Sunday, December 14, 2014

D&D 5e: Investigator Roguish Archetype

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been thinking about how to build an Investigator rogue. Since I woke up ridiculously early this morning and couldn't get back to sleep, I now have an initial draft of the Investigator archetype to share. The goal of this archetype is to model both Sherlock Holmes and Philip Marlowe without going too far in leaving the medieval fantasy behind. Yes, I know that the modern conception of the detective comes from 1833, with a guy who has Rogues Are My Jam written all over him, but if this kind of detail is enough to ruin your fun, then move along, friend. If it's good enough for Pratchett's medievalish fantasy, it's good enough for me. Also, my closing argument.

Monday, December 8, 2014

D&D 5e: Investigation Encounters

There I was, thumbing through the 5e Player's Handbook (as one does), when I came a suggestion that non-criminal members of the Rogue class include investigators. Well, I like a good procedural mystery as much as anyone, so pondered how you'd play an investigator through the Rogue class. The baseline Rogue abilities are fine and good - their skill list includes Insight, Investigation, and Perception, while Expertise and Reliable Talent mean they'll seldom fail a roll. On the other hand, none of the Roguish Archetypes really fit all that well. They feel more like "what you do when you're not investigating" rather than a reinforcement of your concept, so I think a new Archetype might be called for here.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Lost Mine of Phandelver: the Lore

I've been perusing the adventure included in the D&D 5e Starter Set, "Lost Mine of Phandelver," with intent to commit heinous acts of game-running. I would guess that about 33% of the folks reading this blog post have also read the adventure, since I've heard so much commentary on it in my blogroll and in G+. This isn't a review - instead, I'm doing some of the legwork of cross-referencing the Realmslore that the adventure mentions but doesn't discuss in any detail. As the adventure promises, you don't need to be a Forgotten Realms expert to run it - but maybe some of this will interest you.

Note to players: Here There Be Spoilers.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

D&D 5e: New Fey Creatures

The fey are one of the few areas of the 5e Monster Manual in which the lore is disappointing. Of course, there aren't all that many fey in the first place: blink dogs, dryads, green hags, pixies, sea hags, satyrs, and sprites. To my mind, this contrasts sharply with the implied dread power of the Archfey, which are apparently on a power level comparable to the Dukes of the Nine Hells and the unnameable Things that dwell between the stars. 4e introduced the Feywild to the D&D cosmology and the concept of warlock pacts with the fey, but 5e didn't carry that sense of power and prestige forward into its creature design.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Fourth Year of Blogging

It's four years now that I've been writing this blog.  I've just passed 250 published posts. Considering that I average more than two thousand words per post, I conservatively estimate half a million words, and possibly closer to twice that. Every year of writing has slightly fewer posts than the year before it, but raising a child will do that. Also moving... twice. If you think to yourself, "But Shieldhaven, you don't have a job, surely that means you have more writing time?" then I'm guessing you do not so much as know anyone with children.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

D&D 5e: Two New Feats

I'm surprised by how much I like the design space of feats in 5e, and how different they are in function and concept from 3.x and 4e. Somewhere or other I saw them described as small chunks of multiclassing, and that is about right; in this they've preserved some of what I liked from Specialties in the early playtests. Each time you get an Ability Score Improvement from your class progression (4th level, and 4-6 times after that, depending on class), you get one of the following:
  1. +1 to two ability scores of your choosing
  2. +2 to one ability score of your choosing
  3. +1 to a specific ability score, and a modest new ability
  4. A bundle of new connected abilities

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Harbinger's Advice Column: Sneaky Bastards

Some time back, a reader asked about starting up sneaky characters in LARPs, especially when you are new (to whatever degree) to that game's community. Characters who telegraph that they are untrustworthy are tough to begin with, but when you tack on having no established OOC relationships, it's all the harder. I'm going to address this question as three separate matters: the character archetype in itself, the matter of being new to a community, and finally both elements together. Also, two disclaimers: first, I do not advocate law-breaking behavior of any kind in real life. Second, don't be so vain - this post isn't about you doing anything wrong.