Poll: Let's Talk about D&D!

the December King

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Saelune said:
Depends on the DM and group. I want to tell my player's stories. Its why I do alot of one on one campaigns with my brother since he is the only of my group who wants to tell his own stories, but I leave alot of gaps in my world with the intent on letting my players fill them in.

Unfortunately most of my other players are either less creative, or less assertive, so I end up having to dictate alot of the story, but I intend on trying new ways to change that.
Oh most definitely. Several of the other groups I played in liked to have stories practically read to them by the DM, but other groups wanted a sandbox to run around in, and the DM to barely provide descriptive commentary (and targets).

When I said the players were just to provide characters in the tale, that was rather unfair, as many a time a player's ideas or input outside of their character has helped define or determine some element or encounter detail.
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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Saelune said:
As for Monk, coinkydink, I intend on playing a Monk in this new campaign. As I said earlier, a Goliath Tranquility Monk who tries to solve everything peacefully. Likely at the chagrin of my brother's character who wants to 'smite' everything and anything that goes against his views of our God. (The party is themed as worshippers of the same deity).
I've had a look at the 5e Monk and so far it seems far better designed, with mechanical abilities that match the way the fluff describes them.

Because the 3.5 Monk didn't. The fluff describes them as highly mobile unarmed warriors who can flit into combat to deliver a fast beatdown, then jumps back out of range, and uses inner strenght and discipline to enhance their body. But in practice, while the Monk has a lot of interesting abilities, they don't synergize enough to be any good at that kind of playstyle. Not out of the box, at least. Doesn't help that there are other base classes who can easily beat the Monk at its own niche in some or all respects.
 

Saelune

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Chimpzy said:
Saelune said:
As for Monk, coinkydink, I intend on playing a Monk in this new campaign. As I said earlier, a Goliath Tranquility Monk who tries to solve everything peacefully. Likely at the chagrin of my brother's character who wants to 'smite' everything and anything that goes against his views of our God. (The party is themed as worshippers of the same deity).
I've had a look at the 5e Monk and so far it seems far better designed, with mechanical abilities that match the way the fluff describes them.

Because the 3.5 Monk didn't. The fluff describes them as highly mobile unarmed warriors who can flit into combat to deliver a fast beatdown, then jumps back out of range, and uses inner strenght and discipline to enhance their body. But in practice, while the Monk has a lot of interesting abilities, they don't synergize enough to be any good at that kind of playstyle. Not out of the box, at least. Doesn't help that there are other base classes who can easily beat the Monk at its own niche in some or all respects.
I've had little real experience with Monks in any edition. The most I did was a Monk/Rogue/Shadow Dancer in Neverwinter Nights, but he was totally ninja, which was neat.

Maybe I should try to go back and play a Monk in a 3.5 campaign just to see for myself.
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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Saelune said:
Maybe I should try to go back and play a Monk in a 3.5 campaign just to see for myself.
Mind, I'm taking the Monk as is. No multiclassing, prestige classes, feats, alternate class features, etc. Just the stuff you get out of the box.

First, the basic stuff:
First of all, the 3.5 Monk is quite MAD. You need STR for melee atb and dmg. DEX for AC, since you can't wear armor. CON, because you're a melee class and need the hp. And finally WIS for more AC and to fuel some of your abilities. That's 4 stats that require at least some investment, as opposed to a Barbarian or Fighter, who could get by with just STR (and CON, but not dumping CON is a given for any class).

D8 hit dice, medium BAB and no armor don't give you much staying power in combat (without significant investment and using workarounds), so you're better off taking a more mobile flanking role in support of a beefier party member, like a Fighter, Barbarian, Paladin and some other frontliners. Which I'm guessing was the basic design idea. The lack of weapon proficiencies is not much of an issue, since you'll rely mostly on your fists anyway, only pulling out a weapon to overcome DR or maybe exploit a vulnerability. (Funnily enough, Monks are by RAW not proficient with unarmed strike, but everyone ignores that)

The skill points and skill list are actually quite nice, with multiple useful skill sets available. But since you're already MAD, you'll probably have little left for INT after the more vital ability scores, especially if you're using Point Buy. This will likely leave you the choice between being good at one skill set or mediocre at several, unless you build specifically towards being a skill monkey, sacrificing. You could have some diplomacy ability, but those rely on CHA, which is likely your dump stat. Also, Tumble is virtually mandatory so you can get out of a melee that's getting to dangerous, so that's down one skill point.

All good saves. No issue here. No other core class has that.

Now, abilities:
Flurry of Blows - the trademark Monk ability. Getting an extra attack is nice, but your medium BAB and the -2 atb penalty make it rather tepid at low levels. It does come more into its own at lv9+, when the penalty disappears, and at lv11 when you get a second bonus attack at full BAB. However, it takes a full round action. So no move action and Flurry in the same round, leaving you with just a single basic attack without any bonus dmg die if you move and attack. Not very conducive towards the mobile flanker playstyle.

Bonus Feats:
Improved Grapple or Stunning Fist - both can provide limited crowd control, but grappling has a chance of working against almost anything and can basically put a weedy caster out of play for the rest of the fight, whereas Stunning Fist plain doesn't work against many creatures.
Combat Reflexes or Deflect Arrow - extra AoO or cause one non-spell ranged attack to automatically miss per round. Even if AoOs are situational by nature, that's an easy win for Combat Reflexes. There's just more applications for it.
Improved Trip or Improved Disarm -


AC Bonus - WIS to AC, and unlike DEX to AC, you retain the bonus while flat-footed. You also get an extra +1 bonus every 5 lvs. Increases your staying power in combat. Not bad, although it likely will get outpaced by magical armor.

Evasion/Improved Evasion - always nice.

Still Mind - +2 bonus against enchantment. Nothing amazing, but I'll take it. Mind-affecting spells are a *****.

Unarmored Movement Bonus - the other Monk thing. Being fast is great for a melee class, especially a flanker. But only if you can also bring some hurt at the end. Unfortunately, Monks don't have any built-in ability to do that. Compare to the Scout class, who also gets a speed bonus and the Skirmish ability, which rewards moving and attacking with extra dmg die and AC (and also gets tons of skill points to get all the mobility skills and still have enough left for stealth and scouting skills).

Ki-Strike - your unarmed strikes gain special qualities, like magical, lawful and adamantine. Decent, but gets outpaced by magical weapons.

Slow Fall - reduce falling damage if a wall is present. Situational, but sometimes handy.

Purity of Body - immunity to disease, except supernatural and magical, and those are the ones that actually matter.

Wholeness of Body - healing equal to Monk lv x2 per day. Slightly better than a Paladin's Lay on Hands, but seemingly can't be used to dmg Undead. Still, free healing that doesn't take up spell slots is always nice.

Diamond Body - immunity to poisons. Situational, but not bad.

Abundant Step - Dimension Door 1/day. Good for utility, but the standard action leaves its usefulness in combat limited.

Quivering Palm - death effect attack with DC 10 + 1/2lv + WIS vs Fort save, once a week. The DC is somewhat decent, but targets the most common good save and at the lv you get it, many things you'd want to use it on will probably make it. Also can't be used against many creature types. Finally, just once a week. Many casters at the same lv can do the same multiple times a day, like Finger of Death, which is similar but ranged and targets touch AC.

Timeless Body - no penalties to ability scores from aging. Nice in a campaign with frequent and lengthy downtime. If not, probably won't come into play.

Tongue of the Sun and Moon - Speak with and understand any living creature. Great for a diplomancer. Comes quite late at lv17 tho. Some items basically do the same and can be obtained much earlier.

Empty Body - use the Etherealness spell for 1rd x Monk lv per day. Like Abundant Step, nice for utility, limited for combat.

Perfect Self - become an Outsider and gain DR10/magic. The former makes you immune to certain spell lines. Nice. The latter is nice against monsters with no inherent magical physical attacks. Not much against humanoids, who at lv20 play will more than likely have magical weapons.

My conclusions
The fluff makes the monk out to be a highly mobile unarmed melee combatant and the general outline of the class seems to follow that idea. Relatively low AC and medium BAB/hit dice indicate you're not supposed to stay in combat long, and the speed bonus, several class skills and abilities like Evasion, Abundant Step, Empty Body paint a picture of mobility. Flurry of Blows works the martial artist angle. But none of them synergize with each other. You can't run and jump into a flanking position and still Flurry. Abundant Step and Empty Body can get you in position, but leave you with nothing else to do. A lot of other abilities have lots of flavor to them, but many don't really make you better at any role you can fill, if they make you better at anything at all.

Speaking of roles, I think the main issue I have with 3.5 Monk is that it has the potential to fill several roles, but not good at any of them. You either focus on being decent at one or two things, dumping the rest. Or spread things out and be subpar at everything.

You know, some people like to make fun of the Bard, calling it weak because it is a jack of all trades, master of none. I disagree. The jack of all trades part is true, but the Bard is at least competent to great at all of them. Bards make for great diplomancers thanks to the synergy between their skill list and CHA-based casting with lots of Enchantment spells. Aside from that, they're pretty good skillmonkeys. They have arcane casting with pretty good (de)buffs, crowd control and utility, and healing. Not as good at any as a Wizard or Cleric, but nothing to scoff at either. OK, yeah, their martial ability is pretty poor. But overall, the vanilla Bard can pitch in many roles, and what's more, can make the entire party better at theirs. That's why they IMO make great 5th members in a typical Warrior-Mage-Priest-Thief party.

The vanilla Monk just ... isn't.
That said, there's ways of making a monk that is much better than the actual Monk. Like the Tashalatora route. It's a feat that makes Monk and Psychic Warrior lvs stack for the purposes of unarmed damage, flurry and AC bonus advancement. Psychic Warrior has lots of powers that can make unarmed fighting better by giving extra movement, bonus damage and such. The psionic powers are also easy to refluff as being Ki-based. The basic concept is actually sort of similar to what they did with the 5e Monk.

Fist of the Forest and Unarmed Swordsage are also pretty popular.

Man, I just keep blabbering on, don't I. Should probably stop before I start tearing into the 3.5 Fighter, Hexblade, Knight, Samurai, Soulknife and Truenamer.
 

TheFinish

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Chimpzy said:
Hmm, new question. This one applies to everyone too!

How often do you play and how long does such a session last on average?

We try for bi-weekly sessions of about 3-4 hours, but big boy responsibilities often get in the way, so in practice it's more like every three weeks/monthly. I think 3-4 hours is the sweet spot between long enough to get things done, but not so long that it gets hard for the GM to keep focus (without taking a longer break).

Or, we can just talk about the D&D Monk class. That's always fun.
Right now, running a 7th Sea game on Sundays, playing in a PF game on Saturdays, and running a solo Deathwatch game when I can. Generally I try to keep the sessions to 4 hours. As you've said, it's kind of the sweet spot.

And lets not talk about the DnD Monk. The Unchained Monk in PF is great though. As is the brawler. Normal Monk....eh.

Chimpzy said:
Almost as fun as Chaotic Stupid players. Unless you enjoy basically having Kharn The Betrayer on the team.
Honestly I'd rather have a Kharn the Betrayer than a Lawful Stupid Paladin. Kharn is bound to be more effective simply due to the fact that he won't lose his class features by acting like a douchenozzle.

Also his chainaxe.
 

Saelune

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Welp, just played DnD a bit ago, and ended up having to pull a side quest out of my ass cause my brother's character wanted to visit the local Mages Guild.

The guild was in shambles, just three mages under level 3. The two PCs ended up looking for their Mentor (not to save them but to potentially find some neat magical stuff). They ended up finding a vortex of wild magic that caused local creatures to gain elemental abilities.

They ended up summoning a Unicorn via the wild magic, which immediately sensed they were evil and attacked freaking out the Wizard they were looking for. They killed it, took its horn and blood and got into a fight with the Wizard.

Oh, and earlier (though I planned this) they reluctantly gained the service of a non-magical bard who sucks at poetry, but serves as a translator since they do not speak the local tongue.
 

savageoblivi0n

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My main setting for the past couple of years has been Pathfinder, but I've played nearly all the editions of D&D save for 1st and 2nd. Right now I'm doing 3 different campaigns weekly, with an oracle who's basically sick of everyone's shit ( and has a massive habit of throwing "I told you so" every chance he gets) on Fridays. That campaign is a homebrew thing. Saturdays I'm in a group who is running and tracking official Pathfinder Society scenarios, and I'm playing a gnome barbarian who spouts Arnold references whenever possible. Then Sundays I'm in a group that's running the Second Darkness adventure path, and I'm running an alchemists who's smart as hell, but has 0 common sense (8 WIS), so he's basically a perfect mad scientist, who's begun to dip into some...eldritch things.
Times be interesting lol
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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TheFinish said:
And lets not talk about the DnD Monk. The Unchained Monk in PF is great though. As is the brawler. Normal Monk....eh.
Aye, t'is a pity. I rather like the concept of the Monk. But it's 3.5 incarnation works poorly.

Could be worse tho. You could play a Truenamer.
Honestly I'd rather have a Kharn the Betrayer than a Lawful Stupid Paladin. Kharn is bound to be more effective simply due to the fact that he won't lose his class features by acting like a douchenozzle.
True. Both are still a liability in the party tho.

IMO, the Chaotic Stupid character still narrowly beats the Lawful Stupid Paladin on the annoyance scale, because there's a high chance the player is one of those who just want to live out a juvenile fantasy, taking any opportunity to steal, murder, screw over their fellow players and generally being an obnoxious git, justifying their behavior with "that's just what my character is like".

They never fail to drag down the experience miserable for everyone, so it's become a bit of pet peeve.
 

TheFinish

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Chimpzy said:
IMO, the Chaotic Stupid character still narrowly beats the Lawful Stupid Paladin on the annoyance scale, because there's a high chance the player is one of those who just want to live out a juvenile fantasy, taking any opportunity to steal, murder, screw over their fellow players and generally being an obnoxious git, justifying their behavior with "that's just what my character is like".

They never fail to drag down the experience miserable for everyone, so it's become a bit of pet peeve.
Bad players hiding behind the alignment system to spoil everyone's fun is a sad state of affairs indeed (the third kind of problem player is the "True Neutral must balance everything" player, who kills babies every time he saves a town because UNIVERSAL BALANCE.)

But hey, at least the game doesn't encourage being a douche. Unlike 1st Edition's experience rules...
 

Necrozius

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I love me some 5e.

As an aside, I strongly recommend some of the mechanical bits from Adventures in Middle Earth (sorry if this has been mentioned earlier). Specifically, the Journey rules and how magic items become more powerful the longer a PC owns it and gets more familiar with it. Very cool.

Also, AiME is a great example of how you can run D&D without spell lists.
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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TheFinish said:
Bad players hiding behind the alignment system to spoil everyone's fun is a sad state of affairs indeed (the third kind of problem player is the "True Neutral must balance everything" player, who kills babies every time he saves a town because UNIVERSAL BALANCE.)
However, sometimes players like that can be salvaged, mostly ones new to the hobby who don't realize actions will eventually get consequences.

The current campaign I'm GM'ing started out as an entirely Evil party, most of whom where newcomers at the time. As I feared, they ran amok, antagonizing everyone they met and making things difficult for themselves (and me). To the point where they faked their own death to stop various groups from hunting them (the opposition was getting stronger than them).

They started over with new identities until things blew over. Around this time, they also earned the free use of an old guard house for helping the Condotierre depose the corrupt Major of a large town. Now they had a hometown/homebase. So they decided to behave, pretenting to be good guys, under the motto "don't shit where you eat" (with my encouragement). Which worked out. They became heroes to the town, seen as aloof and haughty, but well-regarded nonetheless. Their new reputation spread to the rest of the region, then the country. Local authorities gave whatever support they could, nobles invited them to stay in their mansions, shops offered discounts, clerics of the state religion healed for free.

Eventually most of them mellowed out more towards Neutral alignments, because they realised that being 'good guys' they could get just as much loot/xp, but now people cheered them on, rather than run away/pull arms. They still do dickery, but in countries hostile to their home country, and they try to carefully cover their tracks. Rumors still cross the borders, but people dismiss them as the enemy slandering 'their' heroes. Villains, but with good publicity.

Best part is the players really enjoy the challenge of finding ways to keep the truth under wraps.
 

Drake the Dragonheart

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the December King said:
JUMBO PALACE said:
New question- Anyone have any particularly interesting or creative character backstories? I am very into the roleplay aspect of the game and trying to understand these characters' motivations.
I've been playing D&D in one form or another for 30 years now, and I've seen me some stuff I thought was really clever... but most of it was done by other people!


I guess one of my favourite characters currently is a Blackscale Lizardfolk named Alag'Har. He's a renaissance warrior- attempting to learn and master many combat styles, as he has a dedication to weapons, warfare and martial arts... but it's not because he's a war-mongering monster... he's writing a book on combat and battle in the lands he's visited!

He was raised by humans in a special exchange program designed to ease relations, and so now he appreciates many aspects of human culture- cooking and food, eating from bowls or plates, music, sleeping at night (in beds), etc. I've been enjoying deciding what influences have been made from his adopted family, and what is deeply ingrained into the reptilian genes (and that there was a brief period between birth and adoption that also may have had a profound effect).
I have a similar character although he was an NPC in a game in which I am the DM.
Argarok - a blackscale lizardfolk Samurai. Essentially Katsumoto from The Last Samurai if he were a lizardfolk. leads an entire tribe of samurai/oriental culture lizardfolk. One of my players was that character's adopted son, a poison dusk lizardfolk ninja.
"Father I am ninja!"
"Son I am dissapoint."
 

Souplex

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TheFinish said:
And lets not talk about the DnD Monk. The Unchained Monk in PF is great though. As is the brawler. Normal Monk....eh.
The monk is only bad in bad editions. In 4th and 5th it's great.
 

Saelune

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So, how often do you guys play DnD? And what method(s)? (In person, roll20, fantasygrounds, tabletop simulator etc)

Currently I play once a week in person, and thats how I have always played it, though sometimes there are long breaks for whatever reason. Though soon I will be playing twice a week, since the full group is going to play again, but the partial group that had been playing want to keep playing my campaign, as do I. Though I wish a day would be set. The partial group has been meeting on wednesdays. The full might be Tuesdays but I dunno.

I want to start trying online via Roll20 soon. I want to experience other players and other play styles...and to play more.
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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The plan is bi-weekly 4 hours sessions, but in practice, it's really more once every 3 weeks or month. We play in person, partly because we enjoy the game more that way, partly because we usually also like to have a drink or eat out afterwards.
 

crimson5pheonix

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I play in too many. I have a weekly 5e game, a weekly VtM game, a bi-weekly Dark Heresy game, and a bi-weekly GURPS game that I run.

EDIT: The 2 weekly games are in person and the bi-weekly games are online over Discord.
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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crimson5pheonix said:
games are online over Discord.
Our group has tried several times to play D&D online in some way or another, but in the end we always quickly returned to in-person.

It's not that we don't see the merits of online play, but because our sessions are also quality time to share as friends. Chat about how life's been going, complain about our jobs, joke around during breaks, grab a bite and/or drink afterwards, and so on. You can do most of that in a Discord, but it's not the same.
 

crimson5pheonix

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Chimpzy said:
crimson5pheonix said:
games are online over Discord.
Our group has tried several times to play D&D online in some way or another, but in the end we always quickly returned to in-person.

It's not that we don't see the merits of online play, but because our sessions are also quality time to share as friends. Chat about how life's been going, complain about our jobs, joke around during breaks, grab a bite and/or drink afterwards, and so on. You can do most of that in a Discord, but it's not the same.
True, but it would be difficult with those groups because the players are separated by continents.
 

Chimpzy_v1legacy

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crimson5pheonix said:
True, but it would be difficult with those groups because the players are separated by continents.
You mean you don't all jump into your private jets to fly to a secret luxury playroom in the Antarctic?

No, all dumb jokes aside, that's a good reason.