Saturday, September 5, 2009

Assassin of Impiltur, Part 1

When WotC released the Assassin preview at GenCon, it was only a matter of minutes before William, one of the players in the weekly Saturday morning D&D game that I DM, stated that he would like to run an Assassin in the new campaign that I was about to start up in the Forgotten Realms. Being the open-minded DM that I aspire to be, I, of course, said “I would love to have an assassin in game!”  So William took it upon himself and converted the 11th level Halfling Assassin preview that WotC handed out into a 1st level Changeling Assassin PC named “Kit”. After seeing Kit in action in our weekly Realms game set in Impiltur, I thought that I would write up a review to share with everyone else who might be interested in running a game with Assassin PC’s or playing an Assassin themself.


The Assassin is a Shadow Striker, and the striker's extra damage comes from his class feature, Assassin’s Shroud, an at-will power, that lets the Assassin, as a free action, study his foe in a close burst 10 and attack them with his shroud.  Now, if the target already has a shroud on it, the assassin can add an another shroud to it, to a maximum of 4. When the Assassin attacks that target, he can expend all of his shrouds on it or none at all.  Moreover, if the Assassin opts to use the shroud, then he will deal 1d6 damage per shroud it placed on the target if the attack hits, and 1d6 per shroud with the subtraction of one shroud if he misses. Therefore, the Assassin can stalk around attacking other foes while building a shroud up on one enemy, and can keep building up to do the maximum of 4 d6 damage. However, if the Assassin uses his shroud on another target or the target marked with shroud dies before the Assassin gets to use them, all other shrouds disappear. Assassin’s Shroud is not a “mark” and does not effect any mark that may be in place on the target.

Here is the list of at-will (Assassin) powers that Kit has:

    • Assassin'S Shroud
    • Assassin Class Feature 1
    • An invisible shroud settles on your for. At your command the shroud reveals the target's weak points to your keen gaze.
    • At-Will • Shadow
    • Special: You can use this power only on your turn and only once per turn.
    • Effect: You subject the target to your Assassin's Shroud. If any of your shrouds are already on the target, you subject it to an additional shroud up to a maximum of four. The shroud last until you use this power against a different enemy or until the end of the encounter.

      Before you make an attack roll against the target you choose to invoke either all your shrouds on it or none of them. If you invoke your shrouds, the attack deals 1d6 damage per shroud, minus one shroud if the attack misses, and all your shrouds then vanish from the target. The damage roll never benefits from bonus damage.

      Level 11: 1d6 + 3 damage per shroud

      Level 21: 1d6 + 6 damage per shroud
    • Created with's DM Tools

    • Shadow Step
    • Assassin Class Feature 1
    • You vanish into the shadow energy around one creature and then step out of it near another creature.
    • At-Will •
    • Move Atction
    • Requirement: You must be adjacent to a creature.
    • Effect: You teleport 3 squares to a square adjacent to a different creature.

      Level 11: teleport 4 squares

      Level 21: teleport 4 squares
    • Created with's DM Tools

    • Executioner's Noose
    • Assassin At-Will 1
    • You gather shadows into the form of a noose, cast it around your foe's neck, and pull.
    • At-Will • Force, Implement, Shadow
    • Standard Action
    • Ranged 5
    • Target: One Creature
    • Attack: Dex vs. Fort
    • Hit: 1d6 + dex force damage, and you pull the target 2 squares.
    • Effect: The target is slowed until the end of your next turn.
    • Created with's DM Tools

    • Shadow Storm
    • Assassin At-Will 1
    • Your tie to the Shadowfell calls on the living shadow around your foe, causing them to claw at it as you make your attack.
    • At-Will • Shadow, Weapon
    • Standard Action
    • Melee 1
    • Target: One Creature
    • Attack: Dex vs. AC
    • Hit: 1[W] + Dex damage, plus 1 for each creature adjacent to the target
    • Created with's DM Tools

Assassin of Impiltur, Part 2 will have the list of encounter and daily (Assassin) powers that Kit has.

Of course, the full Assassin player character write-up will be released in next month's DDI Character Builder update at D&D Insider.

But this post is for those of us without patience.

Until next time, have fun and keep the dice rolling!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Player Handouts and Props

Let your creative juices flow when creating handouts for your players and props for your game.  In a recent game I DM’ed, the players intercepted a scroll that was originally intended for them.  The bearer of the scroll had attempted to burn it, but the players were able to put out the flame.  I handed to my player a cursive-written (well, cursive font) scroll with the right inch or so burned off (please be careful when using flames and fire).  I used the ribbon and beads from my wife’s old bookmark to tie up the scroll.  The party seemed pretty impressed with the prop, and it took less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Here is a list of other handouts or props I have used or may use:

  • Old maps - You can make a map look old either by buying paper that looks old, or soaking the paper in coffee then letting it dry.  Burning the edges may also help.
  • Gold pieces - I have seen poker chips spray-painted gold used before.  Use these as treasure or as the gold pieces in Three Dragon Ante.
  • Tavern/Inn menu - My players in New Sarshel visited The Griffon’s Roost, and upon being seated by the waitress, they were given a menu (see below).
  • Foreign/old currency - Use these as gold or silver pieces.
  • Old bottles - It might sound cheesy, but wait til you see your player’s face when they open it and there is a letter or a potion inside.
  • Old jewelry - Your player can really wear that amulet.  Ask your Grandma or head to a local antique shop.
  • Treasure cards - I used a Magic the Gathering card set maker/editor ( to make treasure cards - different coin values and amounts, gems, jewels, magic items, etc. to give to the players as they find treasure, to give them a visual and to help them keep track of their loot (see below). 

What player handouts and props have you used?  What have you, as a player, received or seen?  We would love to hear about how you are making your game more exciting and fun to play!

Until next time, have fun and keep the dice rolling!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rules for Drunken D&D That Rule!

Disclaimer: Do not drink and drive.  Always designate a sober driver.  Do not drink if you are not of legal age.  As always, drink responsibly

What you need to play:
Liquor (if your party enjoys it)

Rules of the game:
Whenever a PC or DM rolls a natural 1 on a d12 or d20, they must take one sip.
Whenever a PC is immobilized/stunned/dazed/knocked prone, they must take a sip.
Whenever a PC or DM rolls a natural 20, they must take a shot or chug a beer.
Whenever a PC or DM gets up from the table, they must take a sip.
Whenever a PC or DM’s phone goes off, they must take a sip.
Whenever a PC or DM has to crack open a core rulebook, take a sip.
Whenever a PC bloodies a monster, the DM takes a sip.
Whenever a PC kills a monster, the DM takes 2 sips.
Whenever a PC becomes bloodied, they must take a sip.
Whenever a PC becomes unconscious, they must drink half a beer or shot.
Whenever a PC dies, they must chug one beer or drink one shot.
Whenever a PC spends a healing surge, they give one sip to anyone at the table.
Whenever a PC uses an encounter power, they must take a sip.
Whenever a PC spends an action point, they must take 2 sips.
Whenever a PC uses a daily power, they must take 3 sips.
Whenever a PC misses, they must take a drink UNLESS an effect still goes off when they miss, in that case, they give a drink to anyone at the table.

Special Rules

A PC can use a standard action to perform one of the following buffs:
  •     Chug an ice cold drink and earn +5 cold resist until the end of the encounter
  •     Take a shot without a chaser and earn +5 fire resist until the end of the encounter
Whenever a PC uses any of the following skills, they must take a drink.
  •     Bluff
  •     Diplomacy
  •     Intimidate
If the player is playing a Dwarf, all drinks are x2.

The DM can hide “sips” with treasure, so whoever finds the treasure has to take the sips.

A player can choose not to take a sip when required. When that happens, the player grants combat advantage (or +2 bonus to the opponent’s next d20 roll) until the end of his/her next turn.

For the original Drunken D&D Rules, click below.

Until next time, have fun and keep the dice rolling!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Monster by number! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3...

Ever have a player look at you strange and say, “No, not that one, I didn't attack that monster; I attacked the other one, you know, the one that I dazed last turn?”  And you look at the board and he’s pointing at two monsters that look exactly the same.

Then the rest of the players at the table look at you like it’s your job as the DM to keep track of these things... Well, they’re right!  It is your job!  However, that does not mean that it has to be hard.  In fact, it’s quite easy to keep track of each and every monster on the board, along with each one’s hit points, initiative, and condition, no matter how many monsters there are... and here’s how!

Step 1.
Group all the monsters that are the same together (i.e. Flamescorched Kobolds in one pile and Kobold Warriors in another.)

Step 2.
Take a scrap piece of paper and practice writing the numbers with a Sharpie (silver works best). After you master writing the number, it’s time to apply your new skill.  The best spot to place your number is behind the monster on the mini’s base where you can easily see it from looking over the DM screen.




Step 3.
After you have masterfully placed numbers on each of the different monsters, you’ll need a DM cheat sheet to help you remember which monster is which; it should look something like this:

1.    Kobold Flamescorched:

2.    Kobold Flamescorched:

3.    Kobold Flamescorched:

4.    Kobold Flamescorched:

5.    Kobold Flamescorched:

6.    Kobold Flamescorched:

You get the point.  You need to have some kind of chart, otherwise your nicely numbered monsters don’t mean squat

Until next time, have fun and keep the dice rolling!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rituals in your game, Part 2

In the first part of this post (Rituals in your game, Part 1), I talked a little bit about what seems to be the most used ritual in the game, Tenser’s Floating Disk. Now, I would like to cover a lesser known ritual, Anthem of Unity, on page 153 of Arcane Power.

The anthem’s invigorating notes fill the audience with pride and single-minded purpose.

With all the talk about 4e not being as roleplay-friendly as previous editions of the game, I just have to laugh when I see things like this in 4e books. If this is not a roleplay ritual, then I don’t what is!

Example: Crowd Control
You don’t need full plate and a heavy shield to turn back an angry mob, just a few “friendly” words (friendly being the keyword). It states that the crowd must not be hostile to you and most be able to see and hear your for the entire performance. Now it didn’t say that the crowd/mob couldn’t be hostile... just not hostile to you, for it to work!

Mind you, just because I used the example of an angry mob above, that does not necessarily mean that is what the ritual is used for. If you have not read the ritual before, it’s a crowd swayer of sorts.

This ritual is full of endless possibilities. I think that Bards, Paladins, and some Rogues will find the ritual’s use of diplomacy very useful. The only downfall is the 10 minute casting time. I think that there should be a feat that allows you to “quicken” any ritual with a 10 minute casting time.

Until next time, have fun and keep the dice rolling!