Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Skill Focus #1

Welcome to this the first of my Skill Focus blog entries. The pun is intended, and spotting the pun is the first test of your D&D credentials. These articles with examine some of the details and tricks relating to the use of skills in D&D 3.5 to help players make the most of these. The details for these skills won't be fully mentioned here, as this may violate the open license, and so they will have to focus on generalities. In our first instalment we are going to have a quick look at using Knowledge skills to identify creatures.

The DC to identify the creature and gain knowledge on its special powers and vulnerabilities is based on its HD (and therefore, in theory, its rarity). The more you exceeded this DC, the more pieces of information you know about the creature. The DM will calculate this DC for you and will also chose which pieces of information you know. This give the DM control over how much advantage you gain from this skill (but a good one will use it fairly).

Every monster and/or race in D&D has a Type, and this type determines which skill you need to identify that creature. These are listed below:

  • Arcana - constructs, dragons, magical beasts
  • Dungeoneering - aberrations, oozes
  • Local - humanoids
  • Nature - animals, fey, giants, monstrous humanoids, plants, vermin
  • Religion - undead
  • The planes - elementals, outsiders
As you can see, some skills can identify more types than others, but if the adventures are well balanced, there will be a good mix of creature types so that no one person can do all the identifying.

That concludes this first Skill Focus. I hope you find it useful, and that it answers some common player questions. Look out for the next instalment.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Death and Trapses

It's funny sometimes how things don't always go the way the you'd expect. At the start of this blog I never thought I'd be considering that a band of kobolds would be a challenge for a party of 1st level adventurers, but there you go. Admittedly, the situation did aid the cunning little reptiles.

Small sling stones shouldn't cause too much damage you say? Well, not if you have to move across a section of open land, and your enemies are safely behind barred windows. A war of attrition is not good when you have hardly any hit points.

I'd never seen the 'critical hit are worse for players than DMs' rule demonstrated so clearly as it was this week. Mind you, if the half-orc barbarian is going to charge through a trapped door, you should expect consequences.

Who shall prevail, our heroes or the kobolds? Only time will tell...