From One Dungeon to Another

Hi everyone! Time for another exciting From One Dungeon to Another, the articles where my friend Christina and I blog about the same topic, often with very different conclusions. Christina’s blog can be found here.

Adventurer_In_A_Room_Filling_With_Water_And_Attacked_By_Skeleton_By_David_S_LaForce_from_GygaxDMG_1979

This week we thought we would discuss Unexpected Journeys, basically times that our players’ choices have taken the game in a completely unexpected direction. Since this is a very frequent occurrence in D&D, and I think one of the reasons the game is so fun, Christina and I agreed to narrow our discussion to one time this unexpected turn created amazing results and one time in completely exploded in our faces.

First up, the complete failure.

This was honestly a tough one for me. I have had tons of moments where players have gone “off script” but I have been playing with the same guys for over 7 years now, so I can roughly predict what style of things will appeal to them. I also plan my encounters thinking about creatures’ goals and motivations, which means I can flex around unexpected choices, and still have the players’ create awesome stories. Finally, I have quickly learned to not grow attached to any villains, as the encounters I think will be very cool always end up over fast, and the ones I expected to be easy end up a challenge.

Along those lines, the time player’s going an unexpected turn, resulting in a slightly less cool story happened in my Lost City campaign at college. My Assistant DM (ADM) and I had planned what we thought was an awesome encounter. Basically, the party was at the final part, of the middle arc, of a three arc campaign. They were invading a cult’s base. My ADM and I decided it would be very cool if in the base, the Necromancer lieutenant had the zombie minions, which were the corpses of characters that had died in the Lost City, complete with their magical equipment!

zombie We were very excited for the psychological impact fighting their old team mates would have, plus the zombies were no push over, since they had magical equipment, finally the Necromancer himself we thought was rather impressive. When the moment finally rolled up my ADM, who had done almost all the planning, was practically giddy with excitement. As he described the room we both anticipated the awesome reactions we would get, which would then descend into an awesome multi-round fight.

Not that day! One of the party members logically charged right for the Necromancer and one hit him, after which the cleric was easily able to Turn Undead making zombies fall to dust. Not quite the epic moment we pictured! I guess this isn’t completely an unexpected turn, as we figured they would fight the undead, we just didn’t picture it being such a lackluster fight…

Now onto the positive! Choosing one moment was very difficult; however, one moment, which completely changed the dynamic of the Lost City campaign, in an awesome way, kept coming to mind.

Earlier in the Lost City campaign, the party reached a point where they were aware that a powerful demon lurked underneath the Lost City, and they had concluded they wanted to slay him. One of the players, Aldo’s player in fact, was a Cleric devoted to a fire deity. He had heard of a nearby magma vein, were a very powerful Efreeti was imprisoned. Reasoning that potentially this powerful being may be worth visiting for a boon, as it was a creature of fire, the Cleric took the party on a quick journey to the Efreeti and his salamander minion’s prison. I did not see this coming, at all. I mean who would want to meet with the creature picture below, and try to make a deal! The ancients had imprisoned that creature for a reason?!

efreeti

I forget what the exact initial mission was, some sort of favor, but the party, specifically the fire Cleric, made an agreement with the efreeti that they would try to free him, in return for fighting Zargon. Now the whole party, once meeting the Efreeti, realized the trip was a massive mistake, so they planned on just never following through on the bargain. Unfortunately for the Cleric, this genie was not so easily dissuaded, upon shaking hands on the deal, the Cleric was cursed, his hand blackening, and told the longer it took to free the genie, the further the deadness would spread!

This was an epic moment in the campaign, and really created a turning point in the goals and desires of the group. Half the group wished to keep the Efreeti imprisoned, help the Lost City, and try to find a cure or just let the Cleric die. The other half demanded to free the Efreeti to save the Cleric. This caused a split in the party, which resulted in me actually dividing them, them coming up with plans, and eventually fighting with each other. The faction siding with the Cleric won out, freed the Efreeti, spelling doom for the Lost City and causing the surviving party members to flee the place. This was an epic story, created a ton of memorable moments, and all my players thought it was amazing! Without a few unexpected turns along the way it would never have happened.

Well those are two moments where my D&D games took Unexpected Turns, what are sometimes this has happened for you either as a player or a DM? Was the end result better then imagined or worse?

Please take some time and see what Christina’s moments were here, I am sure she has had some really neat situations crop up!

 

From One Dungeon to Another

Hello Everyone! Today I am writing another exciting “From One Dungeon to Another.” This is a series of articles where my fellow D&D blogger Christina and I post about the same topic, and then provide links to each other’s posts, to provide interesting contrast. You can find Christina’s blog here.

Onto the topic, for this “From One Dungeon to Another” we will be discussing our top 3 favorite Player Classes, for simplicity sake we kept it limited to the classes in the 5th Edition Player’s Handbook. As my regular readers will know, I rarely get to play as a player, so these are based on older games, or impressions.

In no particular order, here we GO!

The Barbarian 

Conan (1)

I have always really liked the idea of these lightly armored, berserk warriors. There is something iconic about the fur clad, roaring barbarian, that just screams Dungeons and Dragons. Plus there are a lot of really nice chances for roleplaying with the Barbarian class, you can be the short spoken Barbarian, or shock your fellow players with being insightful and wise, similar to Logan Ninefingers from the First Law Trilogy. Even Conan, the poster boy for the short spoken strong man, knew what is best in life :D!

I also really enjoy the wilderness aspect of the Barbarian class, Survival and Wilderness Lore are things which always seem needed in the group, but are often lacking. It add some nice potential when thinking about character background, and creative things for your character to do out of combat. Maybe the Barbarian is passionate about wildlife preservation, or is an avid gardener.

Finally, I think Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition has added a lot of really neat feature to the class to give it a very different feel from the common fighter. The variety in the totem in particular interests me.

The Paladin

paladin

The Paladin is a class that I think has so much potential. You can play the holy avenger, the knight in shining armor, or the wise warrior.

One of my favorite characters, which I have mentioned before, was Sir Edmond De Le Guile, the Lawful Neutral Paladin. He was an elitist, arrogant knight. He was a blast to roleplay, I loved using my share of the loot to pay NPCs to be my valet, cooking my meals and cleaning my clothes. I called party members peasant, and would perk up at the mention of damsels in distress. Perhaps I was a bit TOO much of a caricature, but it was great for the one-off he was used in. I would love to give the Paladin another go, but I would potentially try to jovial but absurdly good knight this time.

Finally, rules wise I really enjoy the changes 5th edition has given to the class. They feel very unique and bring a lot of fun additions to the game. There magic is actually useful, and you can channel Smite against any enemy, very cool!

The Wizard

Wizard

The master of magic, the wonder of whimsy, yup my final favorite class is the classic Wizard! Since I can remember, one of my all time favorite fictional characters has been Gandalf, and during my initial forays into D&D I always played a Wizard, which I imagined as Gandalf.

As I gained a deeper understanding of the game, I was intrigued by the potential that powerful spells could bring to the table. I also really felt drawn to the less straightforward play style Wizards had. The variety of spells the Wizard has over the Sorcerer also gives the class a great deal of flexibility, which I enjoy.

While I haven’t played a Wizard for a long time, it remains one of my all time favorite classes. It is an icon of D&D and I always love DMing a party that has a creative Wizard.

Well that is it for my top 3 favorite classes. What are your favorite classes? Are there any on my list you were surprised by?

Be sure to check out Christina’s post here and see what here favorite classes are.

From One Dungeon to Another

dungeonmaster

Hello everyone! Welcome to a new segment of my blog, “From One Dungeon to Another.” These articles will have me discussing a variety of my personal opinions on various D&D topics, as well as various memorable moments. The particularly cool thing about this segment is that Christina, who wrote a guest article on beginning to DM, will also be blogging about the same topic. We will include links to each other’s post within our articles, seeing the contrast between opinions and experiences should be really interesting!

Well without further explanation onto the topic…

Top 3 Playable Player Races 

I don’t get to talk (or think) much about myself as a player, so this should be fun. In no particular order here we go! Also, here is a link to Christina’s blog to hear her thoughts (this link will also be at the end of my post 🙂 )

Elves

Elves

Yup Elves! I am guessing several people are nodding in agreement, and many others are thinking BLEH Elves, really!

Well hear me out. I have always gravitated towards more dexterous, witty, and brain over brawn characters, which Elves do very well. I also really enjoyed their racial proficiency in Longbows in 3rd Edition, it made several other classes a bit more fun at lower levels.

Plus, as a huge fan of Tolkien, it is tough not to have at least somewhat of a soft spot in my heart for these people.

Finally, there is a great deal of nostalgia in this race for me, as growing up they were always my favorite to play as. While a fledgling player of 9 I imagined myself as a valiant elf lord like Glorfindel or Elrond. Into my pre-teen and teen years I identified a lot with Tanis Half-Elven, despite, or maybe because, of all his angsty whining, but since           half-elves were pretty dull player races in 3rd edition I just played an elf and thought of myself as Tanis.

Dwarves

Dwarves_-_MoF

The dour, staunch, and doughty  dwarf has really captured my imagination in the past few years. Dwarf NPCs are some of my favorite to roleplay, and they are often the race I find myself thinking about character concepts for.

A drastic change from the frail but nimble Elf, I really like how I imagine Dwarves feel as a race. They have a lot of layers which could be a blast to roleplay as. A annoyed and grouchy dwarf, which slowly reveals a kinder heard, while definitely a cliche, can create a ton of really fun moments.  I also really like the craftsmanship and devotion this race usually has, as that can provide really interesting spins on a character.

Finally, I have really begun to appreciate the value a lot of hitpoints and toughness brings to a character. Few Dwarf characters have to worry about goblin or kobold attacks nearly as much as say Elves, after all Dwarves will most likely be encased in armor and have a high Constitution score, I like that.

Honorable Mentions

Before I move into my final top 3 playable races I wanted to give two honorable mentions (Sorry Christina I cheated 🙂 ). The Halfling and Dragonborn, both of which I really enjoy. Halflings for the ability to because I have a softspot for the idea of a Hobbit and Dragonborn because I think they are awesome!

Humans

Humans1

Yup, the average, and in some peoples’ opinions boring Human, is one of my favorite races to play as. Some people may wonder, why play a Human, when you have so many other more exciting races to choose from?

Well Humans, over any other race, I think offer a depth and variety of archetypes to roleplay. We are Humans, so we know that Humans are a diverse and unique bunch. Many people will view Elf characters and Dwarf characters as usually possessing certain similar traits and interests. If you want to move away from these tropes it can be hard work, you have to establish your uniqueness to the party, often with an explanation in mind. Not for Humans!

My two favorite characers, Sir Edmund De Le Guile the obnoxious Paladin and Chamon my illiterate Favored Soul posing as a Cleric, were Humans. I think this is because when choosing Humans as a race, I at least start with a blank slate. I can explore unusual concepts and personalities without wondering why I differ from the many others of my particular race. This is not to say I don’t think other races can be used in unusual or unique ways, for my own roleplaying I just have found I can roleplay unique Humans easier.

Finally, back in 3rd Edition every race came with a negative stat penalty, not Humans. Humans were the best way to create a well rounded and balanced character with a blend of good stats, rather then one really great stat and one poor one.

Well those are my top 3 playable character races (and two honorable mentions), please take some time and check out Christina’s blog post here and find out what her top 3 are :).