Showing posts with label dungeons dragons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dungeons dragons. Show all posts

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!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Party Mascots Part 1

I’m not talking about the “companion characters,” which will come out when the DMG 2 is released for Worldwide D&D Game Day on Saturday, Sep. 19, 2009. Nor am I speaking about the Mage’s familiar or the Ranger’s (Beastmaster) beast companion, while either of those certainly could be the party’s mascot.

Quote from the upcoming DMG 2:
A paladin rescues an imprisoned knight who swears to follow her as a faithful companion for a year and a day. A shaman tends to the wounds of a young black bear, and the friendly animal follows the shaman on his quest. A wizard takes on an apprentice, a youthful elf eager to learn the ways of magic and use them to battle evil.


I am talking about a “pet” the whole party can benefit from... The Party Mascot. The mascot does not always follow the party off on their adventures. But it could indeed grant certain benefits for hanging around. Think back to the Saturday morning cartoons in the 1980's; it seemed that almost everyone had a “party mascot” of some fashion. Does “Uni” ring a bell from the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, or perhaps “Slimer” from The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series that ran from 1986 to 1991? Slimer was such a fan favorite that he later starred in his own Slimer! cartoons when The Real Ghostbusters was extended to a one-hour format.

Here is a list of possible Party Mascots:

• Adult Faerie Dragon Flitterwing (Draconomicon, page 195)
• Guard Drake (Monster Manual, page 90)
• Kruthik Young (Monster Manual, page 170)
• Iron Defender (Monster Manual, page 156)
• Phantom Warrior “Ghost” (Monster Manual, page 116)
• Blood Hawk (Monster Manual 2, page 142)
• Stonefist Defender (Monster Manual 2, page 143)
• Ankheg Broodling (Monster Manual 2, page 11)
• Crawling Gauntlet (Open Grave, page 142)
• Rust Monster (Monster Manual 2, page 178)

In Party Mascots Part 2, I will cover the possible benefits that each monster could offer as a Party Mascot, along with using Companion Slot Items from Adventurer’s Vault with Mascots.

If you have used something like this in your game previously, or you plan to use this in an upcoming game, we would love to hear all about it. Please leave us a comment and tell us about it! Until next time, have fun and keep the dice rolling!

The Daily DM is Officially a Week Old Today!

The Daily DM is officially a week old today! I thought that I would start this week off with two posts. First, just a quick rant to say thank you to all of The Daily DM readers, and second, an article on Party Mascots.

Here is an outline of the topics that I plan to touch on a little this week (in no particular order).

Party Mascots Part 1
Party Mascots Part 2
Review on the Assassin Class
Rules for Drunken D&D that Rule!
Player handouts and props
Rituals in your game, Part 2

One of the players in the weekly D&D game that I DM is playing an Assassin from the highly anticipated Player’s Handbook 3 that is coming out next year. So far it’s been very interesting, to say the least.

In the up-coming months I will look into offering a weekly or bi-weekly Podcast covering a large range of 4e D&D topics. If there is a topic that you would like for The Daily DM to cover, feel free to send an email to

And for those of you who wish to subscribe to The Daily DM, we are still working on fixing the RSS feed. For those of you who don’t know, we have had a lot of technical issues getting the RSS feed to work, but hopefully we will get that taken care this week. Thanks again for your support. Until next time, have fun and keep the dice rolling!

DM Ace Byrd

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Poor Man’s Counter.

There are a lot of third party companies that market conditional counters such as Blinded, Dazed, Deafened, etc... and some that offer marks. I’m honestly not happy as a DM with any of these third party company’s ideas for counters. I believe that I heard a rumor about WoTC publishing some sort of counters for marks and condition. But until that day comes, I offer you the “poor man’s” counter, which I have had a lot of success with. Two-liter soda bottle caps.

Using the blue cap to designate which vampire spawn is the Ranger’s Hunter’s Quarry, the red cap to designate the Paladin’s Divine Challenge, and the green cap to show which vampire spawn the fighter has chosen for his mark with Combat Challenge.

D&D Marks

Pepsi products work the best; the coca-cola cap prove to be a smidge taller and less cooperative.

If you have used something like this in your game previously, or you plan to use this in an upcoming game, we would love to hear all about it. Please leave us a comment and tell us all about it! Until next time, have fun and keep the dice rolling!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Great-Grandpa Used a +1 Sword... and He was a “Famous” Adventurer?

One of the players in the weekly Saturday morning D&D game that I DM brought up an interesting topic that I would like to cover.

Dave asked about magic items. He has always been disappointed with magic items that start out so valuable (i.e. “This +1 sword has been in my family for generations...) and later become disposable (i.e. “I’m going to drop my +1 sword for this +2 sword that we just found of some random orc chieftain).

My first suggestion is not to make weapons, armor, etc. story items; that is, don’t make anything you know you are going to dispose of a family heirloom or anything else related to your background or the plot of the campaign. Rather, I suggest, if you want to have a family heirloom, perhaps make it an amulet or old map. Where I can see it tempting to make a +1 longsword a family heirloom because so-and-so’s father was a great adventurer, if he was really that great, wouldn’t the weapon be more like a +5 vorpol longsword? If he was so great, why was he carrying around a +1 sword? Do you know any epic characters with +1 swords?

Let’s take the old map as an example:

An old map - “My Grandfather found this treasure map when he was an adventurer. He passed it down to my father, who was unsuccessful in finding the treasure. On his death bed, he passed the map down to me. I swore to him that I would be the one to find this lost treasure.”

Here is a list of other items that might make more sense:

• Random Key
• Pages from an outdated Arcane Tome
• Patched Together Map
• Lock of Nymphs Hair
• Amulet or Locket
• Holy Symbol
• Surcoat
• Lucky Coin
• Mysterious Bottle with Explicit Instructions to Always Protect and Never Open
• Childhood Toy

The list is as endless as are the possibilities. Just let your imagination guide you... I left the list above vague just for that. If you have used something like this in your game previously, or you plan to use this in an upcoming game, we would live to hear all about it. Please leave us a comment and tell us all about it! Until next time, have fun and keep the dice rolling!

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Goblin who went... Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Having a hard time challenging those know-it-all players who flip through the Monster Manual and know most the monsters’ stat blocks by heart? Then surprise them with something new, something like a Goblin Bomb or Dire Cockroach. Worst yet, Goblin Bombs riding Dire Cockroaches! That should make their heads turn, especially when the Goblin Bomb blows up, taking the Dire Cockroach with him, covering the area with slimy goblin- and bug-guts... not to mention the damage it will cause.

As you enter the room, you see many wide-mouthed grins as a lowly-goblin steps forth holding a lit torch with explosives strapped to its back, and says ‘Our master has be expecting you!’

Goblin bombs, unlike all other Goblins, don’t flee a fight. They charge toward the closest enemy, which is hopefully close to another Goblin Bomb, to try to achieve a much bigger “bang”. It is the Goblin Bomb’s job to die, and to take as many others that he can with him.

    • Level 1 Minion
    • Goblin Bomb
    • Small natural humanoid (goblin)
    • XP 25
    • Initiative 5
    • Senses Perception +1; Low-Light Vision
    • HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
    • AC 15; Fortitude 12, Reflex 14, Will 12
    • Speed 6
    • Igniting Change (standard; at-will) • Fire
    • At the start of its turn the Goblin Bomb, ignites the large fuse on the explosives strapped to its back, and moves its full speed toward the closes enemy. Which will then detonate at the start of its next turn unless triggered otherwise.

      +5 vs. Reflex; 1d8 fire damage (Chain Reaction: If here is another Goblin Bomb in an adjacent square when Igniting Charge is used, it too may use its Igniting Charge as a Free Action.)
    • Align. Evil
    • Lang. Common, Goblin
    • Skills Stealth +6, Thievery +6
    • Str 13 (+1)
    • Dex 18 (+4)
    • Wis 12 (+1)
    • Con 13 (+1)
    • Int 8 (--1)
    • Cha 8 (--1)
    • Equipment Leather Armor, Torch
    • Created with's DM Tools

    • Level 2 Skirmisher
    • Dire Cockroach
    • Large natural beast (mount)
    • XP 125
    • Initiative +4
    • Senses Perception +7; darkvision
    • HP 27; Bloodied 13
    • AC 16; Fortitude 15, Reflex 14, Will 11
    • Speed 8
    • Bite (standard; at-will)
    • +6 vs. AC; 1d4 damage
    • Trampling Scutter (standard; at-will)
    • The Dire Cockroach can move up to its speed and enter an enemies' space. This movement provokes opportunity attacks, and the Dire Cockroach must end its move in an unoccupied space. When it enters an enemy's space, the Dire Cockroach makes a trample attack: +4 vs. Reflex; 1d4 + 2 damage, and the target is knocked prone.
    • Align. Unaligned
    • Lang. -
    • Skills
    • Str 14 (+3)
    • Dex 17 (+4)
    • Wis 10 (+1)
    • Con 13 (+2)
    • Int 5 (--2)
    • Cha 4 (--2)
    • Equipment ---
    • Created with's DM Tools

We would love to hear all about the crazy monster that you’ve ran in your game? Or if you plan on throwing some Dire Cockroaches at your players in the near future. So please leave us a comment!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Power Gaming 101

Power gamer, we all know the term, maybe even been called one before.  Your party is low on HP and healing surges, and you know that the powerful Vampire Lord is in the next room with his minion spawns, and before your group even has a chance to make a battle or exit plan you hear the shattering of wood as the party’s power gaming fighter splinters the door and rushes in!  

It’s alright to let the power gamer(s) at the table do their thing as long as their gaming motivations don’t cross the metagaming boundaries.  Lets not mistake the two...  Just because someone power games does not make them a metagamer.  And there are a lot of DMs out there that make such an easy mistake and try to restrict the fun-loving power gamer.

So there you have it in black and white, power gaming is not the same as metagaming!

A Power Gamer by definition in the DMG...

 •    Optimizes character attributes for combat performance.
 •    Pores over supplements for better character options.
 •    Spends less time on story and roleplaying elements.
 •    Prefers combat to other kinds of encounters.

If you have a group of power gamers, then I would strongly recommend tailoring the game to their needs.  Mind you, this is only if more than half the players at the table are power gamers.  Now, I’m not saying by any means to ignore the non-power gamers motives, I’m just suggesting that you focus a little more on the hack-and-slash aspect of the game.  A straightforward, action-oriented style of play that focuses on fighting monsters and finding treasure.  This is also referred to as “kick in the door” style of play.

Plain and simple, power gaming is fun!  And fun is what the game is about right?  We would like to hear about the power gamer(s) in your group and some of the interesting things that they have done or got the party into.  So please leave us a comment!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who is your character, really?

There are currently 35 races and 20 classes (not counting Hybrids) in the WoTC Dungeons and Dragons Character Builder.  However, we all know there is more to your character than just race and class.

I myself, have recently played a Dwarven Fighter, and my wife has played an Eladrin Wizard and a Shadar-kai Sorcerer.  Axy, my Dwarven Fighter, is daring and a bit reckless; he always wants to prove himself as a great warrior, and enjoys carving small things out of wood, which he often gives away to friends or romantic interests.  Aeariel Darcmajic, my wife's Eladrin Wizard was "from the fey wild" (can you tell this was her first time playing?).  Her second attempt was Indigo Shadowstorm, the 130 -year-old Shadar-kai Sorcerer, who killed her own mother and acquired a dragonling familiar; she was cunning and devious.  As a matter of fact, Indigo used Axy as a tool to keep the townspeople from running away from her (after all, Shadar-kai aren't exactly friendly-looking).

The Daily DM would absolutely love for you to tell us about your character; I am eager to see what others have come up with.  What are his/her motivations and goals?  Where is he/she from?  What are their great areas of strength, or better yet, their weaknesses?  Why did you pick this race and class?  Is there a major part of you in your character?  Do they love birds as much as you do?  Or perhaps sing quietly (and badly) to themselves in Dwarven?  Do you like to sit around and get drunk in the tavern, looking for a new adventurer, and maybe drink a little more than you could handle in the process?  Do you play as your character, or talk about your character?  Does your character speak in the third person about themselves?  (Jim does this...)  Does your character have any love interests or best friends?  Maybe family that adventures with them, or that they need to protect from their enemies (like Spider-Man and Aunt May?).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rituals in your game, Part 1

Rituals! Every class can use them and yet none do!

In this post I would like to cover the ritual Tenser’s Floating Disk, on page 312 of the Player’s Handbook.

Oh, this? It follows me everywhere, like a porter that never needs to rest.

Oh but it can be so, so much more! Can’t it?

Hover Board: That’s right you remember them from Back to the Future... Also remember wanting one as a kid? Then Tenser’s Floating Disk is the ritual for you! Because your character is just too cool to walk on his own two legs; and with a duration of 24 hours you could cast it each new day, and never have to walk again!

What is your input on the use of rituals in your game? How often do they see use? What rituals do you use?  How do you make them interesting and fun and new? We would like to hear all about it. So please leave us a comment!

Welcome to the Daily DM!

Hello, and welcome to the Daily DM. I have decided to start this blog to give new DMs an edge to their game. In the weeks to follow, I will be updating this blog daily, hence the name. I would like to start this first post off by telling you a little bit about myself and the hobby that we all have come to love, that’s right D&D!

I’m Ace Byrd and I first starting playing D&D back in 2nd edition. Roleplaying wasn’t a new concept to me because I had been playing White Wolf’s Vampire the Masquerade, but D&D was. Dungeons & Dragon brought something more with it then any other game that I had played before it, it brought something magical. In an instant I fell in love with RPGs all over again. I shelved my Vampire books (never to see the light of day again) and donned my +1 chain armor and vorpal longsword and set off into the unknown, which is exactly where I wish to guild new gamers, both players and DMs alike. Into the unknown deeps of D&D! Have a question, or is there a rule that you don’t quite understand? Well you’ve ventured into the right place!