Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Necromancer: A 4e Warlock Build

Dominic Matte
The necromancer is a classic character archetype featured in countless fantasy stories, but for some reason, it hasn't made its way into 4e D&D as a player option. You might think that 4e's focus on heroism naturally excludes necromancy as a player option, but on the other hand, lich is available as an epic destiny, so...

I decided to fix this gap in the available options. My solution was to use the wizard's summoning rules to create a master of undeath. But, of course, necromancy encompasses a lot more than summoning zombie minions, so I also included some simple rules for blood magic, which are entirely contained within a single keyword, as opposed to creating a whole new subsystem.

This is a full build writeup, containing new class features, at least one power for every level, feats, paragon paths, and magic items. 

Want to play a necromancer? Download the PDF from my Dropbox here, and read on if you're interested in the design notes!
(I apologize for the lack of images; I didn't want to risk any copyright issues)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

D&D Next: some thoughts

Dominic Matte

I've finally managed to get my hands on a copy of the D&D Next playtest materials, and they're definitely interesting. Before collecting my thoughts on the rules as a whole, I'll just go through some points that caught my interest as I read through. This is pretty much just a random collection of things that crossed my mind as I read the documents. I'll put together something more organized and collected soon.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Putting the Dread Back in the Undead

Okay, so you're running a game.  Things are getting real interesting.  The party has traced the mystery back to a dangerous cult hiding out in the cemetery, and the only thing standing between them and righteous, ecstatic justice is... An army of undead minions!

Oooooooh!  Oooga booga!

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Ultimate Zombie Hunter Part 5: Tactics & Wrap-Up

Dominic Matte
You've built your ultimate badass paladin who can totally kick the crap out of zombies. Or maybe you haven't and you're looking for a completed example. How should this paladin actually behave in combat, given the mix of powers and feats available to you? Read on for some tips, as well as some sample characters to show you what I'm talking about.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Ultimate Zombie Hunter Part 4: Weapons & Future Tiers

Dominic Matte
So far I've only really talked about the heroic tier. That's because Posse McToes never made it past level 11, so I never really got to continue expanding past there. I'll provide a quick overview of some of the standout options for paragon and epic tiers, but it won't be as comprehensive as my heroic tier coverage.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Ultimate Zombie Hunter Part 3: Feats

Dominic Matte

The paladin's powers are cool and all, but perhaps surprisingly, the feats are where you can make your zombie hunter really shine. That's because they'll give you specific bonuses and abilities against undead, or augment your best undead-killing powers, rather than simply dealing a chunk of radiant damage.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Ultimate Zombie Hunter Part 2: Powers

Dominic Matte

Hopefully I've convinced you that paladin is the right class choice for killing zombies in 4th edition D&D. So now let's move on to power and feat selection.

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Ultimate Zombie Hunter Part 1: Class and Race

Dominic Matte
If you know you're going to be facing a lot of zombies, or if you just hate them, the idea of creating a character who hunts the undead may have crossed your mind. In D&D, the cleric is typically seen as the undead-killer, with its ability to turn undead. But in 4th edition, the Paladin, ordinarily a tough defender, is really the best equipped for fighting zombies, and can actually exceed the damage output of a typical striker against the undead. And if you're playing a paladin, you'll want to choose the race that best complements its abilities.

Follow along as I provide some tips on how to build the best zombie-hunter, using my oddly-named human paladin Posse McToes as an example. But do keep in mind that overspecializing in zombie slaying will leave you a bit weak against other creatures.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Using All Skills as Passive Knowledge Skills

Dominic Matte
In 4e D&D, the Insight and Perception skills function passively as if you got a die roll of 10. This is pretty cool, and a good way to give your players some information if one or more of them have a high Insight or Perception.

On the other hand, if you're constantly giving one player little tips and tidbits because of a strong skill, the other players might start to feel left out even if they have strong skills of their own, because they're not used passively.

The solution? Passive everything!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Solo Design: Thunder Barbarian

Dominic Matte
Solo Design is a series of articles exploring solos -- monsters designed to engage an entire party -- using monsters I've designed for my own games.

Looking for a monster that terrifies the characters and their players? Fear effects and massive damage are the way to go.

Sir James the Black Knight is a ruthless military general who believes in quick victory through intimidation and overwhelming force. In combat he's fairly straightforward but uses his stature and rage to terrifying effect, barreling through his enemies with powerful combo attacks. And if you think that's scary, wait 'till he gets really mad.