• Welcome to Talking Time's third iteration! If you would like to register for an account, or have already registered but have not yet been confirmed, please read the following:

    1. The CAPTCHA key's answer is "Percy"
    2. Once you've completed the registration process please email us from the email you used for registration at percyreghelper@gmail.com and include the username you used for registration

    Once you have completed these steps, Moderation Staff will be able to get your account approved.

  • TT staff acknowledge that there is a backlog of new accounts that await confirmation.

    Unfortunately, we are putting new registrations on hold for a short time.

    We do not expect this delay to extend beyond the first of November 2020, and we ask you for your patience in this matter.

    ~TT Moderation Staff

Dungeons and/or Dragons

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
The confrontation between Asmodeus and my paladin didn't go like I'd hoped. It's left kind of a sour taste for me at the very end of this campaign, and I want to convey the whole story here to see if others feel like I got as raw a deal as it feels like for me.

Our Hell excursion was an attempt to deal with an old enemy, a hag named Mother Midnight, who got away during our last encounter with her attempt to start an expanded coven. It turned out that she was actually Malagard, the hag countess who previously ruled over Malebolge, the sixth layer of Hell, and after our "main" campaign was over, she issued a sort of challenge/taunt to our party sorcerer and we figured we'd better deal with it before something terrible happened. In addition, at one point during our "main" campaign, our party sorcerer's wild magic summoned a tiny imp calling himself Moloch--and Moloch also had a grievance with Malagard, since it was her foul advice to rebel against Asmodeus that led to his demotion from archduke of Malebolge to a tiny, powerless imp.

Moloch plotted the route to Malagard's lair for us: an arrival in Avernus, the standard first layer, then a trip down the river Styx would shortcut us to Stygia, the fifth layer, from which point we could travel overland through a tunnel to Malebolge, the sixth layer and Malagard's lair. Naturally, the route wasn't as simple as that and we got mixed up in all sorts of things in each of those three layers, including a disastrous fight against Zariel and her forces in Avernus. My paladin went down first during this encounter, which was a huge problem since the rest of the party has no healing. "Luckily," as soon as my turn came around again, the current ruler of Malebolge, Glasya, made me an offer. In exchange for bringing me (and my steed, which also went down) back to full HP, she wanted me to kill Moloch after we'd finished our business with Malagard. I agreed, to the horror of the party sorcerer, who's pretty good friends with Moloch by this time. My paladin tells her about it in character (he's just that kind of asshole) and it's a big point of tension between the two of our characters, with us trying to figure out if there's any loophole in my paladin's deal with Glasya--and if not, whether the sorceress will side with her familiar or me, because if I don't make good on my part of the deal, Glasya gets my paladin's soul.

Fast forward past a bunch of other stuff happening, and we're about to make camp in Malebolge with a clear shot at Malagard the next day. Asmodeus suddenly appears, grabs Moloch, and the two of them vanish together. My paladin is now totally fucked. There's no chance of us going past Malebolge to Nessos in a bid to win him back, and all Asmodeus has to do to get my paladin's soul is to keep Moloch locked down there for the next 50 or 60 years. But at the end of the same session, Asmodeus also teleported my paladin to his audience chamber to see what I'd be willing to offer him in exchange for Moloch back. Cue the cliffhanger while I had a week to think about what I'd be willing to do here: this is where we were when I mentioned upthread that the next session might begin with an attempt to intimidate the Lord of Hell.

What I came up with, and what I offered, was peace. The alternative, I suggested, was that my paladin would gather up an even bigger party and start doing raids on Hell every year. I'd never get close to Asmodeus, but during this weeklong (in game time) trip the four of us redeemed Zariel, slew Levistus, defeated Demogorgon twice, and were about to take our Malagard too. I told Asmodeus that if I had a finite number of years left before my soul was his, I'd feel duty-bound to make sure that his losses would far outweigh whatever value he got from one mortal's soul. Or he could give me back Moloch and I'd pledge never to voluntarily enter his domain again. I was prepared to make a Persuasion or Intimidation check after this pitch, but the DM never gave me that chance. Instead, he had Asmodeus make a counteroffer that I couldn't see my paladin ever accepting--basically, my firstborn child would be some kind of tiefling beholden to Asmodeus. I rejected it, and that was that.

The whole thing kind of feels like a reverse deus ex machina to me. I had just gotten an exciting idea for how to resolve the deal with Glasya, when in swoops the Lord of Hell and upsets the whole playing field. It all makes sense within the fiction (Asmodeus has it out for my paladin pretty bad, due to the whole aforementioned "redeeming Zariel" thing) but it's going to make any kind of ending for my character when we wrap up this campaign in a few sessions feel pretty hollow, because he knows that in the end, he's damned. You could say, rightfully, that I invited this possibility upon myself when I made that first deal with Glasya...but I thought that was going to be a story about my relationship with the sorcerer, not with Asmodeus. And not giving me the opportunity to roll for it during the negotiations still feels kinda cheap to me.

I dunno, what do y'all think?
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I'm hoping that our campaign lasts to level 10 so I can steal Tiny Servants from the Wizard list. I'll have a bunch of flasks of acid sprout arms & legs then have them go dump themselves on enemies.
So magnificently dumb and crazy - I love it.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
I dunno, what do y'all think?

Collective storytelling is tricky. I can’t say if your DM was wrong or right, but maybe they didn’t have a good read on what you wanted out of the scene. I’ve had a few sessions where I did what I thought players wanted, only to find that they had something else in mind. Maybe talk to your DM & see if there’s another way you could get a better ending for your character?
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
Hmm... Not being given a roll for that does sound a little frustrating. Here you are, RPing really deep in the story, engaging with the conflict, and it gets kind of brushed off for a "What? No." moment that flops anticlimactically.

There might be room to go with it - your character's threat to Asmodeus stands, after all. Even if "he dedicated his many remaining decades to making Hell regret fucking with him" in itself isn't a satisfying end to your character, it could still give you and the DM some levers to pull to move things toward a better resolution in the last few sessions before things do wrap up.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
We played our second session yesterday. I spent a lot of time preparing a big dungeon and a bunch of threads that the party could follow up on. Instead, they immediately attacked a group of Dwarf guards, without resting up from the previous session.

It was a huge drawn out fight, with the guards calling in a Stone Defender as reinforcements. The guards had been pushing a big covered cart toward a cave, so I had the defender take over pulling the cart, while shielding the remaining Dwarves and occasionally taking swipes at the party. Theywere able to kill all three guards, but the defender got the cart into the cave and they could hear more Dwarves inside. They very wisely decided to grab whatever they could find from the battlefield and got out of there. For the last 10 minutes of the session they got back to town & found a bunch of the hooks.

All in all, they did well for a 3rd level party. They are very tanky. They have a Barbarian, a Hexblade, and a Moon Druid, plus the Ranger’s Wolf is basically an extra bag of HP that can make opportunity attacks. When I’m playing as intelligent creatures I’ll have to focus fire the Sorcerer, then the Hexblade and Ranger. Or, get the Druid when she’s playing a caster. Not that I want to kill them, but I want the fights to be somewhat challenging.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun and now I don’t have to do any prep work for the next session or two.
 

SabreCat

Sabe, Inattentive Type
(they/them)
I dunno, what do y'all think?
Oof, that's rough. Probably the ideal time to speak up would have been when the Asmodeus curveball first happened--call time out, ask "Hey, where are we going with this? I was hoping to do X, but this feels like it completely derails that", and work it out with the DM there. But if you're taken off guard and your table doesn't have a culture of open conversation like that, it's real easy to get flustered past the moment, and the further down an unhappy path you get the harder it is to rewind or correct.

A later opportunity might've been the deal you'd never take? "Time out. You know that's not something I'd even be tempted by, right? Can we come up with something I might actually consider?"

(Can you tell I really like the "time out" technique to interrupt bad vibes and talk it out? heh)
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
A DM isn't obligated to give you a roll for something an NPC wouldn't consider either, but it seems like a tough situation. I would try talking to them outside the game.
 

Nich

stuck in baby prison
(he/him)
I'm not sure I agree in this situation. If I was a level 1 bard and I walked up to a king and said, "You know, I think I should be king instead," that's a situation where it would be ludicrous to expect a Persuasion check. Within the fiction, the king is just going to say "What?" and then "No" and then "Guards!" But we're talking about a situation where the context was a negotiation, and the NPC in question is a canny, savvy bargainer. I'd already made a case for why the NPC should be considering my offer: the alternative, losing a few of your highest-placed underlings every year, is pretty bad for him. He knew that wasn't an empty threat, because we'd just spent the last 20 sessions proving we were capable of it. So in this situation, I honestly think I was due the roll.
 

Mogri

Round and round I go
(he)
Staff member
At the very least, it's worth a quick conversation with the DM to make sure you're on the same page. If the DM has something planned, it might be OK, but it could very well be the case that the DM didn't understand your expectations.
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)
I've been DMing two 5E games throughout 2020. The first is in my own setting, a megadungeon I designed for 1E AD&D and transferred over to 5E early this year. The other is a Curse of Strahd with several TT members which has consistently been my favorite module-based game I've ever run.

Anyway last week we took a break from my homebrew game so I could be a PC for a while. The DM ran a one-shot session based on a dream she'd extended into a full-blown world. The basis of this world is a recurring "dark time" where everything that's metal floats into the sky. (Like, all the way up.) There are dwarf-led "anchor cities" which are underground and immune from the dark times. We're two weeks out from the next dark time and we have to get to the nearest anchor city before it starts. I'm playing a warforged, so I have extra incentive to get there.

The first session had us board one of the big "ark" ships which ride on wooden railways between the anchor cities and other towns. It immediately was attacked by pterodactyls, and the cook (apparently secretly a pterodactyl herself) set fire to the kitchen. We jumped into the hold, befriended a sentient floating sword, and made it up to the roof where we met an even larger, but friendly, bird, which carried us off the burning ship.

We had a bit of off-the-rails where one of the characters, a merfolk, decided the safest place for herself was in the water. Which, true, so we had to persuade her in-character to jump back on the ship.

I decided to role-play the quirk that my warforged announces the threat level of every creature he encounters out loud. I'm very much enjoying it.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
The basis of this world is a recurring "dark time" where everything that's metal floats into the sky. (Like, all the way up.) There are dwarf-led "anchor cities" which are underground and immune from the dark times. We're two weeks out from the next dark time and we have to get to the nearest anchor city before it starts. I'm playing a warforged, so I have extra incentive to get there.
That.....is an extremely cool setting.
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)
Right? And it's all from some dream she had! I mean, lots of thought and development went into it after she woke up, but still.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
I was all set to make my new character a Swords Bard, but I’ve been reading Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and now I’m thinking that an Artificer Artillerist might be a better fit. They would only be a half caster instead of a full one, but they have a lot of good class and subclass features.

So, instead of a Kobold magic swordfighter he would be a Kobold magic item craftsman. He would use a wand and a shield in combat, and would have an eldritch cannon (looks like a tiny version of himself), and a homunculus servant (looks like a tiny winged version of himself) alongside. At level 9 he would get the Tiny Servant Spell, and at 15 he’ll be able to have two cannons active at once. So, by 20th level he would have up to 20 little mechanical Kobolds running around if he uses all of his spell slots.

He’ll be able to infuse a certain number of magic items each day and can create a bunch of simple magic trinkets too. Plus, he’ll eventually get a boost to making magic items during downtime, and will be able to store 10 uses of a spell in an item that anyone can use (party members, the Homunculus, whoever). And he’ll have a bunch of spells that let him set arcane locks, wards, etc.

So I’m thinking that whenever I’m DMing he’ll be like James Bond’s Q for the party. He can infuse items for them, increase defenses at their hideout, craft more low level magic items, etc. and when I’m playing I’ll flavor his spells as magic items. The more I think about it the more I like it.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
My Tasha's book should get here today and I am excite!

My zealot barbarian has proven pretty boring, mechanically. Rage, reckless attack, rinse, repeat. So since Tasha's came out and everyone is rerolling anyway, I'm mixing it up.

I'm going to do the Drakewarden UA ranger, the fixed beastmaster. And since Tasha's is out, I'll be using their alternate-feature fixes to try that out. I'm going sword-and-board melee ranger too, as a Tortle. Gives me a lot more moving pieces to play with than the barb has, which I should find much more satisfying.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Nice! One of the new Ranger options that I really like is the Druidic Warrior fighting style. You can pick Shillelagh and Thornwhip for solid melee & ranged battlefield control spells. Wisdom will count toward all of your attacks & spells, so you can go all in. Favored Foe gives them a pseudo hunter’s mark that doesn’t use spell slots, and Primal Awareness gives you a bunch of flavorful spells that you can cast for free. Overall Rangers feel much more magical, instead of just being fighters with an occasional spell.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
Ooh, interesting... I do think I'm going to stick with a strength build and dueling, since I'm the tankiest of the party still, but that's definitely a cool feature.

One of these days I'll fulfill my dream of jumping off a cliff, making a thorn whip attack midair and pulling the enemy off the cliff with me, then misty stepping back to the cliff as they fall. But today is not that day.


Speakinf of fighting styles, Unarmed Fighting being an official style now is very cool. Although they took away 1d4 upon grappling and 1d4 per hit while grappling... but also, a free 1d4 per turn while grappling adds options, I guess. And now I think you don't drop from 1d8 to 1d6 while grappling. (Although you would technically be going up from 1d8 to 1d6+1d4 if you attack the target you're grappling in the UA version. So, slightly better... eh, whatever.)


As someone who started playing a shadow-blade-heavy shadow sorcerer/swashbuckler rogue dual-class within the last month, the new nerfs to Booming Blade (no twin spell, have to use a physical weapon so no Shadow Blade) make me a sad Tabaxi. The twin spell I can see, although sorcerer points are a pretty precious resource to spend on an extra attack, but at least it gives me a reason to ever use GFB. The "no cantrips with shadow blade" one just makes me a sad panda (and I don't think I'd enforce it as a DM.) Buncha jerks.
 
Top