Monthly Archives: May 2019

Beginner’s Basics 2: Ability Scores and Skills

Hey guys, welcome back to Beginner’s Basics! Today, we’re gonna be delving into Ability Scores and Skills, ‘cause you’ll be using those a lot and it’s always handy to know what each of them covers. Somethings will be more self-explanatory than others, but I’ll go through everything the best I can.


Ready? Let’s go!

Your six Ability Scores form the score of your character’s, well, abilities. And they’re as follows (and the skills that fall under those umbrellas) [PHB pgs. 12, 173-179]:

Strength: Self-explanatory; used to contest things like: breaking down doors, busting down walls, lifting various things or people, etc.

  • Important for the following classes: Barbarian, Paladin, Fighter
  • Used for the following skills: Athletics

Constitution: Used to gauge how healthy your character is.

  • Important for the following classes: Everyone! Ya need it to live, y’all!
  • Used for the following skills: Mainly for Saving Throws

Dexterity: This stat is for when you need to use finesse instead of brute force; like picking locks, sneaking through enemy territory, or landing a sweet backflip off of a building.

  • Important for the following classes: Monk, Ranger, and Rogue
  • Used for the following skills: Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, Stealth

Intelligence: Self-explanatory; how smart and how well your character can recall information.

  • Important for the following classes: Wizards
  • Used for the following skills: Arcana, History, Investigation, Nature, Religion

Wisdom: This is for when you need to be more intuitive and aware of the people around you. If your wisdom score and modifier is high enough, then you’re basically a living bs detector if you roll well on top of that.

  • Important for the following classes: Druids, Clerics
  • Used for the following skills: Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, Survival

Charisma: How well and how strongly can you carry yourself in front of people. Though you don’t have to project a confident swagger if you have a high Charisma—your character can be really anxious but they can carry a quiet charisma about them when they need to tap into it.

  • Important for the following classes: Bards, Warlocks, Sorcerers
  • Used for the following skills: Deception, Intimidation, Performance, Persuasion

Another thing to note about ability scores, don’t get hung up on how big or small your ability scores are. Low Ability Scores can be the most fun you can ever have with your character because you can either play into your low scores, or your character can think they’re the best ever despite it being the opposite. Remember, D&D is a fun game just as much as it is a number game, so have fun you guys!

 And that’s all for today’s Beginner’s Basics! I hope you had a fun time reading this and that it helped you a little bit. If you have any comments or other questions, or if you want to tell me how I did, just leave me a comment below; I’d love to hear what you think!

Have a good day, take care of yourselves, and roll high my friends!

Source:  Crawford,
Jeremy, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, and Bruce R. Cordell. Players Handbook:
Dungeons & Dragons: Everything a Player Needs to Create Heroic Characters
for the Worlds Greatest Roleplaying Game. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC,
2014.

Kryssie

May 12, 2019

And now, for something relaxing and fun to think on—welcome to Roll for Thoughts, your Sunday Prompt post. It’s the first one for this blog, so I’m gonna keep this simple.

Forget about Racial Abilities or min-maxing ability scores. Forget keeping the party balanced or whatever role that supposedly needs to be filled. I want you to make your dream character–whether it’s your very first character or your one-hundredth–make a character that’s just fun.

Forget keeping the party balanced or whatever role that supposedly needs to be filled. I want you to make your dream character–whether it’s your very first character or your one-hundredth–make a character that’s just fun.

I’ll even go first! See, my two of my favorite classes are Paladin and Ranger. It’s mainly because it fulfills my need for a nature- or divine-based class without having to rely heavily on magic like Clerics or Druids do. I just think they have a fun mix of magic and martial prowess, even though some class or subclass abilities can be very situational (especially when you have to pick a Ranger’s Favored Terrains when you have a limited idea of where you’ll be traveling half the time).

As for Races, I technically have around four favorites for different reasons:

  • Halflings: They’re short, happy, simple folk who love adventures and stories as much as they love food and family.
  • Aasimars: Celestial-blooded mortals with literal healing hands, and they’re born into a family regardless of their parents’ races? Sign me up!
  • Elves: Seriously though, who doesn’t like elves? They’re basically immortal, ridiculously pretty and their fashion and aesthetics are on point.
  • Firbolgs: A recent favorite that stole me heart very quickly, but they’re basically friendly, reclusive forest giants and I love them.

You can like things just because they look cool, you can like things because they sound interesting; you don’t have to resign yourself to play something different because the class you wanted to play was taken. Play whatever class/race combo you want, just have fun doing it!

Now go flip through those books and databases, and make that dream character!

And that’s it for today’s Roll for Thoughts, I hope I get to hear about the fun race/class combos in the comments! As usual if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or follow me on Twitter–I’d love to hear from you guys.

Have a good day, take care of yourselves, and roll high my friends!

Kryssie

May 10, 2019

Alright guys, time for a Practice Run. This is where we take the race/class combo from Wednesday, and put it together on a character sheet on Friday! So, lets make a Human Fighter! As a side note, this is just an example of what I’d do if I was making this character—feel free to do whatever you want when you’re building your own.

Okay! First, we roll!

You all remember the standard rolls, right? You take 4d6–four six-sided dice–and take away the lowest number. The numbers we got were 14, 18, 15, 13, 13, and 10; a pretty good spread. But remember: Humans get a +1 to all Ability Scores. So now, the scores are: 15, 19, 16, 14, 14, and 11. Now where oh where shall we put them? If we flip back to the Fighter section [pgs. 70-75], we can see that their Saving Throws are Strength and Constitution, so we’ll put the two highest numbers there, while spreading the other numbers around. With that in mind, our array should look something like this:

Abillity NameAbility ScoreAbility Modifier
Strength16+3
Dexterity110
Constitution19+4
Intelligence14+2
Wisdom14+2
Charisma16+3

This is really good for first Level, and the Skills I’m going to give them proficiency in will be Insight and Perception because I think they’ll be really in-tune with how people act and good at noticing things when look around. Now we get to pick a Fighting Style. Hmm… I don’t see this character as a ranged fighting-type, though. They’re looking like more of an up-close-and-personal melee brawler, so I’ll give them Great Weapon Fighting as their Fighting Style—that lets you reroll an attack roll if your initial roll was a 1 or 2, but you have to take the new number regardless of what it is; just make sure the weapon you’re using has either the two-handed or versatile property so you can actually use the Style [pg. 72]. Ah, almost forgot about the Proficiency Bonus! At level 1 it’s at +2 and increases by 1 every couple of levels, and it gets added to every skill and saving throw that you’re proficient in.

What about weapons and armor, you ask? You can either pick from the little equipment section the Fighter class—and every class—gives you, or you can look through weapon and armor tables (pgs. 145 and 149 respectively) to pick what you want. Remember: Fighters can use all armors, simple and martial weapons, and shields so you have access to the entirety of both tables.

Don’t forget to give them stories, either! Name them, give them a family and a hometown, even have them pet every dog they see because they remember a stray puppy that they used to take care of! Numbers and abilities are great, but scribble down bits of their backstory while you’re putting their stats together. You’re gonna have them run around a big ol’ world for an untold number of hours, might as well give them a stake in it too.

And that is a quick guide to make a level 1 Fighter! I would’ve gone to Level 5 but it’s always smart to start with as strong of a foundation as possible. I hope this guide helps and I hope I get to hear about your Fighters in the comments below!

And as usual if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or follow me on Twitter–I’d love to hear from you guys.

Have a good day, take care of yourselves, and roll high my friends!

~*~

Source:  Crawford, Jeremy, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, and Bruce R. Cordell. Players Handbook: Dungeons & Dragons: Everything a Player Needs to Create Heroic Characters for the Worlds Greatest Roleplaying Game. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC, 2014. pgs. 70-75, 145, 149.

Kryssie

May 8, 2019

So… you wanna play a Human.

I can see why. You—the person—reading this, are a human being (if you’re an extraterrestrial or a cryptid reading this though, I don’t judge. Dungeons&Dragons is to be played by all species). You’ve read many years-worth of stories about ordinary men, women, and everyone in between going on fantastic adventures or doing incredible things both awesome and terrible! You want your turn to be a hero in your own story, so buckle in as we breakdown the scrappy and resourceful Humans in 5e D&D.

Page-wise, the Human entry starts on page 29 of the PHB and right off the bat it tells you that Humans are the “Last In-First Outs” of the D&D multiverse. Imagine this: you live in a world saturated with magic and wonders beyond your comprehension, there are races of people and monsters surrounding you that will outlive you for several decades on the low-end and centuries at the high-end. At minimum, you only have about 70-80 years to live; maybe even a whole century if you’re either very lucky or very smart.

What’re you gonna do? What are you going to do in a world where almost everything will either outlive, kill you, or do both in a moment’s notice? You’re gonna live! You’re gonna make a mark on the world in someway before your time is up. You’re gonna show the elves, dwarves, gnomes, dragons, and everything else in this world the power of Human ingenuity and grit!

[Side note: Don’t forget about the little flavor text boxes that sum up how other races feel about the race that’s being featured, they’re fun little things to skim through; it’s a delightful read.]

But what does that translate to in terms of numbers and stats? Here, I’ll show you.

~*~

Humans by the numbers

The Human Traits are broken down as follows [PHB pg. 31]:

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Ability Scores each increase by 1.
  • Age: Humans reach adulthood in their late teens and live less than a century.
  • Alignment: Humans feel no pull to any particular alignment.
  • Size: Average height is between 5-6ft, so Humans count at Medium size.
  • Speed: Humans have a walking speed of 30ft.
  • Language: Humans can read, write, and speak Common along with one other Language of choice.

Ah, there’s also the Variant Human traits that replace that +1 to your Ability Scores. Those are as follows [PHB pg. 31]:

  • Ability Score Increase: Two different Ability Scores of your choice increase by 1.
  • Skills: You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.
  • Feat: You gain one Feat of your choice.

But these only apply if your DM allows it, so run it by them before you implement the Variant traits, okay?

Yeah, yeah I know you can clearly see the different ethnicities in the Human section of the book, but those are mainly for when you’re dealing with campaign settings and premade adventures that are baked into the established DnD lore. If you’re playing a homebrew game—a game with a setting that’s made up by your friends and your DM–you have much more flexibility about these things.

But yeah, that’s the gist of being Human in DnD5e. Now get out there, roll up your sleeves and show those longer-lived races what you’re made of!

~*~

And that’s the end of this first entry of the “So You Wanna Play A ___” race breakdowns. I hope this guide helps you and that you had fun reading it; I know I had fun writing it. As usual if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or follow me on Twitter–I’d love to hear from you guys.

Have a good day, take care of yourselves, and roll high my friends!

~*~

Source:  Crawford, Jeremy, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, and Bruce R. Cordell. Players Handbook: Dungeons & Dragons: Everything a Player Needs to Create Heroic Characters for the Worlds Greatest Roleplaying Game. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC, 2014. pgs. 29-31.

Kryssie

May 8, 2019

Welcome to the first entry to Class Tactics! This is the corner where we’ll be delving into the basics of the character classes of 5th Edition D&D, and I’ll only be touching on abilities up to 5th level and archetypes of each class in the PHB, not the supplemental books.

Whether you’re a fan of fighting at the front, sniping enemies with arrows from the back, or soaking up damage as the party tank, Fifth Edition’s Fighter is a quintessential part of any adventuring party. But there has to be more to it than bashing bad guys, right?

There is more to a Fighter than meets the eye, and in this first Class Tactic post, let’s breakdown this versatile class!

~*~

According to the table at the beginning of the Classes chapter, the Fighter is described as “A master of martial combat, skilled with a variety of weapons and armor” [PHB pg. 45]. The table also explains the following:

  • Hit Die: d10
  • Primary Ability: Strength or Dexterity
  • Saving Throw Proficiencies: Strength and Constitution
  • Armor and Weapon Proficiencies: All armor, shields, simple and martial weapons
  • Skills (choose two from the following): Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, History, Insight, Intimidation, Perception, and Survival.

What this boils down to is that they start out with decent health, they can either be very strong or very nimble, they’re better at shrugging off effects that are at odds with their strength or their health/physical condition, and they have access to all weapons and armor. What else can they possibly do??

We’re gonna find out now, to the Fighter section!!

~*~

The Fighter section proper starts on page 70 and it describes Fighters as well-rounded specialists as trained for danger. This flavor explains that they’re good to have in almost any situation, and they’re suited for most narrative roles:

You need a castle guard? Make a Fighter.

You run into a mercenary traveling on the road? They might be a Fighter.

The fist that’s about to crash into your character’s face if they don’t dodge just in time? Could be from a Fighter.

The PHB also has a small blurb that gives you small narrative ideas to think on when you’re making a character for each class. In this case, it asks you to keep two themes in mind: “Where did you get your combat training, and what set you apart from the mundane warriors around you?” [PHB pg. 71] It’s always good to keep backstory and character beats in mind while you’re rolling up characters in general; maybe you spent time training in that country’s military so your Fighter has precise and drilled-in techniques, maybe you’re a person who got into a lot of fights and tavern brawls in your youth so your style is more loose and scrappy. Speaking of Fighting Styles, that’s the first thing you get to pick at first level!

You’ll get to pick from this list of specialities at first level, but you can’t take an option more than once after you pick: Archery, Defense, Dueling, Great Weapon Fighting, Protection, and Two-Weapon Fighting [PHB pg. 72].

Another fun thing you get right off the bat is the Second Wind ability. As a bonus action, you can roll 1d10–one ten-sided die–plus your Fighter level to regain some of your hit points, but you can’t use it again until you finish a long or short rest [PHB pg. 72]. But once you hit Second- and Third-Level, that’s when it really gets fun.

Second level is when you get access to Action Surge! On your turn, “you can choose to take an additional action on top of your regular action and possible bonus action” [PHB pg. 72]. However, you can only use this again after a short or long rest just like with Second Wind–though if/when you reach level 17 in the class, you can use Action Surge twice before having to regain it during a rest, but only can be used once during a turn. If you thought that was good, then you might want to get comfortable–Third Level is going to be a doozy.

~*~

Alright you guys, time for Archetypes.

Third-level Fighters have the option of choosing from a lot of interesting archetypes to specialize in–archetypes are specializations you can pick from–but since this is all about the Player’s Handbook we’re just going to dive into the three we have on hand: Champion, Battle Master, and Eldritch Knight [PHB pgs. 72-75].

Let’s break them down into the bare bones:

  • Champion: If you want to hit hard and be the best soldier possible, go Champion. At level three, your weapon attacks crit at a natural 19 instead of a natural 20 and at 15th level you crit on a natural roll of 18-20!
  • Battle Master: You treat war and tactics like it’s an academic art. The battlefield is your canvas and you’ll make a masterpiece out of a fight with your Maneuvers and use of Superiority Dice for those Maneuvers. You can even glean certain characteristics about your enemies if you observe them for one minute in-game time.
  • Eldritch Knight: If you have an itch to use magic but you don’t want to commit to multiclassing into a magic-heavy class, Eldritch Knight is for you. You get access to the Abjuration and Evocation schools of magic, you commit spells to memory instead of having a spellbook, and you eventually get to teleport when you use an Action Surge at later levels!

~*~

Aside from the Archetypes, you have access to other abilities alongside the Archetype you picked as you level up:

At 4th, 6th, 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th, 19th levels, you can choose to do one of the following:

  • Increase one (1) ability score by 2*
  • Increase two (2) ability scores by 1*
  • Take a feat if you meet the prerequisites

The feats and ability score increases are applicable to all classes, and if choosing the ability score increases, you can’t bump your scores past 20 using this method.

At 5th level, Fighter is one of the classes that get access to the Extra Attack feature; basically you can choose to attack twice in a turn if you use your action to attack. When you reach 11th level it increases to three, and at 20th level it increases to four.

I could keep rambling on about the specifics of each subclass and how awesome they are, but I’m gonna leave you some tidbits so your imaginations can run wild. I can see it now… shrugging off attacks like it’s nothing, staving off the effects of a poisons and spells by sheer force of will, turning fights into intricate chess matches that you’re fully in control of, channeling spells through your weapon and throwing up magical shields.

Now, imagine if you played it all the way to level 20. You’re basically a powerhouse! The world is your battlefield and you can take anything it can throw at you! Now get out there, get your armor and weapons, and fight like you’ve never fought before!

And that’s the breakdown of D&D5e’s Fighter! I hope this guide helps you and that you had fun reading it; I know I had fun writing it. As usual if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or follow me on Twitter–I’d love to hear from you guys.

Have a good day, take care of yourselves, and roll high my friends!

~*~

Source:  Crawford, Jeremy, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, and Bruce R. Cordell. Players Handbook: Dungeons & Dragons: Everything a Player Needs to Create Heroic Characters for the Worlds Greatest Roleplaying Game. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC, 2014. pgs. 70-75

Kryssie

May 6, 2019

Hey, welcome to Beginner’s Basics! Where I’ll be helping you breakdown bits and pieces of the Player’s Handbook for Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons!

So if you’re reading this, congrats!

You got curious about Dungeons & Dragons and decided to give this a read, and for that I thank you. I hope this is the start of a new hobby, gaining some new friends, stretching your creativity to heights and depths you’ve never imagined, and an ever-growing horde of several hundred dice sets. I know you’re a little nervous; maybe you flipped through the PHB (shorthand for Player’s Handbook) and all the text blocks flew over your head. Or maybe you don’t have a lot of time to sit and comb through every word and need a pocket primer of the basic mechanics.

Here’s a small disclaimer though: I’m not a Dungeon Master/Game Master. I’ll be explaining things from a player’s point of view, and if needed I’ll mention the pages in the PHB as a reference.

But for today’s Beginner Basics, we’ll be covering a few things:

  • What You Need to Play
  • Types of Dice
  • What to Expect While During a Session

Okay ready? Let’s start!

~*~

What You Need to Play

The tools of the trade you, the Player, need for a game of D&D are as follows:

  • A Character Sheet
  • Pencils and Erasers—you’ll be doing A LOT of erasing
  • A Set of Dice
  • The Player’s Handbook (recommended but you can always borrow from another player or your DM)
  • A Notebook (write down everything, you’ll never know if that one bit of information will save the party one day)
  • Friends (You gotta go through Dungeons and fight Dragons with someone, right?)
  • Snacks (Highly recommended and everyone will love you)
Seen here: Player’s Handbook, one (1) pencil, notebook

I also suggest bringing extra pencils or a spare dice set or extra blank character sheets, because maybe someone forgot theirs that day—it’s always good to have spares of things anyway. Try using this as a checklist before you leave for your session that day if you’d like; I’ve forgotten my share of things so lists never hurt.

I’ll be breaking down the Character Sheet itself at a later date, but for now let’s go over the items that will be dictating your fate as you play: the DICE!

~*~

Dice Sets

From left-to-right: d20, d12, d10, d10 (percentile), d6, d8, d4

Don’t dive into the displays of multicolored little boxes of dice… yet. These little bits of plastic or metal will be responsible for may unexpected moments during your game. You’re literally taking your fate in your hands with every roll—some will be better than others, so set aside a small container as a “dice jail” for the particularly bad dice. Maybe I’ll talk about dice superstitions later, but now, lets breakdown the dice you’ll be dealing with.

The d20:                     

  • This is the die you’ll be used the most, and the one who’ll be tossed into the dice jail after a couple low rolls. You’ll be using this die for your Ability Checks, Attack Rolls, Spell Attacks, Saving Throws, etc. This die dictates mainly whether you pass or fail an attempted action, so be sure to treat it well, okay?

The d12, d10, d8:

  • These dice are often used for damage rolls when you’ve rolled a successful melee attack, spell attack or ranged attack. Once you get to higher levels, more often than not multiples of these dice can and will be used to roll so ask your party members to borrow theirs if you don’t have extras.
  • They’re also Hit Dice for the following classes [PHB pg. 45]:
    • D12 Hit Die: Barbarian
    • D10 Hit Die: Fighter, Paladin, Ranger
    • D8 Hit Die: Bard, Cleric, Druid, Rogue, Warlock

The d10/percentile dice:

d10/d10 [percentile]
  • The percentile dice are usually used to roll for things that have a percent chance attached to them, usually it’s a table involving loot or spell effects.

The d6:

d6
  • While the d6 is also used as a Hit Die for a few Classes—Sorcerer and Wizard [PHB PG. 45]—they are also used to roll your stats at first level. The widely used method for this is to roll 4d6, four six-sided dice, and take away the lowest number [PHB pgs. 12-13]. As an example: I rolled a five, a six, a three and another 6. I discard the three and I use the total [17] as any of my six Ability Scores.

The d4:

d4
  • Used for spell effects, and weapon damage for a few weapons. They also make deceptively good caltrops so be careful if you spill them on the floor and you have bare feet; they will hurt.

Now for the last bit: What to Expect During a D&D Session

~*~

What to Expect During a D&D Session

               Notice how I didn’t specify your first session. It’s because—at least in my case—sessions usually start the same: you usually get introduced to other players if there’s a new player joining, there’s idle chit-chat and everyone’s setting themselves up or helping peoples set up, and then when the DM starts recapping or doing the first exposition of the campaign it’s usually when the adventure starts.

What you should expect is some or all of the following:

  • Lots of dice rolling
  • Potential excitement or groans depending on the dice roll
  • Scribbling on paper when you think the DM says something important,
  • Memes, lots of memes and dumb jokes
  • Food being passed around or offered if it’s leftovers
  • Pages being flipped or books being passed
  • Fun, plain old fun.

Whether if it’s two hours or five hours, the main expectation you should have is to have fun. If it’s your first time playing, then go in with an open mind. The key is focusing on having fun, and pretending to be someone else for a couple hours. You’ll be telling a collective story with the people sitting at your table for several hours a month, ideally, I hope you start to see those people as friends—maybe not right away, but eventually.

~*~

Alright, I’ve droned on long enough, so I’ll leave you with this as a final takeaway.

All of this info is good to know, but the most important thing you need to bring with you to the table is this: You.

It even says so in the PHB, right in the Preface:

“Above all else, D&D is yours. The friendships you make around the table will be unique to you. The adventures you embark on, the characters you create, the memories you make—these will be yours. D&D is your personal corner of the universe, a place where you have free reign to do as you wish.”


Mike Merls, “Preface”, Player’s Handbook pg. 4

You’re bringing your thoughts, your feelings, your story. You’re going to be adding something new to a world where literally anything can happen. All I ask is that you be present in it, and have fun.

~*~

And that’s all for today’s Beginner’s Basics! I hope you had a fun time reading this and that it helped you a little bit. If you have any comments or other questions, or if you want to tell me how I did, just leave me a comment below; I’d love to hear what you think!

Have  good day, take care of yourselves, and roll high my friends!

Source:  Crawford, Jeremy, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, and Bruce R. Cordell. Players Handbook: Dungeons & Dragons: Everything a Player Needs to Create Heroic Characters for the Worlds Greatest Roleplaying Game. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast LLC, 2014.