Monstrous Mondays: The Muscular Puncher

I love Goblin Punch. Seriously, it’s one of my favorite RPG blogs out there. And of the many things that have been created on Goblin Punch, one of my favorites is the Muscular Puncher.

Essentially, it’s a system-neutral, wizard-based class that focuses on one thing. Can you guess what that one thing is?

That’s right. It’s punching.

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I encourage you to read the flavor text of the muscular puncher, because it would be wrong of me to re-print it here. Suffice it to say that the muscular puncher presented here has been translated, mechanically, into 5th edition D&D, and turned into a CR 3 NPC. It’s got a lot of hit points, and deals a lot of damage. And if you encountered more than one of these guys, I can see things getting a little bit nuts VERY quickly. Continue reading “Monstrous Mondays: The Muscular Puncher”

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Why the Mystic is Bad at Eating Cake

So, round 2 of the Mystic finally came out. I never analyzed the mystic’s first appearance on this blog, which serves me just fine. It was five levels, so I didn’t really have much to analyze. And although I think it’s a really ambitious class, I don’t think I lost anything by NOT analyzing it. Especially when there are others who do it on a regular basis, and are, frankly, really good at it.

However, now the second round is out. It’s got ten levels, instead of five, and we now have a whole host of disciplines to look at, instead of just the few that were included in the five-level build.

But I’m still not examining it. Not in a traditional sense, anyway. If you want a point-by-point breakdown of the class, then go ahead and take a gander at Harbinger of Doom’s review. It’s really quite thorough and he has a better head for class balance than I. Instead, I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about a topic that’s definitely related to the Mystic, but is definitively more broad in scope.

I want to talk about incentives. Specifically, mechanical incentives in game design. This isn’t going to be a topic about placing incentives in adventures to get players to do things. Rather, it’s going to be about the various different incentives that are placed in classes, races, and feats that encourage certain styles of play. Continue reading “Why the Mystic is Bad at Eating Cake”

Straight Out of Subvera: What Happens When We Die?

I really can’t stand reading about campaign settings. Truly, I hate the bland, boring style of most campaign world books and gazetteers. Paragraphs and paragraphs about cities and states and gods and magic and huge, unnecessary timelines. That’s not what I’m interested in, when it comes to world building, neither as a player nor a GM. I’ve never been one for Google Earth. I’m more interested in the street view.

I care about stories. I care about poems and people and the songs they sing. I love reading journal entries and legends. I want to hear not about how these two political factions are at war and the one of them is led by master blah-blah-blah. No, what I want to hear is how Curtis of Hightower feels about the war. Is he worried that the Darklings are going to come snatch his children in the night? Or does he feel safe under the reign of King Toughguy? When I play a bard, my goal isn’t to just gather quest markers from barkeeps, but to learn stories and songs from the people around town and trade legends with other bards.

Which brings us to my new series of articles: Straight Out of Subvera. These are my notes about my homebrew campaign world: Subvera. But rather than write them out as long, expository paragraphs that might be typical in a textbook, I’m going to add a little perspective, and a little character.

Every Straight Out of Subvera will be a story or a poem, or a song or legend, or a journal entry, or a conversation. It will be a snapshot from the world itself, and from the people within it. They’re intentionally vague. I will never come right out and say whether something is a fact or a myth, and I will never step back and take a clinical look at these articles. They are told from the perspective of the people who inhabit Subvera, and therefore the information within them is tainted and tinged by their own biases and personal experiences.

Because that’s what life is. Life is tainted by bias. It is shaped by memory and personal experience. By fears and favors. By beauty and blood. And when you inhabit a world, your perspective should be that of someone within that world, not that of a god looking down from on high. Continue reading “Straight Out of Subvera: What Happens When We Die?”

RPG Rant: I Am a Selfish Designer

Sometimes, I really miss Pathfinder. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love Pathfinder just as much as I used to, and some distance from it has really softened the edges of the system a bit (I even have a kind of appreciation for the glut of classes it currently has). But 5e has become my game of choice, and I genuinely love almost everything it has to offer. It’s a much more streamlined system that plays like a beautiful merger between the Old and New schools of game design. Monsters have never been easier to build, the magic item system allows you to maintain elegance and mystery in your items, and the staged class design makes designing alternate class features and subclasses much easier and more fun.

But…I guess I just miss designing for Pathfinder. Why? Let me explain.

The primary reason I left Pathfinder behind was the number crunching. Things just got too big and unwieldy. Even by level 10, characters could (and often were) swinging around big +20 attack bonuses and Armor Classes that shot way past the reasonable. Characters were lit up like Christmas trees with all of the “required” magic items. All in all, it was very much the antithesis of 5e’s design.

Whoa. I just realized that I’m writing about Pathfinder like it’s dead. And it is very much not dead. Continue reading “RPG Rant: I Am a Selfish Designer”

Monstrous Monday: The Great White Minotaur (And SITE UPDATE!)

Welcome back to Loot the Body! You may not be able to tell, but there have been some changes around here.

Before we get to our Monstrous Monday, because I did promise a new Monstrous Monday all those weeks ago, I have to discuss how the site is changing.

First of all, Monstrous Mondays themselves aren’t necessarily going to be weekly any longer. I realized before that keeping up 2-3 articles a week was simply something I wasn’t going to be able to maintain. At least, not right now. Work has slowed down, but it’s still retail, meaning that my hours are all over the place and I have no guaranteed writing time during the week.

Therefore, I’m going to make the following promises moving forward.

  1. I Will Present Some Kind of Content Every Week. Like I said, I can’t maintain 2-3 articles each week. I don’t get paid for this stuff (yet), and therefore can’t really justify the time required for that right now. However, I can guarantee that I’ll post SOMETHING every week. Maybe that’ll just be a Monstrous Monday, or a Treasure Type Z, or a Straight Out of Subvera. Or maybe it’ll actually be a long, detailed article. Regardless of what it is, I guarantee that I will post something.
  2. Monstrous Monday Might Not Be On Mondays. Due to the fact that I simply can’t maintain a consistent schedule, I can’t guarantee that Monstrous Mondays will always show up on Mondays. Also, if I’m being honest, I’m a well-known procrastinator (I wrote an English Term Paper three days before its due date) and I run my own D&D games on Sunday, so guaranteeing something for Mondays just isn’t in the cards. I’m still keeping the name, though, because I can’t stand to come up with something else.
  3. Diversified Content and New Types of Articles. While I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing: designing monsters, classes, and magic items; dissecting classes and Unearthed Arcanum, and writing long think-pieces on game design, I’m planning on diversifying my content in the following ways.
    1. DM’s Guild Reviews: The DM’s Guild and the new OGL have created a wealth of third-party content: classes, monsters, feats, adventures, and all manner of other documents. I’d like to write reviews for these, and will start doing so very soon.
    2. Straight Out of Subvera: Like every other DM with a blog, I’m designing my own homebrew world. It’s called Subvera, and I’m going to start publishing content from it on this blog. Unlike most other blogs that do the same however, I’m going to have a bit of fun with each article. I don’t want to spoil too much, but suffice it to say that I think it’s going to be a great creative exercise for me, and some really fun reading for you.
    3. RPG Rants: I fully admit that I’m stealing this one from the Angry GM. He writes a new Angry Rant every week. I’m not planning on doing that. It’s just that sometimes I need to talk about something without getting analytical and including pie charts and line graphs. Whether it’s about game design, gamers themselves, or my own personal discoveries and screw-ups, I can only hope that I can keep these rants entertaining and interesting.
  4. The DM’s Guild and the OGL. With the release of the SRD5 and the new OGL, as well as the establishment of the Dungeon Master’s Guild, I have had to rethink how I go about publishing my content. On one hand, things become much easier, legally, since I can now publish any and all content with the OGL attached and essentially be in the clear so long as I’m not re-printing information not found in the SRD5. However, this also means that I can actually begin publishing content…like, REALLY publishing content. On official sites. For money. Now, I haven’t gone over every bit of the DM’s Guild information (or the OGL) with a fine-toothed comb yet. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the future, I end up publishing much of my blog content through the DM’s Guild in pay-what-you-want PDFs. The big stuff, like my Ranger re-write (which will receive a new draft in the coming weeks), will very likely remain off the DM’s Guild. However, if I am able to do something like acquire a business license, I wouldn’t mind publishing those kinds of major projects myself.

And with all of that said, let’s get on with the actual Monstrous Monday! I present to you, the Great White Minotaur! Continue reading “Monstrous Monday: The Great White Minotaur (And SITE UPDATE!)”

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