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Starfall, Page 9

STARFALL PART 2, PAGE 8

Opportunity Attacks revisited

Opportunity attacks in 5e, in my humble opinion, make combat boring. Disengaging to avoid an Attack of Opportunity (AoO) sacrifices your own action but leaves the enemy’s in-tact, making it one of the worst trades in the game. While the mechanic can create tense...

Starfall Part 2, Page 7

Super Quick Combat Rules

Quick preamble: this is probably system agnostic on some level, but I designed it for 5e. 5e’s design assumes you’re having probably way, way more combat encounters than you actually are, and that you’re playing long enough and quickly enough to resolve those...

Free VTT Tokens

I have created a repository of about 1200 VTT tokens that you guys can use for free. If you don't want to read more, you can just go to this link and grab them: https://www.patreon.com/posts/54992126 Why Tokens? I like them. During 2020, all of my D&D came to a...

Pathfinder 2e on Foundry vtt

I am a huge fan of Foundry VTT. For my purposes, it is the perfect virtual tabletop system. It supports a ton of systems, including the two that I love the best, namely Dungeons & Dragons 5e (DD5E) and Pathfinder 2e (PF2E). A massive part of the appeal of a VTT...

Starfall Part 2, Page 6

oversized weapons

Okay, so we did an info-graphic this week. We like the idea of building a 5e character around over-sized weapons, but the oversized weapons rules in this edition of D&D are helter-skelter at best.This is not about game balance. At all. This is about throwing...

A One Shot

Hey guys, I am working on a major website overhaul, and then it'll be back into Starfall. In the meantime, have a golden oldie from the Patreon archive.

Better Know a Monster: The Mimic

I love the idea that mimics are cryptids to the rest of the world. Adventurers, at least with the players I've known, would be almost universally unpopular -- even when they save the world, they do it out of eyeshot of everyone else, and burn a lot of bridges to get...

The Hobgoblin (and you!)

It's been a hot minute since our last update because I've been dealing with a very sick pet rabbit, and it's leaving me absolutely drained. - This comic arose somewhat naturally out of my Red Hand of Doom group (retooled for 5e). Hobgoblins in 3.5 are just kind of...

The Trade – Page 5 (End)

To celebrate the release of Ricky's Guide to Spooptopia, we did a mini-arc about that setting's most infamous villain. We had fun making this, and it's based on, perhaps, the most dramatic character death I've ever had at a table. I always sub Candor and the gang out...

The Trade – Page 4

The Trade – Page 3

The Trade – Page 2

The Trade – Page 1

Sketches

Starfall Part 2 – Murderlude

We cut quickly to Keelie, doin' her thing.

Get you that Fauci Ouchie

Seriously, y'all, I miss real dice. Get the vaccine. I got super lucky; I am on my first shot and get my second one in a few days. I'm working at the geological survey right now, and someone basically dropped from the rafters and jabbed my arm. (Well, it was more like...

Starfall #14

by | Apr 3, 2020 | Comics, Starfall | 0 comments

I am not certain whether I like sidekicks or not.

In my Curse of Strahd game, our gunslinger had a sidekick. It straddled the line between an NPC and a player running two characters; we would both speak for the sidekick, which worked out fine (or at least the player never complained to me) but it also could have become a point of contention in a heartbeat if I’d suddenly given the sidekick an opinion. The sidekick was a Gnome Expert; in combat, he was basically a disappointing extension of the gunslinger’s turn. The player asked me to start letting the sidekick get its own round in initiative, and that made me see why the Beast Master Ranger works the way it does.

Imagine a fighter with Extra Attack and Action Surge. This is already a character who is, through no fault of his own, capable of dominating the table. Now give that fighter a companion who gets another set of actions. Your be-sidekicked player has two turns per round, one of which doesn’t do things very well. This devours the clock, and if you’re keeping track of how long each player takes in combat, you will notice an immediate trend.

How I’d Do It Differently

If I could do it again, sidekick would be like Teemo in the top lane – split pushing and shouting “I’ll Scout Ahead!” with enraging enthusiasm, and setting player-benefiting traps that could go off when the chips were down. The sidekick would be a story entity with bonuses that the player got to choose (such as receiving information ahead of time, distracting the villain’s forces, or finding items they missed) and be guaranteed to:

1) Not be a victim (He can be targeted by the bad guys, but this is foreshadowed when it happened and he doesn’t randomly die on a bad dice roll)

2) Have good information (and context for that information, if necessary)

3) Never betray the party (for real — otherwise it’s just another lame npc and not really a sidekick)

For the VERY IMPORTANT fights, sure, the sidekick will be there with his statblock. It’s a VERY IMPORTANT fight and the sidekick wouldn’t miss out. But for a game with no rails and random encounters, giving a player two modes of agency when the rest only have one becomes problematic a lot faster than you’d imagine.

If I get a bug up my butt about this, I might codify my ideas about Sidekicks into a splat book. In the meantime, though, I have comics to go make.

Kickstarter News

Some of you have already gotten your rewards. Some of you have not. If you have a signed copy, the virus lock-down order (and common sense) is preventing me from driving the pile of comic books to Zach’s part of the state for him to sign them. Sorry!

If you had the backer reward with both comics, those are at the printer and you should see them soon(tm).