Rolling Word Play – 19

Creating Roleplay ideas based on randomly generated words.  Here’s today’s selection.  Discover more about Shrill Experts, Replaces Confining and Onions Relatives.

Shrill Experts
There are creatures called Rills that are so advanced in terms of sound manipulation that they can harm and stun their opponents with the mere use of their voices.  Unlike most humanoids they have 4 lungs and many air vents. They also have keen ears.  Their incredible aural powers have been developed mainly as a result of internal wars, meaning their own audible defences are also very strong. In terms of physique they are top-heavy with good strength and wasp-like eyes on either side of their head.  Their legs are thin with bird-like feet, giving them good agility and balance.  There is a rarer mutation that gives them four legs, and these are revered in Rill culture and obtain a high status in their society.

Replaces Confining
Welcome to Hamrash prison.  This salty plane of existence is a giant, infertile field. Plants do grow here – a variant of water cress – but they have little nutritional value and the prisoners need to eat a lot of them in order to survive, essentially turning them into cattle. There is one pool of water and the city state has created a number of artificial shelters.  The prison is very effective in humbling and wearing down the most temperamental of prisoners, but the city state has the moral issue of deciding whether to ‘police’ the prisoners’ behaviour in the prison or to leave them to it.

Onion Relatives
These rotund humanoids known as Inshi, appear to have a shiny, glossy skin.  It enables them to regenerate damaged cells and recover hit points. The skin can also be shed, peeling back to reveal an inner skin without the ailments of the outer.  When they choose to do this, their maximum hit points and strength are reduced, but they are fit and healthy once more.  Only a severe wound would affect the inner layers. They have approximately five working layers (depending on the individual) before the inner organs become exposed.  Here is an example of their stats in 5e (Int, Wis and Cha stay the same):

Outer Layer:  Str:16, Dex:10, Con: 18, Hit points = 40, Regeneration rate = 0

Layer 2: Str:14, Dex:12, Con: 16, Hit points = 34, Reg. rate = 1 hp/round

Layer 3:  Str:12, Dex:14, Con: 14, Hit points = 28, Reg. rate = 2 hp/round

Layer 4:  Str:10, Dex:16, Con: 12, Hit points = 22, Reg. rate = 3 hp/round

Layer 5: Str:8, Dex:18, Con: 10, Hit points = 16, Reg. rate = 4 hp/round

The Inshi can recover their outer skin(s), but it is a painful process that takes a considerable amount of time to do.

Delving into D&D

Saving Throws

Recently I’ve been getting a few questions regarding the mechanics of D&D and how it works. The Player’s Handbook is excellent but it is just one explanation and sometimes what might make sense to one person might baffle another.   So this series is about looking at an element of D&D and explaining it in more detail.

Let’s start with a description of Saving Throws taken from Wikipedia:

A saving throw is a roll of dice used to determine whether magic, poison, or various other types of attacks are
effective against a character or monster.

What are they for?
In D&D they are used to determine whether a character can resist or avoid the effects of a threat, such as a
trap, drinking poison or being charmed by another creature.

How do they work?

When the Dungeon Master (DM) reveals a threat to the player, they will be asked to roll a saving throw based on one of their character’s attributes.  But which one?

Here are the 6 attributes as described by the Player’s Handbook, p.173:

Strength – measuring physical power
Dexterity – measuring agility
Constitution – measuring endurance
Intelligence – measuring reasoning and memory
Wisdom – measuring perception and insight
Charisma – measuring force of personality

I’ve listed 20 possible scenarios below and sorted them into the attribute the character needs to save against.  Next to that is the reason why that attribute is the one being used.

How do you roll a saving throw?

You roll a saving throw against a difficulty class given by the DM.  Often these are pre-determined; for example a monster’s attack effects (Beholder’s eye ray effects have a difficulty class is 16) or a magic user’s spells (8 + spell
caster’s ability modifier + proficiency bonus).

For difficulty classes not pre-determined, it is up to the DM to decide how difficult it is to avoid or
resist the threat. These range from very easy (difficulty class of 5) to nearly impossible (dc of 30).  The DM should
also say what character attribute it is against.

Now you know what you are rolling against, you roll a d20 die and add you attribute modifier.  If your character class has proficiency against that attribute, you add their proficiency number to the die roll.  For example, a Level 3 Wizard with intelligence of 16 needs to try and pass an intelligence save.  His intelligence modifier is +3 and as a
Level 3 wizard he can add his proficiency of 2. So his saving throw is 1d20 +5.

If the saving throw equals or is greater than the difficulty class, then they successfully save.  This normally results in avoiding or reducing the effects that were threatening them.

So does it matter what attribute to use when making a saving throw?

Yes, it will matter to the character making the save.  Each class has proficiency in saving throws for two attributes (see list on p.145 of the Player’s Handbook).  Here is an example:

Meet Pevel, a Level 5 rogue from my online RP campaign, Agora Core.  Rogues have proficiency in saving throws for  Dexterity and Intelligence.

In this example, Pevel is being attacked by a Beholder (yikes!).  The Beholder can attack with its many eye rays.  Let’s blast Pevel 10 times with 2 different eye rays. The first time through, we will use the Petrification Ray, which requires
a Dexterity saving throw.  Then we will repeat the dice rolls but this time, we will use the Sleep Ray, which requires
a Wisdom saving throw.  For both, the difficulty class is 16.

Pevel’s rolls without adding modifiers are:

13, 5, 1, 6, 12, 7, 14, 20, 18, 17

Against the Petrification Ray, Pevel uses his Dexterity saving throw.  As a Level 5 rogue, he add his proficiency, which is +3. So with his Dexterity modifier, his saving throw is 1d20 + 6.

That means his saving throws rolls are:

19, 11, Nat 1, 12, 18, 13, 20, Nat 20, 24, 23

Against the Sleep Ray, Pevel uses his Wisdom saving throw.  As a Level 5 rogue he is not proficient in Wisdom, so simply adds his Wisdom modifier.  He saving throw is 1d20 + 1.  That means his saving throw rolls were:

14, 6, Nat 1, 7, 13, 8, 15, Nat 20, 19, 18

The difference between the two results shows how your chances of success vary depending on your character’s attributes and class.  For the Dexterity saving throw in which Pevel was proficient, he successful rolled 16 or more 6/10 times.  But for the Wisdom he only succeeded 3/10 times.

What if there is no threat?

If there is no threat, then the character is not reacting to imminent danger to their life.  Any actions they take become an Ability Check instead.  These still use the core 6 attributes, but more often than not use skills, which character can have proficiency in.  For example, spotting a trap is a Perception Check (Wisdom-based), and working out how to disarm it with an Investigation Check (Intelligence-based).

Customizable Drinks Table

Many campaigns and one-shots use taverns for their setting, which makes sense as it is often a place for common folk – be they humans or otherwise – to gather and share news over nourishing refreshments. But how do you make your next tavern feel authentic and not another cookie-cutter bar with the same tables, patrons and the mead for sale?

One fun way to keep your players interested is to create varied and mysterious drinks. These can not only provide a local flavor but could also affect the players as well as the weight of the purse.

I designed the following drinks tables for anyone to enjoy so please feel free to use or alter for your own games. The names of the drinks are split into 3 parts with the effects and price from each section described next to it. Like the names, the effects are prices are accumulated together from all 3 sections.

Customizable Drinks Menu.pdf

Level 5 – Episode 2

The Wolf’s Head Regiment

The party are in search of an ancient gong that they hope will open a portal to the Fey Wilds.  Having already dispensed with their Hobgoblin guide each room is a mystery and delving deeper into the Hobgoblin stronghold of the Wolf’s Head Regiment reveals that everything is not quite as it seems.  Especially  when it comes to inventories…

 

Level 5 – Episode 1

Looting

After defeating Vijo – the magical servant of Graz’zt – the party has an uneasy rest ahead of them as they start to hear whispering voices in the Underdark.

A Lich expects them to deliver living beings to him, whilst their travelling companion Ntay wishes to find an ancient lake.  Will the party stay united or heed the voices?

Level 4 – Episode 10

Pudding’s Bane

And so, the party have reluctantly followed the orders of the Lich master Hayyaes to the lair of a creature the ancient mage perceives as a threat.  Unfortunately, Vijo, a powerful Lamia has escaped the party’s clutches
by diving into a mysterious pool.  Do they dare follow?