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    posted a message on Adjusting for a PC using a Lycanthropy potion. Advice on side effects?

    I don't think that addiction and withdrawal mechanics are a good idea for this. You want to make sure it's still possible for the party member to have a change of heart and realize the error of their ways and stop drinking the potion. Lycanthropy is a set of strong buffs: the damage immunities, the strength and speed increases, and the bonus to AC. There should be a strong disincentive for using this potion, otherwise it just won't make sense to not use it. 

    I think the best disincentive, and one that's traditional for lycanthropy, is losing control of your character. When a party member first takes this potion, have them make a DC 5 Wisdom saving throw. If they succeed, they get all the buffs for the time period, and they feel like a bad-ass. They'll want to use it again. Every time they use the potion in the future, increase the DC by 5 each time. If they fail their saving throw, they lose control of their character for the time period. As DM, have the party member who is now an out-of-control werewolf attack the party members.

    I'd encourage you to take control of the character entirely during this time period. If you let the party member who drank it control this bad-ass werewolf attacking the party, the other players might more strongly associate the actions of the out-of-control werewolf with the player who chose to drank the potion. They'll already be pissed. At least make it clear that you are the one in control when their character is attacking the party. 

    You haven't mentioned how long the potion's effects last for. I'd recommend 1 minute. That's long enough to be useful for your villainous NPCs to get the buffs for an entire combat, but it's short enough that if a party member loses control, the party can wait it out. 

    Obviously take all this advice with a grain of salt. I'm very much a fan of the idea that lycanthropy causes people to lose control (so much so, that in my current homebrew setting, lycanthropy is literal possession by a demon). I'm not totally sure what the history of lycanthropy in Eberron is, but my understanding is that it's even more reviled than in the Forgotten Realms. You might find this blog post by Keith Baker (the creator of Eberron) helpful for your campaign: http://keith-baker.com/dragonmarks-lycanthropes/

    Posted in: Dungeon Masters Only
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    posted a message on PC Villain? Y/N

    I ran a long campaign where one of the PCs was working for the BBEG. I had fun working it out with the PC; the PC had fun being secretly working against the party, but ultimately the rest of the party didn't have fun with the experience. They were not on board for that kind of gameplay. They wanted to be adventurers out saving the world from evil without having to be suspicious of their own party members. Honestly, if I was a player in the group rather than the DM, I probably would have felt the same. I don't want to have to worry about the motivations of one of the characters I'm trusting with my life. That's not fun for me, nor was it fun for the rest of the people involved. In the end, I wish I had asked the party if they were okay with having an evil party member betraying the party be a possibility. They would have said no, and I would have worked with the PC to come up with a different, non-evil concept. If they had said yes, making sure that everyone was on board with the idea ahead of time would have absolutely been worth slightly spoiling the dramatic impact of the reveal. 

    I'd strongly recommend against doing this, especially because this is your first time DMing in a homebrew setting. You'll have a lot of things to figure out as it is, and dealing with a non-traditional party make-up can make your job harder and the experience less fun for everyone involved. I for one, am running my first low-level, tropey campaign in D&D 5e. Killing goblins, fighting dragons, and exploring dungeons has been a blast for everyone involved. Don't reinvent the wheel. There's a lot of fun to be found in a traditional D&D campaign. 

    Posted in: Dungeon Masters Only
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    posted a message on Powerful Monster Combo: Lamia and Cambion

    I'm currently running a campaign arc which prominently features two monsters working together: a cambion and a lamia. I picked these two because they're both described as being related to Graz'zt, the demon lord of hedonism. After taking a closer look at their statblocks, I've realized they are a terrifying combo. 

    First, the lamia has a feature called Intoxicating Touch. It's an attack, +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., and on a hit, "the target is magically cursed for 1 hour. Until the curse ends, the target has disadvantage on Wisdom saving throws and all ability checks." 
    No save. If you get hit, you are cursed for an hour, full stop. Only way to end it early is remove curse, or maybe dispel magic
    If the attack missed, no problem. The lamia can hit you again next turn. 
    Notably, the lamia has Multiattack, allowing the lamia to use both its claw attack (+5 to hit, 14 damage) and its Intoxicating Touch in the same action. 
    Intoxicating Touch is already bad enough, especially when you consider that the lamia has access to charm person, suggestion, scrying, and geas. However, Intoxicating Touch is especially powerful when combined with the cambion's powers. 

    Cambions can use command, which is obviously buffed by Intoxicating Touch, but the far more significant feature is one of their other action options: Fiendish Charm. I've copied the text of that feature here: 
    "Fiendish Charm. One humanoid the cambion can see within 30 feet of it must succeed on a DC 14 Wisdom saving throw or be magically charmed for 1 day. The charmed target obeys the cambion’s spoken commands. If the target suffers any harm from the cambion or another creature or receives a suicidal command from the cambion, the target can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. If a target’s saving throw is successful, or if the effect ends for it, the creature is immune to the cambion’s Fiendish Charm for the next 24 hours."

    Fiendish Charm is incredibly powerful if used appropriately. Once the cambion uses this ability on a party member, they can command the party member to attack their allies. So long as no one harms the charmed PC and the cambion doesn't give a suicidal command, the charmed PC doesn't even get more saving throws. They just obey. Even if the charmed PC is harmed or given a suicidal command, the charmed PC will just get a saving throw, and if they fail, they keep obeying. 

    Combine this with the lamia's Intoxicating Touch for an extremely potent combo. The lamia can use her action to use a claw attack on a PC (dealing 14 damage on a hit), then follow it up with an Intoxicating Touch. The cambion can then use Fiendish Charm on that cursed PC, who now has disadvantage on all of their Wisdom saves for the next hour. In general, the PC is likely to fail the save, and even if they get another save later (by taking harm/getting a suicidal command), they still have disadvantage on this save, making it very hard to break out of the charm. 

    I'm using this combo with a bunch of other Graz'zt cultists as the bosses of a campaign arc for my seven level 4 PCs. Feel free to use this combo in your own game, and if you do: good luck to your players! 

    Posted in: Dungeon Masters Only
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    posted a message on Variant Rule for Nonlethal Damage
    Quote from Kerrec >>

    The rule in the PHB specifically states that the attack has to be a MELEE attack in order to qualify to be non-lethal.  Not a spell.  Not a ranged attack.

    I played a game recently where I cast primal savagery to do a melee spell attack, and the DM ruled it didn't qualify for non-lethal and ended up killing the creature.  To be honest, I agree with his ruling.

     "Melee attack" includes both melee weapon attacks and melee spell attacks. Attacks can be "melee" or "ranged" in addition to being "weapon", "spell", or special (grappling, shoving). Following the RAW for knocking a creature out, spells which involve melee spell attacks (such as primal savagery and spiritual weapon) can be used for nonlethal strikes, since they fulfill the "melee attack" requirement of the rule. (See page 11 of the Sage Advice Compendium). 

    Quote from Kerrec >>

     The bludgeoning requirement is not novel (not saying you thought it was).  It is used in other systems I've played.  I think 3.5e had that requirement.  My point is it was an established rule and when 5e was designed, it was evidently intentionally dropped to make things simpler.  I don't think that's a bad thing.

    I think the restriction that only melee attacks can choose this option is enough, seeing as a lot of classes just are not going to be able or willing to get in close to use that feature.

     Interesting to hear that previous editions of D&D had it as a requirement! I think it was a good design decision on their part to make the rules simpler. I've been DMing a campaign with this house-rule since September, and it's been interesting. 2 of my 7 players are playing characters who abhor murder of intelligent creatures, and there's been multiple instances already of needing to non-lethally take down an enemy over 5 sessions, so this rule has come up frequently. Overall, it's worked pretty well, but it's been a problem once so far.

    I was setting up a boss encounter with a demon-possessed humanoid (my setting's take on lycanthropy). Initially, I was going to set up the encounter so that they'd have to nonlethally take down the werewolf while avoiding being infected by its bite (they wanted the possessed individual to survive exorcism). Given the nature of nonlethal strikes requiring melee distance and the reach of bite attacks, it was set up to be a bad time. Additionally, 2-3 party members have non-bludgeoning melee weapons. The party would need to get their weapons silvered to do any damage to the werewolf, and this would present a problem to those 2-3 party members: what weapon do I get silvered? This didn't seem like fun problems for the party to be solving, so I changed how the exorcism worked, so that it didn't require nonlethally taking down the werewolf. I just made the actual demon tougher to compensate. 

    Considering my reasoning behind that change to the boss encounter and the other experiences with nonlethal damage in this campaign so far, I'm considering removing the bludgeoning damage requirement. I'll present the following two options to my party and let them choose what they'd rather have be the rule:

    1. Keep the bludgeoning damage requirement for the sake of realism. Explicitly tell the party that any weapon which normally does slashing or piercing damage can be used in a non-standard mode (hit someone with the hilt, pommel, or flat of a sword for example) to deal 1d4 bludgeoning damage instead of its normal damage die. When using a silvered, adamantine, or magical weapon, using the weapon in the non-standard mode still keeps the special type for purposes of bypassing resistance or immunity to mundane weapons. 
    2. Remove the bludgeoning damage requirement for the sake of simplicity and less restrictive gameplay. 
    Posted in: Homebrew & House Rules
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    posted a message on Variant Rule for Nonlethal Damage

    - Using any weapon that deals bludgeoning damage is an interesting idea. I know one of my players is playing a pacifist who uses a boomerang, so she'd love to have that as an option. I think that's a valid adjustment to the rules, although I'm not sure I'd allow it personally. I think that you need more control over the nonlethal strike than you'd have at range. 

    - I think that being able to use non-bludgeoning weapons in a bludgeoning way is a great idea! Bonking someone over the head with the hilt of your sword to knock them out seems like it should be an option. That seems like it's an improvised weapon rule though, not something that should necessarily be covered in the rules for nonlethal damage. The DM can decide what damage die to use, whether it's considered improvised or not, etc..., and it'd still fit in this framework. 

    - Oof. I think that keeping track of damage already dealt and having that affect nonlethal effectiveness would be realistic, but not something I'd actually want to implement, since that'd be significantly more work. I definitely don't think you can cast a healing spell with the intent of not waking up the healed target, since the rules seem pretty clear that if you get healed, you wake up. You could tie them up then heal them if you wanted, but now they're conscious and probably mad. 

    - Decreasing INT could work, but that seems like something that'd be weirdly exploitable, ya know? Like, let's knock out our wizard enemy a few times so he's dumb and sucks at magic now. We didn't technically kill him, so if the plot demands he remain alive but heavily nerfed, we did it! 

    Thanks for all the ideas! 

    W/ regards to repeated knockouts, I intend to address that as it comes up in the future, and I'll just tell players outright that it won't work long-term.

    I'm revisiting this because I played in an Adventurer's League session this weekend where nonlethal strikes were relevant. We were fighting a treant, which was down to 10 out of its 138 HP (although we had no idea what its health level was). The 9th level Vengeance Paladin in the party hit the treant twice with his Flame Tongue Greatsword, critting once. He had already used Hunter's Mark; he had a belt of giant strength for STR 23, and he spent a divine smite on both. In the end, he was rolling something like 15d6+12d8+12 damage, with 6d6 of that being fire damage, which the treant was vulnerable to. We were trying to knock it out nonlethally, but he straight up killed it by massive damage in the end. If he had rolled lower on his dice, but otherwise done the exact same attack? It wouldn't have killed the treant. Just... it was weird to actually experience an even more hyperbolic damage case than I described in my first post. 

    Now, onto another issue a player of mine brought up with the variant rule where they get knocked down and start making death saves:

    My player is playing a monk who specifically tries to seek nonlethal resolution to conflict. They have proficiency in the Medicine skill, and pretty much all their attacks are melee attacks that deal bludgeoning damage. They've pointed out however, that by changing the rule for nonlethal damage such that the target is not stable, but rather is bleeding out, someone has to spend another action to stabilize them. This increases the total number of actions necessary to knock someone out, making nonlethal knockouts a less attractive option than just killing the enemy outright. Given how much D&D incentivizes straight-up murdering your enemies, and given that I want to encourage players to seek nonlethal resolutions to conflict, I need to make sure that the action economy can at least be on the same level for both options, at least for PCs who have specifically trained to knock people out. That's why I suggest the following edit:

    Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack that deals bludgeoning damage, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and begins making death saving throws, or, if applicable, the creature dies by massive damage.

    If the attacker is proficient in the Medicine skill, they can attempt to use their training to stabilize the creature as part of the same action used to make the attack. The attacker makes a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check. On a success, the creature is stable. 

    Posted in: Homebrew & House Rules
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    posted a message on Missing Proficiency Bonus from Claws Attack from Dragon Hide Feat

    Thank you! :) 

    Posted in: Bugs & Support
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    posted a message on Missing Proficiency Bonus from Claws Attack from Dragon Hide Feat

    My dragonborn character (link to character sheet) took the Dragon Hide feat, which says:

    "The claws are natural weapons, which you can use to make unarmed strikes." (source)

    And I noticed that my claws aren't being displayed correctly on the Actions section of my character sheet. It doesn't include my proficiency bonus to the attack roll. With a Strength of 10 and a Proficiency Bonus of 3, my regular Unarmed Strike is being displayed with the proper +3 attack bonus, while my Claws attack shows a +0 bonus. To quote the PHB:

    "You are proficient with your unarmed strikes." (source)

    Just making y'all aware of this bug. Do you need any more information?

    Posted in: Bugs & Support
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    posted a message on Adding a character to a campaign

    If you follow the "Link to Join this Campaign" that is at the top of the campaign page, you'll be prompted to add an existing character or create a new one. That should work for what you have in mind. 

    Posted in: General Discussion
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    posted a message on What are your top 2 classes to play in 5e?

    Paladin: I like to play a character with strong convictions, and being a tanky support character is my personal favorite. 

    Warlock: Picking invocations is super fun, and I like the flavor of the class. 

    Cleric: Divine power is fun, and again I like being a support as much as I can. 

    Posted in: General Discussion
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    posted a message on Variant Rule for Nonlethal Damage

    Ah yeah that isn't what I had been envisioning. Though maybe what you bring up is a good reason to allow people to declare a roll as non-lethal after finding out it's enough to drop to 0. However, I don't want to allow that, since I might be partway through describing their death, "The King's features shift and change color to the blue of a doppelgang... Oh it's non-lethal? *Cough*" 

    I think I'll probably change to something more like: 

    Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack that deals bludgeoning damage, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and begins making death saving throws, or, if applicable, the creature dies by massive damage.

    The default assumption would remain that most NPCs would immediately die upon reaching 0 HP otherwise. Thanks for helping me figure out something better than I had before! 

    Posted in: Homebrew & House Rules
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    posted a message on Patching the PHB Ranger

    So, I'm starting a new campaign soon, and I have a couple players who have expressed interest in rangers. I've played with PHB Rangers and Revised Rangers. My impression is that the PHB Ranger can be a bit too niche (with their favored terrain bonuses etc) and is a bit below average in strength for classes. On the other hand, I feel that the Revised Ranger went too far, going past average strength by adding a plethora of features. I also want all my players to maintain DDB character sheets, so it'd be rough if there was conflicting feature text between their DDB sheet and their actual set of features they use in play. That's why I set out to make a patch for the PHB Ranger which strictly adds features, never contradicting the text of a given feature. That way I can make a Ranger-only, weightless, homebrew magic item on DDB which they can add to their DDB character sheet. I'm curious to hear what y'all think about what I've come up with. 

    Ranger Patch:

    Favored Enemy: 

    Your knowledge of your favored enemies gives you insight on how to exploit their weaknesses. You gain a +2 bonus to damage rolls with weapon attacks against all of your favored enemies. This bonus to damage rolls increases by +1 each time you gain another favored enemy, becoming +3 at 6th level and +4 at 14th level.

    Additionally, if a chosen favored enemy doesn’t speak a language, or you already speak its language(s), you can pick a different language to learn.

    Natural Explorer: 

    As a ranger, you are a quintessential wilderness traveler, able to adapt to any terrain. The benefits you gain from traveling for an hour or more in your favored terrain now apply when traveling for an hour or more in any terrain.

    Primeval Awareness: 

    When you use your Primeval Awareness feature, you learn additional information about the types of creatures present if they are one of your favored enemies. This feature reveals the approximate number of your favored enemies present, in addition to their general direction and distance (in miles) from you. If there are multiple groups of your favored enemies within range, you learn this information for each group.

    Land's Stride: 

    When you gain the Land's Stride feature at 8th level, you learn how to move with exceptional speed. You can now use the Dash action as a bonus action on your turn. 

    Posted in: Homebrew & House Rules
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    posted a message on Variant Rule for Nonlethal Damage

    The DC goes up by 5 for every time the creature has been knocked unconscious by a melee attack in the past 24 hours. I'm not sure what you're asking with "is the DC per PC who makes a 'non lethal attack' or for each person?" The DC doesn't scale with number of people involved. It's the creature being hit which can affect the DC, and that's only if they've had this done to them in the past 24 hours. 

    I concede that these rules are perhaps overly complex, but I don't think it'd actually add many dice rolls. In my experience, players aren't usually attempting to do nonlethal damage, and if they do want to, this adds one ability check that they'd made after the attack roll hits.

    As to whether or not this will improve drama in play, I think it's more dramatic than the current rules! If the party has to knock out an enemy and capture them as an objective rather than just killing them, the added risk from this variant rule would force the players to choose carefully how they attack as the enemy gets low on HP. Hitting them with fireball is now counter-productive, when you want to make sure it's someone who's decent at Medicine hitting them with a bludgeoning weapon instead. 

    I think giving every NPC death saves is too much, but you actually made me realize a different way of handling nonlethal damage (and perhaps this is what you meant). Handle nonlethal damage as normal, wherein your players can just declare it as nonlethal, and they don't need to make a Medicine check at the time of attack. (Perhaps you can add the bludgeoning damage requirement as I proposed.) However, instead of the creature dropping unconscious and being stable, they start making death saves instead. That way the party has to go out of their way to stabilize them before they die, whether that be by Medicine check, Spare the Dying, or whatever. You'd only use death saves when the party decides to do nonlethal damage in this case. (Is that what you meant?) I think this rule will work better. 

    Posted in: Homebrew & House Rules
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    posted a message on Variant Rule for Nonlethal Damage

    So, nonlethal damage is an option presented in the Basic Rules. I've copied the full text of the rule below:

    Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points with a melee attack, the attacker can knock the creature out. The attacker can make this choice the instant the damage is dealt. The creature falls unconscious and is stable.

    I think this rule is reasonable if you're going for simplicity and fast combat, but it's not great on realism. First of all, it doesn’t make sense that any sort of melee attack can be nonlethal. A paladin with a greataxe, swinging with all the power of a Divine Smite behind them, getting a critical hit and dealing 20 slashing and 50 radiant damage… can just casually say, “yeah, it’s nonlethal,” and now you have an unconscious and perfectly stable lich on your hands. That’s hardly realistic. Plus, you can end up in a situation (which happened in one of my campaigns) where the party decides to capture the Big Bad Villain and just casually punch him out every time he wakes up for the next month, so that he’s never conscious long enough to do anything. All this done of course, without any lasting brain damage. I think we can do better than this, and I see a potential solution in utilizing the Medicine skill, which is a much less useful skill proficiency to have right now relative to say, Athletics. That’s why I present the following modified rule:

    Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an attacker makes a melee attack which deals bludgeoning damage, they can declare the attack to be nonlethal. This decision must be made after the attack roll is made, but before any damage is dealt. If the attack brings a creature to 0 hit points, the attacker must make a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check. On a success, the creature falls unconscious and is stable. On a failure, the creature dies. This check is made with disadvantage if the attack was a critical hit. The DC of this check increases by 5 for every time the creature has been knocked unconscious by a melee attack in the past 24 hours.

    In summary, the differences are:
    -must do bludgeoning damage (though it can additionally do other damage)
    -decision is made before damage is rolled, but after the attack roll
    -you make a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check to see if you were successfully nonlethal
    -you have disadvantage if it was a critical hit
    -the DC goes up if you keep doing this to them, because eventually they’ll just die

    What do y'all think about this modified rule? Are there any changes/tweaks you'd make? Does anyone else find the RAW rule unsatisfying?

    Posted in: Homebrew & House Rules
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    posted a message on Ratings for homebrew elements

    It looks like an upvote/downvote system similar to Reddit's. If a person likes a piece of homebrew content, they can vote it up, and they can vote it down if they don't like it. The upvote and downvote buttons are at the bottom of the item description. 

    Does that answer your question? 

    Posted in: Homebrew & House Rules
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    posted a message on PSA: Keith Baker has an FAQ on the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron

    There's a helpful FAQ on the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron that Keith Baker has on his website. I wasn't aware of it until a helpful forum-goer (TheresNoRaceLikeGnome) told me about it. I'm posting this thread so that more people are made aware of this FAQ's existence. It answers some important questions, especially regarding the Warforged mechanics. 

    Posted in: Rules & Game Mechanics
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