Old tricks for a hard campaign.

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We as a group just recently changed DM's cause we pretty much came to the mutual agreement that the Campain got WAY too silly. The next person to volenteer Pretty much told us that this will be hard. Pulling out all the stops to make this a difficult campaign. We're all fairly new to D&D so I want to be caught off guard as little as possiable. I made sure to roll a very mobile character (A monk with a base 7 speed) and took abilities that helped me Deal damage and GTFO when I need to. 

My question is, What tricks can I use to A: Save money B: Make things as safe for myself as possiable. C: Make sure Im not caught off guard And most importantly D: Catch my DM off guard.

I've used up most of the tricks I know like using Pine sap as easy lantern fuel and Simply knocking to get into things like bandit camp after the theif botches the trap search roll in previous campains so I need new tricks to Keep me Ahead If He is really gonna try to bucture us.
As far as difficulty goes there are two basic categories to consider:

Combat and Non-Combat.  That doesn't mean there can't be overlap, but advice I would give will be mostly in one or the other category.

Optimize.  The strongest status condition you can inflict is "Dead".  Take a look around the char op forums and see what you can see.  If the whole party is down for it you can party op, which can go a really long way towards making a group tough (even stuff as simple as everyone taking one of the feats that give everyone a bonus based on the number of people who have that feat in group.)

Notes for defender- Know how your DM treats your mark.  If your DM treats mark like the word of god, worry less about being sticky and having a strong mark punishment and more about making yourself tough as nails.  Take mass mark powers and powers that force enemies to pay attention to you temporarily (Dragonborn fighter with Come and Get It, Glowering Threat and Dragonfear).  If your DM is more tactical, or likes for your defender to get use from his mark punishment, start making catch-22s.  At low levels having a defender with a strong mark violation in combination with a non-defender who can help set up catch-22s is a great way to annoy the DM in combat.  My personal favorite is a Ranger|Cleric with Guardian Theme and Mighty Hew.  

Notes for Striker - Focus fire.  Name a kill target and murder it.  Try to make yourself out to be not a glass cannon, but able to delete a standard with an action point.  You are also going to want to go first, so finding ways to do that will be excellent.  Try to take off-turn powers when you can't take multiattacks or minor action attacks.

Notes for Leader - Your group is your weapon.  When a DM says "hard" most people want to turn a leader into a defender or a healer.  Don't do either.  Your defender should add to the group as much or more damage than your strikers.  Why?  Because your leader should be using the a +5 Barbarian as his main hand weapon and a +5 Ranger in his offhand.  Enabling is the name of the game for an optimized leader.

Notes for Controller - You have 2 major things going for you here.  1) You need to cripple your enemy.  2) When you see a situation where the bad guys have come into your balliwick you need to effectively end the encounter on Round 1.  Controllers need to be able to help your strikers get to where they need to be by clearing a path for them, or setting them up for glory with their leader.  If there are lots of enemies the controller's role is to make some of them useless with status effects and maybe even dividing the battlefield.  In order to do most of this you need to get everything going before the **** hits the fan, which means you are going to want to go first.  Every controller needs to know what they are looking for in order to "win" outright.  A level 1 wizard sees the whole encounter fits in an Area Burst 2, that encounter can be over on that Wizard's turn (Sleep).


  • Use everything that isn't nailed down.  Carry a crowbar for nails.

  • Learn basic chemistry or cool things to do with limited resources.  Spend a couple of hours on youtube to see what you can do with some of the basics.

  • Don't burn bridges.  It might be cool for a second to chop the head off the NPC that gives you lip, but it will be much more useful to be able to call people friends.

  • If it isn't a bridge, burn it.  If the DM makes it clear that all the Banites in the temple are extremely evil and prepares for a dungeon delve, make a barrier the banites cant cross and blow the whole building up.  Don't leave defeated enemies alive.

  • Rituals.  You need a ritual caster.  There are 8 million ways to use rituals and you should get to work learning / inventing them.

  • Know your enemy.  In a game where the DM wants it to be "Brutal" more often than not your enemy is the DM.  If your DM is the kind who loves skill challenges, don't leave home without your skill monkey.  Find the DM's favorite thing, then locate a silver bullet for it.

Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Thanks for that, The defender one actually helps quite a bit, Especially with 2 defenders in our group Im gonna have to see how he treats them.

I actually read the crowbar part smacking myself, I had a Silent crowbar I could have used several times in the previous campain, But To be fair my inventory was the size of a sheet of notebook paper. I'll be sure to use it much more this time.