Sunday, June 15, 2014

Jinx.Com - A store with some fun items for purchase

I just found this store online.  My favorite is the T-Shirt captioned "Choose your weapon" with an image of the basic 6 D&D dice.

Friday, January 31, 2014

D&D 3.5 - Does Detect Evil allow you to detect characters with an evil alignment?

Does Detect Evil allow you to detect characters with an evil alignment?  Many players would answer that the question is obviously yes, and the answer is 'Yes', but it is not so obvious.

In 3.5, there appear to be 3 designations of evil. There is an "Evil alignment", and "Evil aura", and an "Evil subtype".

The Detect Evil spell clearly tells us that the caster can detect creatures with an "Evil aura", but the PHB also tells us that most characters do not have a good or evil aura.  Only clerics and paladins have such an "aura".  (PHB 32).  There is no "Detect Alignment" or "Know Alignment" spell in the PHB, so I don't think a character can be revealed to be Chaotic Neutral, but characters can be identified as Good/Evil/Lawful, or Chaotic.

I have deduced that "Detect Evil" does reveal any evilly aligned character by looking at the chart on page 219 of the PHB showing "Aura Power".  In it, there is a line for "Cleric of an evil deity".  Per that line, a 1st level evil cleric would have an aura power of "faint", and a 3rd level evil cleric would have an aura power of "Moderate", and a 5th level evil cleric would have an aura power of "Strong". 
Given this clear interpretation, then what is the value of the first line in the chart for "Evil creature"?  I deduce that the first line can only apply to creatures that are of evil alignment but that do not have the Evil subtype (line 3) and are not Evil Clerics or Paladins (line 4).

So, a 9th level evil rogue will have a "Faint" "aura power" of evil, the same as a 1st level evil rogue.  A 12th level evil rogue will have a "Moderate" "aura power" of evil.  Even though rogues do not have auras, they still have "aura powers" for purposes of the detect evil spell.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

D&D Players - Find the correct alignment for your characters

I just stumbled across this old web page on Wizards that helps you determine the alignment you should use for your characters.  You might also be able to figure out your own alignment too!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How Far Does 20' Radius Centered On Me Extend? D&D 3.5 Rules

I'll tell you right away that I don't have the answer to this one, but I will share the rules my group agreed to.

Let's say your cleric wants to cast a spell that helps his companions and the radius of the spell is a 20 foot radius centered on him.  That's great, now we just need to see who is within 20' feet.  Take a look at this picture:

The red-caped cleric in the center of the picture can cast the spell and it will clearly include the archer in the 20' burst, but what about the elf or monk on the right and left edges of the picture?  The wizard in the upper right is included, but what about the two large characters at the top or bottom of the picture.

Let's use one of the diagrams from the book to help us out.  The next picture includes the diagram and clearly shows which characters are in or out of range.  But you might also notice something else about the picture and that is that the 20' radius of the spell cast by the cleric is not centered on the cleric.  It extends 20' to his right, but only 15' to his left.  This is our dilemma to solve.

We have a bit of a problem.  Any radius centered on a person, in the middle of a square, is going to extend midway through the squares at the edge of the circled area encompassed by the spell.

So we could truly center the spell on the caster, so that it does not align with the grid and in doing so, the spell would partially touch every character in the picture as shown here, even though it does not line up with the base grid below it.

So is that our answer?  I think not.  First of all, if we use this approach we still have to decide if the spell affects characters that are only partially touched.  We have an answer to that question on page 28 of the DMG under the Area Spells section where it states, "…, then if the majority of a grid square lies within that circle, the square is a part of the spell’s area.".  Since the affected area should really be a circle and not the evenly squared circle shown in the picture, the characters touched by half the diagram would really be in a square that is less than 50% covered by the spell.  So, in trying to resolve this the answer starts getting more complicated.

What to do?  We came up with a solution that we feel is best because it is easy to implement, and gives the caster a good amount of control over the result.  It is also based on the rules from pages 28 of the DMG:  "To employ the spell using a grid, the caster needs to designate an intersection of two lines on the grid as the center of the effect. From that intersection, it’s easy to measure a radius using the scale on the grid. " 

We allow the caster to pick one of the intersections of one of the four corners the caster is standing in, and that corner becomes the center of the 20' burst allowing us to use the diagrams from the book, as in the second picture above, to determine those affected by the spell.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Break a Grapple With Baleful Transposition

So the large monster has your friend in a grapple and he can't break friend?  What is a low-level wizard going to do?  How about trying Baleful Transposition?  This spell from page 23 of the Spell Compendium not only can cause two monsters to switch places, the monsters involved in the exchange cannot carry other creatures with them during the exchange; thus freeing your grappled comrade.

This spell is intended to swap an ally in danger with an enemy, placing the enemy in peril; but it can also be used to get your friend out of a grapple.

It only works on creatures of size Large or smaller.

Each creature involved in the exchange gets a Will save to prevent the swap.

But it still may be just the spell you were looking for.

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) 3.5 rules.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Do I Get Two Claw Attacks or Just One After a Move in D&D 3.5

The stat block for some monsters can leave us guessing the intent.  I sometimes find stat blocks that are not clear about what the monster will do with a single attack.  Specifically, if the monster's primary attack is its claws, and the creature has two claws, does the creature get two claw attacks when it makes a move action?  The short answer is no, and my explanation follows.
Look at the Tiger in the Monster Manual (Page 281) as an example.  The Monster Manual states that 'the Attack' is a Claw.  The Tiger's 'Full Attack' is 2 Claws and 1 Bite.

One source of ambiguity is the reference to the monster's primary attack.  A tiger is not penalized on its primary attack and its primary attack is 2 claws.  'Primary Attack' does not mean the attack a monster uses when they are not using the Full Attack action.  'Primary Attack' means those attacks which do not incur a -5 penalty because they are secondary attacks.

So when a tiger takes a move action as part of its turn, and then it attacks "once", it only gets a single claw attack.  It only rolls the d20 once to attack.

When a tiger is already next to its opponent and the tiger does a 'Full Attack' action the tiger can roll the d20 three times, once for each claw and once for the bite attack.  Since the claws are both part of the Primary Attack, the tigers attack roll is +9 for each claw (this is calculated from by adding the Base Attack of +4, adding the tiger's strength bonus of +6, and then subtracting 1 because the tiger is a large creature).  The tiger's bite attack is only at +4 because it is a secondary attack (this is calculated the same with the -5 penalty included for being a secondary attack).

Final note:  A creature with the MultiAttack Feat reduces the penalty on secondary attacks from -5 to -2.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Why Your Rogue Should Have Improved Initiative - D&D 3.5

I have played a rogue Halfling for years.  Her primary weapon is a crossbow which she uses to make ranged sneak attacks.  She also has great dexterity and improved initiative which causes her to be one of the first to act in each battle.  But only recently did I learn that I have overlooked one of her best attack opportunities. 

I was not aware of the rule that an attacker in the first round of combat can treat her opponent as flat footed if the opponent has not yet acted.  This trivial sounding advantage is a huge boon to characters with the sneak attack ability and ranged attacks and a great initiative.

To clarify, if my rogue, Gwynne, has an initiative of 25, and the monster has an initiative of 18, and another rogue in our party, Berigand, has an initiative of 16, then Gwynne, acting first, could fire her crossbow at the monster and if she hits she could apply her sneak attack damage if she was within range for a sneak attack.  She does not need to be flanking or invisible because the monster is flat-footed (in the first round only).  When the monster acts, it could attack Gwynne who is not flat-footed (because she has acted already), or it could attack Berigand who is flat-footed because he has not yet acted in the round.  Unless the monster has a sneak attack ability it probably doesn't have an advantage in attacking one rogue over the other.

So my recommendation for crossbow wielding rogues is that they take "Improved Initiative", and "Crossbow Sniper" which allows sneak attacks from up to 60' away (instead of the default range of 30').  But most important, don't forget that your opponent is flat-footed in the first round of combat if you have a higher initiative and are acting before they do!

This is explained in the Player's Handbook on page 133 under "How Combat Works".  Also on page 135 under "Initiative", and on page 137 under "Flat-Footed".