FNM @ Majestix

Black Friday saw Jack



and I at Majestix for Friday Night Magic.

I went 1-2 playing BU, I could not keep up with RW or GW Agro deck:

Andrew went 1-2 with a third round draw. He was playing Mono Red.

Kate had a three color deck and went 1-2 as well.

Suprisingly, Jack, how has been doing great this year, went 0-3 playing BG, I think.

We did get some OK cards & everyone went home with a promo card. It was a fun Friday night.


Death Saves

So this week in D&D Encounters we had a player drop to negative 10 Hit Points--yes, I am that much of a Bad Ass DM!

I am not sure exactly what the death & dying rules are for D&D Next? In 4E, Negative bloodied was dead dead--is that true in D&D Next? 

If a player is negative hit points do they still make death saves during their turn in Next?

Any tips on how this works would be helpful.


Actual Play Legacy of the Crystal Shard--D&D Encounters S16 S2

A Drow, Frog, and Gnome walk across a rooftop....Legacy of the Crystal Shard--D&D Encounters S16 S2

My second week DM'ing went a lot more smoothly--there were only 5 players on the night before Thanksgiving, which made it a lot easier. 

I had prepared for 12 at the table again, so I did not necessarily have the minute roll play details that I may have wanted, but I did have the cinimatic battle scenes set up--bar fight, street fight, etc.--and they went fairly smoothly.

Thor was playing his Death Cleric.

Brandon is still playing his dwarf but will likely be changing to a mage for net session.

Jack was there playing a Gnome Rogue named Ratatouille--some of his best RP ever happened this week when he released the barbarian prisoner. Jeff was new & played the NPC.

Eric was there sans Sarah, who was at her moms birthday--Eric's Druid the Druid is fantastic.

Scott is playing Scar who is basically Drizzt.

The module has a ton of background stuff, which I will likely never use--I plan to develop my own themes for this season, but likely not formalize them until week three.

 The Pathfinder Crit & Fumble decks are bringing a lot of joy to the table.

I used a mix match of custom drawn map & WotC Maps for the various encounters tonight.

Jack was on fire with Three Crits--likely an all time session high for him!


Minmaxing in D&D Next

I have a player at my table who is playing a death cleric. He is using a scythe as a polearm which we have agreed is doing a d10. He has some class feature that allows him to do an extra d8 three times a day for the entire combat. When he hits a target he is able to make a second swift attack. Finally, he has some kind of polearm feat that gives him threatening reach.

So while my other players are doing like a d6 per round this guy is often doing 2d10+2d8+2 which just seems completely broken.

My first question is am I missing something--I am fairly new to D&D Next and some of this character optimization may not be legal--can anyone validate that what this player is doing is actually possible RAW?

My second question is, does D&D Next support 'system mastery' in the same was a 3.0? Do 'advanced' players have significantly more powerful PC's simply because of rule mastery? 

I remember in 3.0 building encounters to just shut down certain PC's & prevent them from doing their 'tricks', I did not find I had to do that as much in 4.0 and I am curious if we are returning to those types of encounters?

Here is video of Thor's PC in action


Shannon Error Magic style

I often have unspent mana during my untap step. Since I started playing UG I am seeing more of this. Some of it may be acceptable because I am holding mana back for counter spells which I do not need to use, but I am concerned that my mana ramp is not aligning with my deck and/or my draws.

Error Definition

The Shannon Error  is based on one of the Great Lewis & Clark explorers, who thought he had fallen behind, when in fact he had gotten ahead, of his team. So he rushed to catch up, which only compounded his problem by moving him further away from the rest of the expedition and further from much needed supplies.
From Shannon's experience, we can deduce the Shannon Error: the pursuit of a goal with great effort, the attainment of which is through less effort, not more; or, trying to catch up when you are already ahead.
My current concern is that I find myself often not spending all of my mana each turn. This happens in two ways--I create I have found that this happens to me a lot in magic. New to the game, I find myself drawn to large Timmy creatures that have clearly defined rolls on the battlefield.
Thus, I am a big fan of any thing that encourages Mana acceleration so that I can get these guys out as soon as possible.

Actual Play Legacy of the Crystal Shard--D&D Encounters S16 S1

Legacy of the Crystal Shard--D&D Encounters S16 S1

I am DM'ing this Season of D&D Encounters at Mercenary Market in Costa Mesa, CA. 

We are using the D&D Next rules, which I have not read.

My plan it to run a fairly loose and off the cuff campaign.

I started this by modifying the first encounter to involved Plague Touched Arctic Creatures [I plan to use a lot of Spell Plague stuff this season--since it will likely be completely retcon'd by the Sundering, I may as well do my best to make it memorable].

I started with a spell touched arctic hound to replace the Crag Cat in the adventure

And because I had twelve players at my table, I added a Plague Touched Boar.


The party slaughtered them no problem--D&D Next threat level is very old school--everything is fairly squishy in ways that are often unpredictable.

Jake is playing a mage. Brian is playing some kind of Hip Hop bard. Scott is playing Drizzt. Thor is playing a broken Death Cleric.

Sarah also has a bard. Jack is a gnome theif.

Will, who actually knows the rules, is playing a barbarian, Cody has a bard or something as well, 

Elizabeth was playing the NPC Aldo--she had not played in a while. Carlos has a knight with a foil riding an ice crocodile or something. Eric is playing Druid the Druid.

The adventure began with the players rolling on my Random Ideals Table:
They made quick work of the Plague Touched Beasts. They split the party to repair Aldo's cart, but I did not know how to take advantage of that--out of practice as a DM, I think. I will make them pay for that next time.

The combat with the Yeti's went well--players learned their characters.

There was not a lot of threat--the Yeti's were very squishy.

Looking foreword to next week.

Unboxing Legacy of the Crystal Shard

Single Shot Gruul Key Rune

Another great week of Tuesday Morning with Magic--Evan's mom sent over tangerines & Lisa made banana chocolate chip muffins.

The Boys all rolled in right around 8:00 AM--at this point they all have their own decks & we are looking to create a tournament pool going foreword.

Andrew, Evan, and Dylan all had winning records.

Derek [who cracked a fantastic Planeswalker], Matt, and Jack did not fair as well--actually, I think Jack was undefeated--but Derek struggled and Matt got crushed.

We had more questions on Double Strike and blocking--still something that confuses the boys--we think Double Strike deals damage two times [once during first strike, once during normal combat], even when it is blocking.

The First Strike vs Deathtouch also came up again--we think First Strike damage is applied before Deathtouch & if the creature dies during First Strike Phase Deathtouch does not come into play.

And finally we had a question about the Grull Keyrune

can the Rug Cutter be summoned and turned into a creature in one turn for 3RG? We voted that it could--Artifacts do not have summoning sickness.


FNM @ Majestix

Jack, Alexander, & I drove over to Majestix for some FNM drafting.

Jack ended up on the champions table having gone 2-0. He lost and came in second.

My lame BW deck went 0-2, but ended up beating Andrew at the Shame Table in round three. Did draft a lot of value, but did have a lot of fun.


Legacy of the Crystal Shard--D&D Encounters S16 S0

Everybody DANCE now!

Yes! it is that time again! Week Zero--Character Creation Week! One of the best parts of the D&D Encounters concept of public play is that it brings wildly different people to the table--and at no time is this more fun than during Character Creation!

I am a big believer in 4d6-the lowest for all stats. 

This Season of Encounters we did this in a fun group way in which we went around the table taking turns rolling our stats in order--STR! DEX! CON! INT! WIS! CHA!

Because of some truly horrible rolling I let the party decide if they wanted one bonus roll which they could use for any stat, but they would have to keep it no matter what. I made it one of those classic D&D Challenges in which the entire group had to agree & since their were 9 players and one DM I knew it would be a challenge to overcome the defiant ones...The party was able to convince even the most contrarian player to go for the reroll [a good sign for the coming season, as every DM knows]. The rolled the bonus stat & it worked out well for everyone.

Jack, Jake, & Thor had a blast during character creation.

Carlos was fairly new to the process--as were we all--we did not have a book just a mashed up collection of printouts and one tablet. Jake was using his phone. We really should have gone with Pathfinder or 4E that actually have books--using printouts is silly.

Jack did do some great custom portraits for several players.


Three Headed Giant Is Slow

The Tuesday Morning with Magic crew showed up after a three day weekend reseed and ready to play--Jack was up with his dice in a pile ready to run his new RU Deck--I have taken to calling it--Are You Serious? DRAGONS! But I am not sure what he calls it.

Derek was there running the Schwarming Slivers deck which continues to do well against TMwM Crew decks that are still mostly Timmy.

Dylan is playing a mostly Black deck that splashes some Blue for removal--I call Rule Review.

Liam ran Kate's Red White deck that I am not sure has been named. He did very well round one against the Slivers.

After the first round of one on one play--Jack vs Matt, Me vs Dylan, Derek vs Liam--the boys went for some Three Headed Giant. The rules were similar to two headed giant but the started with 40 health and things went even slower.

Jack scooped once the Sliver were +5/+5 First Strike & Vigilant. 

Cody had a great time playing his DSi.

We did have some Two Headed Giant type questions.

Does the Whip of Erebos grant Lifelink for all the creatures on one side of the battle ground or only the player who controls it.

we voted that it only effected the specific creatures that Dylan had cast.

Can Niv do damage to both players in a Two Headed Giant match [or in our case all three players in a Three Headed Giant match] and draw two [or three] cards?

We ruled that he could not, that the other players counted as one player--but I am pretty sure that the rules cover this with 810.7b but I may be missing something.

In any event, Lisa made Cinnamon rolls which made a mess on the cards, we had some good trading, and the event was a huge success--again.