Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Social Interaction Cheat Sheet

I've been reading a lot lately about how to quickly run social interaction in a D&D 5e game. Obviously, when it's called for, a DM can simply roleplay a social encounter and deal with the consequences in conversation. But if pressed for time or otherwise preferable, it's possible to quickly determine how an NPC would react to a character's request by consulting the chart and rolling some dice. Here's a reference table I found on this Reddit post refactored from the correct tables.

Based on the Social Interaction rules in the D&D 5e DMG, I drafted a small cheat sheet for attitudes and conversation reactions. It simplifies the charts and lists and summarizes the mechanic for a quick view during prep. Hopefully some folks find it useful. Suggestions for improvements are welcome!

Here is the link: Social Interaction Cheat Sheet - Google Docs.

I couldn't embed it so I share a copy here.

Social Interaction Cheat Sheet

Choose the starting attitude of a creature the adventurers are interacting with. The attitude of a creature might change over the course of a conversation.

  • Friendly: wants to help the adventurers and wishes for them to succeed.
  • Indifferent: might help or hinder the party, depending on what the creature sees as most beneficial.
  • Hostile: opposes the adventurers and their goals but doesn’t necessarily attack them on sight.

When the adventurers make a request, demand, or suggestion, or when the DM decides the creature is making a decision, call for a Charisma check by any character who has actively participated in the conversation. This can use Persuasion, Deception, or Intimidation as appropriate. The creature’s reaction depends on the roll and the extent of the request.

Hostile | Indifferent | Friendly

Conversation Reaction DC
Opposes the adventurers’ actions and might take risks to do so. 0 n/a n/a
Offers no help but does no harm. 10  0 n/a
Does as asked as long as no risks or sacrifices are involved. 20 10 0
Accepts a minor risk or sacrifice to do as asked. n/a 20 10
Accepts a significant risk or sacrifice to do as asked. n/a n/a 20

Text and mechanics based on Dungeon Master’s Guide chapter 8.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Zee Bashew: Everyone's Lying About Dice (Part 2)

I tried to explain in my last post that I both love and loathe the widely held concept of "dice training" and "dice personalities" and other sorts of dice-related myths. After all, I proclaim, these are just lifeless globs of plastic that -- in a perfect world -- would simply have some statistically consistent randomness to them. A twenty-sided die has a equal 5% chance of landing on any particular side every time and the rolls before and after do not affect the current role.

Well here comes Zee Bashew with another lesson about dice training, that I find both infuriating (because maybe he's serious?) and very, very funny (because he can't be serious).

Zee's whole channel is a fun one to check out, and I've been subscribed since I first stumbled on his Animated Spellbook series. If you are into narrative, you'll like the Cold Road Campaign Diary. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Everyone's Lying About Dice

This video makes me laugh, but also makes me angry at the same time. I've never bought into dice myths, loudly rejecting them when I hear them.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Weighty Chest (2nd Edition Spell) & Thor's Hammer Mjolnir

I was reminded tonight of an old nostalgic game that I ran many years ago. We were playing AD&D 2nd edition, Dark Sun campaign setting. My stepbrother... what can I say? He often takes a simple character concept and makes it awesome. AND by "awesome" I mean he makes it game-breaking.

In this instance, he had made a halfling druid/thief named Samone. Halflings in Dark Sun are typically animalistic and ritualistic, with cannibalistic tendencies. Rogues are pretty straighforward. Druids gain their spells and powers from a special relationship with a Spirit of the Land which inhabits a certain geographical feature, and the druid guards this land in exchange.

In our collection of sourcebooks at the time, we had access to the Tome of Magic. And in this book, he stumbled upon a utility spell called Weighty Chest.

Weighty Chest

1 day/level

This spell enables the caster to enchant a chest, book, package, or any other nonliving object no larger than a 5'x5'x5' cube. When the enchanted object is touched by anyone other than the caster, the apparent weight of the object increases, becoming 2-5 (1d4+1) times the weight of the person or persons touching it. This condition makes the object extremely difficult to move for anyone but the caster. The caster can move the object normally throughout the duration of the spell.

The material component is a lead ball.

It's a pretty simple utility spell with an obvious use. You cast it on an object that you don't want stolen or moved. And if anyone attempts to pick it up besides yourself then the weight of the object magically increases beyond most mortal attempts to lift it. Simple.

But what happens if you cast it on a weapon that you throw at (or stab into) an enemy? Based on interpretation, it's possible that you could cast it on a throwing dagger and then stab an enemy with it. That enemy would then fall to the ground and be unable to get back up again because of the weight. Does this remind anyone of Thor's hammer? Watch this video around the 16-minute mark.

Samone used this to devastating effect, loading up with a belt full of throwing daggers enchanted in this way. As a DM, I should have ruled against it with no hesitation but it was actually pretty fun to let it go for a good while. Doing a quick search tonight, I note with satisfaction that our game was not the only game where this question about this spell was brought up.

I could have simply pointed to the material component, a lead ball, as being pretty prohibitively expensive in a campaign setting like Dark Sun. Or I could have ruled that someone being touched (attacked) by a weapon thrown at you, is not the same as touching an object that you want to pick up. Eventually, I think I just banned the spell. Samone moved on to using Enlarge Insect to great effect, and tamed a hive of wasps that he regularly used as mounts. / r / rpg

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