Jody Johnson's page

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Going by the book for an animal companion is what you do when the Beastmaster can't get a companion any other way - it is a class feature under player control.

Normally as you say, you can just Awaken/Animal Friendship, buy or otherwise treat your pet as an NPC. But then your Ranger Beastmaster features don't kick in and ultimately it is under the DMs control even if it normally gets directed by the player.

My issue with many Beastmaster fixes is that the player wants the DPR of the Hunter subclass (which is nearly all the Hunter gets) and then ignores the added exploration and versatility that the companion adds.

The Designers usually describe the ranger options as Attack power (Hunter) or Versatility (Beastmaster).

It also helps if the DM doesn't get hung up on 0 HP = Dead, because nothing in the rules requires that. They get Death Saves, HD short rest healing, and overnight full recovery plus reactions and OAs.

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The main situations I see a 'Vital Strike' option as being advantageous are in ranged attacks with the Loading descriptor and with Thrown weapons where ammunition is a concern, or when you have Advantage on a single attack and want to maximize it's effectiveness.

It meshes with my house rules because I want to buff Thrown weapons slightly and remove the Crossbow Expert feat. I also remove the -5/+10 part of SS and GWM which brings this more into a viable option for all attacks.

Threeshades wrote:

I was wondering whether it would be okay balance wise to allow players with the extra attack feature some sort of focus attack, that allows them to forgo their second attack to deal damage with one attack as though they hit twice.

So a STR 18 lv 5 fighter with a greatsword can announce using this before rolling to attack, and if she hits deals 4d6+8 damage. On a crit all 4 dice get doubled.

Statistically it wouldn't change their damage output as far as I know, but it would be a flavorful option.

It worked that way at one point in the playtest and I include it as an option in my house rules. Basically, Vital Strike for free.

Although I don't allow the bonuses to stack as a trade-off for the 'Advantage on your next/or single attack' abilities.

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Jiggy wrote:
Jody Johnson wrote:

The basis of the skill system is --

1) State your action
2) The DM determines how to resolve it (in 3.x/PF or 4e the skill rules determine how to resolve it):
2a) If the result is not in doubt then it auto-fails or auto-succeeds.
2b) If the result is in doubt then make a roll - with 3 types: normal, advantage, and disadvantage.
3) Resolved
4) Drink


Basically any situation where the dice may give a result against "common sense" the arbiter just skips the dice. By RAW.

I don't remember reading this. For reasons not limited to this discussion, could you point me to what part of the 5E rules you got this from? I'm very interested in re-reading it.

In addition to the 'How to Play' section the clearest statement is DMG p236-37 under "The Role of the Dice".

The options being: 1) The dice decide - 'Rolling with It' (3.x/4e), 2) The DM decides - 'Ignoring the Dice' (probably most like OD&D and AD&D), and 3) Mixing the Two - 'The Middle Ground'.

My above methodology most closely matches the third option. Not to say that the 'Roll for it' method can't work, but if you don't like how it works then you have other options within 'The Rules'.


Regarding simulating a world with the skill system:

The basis of the skill system is --

1) State your action
2) The DM determines how to resolve it (in 3.x/PF or 4e the skill rules determine how to resolve it):
2a) If the result is not in doubt then it auto-fails or auto-succeeds.
2b) If the result is in doubt then make a roll - with 3 types: normal, advantage, and disadvantage.
3) Resolved
4) Drink

So for the hypothetical Archery contest it could go any number of ways depending on how the DM determines.

Master vs. Newb? Master wins - done. Or maybe roll off with advantage to the Master.

Arm wrestling? Higher strength wins - done.

I also use this method in combat for corner cases (such as extreme cases of disadvantage or advantage stacking).
i.e. Blind, engaged in melee, poisoned commoners shooting at long range - auto-fail.
i.e. Attacking an unconsious, prone, restrained target out of 'combat' - auto-success.

Basically any situation where the dice may give a result against "common sense" the arbiter just skips the dice. By RAW.

We are almost done with Book 3.

Generally the conversion has been going well.

However, the changes to Silence (casting time) and the Concentration mechanic had an unexpected gutting of the Mammy Graul encounter.

I should have made her a Sorceror with the appropriate metamagic. The lack of buff-suites impacts the caster as bigbad design.

Which is a plus but a major change to account for.

The party is generally running several levels below the PF rating and pretty much doing entire locations in a single go (my preference).

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I'd just leave followers and cohorts as a roleplay thing under DM guidance.

Feats feel like player entitlements.

I'm pro followers, mounts, familiars, animals companions, and henchmen but I measure it against the number of players and the scope of the campaign. Small group allows more room for extra party members.

Basically 1e/2e style plus scaling mechanisms from the more recent editions.

From my perspective, any new content PF gets I can adapt for 5e.

So factoring in the existing 1e, 2e, 3.x, 4e, PF, and OGL content I have already, it looks to me that 5e is sitting in a pretty good position.

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Lorathorn wrote:
I just wondered if anyone had further insight into the issue.

Legend & Lore June 2013

Mike Mearls Legend & Lore from June 2013 talks about Hit Points and Healing as indicators of genre (or playstyle preference).

If there's an area where they expect different tables to 'house rule' to match their playstyle it is HP and their recovery.

First off, I think Thor: Ragnarok is going to be the next best D&D film.

Dudes with hammers, swords, and axes. Giants. Magic. Illusions. Trolls.

If the next D&D film gets critiqued as a Thor rip-off then that's what I'm hoping to see.

Characters like Sif, Brothers Three, Enchantress, Loki, fire giants, trolls, and Starlord. People flying around, crazy action. Maybe a Sharn that looks like Asgard and jungles of Xendrik looking like King Kong's skull island.

Start as heroes with full super-hero magic items and power - then try to sell the zero-to-hero backstory in the later movies.

A bunch of SCA re-enactors running around in the woods killing orcs isn't going to cut it.

Save the mission-impossible dungeon crawling for the TV series.

Thor meets Guardians of the Galaxy meets King Kong meets Hellboy.
With Tiamat instead of Fin Fang Foom and Venger instead of Ronin.

ICV2 does trimesters. Spring, Summer, Fall.

So fall ended in December. March or April is normal.

Time to run this AP with the new 5e ruleset.

Looking for a few players for a home campaign.

If you are interested the game is posted on meetup.com

Campaign posting

Starting Sunday, December 28th, 2014.

1. Buri is correct.
2. Finesse weapons, use both two weapon fighting and range (bows) depending on the situation.
3. Assassin is best for stealth and the first round kill. It's very assassin-like. Advantage on foes who haven't acted and auto-crit against surprised opponents is strong unless you never surprise and always get surprised.
4. Generally speaking you want the high hp characters to get into the action before you unless you can one-shot them with assassinate or a first round sneak. First into the action is also first to get beat on.
Cunning action lets you Dash which gives a huge move boost.
5. Assassin gets poison, but the rules are vague enough that you may want to discuss it with your DM.

I'm going to start saying "exploring a real fantasy world" to random strangers.

Pretty likely that 'Concentration' like 'Healing' and 'Short Rest/Long Rest' will just be something people option/house rule.

I could see changing Concentration to match how we want to play.

Maybe DC 5 or 1/4 damage dealt.
Or just use the Playtest version and damage doesn't disrupt except maybe on a crit.

There's going to be a lot of "season to taste" going on group by group.

My personall pet project is savage humanoids using high quality manmade gear (goblins wielding scimitars versus say clubs or sharp sticks).

The Basic game is just a baseline.

Individual groups have preferences, and it's explicitly understood that they can adapt the rules for the way they want the rules to operate.

Basic is going to usually go with the easiest or least complicated option.

But for example:
Melees: full prof. on weapons
Clerics: half prof. on weapons
Wizards: no prof. on weapons, disadvantage on non-prof

Or some variation.

More complicated to explain or remember, but it isn't going to break your game.

The Lincoln RPG group is growing slowly.

Lincoln RPG Meetup

The Saturday group is dabbling with Pathfinder and Star Wars.

You might also just start a Pathfinder session.

A few of the members have expressed interest in Pathfinder but haven't posted times and dates.

There are also two Pathfinder groups meeting at Gauntlet Games (in the back rooms). Tuesdays and Thursdays seem to be RPG days.

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P.H. Dungeon wrote:
One change that I'm hoping for in the DMG is an alternate xp system that moves away from xp for killing monsters. D&D is one of the only systems that awards xp nearly entirely for killing things.

Unless the encounter is with non-negotiables (skeletons, beasts, high morale warriors) the XP rewards are usually spelled out as defeated rather than slain.

XP is granted for detecting or surviving traps, at least one encounter doubles XP for a capture.
Some give less XP for a peaceful solution but in those cases a few deaths in the party are likely (or a TPK) if they opt for deathmatches.

Some of the encounters are RP only, and fighting is not possible.

Given the general threat level especially early in the game, diplomacy, trickery, and intimidation are excellent low cost alternatives.

The knockout rules make capturing enemies an easy option for melee types.

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I bought it Thursday and ran it at the store Saturday. I read the first 2 chapters.

4 players; 2 were playtesters, and 2 3.x/PF players.

We completed the first chapter in 3.5 hours with roughly 6 encounters and 3 traps. One short rest and then took a long rest after the small dungeon was completed.

That was sufficient to reach Level 2 which is the default progression.

Everyone had character built from the Basic rules instead of pre-gens.
The only rules mix-up I noticed was the rogue had rapier-dagger instead of short sword-dagger (two weapon fighting with 2 light weapons is free).

And one character died to a double crit against Disadvantage in the last room. We had some weird die rolls.

kevin bienhoff wrote:
Looking for group or players in and around the Lincoln area!

Also thinking of running an AP between now and the end of the year. Haven't picked one yet.

Possibly playing at Gauntlet Games or in home depending on day.

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Plasticrypt Gallery

Pictures as they become available get collected in the Plasticrypt gallery.

Most of those are from GAMA Trade show and the WizKids demos of Attack Wing.

I bought Murder in BG but didn't play it for Encounters. My Encounters group wasn't really up for that particular style.

We are playing Scourge of the Sword Coast and have been enjoying it. 2 or 3 2-hour sessions per area with approximately 6 areas to explore.

About halfway done and it's going well. It is very reminicent of Keep on the Borderlands but spread out.

Dead in Thay looks to be a dungeon crawl. Should be out in 4 weeks.

I'd like to get Legacy of the Crystal Shard but it hasn't been in stock and I'm not in a hurry. I could see running it someday, but I also have a 10 AP backlog I want to run in Next.

What we played of Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle (not Sundering) was fun. We may go back to that at some point.

If I had time in the future I'd start with Dragonspear Episode 1, then SotSC, then Dragonspear ep2, then LotCS (scaled up), then Dragonspear ep3, then the political intrigue of MiBG (scaled up), then finish up with Dragonspear ep4, and possibly Dead in Thay or Tyranny of Dragons.

But I have years of Pathfinder APs to run first.

PDfs and a printer serve the role the Monster Compendium format tried to fill.

Or better yet, PDFs and a laptop or tablet. We didn't have those as available in 1989.

The scan and OCR look excellent to me, but I don't have the 2008 PDF version.

The maps are single page (not split) and there is no bleed-through from the backside.

DM Barcas wrote:
Face off against the most fearsome monster? Singular? Do they mean the DM?

I expect they are missing an 's' on 'monster'.

A couple years ago you could have grabbed the actual Predator and Alien Heroclix.

Probably a few floating around. Ebay and miniaturemarket.com have some but they are pricey.

From the current vantage point of nearly 40 years into this wonderful fun of D&D (and I consider PF and OSR D&D), each edition/game variant is a subset of what individuals and groups want the feel or style of their D&D to be.

Personally, I'd been looking for a lot of the stuff 4e enables since 1982. So I'm glad it was made.

Many others, and I suspect the largest subgroup, was looking more for what 3.x (3.0,3.5,PF) brought to the gamespace of D&D.

For some, B/X or 1e, even 2e or BECMI had already mostly hit what they really wanted from the game 20+ years ago.

It looks like 5e will provide yet another default style somewhere between all of them.

I think the hardest part about finding the right game for you and your group is agreeing on what you want from the game. For starters I'd go with the PF Beginner Box or maybe get PDFs of the B/X rules (Basic by Moldvay and Expert by Cook from RPGNow).

Friday, during the Lich Queen's Beloved they said there will be a delay to incorporate feedback from the most recent batch of surveys.

Mike Mearls confirmed the slight delay on Twitter.

Probably before the end of the month for the last Public playtest packet.

After that there will be another closed Playtest for a while.

I didn't see mention that the December WizKids PF Battles set was for Wrath of the Righteous.

A pseudonatural greater cyclops with tentacles for arms and legs - basically looking like Zargon (the Lost City).

Mooncalf and froghemoth.

Set list is up on a german store.

Store with set list and pictures

320pp, 322pp, and 577pp core rulebooks do not help attract a wide audience. It's like homework.

A lot of us started with 64pp and 32pp rulebooks in the 70s and 80s.

Each new edition has too much baggage it needs to bring along to appeal to the long-time players.

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Back in my day, we've trudge and slosh through miles of sewers to dig through a 10' tall pile of otyugh dung for a 50gp gem and a ring worth 100gp.

And we liked it.

We're all getting soft.

I cross-reference Cost, number of sculpts available, number appearing, and actual numbers in adventures I'm intending to run, and then buy everything I like.

If I like a sculpt, I'll find a way to use it.

Seriously, if something can proxy as multiple things I'll get more and if it is hyper-specific 1 is max.

If I were starting today, I'd get 1 sculpt of everything I liked and them buy up Pawns for the multiples. But it is too late for that.

I have 83 14"x14" drawers of large or smaller, and 11 large bins of huge or larger. Each humanoid type is only allowed 1 drawer max.

As a 4e DM I love adding broken to the game. We level 2 at a time and I give out the big 3 for the tier toward the beginning of the tier. We just did 6 encounters in 3.5 hours at 24th level -- 9 encounters between long rests. Happy with 4e; happy with Paizo; looking forward to 5e.

And I've played in games of 3.x where there was no crafting and no magic shops. This has always been a DM issue - the main shift in 2000 was changing it from a 'yes' from the DM to a 'no' on whether they existed.

#1: I wish I would have known that minis would come prepainted in plastic for cheaper than metal.

#2: That I would be buying faster than I can paint and/or actually use in tabletop play.

This Kickstarter update lays it out and reveals the Mercenaries set.

Update #3

Gifted Vision focuses on items that haven't been done in prepainted plastic.

I think the levels only matter once the goal is met to differentiate the stretch goals rewards.

The Reaper KS only had Level 1 (below Vampire) and level 2 (Vampire and above).

Any time a stretch goal hit for adding minis to Vampire, only the "level 2" folks at Vampire plus received them free.

I assume there will be extras based on donation level added to the Stretch goals but we don't know what they are yet.

A guess would be options on alternative paint jobs based on Level.
Now Level 2 --> alternative painted Dame
Level 3 --> Dame and Ruffian
Level 4 --> Dame, Ruffian, Deckhand, and Pirate
Level 5 --> Jellyroom, Ghost Hound, Dame, Ruffian, Deckhand, and Pirate
Level 6 --> Full set of alternative paint jobs
So it is fairly likely that if you want lots of alternative paints then you'll want to up to Level 5 or 6 as the stretch goals hit (which I would do anyway since I want 3 sets of the first set and likely multiples of the stretch goal sets as they become available).

As is the existing content is a good deal.

The PPM credits are worth a set for every 2 credits now.

The assumption is that some sets would cost 1 credit (say a 4 figure set) and some might cost more.

The Ogre and Ogre Brute are actually reversed in the set.

More than a few people got the wrong version in the singles pre-orders.

The Ogre has the club and the Orge Brute is the larger one with the hook.

I'm done until at least November with the Dungeon Command Undead set.

Not done in by the Reaper Kickstarter, but by Rise of the Runelords PPM, Dungeon Crawler set 2 & 3 PPM, and Fantasy Flight's Arkham Horror Wave 4 PPM all coming at the same time.

Has it been 2 weeks yet?
Are we there yet? No.
Are we there yet? No.

Are we there yet? ...

FFG's Dark Young is awesome. Here's to all the Pre-paints we can get.

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Campaigns Avenger: "By Grapthar's Hammer you shall be avenge .... ered!"

Making the reflection a Bagromar or Tetradarian would be more consistent.

The nature of the Savage disease is that these creatures don't just bite and leave but are so viscious that they fight to the death (and it will usually be their own.) Basically what Cthulhu Waits said.

Just because the description of the effect needs to have a certain level of lethality for PCs that doesn't need everything about it needs to logically flow from the exact description. In the case of the savage tide there is at least a reason why it wouldn't engulf the world. If something like the Shadow's ability to create spawn hasn't buried the world in shadows (since they can't kill something without it turning into a shadow and are immune to non-magical attacks) I don't see how the savage tide in it's minor form would.

The key difference between the Savage Tide and a 28 Days/zombie plague scenario is that in order to get the Savage tide you need to get bit and survive until the ability damage completes the process.

The classic zombie scenario is get bit/scratched and live or die (both result in a zombie).

The vast majority of creatures they bite, they will also kill. That's a net increase of no savage creatures.

Given the way the Savage virus spreads initially they will certainly kill the majority of things they attack. The loses on the Savage creature side may be replaced by Death throes attacks but with a decreasing frequency as they miss and the target creatures make their saves.

Among the second generation humans, most will get cured before they fall victim or at worst will be quickly slain if they do.

Based on prior history (the fall of the olmans and Kraken Cove) while the Savage Tide is devastating it is a process that starts with a huge impact on the area and then slowly wanes as the Savage population suffers attrition as they kill their potential replacements.

While a Savage T-Rex for example might be a terror, it is very unlikely to pass it on since any creature powerful enough to take it out would probably makes their save or be able to cure it (the party).

Thanks Mike and Jester.

Looks like I'm only missing 3 (plus #333 is a must buy.)

I have some of the issues listing character flaws but I'm looking for the rest so I don't favor some classes over others (I'll skip the April flaws for Commoners article).

Which issues had Flaws based on Class or Race?

Yesterday it said it shipped.

Today lists the ship date as Dec. 13.

Any reason for the rather large change?

Generally speaking when do the issues tick off under the My Subsciptions feature?

I was hoping that 116 would be my first issue but if my first issue will actually be 117 then I don't want to miss getting the last AP adventure from the store.

My subscription still reads 12 issues remaining.