25
votes
7answers
5k views

How do I use Passive Perception to have some characters notice parts of the environment?

I'm new to DM'ing and have an issue I'm not sure how to deal with. The situation is this: It's pitch black outside and the PC is walking, with a lantern in hand, toward a building. A bird is ...
22
votes
6answers
525 views

Techniques for communicating setting and campaign information to the PCs?

In the past, I've almost always had at least one NPC that would travel with the characters as a type of "lore master" to expand on the story. I've tried to make the character witty and, once the ...
21
votes
10answers
2k views

What defines the “old school renaissance”?

I'm aware that the old school renaissance (OSR) is all about hearkening back to old versions of D&D and the play styles of the 70's and 80's, but what characteristics really define this movement? ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

Covertly casting a spell

This question about Charm Person got me musing about a problem with the spell. Obviously, you can't cast Charm Person in the middle of a forum to sway an interlocutor to your side without the other 20 ...
17
votes
4answers
484 views

Must a situation's obvious characteristics be explicitly made into aspects?

I've never played Fate before and am learning from Fate Accelerated Edition with occasional reference to Fate Core. For the most part, it has been straightforward. On the other hand, I am somewhat ...
15
votes
13answers
8k views

How to mitigate glass cannon syndrome in Pathfinder?

This is the more gamey part of my other question, What to do when your character is just too good? In D&D 3.5e and Pathfinder, damage output grows very, very quickly. Much more quickly than hit ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

How much experience should a PC be worth?

Long story short, I'm about to betray my party (by trying to kill them). I'm playing this betrayer on behalf of the GM. Assuming they defeat me, how much experience should they get? I am a level 14 ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Animate Objects vs Animate Dead - is there anything stopping the Good-aligned 'Necromancer'?

Is there anything stopping you using Animate Objects, with or without Permanency, to affect a bunch of corpses? If so, what? And would that qualify as an Evil, Chaotic, or Neutral act? Have you ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

How do I calculate my probability of success in Vampire the Masquerade?

How can I calculate my chance of success given my ability + skill vs a difficulty? How is this complicated when the difficulty is rolled as well?
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Attacks of Opportunity while holding a reach and a non-reach weapon

If I wield a Whip in one hand and say a dagger in the other. When does someone provoke attacks of opportunity from me? If someone moves from 5ft to 10ft he has technically moved out of my reach ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Burrowing, Large Creatures, Opportunity Attacks, Drowning, and Z-Axis Movement [closed]

In our D&D 4th Edition campaign, the players have recently encounter Bulettes, monsters with the Burrow movement mode, and we had a few issues dealing with their movement. Monster Manual 1 states: ...
9
votes
1answer
985 views

Is it possible to use rules from OGL or GSL in a computer game?

I'm experimenting with making an RPG game for mobile phones, and I could save some time if I used an established system for stats and combat etc. From a quick read of the licenses I'm not sure whether ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

Where does the D&D concept of a dwarf come from?

Where does the modern D&D of a dwarf come from? I've noticed it's fairly far from the old Germanic concept of a dwarf. Where did Gary Gygax and company get the idea for the current long bearded, ...
16
votes
8answers
4k views

How to deal with rope trick in particular circumstance

Foreword: As it's my first post here, I can't insert more than a couple of links, so you'll have to find information on some of these feats and spells yourself on d20srd. The Question: Let's say in ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

How do you rule halfling tossing as a combat action?

The party I am GMing has three characters over 6' tall with 20+ strength as well as a halfling and a kobold, both small and about 3' tall. A couple of times, they have wanted the big characters to ...
13
votes
3answers
557 views

Do PCs retain memories of undeath once resurrected?

If an NPC has been turned undead and later destroyed/resurrected, do they retain the memory of being undead? Specifically the actions they took part in against the PCs? But also any details to the ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I decrease the difficulty of a scene on the fly?

I was a DM for the first time yesterday. It was a lot of fun, and all things considered, I think I've made a pretty darn good first session. It was, however, too difficult. I've based the various ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

Is casting the spell Blood Transcription an evil act?

A player of mine in a recent game of Pathfinder was playing a Lawful Neutral Magus and was about to drink blood from a fallen spellcaster to get his prepared spells for the day by using the spell ...
12
votes
3answers
9k views

Can a Rogue (D&D 3.5) use sneak attack on both the first and second attack?

I know this seems like a question you can simply Google but the answers vary and my clan is under the impression that I can only use it on my first attack (once per round) and not on my second attack. ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do some classes mention the same skill in both Trained and Class skills?

Consider this example from the Rogue class traits: Trained Skills: Stealth and Thievery. From the class skills list below, choose four more trained skills at 1st level. ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Is there a reason to ignore/adjust the Wealth By Level chart?

While reading this Cohort Question I was kinda struck by a quote in there and instead of asking an unrelated question in that area I figured it would be good to make a separate question. The quote ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

What is Exalted Paranoia Combat?

Having spent some time reading, and occasionally posting on, the official Exalted forum, I've come across a number of people talking about "paranoia combat" What does this mean? They also generally ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

What does increased caster level affect?

A orange ioun stone adds +1 caster level, what does this affect? Damage from spells? (Like fireball) Duration and area of effect? "Amount" of effect (Like number of missiles from magic missile) ...
8
votes
2answers
479 views

How much, and what kind of, advance planning is appropriate for a sandbox campaign?

New GM attemping to get ideas for a campaign down something similar to a tabletop fallout game. How much info is too much info for general prep? Can there ever be too much? Or is there a general ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Can a Psion become a Thrallherd, then drop Diplomacy with Psychic Reformation?

I have a Psion(Egoist)/Thrallherd with Psychic Reformation. I'm wondering whether I can use Psychic Reformation to drop the points in Diplomacy and the Inquisitor feat, and reassign the points to ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

How compatible are D&D 4th Edition and Essentials? Can you use Essentials encounters with 4th edition characters?

I've seen posts about how (un)convertable D&D Essentials characters are to 4th edition. This is a question about monsters/encounters/adventures. People have been raving about the Essentials ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “+6 to hit, Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4)” mean in a creature's stat block?

My friends and I are very new to D&D, played like 3 times. In a monster's stats next to weapon damage it says stuff like "+11 to hit" and "Hit: 5 (1d8+1)". For the premade characters it just says ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Does Pathfinder significantly fix known problems with the Monk class?

As a somewhat follow up to this question re. unarmed strike, I'm wondering: Does Pathfinder significantly fix the monk class (this, and other potential well known class issues)? Specifically *: ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

How to roll perception checks for characters who aren't actively looking?

This applies to all d20 systems, but with an example from the from the Pathfinder PRD (emphasis mine): Stonecunning: Dwarves receive a +2 bonus on Perception checks to potentially notice unusual ...
5
votes
3answers
402 views

Is there any good place on the internet that hosts monster playtests?

I've been a DM for a while for 3.5. I've run many NPC characters, however only a small fraction of monsters out of the books (comparatively). Also, I like to use templates liberally as well as advance ...
42
votes
13answers
12k views

Is a fumble on a natural 1 an official rule?

I am currently a player in a D&D 3.5 game where rolling a 1 on any attack roll is not only an automatic miss, but also means that something "bad" happens – such as dropping your sword, falling ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Do Cantrips use your character level or class level?

Cantrips seem to be the only type of spell that cares about your level. However, in the multiclassing section they are not mentioned, does this mean, that cantrips use your character level, instead of ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a Specialist Wizard multiclass to cast spells from his prohibited schools?

I've had DMs rule both ways on this..I haven't seen any official RAWs on this so I was hoping someone here could point me in the right direction? If a Wizard specializes (giving him 1-2 prohibited ...
11
votes
2answers
363 views

What are the commonly accepted definitions of reskinning and refluffing?

I have come across this comment that seems to say there is a globally accepted definition of reskinning and refluffing and that it's not the same thing (I thought it was). What are the commonly ...
10
votes
2answers
654 views

Can a Half-Dragon's alignment change from their dragon's alignment type?

Is it possible for a Half-Dragon's alignment to change from their dragon's alignment type? For example, if a blue Half-Dragon (Lawful Evil) had an alignment-affecting spell cast on them, or was bitten ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Does a falling creature provoke Opportunity Attacks on the way down?

I'm in a D&D4e game right now, and in the current combat there are some flying creatures which may soon be knocked prone by PC #1. As part of being knocked prone, a flying creature falls to the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a Druid/Monk make unarmed strikes while Wild Shaped?

Can a Druid who is Wild Shaped perform Unarmed Strikes?
8
votes
1answer
264 views

When does a power count as an attack?

I thought it was pretty simple: a power's an attack if it says Attack in the top right. Apparently, it's not that simple. I keep hearing there are other conditions a power must fulfil to count ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Can a martial character combine a lesser style with greater style, arena training, or other at-will modifying feat?

What level of stacking is possible with at-will modifying feats? Take, for example, the fighter power: "Cleave" At-Will Martial, Weapon Standard Action Melee weapon Targets: ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What happens after I grapple as Attack of Opportunity?

Assume that my character has Improved Unarmed Strike (to threaten squares nearby) and Improved Grapple (to prevent getting AoOs from grappling). Now, an enemy provokes attack of opportunity. Rules of ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I read the Attack line on power cards in D&D 4e?

I've just recently started playing D&D 4e through the Red Box, and I am confused about how to fill in the power cards. So, take Nimbus of Holy Shielding for instance. I understand the Target and ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Multiclassing: How do Ability Score Improvements work?

Given that every class gets a minimum of 5 ability score improvements each at levels 4, 8, 12, 16, and 19 (Rogue and Fighter get more at other levels), do these ability score improvements occur by ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

If my Initiator Level is high enough, can I take Stances of a level higher than 1st when I take my first level in a martial adept class?

Usually, a martial adept’s Initiator Level is equal to his class level, plus his class level in any maneuver-granting Prestige Classes, plus half his level in all other classes. This means a ...
4
votes
2answers
666 views

How do the Planar Shepherd's features interact with the Outlands?

I have recently read up on the Planar Shepherd, and I have a few questions about it regarding its interaction with the Outlands. And while I know the Planar Shepherd is in an Eberron book, and as such ...
4
votes
1answer
253 views

Where do I go from the Red box?

Me and my group just finished the essentials red box, and are looking at moving to the full 4e game. I'm doing some preliminary reading of the books and one thing is confusing me a little. The ...
3
votes
1answer
7k views

How do multiple attacks with natural weapons work?

I'm planning a character that has 2 claw attacks and a tail attack as natural weapons, but now I'm a little confused about the mechanics of using them all. Can both claws be used at once as a ...
42
votes
7answers
1k views

What is a good way to become a better NPC/monster actor?

One of the biggest problems I have as Game Master, (going on 30+yrs) is in portraying NPC and Monsters in any RPG. Is there a good resource for becoming a better 'actor'? Instead of just saying... ...
55
votes
7answers
8k views

How can I effectively drop clues of corruption in my campaigns?

In many games I GM, corruption plays a big role. Either in my fantasy games with a church with a firm hand on the king or dystopian future like Shadowrun. Almost every time in my games, corruption is ...
17
votes
11answers
36k views

What's the best software for mapmaking? [closed]

I use paint.net and paint shop pro to create fantasy cartography. Is there any better software, and why?
63
votes
21answers
13k views

How to deal with player MacGyver-ism?

Role playing is an excellent hobby to train your problem solving skills. You learn to look at situations from different view points (i.e. the characters) and you have various skills and resources at ...

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