Episode 3 Lightning Round
In the “Lightning Round” blog series, I offer up quick, easily-digestible answers to many of the questions I couldn’t get to in the weekly YouTube videos series. Have something you want to ask? Head over to Quest Chests' Instagram account every Monday to submit your questions!
Can evil characters really work along side good characters?
In my experience, the honest answer is no. Evil characters (or character’s whose agendas and values are in direct opposition with those of the party) are going to make your campaign extremely difficult to maintain. That’s because one of two things is (most likely) going to happen. Either the evil character is going to kill/betray to good characters and that will piss those players off, or the good characters will kill/cast out the evil character which will piss that player off. This is assuming your campaign makes it far enough to reach either of these two outcomes. More likely, your campaign will die out because the players are spending more time arguing or fighting among themselves than they are actually going on adventures. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but its the honest truth I’ve come to realize.
How do you handle having given out too many magic items?
This is a doozy because there’s really not an obvious answer. That’s because it depends on the issue the magical items are creating. Are the magic weapons making the players too powerful for enemies in their CR range? Sounds like its time to throw in some higher CR monsters or create homebrew monsters to balance out the extra damage the characters can pump out. Are the magic items making it too easy for the players to entirely avoid encounters either by flying, stealthing, or charming their way around them? Then maybe you need to design some encounters that are more about making choices than they are about winning combats or retrieving items. For example, the characters might need to decide which village they’re going to save from an impending orc attack. Sure, they might obliterate whatever orcs they fight, but they had to sacrifice the lives of innocents to do so. You might also put the characters in situations where they need to sacrifice magic items in order to gain information or move forward in the story. For example, perhaps a green hag is the only one who knows where the Key of Zenmoor is hidden, but she’ll only tell the characters if they give her that fancy flying carpet of theirs.
How do I get my party to do the main quest if their characters wouldn’t?
This is the classic “stick and carrot” situation. If you’ve got a donkey, it’s a lot easier to get it where you want with a carrot tied to the end of a stick rather than forcing the donkey forward by hitting it with a stick. Now the characters are obviously a bit more complex than a donkey (though just as stubborn and only slightly more intelligent), but the principle is the same. You need to figure out the “carrot” for your characters. Thankfully, Dungeons and Dragons has a built-in mechanism for this, and they’re called ideals and bonds. Take a look at the characters’ sheets, identify their ideals and bonds, and then figure out how you can use those as “carrots” to entice the characters into the adventure. Does one of the characters value leadership? Perhaps seeing the quest through will earn them a new rank or title with greater authority.
How do I explain what all the D&D classes do to somebody who knows nothing about D&D?
Barbarian - Solves their problems by yelling loudly and smashing repeatedly.
Bard - Solves their problems by singing beautifully and charming seductively.
Cleric - Solves their problems by praying and then praying some more.
Druid - Solves their problems by speaking to animals and then turning into a grizzly bear.
Fighter - Solves their problems with clever tactics and using literally any weapon at their disposal.
Monk - Solves their problems by meditating or punching things really hard in the face.
Paladin - Solves their problems by following the rules and smiting enemies with longswords.
Ranger - Solves their problems by shooting arrows while their pet animal tears enemies apart.
Rogue - Solves their problems by sneaking into places and stabbing people in the back.
Sorcerer - Solves their problems by exploding seemingly at random.
Warlock - Solves their problems by making irresponsible deals with powerful or other-worldly beings.
Wizard - Solves their problems by reading a lot of books and hurling giant balls of fire.
What is a good digitial tool to create D&D maps?
If you’re looking for town, city, region, or world maps, nothing beast Inkarnate. At only $5/month, it’s easily worth the money to access over 500 unique assets, beautiful textures, and simple-to-use tools. A quick google search of “awesome Inkarnte maps” will show you just how much potential there is in this software. If you’re creating classic grid maps for dungeons, taverns, castles, and caves, I haven’t come across any programs that I (or most people online) seem to like. However, there are plenty of creators out there who are making pre-drawn battle maps. Some of my personal favorites are Gabriel Pickard, Heroic Maps, Dice Grimorium, and 2-Minute Tabletop.