Saturday, October 8, 2016

D&D 5e: A Ghoulish Repast

The ghoul has long been one of my favorite types of D&D undead. It doesn't even matter that the original ghul of Arabian folklore is a demon instead. Cannibalism - especially a compulsion to commit same - is a kind of horror that seriously unsettles me, so I love stories about monsters along those lines. As a result, one of Dust to Dust's common monster types is the ghul - not undead, but still voraciously hungry, and able to copy powers and knowledge from creatures that it eats.

Friday, September 30, 2016

D&D 5e: The Kobold Personality

I've been writing a series on personality features for each individual non-human race for awhile now, and today - thanks to a request from a reader - I'm covering kobolds, one of the only remotely PC-playable races that even goblins can look down on. The lore around kobolds has changed a lot over the years, but for this post I'm embracing the draconic connection, rather than digging too much into kobolds of Germanic legend. (The Germanic concept is cool too, but far from the default shown in the Monster Manual or most D&D settings.)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

D&D 5e: Way of Lost Souls Monastic Tradition

I liked the Innistrad block of M:tG so very, very much, and I loved Plane Shift: Innistrad. There's just one really important thing from Innistrad that it didn't have: the Geist-Honored Monk. As it happens, I don't know the M:tG canon for this card, but I found it fascinating. What follows, then, is my impression of what they might be about, in the Way of Lost Souls monastic tradition.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

D&D 5e: Team Magic Items

Back in the 3.5 DMG II, there were magic items that benefited the whole party. I don't remember the details of their design, and I'm deliberately not going back to look them up now, but I always liked the idea - company banners, totems, that kind of thing. I was reminded of this in a D&D session I played yesterday, part of the Reborn campaign. We had gotten a jade statuette, the effect of which was to cleanse the air of poison around us in a 20-foot radius, as long as someone maintained Concentration on it. This was a mechanic to add some environmental threat to a dungeon, but it sent me off in another direction of ideas.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

D&D 5e: Warrior Orders and Maneuvers

Inigo Montoya: You are using Bonetti's Defense against me, ah?
Man in Black: I thought it fitting considering the rocky terrain.
Inigo Montoya: Naturally, you must expect me to attack with Capo Ferro?
Man in Black: Naturally, but I find that Thibault cancels out Capo Ferro. Don't you?
Inigo Montoya: Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa... which I have!

Four years ago, as we saw the first hints of what 5e would become, I wrote about hoping for more engaging gameplay outside of combat for fighters, based on my experiences from LARPing. In this post, I'm looking at more ways to individuate warrior-types and potentially inform their roleplay. In two UA articles, we've seen Mearls experiment with fighter subclasses that reframe Battle Master-like mechanics, and that's a big part of my underlying concept here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Session Postmortem: The Great Old One Opera

In a recent session of my Aurikesh campaign, the PCs followed up on a previous investigation into a theater that had some kind of connection with an Abomination - my setting's term for the Great Old Ones. I think that the players had a very good time, and I know I did, so I want to talk a bit about what I did, including the plans I had coming into the session and pieces that I improvised as I went.

If you played in this session, there are some minor spoilers, particularly about what "matters" and what doesn't - but it would be a mistake to draw conclusions on this basis going forward.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

D&D 5e: The Aasimar Personality

One of Tony diTerlizzi's original aasimars. Sexualized, because it was the '90s - but not technically in lingerie!

I've been intermittently writing a series of posts with personality features specific to each nonhuman race, and today I'm covering aasimar (devas if, for some reason, you preferred 4e). Aasimar go back to 2e and Planescape, but didn't become as central or popular with gamers over the years as tieflings have. Presumably this is because there's not really an edgy aasimar concept, but anything is edgy when combined with tiefling. Or, to be more generous, tieflings have always been written with a strong sense of their internal and external struggles, while a lot of aasimar writeups make them sound like they're living on Easy Street - pretty, trustworthy, valorous, they're the popular kids who are also the nice kids.