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

Duration
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.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

BRING ON THE MUPPETS IN D&D!

Are we ready to have some fun and get silly? Boing Boing has an article about an unofficial race made for D&D that allows you to play as a muppet monster.

This delightful monster sheet was designed by BJ Hypes, and covers pretty much everything you'd need to make your Muppets canon:

Muppetborn - homebrew Dungeons & Dragons rules let you add the Muppet race to your 5e campaign

Muppetborn

Fabric? Is that all I am to you? My blood may be colorful and glittery, but I bleed nonetheless. My people have long struggled to be taken seriously, it is why so many of us turn to our faith, our creator: The Hand. It is a force within all of us that guides our actions and speaks through all Muppetborn. The war of my people is far from over, and it will be the bloodiest yet. Waka waka.

—Fuzzwhizzle Plumpytops, Hand of The Grouch
Fuzzy And Warm

A proud and silly race, Muppetborn are chaotic creatures known for innate magical abilities. Born appearing as small balls of cloth, they quickly develop into creatures that resemble humans, animals, and even monsters…but that doesn't make them evil. Easily spotted by their colorful furs, most Muppetborn who live outside their clans or "Streets" frequently find themselves uninvited from "proper" civilization due to their odd habits. But really, is it a party without a Muppetborn swinging from the chandelier?

Muppetborn Traits

  • Ability Score Increase. Your Constitution and Dexterity increase by one.
  • Age. At birth, they resemble small balls of colorful fabric with googly eyes, but quickly sprout limbs and mature at roughly double the speed of humans. The average Muppetborn lives for 60 to 90 years, however some have lived well past 300.
  • Alignment. Imbued with sporadic energy, Muppetborn often live on the chaotic end of the spectrum.
  • Size. As varied as the thoughts in their heads, the smallest Muppetborn rest just shy of two feet tall while some are large enough to sink even the sturdiest of rowboats.
  • Speed. Your base shuffling speed is 30 feet.
  • Always Obscured. No matter how you look at them, a Muppetborn's bottom half is always out of view. It's said that even when one stands in the middle of a field, the earth will rise up to meet them. For this reason, they are always considered to have half cover and receive a permanent +2 bonus to AC
  • The Hand. Muppetborn mythology speaks of The Hand inside each of them. They innately know the cantrip Mage Hand, however the floating hand can only lift up to five pounds and move up to five feet per character level.
  • Nom Nom Nom. Muppetborn absorb the energy from food without ever having to swallow it.
  • Cloth And Color. All Muppetborn know the cantrip "Mending" and once per long rest it can be used to heal 1d8 hitpoints. This increases to twice per long rest at 5th level, three times at 10th level, four times at 14th level, and five times at 18th level
  • Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common, Clothing, and Ventrillo.
  • Subrace. Three main subraces of Muppetborn exist: Hand of The Monster, Hand of The Grouch, and Hand of The Animal. Pick one for your character.

Hand of The Monster +1 Charisma Increase
Yaaaaay. At 3rd level, you can perform the mighty roar of The Monster as a bonus action once per short rest. This gives a +5 bonus to the next attack each of your allies within 60 feet makes, as long as they do so in the next minute. Additionally, any ally that makes a Wisdom or Charisma saving throw in the next minute does so with advantage.

Hand of The Grouch +1 Strength Increase.
Garbage 'Can', Not Garbage 'Cannot'. At 3rd level, you've learned to fortify yourself amongst the lowest of society and gain proficiency in medium and heavy armor. Additionally, you do not make stealth checks at disadvantage while wearing heavy armor if moving at half speed or slower. Finally, you gain advantage on stealth checks if blending in with filth or garbage.

Hand of The Animal +1 Wisdom Increase.
One Of Us. Many Muppetborn resemble animals. From birth, they have have advantage on animal handling checks with these animals and can communicate with them. At 3rd level, they can communicate with similar types of animals, and can also cast Beast Bond once per short or long rest without using a spell slot.

Ah man, that's some great stuff.

It's time to play the music
It's time to light the lights
It's time to meet the Muppets on the Muppet Show tonight

It's time to put on makeup
It's time to dress up right
It's time to raise the curtain on the Muppet Show tonight

Reddit.com / r / rpg

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