Monday, March 28, 2011

What Am I Gonna Do With All These (Other) Skills?

Greetings! A few days ago, I realized that a good bit of what I write about has to do with the campaign that I am currently playing, so I thought it would be a cool idea if I could get the players and DM involved a bit in Do A Spot Check. So after bringing the idea to the table and rolling a 22 on my Diplomacy check, our party has agreed to join in the conversation on my blog posts in the comments section! Now for the introductions: [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]

Zedd: Our Current DM. His character is a level 20 Wizard who needs our help defeating Darken Rahl, an evil Wizard of sorts who is immune to magic.

Endos: A once True Neutral, now Lawful Evil, Human Sorcerer who specializes in summoning spells. Fiendish Centipedes are his favored summon.

Aurora: A Chaotic Good, Elvin Ranger who specializes in using her bow. She has a Pegasus as an animal companion and is working on acquiring a Hippogriff as well.
Alexander: A Chaotic Good, Human Cleric who wields the power of the Sun God.

Laurelie: A True Neutral, Gnome Bard who plays the Bassoon and specializes in Illusion magic.

Raz: Me. A Chaotic Neutral, Human Jumper with high aspirations, but a demeanor that is so random that it is hard to tell if he’ll ever succeed.

In addition to all this, you will notice that I have added a new page titled “The Campaign” that will roughly give you an idea of what is happening in our campaign as it progresses. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]

But for the moment, back to the skills! Here is Part 2 of my skill descriptions:

Knowledge: What you know about one of the following subjects: Arcana, Architecture and Engineering, Dungeoneering, Geography, History, Nature, Nobility and Royalty, Religion, The Planes. Ex: Knowing if a plant in the forest is poisonous or not.
Listen: Your ability to have ears that hear things. Ex: Hearing an enemy approaching or listening in on a conversation.
Move Silently: Your ability to act like a Ninja. Ex: Stalking a suspected assassin to his hideout.
Open Lock: Your ability to open locks. Ex: Picking a simple lock on a treasure chest. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]
Perform: Your ability to sing, dance, and play an instrument or similar acts of entertainment. Ex: Performing a dance routine on the streets to earn money.
Profession: What your job is other than a combatant. Ex: Cutting down a tree because you’re a lumberjack.
Ride: Your ability to ride a mount and accomplish actions while riding it. Ex: Shooting a bow while galloping or trying to ride an exotic mount like a Pegasus.
Search: Your ability to find a specific object or person. Ex: Searching for mechanical traps in a dungeon or looking for a specific book in a library.
Sense Motive: Your ability to tell if someone is lying or not. Ex: Figuring out if there really is a Nation of Nam that is at war with the Viet.
Sleight Of Hand: Your ability to steal things or hide items on your person. Ex: Stealing a small money pouch from a person on the street or concealing a dagger up your sleeve. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]
Speak Language: Each rank put into it gains you a new language (Bards only). Ex: Learning Draconic just in time for the big meeting with a Dragon.
Spellcraft: Your familiarity with anything magical. Ex: Determining if a particular sword is magical or not.
Spot: Your ability to use your eyes. Ex: Looking at your surroundings like if you see a shady character in the crowd coming towards you.
Survival: Your ability to track an animal/person or forage for food. Ex: Tracking down the murderer of a king who escaped into the forest.
Swim: Your ability to flail your arms in water to prevent drowning. Ex: Swimming in a whirlpool.
Tumble: Your ability to roll (or similar action) past an occupied space in combat or your ability to avoid damage from falling. Ex: Jumping off a 20 foot ledge and not taking damage. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]
Use Magic Device: Your ability to use a magic item you are unfamiliar with. Ex: Finding a random magic wand and trying to use it without knowing what it does.
Use Rope: Your ability to be like a boy scout. Ex: Tying a criminal up with rope or throwing some rope like a lasso or grappling hook.

That’s all folks! Tune in next week for another exciting (and educational) episode of Do A Spot Check!



Quote of the Week

“Beware of falling asses…”
                       ~ The DM

Player Tip of the Week

Don’t split up party to go train. In the process of most campaigns, there are likely to be a few characters in a party that are a level or two higher than the rest of the party. Thus, lower leveled party members will sometimes go adventuring a short distance from camp looking for some moderate/weak encounters to gain some experience. In my experience though, just because your party is at half strength, doesn’t mean the DM will lower the difficulty of encounters. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]
For instance, our Sorcerer Endos and myself wanted to gain some quick exp a short distance from a major city. After traveling for a bit we happened to stumble upon a Frankenstein looking creature and thought we should be able to handle it. So I do a charge attack and deal 30 damage and Endos casts Scorching Ray and deals another 20 damage. We we-re thinking “Yeah, we got dis!”, but then I was K.O.ed in one hit… Turns out, we were fighting a Flesh Golem, something that our party could have handled fairly enough, but not well at all with just the two of us. We did end up winning the battle due to a plethora of centipedes, but only just barely.
In the end, this bit of advice depends on what kind of DM you have. If you know your DM will adjust the difficulty, by all means separate the party to train. If this is not the case, then stay together at all costs or have your entrails spilled across the floor or your face eaten off by a lion. (See last week’s DM tip)

The Stormshatter Gauntlet Courtesy of OrdoVeritas

DM Tip of the Week

Know how many people you can manage in one campaign. With all the challenges of running a campaign it can be very difficult to organize the story along with all the individual goals of the players. If you have too few characters then you may find that the party isn’t diverse enough to handle each situation, but at the same time too many can create a situation where no one can agree on what to do.
For instance, in one of my past campaigns there were seven of us and while it worked out okay, it took us forever to get all the stuff we wanted to do was completed. At one city we were visiting, the Paladin wanted to go help out at a church, the Monk wanted to go have a good time at the local bar, the Rogue wanted to steal stuff, the Barbarian and Fighter ended up finding the equivalent of a “Fight Club", the Wizard went looking for a specific book at a library, and the Bard was out gathering information on where the party should go next.
All of these were their own mini event/side quest and it took several sessions for us to finally move on. Situations like that create a cycle between some players being excited and the others being bored. For me, the magic number is five, but if you can handle this as a DM then by all means go for it just make sure to keep the campaign as balanced as possible. [this post is property of Do A Spot Check]


  1. It's a good thing the one other person you took with you was me. I don't think anyone else would have been able to handle that Flesh Golem. They don't have any CENTIPEDES!

  2. You should beware of falling asses. They're especially good at crushing people's monkeys, what with their hee-haws and such.

  3. I think we've established that Centipedes can be used for anything whether that be as a bridge or a bulldozer.

  4. Great descriptions of everything and loved the quote