Robes are stupid. My sorcerer dresses like Petyr Baelish.
To expand: if you are a mage, dress like a noble. Do not dress like a wizard. Pointy conical hat and sky-blue robes is medieval semaphore for “kill first and with extreme prejudice.” Tailored black silk over cloth-of-gold and studded with rubies says “Harmless, but valuable; ransom if possible or kill last.”
If you dress like a noble, they’re not going to pay attention as you take a turn or two to back away from the melee and prepare yourself. The ruse is only broken when you reveal yourself, at which point 8d6 fire damage is screaming toward them at Mach Fuck anyway, so no big.
counterpoint: if you don’t get to dress like someone ran a magical thrift shop through a rototiller and frankensteined the pieces back together what’s the god-damned point of being a wizard
The sartorial differences between wizards and sorcerers are on display, I think.
That makes perfect sense, really, since sorcerers don’t generally get a choice about gaining spellcasting abilities and might not want to advertise them 24/7 whereas wizards put a lot of effort into becoming wizards and didn’t spend years in Wizard Grad School just to be low-key about it.
Alternative to the tired old wizard-with-a-sugar-daddy interpretation of the patron/warlock relationship in Dungeons & Dragons:
- Clueless boss and long-suffering employee, whose powers are basically the magical equivalent of pilfering office supplies for personal use
- Scheming master and duplicitous apprentice who are totally open about their loathing for each other and are keen to see who betrays whom first
- Bureaucratic devil and soul-peddling diabolist with a contract a mile long, each honestly believing they’re getting the better of the other
- Glowering quartermaster and loose-cannon operative, whose record for getting results just barely justifies the expense of employing them
- Indifferent parent who pays their estranged offspring’s allowance like clockwork but otherwise prefers to deal with them as little as possible
- Vast, slumbering god-monster and amoral parabiologist who knows which spots to poke with a stick to provoke particular autonomic responses
More inadvisable magic items for your D&D campaign (healing edition):
- A staff of resurrection that has seemingly unlimited charges, but will only reverse any given cause of death for a particular person once. The staff’s wielder has intuitive knowledge of whether a hypothetical demise would be sufficiently novel to qualify for reversal, and can advise her companions accordingly.
- Healing potions that take the form of sugary baked goods. They’re affordable and effective, and their enchantment keeps them just as fresh as if they’d been baked that very day. Unfortunately, their supernaturally delicious aroma cannot be blocked by any barrier, serving as a constant torment to any party that carries them.
- An automaton that can repair any injury, but must remove the affected
limb – or what remains of it – for cleaning and servicing, a process
that takes 1d6 hours. The patient is magically sustained throughout and
suffers no ill effects other than being deprived of the use of the limb.
Asking it to repair a head or torso wound is not recommended.
- An un-sword that, when correctly wielded, can un-wound a target, restoring health and bodily integrity – although no conventional character class is proficient in the un-sword, and so most attempts to make use of it fail. It can also be difficult to locate if misplaced, being an object that can only be described in terms of what it isn’t.
- A charm that removes curses and diseases by manifesting them as
unusually large frogs, which must be fought and killed in order to
effect the cure. The common cold produces an angry toad about the size
of a sofa cushion; the death-curse of an ancient lich would yield a very
big frog indeed.
I’d try to keep the frogs as pets and inflict them on the enemy.
To be clear, the frog is merely a spiritual manifestation of the targeted affliction. The affliction is not drawn out to become the frog, and the victim remains afflicted until such time as the frog has been dealt with. If you want the cure, you have to fight the frog.
(With some means of speaking with animals and a decent bribe, you might talk the frog into bedeviling someone else, though, thereby transferring the affliction rather than curing it. This won’t necessarily be any easier than beating the frog in a fight – powerful curse-frogs are stubborn! – but it offers an alternative way of dealing with it.)
So … kidnap a cancer ward of children, and summon frogs out into the middle of the lich’s army?
You know, it seems to me that once you’ve reached the point of strapping magical amulets to terminally ill children and rocket-sledding them onto battlefields in order to unleash a counteroffensive of cursed murderfrogs against the Skeleton War, that’s not so much exploiting the rules as it is a needlessly roundabout way of declaring yourself as a competing Evil Overlord.
If you are playing a changeling who is only presenting themselves as one gender, why are you doing that?
Again, not trying to be offended, just curious
The reasons I’m curious is
if you want a character that can change their appearance at will, take two levels in warlock and get the eldritch invocation that lets you cast Disguise Self at will
So if you play a changeling, it feels weird to me to not play their culture as well. And not really having a gender is part of that culture.
as someone who’s played a changeling with a completely genderless body but socially presenting as female and has thought this through obsessively
1) it’s the dream. she’s living the dream. the point of playing a changeling is that she can pick and choose and this is what she chose
2) according to lore I saw for 4e, changelings don’t have much of a culture? there aren’t really changeling settlements, or even changeling families. assimilating into other societies is changeling culture
3) playing a changeling socerer with high Cha but not proficient in Bluff, straightforwardly honest, using her (extremely unsettling) pure changeling appearance as her public face and using her abilities for disguise approximately never (only to scare/unsettle the shit out of party members and occasionally opponents, or to demonstrate what someone looked like instead of an explanation)
is the most fun I’ve ever had in my life
Why do we always potray Clerics and Paladins EXACLY SAME WAY?
Aka as priests and knights of holy orders?
Wouldn’t a father of a family that wokrs as lumberjack and strongly belives in gods of nature be as good a cleric like dude in a robe?
Wouldn’t a Butch girl with a giant sword and even bigger faith in lesbianism be even better paladin then guys that glued holy symbols into their swords???
I have this one NPC who’s a big burly terrifying werewolf with a heart of gold. His backstory is that he made a solemn pact with an ancient god of death in order to ensure that he could stay alive to protect not only his dear friend, but all of her children, and her children’s children.
Making him a paladin was a stroke of genius.
Good! That’s a nice character. You get the idea
I have an idea for a character who is a cleric but his clerical power comes from his belief in simplicity and balance. He’s just a simple gardener/librarian with a passing interest in spells who gets dragged along into something out of his depth and discovers personal power outside of strength or wisdom. I like him
That’s great opportunities for character growth!
I have a half orc cleric that received a vision from his god about a storm coming and was ignored so his ship sank, sole survivor. He was saved by a village and chose to learn from their kindness… to prove his his worth and go back wik knowledge to exploit them, but still not a proper “priest”.
Also good example of how to start character by flipping over their lives
Still my favourite OC is the son of an evil dark lord who tried to be follow in his father’s footsteps and was forcibly made a Paladin by the gods of good because he was so bad at actually being evil.
(looking back from 5 years on and it seems deltarune stole my idea. Grumble Grumble)
ive definitely made cleric characters who were just based on me looking at DnD deity descriptions, picking my favorite one for the moment and figuring out who’d actually worship them, and then just taking that up to 11
Further tales from my brother’s DnD adventures: one of his friends had a character that was two gnomes in a trench coat. Even the DM didn’t know (despite the player’s comment that his character had abnormally short arms, and his penchant for asking WHERE enemies had landed a hit) until one of them died.
The ancient treasure is immensely valuable- by the standards of 3000 years ago. Due to inflation, it is now worth £2.30
The Player Characters sell it and use the money to buy a pack of gum to split..
The PCs sell it and give the money to a homeless person
The PCs sell it and invest safely.
There are three kinds of people…
four kinds of people.
The PCs keep it as a cool knickknack and a conversational piece.
dm: alright, so here’s a situation with a choice, and i cannot emphasize enough that there might be huge consequences in your decision
almost every other player: ok, can we like.. investigate… i dont want to jump int-
That One Player: I DO THE THING
Much has been said on the topic of “powergaming” in tabletop roleplaying games – that is, the tendency for certain players to let their actions be guided by whatever gives the biggest bonus, rather than what’s most in character or what makes the most sense narratively. Typically, powergaming is framed as strictly opposed to good roleplaying; the conventional wisdom is that the only ways to address it are either to monitor and punish it, or else to let it slide and accept that certain players at your table won’t “really” be playing a role.
I’m not persuaded that this is the case. I think the notion that powergaming is incompatible with good roleplaying is a symptom of the fact that your game-mechanical incentives are out of whack with their narrative context – or, to put it another way, that the rules you’re using are not the rules of the notional game you’re actually trying to play.
Sometimes this is just a matter of where the game’s content is focused – for example, a game about vampires that tries to sell itself as an exploration of personal horror, but 80% of the game-mechanical text is taken up by long lists of cool powers that let you run around being some sort of goth superhero – and sometimes it’s more foundational – e.g., a game that’s supposed to be about gonzo cyberpunk action, but in practice players have to approach every heist super-cautiously and count every bullet because the death spiral is brutal and the resource loop makes it nearly impossible to turn a profit – but in the end it boils down to the same problem: the behaviour that the rules encourage is not consistent with the behaviour that the milieu expects of its protagonists.
I suspect that part of the reason powergaming is regarded as so difficult to manage is because it’s easier to look at tabletop RPG rules in terms of what they forbid, rather than what they reward. It’s simple enough to spot when your players are avoiding particular activities because the game’s rules punish those activities, but as tabletop game designers, we seem to have a collective blind spot about situations where gameplay goes off the rails because the rules are rewarding inappropriate play.
Of course, we need not stop at avoiding inappropriate rewards. If the incentives furnished by your rules are sufficiently in sync with the conventions of the game’s narrative milieu, it’s entirely possible to end up with a game where not only is powergaming not incompatible with good roleplaying, powergaming can actually produce good roleplaying.
Let’s take Rose Bailey’s upcoming Cavaliers of Mars, for example. As the title suggests, it’s a game about swashbuckling romance on Mars. One of its notable features is that, rather than stats like Strength, Dexterity, etc., your basic dice rolls are based on one of three Motivations: For Honour, For Love, or For Myself.
At first blush, it looks like a powergamer’s dream; it’s extremely difficult for the GM to gainsay why your character is doing something, so why wouldn’t you just come up with some bullshit reason why you’re always acting on your highest-rated Motivation, and thus get to roll your largest die for everything?
Indeed, why wouldn’t you?
The hero who always has a comically self-interested explanation for her acts of heroism (”of course I rescued you – you owe me money!”) is a well-established archetype of the swashbuckling genre – and so, for that matter, are the prickly asshole who manages to turn literally everything into a matter of honour, and the starry-eyed idealist who can convince herself that nearly anything can be done in the name of love.
The game’s set up so that doing whatever gives the biggest bonus is synonymous with behaving in a milieu-appropriate fashion. Sure, by itself this won’t result in deep characters, but it’s only one facet of a much larger system. We thus have a setup where powergaming produces good roleplaying.
you know, there is one thing about this where I keep going back and forth on how stuff should be balanced in principle
and that’s morality
like if your character can be a super good thief and get money easier than people who don’t do that
and the main reason they shouldn’t is that, well, they shouldn’t
…then again if it’s really is a thing acknowledged as possible within the game world it still will be entirely appropriate roleplaying of a greedy selfish power grabber so the point stands 100%
also im going to talk about my current dnd character under the cut
when I was first making Rei was set on Not Taking The Easy Path and Customizing Her As Much As Possible
like yeah she’s a storm sorcerer! but does it mean shes going to take everything lightning&thunder? no!
…and then as I fumbled through test building her multiple times I realized a thing
– she’s a storm sorcerer bc that’s her personality
– lightning is COOL © her
– getting the strongest powers and concentrating on making her lightning the lightningest lightning it can be rather than branching out is 100% her motivation
and now I end up with the situation where nOT powergaming would be OOC
(…well at least i anti powergame messed with skills which arent nearly as important for combat and work as a rly good expression of What She Is As A Person. Intimidate+Diplomacy combo and neglected Bluff despite serious bonus to it, boo yah baby)
Expectations: Dungeons and Dragons is a high fantasy tabletop roleplaying game. You can be anything your heart desires; go where you please; battle dragons and necromancers; save kingdoms and forge alliances! The only limit is your imagination as you set off on an epic adventure with your friends!
Reality: I ROLL TO PET THE WOLF AGAIN