Lizardmen: Cold or Warmblooded? Also, how to gain their respect.

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First question:
Are Lizardmen Coldblooded or Warmblooded? Discuss.

Second question:
How can the players gain the respect of the Lizardmen Tribe?

The PC's are seeking information about a necromancer in the area. The clues will lead them into the swamp, where I will have them encounter a tribe of lizardmen. The players will need to ask the tribe for information and more clues, but the tribe will refuse to give out any information until the PCs "prove themselves". What sort of ways could the party prove themselves worthy and gain the respect of the Lizardmen? I was thinking they would have to beat one of the lizardmen champions in a duel, but what about other non-combat ideas? Something like a Trial of Fortitude or a Trial of Wisdom. Thoughts?

Note: as of now, I have the Lizardmen neutral and NOT involved in the Necromancer's activities. However, I'm open to interesting plot twists.

I'd like the responses to be edition-neutral, but I am tentatively running this as a D&D-Next playtest adventure.

Thanks!

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The blood of a Lizardman could be either warm or cold blooded, I think it's really the world builder's call on this.  I think cold blooded might make for some more interesting situations with surprising them and how society is shapped by it, but can't go wrong either way.

For something like fortitude you could have them swim/run through some long streneous perilious trial.  You could have them decipher an ancient text, that perhaps even their elders don't know.  You could see if the players could figure out another way to impress the Lizardmen.  Perhaps they've never seen much magic before so a wizard demonstrating spells might impress them.  Perhaps the cleric heals the wounded of the village and that impresses them. 


I guess what I'm trying to get at is perhaps the Lizardmen demand the players prove themselves, and offer a few suggestions as to what might impress them, but ultimately just let the players figure out how they will convince these folk that they are worthy.   
Strength Skill and Wisdom are three good fallback trial ideas. A trial of strength could be your average combat encounter with the goal to reduce all enemies to half HP before the same happens to the PCs. A trial of skill could allow PCs to use some of their skills to win instead of pure combat ability. A trial of wisdom might be more akin to a riddle or puzzle that the PCs need to solve for success.

All in all, the common fallbacks work well here, so there's not much of a need to get to flashy. The relevance of the trials, and the information that the Lizardmen may actually have are more important than the complexity of the trials themselves. Why do the Lizardmen want the PCs to do these things when they could just give them something and send them on their way without any trouble? What need do they have to make the PCs prove themselves? For that matter, do the Lizardmen even know anything about the Necromancer the PCs are hunting?

I'd make only a single member of the tribe involved with the Necromancer. He could undermine the trials in an attempt to keep information from the PCs hands. Such as setting up a trap during a fight, sabotaging whatever the PCs need to do with their skills, and mixing up the puzzle somehow for the wisdom trial. It might also be how the PCs would get information on the Necromancer if he gets caught.

As for the issue of warm or cold blooded, I wouldn't think it too pertinent. Creatures can take a variety of shapes, so it's not a far fetched idea that there could be some lizardmen who dwell in colder regions without issue, and some that live in hotter regions. Unless there's an interesting story element in this factor, I'd say pick what works best for the adventure and use that.

Happy Gaming
I'd go with cold-blooded just for variety; there are few cold-blooded humanoid races, comparatively speaking, so why not take advantage of one of the few that could feasibly be cold-blooded and make 'em ectotherms?

I was wondering about some suggestions for lizardfolk language. I do not like the idea that they get shoved into the Draconic ghetto just because they're reptiles (and anyway, in my game Draconic has a very specific role in the world) and would rather assign them an existing language that's realistic. Perhaps Giant? 
Don't establish whether they're warm or cold blooded until your players make it clear what they're expecting or relying on, and then go with that.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Don't establish whether they're warm or cold blooded until your players make it clear what they're expecting or relying on, and then go with that.



Right. I'm reminded of a recent adventure in which the PCs were racing across an island to beat a group of bullywugs to a location. So one of the ritual casters in the party said, "Are they cold-blooded? Because I have a ritual that can make it a bit chilly tonight. Maybe that'll put them into a torpor and allow us to get ahead of them." So of course they were cold-blooded because that was a cool plan. If I had established ahead of time what they were, I might have closed off that cool solution before it ever came up.

As far as earning their respect, I'd let the PCs roll a Nature check (or the like). If it's high enough, I'd let them tell me how the local lore says to get the lizardman to respect them, based on established (or new) fiction.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Don't establish whether they're warm or cold blooded until your players make it clear what they're expecting or relying on, and then go with that.

Right. I'm reminded of a recent adventure in which the PCs were racing across an island to beat a group of bullywugs to a location. So one of the ritual casters in the party said, "Are they cold-blooded? Because I have a ritual that can make it a bit chilly tonight. Maybe that'll put them into a torpor and allow us to get ahead of them." So of course they were cold-blooded because that was a cool plan. If I had established ahead of time what they were, I might have closed off that cool solution before it ever came up.

Besides which, there's a good chance that even if you'd explicitly stated they were cold-blooded you'd either get incredulous push-back from your players, or they'd forget that detail anyway.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I like cold blooded lizard men myself, but go with whatever your gut says is right for the fiction.

Also, might I recommend a swamp temple containing the gamut of the lizard? Call it whatever you want, but here's the general idea:

This temple is half-submerged under water and is built to contain ancient trials set up by the lizard's ancestors. They have known for generations that the ancestors left something valuable inside (choose whatever you like, but I would try to make it not so valuable to the PCs, something like a lizardman disease cure which means the lizardmen are fighting off a plague right now), but no lizardman has ever managed to get to the center of the temple. All have died before reaching the final trial.

Then set the trials up in the temple to be based on what you want them to be. Perhaps 6 trials. One for each ability score. You can mess with the idea of each trial to encourage creative solutions around the ability. Like Strength, instead of straight strength, the trial could imply that the PCs need to find a way to multiply their strength to defeat the puzzle, like using a crane or pully system to gain leverage on a massive weight.

Edit: Also, great chance to include a swimming challenge for the PCs. See if they actually go out of their way to find a way to breathe under water or if they go with holding their breath. 
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They are egg laying lizards, right?  Is there any reason they SHOULD be warm-blooded?
Is there any reason they SHOULD be warm-blooded?



Yes, in the event the PCs need them to be warm-blooded to get a cool plan off the ground. Since it shouldn't matter to the DM one whit whether they're warm or cold-blooded, it's a detail that can be decided on the spot as needed.

This is a very good example of why DMs should not get too caught up with reality in a fantasy game. Things are whatever you need them to be, whenever you need them to be that way.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Aside from some individual DMing philosphy, is there a LORE related reasoning for warm-blooded reptile critters?
Aside from some individual DMing philosphy, is there a LORE related reasoning for warm-blooded reptile critters?



Nothing in 4e lore on whether they are warm or cold-blooded. Nothing in Wikipedia or d20 SRD either. I guess it's rightfully left to the DM and players to decide what works for them in that moment.

Even if it did say "cold-blooded" in the LORE and the players needed it to be "warm-blooded" to get a cool plan to work... what would you tell them? 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
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Aside from some individual DMing philosphy, is there a LORE related reasoning for warm-blooded reptile critters?

Magic.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Aside from some individual DMing philosphy, is there a LORE related reasoning for warm-blooded reptile critters?



Nothing in 4e lore on whether they are warm or cold-blooded. Nothing in Wikipedia or d20 SRD either. I guess it's rightfully left to the DM and players to decide what works for them in that moment.

Even if it did say "cold-blooded" in the LORE and the players needed it to be "warm-blooded" to get a cool plan to work... what would you tell them? 

I'd tell them the plan wouldn't work.  If the players came to me and said they had a real cool plan to kill a dragon, but it wouldn't work if the dragon had scales, I would NOT rule that dragons don't have scales just to let their plan work.  

"I've got a really cool way to kill this beholder, as long as it's no stronger than a goblin."
In my world, they are warm-blooded. This is a biologically distinguishing feature separating the lizardmen from the dragonborn (in my world). It is also a point of contention between various sages and so-called experts where one group claims they are related and another claims they are unrelated.

However, this world lore came about because my players made it so when 3e introduced the dragonborn. I had not realized I was already doing some of what Iserith does regularly (having players help shape the world) until I started to answer this question.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Aside from some individual DMing philosphy, is there a LORE related reasoning for warm-blooded reptile critters?

Magic.

Or the evolutionary path of the the development of sentience on the planet. The warm-blooded lizardmen are the evolutionary result of the advantage of warm-blooded over cold-blooded. They are lizardmen, but not lizards. They are reptilian, but not reptiles.

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I'd tell them the plan wouldn't work.



Stealing their thunder on something so easy to give up, something so inconsequential to the game or to the DM. Something that'll make them feel great for coming up with a good plan that works, but you just can't do it because someone, somewhere may have written in a book that it wasn't so. That's unfortunate for your players. And for you, really.

If the players came to me and said they had a real cool plan to kill a dragon, but it wouldn't work if the dragon had scales, I would NOT rule that dragons don't have scales just to let their plan work.  

"I've got a really cool way to kill this beholder, as long as it's no stronger than a goblin."



Right, because both of those things are sure to come up just as you say. Wow. Talk about defensive DMing.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Those are both examples the player sitting beside me came up with on their own. 

 I'm cool with my DM style/skillz, since we don't play together perhaps you could find it in yourself to do the same?
There's a difference between 'dragons have scales' and 'lizardmen are cold-blooded', in that there's at least some evidence to support the former, but the latter is entirely undefined.

And 'I have a plan to defeat this beholder provided it's no more powerful than a goblin' fails on more levels than I can easily articulate, one of which being that there's no reason a goblin couldn't be more powerful than a beholder anyway.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I'd tell them the plan wouldn't work.  If the players came to me and said they had a real cool plan to kill a dragon, but it wouldn't work if the dragon had scales, I would NOT rule that dragons don't have scales just to let their plan work.

Whether or not dragons have scales has been pretty well established in other sources, though I don't know if, say, Chinese dragons have scales. A dragon's armor class is a set number, too. There's very little to establish that a fantastic race of lizard men is cold blooded or not, and probably enough relevant biological basis to go either way, if one wanted.

"I've got a really cool way to kill this beholder, as long as it's no stronger than a goblin."

Level-wise, it's probably pretty well established that it's not, though one can make tougher goblins or weaker beholders. Physical strength-wise, that could be plausible. They just float around, and command underlings, so why do they need strength? That they'd be relatively weak is plausible.

It's probably not inherently crucial to an adventure or to anyone's imagination that the lizardmen be warm or cold blooded, so if a player declares it one way or another (indicating that to that player it is crucial) then the DM is free to accommodate that player. I hope no DM would decide on the spot that it's the opposite, just to foil a player plan.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Keep in mind, my ruling on the lizardmen was based on the idea (posted by Iserith) that it WAS in established lore that they were cold-blooded.

In my games I wouldn't see many reasons to change a creatures biology just to accomodate a players plan to kill them.  If my players are incapable of coming up with an alternate plan when the first one didn't work, then we'd be better off playing a simple series of battles than roleplaying a whole campaign.  That's fine too.
Even cool plans can fail, or be off the mark completly.  I suppose in this case I haven't seen any plan that is cool enough for me to change the lizardman (or dragon or beholder) biology.  Since I would have ruled initially that the lizardmen ARE coldblooded, the previously mentioned plan to cast a ritual that subjected them to cold weather WOULD have worked.  If I had ruled initially that they were warmblooded, then the ritual would NOT have worked, and the players could have tried something else.
Warm or cold-blooded would be an important detail regarding use of infravision and tolerance to climate change for example. If your party was using infravision and cold-blooded lizard-folk are holding still against the walls of a cave they would be room temperature and invisible. If you cast a cold spell on cold-blooded lizard folk they should be vulnerable to it. Maybe not by doing more damage but maybe it causes them to go into a coma like sleep. Cold-blooded lizard folk could also probably go without food a lot longer than if they were warm-blooded. 

 What do the Lizard-folk value in their society?

Is it egalitarian, valuing prowess in hunting and providing for the entire tribe? What about a fishing contest? That could be a fun mini-game.

Is it social dominance, the biggest and strongest get the most food/females? How about a bluffing competition where they brag with a lizard-folk champion about the most outrageous thing they can think of doing until the other calls their bluff and they are forced to prove themselves?

It could be a right of passage that all lizard-folk go through to prove they have come of age. Defeat a wild creature. Swimming beyond the horizon to an island and retrieving one red seashell,a variety which only appears on that beach.
I suppose in this case I haven't seen any plan that is cool enough for me to change the lizardman (or dragon or beholder) biology.

That's the key, as I see it: how cool does an idea have to be? Who decides that? As this is an adventure game, everyone involved is beholden to two causes: coolness and challenge. My players regularly come up with cool ideas that short-circuit the challenge I or the game intended for them. There's some indication that if I went with the first ideas they tried, that they'd walk right through everything, and even enjoy it as much as if they'd had to deal with the consequences of rolling dice. But, on the flip side, if I hindered or blocked every idea they came up with, or make the risks of trying the ideas too high, they'd be challenged, but wouldn't find the game particularly cool.

There's a balancing act. But, unless one has immense confidence that the challenge they designed is cool enough, there's a good chance it's bland compared to a player idea and expectations. And accepting, dealing with and adding to those ideas can carry longterm benefit for little cost, even if a particular challenge becomes suddenly easier.

So, in general, unless there's an overwhelmingly good reason not to, allow players to establish little details like this when they need them. It's "Yes, and..." again, which incidentally also means that players shouldn't get to invalidate previously established facts (such as stating that cold-blooded lizardmen would be dim-witted, when they've been shown not to be).

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

This thread is a primary example of why I take issue with the solutions suggested on this board. As soon as evildungeonmaster provided his own methods as an answer, he was immediately hounded with post after post insisting that his way was bad.
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This thread is a primary example of why I take issue with the solutions suggested on this board. As soon as evildungeonmaster provided his own methods as an answer, he was immediately hounded with post after post insisting that his way was bad.



His solution was critiqued.  If we can't critique each other's ideas, what is the point of this forum?

Now, maybe it was critiqued a little harshly, but he started it with his absurd dragon scales/beholder examples.

And, I think it is a good solution, and taking issue with the point simply because of how it is presented doesn't really make sense.

For example, I was recently playing in a game where we had a (my previous) character turned to stone by a peacockatrice.  My (backup) character had a cool plan, however it required a hunk of limestone or some other calcitic rock, which he aimed to source from the previous character.  So, the DM just said "ok, it's whatever you need it to be," my backup character carefully carved off a few chunks of limestone from my petrified character's pith helmet, and proceeded with the plan.  The plan worked, and it made for a fun and cool scene (one which, by the way, involved a few d20 rolls as a kind of skill challenge).

But what if, tucked somewhere in some book written by a guy in a cube in the Wizards head office, it said that when a character is petrified like that, he is turned to granite, not limestone?  Would we deny the possibility of some creative McGyvering fun, and the opportunity for a cool scene, just because of what someone at Wizards wrote?  Or, would it be better to simply hand-wave the discrepancy and allow the rule of cool to apply?  On that question, I'm definitely in the latter camp.
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This thread is a primary example of why I take issue with the solutions suggested on this board. As soon as evildungeonmaster provided his own methods as an answer, he was immediately hounded with post after post insisting that his way was bad.



His solution was critiqued.  If we can't critique each other's ideas, what is the point of this forum?

Now, maybe it was critiqued a little harshly, but he started it with his absurd dragon scales/beholder examples.

And, I think it is a good solution, and taking issue with the point simply because of how it is presented doesn't really make sense.

For example, I was recently playing in a game where we had a (my previous) character turned to stone by a peacockatrice.  My (backup) character had a cool plan, however it required a hunk of limestone or some other calcitic rock, which he aimed to source from the previous character.  So, the DM just said "ok, it's whatever you need it to be," my backup character carefully carved off a few chunks of limestone from my petrified character's pith helmet, and proceeded with the plan.  The plan worked, and it made for a fun and cool scene (one which, by the way, involved a few d20 rolls as a kind of skill challenge).

But what if, tucked somewhere in some book written by a guy in a cube in the Wizards head office, it said that when a character is petrified like that, he is turned to granite, not limestone?  Would we deny the possibility of some creative McGyvering fun, and the opportunity for a cool scene, just because of what someone at Wizards wrote?  Or, would it be better to simply hand-wave the discrepancy and allow the rule of cool to apply?  On that question, I'm definitely in the latter camp.



I'm of the camp that the players should come up with a cool plan based around information the DM decides about the world. It requires more creativity and critical thinking, IMO. It's just far too easy to let them come up with any plan and finding a way to roll with it.

While it's fine to critique, is it really necessary or okay to repeat or critique it after evildungeonmaster said:

"Those are both examples the player sitting beside me came up with on their own.  

 I'm cool with my DM style/skillz, since we don't play together perhaps you could find it in yourself to do the same?"

And was iserith's statements of "I pity your players" really necessary? I thought we had all agreed to keep it civil? 
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I think there was a fundamental misunderstanding of what was meant in the example. Evildungeonmaster said this:

Keep in mind, my ruling on the lizardmen was based on the idea (posted by Iserith) that it WAS in established lore that they were cold-blooded.



But we have this statement by iserith:

Stealing their thunder on something 
so easy to give up, something so inconsequential to the game or to the DM. Something that'll make them feel great for coming up with a good plan that works, but you just can't do it because someone, somewhere may have written in a book that it wasn't so.


So, evildungeonmaster meant that he wouldn't modify established lore, meaning lore that the group had already accepted. Iserith thought he meant that he would never go against anything written in any manual ever. This seems like a pretty extreme position that not very many people would hold, and kind of ironic in a post criticizing extreme examples.
I wouldn't define the bloodedness of Lizardmen, until it came up as an interesting issue.

If players had a cool idea, I'd hear it out before saying yes or no. I'd prefer to say yes, but if they were changing the lore as they previously understood it, simply for an advantage, then I'd likely say no. Of course my players might make assumptions and be wrong too. How would they know the bloodedness of Lizardmen? They should ask a Lizardman! It's probably not something taught in Fighter 101 or Cleric Basics.

Cool challenges - undergo initiation in the way of the Lizardfolk. Give up all equipment and armed with only spears hunt the great Dekubeast! Capture it's head to bring honour to the Lizardfolk's anscestors. To reach the beast you must traverse the Black Swamp, avoiding the quicksand, giant mosquitos and other natural perils. And you must identify the Red-eyed Orchid from which a poison can be made that significantly weakens the Dekubeast. Good luck!
First question:
Are Lizardmen Coldblooded or Warmblooded? Discuss.

Second question:
How can the players gain the respect of the Lizardmen Tribe?

The PC's are seeking information about a necromancer in the area. The clues will lead them into the swamp, where I will have them encounter a tribe of lizardmen. The players will need to ask the tribe for information and more clues, but the tribe will refuse to give out any information until the PCs "prove themselves". What sort of ways could the party prove themselves worthy and gain the respect of the Lizardmen? I was thinking they would have to beat one of the lizardmen champions in a duel, but what about other non-combat ideas? Something like a Trial of Fortitude or a Trial of Wisdom. Thoughts?

Note: as of now, I have the Lizardmen neutral and NOT involved in the Necromancer's activities. However, I'm open to interesting plot twists.

I'd like the responses to be edition-neutral, but I am tentatively running this as a D&D-Next playtest adventure.

Thanks!



I would have suggested that a Lizardman is cold-bloodied. But as others have mentioned there doesn't appear to be any text stating this. I'm basing my assumption about lizardmen, from what I know about reptiles. Truly, I'm not sure it really matters.

The second question will have to wait for another day, as it looks a bit more involved.
From why I remember, D&D Lore establishes lizardfolk as placing grate value on survival, survival of the individual and survival of the tribe. They also value strength which is often abused by evil creatures that use it to browbeat lizardfolk in becoming their footfolk. After all, survival is important and if raiding a few soft-skins was required to get that black dragon of your back, so be it. Besides those soft-skins are too weak to keep you out, they deserve it anyway ;)

Some time ago I had setup something similar. The lizardfolk in question were a spiritual matriarchal society that had drafted several kobold clans as their servants/slaves. As a result they treated small sized characters as servants, and were really respectful towards priests and females (assuming they could recognize them). The PCs could earn their gratitude in a hunting skill challenge. The more dangerous the prey they catched the better. If the PCs were up to it, they could even opt to deal with a very troublesome hydra that was beyond the lizardfolks' ability to deal with. Finding it was a challenge, killing it even more.

As for the cold bloodedness of lizardfolk, there is no biological reason for either warm or cold bloodedness. Unless I am misremembering things (or they changed their opinion again) scientist are pretty convinced dinosaurs were warmblooded, so there is no reason to believe lizardfolk could not be. Arguments could be made for sapience to develop, warmbloodedness would be a great boon. Mind you, it hardly matters unless your adventure is set in a temperate environment or your PCs can do something about the weather. Even then, D&D is a world of magic and anything goes. They might even have their own unique biology in this regards ;)
OP Here.

First, thank you everyone for the cool suggestions! I think I've been inspired by your creativity. I especially liked the thought about cold-blooded lizardmen being invisible to infravision. I also liked all the suggestions on possible ways to prove themselves.

Second, no-thank you to everyone arguing. Can we cut the bickering? I said "Discuss" not "Argue" =)

Third, I know I asked the Cold/Warm blooded question without any context to my world (which is new and heavily under construction). I did that on purpose to hear your responses. I heard a lot of good arguments on both sides. The reason I asked the question was because I designed a swamp that was almost purpetually dark, despite any sunny weather. The fog and mist hangs heavy and sunlight rarely penetrates to the swamp floor. And then I thought: "Oh balls! What if Lizardmen are cold-blooded? How could they survive?" So I made the post. And after hearing your suggestions and brainstorming on my own a bit, here's what I decided:

Lizardmen ARE Cold-Blooded. Why? It feels right to me and it adds some depth to the world. So how am I going to reconsile my sunless swamp? By adding something awesome, of course! I decided that the swamp is called the Fire Fens, because long ago a huge meteor broke into hundreds of small pieces and impacted the area. The meteorite rocks are about 10 feet across, on average. For some reason (magic!), the meteorites never cooled and they still radiate heat today. This particular tribe of lizardmen have built their tribe around a few of these rocks. They can keep plenty warm by staying in town. When they go out, a blood-temperature timer begins.

I think this awesome detail about the meteorites will inspire a few other adventures in the area too. Maybe now, maybe in the future.

Keep the good ideas coming!

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

Third, I know I asked the Cold/Warm blooded question without any context to my world (which is new and heavily under construction). I did that on purpose to hear your responses. I heard a lot of good arguments on both sides. The reason I asked the question was because I designed a swamp that was almost purpetually dark, despite any sunny weather. The fog and mist hangs heavy and sunlight rarely penetrates to the swamp floor. And then I thought: "Oh balls! What if Lizardmen are cold-blooded? How could they survive?"

I see this as an example of a cool idea being blocked (potentially) by a trivial, mutable detail in an effort to maintain (somewhat questionable) realism, and I find that unfortunate.

Lizardmen ARE Cold-Blooded. Why? It feels right to me and it adds some depth to the world. So how am I going to reconsile my sunless swamp? By adding something awesome, of course! I decided that the swamp is called the Fire Fens, because long ago a huge meteor broke into hundreds of small pieces and impacted the area. The meteorite rocks are about 10 feet across, on average. For some reason (magic!), the meteorites never cooled and they still radiate heat today. This particular tribe of lizardmen have built their tribe around a few of these rocks. They can keep plenty warm by staying in town. When they go out, a blood-temperature timer begins.

Excellent solution, and potentially the basis for some interesting hooks once prospectors start digging up the meteorites.

Are you really going to track blood-temperature? That's "realism" adding more bookkeeping for you. Even monsters that behave differently in different lighting conditions are a pain, and tracking temperature is not something the game really gives any guidance on.

You basically resorted to magic for you idea. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm curious where you draw the line, especially since there are probably cool and plausibly realistic ways for cold-blooded creatures to survive and thrive in low temperatures. Real fish and insects can survive in surprisingly low temperatures. Heck, just mastering fire would probably be enough for a race of cold-blooded humanoids. And since your world has magic, lizardmen probably have magic-users too. Suddenly, you've got lizardmen who carry smoldering bricks of peatmoss wherever they go, who prize fire magic above all else (and respect those who can control it), who covet and steal any item that gives off warmth. Maybe every lizardman must go through a ritual that endows him or her with the ability to create fire either magically or under otherwise impossible circumstances. Firebending lizardmen? Where do I sign up?

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

I see this as an example of a cool idea being blocked (potentially) by a trivial, mutable detail in an effort to maintain (somewhat questionable) realism, and I find that unfortunate.



Except that thinking through this potential issue created a cool idea. If he'd just not worried about it since after all it's a fantasy world and anything can happen, he wouldn't have thought it through. Having limits usually fosters creativity; absolute open-ended freedom often stifles it.

I especially liked the thought about cold-blooded lizardmen being invisible to infravision.



I just realized that in my group, this would matter particularly for our Drow player, because we've houseruled that Drow darkvision is actually infra-red (as it was in 3rd edition). 
Except that thinking through this potential issue created a cool idea. If he'd just not worried about it since after all it's a fantasy world and anything can happen, he wouldn't have thought it through. Having limits usually fosters creativity; absolute open-ended freedom often stifles it.

It's just as often the other way around.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Third, I know I asked the Cold/Warm blooded question without any context to my world (which is new and heavily under construction). I did that on purpose to hear your responses. I heard a lot of good arguments on both sides. The reason I asked the question was because I designed a swamp that was almost purpetually dark, despite any sunny weather. The fog and mist hangs heavy and sunlight rarely penetrates to the swamp floor. And then I thought: "Oh balls! What if Lizardmen are cold-blooded? How could they survive?"

I see this as an example of a cool idea being blocked (potentially) by a trivial, mutable detail in an effort to maintain (somewhat questionable) realism, and I find that unfortunate.

Lizardmen ARE Cold-Blooded. Why? It feels right to me and it adds some depth to the world. So how am I going to reconsile my sunless swamp? By adding something awesome, of course! I decided that the swamp is called the Fire Fens, because long ago a huge meteor broke into hundreds of small pieces and impacted the area. The meteorite rocks are about 10 feet across, on average. For some reason (magic!), the meteorites never cooled and they still radiate heat today. This particular tribe of lizardmen have built their tribe around a few of these rocks. They can keep plenty warm by staying in town. When they go out, a blood-temperature timer begins.

Excellent solution, and potentially the basis for some interesting hooks once prospectors start digging up the meteorites.

Are you really going to track blood-temperature? That's "realism" adding more bookkeeping for you. Even monsters that behave differently in different lighting conditions are a pain, and tracking temperature is not something the game really gives any guidance on.

You basically resorted to magic for you idea. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm curious where you draw the line, especially since there are probably cool and plausibly realistic ways for cold-blooded creatures to survive and thrive in low temperatures. Real fish and insects can survive in surprisingly low temperatures. Heck, just mastering fire would probably be enough for a race of cold-blooded humanoids. And since your world has magic, lizardmen probably have magic-users too. Suddenly, you've got lizardmen who carry smoldering bricks of peatmoss wherever they go, who prize fire magic above all else (and respect those who can control it), who covet and steal any item that gives off warmth. Maybe every lizardman must go through a ritual that endows him or her with the ability to create fire either magically or under otherwise impossible circumstances. Firebending lizardmen? Where do I sign up?

Realism is very important to me, actually!! However, it's important to distinguish between the Realism of our real world and the Realism within the context of the game.

As a physicist, I often cringe at movies that display poor physics in action movies. You know, like the normal person (i.e. not a superhero) leaping between two vehicles moving in opposite directions. In the framework of that movie, such actions should be impossible.

Now what if I was watching Spiderman? Okay, fine. I accept the premise that this guy has superpowers. He CAN leap really far or fall from a great height without a scratch.

Realism (as established within the framework of the setting) is extremely important for believability and the ability to become immersed in the world. Would a first level fighter be able to slay a powerful dragon (under normal circumstances)? No, of course not...that wouldn't be realistic. Such unrealisms would make the game un-fun.

Okay, maybe none of my players would have noticed the connection between the lack of sunlight and this cold-blooded lizardman tribe. But *I* would have known. And if *I* don't have faith in the realism of my own game, why should be players? Furthermore, simply because I wanted to make sure the world was as believable and tangible as possible, I was able to brainstorm a really cool detail.

And just to clarify, I would never arbitrarily restrict a player's creativity for the sake of "my" world. This game is every bit theirs as it is mine. What's an author without readers? A filmmaker without viewers? A DM without players? The DM's job isn't to weild the Rules like a club...it's to co-create (along with the players) an amazing world for the players to explore so everyone can have fun. FUN is the ultimate goal.

Maybe others think about the game differently, but that's how I do it.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

And just to clarify, I would never arbitrarily restrict a player's creativity for the sake of "my" world. This game is every bit theirs as it is mine. What's an author without readers? A filmmaker without viewers? A DM without players? The DM's job isn't to weild the Rules like a club...it's to co-create (along with the players) an amazing world for the players to explore so everyone can have fun. FUN is the ultimate goal.



Hypothetical: You've decided (as you said) to make lizardmen cold-blooded in your world. The players, not aware of this perhaps, brainstorm and settle upon a cool plan that will drive the action and tell a story in a positive way, but it requires that the lizardmen are warm-blooded. Will you make the lizardmen warm-blooded so their plan has a chance at working?

Also, this may have been mentioned, but I'm curious as to what edition you're playing. 

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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And just to clarify, I would never arbitrarily restrict a player's creativity for the sake of "my" world. This game is every bit theirs as it is mine. What's an author without readers? A filmmaker without viewers? A DM without players? The DM's job isn't to weild the Rules like a club...it's to co-create (along with the players) an amazing world for the players to explore so everyone can have fun. FUN is the ultimate goal.



Hypothetical: You've decided (as you said) to make lizardmen cold-blooded in your world. The players, not aware of this perhaps, brainstorm and settle upon a cool plan that will drive the action and tell a story in a positive way, but it requires that the lizardmen are warm-blooded. Will you make the lizardmen warm-blooded so their plan has a chance at working?

Also, this may have been mentioned, but I'm curious as to what edition you're playing. 

Good question! I guess it depends on their plan, but I would probably let the players have a chance at succeeding. If their ideas are better than mine, who am I to get in the way?? Of course, I'd never tell them this. It would all be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Alternatively, I might suggest a way they could alter their plan that would work regardless of the blood type. That way everyone wins.

Sure, it's always the DM's worst nightmare when your preciously designed plans get prematurely unraveled by the players' more clever thinking. What to do? I always prioritize creativity and fun over rules. If it makes the game more awesome, then it happens. But sometimes "awesome" doesn't mean a boon for the players. It could mean plot tension or a crucial roleplaying moment. I like it when a player does what his CHARACTER would do instead of what HE would do.

A good DM can think on his feet and deal with the unexpected. A better DM designs the world so one pull of the string doesn't unravel the whole game. I don't claim to be either of the two, but I try! =)

As for the edition, I initially started designing this world for a 4e Essentials campaign, but I've decided to migrate it to D&D Next. Briefly, the campaign is called "Classic Tales" and the adventures are all classic faerie tales with a D&D twist. Trolls under bridges, wicked witches of the forest, the big bad wolf, haunted houses, Snow Wight and the 7 Evil Dwarves, rescue the princess in the tower....that sort of thing. I'm straying from that formula for the sake of the playtest, though. I want to save the real campaign for when the world is ready and the Next edition is live.

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus

 

Realism is very important to me, actually!! However, it's important to distinguish between the Realism of our real world and the Realism within the context of the game.

Of course. But there's clearly a line here, and I'm curious about it.

As a physicist, I often cringe at movies that display poor physics in action movies. You know, like the normal person (i.e. not a superhero) leaping between two vehicles moving in opposite directions. In the framework of that movie, such actions should be impossible.

This has nothing to do with being a physicist. One can be a physicist and still enjoy cool stunts for what they are, especially since they usually don't have much bearing on the story.

Star Trek used to really bother me, but then I realized that the actual jargon they're using is irrelevant. The situation at issue could have arisen somehow, so let's just assume it do that and move on.

Now what if I was watching Spiderman? Okay, fine. I accept the premise that this guy has superpowers. He CAN leap really far or fall from a great height without a scratch.

And the Hulk, standing on a bridge, can punch to a dead stop something that could have shattered the bridge. So... it's a superpowered bridge? They should consider making the buildings out of the same stuff.

Realism (as established within the framework of the setting) is extremely important for believability and the ability to become immersed in the world. Would a first level fighter be able to slay a powerful dragon (under normal circumstances)? No, of course not...that wouldn't be realistic. Such unrealisms would make the game un-fun.

It's all in how you look at it, what you look at, and why you're looking at it.

The example of the fighter is a telling one. What seems to happen is that mundane stuff that everyday people feel they have a good handle on get the "realism" treatment, and other things get a pass. This typically happens to the detriment of fighters, because everyone thinks they have a sense for what a mundane fighter is capable of. Spellcasters then get more of a free pass because their abilities are realistic "as established within the framework of the setting." So, it becomes "realistic" for a wizard to take out a room of enemies, and for a fighter to be limited to one or two at a time. Wizards get to be Gandalf, but fighters don't get to be Hercules.

That's not the issue here, but it's one the stems from the same desire for realism, so I tend to look askance at "realistic" limits to mundane stuff.

Okay, maybe none of my players would have noticed the connection between the lack of sunlight and this cold-blooded lizardman tribe. But *I* would have known. And if *I* don't have faith in the realism of my own game, why should be players? Furthermore, simply because I wanted to make sure the world was as believable and tangible as possible, I was able to brainstorm a really cool detail.

And it is a cool detail, it's just curious to me how we draw lines as to what is and isn't acceptably "real" and what is and isn't fair game. The meteor idea, though cool, would cause a physicist to cringe a little, for a few different reasons. But it's cool, so it should be allowed to stand, so we can chalk it up to magic. Not a problem.

And just to clarify, I would never arbitrarily restrict a player's creativity for the sake of "my" world. This game is every bit theirs as it is mine. What's an author without readers? A filmmaker without viewers? A DM without players? The DM's job isn't to weild the Rules like a club...it's to co-create (along with the players) an amazing world for the players to explore so everyone can have fun. FUN is the ultimate goal.

That's good to hear.

Maybe others think about the game differently, but that's how I do it.

I think the only place we differ is on where we draw the "realism" line, what's okay to cover with "magic" or "fantasy" (or bending the laws of physics) and what isn't.

Good question! I guess it depends on their plan, but I would probably let the players have a chance at succeeding. If their ideas are better than mine, who am I to get in the way?? Of course, I'd never tell them this. It would all be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Alternatively, I might suggest a way they could alter their plan that would work regardless of the blood type. That way everyone wins.

No body loses if if the DM changes a detail that hadn't been established yet.

Sure, it's always the DM's worst nightmare when your preciously designed plans get prematurely unraveled by the players' more clever thinking. What to do?

Not make preciously designed plans. It took me a while to realize this, but it seems obvious now.

I always prioritize creativity and fun over rules. If it makes the game more awesome, then it happens. But sometimes "awesome" doesn't mean a boon for the players. It could mean plot tension or a crucial roleplaying moment. I like it when a player does what his CHARACTER would do instead of what HE would do.

Sure, though sometimes those are the same thing.

A good DM can think on his feet and deal with the unexpected. A better DM designs the world so one pull of the string doesn't unravel the whole game. I don't claim to be either of the two, but I try! =)

Wow. I think of it the other way around, mostly because there appears to be no way to design a world without such strings. Could be I just don't never had the will to try hard enough, but then there are many who don't have the will to think on their feet.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Good question! I guess it depends on their plan, but I would probably let the players have a chance at succeeding. If their ideas are better than mine, who am I to get in the way?? Of course, I'd never tell them this. It would all be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Alternatively, I might suggest a way they could alter their plan that would work regardless of the blood type. That way everyone wins.

Sure, it's always the DM's worst nightmare when your preciously designed plans get prematurely unraveled by the players' more clever thinking. What to do? I always prioritize creativity and fun over rules. If it makes the game more awesome, then it happens. But sometimes "awesome" doesn't mean a boon for the players. It could mean plot tension or a crucial roleplaying moment. I like it when a player does what his CHARACTER would do instead of what HE would do.

A good DM can think on his feet and deal with the unexpected. A better DM designs the world so one pull of the string doesn't unravel the whole game. I don't claim to be either of the two, but I try! =)

As for the edition, I initially started designing this world for a 4e Essentials campaign, but I've decided to migrate it to D&D Next. Briefly, the campaign is called "Classic Tales" and the adventures are all classic faerie tales with a D&D twist. Trolls under bridges, wicked witches of the forest, the big bad wolf, haunted houses, Snow Wight and the 7 Evil Dwarves, rescue the princess in the tower....that sort of thing. I'm straying from that formula for the sake of the playtest, though. I want to save the real campaign for when the world is ready and the Next edition is live.



I don't agree with your take on realism, but you have some really good ideas and I like your attitude. Please post more often!

I'd like to hear more about your classic tale adventures. I've never thought about doing that and it seems like something I could pull off. If you ever feel like starting a thread about it, count me in.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals | Full-Contact Futbol  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs | Re-Imagining Phandelver | Three Pillars of Immersion | Seahorse Run

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

"It's all in how you look at it, what you look at, and why you're looking at it.

The example of the fighter is a telling one. What seems to happen is that mundane stuff that everyday people feel they have a good handle on get the "realism" treatment, and other things get a pass. This typically happens to the detriment of fighters, because everyone thinks they have a sense for what a mundane fighter is capable of. Spellcasters then get more of a free pass because their abilities are realistic "as established within the framework of the setting." So, it becomes "realistic" for a wizard to take out a room of enemies, and for a fighter to be limited to one or two at a time. Wizards get to be Gandalf, but fighters don't get to be Hercules.

That's not the issue here, but it's one the stems from the same desire for realism, so I tend to look askance at "realistic" limits to mundane stuff."

Can I ask what exactly you think the mundane fighter is capable of?

I've personally always kind of viewed both the fighter/martial classes to be excellent at clearing out a room of enemies using their martial feats and skills. Even so far as in to let them do it in a single round or two. But I expect and demand that the wizard do the same with his own tactics and style. Presuming each class has it's own limiting factors for balance (such as a fighter not being able to spam a move because it's very tiring and a spellcaster having obvious limits on spells per day).

I'm not trying to take this to extremes, please note that. I just want a discussion about the realism between classes and the realism, or perhaps consistency is a more appropriate word, of fantasy.

Btw, Gandalf wasn't exactly all that powerful. Even when he graduated to the rank of White in the order. (and no, that's not me trying to downplay or diminish a cool character) 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Good question! I guess it depends on their plan, but I would probably let the players have a chance at succeeding. If their ideas are better than mine, who am I to get in the way?? Of course, I'd never tell them this. It would all be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Alternatively, I might suggest a way they could alter their plan that would work regardless of the blood type. That way everyone wins.

Sure, it's always the DM's worst nightmare when your preciously designed plans get prematurely unraveled by the players' more clever thinking. What to do? I always prioritize creativity and fun over rules. If it makes the game more awesome, then it happens. But sometimes "awesome" doesn't mean a boon for the players. It could mean plot tension or a crucial roleplaying moment. I like it when a player does what his CHARACTER would do instead of what HE would do.

A good DM can think on his feet and deal with the unexpected. A better DM designs the world so one pull of the string doesn't unravel the whole game. I don't claim to be either of the two, but I try! =)

As for the edition, I initially started designing this world for a 4e Essentials campaign, but I've decided to migrate it to D&D Next. Briefly, the campaign is called "Classic Tales" and the adventures are all classic faerie tales with a D&D twist. Trolls under bridges, wicked witches of the forest, the big bad wolf, haunted houses, Snow Wight and the 7 Evil Dwarves, rescue the princess in the tower....that sort of thing. I'm straying from that formula for the sake of the playtest, though. I want to save the real campaign for when the world is ready and the Next edition is live.



I don't agree with your take on realism, but you have some really good ideas and I like your attitude. Please post more often!

I'd like to hear more about your classic tale adventures. I've never thought about doing that and it seems like something I could pull off. If you ever feel like starting a thread about it, count me in.

Ha, thanks! =) I've been a forum lurker for a while, but finally decided to start posting (which I might regret later on).

How does your view on realism differ? How would you have answered the question you posed to me?

Might be fun to start up a Classic Tales thread and get some ideas from the community. I'll let you know!

Please introduce yourself to the new D&D 5e forums in this very friendly thread started by Pukunui!

 

Make 5e Saving Throws better using Ramzour's Six Ability Save System!

 

Lost Mine of Phandelver: || Problems and Ideas with the adventure ||  Finding the Ghost of Neverwinter Wood ||

Giving classes iconic abilities that don't break the game: Ramzour's Class Defining Ability system.

Rules for a simple non-XP based leveling up system, using the Proficiency Bonus