Scaly God question (spoilers)

A forum for discussing the many DCC modules published under third edition rules, EXCEPT for Castle Whiterock, which has its own forum.

Moderators: DJ LaBoss, finarvyn, Harley Stroh

Post Reply
Jezza
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Jezza » Sun Jun 22, 2008 6:30 pm

Mountain troglodytes are listed as having a full attack of a greatclub, a claw, and a bite. Can one use a natural attack in combination with a two-handed weapon?

User avatar
JediOre
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 1127
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: In a galaxy far, far, away (Missouri)

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by JediOre » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:13 am

Jezza wrote:Mountain troglodytes are listed as having a full attack of a greatclub, a claw, and a bite. Can one use a natural attack in combination with a two-handed weapon?

I've forgotten most of the rules for 3.X already, but to me the answer is "do you need to put fear in the players? If so, have the trogs use the club one-handed and allow the off hand to get a strike."

Make the trogs stand at least seven foot and rippling with reptilian muscle.

User avatar
Rick Maffei
Hard-Bitten Adventurer
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:06 am
Location: Flying overhead
Contact:

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Rick Maffei » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:06 pm

JediOre: Make the trogs stand at least seven foot and rippling with reptilian muscle.
JediOre has demonstrated his jedi-like wisdom yet again, and also beat me in replying (this weekend I temporarily moved my computer away from my online connection for easier writing on a GG project, so I hope you'll forgive me :wink: )—I view the mountain trogs as big, muscular creatures, easily able to wield a club in one hand (as depicted on p. 61). If you must go RAW, limit them to the club, but I always favor terrified players over strict rules adherence! :twisted:

Do be sure to relate any good tales of SG-related trog battles! I've been hooked on trogs since D1 and can't get enough of the scaly buggers.
DCC #26 The Scaly God
DCC #60 Thrones of Punjar
Monstercology: Orcs
Age of Cthulhu 2: Madness in London Town
Co-author Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil
Co-author 2006, 2007, 2008 Tourney DCCs

Visit Rick's RPG Blog Jabberwock's Rest

User avatar
JediOre
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 1127
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: In a galaxy far, far, away (Missouri)

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by JediOre » Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:34 pm

Rick Maffei wrote:JediOre has demonstrated his jedi-like wisdom yet again. . . .
Rick, thanks for the complement. It made my day.

User avatar
Rick Maffei
Hard-Bitten Adventurer
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:06 am
Location: Flying overhead
Contact:

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Rick Maffei » Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:24 pm

JediOre: Rick, thanks for the complement. It made my day.
I just calls 'em like I see 'em, my friend. :D
DCC #26 The Scaly God
DCC #60 Thrones of Punjar
Monstercology: Orcs
Age of Cthulhu 2: Madness in London Town
Co-author Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil
Co-author 2006, 2007, 2008 Tourney DCCs

Visit Rick's RPG Blog Jabberwock's Rest

User avatar
xredjasonx
Deft-Handed Cutpurse
Posts: 254
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by xredjasonx » Tue Jun 24, 2008 3:30 pm

Rick Maffei wrote: If you must go RAW, limit them to the club, but I always favor terrified players over strict rules adherence! :twisted:
This reminds me of one-shot the dungeon crawl we played last night. It was the Free RPG Day mod from WotC Treasure of Talon Pass. We figured we'd play it since, well, it was free. ;) We first came across a couple of wights, and as we were trying to take care of them a group of about 8 shambling zombies came around another corner behind us. ! We were like "Oh Shi.....!" They started surrounding us, we were terrified.

Luckily, they turned out to be minions, our wizard cast Burning Hands and took out 3 of them at once. Same thing happened later on when we ran into about the same number of orcs. We knew we were dead this time, but the majority of them turned out to be minions also. In 3.5 we would have been screwed. It was balanced this time, it would have been a slaughter fest at our expense in the old edition.

This just goes to show that with the new 4E rules, there will be lots of opportunities to terrify players, legitimately.

User avatar
Rick Maffei
Hard-Bitten Adventurer
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:06 am
Location: Flying overhead
Contact:

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Rick Maffei » Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:22 pm

I have a love/hate relationship with the 4e minion thing at this point.

I love the idea of mighty heroes mowing down a horde of orcs or lackeys (view the first page or two of any Conan comic for an example). It also allows the GM to throw a really large group of monsters at the party—40 skeletons surge up from the graveyard!—without a TPK. That said, the possible player reaction of, "Oh wait, relax, they're just minions," is a bummer, especially at lower levels. Having giant minions with 1 hp rubs me, although the mechanics guy inside me knows the 1 hp just represents one hit.

Push comes to shove, I do like the idea and want to see it in action more. If minions are blended in with other monsters, as in your example, it's much better (plus that wonderful PC/player fear factor you mention).
DCC #26 The Scaly God
DCC #60 Thrones of Punjar
Monstercology: Orcs
Age of Cthulhu 2: Madness in London Town
Co-author Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil
Co-author 2006, 2007, 2008 Tourney DCCs

Visit Rick's RPG Blog Jabberwock's Rest

User avatar
xredjasonx
Deft-Handed Cutpurse
Posts: 254
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:12 am
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by xredjasonx » Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:40 pm

That's the fun part though, mixing in minions amongst the real monsters so the players don't know which is which. Also, throwing in a bunch of skeleton minions still keeps the party quite busy while the couple of real skeletons do their thing, it gives the battle a high intensity, like what happened to us with the wights and the zombies. I think it's a great addition to D&D.

Another way to use them is if the party is having too easy a time with a couple monsters, have a bunch of minions plow through the door behind them! :twisted:

I don't think the party will be saying "Oh, they're just minions," when they're being surrounded and flanked, while a couple of more powerful monsters are pummeling them. Minions still do damage. One hit from Decrepit Skeleton (MM) still does 4 damage per hit. That's significant especially when regular skeletons are hitting you for 1d8+2 damage and marking you.

User avatar
Rick Maffei
Hard-Bitten Adventurer
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:06 am
Location: Flying overhead
Contact:

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Rick Maffei » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:38 pm

Good points all, xredjasonx, and you're right; minions may have jaws of glass, but many of them are pretty strong otherwise—especially when attacking from the rear. :wink:
DCC #26 The Scaly God
DCC #60 Thrones of Punjar
Monstercology: Orcs
Age of Cthulhu 2: Madness in London Town
Co-author Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil
Co-author 2006, 2007, 2008 Tourney DCCs

Visit Rick's RPG Blog Jabberwock's Rest

Jezza
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Jezza » Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:14 pm

Thanks for the advice. I figure a trog can take one hand off the weapon as a free action, and put it back on as a swift action, enabling it to do club and claw when full attacking. Opens the door for the warforged greatsword fighter to do the same thing though...
Another question - the stealth sword's bonus - is that supposed to be untyped? I think I'll make it a competence bonus, so it doesn't stack with Cloak of Elvenkind etc.

User avatar
Rick Maffei
Hard-Bitten Adventurer
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:06 am
Location: Flying overhead
Contact:

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Rick Maffei » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:34 pm

Jezza,

Sounds like a good solution. As far as the warforged (which I know little about), the trog's club action could be considered a type of secondary attack that only certain creatures with the multiattack ability get. (My golden rule: just because monsters get something, doesn't mean players/PCs get it too. It's nice to be balanced, but if creatures get some special abilities it helps make them unique.)

The stealth sword was written untyped, but in some combos it could get a wee bit powerful so tweak away. :)
DCC #26 The Scaly God
DCC #60 Thrones of Punjar
Monstercology: Orcs
Age of Cthulhu 2: Madness in London Town
Co-author Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil
Co-author 2006, 2007, 2008 Tourney DCCs

Visit Rick's RPG Blog Jabberwock's Rest

Jezza
Wild-Eyed Zealot
Posts: 88
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:35 am
Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Jezza » Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:34 pm

Hey Rick,
here's another question - does Ssustre have a viper rod because it's a powerful weapon that (theoretically) the PCs can't use? It's just that there are a couple of evil characters in my group and one in particular would I'm sure be very happy to get his hands on it.
I'm thinking of maybe making it only usable by worshippers of Lagos, or something similar.

User avatar
Rick Maffei
Hard-Bitten Adventurer
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:06 am
Location: Flying overhead
Contact:

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Rick Maffei » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:57 pm

Jezza,

Yes, that was the original intent, a weapon most PCs couldn't use that was useful to Ssustre and fit the "scaly" theme well.
Like the adder version of the staff of the serpent in 1e, the "can't be used by non-evil characters" clause prevents most PCs from making use of it. In your case, limiting it to Lagos worshippers might be the best solution.
DCC #26 The Scaly God
DCC #60 Thrones of Punjar
Monstercology: Orcs
Age of Cthulhu 2: Madness in London Town
Co-author Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil
Co-author 2006, 2007, 2008 Tourney DCCs

Visit Rick's RPG Blog Jabberwock's Rest

User avatar
Mike_Ferguson
Deft-Handed Cutpurse
Posts: 287
Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2002 5:27 pm

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Mike_Ferguson » Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:22 am

I was going to borrow some of the thoughts from this thread for my blog ... but hey, I'll post here instead. :)

Back in the days when my friend Eric and I were running 1E campaigns (because at that time, 1E was the only E), we ised to talk a lot about designing adventures. One of the things that got discussed was what we called "arms race mentality". Whenever PCs wound up with their first +1 weapons, the temptation was to give the monsters +2 weapons to make them more challenging. Then the PCs killed those monsters, and then the next set of monsters would get +3 weapons ... creating a vicious circle, one that could upset game balance way too much in favor of the players.

Same thing happened when giving your big bad villain a deadly artifact, like the Eye of Vecna. Sounds cool in the short-term - it can add immeasurably towards making a battle with the villain something memorable - but if the villain gets defeated, the DM is forced to deal with the PCs being able to use that artifact for a long, long time.

To "control" the arms race, we would occasionally give the monsters/NPCs weapons or magic items that the PCs could never use. Like an Axe of Dwarf Smiting, usable only by "orcs of the purest blood". Or a two-handed sword for a fire giant, requiring a Strength of 24 just to lift, never mind use. Or ... a viper rod for a trog.

It's a technique that's best used sparingly, IMHO. Part of the fun of defeating monsters is being able to loot them and to use their cool stuff. But when used in moderation (as Rick does in "Scaly God"), it's a great way to help maintain long-term game balance.

(And as a side note ... if you haven't picked up "Scaly God" yet, by all means do so. It's a fantastic adventure, and if you need something to run for mid-level characters, this would be something well worth buying with your hard-earned bucks.)

User avatar
Rick Maffei
Hard-Bitten Adventurer
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 10:06 am
Location: Flying overhead
Contact:

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by Rick Maffei » Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:17 pm

Thanks for the kind comments Mike.

Ah, the dreaded Arms Race. Definitely something for GMs to think about at all times.

My first letter to Dragon (back in the January 1991 issue!) mentions his very topic. I'll spare everyone the whole looong letter, but it began:
A complaint that I have frequently heard is that of players becoming too powerful for the DM to handle, often because of the magical items they carry. Often a DM will allow a powerful magical item to fall into the hands of a character to spice up a boring campaign. Soon the magical item becomes a further problem, and so the campaign goes…
Elsewhere in the letter I mentioned various ways to "scale down" (read: take away) PC magic items, or prevent giving away too many in the first place. One of which:
–When stocking high-level dungeons, supply enemy guards and monsters with magical items the party has difficulty using, if you must give the monsters magic at all. For example, the party should not be able to defeat 12 evil guards armed with magical swords and grab 12 magical swords at one time. Perhaps the guards use swords +1 that can be used only by lawful-evil creatures. A magical ring or weapon employed by a giant may be too large or heavy for the characters to employ. In the AD&D White Plume Mountain module, there was a giant crab that wore an armband that made it psionic-proof. It was noted in the module that the magic of the armband was keyed to that particular monster alone. Obviously some items will be created with their monstrous users in mind!
Great minds think alike I guess! Now stop stealing my thoughts Ferguson and go back to writing the next great DCC. :wink:

(Side note: I'm so glad I got my hands on the Dragon CD archive! I wasn't prepared to crawl in the attic looking for that issue!)
DCC #26 The Scaly God
DCC #60 Thrones of Punjar
Monstercology: Orcs
Age of Cthulhu 2: Madness in London Town
Co-author Age of Cthulhu 5: The Long Reach of Evil
Co-author 2006, 2007, 2008 Tourney DCCs

Visit Rick's RPG Blog Jabberwock's Rest

User avatar
JediOre
Cold-Hearted Immortal
Posts: 1127
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: In a galaxy far, far, away (Missouri)

Re: Scaly God question (spoilers)

Post by JediOre » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:23 pm

That's why I really liked the addition of magical blade and magical blunt weapon oil in Unearthed Arcana (sp?). I loved handing that out since it could really increase the power of a weapon for a short period of time, but didn't "up" the arms race.

Post Reply

Return to “DCC Modules - 3E”