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As of October 4th, my next projected Tuesday game will be set within the burnt world of Athas. While the setup and preparation have already begun, I anticipate that I’ll be trying to lock down my players before the end of November. The game itself will not start until my current game (The Curse of Strahd) meets its organic conclusion. I estimate that, to be sometime in the month of December, but I won’t be rushing it.

The game itself will not start until my current game (The Curse of Strahd) meets its organic conclusion. I estimate that, to be sometime in the month of December, but I won’t be rushing it.

Much like The Lost Marches, my Dark Sun campaign will contain a lot of ‘homebrew’ content.

  • So, if you are:
    • Free on Tuesday nights between 20:00 and 23:15 Eastern
    • Familiar with 5E Dungeons and Dragons rules or willing to learn
    • Have access to a PC, Webcam and Headset
    • Eager for a game set in a post-apocalyptic world
    • Want more details or to express your interest?
      • CONTACT ME ASAP!

 

Testing a change to Flanking

Despite the fact that I’ve used it in every game, Flanking is an optional rule in 5E that grants advantage onto an attack roll.

The Change

While I’m testing this, Flanking will grant a +2 to attack rolls, but not grant Advantage. Otherwise Flanking will work as written.

OPTIONAL RULE: FLANKING
If you regularly use miniatures, flanking gives combatants a simple way to gain +2 advantage on attack rolls against a common enemy.
A creature can’t flank an enemy that it can’t see. A creature also can’t flank while it is incapacitated. A Large or larger creature is flanking as long as at least one square or hex of its space qualifies for flanking.

Flanking on Squares. When a creature and at least one of its allies are adjacent to an enemy and on opposite sides or corners of the enemy’s space, they flank that enemy, and each of them has +2 advantage on melee attack rolls against that enemy.

When in doubt about whether two creatures flank an enemy on a grid, trace an imaginary line between the centers of the creatures’ spaces. If the line passes through opposite sides or corners of the enemy’s space, the enemy is flanked. – DMG, 251

Where: I’m testing this in my Curse of Strahd game, as well as my Lost Marches game for a couple of sessions, then I’ll decide if it sticks.
Some Rationale:
  •  Flanking was giving Melee combatants with mobility a huge edge over any other character combo/build.
    • Effectively it was giving them something akin to a +5 to hit, but saw diminishing returns in extreme cases.
    • That works in the favour of the PCs and the enemy but far more in the favour of the enemy.
    • The bonus from Flanking was encouraging risky gameplay at times and seemed to ‘penalize’ anyone who didn’t take the risks. ‘Smart’ play was seen as sub-optimal and encouraged party wipes.
  • Flanking not having an action ‘cost’ was breaking the action economy of 5E.
    • Effectively, anyone using the Dodge action paid for it (as they needed to give up all other full actions) but it could be countered for ‘free’ by flankers.
  • Ranged combatants rarely could achieve Advantage as they would never benefit from Flanking.
  • A number of Sub-class abilities also granted Advantage but seeing as how Advantage never stacks, they were effectively nerf’d.
Related stuff worth pointing out:
Help
You can lend your aid to another creature in the completion of a task. When you take the Help action, the creature you aid gains advantage on the next ability check it makes to perform the task you are helping with, provided that it makes the check before the start of your next turn.
Alternatively, you can aid a friendly creature in attacking a creature within 5 feet of you. You feint, distract the target, or in some other way team up to make your ally’s attack more effective. If your ally attacks the target before your next turn, the first attack roll is made with advantage. -PHB 192
Help can also be used to assist friends who are attacking your ‘target’ from range. Help also stacks with Flanking.

Here’s an example!

In this example, we have a party of three Adventurers fighting one Iron Golem.

Situation #1: Adroil the Monk and Elian the Paladin have assumed a Flanking position on the Iron Golem. This means that either or both of them would have a +2 to hit the Iron Golem with a Melee Attack that turn. Adroil declares that he will use the Help action to assist Elian’s first attack. This will give Elian Advantage on his first attack on the Iron Golem that turn. In this case, Aria has no bonuses to her Ranged Attack.
Situation #2: Alternatively, Adroil could declare that he is using the Help action to assist Aria in attacking the Iron Golem. Elian would still have the +2 bonus from Flanking, but Aria would have Advantage on her first attack on the Iron Golem.

The Lost Marches – Taunting

A New Feat

One of the common statements from my players is that from a mechanics standpoint, there are few ways to generate ‘aggro’ in D&D. While I’m not strictly convinced that it’s needed, I’ve put together a feat to hopefully help with this. 

Only a Test

 I’ve made it a Feat, as opposed to a mechanic that anyone can use, in an effort to mitigate how overpowering this could be.  I consider this a Test, which I may pull out from play, or change if it seems unbalanced compared to other feats. I’m only allowing this feat in my Lost Marches game for now (as of Sept 15th).

Taunting

You are intimately familiar with gestures, and phrases which will provoke others to attack:

  • Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • As a bonus action, you may taunt or goad one creature that you attacked this round. You force your target to make a Wisdom save (DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier). On a failed save, the target is overwhelmed with animosity toward you and can not target anyone but you. On a success, the target has disadvantage on all attack rolls against targets other than you until the end of your next turn.

The Church of Pelor

A work emergency slowed me down, but here are my working notes on Paladins and Clerics of Pelor in The Lost Marches.

Order of the Radiant Sun

Pelorian paladins, known as Crusaders, are quite rare. Pelor’s paladins see themselves as bringers of light, those which scour away darkness and evil and bring strength and comfort to the innocent. Recently, the Order has declared to the King of Insulia that they shall move their headquarters to The Lost Marches in the year 1440, as they are most needed in the unsettled lands.

Crusaders believe that laws are helpful, but that they are at best a secondary goal and must be tempered with mercy. Their slogan is Equity for the Meek with Perseverance and Strength.

When not in formal dress, Crusaders favour light-coloured tunics, particularly sky blues, pale greens, or greys. Some dress in commoner’s clothing, especially when serving as community healers or in disguise. On formal occasions, they wear a black cloak emblazoned with the symbol of the sun. They blend into the darkness, only the shining symbols visible to their foes.

By their nature, Crusaders typically follow the Paladins Oath of the Crown (Sword Coast Adventurers Guide pg. 133),  and swear allegiance to either the Kingdom of Insulia or the Baroness of Limen in equal numbers. This has resulted in two factions within the Order of the Radiant Sun, those who belong to The Shield of the Realm and those who are Yeoman to the Baroness (https://worldofdarkness.ca/?p=1037#Factions).

 

The Grand Temple of Pelor

Clerics of Pelor are constantly aware that they are the moral compass of the civilized lands. The Grand Temple of Pelor has a monopoly upon the spiritual devotion of every goodly person. Within the civilized lands, every village, and most hamlets benefit from the services of a local Priest or Adept of the Light, while every town has a Radiant Servant to see to offer guidance. Whereas the cities are overseen by High Priests of Pelor, the Capitol is home to both the King and the Patriarch of Light, herself.

When not in formal dress, Clerics favour clothing similar to the Paladins of Pelor, light-coloured tunics, particularly sky blues, pale greens, or greys. Unlikely Paladins, never will a Cleric dress in commoner’s clothing, even when serving as community healers or in disguise. On formal occasions, Clerics wear a Cope, a form of symbolic cape emblazoned with the symbol of the sun.

Given the influence and respect that the Grand Temple of Pelor commands, Clerical ranks are typically drawn from the second and third children of Noble families. Due to these family ties, there is a heavy skew toward adventuring Clerics favoring the Shield of the Realm faction and the domain of Light within The Lost Marches. Exceptions are of course not unknown, and more than one humbly born peasant Cleric has become a Yeoman to the Baroness of Limen and studied the Domain of Nature.

Damn Goblins!

I’ll be keeping this short (I hope), but it is mostly to sing the praises of three tough little Adventurers. You see, these three little Adventurers were on their way to Points More Interesting™ when they needed to rest in the ruins of an ancient village.

Finding a convenient, and obviously well used, campsite, they camped down for the night. Being prudent, they had set watches (as one does in the wild), and it was good that they did! Unbeknownst to the Adventurers, Goblins had realized some time ago, that they could lay traps around this campsite and attack groups that camped there.

As trial and error had taught this Goblin tribe that they could likely deal with any group that didn’t have a man who wore Full Plate armour or that didn’t carry a Long bow, this seemed like the perfect group to attack! Late in the night they struck, firing at the campfire lit Adventurers from the darkness. Luck was against the Tribe, arrows did not find their mark and no one panicked enough to run at the Archers. With their numbers dwindling, and their traps unused, the Tribe pulled back to the sewers beneath the ruined village.

The cunning of the Tribe was not a small thing. The sewers were their home, and they had long ago taken an active interest in its defence. Their Chieftain had given clear instructions, the Warren must be defended at all times, and it is better to let others do the killing when possible.

With that in mind, Skeletons were rounded up and led into a room, then left a nasty surprise to would be invaders. Likewise, a giant snake was permitted to grow even larger and allowed to nest in a collector pool. The whole Tribe knew of these dangers, and their young were taught to avoid these traps.

Days later, the same group of Adventurers stormed the sewers beneath the town! Cruel Fire and Steel they carried! The Chieftain rallied the Tribe, they would defend their home with anything at hand! The Tribe must survive! For once, The Chieftain saw a threat that scared both he and his Tribe.

Game Calendar – The Lost Marches

For more details on the calendar used in The Lost Marches, you can check it out here: https://worldofdarkness.ca/?p=1037#The_Calendar_of_Insulia

Our current game has begun in the month of the High Water (first month of Summer)

In game dates for the Sunday, The Lost Marches game:

  • 21 Day of High Water, Waxing Crescent Moon
    • Player Characters arrive in The Lost Marches and journey to Limen
  • 22 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • The PCs head out toward the Gnollwode, Adroil falls ill, the other three continue on but discover a ruined village.
  • 23 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • 3 PCs return to Limen after fighting Gnolls and Goblins.
  • 24 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • Training day 1 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 25 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • Training day 2 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 26 Day of High Water, Waxing Gibbous Moon
    • Training day 3 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 27 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • Training day 4 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 28 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • Training day 5 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 29 Day of High Water, Full Moon
    • Level 2 training completed for Aria, Joxer and Varlock

The Lost Marches – Gaining Levels

Here I go again, adding in something else from days of yore! Or at least a toned down version of it.
The following will apply to characters of level 5 or less in my Lost Marches games, and must occur in a Town. Once a Character has surpassed level 5, they learn exclusively from ‘On the Job Experience’.
TRAINING TO GAIN LEVELS
As a variant rule, you can require characters to spend downtime training or studying before they gain the benefits of a new level. If you choose this option, once a character has earned enough experience points to attain a new level, he or she must train for a number of days before gaining any class features associated with the new level.
The training time required depends on the level to be gained, as shown on the Training to Gain Levels table. The training cost is for the total training time. – DMG PG 131
Level Attained…………………..Training Time…………………Training Cost
2nd……………………………………….5 days……………………………..10 GP
3rd………………………………………..10 days……………………………..20 GP
4th………………………………………..10 days……………………………..30 GP
5th………………………………………..20 days……………………………..40 GP
For clarity, characters could adventure forever without training, and they will continue to gain experience (they are not capped), they simply can not gain any feature of leveling until they have trained the required levels (up to 5).