166

You need not change anything about the default setting in order to have people "left out" of the benefits of clerical magic. I don't think that clerical spellcasting is as easy to come by as you make it out to be. In other words: you can easily have your harsh and gritty world. In what follows I'll always lean toward the more-utopian interpretation ...


76

It’s all about Agency As long as the party is independent to choose their path, and their actions remain relevant, having mighty NPC’s involved won’t detract from the game. NPC’s that are already in conflict have a great excuse for not “doing the thing.” Suppose the mighty NPC heroes need to recover an item from the Chapel of Nice Things, but the evil dragon ...


59

Combine the Necrotic Cyst line of spells with Hindsight. Investing in items of necrotic cyst, necrotic scrying, and one or two hideously expensive polished steel and diamond blocks (nothing breakable, mind you) of hindsight would make any rather evil but almost annoyingly hard to corrupt police force proud. Start up your reign of spying with listening ...


58

It's ok if it's ok with you. But from your question I'd say you are not 100% cool with it. D&D, like many RPGs, boils down to a conversation between the DM/GM/Narrator and the player(s). The DM describes the scenario. The player describes what his character does. (Possibly dice are rolled) The DM describs the results, how the scenario is changed. This ...


55

First of all: Welcome to DMing! It can be super fun and rewarding, and I hope you enjoy it. One of the things that most DMs learn when they're playing a game that works like 5e is that you don't always have to follow the rules. If it would improve your game, you can totally rewrite or ignore parts of the rules. This is usually referred to as Rule 0, and ...


54

DMs are allowed to have fun And he doesn't see how making the game "enjoyable for him" should be such a hassle for me. It's completely poisoning the game for me, I don't even want to judge it anymore. You have to tell him that and please do not beat about the bush. He needs to have that truth given to him: his behavior has already ruined one game (...


49

Only the following elements in the core rulebooks use the Astral Plane While it's impossible to list every possible Astral Plane interaction in D&D, the list of things in the three core rulebooks which rely on the Astral Plane is actually very limited. The following spells, items or abilities allow travel to the Astral Plane, and will not have that ...


42

You don't need to change anything As far as the rules are concerned, the alignment of NPCs is under the complete control of the DM. In the DM basic rules, page 3 under alignment, we are told (similar rules can be found in the monster manual): The alignment specified in a monster’s stat block is the default. Feel free to depart from it and change a monster’s ...


41

True Clerics are rare The Player's Handbook points out that not all a deity's clergy are "clerics" who have magical healing powers. Not every acolyte or officiant at a temple or shrine is a cleric...True clerics are rare in most hierarchies. (Divine Agents, PH, p. 56) "Magic and strength of arms" (also PH 56) are not available to every devotee of a ...


41

Sending is expensive and has certain limitations The question already notes the primary drawback to sending, which is that it is expensive. The Adventurers League Tyranny of Dragons Player's Guide suggests a price of 90 gp, more than a year's wage for an unskilled worker. As per PHB p.159, a messenger costs only 2cp per mile. However, in your case, sending ...


34

The Ranger can take care of the food The goodberry spell, cast once per day, will provide at least enough food for your party. That means that the Ranger has to have chosen that spell, and burns one each day to keep the party fed. There is an opportunity cost to this: at second level, that's one of two spell slots per day that a Ranger has to use for that ...


33

TL&DR: So I'm asking, is this appropriate to disallow this? TL&DR: Yes, it is appropriate to disallow them creating things ex nihilo in the game world. You are the DM, you run the world. D&D is a cooperative story telling effort; the DM and the players have different roles. Ultimately, the Dungeon Master is the authority on the campaign ...


33

I believe the answer would be no, and here's why: I firmly agree with the statement "No major crime committed would go unpunished." Major crimes being public manslaughter, openly aggressive acts of vandalism/robbery, kidnappings, or the like. This is due to two factors. 1: Most persons capable of committing these crimes would likely realize who and what ...


30

Add brief lore based descriptions to many objects, not just books. Lots of hand crafted objects should have references to the lore of the world. Subtle examples include: Symbols of deities, makers marks of a famous smiths, allusions to heroes or kings of the realm, etc. Keep it simple Providing brief summaries makes information tractable and trackable. ...


30

The people are not afraid... or at least not afraid of the necromancers. So you have necromancers keeping order. Cool. They probably have skeleton guards or something. You have a bunch of refugees who are afraid of criminal scum, but not afraid of the necromancers. So lean into that. Like, when the adventurers walk into town, there's a few skeletons on ...


28

That player, from your description, is either a small child or shows the behaviour of one. As such, reason is useless. Regarding the major NPC of his favorite character, I would have tried one and only one argument: "Look, here's the thing: That's a pretty cool character, that's why I keep him out of the game. Because like in a chess game, once he is on the ...


27

You aren't limited by existing mechanics when worldbuilding That's the joy of worldbuilding, the world you build is the world you build. You can explain it narratively however you like and the world just is. However, what you may be looking at mechanically is an enormous antimagic field (PHB, 213) in terms of what happens when they try and utilize magic in ...


26

In fifth edition, the description of liches does indeed suggest that they are specifically wizards. But... well... fifth edition has said a lot of really dumb things, in my opinion, on the subject of liches. Requiring a major artifact in The Book of Vile Darkness, forcing archdevils or demon princes to be involved in each individual lich is ridiculous, and ...


25

My background: I've run some adventures using insanity themes. I once had a character who used insanity-magic and was about to go insane, when his player decided the campaign was too dark for him and stopped showing up at my table. I once had a character who used insanity-magic and went insane on purpose because he wanted to kill the party and destroy the ...


24

You have gnolls working with goblins, kobolds, and ogres. Does the party perhaps have a human, elf, dwarf, and gnome? Because that’s exactly the same level of variety. I’m serious, it can help to think of things in those terms: the “bad guys” can be just as cooperative as the “good guys.” There’s nothing wrong with this at all. Best is if there is a good ...


24

A lich is usually a wizard, but practically always a spellcaster. Firstly, a DM can always invent or change elements in their own campaign. Perhaps a wizard's treacherous servant interrupted their lichdom ritual and stole the power for themselves. However, a lich is defined as a wizard in the D&D 5e Monster Manual, and while the D&D 4e and 3.5 ...


23

Some common “spider” tropes to consider, based on various attributes of spiders; many of these can be played up and portrayed in a positive light. Web Weaving Probably the most noted characteristic of spiders is their (mostly) unique ability to spin webs. Spider silk is tremendously strong for its weight (to the point that modern attempts have been made to ...


23

Historically, medieval peasants had very limited academic knowledge Education was largely viewed as a matter of necessity (or lack thereof) - people learned only what they needed to in order to go about their lives, and no more. Farmers and many types of craftsmen were often not literate, as they did not need to be. Most people understood some level of math,...


23

You don't need any humans. Rings of Sustenance are dirt cheap at 2500 gp. If you've got the resources to build a human farm, then this cost is trivial. In fact, it might be trivial anyway: 2500 gp is below the Wealth By Level for a 3rd level character and even a basic CR 8 Monster Manual Mind Flayer should be well past that point. Even if this character's ...


22

Yes, the name/class/level relationship was originally an in-game term depicting a level of power and social status. Some in-game effects of this were the limitations on level advancement for AD&D(1e) Monks and Druids (details below), or prohibitions against Assassins (Blackmoor) having followers. Originally, the Name Level threshold opened up new ...


22

This is a common misconception that founders on the shores of how real life works. There's Not Enough Healers 5e doesn't have any metrics on the distribution of leveled individuals. 3e/3.5e did (Chapter 5 of the 3.5e DMG, p.103), and there's not a lot of reason that would have changed, for the sake of argument let's use them. A 200-person hamlet would ...


21

From the very beginning of the DMG: The DM creates a world for the other players to explore,[...] As a storyteller, the DM helps the other players visualize what's happening around them... One of the roles of the DM is to describe what PCs see (or, more generally, perceive). This is an important aspect of your role and it has to be clarified from the ...


21

Ask for a travel-friendly backstory I actually just kicked off a campaign where a requirement was that my players' backstories revolve around the idea that they were being chased in some way. The idea was that they had got so desperate to escape their past that they were willing to make a deal with a god, and that deal and its fallout is the actual plot. One ...


21

Availability of magic If your setting is a High Magic setting (see pages 38-41 in the Dungeon Master's Guide for more on "Flavors of Fantasy"), this might not apply so much, but in settings where magic is not quite as common, not everyone has access to a spellcaster who can cast sending, so then more people have to rely on more mundane ways of ...


19

Use aspects that relate to the backstory rather that direct references to the backstory I find that backstories are generally driven by events, personal trauma, people and objects. What you need is to push some aspect of these to the place they're visiting that each character can relate to or can use to resolve some aspect of their back story that moves/...


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