April 23, 2008

What Kind of D&D Character Would You Be?

I Am A: Chaotic Good Human Rogue (5th Level)

Ability Scores:







Chaotic Good A chaotic good character acts as his conscience directs him with little regard for what others expect of him. He makes his own way, but he's kind and benevolent. He believes in goodness and right but has little use for laws and regulations. He hates it when people try to intimidate others and tell them what to do. He follows his own moral compass, which, although good, may not agree with that of society. Chaotic good is the best alignment you can be because it combines a good heart with a free spirit. However, chaotic good can be a dangerous alignment because it disrupts the order of society and punishes those who do well for themselves.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Rogues have little in common with each other. While some - maybe even the majority - are stealthy thieves, many serve as scouts, spies, investigators, diplomats, and simple thugs. Rogues are versatile, adaptable, and skilled at getting what others don't want them to get. While not equal to a fighter in combat, a rogue knows how to hit where it hurts, and a sneak attack can dish out a lot of damage. Rogues also seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to avoiding danger. Experienced rogues develop nearly magical powers and skills as they master the arts of stealth, evasion, and sneak attacks. In addition, while not capable of casting spells on their own, a rogue can sometimes 'fake it' well enough to cast spells from scrolls, activate wands, and use just about any other magic item.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

April 7, 2008

3.7: Active and passive checks

When you enter a room, do you cover your ears? When meeting someone, do you close your eyes? When you crawl into a dungeon filled with traps, do you pay no attention to what you're doing?

Hopefully the answers to the questions above is always no. In the standard 3.5 rules, to use "normal" skills such as listen, search, spot, you have to roll dices to determine the outcome of the action. This can generate some funny situations like adventures with 20 ranks in Listen that once out of 20 completely fail the check (rolling 1's), not perceiving the ogre running towards them because they are humming country songs (or something like that).

This is unrealistic, dangerous and, after the first times, not funny at all.

When a bunch of adventurers descends into a dungeon or escapes from a prison or does the things bunches of adventurers usually do, they are aware that they are risking their own lives. So, if they want to live (and level up) they must be careful about what they do.

There is although a difference between active actions and passive actions. For example when a PC enters a room, he automatically hears noises around him, but there is a difference between hearing noises and listening to them.

If the action is done without active concentration, like listening to the surroundings or noticing to the furniture in a room, you are supposed to take 10 on the appropriate skill check.

Let's have an example.

Pip the adventurer has 5 ranks in Listen and enters a room in a dungeon. The room has a wooden door beyond which 5 goblins are playing dices. The DC to hear the gobs is 13 because they are drunk and noisy.

When Pip enters a room, not pressed in any way (e.g. not followed by an enraged ogre) he automatically listens to his surroundings and the player does not have to roll a die, but is considered to take 10 to the listen roll.

The DC to hear the goblins is less than the passive listen roll (10+5), so Pip hears them.

Easy, isn’t it?

On the other side, if you make an action like examining a room in search of a hidden passage or trying to identify a distant noise, it is assumed that you make your best effort to do so. To simulate this, you are supposed to take 20 on the roll.

Let's continue the examples covering the active roll

After getting rid of the goblins above, Pip is separated by another wooden door from a sleeping tiger. The DC to hear the tiger snoring is 23.

Pip's passive roll to hear the tiger is only 15 (10 base passive value + 5 ranks) so he does not hear anything, but Pip is a lucky guy and he decides to put an ear on the door and try to listen if there is anybody in the next room.

The active listen roll is 25 (20 base active value + 5 ranks), more than enough to hear the kitty snoring.

If instead of the sleeping tiger, the next room had contained an hidden assassin with a DC 30 to be heard, Pip will have learned the value to spend points in listen ranks.

The mechanics behind Spot and Search rolls is a little different, because Spot is always a passive roll and Search always an active one.

Entering a room a character notices everything up to things hidden with a DC of 10+his Spot ranks. If he searches the room for hidden things (e.g. secret doors) he finds everything hidden with a with a DC of 20+his Search ranks.

Using the examples above, when Pip (Spot: 7 ranks, Search: 3 ranks) defeats the goblins and look himself around, the DM describes to him everything is in plain view plus everithing that has a DC to be noticed up to 17 (10 base passive value + 7 Spot ranks), because everything with a DC of 17 or less, for Pip is in plain view.

After hearing the tiger snoring Pip decides to search the room for hidden passages, in hope there is a way to avoid the tiger.

The value to compare to the DC of hidden things is 23 (20 base active value + 7 Search ranks), barely enough to discover a DC 22 hidden closet with a leather hat and a whip. Hoping they are powerful enough magic items, Pip put them on and prepares himself to face the tiger.

April 3, 2008

3.7: Mage familiars

A familiar is the soul of a small creature stored in an energy body shaped like the creature's old form.

Any tiny creature can become a mage's familiar. The familiar is "stored" inside the caster's body and can be taken out at will.
Summoning or dismissing a familiar is a swift action, but if summoned in combat the familiar can act only the next time the caster can act, with the caster’s initiative.
When summoning a familiar the caster must give some of his hit points to the familiar, with the minimum of 1HP/caster's level.

Until the familiar is dismissed the caster's maximum hit points is lowered of the same amount of the Hit Points given to the familiar. When dismissed the maximum hit points of the caster goes back to the previous value.

When dismissing a familiar, the caster is not healed in any way, just the maximum hit points value increases, not the actual value. If a familiar dies, the caster does not regain his maximum hit points value until the next dawn. He can summon the familiar again, paying another time the HP cost although.
In any given moment a caster cannot have more than one familiar summoned.

The caster can command the familiar with his will, using swift actions, but cannot see with the familiar' eyes or feel what the familiar feels.
The caster can channel through the familiar any touch spell, but to do so he must have the familiar in line of sight. Once the spell is cast the familiar can abandon the line of sight. (e.g. to follow an enemy)
The familiar can be also the target of any spell that have as target "the caster" (e.g. mage armor). The caster needs although a clear line of sight to do so.

Familiars have the same BaB as the caster + the caster's INT bonus and AC of 10 + the caster's level + the caster's INT bonus

All familiars have a base land movement of 30 ft.
Every familiar type has a special ability that he can use freely like a normal creature.
Bird: Fly 30ft
Cat: The caster's level + the caster's INT bonus ranks in Hide/Move silently
Fish: Swim 30ft
Spider/lizard: Climb 30ft