Tiny Guide to the D&D Sessions

With how busy, chaotic, and popular the D&D sessions have gotten on LK's stream on Sunday nights, I've noticed quite a few people not know what in the flying blue blazes is going on. As per the storyline, Rollo_T has made some fantastic rrcaps from two sessions before the recording even began up to the Epic Talbot Confrontation session. What I wanted to cover in this post was to provide as brief as possible explanation of some of the terminology and rules so as to leave fewer watchers in confusion.

First, for those that're already lost - Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game where several players are led in mini- or grand storylines by the Dungeon Master (in our case, TheSpoonyOne). Born as the original RPG game, the current edition harkens to several aspects of MMORPGs and turn-based games like Final Fantasy, with a greater focus on combat (and giving spellcasters magic abilities they can use every turn, thank Bahamut). Players assume the role of a character, with it's own set of abilities and even elaborate backstories.

All participants use different types of dice to make rolls for certain events, ranging from 4-sided (known as a d4) to 6, 8, 10, 12, 20, and sometimes percentile dice (a d10 labeled 10-100 and a normal d10, together called a d100 or d%) if the DM calls for such a roll. Various skill checks, as well as all attack rolls, are determined with a d20, plus relative modifiers depending on the situation.

There are 6 main abilities that all characters possess: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. STR is used with basic attacks with all melee weapons and heavy thrown weapons. DEX is the same, but with ranged attacks and light thrown weapons, along with skills such as Thievery and Stealth. Constitution determines your total Hitpoints, and are part of skills such as Endurance. Intelligence is a huge skill for spellcasters, as this is normally part of their attack skill for their offensive spells. Wisdom is a bit harder to explain - it's a more "magical" version of ranged attacks and has other properties and skills, such as Heal, Insight, and Perception. Charisma is made for some attacks, especially ones that coerce enemies to move or force them to attack allies, along with skills such as Bluff, Intimidate and Diplomacy.

These skills can be a number from 3 to 18 at first level (either determined by rolling 4d6 and adding up the highest 3 numbers, then doing this six times, or using a set array of numbers) but are normally in the 10-14 range. For determining ability modifiers, subtract 10 from the result, divide by 2, round down, then add half your level. So, for a 4th level character with 16 strength, his total Strength modifier would be +5 (3 for having 16 strength, 2 for half his level).

All classes have their own set of powers they can use in or out of combat. They are split into At-Will (may use once per round), Encounter, and Daily. Utility powers can be any of these, and are normally used out of combat to apply skills to various situations. All offensive powers have an attack check and a defense check.

Speaking of defense checks: there are 4 in the game, but sometimes skills such as Endurance come into play. These are AC (armor class), Fortitude, Reflex, and Will. AC is determined by a base of 10, adding the bonus a character's armor grants him, then his Dexterity or Intelligence modifier if he doesn't wear heavy armor. Fortitude is determined by adding STR or CON modifier (whichever is higher) to 10. Reflex uses DEX or INT, and Will uses WIS or CHA. All three can be raised via certain class attributes.

Classes, you ask? Every type of "job" and set of powers belong to a certain character class. There are a hell of a lot of classes to choose from, but I'll outline the ones represented in this campaign:

[Bard]: Skitch's character (Garrett). Uses powers based on music and song to confuse and damage enemies and also healing allies.

[Druid]: Chris's character (Juliet). Is able to change into an animal or back at will while also using magic to control the placement and movement of enemies. Chris has also dabbled into Shaman, which enabled him to summon a Spirit companion to further his controlling powers.

[Fighter]: Nik's character (Viktor). Holds foes in melee range and coerces enemies to attack him while doing good damage with a variety of weapons.

[Ranger]: Jason's character (Grae). Focused on damage and mobility, Rangers may either master the bow or dual-blades, and are allowed to wield two one-handed weapons even if the offhand weapon can normally not be worn in the offhand. Can mark enemies as their Hunter's Quarry, which allows a Ranger to deal more damage on a hit against it.

[Rogue]: Sean's character (Darstine), and my favorite class. The ninja of D&D, they focus on fighting enemies that grant the rogue combat advantage (by flanking them, by status effects, or other Rogue powers) to inflict tremendous amounts of damage. Along with the Ranger, they are very stealthy, and specialize in the light blade, crossbow, and shuriken.

[Swordmage]: Joe's character (Lord Vane II). Very akin to a Jedi, Swordmages focus on using a combination of magic and swordplay to keep enemies at their mercy, defending allies by marking or pulling their enemies towards the Swordmage.

Some extra terminology:

Shift: Characters may spend their move action (a turn consists of a standard action, a move action, and a minor action, the first two of which can be replaced by a lower ranked action if needed) to move 1 square. This can be used to move out of squares that an enemy could attack and normally would if the character used a normal move. Shifts can be multiple squares if granted as such.

DC: Defending check. A roll against this skill (an attack versus the monster's Reflex, a Strength check against a door) must meet or exceed this number to land the effect.

Burst/blast: An effect that targets a number of squares with "Burst x" affects all squares x spaces away from the original target, be it yourself (Close burst), another enemy, or another square. Blast x requires you to make a a square with a side length of x, with at least one square adjacent to you.

Flanking: If you are next to an enemy, and an ally is occupying a square the exact opposite across from you, both you and the ally are flanking the target. The target grants combat advantage to you, which means you gain a +2 bonus to attack rolls (flanking bonus does not apply to ranged attacks, however) and, if you're a Rogue, can deal extra damage via your Sneak Attack.

Bloodied: Creatures are in this state if their HP hits or falls below half their max HP.

Healing Surges/Second Wind: All characters have a set amount of healing surges they can use per day, which when one is spent allows them to heal a quarter of their (or sometimes an ally's) max HP. A second wind can be used once per encounter to spend a healing surge without needing another effect to do so.

... So yea, bored Slate was bored. Hope this was a help to some of y'all, and if you have further questions (since I covered only the basics) I or others more experienced than I am should be able to help. :)

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 
Click Here to Start Blogging