When the Fluff doesn't match the stats.

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I was looking through the Open Grave book and I was reading up on Strahd and Osterneth. Well we all know that Strahd was a powerful Necromancer and the book even tells this, well there is nothing to hint at that in his stats block. He doesn't even posses the Arcana skill, nor does he have any spells.

Osterneth is of course a lich and in her little secret lore column it talks about her raising legions of undead to oust would be conquerors, well there is nothing in her stats block that allows her to do this. She doesn't even posses the Arcane skill.

The stats of the creature need to at least be on par with the little bit of fluff they do give them. If your characters make a lore check and find out that so and so is a great wizard and yet so and so can't cast spells because it's not in his or her stat block then that is pretty much a waste of time and lore.
I was looking through the Open Grave book and I was reading up on Strahd and Osterneth. Well we all know that Strahd was a powerful Necromancer and the book even tells this, well there is nothing to hint at that in his stats block. He doesn't even posses the Arcana skill, nor does he have any spells.

Well, technically no monsters have spells, as monsters don't have power sources. That being said, it's perfectly allowable to let both raise legions of undead through the use of rituals. The only way I've seen so far to actually raise undead during combat is with the Death Master template.
This is mostly because the skills they have aren't going to come up in a way that needs stats, or is really helped by having them. The fact that they're a powerful necromancer is best communicated by the fact that in an encounter they're surrounded by undead they summoned, or that you spent the last 5 sessions mowing through an undead army. It's counterproductive tying into rules stating exactly how many/ how tough/ when/ which undead/ how long it takes to summon them compared to letting the DM decide "he can have 2 of these, 1 of these, and oooh, those look cool".

Equally, they're not going to need Arcana rolls when you meet them (I can't think of an Arcana roll you're going to make mid-fight), and that is represented a lot better by the fact that you meet them when they're in the middle of completing their dark ritual of ultimate doom or similar.

And while many necromancers may fight by magically sucking your life energy, it's certainly not the defining aspect.
Monsters don't exist outside of statblocks in 4e. They spawn and live for five rounds before dying.

Or to put it more accurately.

Stats don't determine what the monster does outside of the five rounds of combat with the party, the DM decides.
Monsters don't exist outside of statblocks in 4e. They spawn and live for five rounds before dying.

To be more accurate, the rules for the monster don't exist to do out-of-combat things. Because what they do out of combat should be in the DMs purview anyway, rather than telling the DM "no, he can only achieve this task"
The one glaring example of fluff not matching the stats is the 'Serpentskin Armor' which lets you super-Shift once a day.

"Made from the discarded scales of a giant snake, this armor will carries the serpent's resistance to poison."
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
Statblocks only show what's important in combat. Raising legions of undead? Done out of combat for the most time. Done and done. If you find problems with that, how come you don't mention that PC's don't have the ability "Breath" as a free action?

Wait, so PCs wouldn't be able to breathe while stunned?
Yes, the latest book/release that you don't like is a blatant attempt by Wizards of the Coast to make money off the fanbase. They all are. That's kinda the point of the Free Enterprise system, companies are in it to make money...
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69889855 wrote:
You can't! I tried... and the next night masked men came into my house and beat me until I burned up my ranger character sheet and rolled a scout. They told me... if I ever thought of making a non-essential character that they would kill mitsy..... OH GOD THEY ARE COMING BACK AND ARE FORCING ME TO BUY HEROES OF SHADOWS! SOMEONE STOP THEM PLEASE!
58321818 wrote:
Your DM is your friend. He's not trying to screw with you, or dick you around. Play your character how your character would act. Accept that your character won't always be able to do what he's best at, but also know that as a goddamn HERO, he's gonna try to do his best at what he can do. Roleplay your goddamn character, make the decisions he would make, and roll appropriately. Everything will be fine.
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But filling a post with vitriol, hate-filled comments, like "these people should be fired", swearing at us or other ambiguous members of the company - there really is no reason for that. Please share your feedback respectfully, and consider how you would share your ideas if this were a face to face conversation between real people, not faceless names on a screen.
If you see me posting in a thread about editions or Essentials (that isn't simply a rules thread or similar) remind me that I'm trying to stay away from them. (My blood pressure will thank us both.)
I agree with the OP. She's missing a couple of key details: a standard encounter power to raise a legion of undead, and an encounter minor action to seduce and betray a King.
I can imagine it.

She uses the power and raises 10,000 Undead. Imagine how powerful this power would be if used in tight quarters. Pressed to death by Level 1 Minions. Mwaha.

But from what some of you are implying is that before the adventurers arrive the lich could raise an army of a million and they all wait for the adventurers to arrive since it's apparently left up to the DM? .
To be more accurate, the rules for the monster don't exist to do out-of-combat things. Because what they do out of combat should be in the DMs purview anyway, rather than telling the DM "no, he can only achieve this task"

Exactly. A creature does not have to have every single ability statted out. You want a vampire to have permanently enslaved followers? *poof* You can do that, you don't need to apply templates or rework the creature.

It's called freedom, which 4e mercifully grants.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
But from what some of you are implying is that before the adventurers arrive the lich could raise an army of a million and they all wait for the adventurers to arrive since it's apparently left up to the DM? Thats why in my opinion 4th edition is nothing more than a video game.

Why should raising an army take six seconds? Raising undead in masses during a fight is just stupid. I know if I was a lich I would prepare an army of undead, not to stop adventurers, but because I'm a frakin Lich!
Thats why in my opinion 4th edition is nothing more than a video game.

video game 
–noun

1. any of various games played using a microcomputer with a keyboard and often joysticks to manipulate changes or respond to the action or questions on the screen.
2. any of various games played using a microchip-controlled device, as an arcade machine or hand-held toy.
But from what some of you are implying is that before the adventurers arrive the lich could raise an army of a million and they all wait for the adventurers to arrive since it's apparently left up to the DM?

The lich summons a value of undead known as "enough". Enough for their own encounter, or the encounters before, or enough to make sense in the campaign. This could be a lich on their own with a few powerful undead guards, a lich with a dungeon full doing their own thing, or yes, a lich with an army of unstoppable monstrosities destroying every village in the kingdom. The amount they can summon is roughly the amount they did summon, and it's detrimental to say that they can summon a handful when the DM wants them in charge of an innumerable army. Or vice versa. Or any other layer in between.

And yes the amount they can summon is up to the DM. Or what, did all your generals in old games base their retinue off how good their Leadership score was?
The one glaring example of fluff not matching the stats is the 'Serpentskin Armor' which lets you super-Shift once a day.

"Made from the discarded scales of a giant snake, this armor will carries the serpent's resistance to poison."

To be fair, the description never mentions granting the wearer resistance to poison... only that the armor is resistant to poison. :D
As the poster above me implies, you got zero idea what a videogame is. Theoretically anything could be a videogame, just so you know.

But yes, the lich could raise an army to terrorize the lands, sending out his minions (not the game-term minions, but minions-minions) and try to carve his realm. That's what this kind of thing usually leads up to.

And yes, the PC's would arrive at his lair after slaying many of his undead monstrosities on the way. And yes they would battle more hordes of the living dead.

So where's the problem?

You think D&D 4E is bad or severely limited (because that's what you try to say with the buzzword "videogame"), because the DM decides there are monsters waiting in the lichs lair?

Seeeeriously, is this any even so little bit different from any old edition?

You as DM place the monsters and all. Done and done.

Did you calculate the Wealth per Level for you lich in 3rd Edition and calculate how many undead he could create with his allotment of money? Seriously?

Tell me, in how-far is the described scenario (lich creates undead, raids towns and makes his monsters defend his lair) different in the two editions? Care to elaborate?

Actually I know exactly what a video game is because I am a video game programmer.
To be fair, the description never mentions granting the wearer resistance to poison... only that the armor is resistant to poison. :D

Reminds me of the phaser-proof vest gag from a Star Trek Comic. The vest was untouched. The person wearing it was disintegrated utterly.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Did you calculate the Wealth per Level for you lich in 3rd Edition and calculate how many undead he could create with his allotment of money? Seriously?

Actually we did. Everything was calculated out.
Did you calculate the Wealth per Level for you lich in 3rd Edition and calculate how many undead he could create with his allotment of money? Seriously?

The wealth deal is what kept every Lich on the planet from popping out millions of undead. And it was what kept players from doing the same thing.
Actually I know exactly what a video game is because I am a video game programmer.

Programmers are frequently poor designers.

The wealth deal is what kept every Lich on the planet from popping out millions of undead. And it was what kept players from doing the same thing.

As this quote shows. If you actually used the Lich's WBL to make his hordes of undead he was a lame encounter and an even worse leader of an undead horde. Unless you claimed that the Infinite Efreeti trick was part of Weath By Level.
Well... At least we got custom avatars....
Thank you, Xal, for proving that 4e is superior in this regard. The DM has the freedom to do what he wants, since PCs and NPCs are different entities that operate under different rules. He has no reason to feel restrained by what X class or X spell says. He has freedom to design his adventures as he likes, and doesn't have to bury himself in computations and formulas to do it.

The counterpart to this is that the DM needs common sense and a sense of fairness. Yeah, he *can* put a million undead in a single encounter. He shouldn't. The only 'safeguards' a DM needs is to not be ridiculous.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
The only 'safeguards' a DM needs is to not be ridiculous.

This. The encounter level guidelines in the Dungeon Master's Guide don't hurt either.
Programmers are frequently poor designers.



As this quote shows. If you actually used the Lich's WBL to make his hordes of undead he was a lame encounter and an even worse leader of an undead horde. Unless you claimed that the Infinite Efreeti trick was part of Weath By Level.

Actually programmers make great designers and video games don't exist without each other so your remark is irrelevant in this matter. Lame encounter, you definitely don't know my DM.
The wealth deal is what kept every Lich on the planet from popping out millions of undead. And it was what kept players from doing the same thing.

In our world, the thing that keeps the Lich from popping out millions of undead is the fact that a reasonable human being is running the story. I should point out that that is the primary difference between a video game and D&D.

A computer needs to be told some sort of MAX_UNDEAD_SPAWNED or whatever because without that, the computer will just keep spawning undead until the server crashes.

A DM considers the story he and the players want to share and what makes sense in that world. If the players are playing a Zombie Apocalypse world, a prehistoric lich might very well have spawned huge numbers of undead. But if my players are protecting a village from an invasion, a much smaller number will do. A saavy DM who knows his players will wonder where he got the bodies will be careful to keep the number reasonable or scatter a few mass graves or ancient battle sites around.

The Angry DM: D&D 4th Edition Advice with Attitude http://angrydm.com Follow me on Twitter @TheAngryDM "D&D is a world where you are a great champion, and the creator of the universe is frequently disorganized, highly distractable, and alarmingly vague on the rules of the universe he’s trying to run." -Shamus Young, Twenty Sided Tale (DM of the Rings)

So, the game that allows the DM more freedom to choose exactly what is in an encounter is "more like a videogame" than the one where you must follow a strick set of guidelines set out by an immovable ruleset that was predefined by the designers of the game?

The one that requires human input and imagination to create an encounter is "more like a videogame" than the one where every value is "pre programmed" by the game, and is used to derive all values that will be used to determine an encounter?
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
But from what some of you are implying is that before the adventurers arrive the lich could raise an army of a million and they all wait for the adventurers to arrive since it's apparently left up to the DM? Thats why in my opinion 4th edition is nothing more than a video game.

It seems to me your real objection to 4E in general is that much more of the game balance is left to DM fiat, removing the link between every gaming detail with a corresponding rule. It seems many 4E critics don't like the fact that many facets of the game are now completely within the disgression of the DM. No longer can you point to a rule to argue your point when the DM says," doesn't matter what you think. it is this way because I say so"

This post is just another feeble attempt to use an extreme example to trash the whole 4E as a game not worthy of support.

Most veteran players long ago have accepted the concept that many things happen "off camera" and without game stats or items to back it up. If it helps the DM to build a challenging and compelling adventure the DM has always had the ability to create encounters and NPC's that the players(PCs) could never match with the rules as written. I't been that way in every edition.

To continue to attack 4E nearly a year after it's launch is rather childish. If you don't like the current version simply go play 3.5 or whichever game you prefer.
Thats why in my opinion 4th edition is nothing more than a video game.

Really? So you never had a DM do something outside the rules for dramatic effect?
The wealth deal is what kept every Lich on the planet from popping out millions of undead. And it was what kept players from doing the same thing.

Actually, there was a limit to how many HD worth of undead a PC could control from any given source. Assuming the maximum possible of a wizard/cleric/true necromancer, you could have something like 160 HD worth of undead under your direct control. Considering how many hit dice undead had in 3.5, the only ways someone could have a true undead army were either to rely nearly entirely on undead that spawn more of themselves and control the spawn (most of these were incorporeal), or take undead leadership and delegate responsiblity of command to your cohort, who also takes undead leadership. All said and done, if you were using standard, non cheesy ways to do it, your undead "army" would be severely limited. I'd rather have the 4th edition mindframe that the only thing the necromancer is limited by is ritual components and fresh corpses. It creates much more flavor that way.
Can't say I miss the days when every monster needed stats for every single action it was capable of performing.

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Angel, Planetar
Size/Type: Large Outsider (Angel, Extraplanar, Good)
Hit Dice: 14d8+70 (133 hp)
Initiative: +8
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares), fly 90 ft. (good)
Armor Class: 32 (-1 size, +4 Dex, +19 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 28
Base Attack/Grapple: +14/+25
Attack: +3 greatsword +23 melee (3d6+13/19-20) or slam +20 melee (2d8+10)
Full Attack: +3 greatsword +23/+18/+13 melee (3d6+13/19-20) or slam +20 melee (2d8+10)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: Spell-like abilities, spells
Special Qualities: Change shape, damage reduction 10/evil, darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision, immunity to acid, cold, and petrification, protective aura, regeneration 10, resistance to electricity 10 and fire 10, spell resistance 30, tongues
Saves: Fort +14 (+18 against poison), Ref +13, Will +15
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 19, Con 20, Int 22, Wis 23, Cha 22
Skills: Concentration +22, Craft or Knowledge (any four) +23, Diplomacy +25, Escape Artist +21, Hide +17, Intimidate +23, Listen +23, Move Silently +21, Sense Motive +23, Search +23, Spot +23, Use Rope +4 (+6 with bindings)
Feats: Blind-Fight, Cleave, Improved Initiative, Improved Sunder, Power Attack
Environment: Any good-aligned plane
Organization: Solitary or pair
Challenge Rating: 16
Treasure: No coins; double goods; standard items
Alignment: Always good (any)
Advancement: 15-21 HD (Large); 22-42 HD (Huge)
Level Adjustment: —

A planetar is nearly 9 feet tall and weighs about 500 pounds.
Combat

Despite their vast array of magical powers, planetars are likely to wade into melee with their +3 greatswords. They particularly enjoy fighting fiends.

A planetar’s natural weapons, as well as any weapons it wields, are treated as good-aligned for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Regeneration

A planetar takes damage from evil-aligned weapons and from spells and effects with the evil descriptor.
Spell-Like Abilities

At will—continual flame, dispel magic, holy smite (DC 20), invisibility (self only), lesser restoration (DC 18), remove curse (DC 19), remove disease (DC 19), remove fear (DC 17), speak with dead (DC 19); 3/day—blade barrier (DC 22), flame strike (DC 21), power word stun, raise dead, waves of fatigue; 1/day—earthquake (DC 24), greater restoration (DC 23), mass charm monster (DC 24), waves of exhaustion. Caster level 17th. The save DCs are Charisma-based.
The following abilities are always active on the planetar’s person, as the spells (caster level 17th)

detect evil, detect snares and pits, discern lies (DC 20), see invisibility, and true seeing. They can be dispelled, but the planetar can reactivate them as a free action.
Spells

Planetars can cast divine spells as 17th-level clerics. A planetar has access to two of the following domains: Air, Destruction, Good, Law, or War (plus any others from its deity). The save DCs are Wisdom-based.
Typical Cleric Spells Prepared (6/8/8/7/7/6/6/4/3/2; save DC 16 + spell level)

0—create water, detect magic, guidance, resistance (2), virtue; 1st—bless (2), cause fear, divine favor (2), entropic shield, inflict light wounds*, shield of faith; 2nd—aid*, align weapon, bear’s endurance, bull’s strength (2), consecrate, eagle’s splendor, hold person; 3rd—contagion*, daylight, invisibility purge, prayer (2), summon monster III, wind wall; 4th— death ward, dismissal, inflict critical wounds*, neutralize poison (2), summon monster IV; 5th— break enchantment, mass inflict light wounds*, dispel evil, mark of justice, plane shift, righteous might; 6th—banishment, greater dispel magic, harm*, heal, heroes’ feast, mass cure moderate wounds; 7th— dictum, disintegrate*, holy word, regenerate; 8th—holy aura*, mass cure critical wounds, shield of law; 9th—implosion, summon monster IX (good)*.

*Domain spell. Domains: Destruction and Good.
Change Shape (Su)

A planetar can assume the form of any Small or Medium humanoid.



Despite their vast array of magical powers, planetars are likely to wade into melee with their +3 greatswords. They particularly enjoy fighting fiends.

Emphasis mine.

The majority of that absurdly huge statblock is useless. Solars are supposed to be a melee monster, as per their combat section. We don't need to know how many times per day they have prepared Create Water. We don't give a damn about their +4 bonus to Use Rope. And I shouldn't have to waste my time deciding between sixty eight different spells, plus melee abilities, every single round.


Those days are over. Thank the Platinum Dragon God, they're over.
And yes the amount they can summon is up to the DM. Or what, did all your generals in old games base their retinue off how good their Leadership score was?

I think this is a good point that should be revisited. An orc chieftan does not have rules saying "at level 8, this chieftan can command a raiding part of 2 shaman, 3 honor guards, 12 warriors, and 20 grunts."

Why does the fact that a necromancer's army is made up of undead make a difference to the concept of DMs building party-appropriate encounters matching the theme of the campaign?
Jeez. The guy makes a simple comment about why a villain who's supposed to be a necromancer has no spells, and likewise a lich that used to be a powerful magic user has none, and you nerds grab the pitchforks and torches. Why couldn't somebody just explain to the guy their point of view instead ripping him apart at the seams?

Seriously. Why is it that nerds are experts at everything including telling somebody how horribly wrong they are about any given subject? heh.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled nerd lynching. ;)
Jeez. The guy makes a simple comment about why a villain who's supposed to be a necromancer has no spells, and likewise a lich that used to be a powerful magic user has none, and you nerds grab the pitchforks and torches. Why couldn't somebody just explain to the guy their point of view instead ripping him apart at the seams?

Seriously. Why is it that nerds are experts at everything including telling somebody how horribly wrong they are about any given subject? heh.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled nerd lynching. ;)

So...

You are a D&D player, who uses "nerd" as an insult against others who play D&D?

And FYI, it stopped being "just a simple comment" after he showed his true motive (IE "4E IS VIDJAGAME!"). Noboddy "ripped him apart at the seams" until he made that little gem. And even then, you'd need a very thin skin to see the responses as "nerd lynching".
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
I think this is a good point that should be revisited. An orc chieftan does not have rules saying "at level 8, this chieftan can command a raiding part of 2 shaman, 3 honor guards, 12 warriors, and 20 grunts."

We had that in 2nd edition.
We had that in 2nd edition.

And earlier. Most civilized races had a "This is how many you encounter in the wild. In a settlement, there are X, and a Leader who counts as X. For every X number of standard X, there are X level X Xs" sort of entry, usually with random rolls.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
Torches & pitchforks? I personally use a [i]Flaming Pitchfork[/i].

Anyway, skills are not part of monster stat blocks.
Instead the monster is as skilled as the DM needs.

Strahd Von Zarovich should have rituals as part of the his treasure.
As for spells, one cannot learn the spells of another, as no mechanic exists for it.
Therefor it really wouldn't matter if you put spells in his library. The PCs cannot learn them.
He does however, have a necrotic attack, so he knows at least a little combat necromancy.

As for Osterneth, The Bronze Lich
Almost every power that the lich knows is necrotic. That means the lich knows quite a few necromantic spells.
Again you should probably give rituals as part of the treasure.

As for undead raising abilities, do you really need it stated in the rule and the fluff ?
Such a thing is best covered by rituals, but for the most part are not stated out in the rules.
The Monster Manuel does contain rituals for turning creatures into liches and vampires.
These could easily be put into the monsters treasure. A few other necromantic rituals exist, and would make good treasure for these monsters.
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Warning: Posts my contain evil.

Orc in the House of Trolls
Actually we did. Everything was calculated out.

This made me really laugh. It reminded me of one more reason why 3.x sucked so bad. So much prep time for a monster that will not last long.
One more thing. Hermetic Magic could explain how these monsters use necromancy without it being in the combat block.
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It Came From Section Four!
Warning: Posts my contain evil.

Orc in the House of Trolls
This made me really laugh. It reminded me of one more reason why 3.x sucked so bad. So much prep time for a monster that will not last long.

Kinda makes me think of Dwarf Fortress, specificlly its adventure mode.

It would generate an entire continent, with thousands of years of (real!) history and historic figures. Then it would stat up enough NPCs to fill the world, each with complex relations to the area where they live and eachother. They had families, had religions, had professions. Complex backstories for even the lowliest NPC spanning back generations.

Then again, the game generates that all in about 10 minutes. To do it by hand with pencil and paper? Not so much.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
@rustmonster

Actually, it wasn't an insult. It was an observation. You're a nerd, and I'm a nerd and everybody here is a nerd. No matter how cool we believe ourselves to be. ;) I was just commenting on the amusing nerd lynchings that take place here and elsewhere. Even if the guy was being an anti-4E troll, you'd figure after a year people would get tired of fighting that fight. But, that's the great thing about nerds. Armed with our dictionaries, thesauruses, courses on rhetoric, theory, higher forms of mathematics, and quantum whatevers, martial arts and weapons training (may be a member of the armed forces), and of course the internets, we jump at any opportunity to attack, maul, maim, degrade, denigrate, humiliate, and show how much smarter we are than even each other.

Ya gotta love it. There was a documentary that showed at the AFI Dallas Film Festival called Dungeon Masters. It was more about how DnD has affected mainstream culture, but there was a little of the above in it. I found it interesting. But, I'd find it even more interesting if there were a doc exploring how the internet has empowered, nerds, geeks, dorks, and dweebs of all kinds.

Ah well. As you said, it ceased being a simple question after the guy said 4E reminded him of a video game. He did state that that was in his opinion. So, maybe, just maybe he wasn't being a troll and was giving his honest opinion on the game. But, it's too late now. He's dangling from the noose of nerd-dom, hence his continued silence in this thread. Poor guy. ;)
Wait, wait up. Back up a second. Did you guys seriously spend a whole page of this thread discussing whether a lich could summon 10,000 undead as a standard action?

I love the internet.
But from what some of you are implying is that before the adventurers arrive the lich could raise an army of a million and they all wait for the adventurers to arrive since it's apparently left up to the DM? Thats why in my opinion 4th edition is nothing more than a video game.

We get it. You don't like 4e. That is perfectly fine. Don't play it. But, please stop coming on this board and denigrating it. You don't see me going onto your website and denigrating your video game. Though, if you are willing to tell me who you work for, I am happy to do so.

-SYB
But from what some of you are implying is that before the adventurers arrive the lich could raise an army of a million and they all wait for the adventurers to arrive since it's apparently left up to the DM? Thats why in my opinion 4th edition is nothing more than a video game.

The reason he can't do it is because the GM is not against the players. D&D is not GM vs. Players its Players vs. Environment which they interact with through the GM.

If you don't want your players to win, you are a lousy GM. Period.

So, the Lich will not raise 89176598156871659 undead because that's not a good story nor is it fun or winnable.
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