As you no doubt have figured out, Do A Spot Check has been on a bit of a break for the past few months as my schedule has become increasingly busier. However, we will resume posting this Summer, but this time Endos will be pitching in much more actively than before. You will likely see many more posts from him as I simply cannot run this blog on my own anymore.
Until next time,
Monday, October 10, 2011
Greetings! Unfortunately I have been quite pressed for time these past 2 weeks so I only have time for this brief sentiment. In our campaign that Endos is currently DMing, we came to a point where I had to confront my lawful good brother who saw me as a traitor. In this exchange I was given the option by my evil clone to kill my brother in exchange for a wish. I could have gone the rout of “Let’s just kill him and be done with it” and while this might have made the overall encounter easier on some level, an action like murdering my brother would not further the development of my character. There are certainly situations where just killing stuff is the best rout, but I would encourage you to go the path of character development. Ultimately, it is my belief that this will make your character more endearing and multifaceted.
Until Next Week!
P.S. If you are interested, here is the back story of my character (officially his name is Seimoure Harbringer, but I use “Raz” in my posts for simplicity’s sake)
Seimoure was born with his twin brother Titus in a monk temple located in the mountains known as the Harbringer Enclave. Everyone in this monk community adopts the last name of Harbringer as a symbol of their devotion to the principle of their clan: loyalty to each other, devotion to Heironeous, and justice. The Enclave acted as an “incubator” for monk warriors that would either stay at the Enclave to train future monks or go out into the world to act as arbiters of Justice and spread the world of Heironeous. However, this was not the life that Seimoure desired.
As a child and throughout his training, Seimoure showed great potential in fighting and academics, but he lacked the principles that made the Harbringer clan what it was. Loyalty and devotion were out of the question and while he did have principles, they were far from just. This was concerning to his parents and the clan as a whole, but they were sure that the positive influence of his brother Titus would eventually rub off on him. Titus was the shining star of the Harbringers. His fierce devotion to Heironeous and strong sense of Justice were exemplary to say the least even though he was only a slightly above average fighter.
Thing was, these two brothers hated each other and no amount of positive influence was going to change their relationship. They were constantly competing with each other. Until finally, when they both became 18 years old, it came time for them to prove that they had completed their monk training and were now men. All they had to do was show that they could split a small boulder, which was on the altar of Heironeous, in two pieces. This feat for a normal, low level monk is not possible and can only be achieved if they are granted divine strength from Heironeous. First to go was Titus who after a few minutes of prayer, glowed a soft yellow and with a mighty blow he split the rock in two. Next was Seimoure. However, with a sneer he looked at the crowd and began glowing a dark red, symbolizing that he had sided with Hextor, the rival and half brother of Heironeous. He then chopped straight through the boulder and continued to break the altar in half as well. The crowd looked on at him in horror.
All he did was smile at the crowd turn around and left the Enclave with the little belongings that he had. He would travel to a nearby city of Bevel where he would work with politicians, lawyers, bankers, tax collectors, thieves, and people of similar occupation, honing his skills as a manipulator. He would do this for 10 years until he was confident in his abilities and made the decision to move on from his live in Bevel and travel the world to spread his influence and that of Hextor.
That is, until he gets sucked into a portal in the woods….
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Greetings! This week I want to do a bit of theorizing. Recently, with me playing such games as League of Legends and learning about the game mechanics of World of Warcraft (and similar games), I have come to discover that they tend to be dominated by the “tanky dps” (damage per second) or it is a “requirement” to have some sort of healer in a party in order for a quest to be completed. With this said, aren’t these two “classes” the same as a monk/ranger (tanky dps) or a cleric/druid (healer)? So this is to say that in many, if not most, mainstream games (in this genre) lend themselves to having one character do all the damage and another character passively throwing out a heal spell?
This brings up the question of whether this a good game mechanic. Is it “fun” to let one character completely dominate and others just hang out in a limbo of only moderate helpfulness? In League of Legends for instance, there are three champions: Lee Sin, Jax, and Tryndamere, all of which are nigh unstoppable unless you kill them frequently in the first 10 minutes of the game. In World of Warcraft it is my understanding that without a healer, many quests or dungeons are unable to be completed. Is this “right” in terms of how games “should be”?
If you think about it, Dungeons and Dragons is “plagued” by these same mechanics. Our party right now would not function if we had no healer (we would have died almost immediately in many of our fights if we hadn’t had our druid throwing out heals). At the same time, it is ok for there to be a dps as long as it is balanced by generally “squishiness” (like our rogue). It is our Barbarian’s job to soak up enemy damage that would otherwise be directed at the Ranger. While the dynamic between the support and the dps is a solid one (you kill stuff and I’ll make sure you can keep killing stuff), it breaks a game if the dps can fulfill both roles as a support AND dps.Maybe it is just me, but it seems like a change would be welcomed. Hopefully, these changes will come with Guild Wars 2, which claims to have no tank or healing classes. Everyone is responsible for their own survival and skill determines success rather than exceptional damage output and a healer in the background.
Do you agree with me or am I just ranting?
Until Next Week!
Sunday, September 11, 2011
While this was definitely not real combat (although there are a few scrapes and bruises), it was about as close to the experience as you can get. Either way, it was different, it was interesting, and it was fun. I would encourage you to try it at least once so that you at least know what it is like to be in combat for real (sort of anyway).
Until Next Week!
Player Tip of the Week
Find synergy with your teammates. While not always possible to plan this extensively before a campaign, you should try and find some synergy with you and at least one other member of your party. Your effectiveness both in and out of combat will increase significantly if you have good synergy.
For instance, in a short campaign that Endos and I participated in, Endos was a neutral evil Halfling rogue and I was a neutral evil, Gnomic Wizard with a specialization in Illusions. This combination worked incredibly well because I was able to cast reduce person on Endos which would have made him a tiny creature increasing his attack rolls and AC. What was beautiful about this though was that he still hit for full sneak attack damage. So basically I distracted an enemy with illusions while Endos stabbed them in the kidneys over and over and there was nothing they could do about it.
DM Tip of the Week
Have your battles roughly prepared ahead of time. Perhaps I’m too used to having a DM with all encounters prepared ahead of time, but in all seriousness, the campaign goes so much smoother if you have them prepared.
For instance, in the past we had a DM who had not one encounter prepared for traveling and it took him 10 minutes to set up every encounter. While improvisation certainly should happen, encounters take long enough as it is without waiting on your DM to come up with them in session.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Greetings! This week I thought it would be a good opportunity to review the Dungeons and Dragons accessory book Sword and Fist: A Guidebook to Fighters and Monks considering that I am playing a Monk in Endos’ current campaign.
First off are the new Feats, which I must say actually are quite interesting. Such Feats as Dirty Fighting, Dual Strike, and Off-hand Parry give a kind of diversity to combat on the part of fairly straightforward characters. Some of them may be more overpowered than others, but they serve their purpose as unique “accessory” feats to the regular ones.
Next are the prestige classes. These I thought were all incredible entertaining as the Ninja, Drunken Master, and Samurai are all possible prestige classes. While these prestige classes are very entertaining, they are more useful to Fighters than to Monks (that’s just because monks at high level become practically invincible). However, most if not all of these prestige classes are really fun and unique, if not quite as powerful.
In addition the feats and prestige classes are new pieces of weapons and equipment. They basically make enhancements to all the existing weapons like a Whip and Dagger, a Mercurial Long sword, and others. However, what really made me laugh was the introduction of Tanks. Literally, the book has the stats and construction for a medieval tank… with a mounted turret on top.
Overall, the book tries to give greater depth/complexity to classes that are typically restricted to “I want to stab/punch stuff” by incorporating how the classes interact with the world around them and devoting an entire chapter entirely to battle tactics. I give it 4 out of 5 stars for its usefulness and attempt to add depth to fairly simple classes.
Until Next Week!
Monday, August 29, 2011
Greetings! Unfortunately, I have committed one of the seven deadly sins of the internet; I made a Twitter account. Before you start judging me though, it is legitimately for a class (Management Information Systems) and I intend on using it for the purposes of Do a Spot Check. I basically decided that I would post random funny things as they happen whenever I am playing a session (usually Thursdays and Saturdays). Here's the link to the Twitter page [LINK] (I'll post the link in the "Helpful Links" section as well). Hope you enjoy it and do let me know if you think that I should do more with the Twitter account in the future.
This was/is a rather busy week for me so I did/do not have a great plethora of time on my hands. Do check out "The Campaign" section though as I have updated it for our new campaign.
Quote of the Week
Endos: You see a bison grazing beside the road.
Durel: Does the bison appear to be cursed?
Until Next week!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Good news everyone! Now that the gang is all back together, we have begun our next campaign! This time, Endos will be DMing. However, there has been a casualty to our group. Our dear companion Zedd is no longer in our ranks, having transferred to a different college. He will be missed.
But in the mean time, let me introduce our new group for this campaign:
Endos: DM (centipedes)
Raz: A Lawful Evil, Human Monk who is an aspiring politician/lawyer bent on destroying the influence of Paelor from the world.
Worf: A True Neutral, Half-Orc Barbarian who has as much depth as can be expected from a half-orc…
Jean Lucy: a newcomer to us, she is a Chaotic Good, Elf Ranger who likes to… shoot her bow…
(name pending): Legolla from the last campaign has returned as a Neutral Evil, Halfling Rogue who is a professional locksmith.
Durel Azal: Another newcomer, he is a true Neutral, Elf Druid who has such a complicated back-story that I don’t even want to try and explain it.
|A Magma Dragon courtesy of nJoo|
Endos decided to start this campaign by having all of us do individual sessions to justify how/why all of us (with our diverse backgrounds) end up in the same party. I have to say that I liked this little touch. Basically, all of us had a dream of a shining light in the distance that when we wake up was still there in the distance. After necessary (or unnecessary) deliberation we each went towards the light and got sucked into a portal where there was a half dragon attempting to slay a damsel in distress. So in typical heroic fashion we defeated the half dragon, but the damsel was the evil one to begin with! Just as she was about to slay us the half dragon with his last breath opened a portal of his own and threw us through it so that we could escape to kill her another day.
Upon exiting the rushed teleportation we find ourselves being accused of making portals and black monsters appear everywhere so we must go take care of them. For our fist task, kill the dragon that was attacking the city (we were level 1). And so our journey begins!
Quote of the Week
(Scenario: I just killed a man who was at a wishing well trying to wish his wife back to life)
Endos: "You are wanted for murder. The man's dead body is lying in the road."
Raz: I’m gonna hide the body. DUH!
Player Tip of the Week
Know how to manipulate the rules of your character to make him as powerful as possible. In D&D there are certain rules that can be exploited to make characters more powerful especially casters.
Let’s say you are a Wizard who has a base Intelligence score of 17. This is good, but could be better. So, what you can do is age your character to where he is of venerable age thus giving you a +3 to Int, Wis, and Cha and a -3 to Str, Dex, and Con. Sure you won’t be able to carry much or have many hit points, but as a caster this really doesn’t matter to much and you walk away with much higher scores that you normally would.
DM Tip of the Week
It’s ok to put a rush on a campaign. Nothing is worse than spending a bunch of time on a campaign only for there to be no closure at the end because for whatever reason you couldn’t finish. If a situation ever does arise where you know you have a deadline to meet, just rush the campaign. Speed up traveling; give levels away; nerf the final boss; do what you must to get that campaign finished!
In one of my campaigns we were all pressed for time and I knew that there was only 2 sessions left before we would all go our separate ways. So to counteract this, I guided their actions leading them to the final boss, had NPCs reveal plot elements, skipped travel time, and nerfed the final boss a few levels so that it could all get done. I had a lot planned for this campaign, but sometimes you just have to suck it up and boil the campaign down to its core. Better to finish than leave it hanging.
Until Next Week.