Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stronghold Building and the Threat of Death

            Greetings!  Today I would like to make a brief comment on the magic Artifact, the Deck of Many Things (a deck of cards that when you draw a card can either yield huge rewards or the death of your character).  This magic item has been in my last two campaigns and while it is a very exciting endeavor to draw from it to see if you die or not, it can be a real game killer if the wrong cards are drawn.  On the one hand you can earn a super cool Keep of your own with all the furnishings, but on the other you can end up in a perpetual coma.    [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]
            But on another note, I felt like today would be a good day for another book review, (considering that I just bought it last week) being the D&D Accessory book Stronghold Builder’s Guide.   This book is essential a how-to guide for building structures of any sort in D&D whether that is a simple tavern or a “floating castle at the center of a hurricane” (4).  The book does a good job of clearly demonstrating the process without making it too difficult by breaking the process down into easily defined “stronghold spaces” (ss).  In addition, the guide focuses on keeping micro-management to a minimum while letting the reader be as imaginative as possible in the creation of their stronghold. [This post is property of Do A Spot Check]
            However, all of this does come with an extremely high price.  At its absolute minimum cost, one simple stronghold space costs roughly 500gp, but most ss cost several thousand gp.  A complete small fortress could easily cost 50,000 gp (more money than typically found in a D&D campaign).   Then to further add to the cost is magic furnishings for your stronghold.  These magic components are basically fortress specific magic items that, like regular magic items, cost a fortune on their own.  Long story short, the process is freaking expensive.
            Overall the Stronghold Builder’s Guide is a worthwhile buy because it is a wellspring of good ideas and plot-device invoking items.  It opens the door to a new mode of playing D&D where your goal isn’t killing things or solving puzzles, but instead about building a fortress, town, or city of your own.  With this said though, the book is more oriented to DMs rather than players simply because normal players, under normal circumstances, will never raise enough money to build such wondrous places.  Because of this I give the book 4 out of 5 Stars. [This post is property of Do A Spot Check]
And now on a personal note from our latest D&D session, I am very excited to announce that I tumbled through a tornado.

Until next week,



Quote of the Week

DM:     You see a Giant Ant in the distance.
Druid:  Alright I wanna shoot it with my bow.
DM:     Wait… What??? Why would you shoot it with your bow?
Druid:  Alright fine! Then I’ll hit it with my scimitar…
DM:     *face palm*

Player Tip of the Week

Make your own decisions.  In a party of diverse alignments and classes, everyone is going to have a different approach to a situation, regardless of how mundane.  When presented with a locked door in a dungeon, a Chaotic Neutral Barbarian might want to just kick the door in, while the Neutral Evil Rogue might want to check it for traps first, and the True Neutral Druid might want to ignore the door completely.  However, as an individual, you must make YOUR decision.  This is not to say completely ignore advice, but in the end it is your call whether to open the door or not. [This post is property of Do A Spot Check]
            For instance, one time in our current campaign, we stumbled upon a magic blue feathered chicken.  Upon inspection we found that the feathers, when used on arrows, made them Seeking arrows.  After I caught the chicken, it was up to our Ranger how many feathers to pull at one time.  Me being the very chaotic character that I am, suggested pulling out the feathers in fistfuls, while our other characters clamored for a more conservative approach.
I would like to point out that my approach was the wrong way to handle this and she, as a Ranger, should have known this.  However, because of her inability to make a decision on the subject, she chose to violently yank two fistfuls of feathers out, killing the chicken and making it (with all the feathers) disappear.  I was disappointed because I had wanted to find out what blue chicken meat tasted like.  For whatever reason, the Ranger was horrified by my disappointment. 

DM Tip of the Week

Have a backup plan.  As a DM, you have to account for the fact that you may have given characters a challenge that is too difficult for them to complete or the gods of dice rolling just weren’t on the players’ side that day.  In these situations, you need to have a backup plan of some sort whether that is a NPC who is more powerful than you who travels with your party as a guide, or some conveniently placed lightning bolts to strike an enemy down you were about to die from. 
For instance, we were traveling from one town to another when we were hit by a normal random encounter with four young Dire Weasels.  Shouldn’t be too bad right? Wrong.  On this particular day the gods of dice rolling were apparently not in our favor in that I critically missed about five times throughout the battle and was critically hit three times, almost in succession.  Seeing this ridiculousness, our NPC guide/Wizard Zed froze time for us for 4 rounds so that we could finish off the weasels (I still critically misses twice more). [This post is property of Do A Spot Check]
Players should always fear death, but they shouldn’t fear death from mundane enemies like Dire Weasel pups…

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