Archive for the ‘Everyday D&D’ Category

Swarm, Insects, Swarm

Tuesday, October 24th, 2023

I took a closer look at “Insect Swarm,” and it’s quite a terrifying spell. The area of effect of the swarm is 36 feet around and 6 feet high, meaning Asroth the Presenter could fill an entire room in a dungeon crawl with all the grasshoppers, bees, mosquitoes, and other six-legged monsters one can imagine. Any creature under 5 hit dice must check morale or run away, so this includes ogres and all kinds of other orc leaders or bugbear chieftains. It’s also a great way to scatter a crowd of goblins, xvarts, or other small humanoids, since any creature under 2 hit dice immediately runs away from the swarm.

“Insect Swarm” also lasts no less than 9 turns, since a cleric needs to be 9th-level to cast it. That’s a lot of insects coming out of Asroth’s fingers and buzzing around. If we believe the time system set out in the Player’s Handbook, then that’s 90 minutes of swarming, and although I’ve never been caught in one, I can imagine that’s plenty of swarm for anyone.

Sticks to Sticks

Monday, October 23rd, 2023

Doing a little more reading on the cleric spell “Sticks to Snakes,” and I find the description fairly confusing. More accurately, one part of it is. The “sticks to snakes” part is easy: get a bunch of torches, brambles, bo sticks, or clubs together, throw them on the ground, start chanting, and in a mere 7 segments (admittedly quite fast and certainly an arbitrary number), the aforementioned sticks turn into snakes, some of which could be venomous.

The confusing part is how long the sticks stay snakes. As we can see below, the duration reads “2 rounds/level.” But in the description, it reads “2 melee rounds for each level.” This is a major difference and could be the difference between Wern the Majestic commanding the snakes long enough to escape the ambush or Wern the Majestic simply prolonging his death in the ambush.

From Beyond

Sunday, October 22nd, 2023

Earlier this month, I wrote about how little I played clerics. Thanks to this month, I am learning to like them a little bit more.

Thanks to watching From Beyond (1986), I re-read the description of “Animate Dead,” and it is more powerful than I thought. By the time Normot the Lacivious is capable of casting the spell, she can reanimate five skeletons or zombies that last until they are dispelled or killed. According to the description, Normot could perform this ritual spell every day, so in a week, she would have 35 zombies walking around with her. Granted, that might draw the wrong kind of attention, but that is why Normot needs to find herself a cute little graveyard or battlesite outside of town and start summoning.

These zombies or skeletons don’t need to travel with anyone either. Normot could leave her gold, gems, and other stuff she doesn’t need to carry around back in the crypt or run-down shack or wherever the 35 zombies are standing around doing the zombie shuffle. These slow-moving undead will be able to keep all the lacicious drawings and paintings that Normot has been collecting safe.

Better than expected.

Wilderness Gone Wild

Saturday, October 21st, 2023

I have been fairly negative recently in my various postings, so let me tell you of a place I do like: the Wild Coast.

Some of my reasons for enjoying it:

  • It is a fairly short journey from the best city of them all, and my semi-permanent base of operations, Greyhawk.
  • There are a lot of different kinds of opportunities in the Wild Coast. Need some straight-out dungeon crawling? They got it. Want to be part of political intrigue? They got it. Like a bit of midnight derring-do? Plenty of that to be had.
  • Good climate: warm in the summer, rainy in the winter.
  • No last call in most of the villages or cities. When the name of the place is the “Wild Coast,” no one should expect there to be a lot of liquor board regulation.
  • Lots of transients, vacationers, and people passing through. Every one of these populations is more likely to party and canoodle than the typical boring person for Sterich or The Yeomanry.
  • The name itself.

Ull Have What They Are Having

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023

Apparently, I am interested in the less great parts of Oerth these days, as I am about to write about Ull, which, from the one time I was there and what others have written about it, is about as less great as you can get (with the exception of when The Horned Society was active and Iuz). I am not a person who generally paints with a broad brush—how could I? I once dated an orgillion and half-orc at the same time—but grab my brush and get my paint, because I’m about to paint a picture of Ull for you.

First off, it takes a lot of walking/riding/flying to get there, even with Boots of Seven Leagues or other magic items. And the Barrier Peaks are in the way, and they are so formidable that they have their own module about getting to the other side.

Second, once in Ull, there isn’t much to look at or do. They do have nice ponies and pony races in the northern part of the state, but I doubt seriously I am going to walk even farther to see ponies run in a circle, and if I wanted to buy one, I would pick it up somewhere closer to a city.

Third, the only city of size is Ulkand, and it is mostly an overgrown town filled with bandits, thieves, rustlers, and occultists. On the whole, in small doses, I can hang out with any of these groups, and I probably have been called at least three of these professions on some occasion. However, an entire small city of these folks leads to a certain sense of paranoia about every social interaction, and sometimes a person just wants to get legless on cheap wine without having to worry about getting stabbed.