and you’re probably looking at a party of level 10 or so with a couple of additional opponents that aren’t just one hit cannon fodder.
In game, I think there are some good ways to use it and I would definitely recommend using it. Because it’s attacks are so different and it has a lot of HP and a decently high armor class, it’s going to be a challenging battle. The attacks are really going to add variety to your game with what otherwise might just be a standard hack and slash encounter. You can certainly use a behir as a random encounter, but I have some other ideas as well.
One idea that I like is to use it as a form of drow transport. It’s a huge sized creature so why not let it pull something. Going back to something I did in a game of mine, have it be a drow circus that the wagons are being pulled by a bunch of behir. This could really start off as a social encounter where the player characters interact with the drow in the circus and eventually find themselves are participants on it to find out that the main attraction is going to be them taking on a behir with some drow elite warriors or assassins not really partaking in the battle, but forcing the player characters back into the confrontation with the behir if they try and run. All while there is a cheering audience around them. As a side quest, I think it could be really cool, even just as something that the players find themselves in for no great reason other than their curiosity, it would give a nice standalone session of and something to do on the way to a larger quest point. I could see using the circus caravan as a way to move the players more quickly through an area to get to where they need to go, but also to have, then the circus battle happen, so not really plot related, but cuts out some of the down time with something more interesting.
Less of a combat encounter, but more of a how do we get away from this, have your players stumble across a pack of behir. Maybe, the players have been tracking down a group of duergar who have something that the players want, some information, ideally written down, and the poor duergar have stumbled across this pack of five behir. Even at level 20, 5 behir are deadly to a party of four, theoretically. So the question then becomes, for the players, how do the player characters get into the area where the dead duergar’s packs are, search the packs, and get back out without the behir killing them as well. Can they figure out a way to chase the behir away, or maybe they can somehow stealth in, or maybe it’s an attempt to out pace, unlikely, or outwit the behir. It could even be a way for them to lure a behir or two at a time and take them out, but give them the situation and see what they come up with. Though, I’d maybe have them run across a behir before hand so that they know what they are getting into.
Are behir a monster you’ve used in your games or seen used in a game? I know that Matt Mercer in Critical Role used a behir in either episode 27 or 28, sounds like introduced in 27 anyways. So that’s something to checkout for ways to use a behir as well. Would you use a behir in your game?
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Like normal, I’m stealing slightly from something that I’ve been watching. Into the Badlands. The world has “ended” after something happened and there’s this Badlands split up and ruled by barons in the show, but that’s not what I care about. What we’re caring about …
We were back at it again last night with the third session of Tower of the Gods. Previously, our “heroes” Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain had gone through the test of the Tower with Steve as their fourth, unfortunately, Steve didn’t make it. Upon exiting the Tower with their new found powers, they were given a choice of schools to enroll in and get work from, they picked Strawgoh, the school of Dark Arts and Assassinations.
Upon coming there, they were informed as part of a test, that there were spies in their midst that they could get extra credit if they could figure out who they were by the end of the two years there. So, Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain immediately set out to figure that out. They determined that Dorin was a suspect and Barrai used his new found friendship with Domon, another Tiefling, to send Domon to accuse Dorin, which, they aren’t sure was successful.
In their barracks they had gotten matched up with Dorin, a Gnome Rogue who fancied himself to be the leader of their barracks no matter what Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain told him. During the time that our three main characters were talking to the other students, Dorin had gone through their stuff, but they didn’t find that out until after an introductory meal where Bokken considered breaking into a teachers office to see if there was more information on the students and who might be the spy. In the end, he didn’t break in, but had Castillia, an elf whom they trust and trusts them, start spying on Narius, a rich halfling.
They returned to their barracks to find out that there things had been gone through, but Dorin not being the brightest, hadn’t trashed his own things so they quickly caught on and accused him. Thrain, as a revenge when through Dorin’s stuff, including a couple of daggers and books that were written in a language that none of them understood, possibly because none of them speak gnomish. Needless to say, Dorin was pissed off, and Barrai decided to try and restrain him when he went to bed, but that didn’t work that well, so Bokken, instead took up just watching him sleep, since Bokken, as a warforged sleeps with his eyes open, however, Bokken wasn’t a great watch and Dorin snuck out.
Dorin went to one of the teachers and the next morning the Thrain, Barrai, and Bokken were confronted about how they had been treating Dorin. They gave a half hearted apology and Dorin said he wanted to transfer to another group. Tormin, the teacher, agreed, and the group was happy enough and really wanted to get Narius into their barracks to keep a closer eye on him, so Tormin presented them with a challenge. They could pick who they wanted if they, minus Dorin, could take on another barracks and beat them, otherwise, he would decide. They went to an arena and the teachers, keeping an eye on things, and other students watching the spectacle watched as Thrain, Barrai, and Bokken took on Castillia, Narius, Adris – a human, and Cordon – a dragonborn.
Barrai gets to act first and gives Bokken some inspiration and then starts to mess with Castillia, who, swiftly puts a stop to that with a wicked arrow shot dropping Barrai. He gets floated off by the teachers. Thrain then returns the favor to Castillia and the sides are down to two, Thrain and Bokken, against three. The fighting slows down after the first volley as Cordon, with her dislike for Thrain, immediately moves in to target him. They trade attacks with Cordon even using her lightning dragons breath on Thrain, but his stead volley of eldritch blasts eventually knock her down to the ground. Bokken, meanwhile, has gone and faced off against Adris, the fighter. They trade blow after blow dealing little damage to each other with Narius, who had claimed to be a great shot, struggling to hit Bokken. His frustration mounting and Thrain joining the fight, Bokken eventually falls to the two on one attack and Thrain is left to face both Narius and Adris. But, with a bolt form his crossbow, Narius is able to drop Thrain, and the Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain await their fate as to whom will join their barracks. Tormin gives them Parrag, an elf whom they had actually not talked to before. Castillia, after the fight assumes that they had wanted her to join their barracks.
After that, the bell rings, and having missed breakfast, they need to go and start their first day of classes with courses on Court Etiquette, Second Story Work, Poisons and Antidotes, Demonology as their core courses, but then they could specialize in a few different areas. Bokken chose Assassination and Thievery, Thrain – Curses and Necromancy, and Barrai decided on Conjuring/Summoning and Curses. Bokken had a few other people going into what he was looking at with the likes of Dorin and Castillia and more. But Thrain was the only student to pick Curses for their main focus, and Barrai the only one to pick Conjuring/Summoning.
That’s where the session ended with them finding out that they have two tests in the Tower that will determine most of their grades for the school year, at which point, thematically, they’ll level up.
So behind the DM’s screen a little bit.
This was a fairly scripted session. I knew that most likely the players would quickly figure out that Dorin was the one who had gone through their stuff and probably rough him up or threaten him a little bit. I also had thought maybe it would come to light that they had accused him through Domon of being a spy, but that didn’t happen.
The fight that they were going to have, depending on which barracks they picked it was either going to be hard or deadly, they got hard, which was still deadly at such a low level for them, mainly because of the numbers game.
I gave Cordon her dragons breath feature to use. I probably could have just used a spell to simulate that for her, but thematically it worked and did slightly less damage than the spell.
The fight was fairly standard in that it had an end goal because they were facing off and try to knock down and out their opponents, but the story beat to it was that they were deciding who got to be in their group. And the decision that was it was Parrag was a die roll, there were 8 options so 8 sided die, and it landed on him.
Dorin slipping away while someone was just watching him, that was the one part I wasn’t sure what would happen, I knew that he’d try, though. So I gave him disadvantage on his roll for stealth and he rolled a 15 and a 20, plus two since he’s sneaky, and that was considerably better than Bokken’s 10.
What has been hitting your table? What story are you a part of?
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So, I got back into running some Dungeons and Dragons last night on Zoom. Three/four player game that I’ve named Tower of the Gods. I think I previously did a Friday Night D&D explaining the concept, but I’m going to do that here again and …
Kind of continuing the midst of physical distancing that we have going on all around the world, I want to keep talking about ways that we can still socially be close and possibly some ways to even grow the nerd community around you. I wrote yesterday about ways that you can play board games online with people, but easier than that, in a lot of ways, is playing an RPG, or Dungeons and Dragons online.
Now, I’m not the only one talking about this, D&D Beyond has put up several articles on it, but I got the chance to run a quick session of Dungeons and Dragons on Saturday night for some friends and my wife via Google Hangouts, so I wanted to talk about that and what else you can use as well.
Let me start off by saying that as long as people have access to a way to roll dice, playing Dungeons and Dragons across a distance is easy. You need a webcam, someone with access to another device to go on D&D Beyond, and even with the free stuff there and the limited character creation, you have enough to run an enjoyable game for a little while without it becoming boring or stale. However, that’ll limit you a little bit, so I’d strongly suggest someone grabbing the books either digitally through D&D Beyond, or pick up a physical copy of the core three books, Players Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide.
The only real physical thing that is nice to have is for players to have dice, but again that isn’t even needed. On Google Hangouts, they have commands that roll dice for you so you can do that in the chat section. And other virtual tabletops, like Fantasy Grounds or Roll20.net will also give you the ability to roll dice as well. Personally, I like rolling physical dice, but those are something that can be gotten easily from your friendly local game store that is hopefully doing curbside pick-up of orders or delivery now, as well, of course as places like Amazon or if you want fancier dice, Easy Roller Dice. You might just have to wait longer for those, even though, I think Amazon should consider dice to be essential items that get priority shipping.
Then you can really just dive into playing. Make up your own world, do theater of the mind, and just let the game and imaginations run wild. Now, I will say that if you are starting out, I’d recommend that people roll up characters for the first time in the limited options on D&D Beyond. Or that the person who is running the game does that for everyone simply so that you don’t have to start by going through the process of creating characters over the internet. But if you have a group of more experienced players, you probably have more of them who have the player handbook or can find online resources to build out the character that they want on their own or during a session zero where you talk through a story idea.
Let’s talk a little bit about theater of the mind, depending on what you’re playing on, you’re going to need to determine the level of theater of the mind. If you’re not familiar with that term, it basically means that your combat and encounters are all done in your head, when you describe it, people picture what you are saying in their head, and they can’t look down at a grid or anything to figure out how close their characters are to the bad guys or anything like that. With some of them Fantasy Grounds and Roll20, you won’t have to play that way, if you don’t want to, but it’ll add in more prep and planning to your game. The advantage of theater of the mind is if a combat happens, it can just happen because you don’t need to prep a map, put characters and monsters where they are supposed to be. I personally prefer theater of the mind and find it easier and easier for online because it requires considerably less work. However, in a major boss battle, it can be fun to set the mood for the combat with a map as well.
What are some pitfalls when playing online? Obviously internet connectivity is a must and it might be possible that you’ll run into situations where someone freezes or lags. So someone might be trying to say something and it gets lost because of that, also it’s harder for people to talk over each other and for everyone to hear everything. So, this is something I picked up with podcasting, try and not talk over each other, in particular, if you see someone is starting to say something at the same time you are, pause and let them go first and then jump in fast so that you can say what you want, but so that you aren’t stepping on someone else’s toes. The more people in more different locations the more likely you’re going to run into this issue.
There’s also going to be a learning curve for players who are familiar with Dungeons and Dragons because it plays differently than it does at the table. I feel like playing online requires a little bit more buy in and a little bit more go with the flow of what is being presented. Going back to Fantasy Grounds and Roll20, you can set-up a map for an encounter, but you aren’t able to pivot as quickly as you might if you were playing all at the same location and you could draw it out or set it up on the fly for whatever encounter your players get into. This is going to be something that trips up players who are familiar with playing that style, versus new players who might be jumping into it for the first time or so.
With those two negatives for it, or not really negatives, but potential pitfalls to watch out for, I will say that compared to board games, Dungeons and Dragons is way easier to do over physical distancing and if you’ve been in a situation where you don’t have people around to play with, this is a chance to try digital and find people around your area and all around the world who would want to play some Dungeons and Dragons with you.
Have you played D&D online? Are there any tips or tricks that you recommend for people starting up playing digitally?
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I’ve talked about a lot of games that are about that epic adventure for a small group of characters. Birthright is about epic things, but not on that smaller level. Birthright is about great leaders going to battle against other nations, probably with other world …