Rolling a crit is like. . . well, rolling a crit. Everyone who’s ever heard of d20 based role-playing games has heard of the Crit! It is the ultimate of the ultimate, where the real magic happens. In our last session, 2 of the PCs were running on fumes, it was not looking good for the party when the big baddie decided he was going to risk the opportunity attack in order to cast his big burst spell. The character next to him rolled a basic melee and Crit! the damage dropped the baddie to negative 1. That’s how a crit is supposed to go.
Except when its a crit of the opposite flavor.
I’ve threatened my players with a critical failure results table since the beginning of the campaign, and now I’m finally making it happen. I don’t need to invent a whole new game for when someone rolls a 1, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet.
you miss badly
you miss badly and end your turn
you miss badly, end your turn and drop what you’re holding
you miss badly, end your turn, drop what you’re holding and the target gets a free shift
you miss badly, end your turn, drop what you’re holding, the target gets a free shift and attacks nearest ally (you are its first option)
you miss badly, end your turn, drop what you’re holding, the target gets a free shift, attacks nearest ally (you are its first option) and gets combat advantage
It feels like there is enough of a possibility for disastrous results that the PCs will feel the threat, but not so much that it could turn the tide of an entire battle, except in the rarest of rare occasions, which is exactly what I want.
So the campaign and the podcast are rolling, and I’m even working on a second campaign using the Next play test rules. I haven’t had any time to write anything for the blog though, so since I’m sicker than dirt (is that a saying?) I’m going to do some ruminating and contemplating on what I’ve learned so far.
Now what I already know: I am obstinate and stubborn, and once I’ve found a groove my brain refuses to bust free, but I’m working on it. So, most of my observations up to this point seem to show me that I know where I need to make improvements, but I haven’t quite made the leap yet. Hopefully starting a new campaign will facilitate some tough love on my sorry ass stubborn old man brain.
I’ve been working on the introductory chapter of the new campaign, and the juices are flowing, cool stuff coming up and outta the creativity pits, but of course my brain wants to specify and quantify and labelify that shit. Instead of letting the ideas take hold and grow, I want to get into how it will be transmitted in-game. I get an awesome idea for an NPC and within seconds my brain says, “so what’s her stats? And what will she say if the players say bladda beeble babba?” That is the unimportant stuff. One thing my brain will not let go of, something I’m sure started when I first started playing D&D- stats are king.
While stats are absolutely indispensable in D&D, I think they should support the role-playing rather than the other way around. Well of course it all depends on you and your group’s play style, my enjoyment flows from the imagery created in the mind when a new world is created and shared. (Sorry, I just let a little slice of my inner hippy squeeze out, sorry bout that, I’ll be more careful from here on out.)While creating Brave New Dungeon I’ve spent a lot of time focused on encounters, and I can say that after nearly 20 sessions I think I’m beginning to really see where I can improve upon things. Now if only my old man brain will allow it.
Repeatedly in the midst of developing the story, my brain itches to grab for the Monster Manual and start putting together the demise of the party. A big reason for this, I believe, is that it is the easiest part of campaign creation; or perhaps more to the point, it is the easiest to do half-ass. When I put some time and effort into an encounter it usually pays off in the game. But quite often it’s easiest for me to grab a handful of mobs stick them in a room and move on. Another problem I have is not utilizing my creation to its fullest. For example, I will create an encounter but withhold certain abilities/circumstances of the setting and creatures just because I’m worried its not going to be fair. I do not recommend doing this, if you put opposing torches in a temple that blast fire clear across the room while the party is engaged in deadly combat- use them. I’m way too much of a softy to be a DM.
The party is deep in the maze and they are not alone, and someone forgot to turn off the water. As the water level rises and the situation gets more desperate, the question on everyone’s mind: can dwarfs float?
What’s the number one rule in D&D – Don’t split the party. Well the Underwater Bottom Boys are breaking the rule- but not of their own accord. DM blasted em with the old “portal to different locations” trick!