combat

D&D: Teamup Attacks

A neat way to encourage teamwork and partnership midcombat: get a bonus when you combine your action with another character! You’ve probably seen things like it before in comics and action movies. The “fastball special” when Colossus throws Wolverine at an enemy. Hawkeye firing an arrow with Ant-Man hiding microscopically on the arrowhead. The ol’ one-two.

The mechanic I’m using for this is to let players use a teamup attack whenever two players roll the same intiative result, but you could feasibly let them do it if they ready their actions appropriately and make proper rolls for whatever they are trying to do. But otherwise, you just add some sort of condition or bonus damage to the attack, along with the regular damage from both players’ attacks. It’s that easy! After the first teamup attack, the players resolve initiative normally by figuring out which player has the higher modifier or rerolling.

The fun part of this mechanic is you or your players coming up with a special attack! Check out some examples I came up with below.

Fastball Special

Half-Orc Barbarian + Halfling Rogue: The Barbarian uses their strength to throw the rogue at an unwary enemy! The attack deals the regular sneak attack damage plus the barbarian’s regular attack damage, and then knocks the target prone.

Timber!

Fighter + Druid: The Druid casts Entangle or Thorn Whip or some such spell to wrap up the target’s feet, setting up the Fighter (or any martial class, really) to knock them down with a heavy blow to the torso or head. This deals the Druid’s normal damage from the spell (if applicable) and then the Fighter’s damage, plus knocks the target prone.

Shadow Boxing

Way of Shadow Monk + Assassin Rogue: Alternating attacks from each player jumping out of hiding and back into the shadows between each strike confuses the enemy. The target has disadvantage on all attacks during its next turn and cannot move more than 5 feet. It also takes the Monk’s and Rogue’s regular attack damage.

Nail on the Head

Great Weapon Paladin + Archery Ranger: The Ranger hits the creature with an arrow, and then the Paladin follows through with their two-handed maul, hammering the arrow deeper into the creature’s wound. This deals regular damage from the Paladin and Ranger plus causes the creature to bleed for 1d4 damage each round for three rounds.

Come to Deity

Paladin + Cleric: One of the players sweeps the target’s feet and the other whacks the back of their head, causing the target to fall into a kneeling position before the two holy heroes. The damage from both players coupled with their righteous auras causes the creature to become Frightened for one round.

Who Turned Out the Lights?

Fighter + Rogue: The Rogue pulls some of the target’s clothing or a bag over the target’s head, blinding them for 1 round if they are subject to such a condition. The Fighter and Rogue then wail on the creature with their attacks, each of which is made at advantage.

Soul Shred

Good Cleric + Fiend Warlock: The two players blast the target with spells of both fiendish and celestial energy, like an Eldritch Blast and Sacred Flame. The diametric energies surge through the target and vibrate enough to damage their very soul. The creature gains 1d2 levels of Exhaustion in addition to regular damage.

Elemental Convergence

Sorcerer + Wizard: The two spellcasters cast spells with different energy types simultaneously. The target(s) are Stunned for one round from their bodies trying to recover from the shock to their system. The creature or creatures take regular damage from the spells.

Harmonic Spell

Bard + Sorcerer: The Bard guides the energy of the Sorcerer’s spell with their musical magic, fascinating everyone who can see the spell (but not the initial targets of the spell). These creatures gain disadvantage on Perception checks and have their attention drawn to the spell’s effect, even if they were in the middle of combat, giving their enemies a chance to make Stealth checks. The Bard adds a die equal to their Bardic Inspiration die to the Sorcerer’s spell damage, without expending a use of Bardic Inspiration.

Arcane Epiphany

Wizard + Wizard of different school: The two Wizards combine the culmination of their studies to reach a magical revelation of sorts. They can each combine a spell from their chosen schools of magic to create a new spell, limited only by the imagination of the two players. For example, a Shocking Grasp and Phantom Steed launches an electrified steed at the target, becoming a regular Phantom Steed after the damage is dealt. The spell combines the damage of both base spells plus 2d6 damage, if either of the spells deal damage.

Rain of Arrows/Torrent of Blows

Ranger + Ranger: The two Rangers barrage the target with either their dual weapons or multiple arrows. The creature hesitates offering each ranger time for an additional attack in addition to their regular attacks, each at -1.

Look Behind You

Archery Ranger + Rogue: The Ranger and Rogue attack from hiding and use each other’s attacks to distract the creature from one another. The attacks deal a bonus 1d4 damage and do not reveal either player’s hiding place.

Beastcall

Bard + Druid: The Bard’s music combines with the Druid’s natural affinity to call a woodland creature to aid in the battle. This round, the Bard and Druid both deal damage from their respective spells or attacks. Next round, between the Druid and Bard’s initiative, a beast of CR 2 or less arrives to make an attack against a target the Bard and Druid agree upon, using the higher of the two characters’ proficiency modifiers to the attack and damage rolls. The beast then retreats back into the wilderness.

Eldritch Infusion

Warlock + Barbarian: The Warlock infuses the Barbarian’s open mind with the force of their patron to fuel their rage. The Warlock can use its action each round to maintain this bond. While infused, the Barbarian’s last attack each round deals damage equal to the Warlock’s Eldritch Blast damage plus 1d10 additional damage.

Dragoncall

Cleric + Draconic Bloodline Sorcerer: Through the Cleric’s exaltation to the draconic deities and the Sorcerer’s draconic origin, the two of you call a dragon to your aid. The Cleric and Sorcerer deal no damage this round. Next round, however, a Young dragon of the Cleric’s or Sorcerer’s choice arrives to use its breath weapon on a 15′ radius area they agree upon, using the dragon’s regular damage and saving throw. The dragon then leaves once its air raid is complete. (this one is a bit of a stretch, but I think that it’s fair if they forego their damage for a round to gain about 16d6 (possibly halved) damage on a small area.)


edit: It was also brought to my attention that Pathfinder’s Teamwork feats are a great example for these! Two I liked were Cover Fire and Harder They Fall. The former lets you use your ranged attacks to also use the Aid action, which i think still works in 5e. The latter lets you help an ally make a bull rush (Shove in 5e) attempt against a creature two sizes bigger than normal, which sounds like something that can be adapted! Even if you don’t use an explicit mechanic, always remember to think outside the box during he game and use teamwork to your advantage!

Why Teens Shouldn’t Run Revolutions

Hi guys. I’m going to piss off a lot of YA writers (and possibly readers) today, so hang onto your hats.

Mainly, if you’re in love with the idea of a high schooler with no strategic or combat experience heading up a revolution or war because they’re “so dedicated and determined,” don’t read this. Please, don’t. You’re not going to see anything you like. Go ahead and keep enjoying your guilty pleasure – that’s fine. I’m not going to own up to some of the guilty pleasures I love in fiction but don’t buy for a second in real life. That’s chill. Go for it, man.

But there are just things that I – and readers like me – are tired of seeing. If you’re sick of that trope, then keep reading. If you’re open to the idea of ditching that trope in your writing, then I really recommend reading.

This assessment/collection of tips on why teens shouldn’t run revolutions - and if you’re going to make them, how they CAN do it well - will include comparisons to history, other fiction (Unplugged), and Black Butler. Plus swearing and a range of incorrect capitalizations, because it’s fun.

On we go:

Keep reading

Jake English likes to fight, and likes the Brobot.


TW: Physicality, Discussion of Physical combat

So, like. It’s long past time I wrote about my favorite character in this webcomic.

Jake English is the best and most interesting character in Homestuck, and it’s pretty tragic that barely anybody knows it. This is partly due to Jake’s narrative and personality being one of the most understated and subtle in the comic, but it’s also due to a Fandom Narrative building up around him that unfortunately  paves over a lot of Jake’s most unique and interesting character traits.

Let’s try and rediscover this diamond in the rough as we wait for the game that will largely center around an alternate version of him, yeah? Here, I’m going to debunk some pretty common misconceptions about Jake, what he likes, and what he dislikes. 

Brawls, Wrestling–Scrums and Whatnot. And the Brobot.

Let’s put it plainly: Jake English likes fights. A lot of the discourse surrounding Jake’s relationship with the Brobot seems to ignore this, or implies that the Brobot, like, Ruined Fighting for him somehow because it was outside of what he initially envisioned when Dirk sent it:


A point commonly further backed up with this quote Jake gives Jane: 

There’s a few issues with this interpretation. Jake’s initial negative reaction is his very first encounter with the Brobot, and his quote with Jane is one he delivers as a passing remark. And by simply comparing Jake’s actions before and after the Brobot is sent, we can tell Jake really wouldn’t rather deal with the monsters.

Before the Brobot is sent, when Jake is 13, he explicitly avoids going outside:

Which is easy to link to being afraid of the monsters, since Jake complains about them himself…

And has no problem going outside three years later, after the Brobot is sent. To some extent, this can be put down to Jake’s increased experience and competence. But…

That clearly doesn’t account for the entire shift, since Jake does indeed need the Brobot to save him. I’ll come back to that later, but really, we don’t even need to do all this backwards story introspection to decide what Jake Really Feels. It would be easier to just listen to the guy himself. 

So yes, Jake complains about the Brobot to Jane in one passing remark…while he’s still dancing around the tangled web of his relationships with Jane, Dirk, and Roxy. A period of time when Jake, by his own admission, is thinking very much about what other people think and not entirely being honest with the people around him. 

What does Jake say when he is being honest, though? What does he tell John in his letter, which Jake wrote when he was 16, after 3 years of dealing with the Brobot?

What does he tell Caliborn–who’s opinion he doesn’t care about–after entering the session, after 6 months of dating Dirk?

And what does he tell Jane about the Brobot when he’s actually being honest with her–which he’ll CONTINUE to do for six months, complaining about all of Dirk’s myriad issues and shortcomings as a romantic partner…without ever once bringing up the specter of physical fear or discomfort?

Wait, hang on. Let’s zoom in on that one, that one’s important:

Woah. Is that Jake conceptually linking the Brobot…to the thing he was most consistently excited about for the entire comic? Interesting. Wild. What could it mean. It would almost imply that after spending three years with the thing, he doesn’t really hate the experience of having it in his life. 

Again, Jake is no stranger to complaining about Dirk over the course of their session–he complains to Jane endlessly about him, as well as to Erisol and even Caliborn a little. (Though never Roxy, hmm…I wonder why…(I know why and I’ll get to it in another post.))

But he never really complains about fighting or about the Brobot in general, and his general attitude towards fights seems to be changed absolutely not at all whatsoever–right up to [S] Credits.

And he ultimate views Dirk as a figure of comfort and safety, so much so that he trusts Dirk with protecting him even more than he trusts Grandma or his own powers–after all, even after Brain Ghost Dirk tells him that he wouldn’t need him if he unlocked his hope potential, Jake still chooses to simply make Brain Ghost Dirk real rather than doing anything on his own when he wants to feel safe:


So yeah, I find the idea that Jake was bothered by the Brobot on any meaningful level pretty hard to square with the avalanche of counterevidence that is in the canon. The Brobot was an imperfect gift, but Jake still ultimately enjoyed it.  

Jake English likes to fight. Plain and simple. This is weird to a lot of people, and that’s fine, but it’s not actually that uncommon.

There’s plenty of sports that center around fighting or come with the risk of physical harm, like boxing, martial arts, etc. I’m a longtime fencer, and I genuinely liked going without protective padding and getting bruised from the sword impacts. Physicality appeals to some people. 

Jake’s love for fighting established, feel free to join me tomorrow and we’ll take on a smaller issue. A tighter one. 


I’ve written an obnoxious amount about Dirk, but seeing how quickly I was able to put that Dirk post out, I decided I’d like to use the next couple days to put out similar smaller posts about the other Alphas–Jake, Roxy, and Jane, In that order.

I’ve got at least two more posts of Jake in me before we move on to Roxy, and I should be putting out at least one of these posts a day–the next one’s already pretty much written, so I may post it early in the day tomorrow.
 
Hopefully, by doing this I can help people understand just how tangled and complicated the tangles of mutual hurt and mutual love are in this group of friends, and why I love this severely underrated group of Homestuck characters.

If you enjoyed this post and think others like it would be interesting to you, well–stay tuned. If you have a counterargument or you disagree with this post, feel free to respond and I’ll do my best to get back to you. I enjoy testing my ideas so long as we’re all nice about it.

Keep rising.