Computer Issues and All That

Hey folks.

So, the last couple of weeks have been kind of a bust for productivity here at the homestead. Between some necessary changes to my schedule and some issues with my computer, I’ve fallen way, way behind on my entries for the 30 Day D&D Challenge. I’ll share the remaining drawings I have in a future post, but think I’ll be calling off finishing the challenge.

I will, however, attempt to keep updating here more often than not. We’ll see how that goes.

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30 Day D&D Challenge, Day 18: Favorite Planar Being

When it comes to the various inhabitants of the planes, my favorites have always been fiendish. Demons and devils make excellent enemies, and their adherence to evil makes me very comfortable when I’m sending one into the blender that is an optimized party.

Of all the fiendish nasties out there, I think I like the balor the best.

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Maybe it is because it is essentially a rip-off of the Balrog, or maybe it’s the flaming whip, but either way, the balor is a powerhouse combatant, and I can get behind that.

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30 Day D&D Challenge, Day 17: Favorite Animal

So, the topic is favorite animal, insect, vermin, or arachnid, and I chose instead to go for my favorite Magical Beast, which is darn close to being an animal.

The Displacer Beast:

001I like them because they are sneaky. They live in multiple dimensions, and so hitting them can prove difficult. I like them because they have tentacles, but also because they are like cats. They are one of the iconic D&D monsters that have just found their way into my heart without me being able to really delve into the real, solid reason why I like it. Maybe “just because” is a good enough reason?

I’m not a huge fan of unintelligent animals in D&D, partially because most monsters are opposition for the party, and I really dislike the idea of adventurers kick-circling an innocent animal. Even a deadly one. I’d rather set them on the trail of something or someone with an evil plan instead of something that is really just looking for something to eat. While I will use animals as opposition from time-to-time, I tend to do so sparingly.

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30 Day D&D Challenge, Day 16: Favorite Ooze or Aberrant Creature

While the Gelatinous Cube has its merits, I chose to go with an Aberrant rather than an ooze. While the Mind Flayer is certainly one of my most favorite aberrations, there is one that I like just slightly more:

The Beholder.

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Beholders are nasty and cruel creatures, and their eyes shoot all sorts of magical rays. When that big floating mass appears, the players know that it is business time, as a Beholder can easily turn a simple fight into a terrifying life-or-death struggle.

The one time I was able to have my players fight a beholder was pretty awesome. I don’t remember much of the fight, but I do remember that it was tons of fun and that the warlock of our group looted a Beholder Lens off of the beholder’s body. The beholder was using the lens to split and empower its ray attacks. I told the player that he could use it maybe once, and he did – when he managed to slay Asmodeus on one hit.

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30 Day D&D Challenge, Day 15: Favorite Undead

When it comes to the undead, there are few monsters that I like more than the lich.

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The lich is an undead wizard that typically specializes in necromancy. Liches are notoriously difficult to destroy, as they have a phylactery that must also be tracked down and destroyed. The process of finding that phylactery could make a quest all unto itself since liches tend to be a bit paranoid that people are going to destroy their soul-holding containers that guarantee the lich eternal life.

A lich’s desire to not die and subvert the natural order is an understandable and very human one. Their obsession often leads to madness, and makes them prime candidates for the position of big, bad boss guy.

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30 Day D&D Challenge, Day 14: Favorite NPC30

I don’t always claim membership to the Cult of the New, but when it comes to favorites, I’m often in its ranks. Perhaps it makes me fickle, but it’s just kind of how my mind works sometimes. Such is the case with my favorite NPC.

Josef was a clown in the Hobomancer game I was running. He was abusive and cocky, and not above hurting his partner Claudio physically if it meant that someone thought it was funny. However, his act was the only thing really keeping the circus that he was travelling with on its feet.

The troubled relationship of the two clowns was a fine centerpiece for  role play encounter. The players tried to understand how Claudio and Josef’s relationship worked, and eventually discovered that Claudio was a masochist who was fixated on the abuse he was receiving from Josef – the negative stroke he was receiving was really the only stroke his ego had going for it.

Seeing the players deal with this sensitive and volatile pair was a pleasure, and is one of the things that brought me a ton of joy in my current game.

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30 Day D&D Challenge, Day 13: Favorite Trap or Puzzle

So, I’m of two minds here, mostly because these are really two distinct concepts.

My favorite traps would have to be the kind that empower undead and weaken the living. I have a particular love for the undead, and playing to their strengths is always a good thing to do. Something with Enervation should do the trick, though several spells heal undead while hurting the living.

Alternately, everyone love 5 foot square pit trap with a gelatinous cube that falls from overhead, filling the space and enveloping the trapped individual :)

My favorite kind of puzzle is an integrated dungeon. More or less, the players can solve certain mechanical puzzles, and which path they take through the dungeon depends on what they solve and how they solve it. Basically, they need to solve puzzles to move on, but only a specific sequence will take them through all the rooms of the dungeon.

I did this with a party by having them enter a temple of Tiamat. The temple was designed to house several dragons comfortably and to protect both the dragons and their treasure. The PCs left that temple with enough gold to afford diamond shoes. Not diamond encrusted shoes – shoes made from one enormous diamond.

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