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Let's Play: Hoard of the Dragon Queen (A D&D 5e Adventure) SIGNUP


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And giant wasps do deal poison on a failed constitution save.

That I never questioned, just why did Perrin get poisoned -- and why Erwin didn't suffer the same fate.  (Actually, I think you forgot about him altogether in your HP status summary)




And a repeat with Arjan...  Though I think that's just a case of the fact that the attack missed but you still labeled it a hit in the summary.

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If you meant the half damage on a failed Constitution save, I forgot to apply it to Erwin.  So I'm house-ruling that people with metal armor and scales don't have to take that half damage on a failed save... for the first time they get hit :)


P.S. As you can see, one wasp is enough to knock a character out of commission for the battle.  So you probably need a better plan than whacking at it with swords.  Also!  Take note that flying enemies are vulnerable to hitting the ground, to the tune of 1d6 bludgeoning damage per 10 feet of fall  :D


P.P.S. Wagon is still moving. And will continue to move until there are orders to the contrary.  Therefore, you can't move from one wagon to the other safely...  I'll let you do so without stopping as a DC15 Acrobatics check, 1d6 bludgeoning damage on a fail... :)

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P.S. As you can see, one wasp is enough to knock a character out of commission for the battle.  So you probably need a better plan than whacking at it with swords.


They're mingled in with the party.  Most of my spells that might help are AoE in nature and would hit party as readily as bad guy, while Erwin literally has no option but sword and board.  Unless you consider using a crossbow (at a damage malus relative to longsword) an option.

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And just to keep things moving... Zerg, if you get a moment to do a round and I haven't posted my stuff, between now and when I get home late Monday (call it Tuesday morning), you can feel free to move for me.  Try to keep it somewhat in character, but...


Also, despite my original plans to take at least 4 levels of fighter before moving on, given the nature of the fights to date, Erwin needs something 'more' than what he's gotten to date.  I think I may just jump to wizard at level 2, and lose out on the extra HPs / attacks from fighters.

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  • 2 weeks later...

How long will Garanth be under the influence of the poison? Will a healing spell help against the poison? Are we where we can get a long rest?

Trying to figure out what Morganor needs to do; he still has both spell slots left but should he use them both now. Perrin obviously needs help unless he gets a very lucky roll. Garanth is also at zero due to the poison but could use second wind once he comes out of the poison to regain some hit points. Does Erwin have second wind or did he use it already since the last rest?

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The poison will stay on Garanth for one hour, after which it will disappear.  Wasp poison cannot be removed by magical healing.  Being poisoned does not sap your health - it just confers disadvantage on ability checks and attack rolls.


Anyone who is knocked out but stable will regain 1 HP naturally after 1d4 hours.  After which, they can regain HP via hit dice.


All fighters have access to their Second Wind, but must be conscious in order to use it.


You can *try* to convince the caravan master to take a long eight-hour rest, if you wish.  But note that it's currently noon.  You shouldn't expect to be able to take long rests after every battle.  I will warn you in advance -- during the entirety of Episode 1 as written in the module -- you will NOT have any SINGLE long rest.  It's quite deadly.  B)

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Was asking about second wind mostly for Erwin to figure out who needed healing the most besides obviously Perrin.

Yeah, if it is just noon we need to keep traveling for awhile.


If no long rests how will we get spell slots back?

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Rilbur, ask all out-of-character questions here :)


Buut to answer your question, sure, you can try to finagle an extended rest from the caravan master.  But you don't need a long rest to use hit dice.  You can spend Perrin's single hit die during a short rest (although he has to be conscious).

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I think we need to let Erwin know what our capabilities are and have him coordinate use of magical abilities. Naturally sometimes a character may have to make a snap decision during battle but it might help to have some guidelines from our leader to help with those decisions.


Such as, does Morganor expend a healing spell on someone now or wait to see how much healing can be done without it.

Also, although I didn't get a healing kit for Morganor looking over his character sheet he should be able to use one.

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Healing kits require a healer feat to use to regain HP.  Doesn't scale well at later levels, but can be moderately useful at shorter.


And Zerg, of course I don't need a long rest to spend Hit Die, it only takes a short rest.  Hence my question on short rests.  {{ Hides the edit tag -- nope, I didn't accidentally type long there, no I didn't! }}



Also, I kind of assume that the characters have done some cross-chatter while traveling.  We know what the others can do, more or less.

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After these encounters and the trouble we've had with them as leader Erwin might decide to find out more in depth in order to more efficiently use our resources.


It would also really help me, who hadn't played in years and never with the new things characters are able to do, play my characters better.

BTW: for now I think I just want Garanth to be a fighter and more of a tank type. So any suggestions would be welcome.

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OK, to be blunt: I don't have a clue what Zerg is trying to get at with 'be more clever'.  Until he gives us some ideas, I'm just as floundering as you are.  I know a few things and ideas -- like how incredibly OP a defensive position can be made if you have the time -- but that's about it.  We don't have a lot of resources to use at first level -- it's a very brutal level in general, hence the common 'start at third level' meme you'll see some DM's talking about.


Anyway, my original idea for Erwin kind of got sidetracked when I built a better gish on a valor bard basis.  (Currently Bard 4 / Sorc 1, with the sorc just to get access to Shield & Absorb elements)  Full spellcasting progression plus a decent setup for spells is hard to turn up.  Yeah he doesn't get a lot of the stable 'attack' spells, but he doesn't really need that.  So Erwin's idea got... not necessarily junked, but reduced.  Besides, level 19 mage gives me at-will shield spell.  We probably won't hit that level, but that is just too awesome an ability to not try for.


So if you want to take over as a tank...  Fine by me.  I'll just run with a slightly gish-ish wizard (full plate and a shield, yo, plus Shield as needed yeah!) instead.  (Abjuration gives him a spell shield that stacks with temporary HP... and will shield my concentration to boot!)


Anyway, at this point Garanth has:


Protection Fighting Style -- While wearing a shield, when a creature within 5 feet of you is attacked by a creature you can see, you can spend your reaction to impose disadvantage on the attack roll.  (Conditions: wearing a shield, can see attacker, within 5 feet of target.  You could spend this against a ranged attack, if the target is next to you, but not a melee attack if the target isn't next to you.  Think of it as diving between the bullet and a target).


Second Wind -- Restore HPs with a bonus action.  (Shared with Erwin)  As with many fighter abilities, this restores on a short rest.


Garanth's AC is a little low, but it's not terrible.  As you buff your dex, you'll get increases to both your damage and your AC.  With studded leather armor (AC 12) and max dex (+5) you could have 17 AC -- only one short of full plate, and without the high cost.  Or if you spend the medium armor master feat, you can get half-plate at 15 + dex, with a dexterity cap of 13, allowing you to match plate armor and not be under stealth disadvantage.  Short term, unless Zerg lets us re-roll at level 2, you'll probably want to get a rapier and studded leather armor ASAP.  Your shortsword is also a good option for now.  The key to tanking is going to be two fold for you.  First part will  be to try and get out front and gather attention (e. g. force opportunity attacks if enemies try to move past you).  Second part will be built around standing next to whoever gets attacked to apply disadvantage to that attack roll.  A good feat to pick up may be sentinel -- it lets you react to enemies attacking other players, so if you don't get them coming (disadvantage on their attack) you can get them going (retaliation attack).  Between those two tricks, odds are you'll be taking the hits instead -- the essence of a good tank!




Morganor has:  


Spells.  Don't underestimate the power of your spells.  A well places faerie fire or burning hands can turn the tide of the battle at level one (either giving us advantage on attacks or crisping entire waves of bad guys).  Combat healing can be awesome,  shield of faith can make a tank much harder to hit, and bless gives us advantage on our attacks.


Warding flare:  When attacked by a creature within 30 feet of you that you can see, you can impose disadvantage on their attack.  You can use this ability 1x/wisdom modifier, so 3/x a long rest for now.  In essence, he is even tankier than Garanth -- for now, anyway.  One point better AC, comparable hit points, and advantage on defense... your chars can form a pretty impressive front line if they want to.


Ignoring spells other than cantrips, Morganor's offensive capacity is not as strong.  With only a +2 to strength, his swing is good, but it's not great.  He can do 1D6+2 damage, which works out to an average of 4.5 points, matching his sacred flame's 4.5 but without the possibility of a 1 damage.  In essence his mace hits for 3-8, sacred flame hits for 1-8 -- average may be the same number, but less chance of a completely crap hit.  Intelligently switch it up if we face something that's slow but hard to hit (heavily armored knight) or fast but not that well armored (a rogue or a monk of some kind), but in general he's probably better of swinging his mace than attacking with sacred flame -- and definitely avoid the crossbow.  Damage types also play into this; radiance damage is not often resisted, which makes it a great weapon in it's own right, whereas bludgeoning...  /me shrugs.


Please note that once you hit fifth, and especially eighth, this changes.  Between changing to a 2D8 for damage at level 5, and adding your wisdom modifier at level 8, you get much more powerful with your spells.  The whole 'mace is better' thing is a purely temporary condition for the light cleric, being the only sub-class that doesn't get some form of divine strike at level 8.


Long run, depending on how you want to play him, Morganor may want to grab the Heavily Armored feat and try on some plate armor.  Or you could just focus on upping his wisdom and turning him into a blaster (light clerics: for the clerics that wish they'd rolled a sorcerer!).  At level 6, you can start to use your warding flare feature to defend others, making him great at support.




Erwin has:


Defense Style -- Straight up +1 bonus to AC.  Harder to hit.

Shield Master -- various bonuses, but you've noticed the cool sword&board trick he keeps pulling.

Second Wind -- Heals him on a bonus action.  Since I generally want to be sword & boarding, not as awesome as it could be, but still awesome.


Mechanically, Erwin basically has to attack with his sword and board.  He can use a crossbow, but his awful dex is awful.  Once we hit town I'm grabbing him a stack of javelins for sure, so he has something else, plus he'll be picking up spells soon.  Frostbite, Poison Spray, Firebolt...  many fun things to play with as a wizard.  Still, for now he really only has one option: get in front and trade blows with the bad guys.






Arjan is a little better than Erwin, but not much.  He's got his spells -- but those slots are precious! -- and he's got a pretty decent AC (but not perfect).  Frostbite, like vicious mockery, is a powerful cantrip if it hits, with both a nice offensive damage and a defensive bonus.  It lacks the raw power, but it's still good, and he can fall back to a light crossbow fairly readily.


This guys wants to stay in the rear.  He can step in and take a hit or two, but honestly so can most of the party.  He plays best in the back, doing his best to mess with the bad guy's day.






Bardic Inspiration:  1/x a Char mod per long rest, can use a bonus action to give another player an inspiration die (1d6, grows).  This can be used as part of an attack roll or saving throw (additional uses gained at later levels).

Spells -- backup healer, sleep, and vicious mockery.  Not really great damage, but powerful support.  (Even his most damaging spell, dissonant whispers, is best used to trigger an attack of opportunity nova by the entire party).


Perrin has the worst AC in the group, but at least he has decent dex.  His bardic inspiration is powerful, but limited, his spells let him support the party in various ways, and he can get down and dirty if he has to.


Honestly, in some ways I almost wish I could recast this char along the lines of the battle-gish I rolled up the other week, but I'm very far from unhappy with him.  As he levels up, he's going to provide us with a lot of very powerful support.  He can't carry the fight himself, but he can help others do so far beyond what they 'normally' could.

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Party Tactics:


At the moment, I'd call Morganor, Garanth, and Erwin our 'front line'.  Garanth in center with Morganor and Erwin flanking is probably our best bet, covering Perrin and Arjan in the rear.


Erwin's sword&board can provide some nice advantage to the party if the timing works, while Garanth's protection style can shield his allies.  With Morganor able to add his warding flare, the tactic is even more effective.  A horde of enemies could exhaust these reactions pretty quickly (and in the case of warding flare, I mean both in the sense of spending our 'reaction actions' and in terms of an exhausted resource), but it's still a nice advantage while it lasts.


Arjan and Perrin can, of course, provide disadvantage to enemy attacks and a nice boost to damage.


But...  that doesn't get us to Zerg's 'more clever fighting' and I don't know what will.

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Until you hit level 3, the single most important tactic is... Try not to die.

And related to this is the fact that 5th Edition battles go very fast. 3 to 5 round tops. So you'll want to kill enemies as quickly as you can, and that can take the form of various tactics:

1. Use terrain to your advantage. Half cover, for example, grants a +2 to AC

2. Do not engage melee until absolutely necessary, especially when facing hordes, since you'll lose a war of attrition

3. Be on the lookout for chances to take out multiple foes with area of effect spells

4. As Rilbur pointed out earlier, it's sometimes better to take out an enemy than to administer gentle repose or cure wounds to a fallen ally.

5. Someone at 1 HP can fight just as effectively as someone at full HP, so don't immediately try to heal every wound. A lucky shot can easily knock out a low level PC at close to full health anyway, so why not try to murder the enemy before that happens?

6. It is sometimes better to focus fire than to spread out your attacks. For example, hitting two goblins for 3 damage each is worse than hitting the same goblin for 6 damage and killing it. Simply because dead enemies can't hurt you.

Finally, this is quite important for episode 1 - fighting is not necessarily the best solution to all your problems. Avoidance or diplomacy can help you survive better.

Also, while I know I've been guilty of saying "Yarrrr, HOTDQ VERY HARD!", the entire module is not about combat. Episode 2, for example, is a mission with a very sandbox like feel where charismatic characters can shine.

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Number two is arguable.  When facing a foe with only melee attacks it makes sense.  When facing foes with ranged attacks, it can make a lot of sense for our armored troops to rush forward -- the ranged attacks don't ncessarily hit as hard, but they can hit anyone in the party, so it can pay to 'lock them down' and force them to attack higher AC party members.

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