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1:20 AM
5
Q: How can, by Raw, Animal Handling be used with a mount?

Felype BrasilMy question is: How can you use the animal handling skill in a mount? does it help to controll it, to make it not be afraid of something, etc or is just DM-dependent?

2
Q: Ways to mantain a mount

Felype BrasilMounted combat is really cool part of D&D, but sustaining a mount seems like it would be difficult and costly. What are the rules governing the sustainment of a mount and are there ways for low level/poorer characters to do so? Also, are there alternatives to owning and maintaining a steed that w...

 
1:32 AM
@BESW was talking the other day about community and how the coronavirus had pointed up how people needed to band together and help each other in a crisis. It reminded me of discussions people had in this chat room a while ago about whether that kind of thing, as opposed to the very individualistic stories of one hero or band of heroes conquering their enemies with little input from anyone else, got its fair share of air-time in TTRPGs.
TTRPG adventures are often based on the party going on a journey, out into the mountains or down a dungeon, somewhere far away where they don't know anybody and won't be staying long enough to get to know anybody, which doesn't leave much scope for that. That's the best-known model, anyway.
I was wondering, quite apart from indie systems that are designed around that kind of thing, how often have you seen campaigns/adventures for more major systems that take place in one building or one town, especially the party's home or home town?
 
Aye. And it automatically taps into frequently toxic real-world tropes like terra nullius.
 
Hah, I never thought of that, but you're right. There's always a plentiful supply of adventuring land that conveniently isn't anybody's in these things. Which is fun, but you have to remember that there isn't a whole lot of that in the real modern-day world.
 
I'm not sure what a "major system" is anymore, but here's two system-agnostic setting guides that make the space you explore more home-like:
Dec 13 '19 at 23:06, by BESW
"space is a sea and you are its sailors." by Tenmi is a system-agnostic setting about Southeast Asian wayfinding translated into the setting of outer space.
Aug 7 '19 at 23:50, by BESW
DREAMSCAPES vol. zero: The Thousand Cousins, a system-agnostic setting about DIASPORA ELVES and reclaiming a home and a heritage that has fallen to environmental disaster. By Carly M. Ho.
Hrmm. That first link is dead. [rummages]
Oooh right. Lampara Games had... stuff happen. [sigh]
Anyway, the basic behind "space is a sea and you are its sailors" was that there is no untouched territory: every island/planet you visit is home to people who already have a connection to you, be it family or friends or trading partners or rivals.
 
Oh, I remember you mentioning "space is a sea". I never did get around to reading it. (Yes, just tracked down the new link, it just needed a search for the title. lampara.itch.io/space-is-a-sea )
That's not a bad idea. The usual habit is to have the adventurers arriving at places that are completely new to them, whether or not they're new to other people, but you can still have exciting things happen in places that are somewhat known. More, in some respects, in fact, because you know the people and know where to look.
You get a very rootless sort of story if it always has to be about the adventurers meeting complete strangers.
I like the sound of the elves thing. Sucker for eco-warrior themes, sucker for elves.
 
1:48 AM
The Thousand Cousins does a similar thing: everyone you meet is a relative, however distantly. You may like or hate each other but you can't just pretend they aren't tied to you.
 
Nice. So there's always history of a kind, both yours and theirs and theirs is connected to yours if you dig deep enough.
I enjoy history, both real and fictional (I read all the appendixes to The Lord of the Rings and enjoyed them). I suppose it tends to get left out of RPGs because that's normally something the GM has to make up details of from scratch each time, beyond the fairly vague flavour text in the handbooks, and there's a limit to how much they can be bothered to.
 
Yeah. It puts a lot of load on the GM.
But if you've got a world that's built on the idea that the PCs have connections wherever they go and whoever they meet, then the players can take up a lot of that creative burden. The result of that kind of collaborative worldbuilding tends to be much more complex and surprising than anything one person would come up with.
 
It's probably also more interesting if you as players have some input into it yourselves, rather than it just being something the GM made up that is behind glass.
Haha, crossed in the post.
 
ARRPG has a character feature you can take which lets you announce a local you have a connection to in every new town you arrive at.
(Anyone can do it, but the feature gives bonus mechanical permission and reward for doing it.)
 
Players contributing to the lore looks like something that takes a bit of know-how to do successfully. We've had questions about that on the site, I think, that have come up with some fairly well-tested approaches.
ARRPG?
 
1:55 AM
The Atomic Robo Roleplaying Game.
Oh! You might like to look at Bubblegumshoe. In it, you play teenage sleuths solving mysteries in their town, and worldbuilding is basically making a relationship web. Let me see if I can find one of ours...
Apr 8 '19 at 5:39, by BESW
(Blue is teens, red is adults, dark blue is PCs. Orange is hate, green is like, purple is love. Squares are rich, ovals are poor.)
For the physical locations of the town, you're mostly defining where major NPCs are most likely to be found.
 
Ooh, very nice. is having a Buffy the Vampire Slayer phase at the moment.
 
And during play a major resource is the points you've invested in relationships, which you spend to get access to places and skills and information your teen wouldn't normally have access to... and you restore points by roleplaying scenes that reinforce your relationship with the person.
Spend a point to have your elder brother drive you someone, get it back by shooting hoops with him.
Bubblegumshoe and ARRPG are the closest to "major systems" of what I've mentioned; BGS is a drift of Gumshoe (Cthulhu Confidential's engine) and ARRPG is a high-crunch version of Fate Core.
@A.B. BGS doesn't have specifically Buffy options, but the back of the book has several variations inspired by media from Scooby-Doo to Veronica Mars.
There's a couple of different magic-heavy variants.
 
Haha, yes. I wasn't really meaning playing it itself in that system, just that it reminds me of that. Trying to solve mysteries and survive adventures amid a mess of A-might-be-in-love-with-B-but-they're-only-interested-in-C-who-is-D's-deadly-rival-on-the-cheerleading-team.
 
@BESW I should've said Trail of Cthulhu instead of Cthulhu Confidential. Technically both are true but Trail is the original and the one people know.
There's a couple of other locality-based games in Evil Hat's "Fate Adventures" series of free setting drifts.
They're as varied as Good Neighbors (humans establishing relations with the fairies in the woods), Ngen Mapu (Indigenous supernatural beings in a modern city), and Morts (keeping your city safe in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse).
And of course there's Balikbayan.
Dec 22 '20 at 2:10, by BESW
Balikbayan: Returning Home by Jamila R. Nedjadi. In this Cyberpunk-Supernatural game, you are Elementals on the run from the CORP. You have returned home to a city that's fallen apart: can you bring about the rebirth of Machine-Magic before your masters catch up with you? In this daring game that based on the innovative Belonging Outside Belonging system, create an amazing story based on Filipino folklore, myth, and legend.
It's a reverse-diaspora setting, returning to a place you were forced to leave a long time ago, and trying to make it yours again.
 
2:14 AM
I kind of like things where there's somewhat a system about the interpersonal relationships as part of the mechanics, like what you described with Bubblegumshoe and spending points. It makes it a bit easier to get your head round than just "make up whatever looks right freehand, but make sure you get it right". And it also means there's a bit more point to it within the game, rather than just "people may role-play accordingly if they are sufficiently impressed and can be bothered".
 
Belonging Outside Belonging isn't a really big game engine yet, but it's kinda like a diceless/GMless version of PbtA so it's familiar to people who've played PbtA games.
 
Oh, I didn't know that. That gives it a bit of a chance - to set against its name.
I mean, that name would sound promising to the already converted, but to anyone else - :-)
 
@A.B. Very much so! I'm a big fan of systems that offer structure and form to help us learn how to tell a particular kind of story, and keep us on track with our chosen story form.
@A.B. Yeah. And Balikbayan is actually GM-optional rather than strictly GMless. A lot of BOB games have more overlap with No Dice No Masters.
@A.B. Bubblegumshoe in particular helped me learn how to stay focused on relationship-based conflict resolution. In the past I'd tried to do that with systems like Fate but Fate doesn't give any systemic encouragement to NOT turn the conflict into a fight; it gives us the OPTION not to, but when we were so used to fighting being the default conflict resolution option...
....Golden Sky Stories probably helped, too.
 
("Indigenous" with a capital I always sounds weird to me, used to describe a whole bunch of unrelated groups - as if it was trying to say that "Indigenous" is one ethnic group by itself. But if that's what they're going with.)
 
It's used to help force a cognitive distinction that Indigenous people are not the same category as indigenous plants and animals. (cf terra nullius)
 
2:24 AM
That's a fair point, I suppose, if you're using the word "indigenous" in the first place then it's useful to show that the two senses of the word aren't quite the same.
 
I like the basic idea of Fate, you get a certain amount of leeway to muck the story about so long as you pay for it by having it go against you as often as for you. But it's not about conflict or not conflict, obviously.
 
It is, of course, not a universally settled matter. But most of the people I interact with prefer it.
 
The Bubblegumshoe system kind of sounds similar only for making allies.
Maybe not. I dunno.
Maybe, now I think about it, actually the only thing they have in common is being points you can gain or spend :-D
 
@A.B. I'm a big fan of Fate. It's a great system for forcing a particular kind of narrative pacing, the cycles of crisis (running out of fate points, taking compels) and victory (spending fate points, making declarations).
But Fate doesn't give much thematic or tonal structure, it's entirely reliant on the group to self-calibrate all of that stuff. It falls apart quite quickly if the group doesn't have a good shared sense of the kind of game they're playing.
 
2:28 AM
Either way, sounds a good plan. If you have a system where there are obvious rewards for not fighting, or costs for fighting, that's obviously going to lead to a different kind of story and action.
 
And yeah, BGS has a similar kind of rise-and-fall pacing but they're more narrowly focused: you can have crisis in one place while having victory in another.
 
Yes, Fate is in itself from what I've heard a pretty neutral system and leaves the themes for the GM and the adventure to put in.
GURPS similar, D&D actively leaning towards fighting everything unless the GM hauls it back by the scruff of its neck.
 
The one thematic thing Fate usually enforces, is that PCs tend to be competent. They succeed more than they fail, and they fail for reasons other than random metanarrative (the roll of the dice).
Bubblegumshoe does an interesting thing with that concept: Gumshoe has automatic success on finding the minimum necessary clues to keep the story moving, and you roll for extra stuff that will make things easier for you.
 
Interesting. That's the kind of detail that's not always obvious unless you've seen the system in action.
Oh, I do remember seeing that mentioned about Gumshoe.
 
But BGS adds a conflict system that can escalate to being pretty brutal, especially if it gets physical. Fights that rise above a scuffle are Serious Business, and even losing a verbal fight can result in major embarrassment that's very important to a teenager--you might even lose the ability to walk into the place you got humiliated without spending significant Cool points.
Mini-zine Template Pack by Speak the Sky. Affinity Publisher templates for mini-zines!
Owlbear Rodeo is an attempt to make a web app to run tabletop encounters without the complicated setup process needed for other VTTs.
 
2:42 AM
(Oh, good idea, it's always tricky working out which pages should be printed where to make it all line up right in booklets like that.)
 
Speak the Sky also did this:
Feb 23 at 0:40, by BESW
Typeface: Dicier by Speak the Sky. an advanced and accessible analog games typeface
22 hours ago, by BESW
Update: https://speakthesky.itch.io/trifold-template-pack by Speak the Sky. A pack of trifold pamphlet templates for Affinity Publisher, plus supporting files like fonts!
Jan 10 at 1:17, by BESW
One-Page Zine Template by Matthew Gravelyn. Templates for creating one-page zines.
@A.B. I can do it, it's my job to be able to do that sort of thing, but am I gonna look a gift "somebody else did it for me" in the mouth? No I am not.
 
3:32 AM
@A.B. I've seen sort of "hub" like structures sort-of-develop in tabletop campaigns before, but where that sort of thing I think gets more interesting is when you start to tilt more towards a Persistent World type of RP environs. sadly, that's a playspace that's been...somewhat abandoned? over the years, which means that nobody's really taken a fresh look at it with what we know now about TTRPGs
 
@Shalvenay I've seen quite a lot of "living world" games online, often as Discord servers. Hunt around on Roll20 and you'll find some, especially under Text Only.
They often tend to veer towards becoming freeform RPs with no rule system at all, but not always.
If that's the same thing you had in mind.
Thinking about more well-known systems, I suppose Vampire: the Masquerade probably tends towards campaigns that stay at home rather than going off on quests as it's more about politics than adventuring. But they're supposed to be more about one-upping each other than any kind of community.
At least, that's the idea in most of the published materials, though the one VtM game (actually a living world server, not a scheduled game) I sat in on for a while was rather the other way.
 
4:10 AM
4
Q: Does wearing magic items with armor affect AC negatively?

Michelle SimsIf I’m wearing a set of full plate armor and I replace the gauntlets with gauntlets of ogre strength do I lose the AC provided by the full plate as I’m no longer wearing a full set of full plate armor?

 
4:37 AM
@A.B. ah, I hadn't heard much from that sort of space -- my experience with PWs has been in environments that are a "RP in a CRPG" sort of experience instead
@A.B. and yes, there is a lot of drift towards freeform. you need a ton of mechanics support from the PW if you want to countermand that trend
 
5:25 AM
@BESW How does Affinity compare to InDesign? We were getting amazing educational pricing on Adobe, but that's been scaled back from amazing to a bit better than retail... so we're looking for other options
 
@Shalvenay With regard to "RP in a CRPG", historical footnote, Underlight's still going strong.
 
5:53 AM
@Adeptus Aside from some accessibility features for PDF exporting, there’s nothing I’ve ever done with InDesign that I can’t do in Affinity Publisher/Designer/Photo. There are some things which make workflow faster, like stacking master pages; and some that are slower, like an absence of GREP.
It’s generally made me very happy. It’s cheap, it’s fast, it’s powerful. I strongly recommend getting all three programs because they complement each other really well. You can actually use almost all the Designer and Photo tools INSIDE Publisher, without switch programs, provided you’ve got them installed on the system together. It’s magical.
And they keep adding new features; just last month they added things like pass-through PDF embedding, package exporting, and data merges!
Oh, and all three programs are on sale right now.
 
I think I saw that they can open InDesign & Photoshop files?
 
Yes, though it’s not perfect because Adobe’s stingy about its proprietary formats.
But a couple months ago I was hired to make web-friendly PDFs of magazines I’d made in InDesign years ago, and I did it in Affinity Publisher with minimal headache. I probably would’ve had at least as much trouble using InDesign because the files were ten years out of date.
And where I didn’t have the original InDesign files, I imported the print-ready PDFs and Affinity was very good about turning them into editable Publisher documents.
(Until very recently, Serif hadn’t cracked the indesign file type and so the workaround was to export an InDesign-editable PDF of the file and import that into Publisher.)
So long as you’ve got the linked fonts and images available, importing an Adobe file will get you something that LOOKS right but its internal structure (text variables, automatically generated page numbers and TOC, etc) may need to be rebuilt with Affinity tools.
Serif also has a two-week money-back guarantee so you can buy it, try it, and then get your money back if it’s not working out.
There’s also some very good documentation, both text and video. And if they shipped their beautiful hardcover guides to Guam I would be ALL OVER those things.
The biggest problem I’ve found so far is that some clients expect Adobe files and Affinity can’t export as Adobe files. But most of my clients are okay with PDFs, and if they insist on InDesign then I get to charge ‘em stress pay.
I also miss InDesign’s book feature? But that’s kinda niche and I feel like Publisher has features that compensate which I just don’t fully understand yet.
 
6:19 AM
@BESW Book feature?
 
With InDesign, I could have each section of a larger work (each chapter of a novel, each article spread in a magazine) be its own document, and use the book feature to create a meta-document which stitched them together and treated them as a single item with continuous page numbers, etc.
 
 
2 hours later…
8:37 AM
1
Q: How do Shadowdancer's Hide in Plain Sight, Hellcat Stealth, and enemies' darkvision interact?

SnakehelmI recently had a game where there was some uncertainty, so I'm here to ask you how this interaction works. I have a character, a Shadowdancer. This character has also got the Hellcat Stealth feat. The character sneaks in pure darkness, no light at all, on an enemy with Darkvision. There is no cov...

 
 
1 hour later…
9:56 AM
@BESW have you ever seen Red Dwarf? I was trying to think of what system would play like the TV show, but the only one that feels appropriate is Fate
 
he's definitely watched at least a little of it
 
I'm thinking of the vindaloo monster being weak to lager, or the potato virus eating their clothes
 
10:11 AM
makes me think of things working in a much more narrative sense than a logical sense
 
seems fair
they definitely make up a lot on the fly to fit the narrative
XD
 
 
3 hours later…
1:28 PM
o/
 
1:43 PM
\oO//
 
@AncientSwordRage feeling okay? Looks like you've got a 2nd head.
 
@NautArch and three arms...
I'm just this guy, y'know
 
2:11 PM
Hi! I'm trying to write a magical artifact for 5e and I'd like some feedback. Where would be the best place for a thing like that?
 
@STTLCU you can get feedback as a question here, but we have strong guidelines to make sure you get the feedback you want
 
@AncientSwordRage here as in the main site or here as in the chat?
 
35
Q: How can I ask a good homebrew review question?

doppelgreenerI'd like to post some homebrew material I've made, and I want people to review it so I can ensure it will work well. How can I ask a good question like this? What are our guidelines for handling these questions well as an asker? Return to FAQ Index

But you can ask here as well :)
 
I'll give it a try on the site, as it's more permanent (even if it's a failure). Thanks!
 
2:16 PM
@STTLCU feel free to run a draft past us first
 
When I want to post a homebrew question I usually workshop it a bit in chat first
 
@STTLCU There's a lot in that meta, definitely worth going through it.
 
So a vestige of divergence?
 
# Chainbreaker
_Simple weapon, ranged weapon, artifact (requires attunement)_
1d6 piercing - ammunition (80/320 ft.), two-handed

The shortbow is made of an extremely light wood with a deep brown color which shines golden reflections when exposed to the dawn and dusk light. The grip is wrapped in soft, white leather that seems impervious to dust and grime. All along the upper and lower limbs of the bow, there's a number of empty nooks and crannies.

***Sentience:*** _Chainbreaker_ is a sentient Chaotic Good weapon with an Intelligence of 15, a Wisdom of 19 and a Charisma of 16. It has heari
@ThomasMarkov sort of, yes. But a good-aligned one.
 
Ah, so a sentient vestige of divergence
 
2:19 PM
@STTLCU To start withm why are you making this? What's the goal?
What rarity/level do ou expect to give this/use this
 
One of my players would like a magical bow, but I want something more than something that gives flat bonuses or extra damage/effects, ideally something that I can tie into her story/background/path. I would like it to feel special, and flexible, but not overpowered. I'm fine with this to be an unique object and the center of her upcoming quests.
 
What level are they? WHat other items od other players have right now?
THis thing is pretty darn powerful
 
What are some good techniques for giving constructive feedback when your DM is frustrated with their campaign but they don't realize their communication skills are at fault?
 
@NautArch not much, a cape of elvenkind. They're currently level 4 but I don't plan for them to find it before level 6/7
 
@STTLCU WHen would it awaken?
 
2:23 PM
Here's the recommendation form the Wildemount book: "A Vestige of Divergence typically remains dormant until its wielder achieves 9th level. It becomes awakened between levels 9 and 15, and achieves an exalted state between levels 16 and 20. Ultimately, though, this progression is determined by the Dungeon Master."
 
It depends on how well they play and how much they focus on awakening it, but I'd expect in a couple/three levels after getting it, somewhere around level 9/10
 
My first thought is just that +2 and teleportation is very rare-legendary in my mind
 
@NautArch fair enough. The theme of this artifact is centered around Avandra the change bringer, so freedom, movement, open spaces, adventure, etc.
 
The Taldorei Campaign Setting has a longbow Vestige of Divergence
 
Do you plan on providing equivalent items for the rest of the party?
 
2:27 PM
@NautArch not automatically/necessarily. Other players look for other things in the campaign rather than magical artifacts.
@ThomasMarkov unfortunately I don't have access to it
 
gotcha, just making sure there isn't any sort of table issues that would come up
 
There's actually a thematically perfect item in the Taldorei book
An amulet called Kiss of the Changebringer
If you do ask the question on main, I'll use thiese items as the basis for my analysis.
 
@NautArch It's a fair note, thanks for checking. @ThomasMarkov noted. I found a description of the item you mentioned (I think?) and I can see it's a little more toned down. I'll go ahead and post it on main :)
 
Even though Taldorei book is unofficial, Matt Mercer and James Haeck are also writers of official dnd books.
 
@ThomasMarkov I know nothing of that book. It doesn't exist. :P
 
2:31 PM
@NautArch To be fair, it's an artifact.
 
I probably wont write an answer this morning, Ill get around to it.
 
@ThomasMarkov re:the kiss of the changebringer. It looks nice, but unfortunately the player really wishes for it to be a bow, and that is also about doing damage :D
 
@RevenantBacon tEcHnIcAlLy its a vestige of divergence.
 
@ThomasMarkov ok spongebob
 
Doesnt follow the canonical model for artifacts
@NautArch I can use a different meme
Ackchyually its a vestige not an artifact
 
2:34 PM
*shakes fist at sky* Wildemount!
 
@STTLCU Also, as a side note: in addition to their benefits, artifacts should also have a number of minor and major detrimental properties based on the strength and number of their beneficial properties
 
@STTLCU To preview the direction Ill probably take in an answer, it looks strong, about a Vestige and a half, but Ill try to give a more thorough analysis later
@RevenantBacon Which is why I said its modeled after vestiges of divergence, not artifacts.
 
OK, what is a "vestige of divergence"?
 
@STTLCU The hardest thing you'll need to do is provide your own analysis in the body and the areas you think may be too strong or that you want our eyes on specifically.
@STTLCU And also provide a benchmark for what you're looking for in 'power'. Compared to what? What would make it balanced/imbalanced in your game?
 
@RevenantBacon It's a magic item type from the Critical Role books.
 
2:36 PM
@ThomasMarkov that don't exist.
 
@ThomasMarkov ah
 
> Typically, the advancement of a Vestige of Divergence echoes its wielder’s own journey of self-discovery, whether that involves triumph or failure. However, a Vestige of Divergence might evolve on its own during moments of duress or desperation for its wielder, granting additional aid in times of need. These moments of advancement are up to the Dungeon Master to identify and enforce, and might manifest in unexpected ways.
 
I have... opinions on how balanced those books are.
(hint, my opinion is: they aren't)
 
Keep in mind that we're playing with a group of close friends, not in an AL-like settings or anything like that
 
Is balanced the right term when it comes to magic items?
 
2:36 PM
@RevenantBacon Most of them are fine, but require the DM to manage distribution of other magic items and when the vestiges advance.
Like yeah, a Vestige + a plethora of other magical gear is going to be OP
 
@Someone_Evil @STTLCU This is what I was getting at. If you're asking for balance, what is the measuring stick?
 
I feel like Vestiges are just artifacts but without the intended downsides
 
@RevenantBacon Theyre an excellent plot device
Way cooler than artifacts.
 
@ThomasMarkov That's what artifacts are
 
I feel like I'm walking into the OC Choppers meme.
 
2:39 PM
Is that the chair throwing one?
 
@NautArch good question. OP for me is something that is exceedingly effective in combat, either through raw damage or defensive abilities. I'm fine with a bit more utility out of combat, as that's more often "cool" than anything else, even for the group.
 
Right, artifacts are DM facing plot devices, the DM uses them as story elements. Vestiges function more as player facing plot devices, they are used to grow and develop the PCs in the context of the larger plot.
 
@STTLCU Exceedingly effective compared to others or compared against what?
 
@RevenantBacon Which one of us is the old man
 
@ThomasMarkov yes
 
2:40 PM
@NautArch compared to the rest of the party, I'd say.
 
trick question, @KorvinStarmast is canonically the old man
 
@STTLCU that gets tough, because if no one else has anything like this, then it's OP by it's simple presence.
 
@NautArch well, in combat it's mostly a +1/+2/+3 weapon with a once-a-day bolt and misty step. It's not hard to balance with "simpler" items for other players
at least, that was my initial reasoning.
 
Those effects are 1/day? I did not notice that.
 
A player having a more powerful item doesn't necessarily break your game. What you'll want to avoid is the bad feels from the other players not getting something too, at least eventually
 
2:45 PM
@STTLCU As written, that ability isn't a Misty Step equivalent, it's a "teleport to anywhere within the bows range +30 feet"
 
I'll also drop a note about magic items with lots of effects, it's very easy (in my experience) for a player to lose track and forget about at least some of them
 
@Someone_Evil Right, and if no other players are interested in items, then it's unlikely to create a problem at all because you don't need to 'balance.'
@Someone_Evil in mine as well!
 
@RevenantBacon fair enough, good point.
 
Both as a player and DM.
When I first started playing, I made action cheat-sheets for myself.
 
I've found making cards for magic items a neat tool for getting the player the associated rules, with the downside that not everyone is good at keeping track of them, and those cards sometimes mean the item doesn't get written down on character sheets
 
2:48 PM
0
Q: Is this homebrew shortbow unique item balanced?

STT LCUBackground One of my players would like a magical bow, but I want something more than simply giving flat bonuses or extra damage/effects. Ideally it should be something that I can tie into her story/background/path, and that evolves and grows with her. I would like it to feel special, and flexibl...

there you go! Thanks already for all your help so far :)
 
@STTLCU Can you add your own analysis and the areas you think might be problematic?
 
I can try! :D
@NautArch It's not much as I'm not able to see all the faults of the item.
 
@STTLCU That's fair, but explaining what you want it balanced against I think is unclear.
Making sure I'm reading this right, only the Find Traps and the Flying are 1/day, correct?
everything else is unlimited
 
I want to avoid this player outpacing the rest of the damage output of the rest of the party, while giving her something that looks and feels cool. I'll add this to the Q
 
@STTLCU You'll need to provide the info on the party members and what they've got for that.
Can't compare against them if we don't know them :)
 
3:01 PM
Find traps is 1/short rest. The teleport was supposed to be limited in a similar way but it seems I lost that on the draft table, good catch. Let me re-check what else I missed.
yeah, I missed a couple of 1/short and 1/day. Thanks for that :D
@NautArch I guess the point is more about an average party with average magic items. I acknowledge is not that much useful ^^" but right now the party doesn't have many magic items.
 
@STTLCU Inherently that's going ot make them more powerful
 
@Someone_Evil this is a great move. D&D 4e material sometimes even came with booklets of perforated cards you could separate out, representing powers and items in that material.
you could even do things like tap the cards, or put them aside in a pile, to know which ones had been used up and which ones were still available. anything with a cooldown or duration could have a die put on it to track that.
 
@NautArch fair. I don't know how to refine further that issue though :(
 
@doppelgreener I do something similar with spells. Putting away the spells that aren't relevant for the current sit., or for which I no longer have slots is a great way to simplify my decisions space
 
3:38 PM
7
Q: Does True Seeing reveal an Elder Oblex's simulacrum's true form as an ooze?

YvihsI'm currently playing in a campaign where we've encountered an Elder Oblex. Before we ventured into its lair I twinned True Seeing onto myself and another party member. Later on it was revealed that a pretty suspicious humanoid male we met down there was actually a simulacrum created by the Elde...

 
4:05 PM
@ThomasMarkov but I'm young at heart 😎 (Or as my wife once commented, of dubious maturity)
@STTLCU You may be able to upload the text of your idea as an image file here in chat
 
@KorvinStarmast I tried but it didn't work out that well. In the meantime you can see the latest version in the question here: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/181258/…
 
@STTLCU you can also just talk to the player and let them know you may need to make changes to the item if it seems to be imbalanced in practice.
 
@STTLCU OK, I'll have a look. Thanks! Artifiacts are a bit tricksy. I went through four versions to make just one of them; had help from Naut Arch and MikeQ and Shalvenay.
 
@NautArch yes that's definitely an option!
 
I only say that because I recently made some magic items (for the first time) and I realized that 'balanced' is really hard and it's more about "fun and equivalence", but that's not something you can ask others to check and something you must manage at the table.
 
4:17 PM
@STTLCU When you look in to artifacts in the DMG, they all have major/minor beneficial features, and major/minor problems. I'd suggest that for the second two aspects, Awakened and Exalted, you include a minor and a major negative trait. If I can find my last draft of my artifact, I"ll show you what I mean. BRB, hunting.
 
@STTLCU I've put up a review of some issues that I found.
 
@KorvinStarmast & @RevenantBacon thanks!
 
I agree with Bacon that the teleport is really overpowered
 
I agree with bacon as the superior breakfast meat.
 
here we go:
1. Each day it can turn one creature into a zombie under the control of the wearer. The limit to the number of zombies that the wearer can control is governed by level/CR. At level 1-6 up to as many medium Medium-sized zombies as character has levels. From levels 7-14 zombies of up to large size can be created. From levels 15-20 zombies of up to Huge size can be created. A single gargantuan sized zombie creature can be created from levels 17-20; but it replaces all other zombies, which collapse into a pile of inert debris. To turn a living creature into a zombie: the wearer uses
@ThomasMarkov Indeed it is
 
4:20 PM
@KorvinStarmast the detrimental properties seem quite steep!
 
@STTLCU Yes, they are, and since it is an artifact made by an evil organization about two thousand years ago, they are meant to be detrimental. Yours need not be, but I do recommend that you add detrimental effects (you can stick with minor in the DMG) to add some depth to the proposed artifact.
The initial side effect of the item, which I didn't post, is that every 30 days (in campaign time) that organization sends out bounty hunters, invisible stalkers, assassins, etc. to track down whomever has it and take it from them by any means possible. The party has survived one such attack already.
 
@KorvinStarmast I was going to suggest this as well, but I wasn't sure if the ones out of Wildmounte that this was based on had negative properties
 
I don't think I ever realized Dodge gives you advantage on dex saves
 
@RevenantBacon The vestiges do not have negative properties
@NautArch Youre thinking of Chevy, theyre stingy with the savings.
 
@RevenantBacon Given my lack of use for Wildemounte material, at all (except for the NPC blood hunter, they are a fine bad guy to toss into the mix) I still suggest them for any artifact.
 
4:24 PM
@ThomasMarkov it doesn't work against magic missile Darts
 
@STTLCU If you worry about +1/+2/+3, then go +0 (but magical) / +1 / +2.
@STTLCU Given that it is a sentient weapon, what happens when the PC and the Weapon have a Conflict (Per the DMG on sentient weapons). You might want to offer some clarity on that in your next iteratoin of the magic item.
 
@KorvinStarmast good to keep that in mind. I'll probably keep it open depending on what type of conflict actually happens. And good suggestion for the +0/+1/+2!
 
Although those modifiers are much less impactful than the abilities
 
@STTLCU Since you went for 1d12 instead of 1d10 (standard Heavy Crossbow Bolt Damage) and it's force damage, the +2 seems to me to fit better, but I have crunched no numbers in aid of that assessment. It's the other abilities that you'll want to tune a bit (the two answers you got are both pretty good)
@STTLCU If your dormant / awakened / exalted base damage goes from 1d6 to 1d8 to 1d10 in progression, it fits short bow, long bow, HvyXbow progression. FWIW.
 
@STTLCU one last side note: I would maybe recommend cutting the Blindsight range down to match the weapons short range distance of 80 feet. This is less for balance/mechanical reasons, and more because I think it's more thematic for its blindsight to match its short range.
 
4:38 PM
@RevenantBacon +1 to that
 
both of you make fair points. I'm tweaking my draft already :)
 
@KorvinStarmast I think you meant Hand Xbow, Light Xbow, Heavy Xbow progression :p
 
@RevenantBacon Given that it starts as a short bow, I felt I couldn't do that, but that sure is a nice way to parse it.
 
Ok, so this has been a recurring problem for me. Someone designs a game/campaign where they expect the players to make specific decisions based on vague clues. Players don't do that, GM gets frustrated and assumes players are dense. I try to give feedback on better communication, but they take it as insulting or saying that the game is bad. What's a better way to address this kind of situation?
 
figuring out a zip code is probably a good start
 
4:41 PM
Ah okay thanks
 
@MikeQ If the DM is me, just send a PM; I'll do what I can. 😎
 
No, I'm not talking about your game.
 
@MikeQ whew glad to hear that, given my recent difficulty in making the three clue work so far in that campaign .. I'll not stop trying to improve that.
 
on the other hand, what's wrong with dense/less intuitive players? as difficult as it might be, you should be tailoring your puzzles to the perceived aptitude of your players
like yes, communication is an issue but also the dm shouldn't just toss their hands up because "players dumb"
 
@MikeQ As for this, I try to give feedback on better communication, but they take it as insulting or saying that the game is bad I'll say the first thing I'd do is provide the feedback / difficulty to anotherr player and see if they are seeing the same thing as you are. And then workshop with the other player on how to provide that insight to the GM
 
4:44 PM
In the most recent case, the DM has been fixated on a custom dungeon that they worked hard on. From the DM's perspective, they're working hard to make plot hooks and clues that would eventually lead to this dungeon, and now they're burnt out because none of the players have picked up on it. From the players' perspective, we have no idea where to go, no idea that the dungeon exists, and the DM has introduced several other story elements that are unrelated and would lead in other directions.
 
@KorvinStarmast am i making the wrong assumption that this is about questions on SE? because you're rarely able to reach out to the other players at the table when someone posts a question here
ah, seems i am making wrong assumptions
 
@MikeQ I wish I could cut and paste an old City State of the Overlord list of rumors and clues right here ... this approach allows a DM to seed clues (some true, some false) in a nearly blatant manner for the players to consume. IIRC, the Keep in the Borderlands did something similar.
 
I have already suggested that the DM just tell the players (not PCs) about doing this dungeon, and to ask the players what hooks they would need to get from point A to point B. This hasn't happened.
 
Aah, and it is a good idea to do that ... when clue dropping falls on fallow soil
From the players' perspective, we have no idea where to go, no idea that the dungeon exists, and the DM has introduced several other story elements that are unrelated and would lead in other directions Are you all 'in a tavern' or "on the road somewhere" at the moment?
Also, how many players? I have an idea for trying to fix this player side only ... let me cogitate for a moment...
@MikeQ Have you exhausted the DM's stock of NPC with whom you all can talk or gather clues? He might be waiting for you all to talk to "the right" NPC. I've seen that before.
 
Hard to explain, but there was a very loose plot thread that has fallen by the wayside, because the DM keeps introducing new things that get the PCs' attention. The PCs have been deliberating about what to do. As far as we know (as players), the dungeon exists the DM's notes and hasn't been indicated even once.
 
4:50 PM
I'll guess that a suggestion to review Alexandrian's recommendations on clues has been received with not good grace?
 
@KorvinStarmast Evidently a specific PC was "supposed" to make a specific connection between two plot elements that, as far as anyone can tell, are completely unrelated to the other stuff that's been going on in the few most recent sessions.
 
Ouch. An easy DM thing to do is, for any given random encounter, provide (at the end of the encounter) a thing the players find: a map to the dungeon (the dungeon's been a part of local legends for years) - but I guess that your DM is choosing to bottleneck this?
Sounds like an all player parley - planning session before next session - is in order to come up with a way to get that connection made during the next session: I realize this smacks of "players versus DM" but you seem to be stuck in that spot at the moment.
 
Yes, to confound things, the DM wants the players to "earn" the clues (usually gating each clue behind several ability checks), so to me it seems they are reluctant to give a clear sense of direction.
 
Heh, does he have little yellow exclamation points on top of the quest givers' heads? 😂🤣 That's how WoW handles this.
Well then, as a party, make that your party goal for the next session. Gate crashing as a team. You'll leave no stone unturned in your quest for clues as a party. Yeah, sounds a little meta gamey, but that's a way for the DM to see the effort being expended to 'earn' the clues.
 
The issue isn't the lack of clues. The PCs have tons of clues. But only 1 points to the place that the DM wants the PCs to go in, and it's not clear why that clue is significant or relevant to what's going on. Every other clue points to locations where the DM doesn't want the PCs to go.
 
5:00 PM
Aha, a plate full of red herrings with the one tuna steak covered up in by the onions?
Suggestion: bring a can of kipper snacks (they are kippered herring) to the table next time. The brand I am thinking of has a red wrapper. Too subtle? 😎
 
Sort of? It's that issue where the DM tries to discourage some route by saying it's super dangerous, except this is a perilous adventure game, so these warnings just make the routes seem more interesting.
 
Here's the brand I was thinking of - how does the DM feel about a TPK? You all head off to that really dangerous route and, West Marches style, fight/encounter/parley with whatever's there. Does this compound the problem (you all not heading to the dungeon?)_
 
No, I don't see how forcibly killing off the PCs would solve anything
 
OK, non starter, and I doubt your fellow PCs would be on board anyway.
@MikeQ From the outside, seems the DM is doing the old 'self inflicted wound' on self and is frustrated, and, doesn't realize what they are doing to themselves. Tough nut to crack, yeah.
Do any of the PCs have a spell or item that lets them fly? (Not sure of level for your game) - Might be an alternate way to scout out the area and discover "hey, what's that over there?"
 
@MikeQ It sounds like they're running an excellent role-playing game, an activity that famously involves only one person. xkcd.com/1984
 
5:11 PM
puts on headphones so that I can hear the sound of one hand clapping, in stereo
 
@MikeQ Haha, this is a timeless classic. I feel your pain.
 
They want the PCs to be excited about going to a place, they control all information about that place and how it's presented to the PCs, and the PCs are lost and confused with no idea the place even exists. They are doing a bad job by the standards they set themselves.
 
Reminds me of a few discussions concerning "low-magic" games we've had
 
@Glazius Sounds like my old DM
 
They may have written themselves into a corner a bit, by making the place not want anything and just sit there forever, waiting. That's a common mistake.
 
5:15 PM
One intuitive way to make a DnD game low-mag is to offer vague threats or direct penalties against magick. Say it's banned or something
-->now magic is cool and unique, I'll take three!
 
@kviiri snicker - Evoke the rebel in us all, the DM will (that was in my worst possible Yoda voice)
@MikeQ This may be a non fantastic approach, but if you have a rough idea on what that loose plot thread is that's been buried, have a chat with your fellow players about coming up with a plausible In Character reason to pursue that thread with great vigor. Man, it sounds like I am suggesting that you prank the DM ... but maybe that's a path forward?
 
@KorvinStarmast That's close to what I proposed, but I won't do it without the DM's permission. It's their campaign.
 
@MikeQ yeah, don't want to create more friction. Man, this one's a toughie.
 
@kviiri The fact that this happens so often makes me suspect it's partially on me and how I give critical feedback
 
5:33 PM
@MikeQ Possibly — otoh people being super defensive about their games also happens very often.
(And many DnD players subscribe to the culture that the GM is always right)
 
5:46 PM
@MikeQ i mean, suuure? one thing, i kinda wanna instill in my players is that it's not my campaign, it's our campaign (cue USSR anthem) and they should be able to come to me with plot threads if they want to
although getting people to talk about their particular plot ideas with other players can get iffy
 
I generally agree, that usually even as a GM I like to think of the game as a common thing, not my thing. But I can see exceptions
 
i don't know if it's due to the way D&D roleplaying works, but i feel like most players come into narrative-building with a lot of built-in secrecy like they have to keep their character ideas secret from the other players
 
Some games are setpieces that are very much the GM's crafted experience for the players to enjoy. I've tried to run those too
 
Yeah, it's absolutely a problem. The players don't communicate or have a say (out-of-game) in the campaign's direction, and then everyone wonders why there's a disconnect or a lack of group cohesion.
 
i think the problem with secrecy is that it assumes too much of each player's (and GM's) capability at improv
 
5:50 PM
The "no take, only throw" meme comes to mind. No clues, only figure out the mystery. Don't discuss or sync expectations, but somehow agree on what to do next.
 
@Yuuki We had a long campaign where this tendency ended really badly for one guy. He kept his secret backstory (being heir to the throne of some place, I think) so secret that nobody else could really do anything with it, and then was pretty disappointed when the campaign ended without resolving that thread at all.
 
i'm not sure if i'm expressing it properly, but there seems to be this kind of false equivalence along the lines of "improv = authenticity"
like a player can only be true to their character if they're making it up on the spot, which feels really off-base to me
maybe pop culture has a hand in this too. on occasion when i follow movie discussions, there's always this premium placed on method actors or some really good/moving scene being completely improv'd by a particularly skilled actor
ignoring, of course, the hours and days spent by the team on building the other parts of the narrative or that the skilled actor is, you know, a skilled actor
 
I think there's value in understanding your character sufficiently well that you can snap-discover what they'd do in some situation.
 
@MarkWells There is IME, but not all players wish to immerse that deeply
 
@MikeQ Aw yes. Perfect fit for the meme...
@Yuuki Hard agree.
 
6:02 PM
@KorvinStarmast Right, and it's not reasonable to expect to do that for everything.
 
@MikeQ I guess my suggestion for a playes only parley isn't going to work, in that case. 😕
 
@KorvinStarmast IME?
 
In My Experience
 
It's not like people even can do that in general. Sometimes even I don't know what I'd do in perfectly foreseeable situations and have to sit it out to see
 
@kviiri In that case, the princess will be eaten by the dragon. 😕
 
6:04 PM
yeah, self-image is hard enough as it is. i'm sure i have plenty of false notions about myself that won't hold up in the heat of the moment
 
 
4 hours later…
9:53 PM
 
10:20 PM
@RevenantBacon no matter how often I read this is always cracks me up
 
10:53 PM
6
Q: Is this homebrew shortbow unique item balanced?

STT LCUBackground One of my players would like a magical bow, but I want something more than simply giving flat bonuses or extra damage/effects. Ideally it should be something that I can tie into her story/background/path, and that evolves and grows with her. I would like it to feel special, and flexibl...

 
@RevenantBacon This is very good. X)
 
11:27 PM
@RevenantBacon yes, so much the last post :D
 

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