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Role-Playing Practice & Resources => Game Questions => Topic started by: SchrodingersNinja on April 03, 2017, 09:22:48 PM

Title: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 03, 2017, 09:22:48 PM
So I am completely new, and am looking to get into D&D. This play by post format should fit my schedule better than any other method since I am only available reliably after 9 CST.

I feel like I need some help with some basic questions as well as building my first character.

Q1: Do characters generally carry over to other games? Or when my current DM calls it quits is that it for my guy?

Q2: I know there are a lot of campaign settings available. Are characters able to go from one setting to another or does each setting have its own classes and whatnot?

Q3: Since I am learning, I figured I should start with the most "Vanilla" D&D experience. What setting would that be? What is some must-have lore knowledge I will need to enter?

Q4: I have a character idea for my first guy, if I post a semi completed sheet would someone be willing to help me with the rest?
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: thatchickenguy on April 03, 2017, 10:05:26 PM
Hi, and welcome to the board, @SchrodingersNinja!

Q1: Do characters generally carry over to other games? Or when my current DM calls it quits is that it for my guy?

Generally speaking, characters do not carry over from one game to another. There may be some exceptions to this - maybe you ended one game at level 5-6, and a new game is starting at level 5-6.

Q2: I know there are a lot of campaign settings available. Are characters able to go from one setting to another or does each setting have its own classes and whatnot?

The closest to setting compatibility are D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder. Many games will allow you to use characters/materials from both settings when playing games in these settings, but it's always important to check with the DM/GM before using any material outside what is specified.

Q3: Since I am learning, I figured I should start with the most "Vanilla" D&D experience. What setting would that be? What is some must-have lore knowledge I will need to enter?

The most current D&D system on the market is 5E, and is what a good deal of games tend to build around. 3.5 is still fairly popular as well as the aforementioned Pathfinder.

Q4: I have a character idea for my first guy, if I post a semi completed sheet would someone be willing to help me with the rest?

Absolutely! I would be glad to myself, but if you're trying to join a game, it would be best to post one to the person looking for players. That way that DM can help you finish a character that you will enjoy playing in his/her campaign setting.

Hope that helps, and let me or any of the other players here know if you have any questions!

EDIT: You also asked about must have lore. Honestly, there's not a lot of must have stuff. If you're aware of Tolkien's The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings universe, then you're aware of the type of world that a large portion of D&D takes place in. Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings, with a few more exotic races thrown in. Most of the info you need to know should be discussed at the beginning of the campaign so that all players know what to expect going into the game, since every DM takes a different slice of the world for his/her campaign. Don't sweat the rest; it'll come with time!
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: Otter on April 03, 2017, 11:33:42 PM
Hi @SchrodingersNinja !  We're glad to have you here!  @nathanw13 pretty much nailed the answers--a lot of what you're asking will depend on the person running your game.  If you want to send me a PM or use the chat feature on the board to catch me while I'm actually on the board, we can talk more about any further questions you might have!  I would be happy to help you create a character sheet that you could adjust pretty easily to most 5th edition games, and we could run through an example scene as well, so you can see how that works.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 04, 2017, 03:58:08 PM
So this is the guy I am trying to make. I figured he would be a fighter, using a Rapier or other finesse swords. I do not know what the different Martial Archetypes are, and am having trouble finding a description of them.

I am uploading the PDF I generated from http://www.orcpub.com/ please look it over and let me know if there is anything I need to add or should leave blank. I am open to general tips and advice.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: thatchickenguy on April 04, 2017, 09:21:13 PM
@SchrodingersNinja

So, just a couple of quick thoughts from me. Rapier or finesse swords are a great way to for fighters, so I think you'll enjoy the build.

I see that you left your equipment blank. You do get equipment from both your starting class and your background, but generally it's a good idea to leave this blank until you talk to your DM. Some DMs prefer you to roll starting gold and purchase your starting equipment a la carte. If you did this on purpose, kudos! If this was an oversight or something that orcpub did not prompt you to do - well, it was a happy oversight.

You don't get your Martial Archetype until level 3, but there's certainly nothing wrong with being prepared ahead of time for what you want to be. If you haven't already, be sure to download the free Basic Rules (http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules) and check out our Resources Thread (http://irate-pirate.org/game-system-resources/dd-resources/).

The basic rules only cover one Archetype though, and Wizards has been rather restrictive of information being posted online. If you're not ready to buy a Players Handbook yet, you can check out this Fighters Guide (http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?468964-GUIDE-The-Art-of-War-A-Fighter-Guide) that was posted on the old WOTC forum, and archived on ENWorld. It gives a brief overview of the fighter, as well as a good idea of what to expect of some of the mechanics of the class - including the additional Archetypes.

Lastly - I see that for your flaw you went with "scandalous secret" - excellent choice! This can make for some great RP if you work with your DM. Be thinking about what this secret might be, and be sure the DM is aware of whether he/she should work it into the campaign or not.

Looks really good! @Otter will likely be by later to cover something I didn't - I always miss a few points! Good luck, and happy gaming!


Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: Otter on April 04, 2017, 10:13:46 PM
Heheh yep, I've had almost all of this typed out for most of the evening but I keep getting interrupted.

Fighters are very versatile warriors in 5e.  The actual text of the archetypes are protected, but I can give you a summary.

Champion: A student of strength.  Hit harder, swim longer, jump higher. Anything physical, you do better.
Battle Master: A student of strategy.  Tactics are important--learn from history, use techniques to put yourself at an advantage and your enemy at a disadvantage.  Fight with your mind, not just your muscles.
Eldritch Knight: A student of spellcasting.  Combine might and magic in the best way.  Fight with blade and flame, cast spells one round and strike with your sword the next.

I definitely recommend wandering into a bookstore and reading through the Player's Handbook for a while.  You could buy it there or pick up a copy on Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Players-Handbook-Dungeons-Dragons-Wizards/dp/0786965606).

A lot of the beginning stats would be up to your DM.  Some DMs want you to roll for the ability scores, some require you to use a point buy system.  Sometimes you start with all your gear... and occasionally a game will start out as "You're all naked and chained to the wall of a cell.  Good luck!!"  (That's when my rogues started wearing lock picks as hairpins...)

So overall you have a really good start!  I think OrcPub doesn't let other people see the equipment or backstory, I've seen that issue with a few other sheets from there, as well.  Might want to check out the https://www.myth-weavers.com/ (https://www.myth-weavers.com/sheets) character sheet.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 18, 2017, 02:55:38 PM
Hey all, thanks for the help in the past.

I have a few questions about item procurement.

1) Am I right that, in general, looting enemies is not performed? Like I won't be carting piles of dead Orc weapons and armor off to sell right?

2) How do I find equipment/weapons/armor I want? Am I to assume most normal items are readily available from one shop or another? Like I say I want some torches, DM says my char walks to general store? Potions, Go to apothecary? Armor, Blacksmith? etc.

3) If I wanted something more exotic (this is admittedly more advanced for a lvl 1 scrub who is going to be devoured by a swarm of rats soon) what do I do? Say I want... an item that mimics a spell (the example in my mind is staves in Diablo II could have charges of teleport or firebolt) would I be able to ask around and find one in a dungeon, have it made, or would it be kind of a random loot-table drop?


Anyway, these are just some curious questions I have. Appreciate the answers, and this forum is a pretty fun place to lurk and play!
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: thatchickenguy on April 18, 2017, 03:08:58 PM
These are all great questions, and I'm going to dodge your questions by pawning them off on someone else! :P

In all seriousness - these are all questions that, just like a game played at a tabletop, are going to have variation based on the DM. The 'rules' for the sort of questions you're asking really don't change because this is a PBP forum. In the game I'm playing on the board, we've already attempted to loot a set of bodies we came across. We didn't really find anything, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Equipment availability, similarly, is likely to be "as available as the DM says it is". If you want something specific, be sure to mention it to the DM - he/she is very likely to work with you to get that item either through a quest or a special interaction since he/she knows it's something you're looking for.

We're glad you're enjoying it here, and I hope I didn't dodge too hard! Let your DM know your concerns over how item procurement is handled in their game - I'm sure they won't mind.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 18, 2017, 03:17:34 PM
Actually your answer is basically what I was expecting. I realize every game of DnD is going to be a "your mileage may vary" situation. What you said makes sense, I am interpreting it as "If you want something, tell the DM its your character's goal to buy/find it, and he or she will work with you."
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: thatchickenguy on April 18, 2017, 03:25:13 PM
Yep. Unless your Dm sucks. But I see who your DM is, and I know this is not the case.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: Otter on April 18, 2017, 04:48:07 PM
Appreciate the answers, and this forum is a pretty fun place to lurk and play!
Awwww, thank you!!

All of this will vary from DM to DM/game to game.

1) Am I right that, in general, looting enemies is not performed? Like I won't be carting piles of dead Orc weapons and armor off to sell right?
It depends on the group, and on the enemy.  Sometimes a group won't loot bodies out of respect.  (Most groups will, because LOOT!!)  There usually won't be much to loot from a spider, but most players would dive at looting a defeated wizard or powerful fighter.  Who knows what kinds of fancy gear they might have acquired...

2) How do I find equipment/weapons/armor I want? Am I to assume most normal items are readily available from one shop or another? Like I say I want some torches, DM says my char walks to general store? Potions, Go to apothecary? Armor, Blacksmith? etc.
In my games, there tend to be general stores that carry your torches, rope, tents, general adventuring gear.  Most of the time I won't require my players to be that specific. Their characters would know where to go.

3) If I wanted something more exotic (this is admittedly more advanced for a lvl 1 scrub who is going to be devoured by a swarm of rats soon) what do I do? Say I want... an item that mimics a spell (the example in my mind is staves in Diablo II could have charges of teleport or firebolt) would I be able to ask around and find one in a dungeon, have it made, or would it be kind of a random loot-table drop?
I usually have specialized shops (usually only in bigger cities) for specialized equipment, typically including anything rare and/or magical.  Sometimes they won't have particular items, but they might know where to find it, or might know someone who could point you in the right direction.  Depends on the game and on the DM.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 20, 2017, 02:27:12 PM
A couple of quick questions about shields

1) In the basic player rules I only see one type of shield, am I missing something or are all shields functionally the same and any description is up to the player as flavor text?

2) Who can use a shield? As far as I can see just Paladin and Fighter have proficiency, does that mean other classes cannot use them?

3) I assume that an attack could be made with a shield, as an improvised weapon. Are there any more advanced attacks/spells/abilities to be conducted with a shield?
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: thatchickenguy on April 20, 2017, 02:51:42 PM
A couple of quick questions about shields

1) In the basic player rules I only see one type of shield, am I missing something or are all shields functionally the same and any description is up to the player as flavor text?

Basically, yes. Ask your DM if you're trying to use a larger shield for something like cover or something.

2) Who can use a shield? As far as I can see just Paladin and Fighter have proficiency, does that mean other classes cannot use them?

To quote the PHB: If you wear armor/shield that you lack proficiency with, you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you canít cast spells. (PHB Pg 144)

In other words - anyone can, but if you don't have proficiency you suffer penalties.

3) I assume that an attack could be made with a shield, as an improvised weapon. Are there any more advanced attacks/spells/abilities to be conducted with a shield?

You can indeed use the Shield as an improvised weapon for 1d4 damage. Right now there aren't a lot of rules for using the shield in other ways. You might consult your DM if you have other ideas you want to try.

Hope this helps!


Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 20, 2017, 02:58:47 PM
Good answers, the reason I asked in the first place is because the info on shields seemed a little light. Now I see I wasn't missing too much info.

Your response brought up an additional general question though:
...If you wear armor/shield that you lack proficiency with, you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you canít cast spells. (PHB Pg 144)...

I have not yet encountered advantage/disadvantage, can you tell me how they work? Is it a modifier to your roll or a re-roll if the die was unkind?
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: Otter on April 20, 2017, 03:11:25 PM
Pfhh, @nathanw13 got to pretty much everything I was going to say.  Oh well, some of this will be repeated.

1) In the basic player rules I only see one type of shield, am I missing something or are all shields functionally the same and any description is up to the player as flavor text?
You're not missing anything!  There is only 1 option for shields (https://www.dndbeyond.com/compendium/rules/basic-rules/equipment#Shield) in 5E.  All shields are functionally the same.

2) Who can use a shield? As far as I can see just Paladin and Fighter have proficiency, does that mean other classes cannot use them?
There are actually several classes that gain shield proficiency (https://www.dndbeyond.com/compendium/rules/basic-rules/customization-options#Proficiencies): Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Paladin, and Ranger.  Any other classes cannot use a shield proficiently, which means they would take a penalty in exchange for the armor class bonus that the shield provides.
"If you wear armor (including shields) that you lack proficiency with, you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you can't cast spells."
~D&D Beyond (https://www.dndbeyond.com/compendium/rules/basic-rules/equipment#ArmorandShields)

3) I assume that an attack could be made with a shield, as an improvised weapon. Are there any more advanced attacks/spells/abilities to be conducted with a shield?
You can indeed use a shield as an improvised weapon (https://www.dndbeyond.com/compendium/rules/basic-rules/equipment#ImprovisedWeapons).  There is a feat called "Shield Master" that gives you a few more options for using your shield, found on page 170 of the Player's Handbook.

I have not yet encountered advantage/disadvantage, can you tell me how they work? Is it a modifier to your roll or a re-roll if the die was unkind?
Advantage and disadvantage replace a lot of individual rules from previous editions of the game, like flanking, having a bonus for being on higher ground, getting a bonus from someone trying to assist you with something, etc.

Advantage and disadvantage work exactly the same with one difference.  You roll two d20.  If you have advantage, you use the higher number. If you have disadvantage, you take the lower.  (For example, if a rogue is hidden right before they attack, they have advantage on their next attack.  So instead of rolling 1d20 to find out if they hit, they roll 2d20 and use the higher number.)
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 20, 2017, 03:15:44 PM
Thanks, that clears that up!
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 23, 2017, 08:03:41 PM
So, I have some other questions, but I think I'll probably be able to find the answers to most of them tonight.

One question I doubt will be answerable elsewhere is: how, on this forum, do we handle position? For example the defender fighting style lets me ads is allies within 5 feet.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: Otter on April 24, 2017, 08:11:41 AM
Depends on the DM.  For my games, if it's a bigger battle, where I already know that positioning is going to be important, I'll provide a map.  For small scuffles, usually I'm flexible and you can just ask in-game or via PM or chat about details, like, "Am I within 5ft of anyone else?  Can I move to get within 5ft of so and so?  Will this spell be in range to hit 2 or 3 enemies?" etc.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 24, 2017, 02:26:22 PM
Makes sense, thanks for the info.

I think I know the answer to this question after reading the rules, but I'd like to confirm.

If I, as a paladin with access to Divine Smite, wanted to use it on a javelin I would make a thrown attack with my strength modifier to hit, and because the javelin is in the melee category Divine Smite would trigger, correct?

The relevant rule I can find says "when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack" which I take to mean any attack with a melee weapon, and not a melee attack with any weapon.

Source: http://www.5esrd.com/classes/paladin/
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: Otter on April 24, 2017, 02:59:38 PM
If I, as a paladin with access to Divine Smite, wanted to use it on a javelin I would make a thrown attack with my strength modifier to hit, and because the javelin is in the melee category Divine Smite would trigger, correct?

The relevant rule I can find says "when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack" which I take to mean any attack with a melee weapon, and not a melee attack with any weapon.

All of the weapons listed under the Melee weapons are listed there with the understanding that you will be using them to make melee attacks against your opponents.  "A melee weapon is used to attack a target within 5 feet of you, whereas a ranged weapon is used to attack a target at a distance."  There are a few weapons, Javelin included, that have the property "Thrown", meaning you may chose to use this as a ranged weapon instead.  In doing so, however, you are in effect changing the type of weapon it is, because you are changing how it is being used.

So, it has to be a "melee weapon" attack.  It doesn't matter what kind of weapon it's intended to be, it matters how you're using it: Melee vs Ranged.  If you grab your longbow like a bat and swing it at an enemy as an improvised melee weapon, I'd say that counts as a melee attack.  If you're throwing the javelin, it doesn't qualify as melee any longer because you're using it to hit an enemy at range.  (It also has to be an attack with a weapon, as opposed to a spell.)

Furthermore, the spirit of the Divine Smite spell is that you are the conduit for your deity's divine energy.  You apply it straight to your opponent, sometimes through a short distance of a weapon, kind of like how electricity would also be able to jump through a weapon.  It makes far less sense to do that with a ranged weapon.

Hope that helps to clarify!  =)
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 24, 2017, 03:01:38 PM
Perfect explanation, thanks again.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 27, 2017, 10:32:15 AM
I have a question about certain shelter spells.

1. Rope trick- With a 1 hour duration what are the uses? Is this long enough for a short rest? Or would the best use be to get out of danger for an hour to heal and prepare a few spells?

2. Tiny Hut- Am I correct that the 1 minute casting time limits this spell to out-of-combat?

3. Magnificent Mansion- It says creatures inside when the spell ends are expelled, but what if a player brought some objects with him or her and left them? Would they be ejected as well, would they disappear, or would they be present in the Mansion next time it is cast?

4. Demiplane- Can a Teleportation Circle be used to enter or exit? Could Gate? Or is the Demiplane spell the only method of access?

5. If someone wanted a permanent Magnificent Mansion style dwelling, would the course of action be to build a castle in a secure area and make a permanent teleportation circle? Or is there some way to give the Spell Magnificent Mansion permanence?
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: thatchickenguy on April 27, 2017, 12:18:50 PM
I have a question about certain shelter spells.

1. Rope trick- With a 1 hour duration what are the uses? Is this long enough for a short rest? Or would the best use be to get out of danger for an hour to heal and prepare a few spells?

As written Rope Trick should be long enough to get in a short rest (https://www.dndbeyond.com/compendium/rules/basic-rules/adventuring#Resting), although you should ask your Dm to be absolutely sure. Just to clarify on preparing spells - this is something that, with very few exceptions, is done after a long rest. If you are a character that prepares spells, you are required to be well rested (mechanically, take a long rest) and spend time after that rest preparing spells. It's not something you can do in random downtime.

2. Tiny Hut- Am I correct that the 1 minute casting time limits this spell to out-of-combat?

Technically yes, that is correct. If there were some emergency situation where this needed to be cast in combat, 1 minute equals 10 rounds of combat (every player and enemy takes 10 turns). So the player casting Tiny Hut would literally do nothing but cast for a full 10 rounds, while the rest of the party would have to defend him/her so that concentration was not broken. It would be very difficult to cast during combat, but not impossible.

3. Magnificent Mansion- It says creatures inside when the spell ends are expelled, but what if a player brought some objects with him or her and left them? Would they be ejected as well, would they disappear, or would they be present in the Mansion next time it is cast?

As written, it appears that a new Mansion is created every time the spell is cast, so no items taken and left would be recalled with the next casting. It would be up to the DM whether the items were ejected or simply vanished, since the spell description does not specify.

4. Demiplane- Can a Teleportation Circle be used to enter or exit? Could Gate? Or is the Demiplane spell the only method of access?

As written, Teleportation Circle (https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/teleportation-circle) can only teleport to a spot on the same plane of existence, so that one wouldn't work. Gate (https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/gate) would work, but only to bring someone into the Demiplane. Someone couldn't use it to teleport to the demiplane from the outside. And to state the obvious, someone who can cast Demiplane (https://www.dndbeyond.com/spells/demiplane) who knows any details of your Demiplane can teleport to your Demiplane.

5. If someone wanted a permanent Magnificent Mansion style dwelling, would the course of action be to build a castle in a secure area and make a permanent teleportation circle? Or is there some way to give the Spell Magnificent Mansion permanence?

You should check out an Instant Fortress (https://www.dndbeyond.com/magic-items/instant-fortress). It sounds right up your alley. Very rare, but worth it. But until you come across one - your way is probably the best bet.
Title: Re: D&D Questions
Post by: SchrodingersNinja on April 27, 2017, 03:17:14 PM
Thanks for the explanations. Just wondering about practicality of using spells to live the sweet life.