#DnDecember 8: Favorite Creature (to throw at the PCs)

While I try not to use them too often, vampires are easily one of my favorite creatures to throw my PCs against. They can have complex morals and motivations. They could still run on a draconian law or mentality that they refuse to release. They could be privy some secrets that influences their decisions, giving them insight that makes their seemingly wrong decisions gray. They can use clever lies or honeyed-truthful words to sway others into a decision. They can also be feral- either switching from civil to monster in a flash or always being that instinct-driven beast.

The versatility and their easily hidden but still complex motives make vampires my favorite creature in DnD. This can also apply to many creatures that share a vicious but mindful duality, creatures such as mind flayers, beholders, and driders.

(also they can be a player race, which adds to their potential complexities and fun)

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#DnDecember 6: A moment of despair

I’m a size tiny sprite witch.
Our party is in the fifth straight hour of battling cultists in a dungeon.
I’m low on spells.
Enemy mage casts a spell.
I roll spellcraft and recognize what the spell is. It will make ice spikes rise from the ground and impale all creatures in its radius.
Myself and our damage tank (Ji-Gon) are within the spell’s radius. We’re both dangerously low on hit points.
I knew the spell required a reflex save. Take no damage on save. Full damage on failure.
I spend a hero point to act out of turn, interrupting the mage’s action for one action of my own.
I need to get us both out of the spell’s radius. I’m a 12-inch tall sprite. Ji-Gon is a size large giant in full armor. I can’t dive tackle him and get us both out.
My reflex save is better than his.
I spend my action and cast a telekinesis spell, pushing him out of the spell’s area of effect.
The spell goes off.
I grit my teeth and roll my reflex save.
I have decent saves but bonuses for my size and high dex.
I roll a 3.
That’s not good enough.
A pillar of spike impales me, pinning me to the ceiling of the cave.
Massive damage, around 20 points into the negatives.
RIP.
Ji-Gon lived, slaying that mage a few turns later.
The other mage used spell slots each day to preserve my body so they could bury me at home after they completed the quest.
It was a beautiful death. It was a sad death. It was an epic moment in the story.

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#DnDecember 5: A moment of triumph

The BBEV (big bad evil villain) stands before me, one other player, and an NPC ally. All of the other players had a way to escape/hide/avoid this confrontation.

My PC friend and I decided to try and negotiate with the BBEV instead.

As one might expect, the negotiations don’t go well. He is out sass’d, but we are out classed.

The BBEV ends negotiations by one shotting our NPC friend who is well-established as being far more powerful than any of us.

PC pal decides he should attack. I disagree, saying I never liked that NPC anyway, and we could still solve this diplomatically if we don’t antagonize the antagonist.

PC pal attacks the BBEV.

BBEV turns and attacks/one shots my PC pal.

RIP PC pal.

During the attack, I roll stealth, saying I slip out the door, get in our car, and floor it.

GM “He is very powerful. His notice skill is extremely high. Are you sure you don’t want to try something else?”

Me “I love that car. Me and her are getting out of here and driving into the sunrise together.”

GM shrugs.

We both roll.

BBEV botches roll. Adding bonuses, it’s still a high number.

I roll high. With my marginal bonuses, I just cross the threshold.

I drive my Studebaker to safety, living to eventually fight the BBEV another day.

My character in that game ran on luck, distractions, and motivating other people. He was a blast and a half to play, and every “this should kill me” situation he survived just made him more fun. And he did survive the whole campaign. He was one of only two characters who started the campaign and survived it.

 

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#DnDecember 4: Favorite Villain

This one is a bit tougher. There have been good villains in games I’ve played and ran. A Lovecraftian toad-god monstrosity from the first campaign I ever played is the first to come to mind. An ancient, world-devouring vampire we totally set free (the GM didn’t think we would open his coffin. We, however, wanted to create a distraction, and that coffin was just so tempting). There have been terrorists turned allies, mages attempting to reshape the world, time itself, body-possessing aliens, and countless others. Continue reading

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#DnDcember 3: Favorite NPC

First, you hear him. The clanging of thick metal armor shifts with each forceful step. The only sound louder than his steps is the “breathing.” Rhythmic and horrid, it’s a noise like strips of moist jerky rattling within a throat. Continue reading

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#DnDecember 2: Favorite Class

My favorite class to play is multi-class. Full wizard? Nah. I wanna be a wizard ranger. That way I have a familiar, an animal companion, a suite of spells, hit points, skills, and a collection of weapons to use. Why just be a monk when I can be a monk rogue hybrid? Flurry of blows, reduced fall damage, great skills, and sneak damage? Yes to all plz.

Necromancer paladin. Barbarian rogue. Monk cleric. All fun.

While multi-classed characters aren’t usually as mechanically powerful as their straight-class party mates, their versatility makes them a powerful ally and an unpredictable (and often devastating) foe.

Personally, I love the flavor that goes into multi-class characters. It helps to define the character as more than just their class. Their personal choices have a noticeable mechanical benefit. It’s not just a character

While the mechanical drawbacks of multi-classing- especially more than 2 classes- can be a bit much. However, going wild and having fun for fun’s sake makes it totally worth it. In a max level 6 Pathfinder game, I ran a rogue/ranger/wizard/gunslinger/barbarian/fighter who was a blast and a half to play. His versatility and range of ways he could competently react to any situation made him so much fun to play. He also had amazing saves (thanks to 6 first level save scores).

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#DNDecember 1: Favorite Race

Most of the sprite/fairy playable races I’ve seen are homebrew. The problem with most of them is how unbalanced they are. Some have greater invisibility at will, perfect flight, and a host of powerful magical abilities that offer no drawbacks.

In Monte Cook’s Arcana Evolved, spryte is a playable race, and the balance and flavor of it is close to perfect. Continue reading

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