Phasadon Crawler: New Monster

A magically engineered abomination, the phasadon crawlers was created by a Mind Flayer mastermind. With a bone-like beak and tri-part snapping jaws the phasadon can cause dimensional and spacial disruptions, while skittering about on eight spidery legs avoiding hard hitting fighters and the like. Obedient and loyal like a dog the Crawlers take orders telepathically from their mind flayer masters to warp reality, pushing the limits of their enemies minds towards madness. These things can be found in the Underdark, typically with Illithid masters, however a few have been bartered (or stolen) to the Drow as well.

(For a Fortitude saving throw, simply make a saving throw and add your Con modifier)

Here is a rough sketch of what they could look like:

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20 Things Found in the Pockets of Your Enemies

I wrote an article for Kobold Quarterly Blog entitled ’20 Things Found in the Pockets of Your Enemies’ that has a D20 Random generation table that contains what the title implies. The text talks about a little history of Random tables in the game and advice on using the table for your home campaign. Writing these articles and table I found to be extremely useful and inspirational for great gaming, expect more on this front. Here is the link, follow it to read the article and see the Random Table. Enjoy.

http://www.koboldquarterly.com/k/front-page13810.php#.UHL3lE1ZVK0

Kobold Quarterly

Enna’s Large Hyper-Intelligent Sloth Companion

Enna is a whirl wind druid princess descended directly from the blood of the first druid. She has a giant hyper-intelligent sloth companion who can speak to her and uses self made intellect elixirs to enhance his mind. Since there are no such creature or companion available I designed this one myself for the player in my group.

On your turn your animal can move as a free action.. You share a standard and minor action

Enna’s sloth companion HP:2 x Con +level= 34

Ability scores:

Str10

Con12

Int 24

Wis 24

Dex 8

Cha 16

Size: medium

Speed: 4

Defenses: AC 10 +level, fortitude 14 +level, Reflex 8 + level, will 16 +level.

Hit points: 2x con + level

Atk bonus: level

Damage:  1d6 + half level

Melee basic atk: bite; level vs AC;

Ranged atk: Befuddle; level +7 vs will.  takes 1d12 damage + int modifer (7).  Creature makes Constitution saving throw. Failure= its confused until the end of its next turn. RANGE 5: increase to range 10 while climbing.

Encounter power: Immediate interrupt: Retaliate. Trigger: you or an ally are hit with a melee attack while adjacent to the super sloth. Effect: Super sloth lashes out with a two clawed attack level+2 vs AC. On hit: 2d6+5 damage, brutal 1. If the attack was made againt you (enna) it deals 4d6+5 damage.

Guardian aura 1: all allies in the aura get a +2 to AC

Low light vision

2 healing surges. Value=level

 

Two build this I based it off of the ranger animal companion and druid animal companions detailed from WotC. However this one is a little more fun than those I think.

D&D Next: Current Condition

After using the playtest rules for DnD Next and reading about the direction of things such as monster creation, banded accuracy, and healing I have a few thoughts.

First off. I have only ever played 4th edition. I started playing about 4 years ago, starting DMing couple years ago. I have always been satisfied with the dnd games I’ve played or run.. I would have to say that I don’t need a new system. I have tweaked the one I use, and my style of DMing to squeeze the juicy goodness of D&D from 4th ed. ..and its working great. I am telling a story with some great friends and we love it.

However.

Getting to play DnD Next was kind of an eye opening experience, both when I ran the game, and participated as a player. Next pushes players to think as if they were there, using their environment and thinking tactically from a characters perspective. In contrast to this, 4e facilitates thinking as a player thinking about powers and damage and playing the game tactically. The way I have always explained DnD is that it is a game where the characters can do anything. From tumbling, jumping, flying, smashing a bottle over a bartenders head, to spilling oil and setting it on fire with a flaming sword. Although I think these things are possible in all editions of the game, I believe that next facilitates these actions by pushing the players to think like their characters and by giving the power to the DM to make easy/intuitive roles for resolution. In Next, I was always thinking, this would be cool, this might work, what would happen if we did/tried this. These are questions that I think make for a great session of play, where you tease out the great story, action, and fun elements from the game. While playing 4e, too often do i find my players, and myself too, asking only: which power should i use. The way the game is built if you don’t use a power, you are often times wasting your turn. how do you compete with daily powers which inflict 3d12, target is stunned etc etc..?

This is one of the reasons I think dnd Next is headed in a good direction so far.

Today Mike Mearls talked a little bit about the playtest and the feedback they have gotten and I can already see that things are going to change. I remember hearing someone from wotc saying ‘We are not going to have different magic systems for the wizard, you will have to play a different class’ and today Mike says they are most likely working in magic system changes through Traditions. That’s the playtest right there. That is your feedback, they are listening.

Hitpoints: Sure raise the hitpoints for the wizard. However, not for everyone, its like children asking for more cake. of course they want more, but that doesn’t mean we should give it to them.

Monster weakness: people said they were a little too easy, and I absolutely agree. The first time I playtested at PAX east it was HIGH tension, a rat nearly bit my head off with two bites. It was amazing, however the last playtest.. I threw 8 orcs at the players and they barely broke a sweat! In 4e my players are RARELY scared.. they feel invincible, if someone goes down its like oh wow really? are you sure? check again.

Ease of DMing: This one is hard to nail down because I am not running a DnD Next campaign. We have been doing simple one session adventures on top of our weekly 4e game. So if I had the time to dedicate to a Next campaign as I do for 4e, so far I would say DMing is much the same. Its fun and not really hard but not really easy. They haven’t really released any DM tools for easy DMing so ‘ease’ is really a hard way to analyze the role.

BTW if you have negative feedback for the playtest: YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON WHO SHOULD BE PROVIDING FEEDBACK.

If all the people with negative views or criticisms drop out, don’t speak up, don’t care then all they playtest will consist of is people who are consistently on board. And two years from now when the game comes out you will read it and say “Ugh this isn’t what I wanted at all, what a waste of time and money, they never listen” except for you were too lazy to contribute to the playtest. so don’t do that.

NUMENERA

If you have not heard about the brand new RPG and Kickstarter by 3e legend designer Monte Cook then I am very and completely surprised. Well, here is your chance for enlightenment. Numenera  is a new Science Fantasy RPG came set a billion years in the future which mechanics light and story heavy. The art alone is evocative and inspiring. You can read more about the game over at Montecookgames.com but you should first go to the kickstarter page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1433901524/numenera-a-new-roleplaying-game-from-monte-cook

and sign up for the absolutely awesome backer level THE REAL DEAL. Which give you alllll the books being produced for the game in pdf as well as a nice and fancy print copy of the core rule book.

Every RPG should start like this:

http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.com/2012/09/this-should-be-like-introduction-to.html

This is pretty much how I felt when I read the DMG for the first time. I didn’t realize so much as the then, but it became quickly apparent that players that evolve into DMs have essentially become game designers. They fiddle, they change, they make up, delete, add to the rules and play of the game.

Designers who write books, should remember this feeling when they publish games. These are the things that happen at the table or behind the screen that sometimes are forgotten when sitting behind the desk.

Improv as a DM

One of the hardest parts of DMing to master is the art of improvisation. It requires skills and training which unless you are specifically an impov actor or comic, you are unlikely to have. Personally, I have had a little experience in acting, and love improv, and have learned over the years to translate this into useful ideas while sitting behind the Dungeon Masters screen.

The first most import rule of Improv is ‘Yes, and..”

As a DM you may have read in the DMG or online that you should say yes to your players, this is a shoot off of the old improv saying ‘yes, and..’. To move the scene along, to make things flow and keep it fresh. First, you agree. “yes, there is a secret compartment at the bottom of that coffin” and then second, you elaborate.. “and it is filled with an asymmentrical pulsating red ruby which begins to grow hotter and hotter as you hold it until finally it…”

You see isn’t that more interesting than “no, there are no hidden compartments” or “there’s nothing inside but dust”

Your players are a valuable source of inspiration, they may be joking or saying things randomly or searching all the wrong places but that is perfect fodder for you to throw in something which A) they didn’t expect, and B) you didn’t expect either!

The second tip or trick that I like to use.. is called the The Improv Pool.

The Improv Pool, is something which I use during games and even conversations to keep things fresh and rolling. The Improv pool is a consortium of things, characters, ideas, scenarios, phrases and actions, which is just floating around in my head. Essentially, you read books, watch movies, listen to music, play video games and you take the most interesting people, places, and things you can find, and remember them. Then when you need something at a game, you reach into the improv pool and pull out the first thing you remember. The beauty of it is.. it won’t be perfect.. you will never remember it exactly as it was.. and thats the best part because instead you fill in all the gaps.. and when your players ask questions.. you flesh it out right there on the spot and now you have something which is unique to you.. and your game. Try adding a bunch of things to your improv pool and seeing how it works out for you.

Lastly, if you want to improve your improv skills, watch the pros, do as they do, and be comfortable doing it. The best source for hilarity and great improv is a tv show called ‘Whose line is it anyway’. These guys are improv genius’s, it is quite inspiring really plenty of good material to remember for weird or odd scenarios to add to your improv pool.

And as always, practice. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will be, the easier it will become, and the better you will get. How do you practice? Tell a story and make it up as you go, ask for names and characters from whoever you are telling it to. Run a DnD game with zero preparation, just set the scene and roll with it from there. Play improv games with your friends to hone your skills. These things will all flex that seldom used muscle and in no time you will be thinking on your feet as fast as Ryan Stiles and as inspiring as Chris Perkins.

Good Luck and Enjoy!

For more DM advice check out the DM Experience articles by Chris Perkins at http://wizards.com/dnd/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4dmxp/20120823