Save on Anything Above a 3

Once, in a D&D 3.5 game, our party consisted of a human paladin, a lawful good dwarven cleric, a chaotic neutral druid and a chaotic neutral rogue. We entered a dungeon and were attacked by eight gorgons. We were level 8 and gorgons are challenge rating 8 each, so any sensible adventuring party would flee.

We weren’t sensible, and decided to try and tackle it anyway. The paladin and dwarf had nothing to fear from the gordon’s petrifying breath, thanks to our massive Fortitude bonuses. Both passed the saving throw on anything above a 3.

Combat went well, until both of us rolled a 3. The druid and rogue fled. Since both the surviving party members were chaotic neutral, they decided to abandon their former comrades.

Somewhere, in a dungeon, stand two statues of a human paladin and dwarven cleric.


Comments (2)

Read More

I’m A Horrible DM Because I Do Things Like This

I like to give monsters potions, then have them drink the potions at the start of the encounter. The potions count as the encounter’s treasure.

Once, in a 3e combat encounter, I gave a ghost a special ring of regeneration that deals negative energy that heals undead. Essentially, it’s a ghost touch ring that hits the wearer with an inflict every round.

The encounter was very long and boring. The players didn’t know where it was getting so many hit points. They calculated that it had taken more damage than a CR-appropriate ghost could possibly have if its hit dice were maximized.

The ring was very expensive.

It counted as the encounter’s treasure.


Comments (6)

Read More

Spare a Thought For the Poor Town Guards

Attending a gaming convention is a lot like being a town guard in a fantasy RPG or mediaeval settlement. You spend a lot of the day on your feet, possibly wearing a cumbersome outfit, and at the end of the day you go back to a cramped room with your comrades.

Let me tell you, spending three days at Anime Central dressed as a Whiterun town guard from the game Skyrim has given me a new appreciation for how careless we Dungeons & Dragons players are when we design characters’ outfits.

1. You can’t see crap out of a face-concealing visor
I opted to do without the Whiterun guard’s iconic face-concealing helmet, since it would limit visibility of the convention stalls and events. Just ask anyone who goes dressed as a Power Ranger.

But the real town guards also need good visibility more than protection. As one says, “I mainly deal with petty thievery and drunken brawls. It’s been too long since we’ve had a good bandit raid.”

Read More

French Adventurers Restore Priceless Works of Art

From Wired: The New French Hacker-Artist Underground:

UX’s most sensational caper (to be revealed so far, at least) was completed in 2006. A cadre spent months infiltrating the Pantheon, the grand structure in Paris that houses the remains of France’s most cherished citizens. Eight restorers built their own secret workshop in a storeroom, which they wired for electricity and Internet access and outfitted with armchairs, tools, a fridge, and a hot plate. During the course of a year, they painstakingly restored the Pantheon’s 19th- century clock, which had not chimed since the 1960s.

It reads like something out of a Dungeons & Dragons adventure. Small groups of brave young men explore the tunnels underneath the city and break into museums to steal valuable works of art. The only difference is that instead of selling the artworks for gold coins, these real-world rogues restore artworks that museums have forgotten.

UX is a kind of adventurers’ guild who specialize in restoring objects of cultural importance. The monsters they fight are incompetent museum security and lazy officials who don’t care about the artworks they protect.

The story provides real-world tested answers to questions of realism in D&D that are normally fobbed off with mundane gameplay-based reasons. Why isn’t every dungeon door locked for security? The game designer says “because lockpicking can be boring”, but now the French urban explorer can tell you “because whoever owns the site now doesn’t expect anyone to penetrate their first layer of security.”

World Building 101: That’s No Moon

Mankind has a well-documented fascination with the heavens. The Sun, the moon, the planets and the stars, as well as other celestial objects like comets and events like eclipses, have all been a field of great interest. They have been used in all manner of divinations and believed to be able to foretell the future, for weal or woe. In your campaign world, celestial bodies can hold in truth all the fabled knowledge of yore, but there’s no reason to feel obligated to leave it at that.

There are a wide variety of possibilities for any of the features of the sky in a fantasy world. Let’s look at a few…

Read More

The Dungeon-Crawler’s Creed

This is my ten foot pole. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My ten foot pole is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My ten foot pole, without me, is useless. Without my ten foot pole, I am useless. I must point my ten foot pole true. I must prod harder than the trap that is trying to kill me. I must prod it before it prods me. I will…

My ten foot pole and myself know that what counts in this dungeon is not the 20s that we roll, the noise of our magic missile, nor the saves we pass. We know that it is the hits that count: the hits we avoid. We will not be hit…

My ten foot pole is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its shaft and its grain. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my ten foot pole clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will…

Before God, I swear this creed. My ten foot pole and myself are the defenders of my party. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is ours and there is no enemy, but peace!


Comments (3)

Read More

The Medieval European Martial Arts Guild is a modern group dedicated to reconstructing the fencing styles and martial arts of mediaeval and renaissance Europe. According to enthusiasts, the armed and unarmed fighting styles of the time were surprisingly effective, and in many cases European combat styles were comparable with east Asian martial arts of the period. Modern HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) groups attempt to bring back these fighting styles based on surviving manuals and historical documentation.

Here’s a video demonstrating hand-to-hand grappling techniques, reconstructed from a 15th Century German fechtbuch, or combat manual, the Codex Wallerstein.

You can find more videos like this on the MEMAG Youtube channel.