rolling skill

GM: You find a little wooden box. 

Me (Human Fighter): I open the box.

GM: Inside the box is a very tarnished brass belt buckle. Everyone, roll appraisal skill.

Half-Orc Ranger: 18.

Elf Paladin: 16.

Me: …2.

GM: Okay. *to the half-orc and the elf* You two see this belt buckle and believe it to be worth about 10 silver. *to me* You see this belt and believe it to be worth at LEAST 5,000 gold.

Me: Holy crap…guys, this belt buckle is AMAZING. It’s worth so much. We’re going to be RICH!

Half-Orc Ranger: I think you need your eyes checked. IT’s basically worthless.

Me: Are you KIDDING me?? This thing is the most expensive thing we’ve ever owned!! *grabs the belt buckle from the box and puts it on my belt* 

GM: Oh, I should tell you. This belt buckle is incredibly tarnished, but if you look closely you can see a picture of a cockatrice on it. It’s very crudely drawn and surrounded by elven runes–can you read elven?

Me: Yes.

GM: Okay. So the runes surround this crudely-drawn cockatrice, and they say, in elven,  "Check out my cockatrice.“

Me: …This is the fanciest thing I’ve ever owned and I love it.

deakvalid  asked:

How do you deal with players succeeding on checks they would obviously fail? One of my players characters has never met an orc but happened to roll a nat 20 on a really obscure orc related history check and it just doesn't make any sort of sense for them to have this knowledge.

This is a topic I’ve wanted to touch on for awhile, so thanks for your timely question!

Originally posted by albotas


In the Rules As Written for the RPGs I’ve played, the only context in which rolling a 20 means an automatic success is when you’re attacking someone.  And even then, all it means is that you definitely hit them.  Some opponents can’t even be criticaled, so it doesn’t necessarily even mean you did anything dramatic. That being said, I do enjoy letting people also get criticals on their skill checks, because I think it’s interesting.  It’s a house rule I always play with.  Rather than thinking of 20s and 1s as automatic successes and failures, though, I think of it as an opportunity for something interesting to happen.  The degree to which the player actually succeeds still depends on how difficult the thing they are trying to accomplish is.


If a player rolls a 20 on a skill check they’d reasonably be able to do, they succeed admirably.  The result is above and beyond what you’d normally expect.  It’s a standard Critical Success.  If they roll a 1 on something you’d expect them to be able to succeed, they fail (even if the total result of their roll plus their skill points would normally allow them to succeed).  I often use Nat 1s as an opportunity for some slapstick comedy.  So, the druid rolling a 20 on their perception check not only spots the approaching griffins, they notice the signs that the griffins are a mating pair, and thus there should be eggs near by.  That same sharp-eyed druid rolls a 1, and is so absorbed by the sight of a majestic butterfly that they trip over some tree roots right before the battle begins.

Originally posted by ifoundsomethingfunny


Now, some things the players attempt won’t be things you’d reasonably expect them to be able to succeed.  Hell, sometimes they’ll try something that in your mind is downright impossible.  In these cases, rolling a 20 doesn’t mean they succeed, but it should still mean something interesting happens.  In the example you gave, maybe the player suddenly remembers a rumor or a random factoid someone else told them about orcs during their travels.  If it would actually be impossible for them to know the fact, than maybe instead they get a helpful hunch. Like, maybe they remember the lines of some obscure childhood rhyme that give them some insight, or they’re able to get a clue from some minor detail.  
Sometimes, when a player rolls a 20 on something that should be impossible, it just means they don’t fail as hard as they absolutely should.  Like, if they try to hide somewhere with literally no cover, they obviously can’t.  But maybe, they roll a 20, and the sight of them trying so earnestly to be invisible when they clearly are not is amusing to their opponent.  It’s not a success, but it’s a slim possible advantage over a complete failure.  

Originally posted by disastrousalacrity


Your players may sometimes try to argue with your decisions about the outcome, but they don’t have a leg to stand on.  According to the rules, skills aren’t critable, so anything you give them is a bonus.  Use your judgment, try and think of something interesting, and make the call.  As you get better at improvising, these moments will probably become some of the most memorable parts of your sessions.  Thanks for the question, and good luck!

Marjoram (hobbit monk): I give the imp a cookie.

DM: You’re feeding a demonic creature that works for your arch-enemy?

Marjoram: He’s a messenger! You have to give messengers refreshments!

Another Player, OOC: She’s right, and that’s exactly what Marjoram would do.

DM: Okay, the imp stares at you, nibbles the cookie suspiciously, smiles, and eats the rest. Roll your cooking skill to see how good the cookie came out.

(At this point my memory breaks down, but the cookie was so good the imp added a little information about our arch-enemy’s purpose in sending the message before he left, clutching another cookie for the road. Interplanar void. Whatever.)

anonymous asked:

explain dnd to someone who's never heard of it or played it.

the reason why RPGs exist. it’s THE video game before video games were video games. so imagine playing Skyrim without an Xbox or a Tv.

How would you do it? first, you’d need a narrator telling you what’s going on “You’re walking along the snowy path and you hear the slow growling of a creature around the corner of a wall you’re about to curve around.”

and then, as the player, instead of directing the character with a controller, you say what you do.
“I ready my weapon. I want to sneak up and see what is making the noise.”

Now this is where the gameplay comes in. The narrator, or the GM/DM as it is known, is going to have you make a skill check.
“Roll for stealth”

You have dice, and you have a paper (or an app) that’ll have your stats. You roll the dice and then correspond with your stats. Typically with a 20 sided die. A 1 is a critical failure, and a 20 is a critical success. anything in between you’d have to refer to your skill sheet for the appropriate modifiers (don’t worry about this right now).

“Natural 20!”

“You turn the corner expertly watching your footing as to make sure you don’t step on any twigs or dead leaves buried beneath the snow and you are face to face with a dragon, asleep, on his bounty of gold and treasures completely unaware of your presence”

Now, DND, there is no rules when it comes to what you can do. You could say “I want to take some gold and leave”, you could say “I want to check for magical items” or you could initiate an attack, or you can maybe try and befriend the dragon. Maybe you didn’t even want to know what the hell was making that noise. Maybe you rolled a perception check and the DM told you it was indeed a dragon and you got the fuck out of there - you can do that. Whatever your imagination can come up with is possible in the game.

DND is what you make it. Some DMs put music for ambiance, some people dress up, some people have game boards and minis so you can visually see what’s going on (it gets hard to keep track of people’s locations during battles so this is necessary to some degree), some people play the same game for years, or do a game for one night - it’s whatever you want. You don’t have to roleplay but it’s a lot of fun when you’re really invested. and if you get a group of cool people together it can get hilarious.

I’d recommend watching Critical Role if you’re curious as to how DND is played. CritRole isn’t the only way DND is played but they’re really good at what they do.

Hope this helps!

Nobody here?

I got permission from everyone involved to send this.

During my very first D&D campaign awhile back the story setting was there were two guard captains that controlled the city, with the evil one controlling the majority of the guards which is why our party was hired by the council of heroes and the good guard captain to mitigate and hopefully stop his influence. The catch was us being hired was a secret until he was brought down. Over the course of the campaign we had several run-ins with the evil captain, and each time he almost killed at least one party member if not more. He actually succeeded in killing two pcs. Throughout the campaign many moronic things happened like the barbarian elf running naked through the streets in an attempt to cause a distraction for the rest of the party and the dragonborn cleric convincing most npcs in the poor districts that he was the second coming of Bahamut because he could use heal spells. By the end of the campaign there was a civil war in the streets of the city with us being trapped in an abandoned shack with the evil captain right outside with a dozen guard-knights threatening to kill a friendly and very helpful to us dwarf npc if we didn’t come out.
Evil Captain: Come on out, or short and stout gets it! I know you’re in there!
My Half-Orc Fighter: Uh…I would like to persuade him to leave? Can I do that?
The DM: Sure. Roll persuasion.
*Rolls Nat 20* Alright what do you say?
Half-Orc: Um…no we’re not!
Evil Captain: If you’re not in there, who’s talking?
Goblin Bard: I would like to persuade him as well.
DM: *sighs* Roll persuasion. *rolls Nat 20 plus 8 points in persuasion* *DM sighs yet again* What do you say?
Goblin Bard: The only person in here is me, your grandmother! And I’m very disappointed in you David! (The evil captains first name)
DM attempts insight check for evil Captain that has an ungodly amount of insight skill points *rolls nat 1* *DM sighs again*
DM: Dave is so distraught he drops his gear and as he walks off you see him taking off his armor as he goes home to rethink his life choices. With no leader the evil guards quickly surrender. Congratulations. *DM sighs*

Book of Vile Darkness Drugs for D&D 5e

Drugs as a Story Element

Although I will never support or condone the use of drugs, they can make for some awesome tragic story arcs or flawed characters. A character that uses drugs is potentially missing something else in their life that can only be filled with the drug. Reasons a character might take drugs:

  • To deal with strife, stress, or grief
  • To deal with mental illness
  • To fill their boredom; recreational use
  • To chase the high (whether or not they are addicted)
  • To fit in with others that do it (perhaps family or a social group)
  • Religion/magic (especially in the world of D&D)

Try to tie the drug use to your character’s story, whether through their flaws, traits, bonds, or their ideals. If you plan for your character to tragically fall, their spiral into addiction can be a real mechanical way to track that and roleplay accordingly. The process of withdrawal can also be treated as a path to redemption in your story arc. The temptation of drugs after freeing oneself from addiction can be used to represent the character’s past, bringing up memories when that temptation arises once more.

As a DM, introducing a character that uses or abuses drugs can hint that something in that NPC’s past might be the culprit. It adds a layer of depth ranging from a hint of mystery to a sea of tragedy. Offering drugs to player characters (through NPCs or simply acknowledging their existence in your setting) could be symbolic of temptation or looming evil. Any player that takes this offer is giving you, as a DM, a great opportunity to tilt that PC’s story arc. Single out that character for moral decisions or climactic moments and see whether the player’s choices or die rolls cause them tragically fall or be redeemed. It sounds sadistic, but it will add drama to your story.

From a symbolic standpoint, drugs represent evil, vice, and pleasurable temptation. Throughout history, they have also come to be associated with magic and witchcraft. The visions presented through hallucinogens, the euphoria of uppers, and the meditative state of downers could often be seen as magic. Weaker drugs might be used by religious figures in your campaign world. Stronger drugs are more likely to be used in evil rituals to dark or forbidden gods. The use of drugs in magic, metaphorically, represents that magic is greater than mortals. The drugs help the caster reach an “enhanced” mental or physical state to be able to channel the magic. Thus, drugs in magic in D&D heightens the drama of particularly meaningful or powerful spells. Again though, this is usually associated with evil. I mean, it’s from the Book of Vile Darkness, after all.

Addiction Table for D&D 5e

Addiction Rating: How addictive the drug is.

CON DC: The Difficulty Class of the Constitution saving throw made to resist addiction and withdrawal symptoms. When resisting withdrawal, this DC increases by 3 every day after the first satiation period.

Satiation: How much time can pass without the drug before an addicted character must make a saving throw to resist withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal Effects: When the character fails their first withdrawal saving throw, they become affected by the effects here until they can get access to the drug once more. For effects that grant multiple levels of exhaustion, this only counts for the first failed withdrawal save. After that, each failed save only imparts one level of exhaustion.

Using Drugs in D&D 5e

Taking a Drug: When a creature takes a drug, they must make a CON saving throw with a DC based on the drug’s Addiction DC as listed in the drug entry. On a failed saving throw, the creature becomes addicted. After this roll is made, the creature automatically becomes affected by the Side Effects of the drug. The creature may also make a CON saving throw to resist the primary effects of the drug, but the creature may opt to voluntarily fail this save if they wish.

Withdrawal: When a character becomes addicted to a drug, they must make a CON saving throw with a DC based on the drug’s addiction rating (see the table above) at the end of the drug’s listed satiation period. On a failed saving throw, the character suffers symptoms of withdrawal based on the drug’s addiction rating. Every day thereafter that the character does not take the drug, the character must make another saving throw. Each new saving throw that the character makes has its DC increased by 3 each day, regardless of a previous roll’s success or failure. Withdrawal symptoms and saving throws end once the character takes another dose of the drug.

Recovery: If a character makes two successful saving throws in a row for withdrawal saves, the character overcomes the addiction. However, the drug leaves a lasting impression on the character. The addiction rating for all drugs increase by one level permanently (just for that character). This represents how dangerous relapses can be, even if the character finds a new addiction.

List of Drugs

All drugs here are taken from the D&D 3e Book of Vile Darkness (I didn’t add any new ones). I basically scaled their DCs down the higher they were and replaced ability damage with more 5e-friendly concepts. Drugs count as poisons for the purposes of determining immunity or resistance. Drugs can be crafted by spending half the drug’s price in materials and making an INT check using Alchemists Supplies. See a drug’s description for its crafting DC.

Keep reading

Theory and practice...in alchemy

Context:
We were playing a homebrew campaign, and my character was a mage. He always wanted to have a mobile alchemy-box, which contains the basic tools for alchemy. So after several adventures, he managed to gather enough gold to buy one. Though, he had to wait, until the party arrived into a big city.

Dm:
So what you gonna do fellas?
Mage (me) (OOC):
Finally! I. MUST. HAVE. An alchemy box!
Warlock:
Allright my friend, I’ll go with you to avoid thieves.
*Note: My character always failed perception checks against pickpocketers, somewhat the warlock were quite effective…mostly.
Warrior:
I’ll go too, just in case.

In short: The trio found a shopkeeper, who not only sales alchemy-box, but a quite valuable one, for a reasonable price. With the help of the rogue (good charisma rolls), his dreams came true. The shopkeeper also gave him a manual.

Mage:
THANK YOU SO MUCH, MY FRIENDS!
Warrior:
You’re welcome.
Warlock:
So heading for the inn? I hope the others managed the book a room or two for us.
Mage:
Indeed! Let’s not waste the time!

Some time later, the party decided to go shopping and looking for a quest/job, but my character was too excited. He decided to read the manual, and try his alchemy skills. Few hour later the party returned to the street, where the inn located.
Of course, the Dm asked me to roll a lot of skill-check. I did not fail, but there was a lot of “almost” success.

Dm:
Allright, Perception check for everyone!
*Everyone rolled good.*
In short, you see some smoke comes out from the window of the room, you just booked.
Sorceress:
*In the voice of disbelief*
Is that…our room? The window… of the room… we booked?
Warlock:
*With somewhat proud and sly voice.*
Ah! It seems our mage just discovered the fine little details between the theory and the practice in the Alchemy.
Mage:
*From the window.*
HURRAY! *coughing* SUCCESS!
War-priestess:
If my clothes got smoky, I’m gonna break his legs! 

The mounted magician

Context: a friend of mine bought a pathfinder beginner Box with some pre made characters and a simple dungeon crawl. The wizard character was proficient in the ride skill.

Dm: as you approach the cave, you see to the left a statue of a humanoid creature, but something seems off about it

Ranger: can I inspect…

Wizard (interrupting): I fuck the statue! Rolling ride skill! *17*

DM: you successfully mount the statue, after about 2 minutes of awkward grunting, you notice that the statue is coated in acid. As you finish, you take 1d4 acid damage. The statue is satisfied, and may call you later.

specsthespectraldragon  asked:

"games like classic Traveller, in which it’s actually possible to die during character creation!" tell me more

(With reference to this post here.)

Sure thing. In a nutshell, after rolling up your attributes (everything in Traveller is randomly generated), your character starts out as an 18-year-old with no skills or resources to speak of, and you have to pick a career path. Early versions of the game assumed that all player characters would be military veterans, so various types of military service were the only options available, while later iterations add post-secondary education, civilian career paths, and even being a “wanderer” (read: space pirate).

Your character’s life is then divided into four-year terms, and you play each term out as a simple minigame to determine what you learned, what you experienced - and yes, whether you survived. As you can imagine, there are lots of random tables. In the earliest versions of the game, blowing your survival roll simply means that your character is dead, so there’s a tension between staying in longer in order to gain more skills, and the risk of blowing a roll and having to start over. Later versions of the game offer a variety of potential consequences for failing a survival roll, including scandal, imprisonment, or simply being horribly maimed.

Here - I’ll walk us through a basic example right now. For reference, I’m using the second Mongoose Publishing edition of the game (there are several) - you can find a bit of prior discussion on that subject here.

Keep reading

Mercedes: Okay, one last shot at Bluff. You say that you are the greatest alchemist in the world, and I can see that’s true.

Beholder: *preens*

Mercedes: But there are others out there who claim to have turned lead to gold, and if you don’t show your proof as soon as possible they will go down in history as the first to do it.

Beholder: *gasp* I must publish my research!

Mercedes: Yes! *rolls* Fuck!

DM: Oh no, your dice really hate you tonight! Have you rolled anything higher than a 3?

Mercedes: I have rolled two 9s and literally everything else has been 3 or lower.

DM: You made an excellent point, and I feel sorry for you, so I’m going to give you a pass, finishing the skill challenge. The beholder snatches up its gold, smashes some vials, and speeds down the corridor muttering wildly to itself.