General Expectations, FAQs, and other game info.   Posted by Dungeon Master.Group: 0
Dungeon Master
 GM, 7 posts
 Rule Number One:
 The DM is always right.
Fri 17 Apr 2015
at 14:44
General Expectations
This is a canned adventure for D&D 5e.  I'm sticking to the basics, as this edition is still pretty new, and I want things to go smoothly.

Characters will start at level 1 and progress up to level 7 or 8.  On average, characters should gain a new level every 2 months or so, whenever we finish an episode.

Players are expected to post 2-4 times a week, which is what I can manage on most weeks.  I will have occasional days when I can be available all day for rapid-fire posting and can really burn through a scene with whoever is available that day.  I will let you know about those a few days in advance so you can decide if you will be available for that.  I expect this to happen about twice a month.

My goal is to keep the plot going at a steady pace, so we don't lose interest.  I'd like to get through a scene every 2-3 weeks, and finish an episode every 1-3 months (depending on how many scenes it has).  I hope to have the whole adventure finished in 8 to 12 months, wrapping it all up by the end of summer next year.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:25, Fri 17 Apr 2015.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 40 posts
 Rule Number One:
 The DM is always right.
Tue 21 Apr 2015
at 18:03
Group Management
With this many characters, you will rarely be all together all at once, but it will happen at least once during each episode.  Then you'll be given options for the next scenes and pick which group you want to be in for which scene, much like we did here.  For example, each of these first scenes should end with all of you at the keep.  I'll introduce another round of troubles besetting the town, and you'll split up again to deal with them.  Hopefully, there will be some intermingling of the groups, but there doesn't have to be.  By the end of this episode, you should all know each other at least by name, and have a unified end goal.

The best example I can think of to illustrate this is the Naruto series, with all the ninja/adventurers going out on missions and coming back to get new missions in groups that change depending on what the mission is.

I've opened a new thread to keep a running record of the groups for each scene.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:26, Tue 28 Apr 2015.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 41 posts
 Rule Number One:
 The DM is always right.
Tue 21 Apr 2015
at 18:16
Character advancement and other rewards
Character Advancement. The milestone experience rule.  Under this rule, certain events in the campaign will cause the characters to level up.  In Hoard of the Dragon Queen, the characters gain a level after completing each episode (not scene).

Since everyone levels up automatically, I'll be rewarding roleplaying, character development, heroism, cleverness, and other IC accomplishments with:
  • Extra treasure
  • Marks of prestige from NPC leaders you interact with
  • Supernatural gifts from gods or other magical beings you interact with

I'll give these awards when the time feels right.  They could come at the end of a scene or episode, or right in the middle of a scene if something greatly impresses me and the opportunity to present it IC is there.

When someone (individually or as a group) is receiving a reward, I'll post it IC and modify your character sheet to include it (or ask you to put it on your sheet).

EDIT (6/18):  Now that we've played together and completed the first round of scenes, I have a better feeling for what I like to see from my players.  After a scene (or round of scenes) is completed, I'll review the IC and OOC posts award bonus points according to the rubric below.

Rubric for IC posts:
  • Roleplay.  (Dialogue, acknowledging/reacting to/involving other PCs/NPCs, playing the game with the other players and your DM.)
  • Character Development.  (Describing your character's appearance, motivations, actions, feelings, or otherwise bringing your character to life.)
  • Setting Development.  (Including references to the setting, background, describing the immediate area with the 5 senses, or otherwise bringing life to the world we're playing in.)
  • Cleverness.  (Taking actions outside of the normal assumptions, surprising DM with ideas, creatively using race/class features and setting/circumstances to great advantage, working with other characters to creatively over come a conflict.)
  • Heroism.  (Going knowingly/first into danger, risking self for others or to achieve the group's goal.)

Rubric for OOC posts:
  • Friendliness.  (OOC jokes, congratulations/compliments, having fun with other players and DM.)
  • Thoughtful Input.  (Answering DM's questions, giving honest opinions when asked, helping each other out.)
  • Mechanics.  (Checking on rulings, makings suggestions for clearer, cleaner mechanics usage, double checking with DM appropriately, catching the DM's mistakes.)
  • General Development (Continuing to develop your character, connecting to other characters/setting, developing/clarifying the setting, generally improving the play environment.)

After a scene is completed, I'll review each post, looking for those features and award points as follows:0 points for minimal effort, 1 point for a good showing, and 2 points for going above and beyond.  (I'm a teacher in RL, so rubrics are my go to evaluation tool.)

As far as how to use the points; in my mind, extra treasure is the easiest, most concrete way to translate good roleplaying by the players into tangible benefits for the characters.  You would gain coins, gemstones, art objects, or magic items with values of:

 X silvers = bonus points through level 4,
 X golds = bonus points from 5-10,
 X platinums = bonus points for levels 11-16, and then
 X times 10 platinums = bonus points for levels 17+.

I could also give you the option of gaining other, more roleplay oriented perks for your character.  These types of rewards are less tangible.  If you prefer these kind of rewards, I will work with you to develop something of equivalent benefit to others would be gaining if they are taking their rewards in treasure.

Supernatural gifts from deities, legendary creatures, or other great forces of power/magic.  These would consist of blessings, charms, or boons that mimic the properties of wondrous items, potions, spells, or feats/features.  They might one-time use, require specific circumstances to use, or be lesser or greater versions of the examples they are based on.

Marks of prestige from high-standing NPCs that grant influence/renown with certain organizations.  These would be represented in game by your characters receiving letters of recommendation, medals, favors, special rights, titles, special training, etc.  You carry the medal or letter of recommendation, and when others recognize it or you show it to them, you would receive a bonus (+1 flat bonus, add your proficiency modifier, advantage or whatever we determined when you gained it) to rolls involving those people or actions toward them.

Also, as long as you earned at least 5 points at the end of a scene (from both IC and OOC) you will automatically earn a point of inspiration, if you ended the scene with none.
I'm getting a better feel for things and I think I can specifically tie Inspiration to individual roleplaying of flaws, bonds, traits, and ideals.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:05, Wed 12 Aug 2015.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 42 posts
 Rule Number One:
 The DM is always right.
Tue 21 Apr 2015
at 19:48
How will dice be used in this game?
I have some preliminary ideas about this.  They may change or be tweaked after I've seen how they work during this first round of scenes.  If you have an idea to share to help simplify and streamline roll-heavy actions, please share in the general OOC thread.  If you have a complaint about these after we've tried them, please PM me so we can work out a better solution.  Thanks everyone!

I'd like to minimalize the amount rolling required to keep the game moving.  To facilitate this I'll:

Include stats and DC's when introducing something new.

I'll include basic NPC stat lines or obstacle DC's so you can post your roll and the result at the same time without waiting for me to come on-line and say, "you succeed" or "you fail."

Use passive checks often.

When describing an encounter, I'll give a basic description for everyone, then I might use passives to customize the encounter by sending a private line telling high Wisdom characters what extra details they noticed or telling low Charisma characters how NPCs react to them.

I will also tell you when you can use a passive check to automatically overcome an obstacle or opponent and when you must roll your ability check to overcome an obstacle or opponent.

Limit die rolls required in combat situations.

(This is a tricky area that can really slow down a thread, but it's also an integral part of D&D.  These rules will probably need some tweaking as we go, but I'd like to start with this.)

Before combat begins,
  • Ask for surprise/stealth rolls if needed.
  • I'll tell you what kind of combat this should be.  (Easy, Medium, Hard, Deadly)
  • I'll describe where the opponents are positioned and any other obstacles in the area.  I'll include stats and DCs.
  • I'll describe where I think the PCs are, based on previous posts (you can adjust your character's position in you own first post).
  • For initiative, all the PCs will act in one turn (any order they post in) and all their opponents will act in a turn (I'll use their individual initiatives as a guide).  To decide which side acts first, I'll roll initiative for each player and NPC.  The side with the highest roller will act first.

We'll resolve combats based on their difficulty.  I'm going to put combats into four categories: easy, medium, hard and deadly.

Easy combats won't tax PC resources or put you in serious peril.  You might lose hit points, but victory is pretty much guaranteed.  These are free-form fights, with no rolls needed to hit.  Instead, I'll describe the set up and the opponents actions if they go first, then the players will narrate their actions with heroic flavor, using any or all of their abilities to the utmost, then I'll sum up how the fight ends.  Keep in mind your character's limitations, as well.  This is a risk-free way to roleplay failure and can show character progress and development (and humor) as the campaign progresses.  Feel free to take advantage of passive checks and team work here.  These should be quick, one-post-each battles full of flavor.

Medium combats usually have one or two scary moments, but you should emerge victorious. A few of you might need healing.  For these, we'll play out the first round with combat rolls.  On the second round, PCs can narrate their actions without rolls, letting what happened in the first round and their passive scores flavor their posts.  Then I'll sum up how the battle ends.  These should be two-posts-each battles.

Hard combats could go badly for the PCs.  Weaker characters might get taken out of the fight and there's a slim chance that one or more characters might die.  Most episodes won't have more than one scene-per-group with a hard combat in it.  For these, we'll play out the first three rounds with combat rolls.  On the third round, the PCs should include a general statement of how their character would finish out the battle ("I go for the strongest one."  "I fight to the bitter end."  "I pull back when I run out of spells.")  After the third round, I'll narrate how the battle ends based on these statements and how it has progressed so far.  These should be 3 or 4-posts-each battles.

Deadly combats could be lethal for one or more players.  Survival often requires good tactics and quick thinking, and the party risks defeat.  These will only occur once per episode, if at all.  This means that, depending on which groups you're in, you may not even face a deadly combat over the course of the campaign.  These will be played with combat rolls each round till the fight ends.  If the fights lasts up to ten rounds, I'll step in and ask for final statements, just like in hard combats, and I'll narrate how it ends.

If I have not explained my ideas clearly, please ask me any questions you have. in the general OOC.  Others might have the same questions.

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:07, Mon 19 Oct 2015.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 75 posts
 Rule Number One:
 The DM is always right.
Tue 28 Apr 2015
at 04:18
Posting Guidelines
I'm not too particular about posting guidelines.  Third-person, past or present tense (I admit I vacillate between the two.)

Colors do bring out the dialogue, and they seem to be the norm for rPol.  I would like to see quotes around spoken words, for clarity.

Italics for internal monologue is also pretty standard.

Orange for OOC and rolls is also pretty standard.

I have set up the private groups for languages.   Feel free to use this option in your IC posts.

Tip: Use [Language unknown:   <omeus>] rather than "Private to group" to have the text visible but automatically scrambled for people who don't speak the language (i.e. aren't in the group).

The language groups we have are (in order of most common to least common among this game's players):  Elven, Draconic, Dwarven, Orcish, Celestial, Infernal, Gnomish, Halfing, Goblin, Giant, Theives' Cant.

I appreciate seeing players take an interest in fleshing out the setting, so please take liberties in describing the world we're sharing.  As long as you're not giving yourself an unfair advantage, I have no problem with it.  (EXAMPLE of unfair advantage:  "There was an unfinished well being dug in this village, so I pushed the kobold into the hole in the ground right behind him.  Convenient, that.")

I do expect players to make IC posts 2-4 times a week.  If you do not post for 3 consecutive days, I will begin to NPC your character, so that the rest of the group can continue to move forward.  If you do not post for a whole week, and have not given me notice of why, then I will assume you have dropped out of the game and will start NPC-ing your character out of the game as well (e.g. unfortunate demise).  If you return before I've figured out how to kill your character, you are welcome to continue playing.  If this happens a second time without notice, though, I will remove you from the game.

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:35, Tue 28 Apr 2015.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 78 posts
 Rule Number One:
 The DM is always right.
Tue 28 Apr 2015
at 13:44
How will we use the Inspiration mechanic in this game?
I will use this to reward roleplaying your personality traits, ideal, bond, and flaw from your character sheet.  You can use Inspiration to get a boost in a tricky situation.

Gaining Inspiration
When you give in to a character flaw, follow your bond, post with flair and flavor that matches your personality trait, or portray your character in other compelling ways, I will award you a point of Inspiration.  You either have Inspiration or you don't.  You cannot save multiple Inspirations for late use.

Using Inspiration
If you have Inspiration, you can use it to give you advantage on an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check.  Simply declare that you would like to use Inspiration on a roll, and include it in the roll's description.

Tip: I will aim to award Inspiration to each character once per scene episode, so long as I notice the player's efforts to roleplay.  Don't be afraid to use this mechanic.  You can earn two in the same episode by really breathing life into your character and the campaign setting, or none at all for bare minimum roleplaying.  If I see it being used and appreciated by the players, I will be more likely to look for more opportunities to award it.  If the players largely ignore it, then I won't be as concerned with giving it out.  We'll see how it goes.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:11, Sat 08 Aug 2015.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 218 posts
 Rule Number One:
 The DM is always right.
Thu 18 Jun 2015
at 15:25
Time zones collected
UTC-7  (9:00 pm)
  • Dungeon Master

UTC-5  (11:00 pm) (+2 hours from DM)
  • Chan
  • Julian
  • Arkros
  • Vander

UTC+1  (5:00 am) (+8 hours from DM)
  • Rugdah

UTC+2  (6:00 am) (+9 hours from DM)
  • Amon

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:38, Sat 26 Dec 2015.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 256 posts
 Rule Number One:
 The DM is always right.
Sat 4 Jul 2015
at 20:57
Using Disguises
To disguise/modify your own appearance, you make a Charisma (Deception) check.  (It's mostly about how you wear it.)

To disguise/modify the appearance of another person, the one in charge of building the disguise makes an Intelligence check.  (It's mostly about what you know about the disguise itself and how well she can tailor it to the other person.)

Disguise can be a team check between two people. The character in charge of building the disguise should be proficient with disguise kits and make an Intelligence check first, DC determined by the DM, depending on the complexity of the disguise.  If successful, this will give a +2 bonus to the character who is being disguised when they make their Charisma check.

Most Disguise checks will either have a DC set by the DM, or they will be opposed by the perception check (passive or active, depending) of another person observing/being deceived it.

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:00, Sat 04 July 2015.

Dungeon Master
 GM, 391 posts
 Rule Number One:
 The DM is always right.
Fri 31 Jul 2015
at 15:48
NEW SOURCE BOOK UPDATE:  Now that we've played through a few encounters with the basics, I'm opening up options for the new level.  Everyone can use the Elemental Evil Player's Companion as a source book, now, if they want to.  Mostly, it gives spellcasters access to new spells.  When you are leveling up a spellcaster class, you may choose new spells or replace old spells with spells from this source book.  It is a free download from the D&D website.

Here is the site address link:’s-companion

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:12, Sat 08 Aug 2015.