The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 5

A post about dice.

This is in my opinion one of the more stupid questions of this challenge so do not expect to find a serious answer below.

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Favorite Die or Dice

Let’s just start with saying I do not really have a favorite die. I do have a lot of them (according to some of my players even a bit too much).

Most of my dice are very simple with not much decoration on them, I don’t need them to be pretty I need them to be functional and quick to read.

Some of my players have these heavily decorated dice and I admit they look nice but it has happened to much I ask them to roll they say I have a 7 + mods, they succeed their roll and when I’m halfway explaining what happens they suddenly realize they rolled a 1.

There is not a die I prefer rolling. The d20 is obviously my most used tool but all the ones except for the standard d6 I like to use. When you pick those up you are not playing monopoly anymore, you are playing an RPG.

If I do have to choose a favorite die it would be the d4. To me that’s the most strange one that I had to figure out how to read. And you have 2 different kinds of them, one with the number on top and one on the bottom.

To add to their awesomeness you can throw them on the ground as caltrops when you need to make a quick escape.

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The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 4

My favorite setting, Collabris.

We all know Dungeons and Dragons is a great game. You know what can make your game even better? An awesome fantasy world to play in. The worlds I have played in are Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms, my own homebrew and Collabris (with a lot of my own stuff in it).

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Favorite Game World

For me it was a hard choice between Ravenloft and Collabris. Ravenloft has this great feeling of dread and horror which I really enjoyed when I was DM’ing it. But the first place will go to Collabris.

Collabris is a world created by Matt Colville and his community. There runs a big mountain range right through the continent dividing the world in two sides.

There are multiple countries, and places that all create some great tension. Almost all places are detailed but only in a few sentences so it’s so easy to adapt and do your own things with it. Combined with the PC’s background stories we are having an awesome time playing this world.

Broken Spine pre timeskip

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 3

My favorite class is Paladin and it should be yours too!

After talking about favorite race it was inevitable that favorite class had to be discussed. Enjoy!

dd-30-day-challengeFavorite Player Character Class

I find it really hard to choose a favorite class I honestly enjoy them all. Often if I need to roll up a character I just roll a d12 to decide what to play. But there is one class I really love.

Paladin

Knights in shining armor, devoted to do the right thing. In my eyes this class comes the closest to being a real hero and for me Dungeons and Dragons is all about being hero’s.

They will stand against evil and against all odds they will succeed and make the world a better place, they are just freaking awesome.

If feel a lot of people think that to play a paladin you need to be Mr. Lawful Good, never do anything wrong or fun. That is just plainly wrong, there is so much room for nuance. In early editions you had to be LG but 5E has thrown that out of the window, for the better I think. Look at any superhero movie (or awesome anime like boku no hero) they all want to do the right thing but all have different reasons and motivations.

Paladins are great and we should all play them a bit more often!

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Art by Josh Corpuz

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 2

What is my favorite D&D race?

Day 2 of the Dungeons and Dragons 30 day challenge. This one will be a short one.

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Favorite Player Character Race

Spoiler alert, its human. But why? It’s because I’m a human and in my experience we can be rather great sometimes.

For me playing a human comes easiest. I don’t know what it feels like to be a Dragonborn, a Tiefling or Dwarf. But with humans I at least have part of an idea how they are supposed to feel and live.

An other reason is that there are less prejudices with humans. Dwarfs need to be sturdy and drink beer. Elves are fancy and sophisticated. Humans are just everything, we have the potential to be the worst or the best and that is why I love to play them!

Cheers!

The D&D 30 Day Challenge: Day 1

Day 1 of the D&D challenge. How I started the hobby.

I have decided that during September I’ll be doing the D&D 30 day challenge. These will be small post about me and the game, enjoy.

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How you got started

Watching the game

On January 28 a YouTube channel called Node uploaded a video. D&D 5th Ed – Call of the Wild Ep.1 – Beast Within. In Belgium D&D doesn’t have a big following but I’ve heard of it via tv-shows. So the episode peeked my interest and I started watching my first RPG game.

I was hooked! Immediately after I wanted more. I searched on Youtube and eventually I found Rollplay. They had more then 100 episodes of playing D&D and for a few months that was all the D&D I got.

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Finally playing

After a few months of watching (and sometimes binging) I decided it was to to finally play the game myself. I went to reddit/r/lfg and made a post requesting a game. I did’t take long until I found someone who would be my DM. A guy from the Netherlands who wanted to run a 1 on 1 campaign. Happy I could play I agreed to it.

I had a fun session but two days later he messaged me saying he didn’t want to be a dungeon master anymore and that I should do it.

The next week we started playing Hoard of the Dragon Queen with me as the DM. Since that moment I haven’t stopped DM’ing. That campaign only lasted a few sessions since the guy who made me run the game was a rather toxic player and I had to look for a new group.

But that’s the small story of how I started D&D (and DM’ing)

 

 

Updates and stuff

What I’ve been up to and plans for the future.

Hi all,

I’m writing this post as a small update to what I’ve been doing and what’s going to happen in the coming weeks. Recently I took a trip to Amsterdam to play and DM DnD for a whole day, I also got a chance to play test my first adventure (it went great). I’m also going to use this opportunity to talk about the Campaign Diary and Encounter Compendium.

So lets start with the beginning the trip to Amsterdam. We did two one-shots, one by one of my players who wanted to try DM’ing for the first time and the play test game by me.

One-shot

The one-shot was a lot of fun. We played a low-level adventure about wolves who suddenly were a lot smarter, and could even talk. They were terrorizing a local town and we had to save them.

I played a giant fat sad violinist who had a big interest in magic, food and exploration (he was going to be the main NPC in my one-shot later that day).

The adventure itself was straight forward. Save some shepherds, find out whats up, more wolves and a boss fight. I did think the encounters itself were a bit to strong for our party. In one of the earlier encounters my character died. Because the DM felt guilty and wanted me to be able to play the final of the adventure he said he that after combat I regained consciousness. He should not have done that in my opinion, I would have been perfectly fine watching the last part. Now dying in the game had no more meaning (I might write a post about this in the future).

The boss fight was heavy. We failed our stealth when we were scouting the wolves den and so we had to fight the encounter in front of the den and the boss fight at once. To add to our misery one of the wolves could breath fire. In the end half the party died again, this time for good. The two survivors made a deal with the wolves to leave them alone if they stop killing sheep and that was how the adventure ended. It was fun and our first time DM did a good job.

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Play test

After a pizza break it was my turn to shine. As some as you guys might now, I’m in the progress of making my first DnD adventure for the DM’s guild so it was a perfect opportunity to do a play test.

The summary of the adventure is the following: A fat wizard has shrunken some creatures and put them in his body to help him with some of his physical problems. After a few months he becomes weaker everyday, with his stomach feels stingy, he gets constant migraine attacks, and does sudden strange jerky movements with his arms. He also just feels a lot weaker than he should. To solve this he called upon the hero’s. He shrinks them as well and they have to kill the stuff inside his body that’s tormenting him.

I’m not going to reveal to much of the adventure today but it is a silly adventure. The wizard is in a hurry and if the players don’t stop him to ask questions they get shrunken and have no clue what to do inside of his body.

There are three encounters to solve. Not all can be solved with combat. And afterwards they find out they need to escape the wizards body to get back to normal size.

The adventure itself was a lot of fun, and honestly one of the more amusing sessions I’ve ever ran. For my group tho it fell a bit short, only 2,5 hours. I might need to put some extra stuff in before the next play test. But I guess if you put this into an ongoing campaign it can take a bit longer. It’s a one-shot for a party of level 8 so if ran with newer player it will probably also take a bit longer.

I don’t feel like adding stuff for the sake of it so perhaps I just keep it the way it is.

Current series on my blog

So for the small duration of my blog I’ve been posting focusing on two types of post. Campaign Diary and Encounter Compendium. I must admit I’m starting to have doubts about the formula of the diary. I don’t think it has a lot of value to outsiders so in the future the formula will change a bit. It will take 3-4 more post to catch up on the campaign and after that I want to change to focus more to lessons I learned running the game. So you’ll still have a story but DM’s might as well get some nice advice from it.

The Encounter compendium I really enjoy writing and it had been received well in the small community that I’m building. They take some research and time to write but more will follow soon. I might use social media to decide what monsters follow next.

So whats next?

For the coming two weeks focus will be on school. Reexamination are here and they take priority during that time. So I expect I won’t be able to make a lot of post. During this time there won’t be a new Encounter Compendium. I am going to try to finish a Campaign Diary post.

After that post will be back to regular schedule. Monday a campaign Diary, every other Friday an Encounter Compendium. I’ll also try to post some opinion/advice/reviews in the future on random days or in weeks without an encounter post.

The goal of my DM’s guild adventure is to have a finished product by the end of September. It will be named “The Inside Job”

So now you are up to date with the Backfip Dungeon.

Have a nice day

DrBackflip

Basilisk: A Stone Cold Killer

Basilisks, what are they and how to use them in your DnD game.

“All who behold its eyes, fall dead upon the spot”- Pliny the Elder’s Natural History

basiliskBasilisk from 5e Monster Manual

Looks and behavior

Eight thick legs, a strong tail, a back full of spikes. Most of them have colors between the grey and orange range but other colors of the rainbow have been spotted as well. These monstrosities have a jaw strong enough to bite through stone and bones.

On average they are around 12 feet (3.5 meter) long. But their most notable feature are the eyes. Glowing with a pale green light it could be the last thing a person sees before he’s turned to stone?

The basilisk is a clumsy but cunning monster using underground caves, overgrown forests or just the desert sand to hide itself. When a prey comes close enough he relies on his powerful magical gaze, sometimes it even hisses to draw adventures towards him. By instinct they will avoid creatures without eyes or with a high magical power.

Basilisks are not highly social creatures, typically gathering only in small groups of three to five adults sharing a cave. Adult males are typically solitary hunters and opt to instead dig a burrow large enough for themselves and a potential mate. Larger colonies are not unheard of, and if conditions permit large broods in excess of 20+ adults can inhabit large cave systems.

Basilisks Variants

water_wraith_by_brynnmetheney-d5mmjewBasilisk by Brynn Metheney

Swamp Basilisk

Smaller and more agile in build than their common cousins. These creatures are slightly weaker and may be found in swamps, marshes, or river deltas. Their gaze paralyzes prey rather than petrify, and they drag their prey below water to drown the helpless victim.

Desert Basilisk

Known locally as “Sand Fangs”, this rare subspecies that has a radically different diet. It lies in ambush under the desert sands where it emerges to ambush prey with its gaze. It then sucks the fluids from the victim’s rocky body using two special fangs on its upper jaw. Once drained of fluids the corpse then breaks down into sand.

Crimson Basilisk

Crimson basilisk are subterranean carnivores with a voracious appetite that is only whetted when they get the thing they desire most, blood. They have an even more horrifying way of killing their prey. Instead of turning them into stone they start bleeding from the eyes, ear, nose and mouth. Once they smell blood they go into a frenzy, the only thing on their mind is kill kill kill.

Players toolkit

Adventurers that are looking for a new pet might find the basilisk interesting. Intelligence wise they are about the same as a dog. The only downside is their aggressive temper which makes them almost impossible to train. Instead of capturing an adult one they are better of looking for a basilisk egg and start training them as soon as they hatch.

When you are lucky enough to survive a basilisk fight you are well of collection their eyes, hide, bone and fangs since they are believed to hold magical powers useful for potent petrification magic and can fetch a high price if you fight a buyer.

Dungeon masters toolkit

Low Tier (levels 1-4):

A local wizard/alchemist is looking for a set of basilisk eyes to brew a powerful potion. He is offering a fine reward and rumors say there are some basilisk roaming in the cave system in the south.

For a low tier party a basilisk can be a deadly foe. By knowing what they are looking for they can prepare themselves. If they don’t, well then they deserve to die.

Mid Tier (levels 5-10):

As the party is plowing through the mushy swamp, the 2 player with the lowest constitution hear a “Kssst” sound. If they look up they need to make a constitution saving throw against the basilisks paralyzing gaze. Roll for initiative.

For this encounter I used the swamp variant. You can always change the environment. Use normal ones in caves. Desert ones in… the desert. What makes it a bit more fun in the swamp is that they get dragged under water and if you are wearing heavy armor it can be hard to get out without help. Depending on how hard you want to make it for your players and how many of them got stunned you can add an extra basilisk in the second round.

High Tier (levels 11-16):

Recently a blind monk has appeared in town. He offers a map to a dragons lair if a hero can defeat him and his two basilisks. So far four challengers have been turned to stone and crushed by his strong fists.

For the monk you can use the martial arts adept from Volo’s guide or make a lvl 10 monk. If the PC is turned to stone the monk will smash his statue so he can’t be restored. The monk is not lying about the map. His monastery has been destroyed by a powerful dragon and he seeks allies to reclaim his mountain temple.

Most parties have at least one fighter who loves to duel, so this is an interesting option for those.

Epic Tier (levels 17-20):

As the hero’s enter the dragons lair they notice the first room is guarded. 13 basilisks are roaming this area. The only way to reach the dragon’s lair is through this room.

Players have a choice here. Do we fight and risk detection and lose resources or do we fight an other way through. Invisibility, flying or something else creative. If they don’t kill them they have to pass them again on the way back. In every case it will burn some of their resources.

Next time you use a dragon’s lair, use basilisks. Its sure is a hell of a lot better than the classic kobolds they have encountered a thousand times before.

 

So that’s all for the basilisk, enjoy! You can find more encounter compendium here.

Sources

Ecology of the basilisk

Basilisks – Forgotten Realms Wikia

Basilisk – Wikipedia

Crimson basilisk

Monster Manual p 24 Basilisk