After a month’s hiatus, we return with a new Using Skills! Last time we discussed sticky fingers and grabby hands with Sleight of Hand. This time we talk of Stealth, possibly the most used and certainly most useful skill for most characters in Dungeons and Dragons.
Using Skills – Stealth
(As a note, this episode of Dragon Talk has Jeremy Crawford discussing Stealth.)
The foot-pad ambles slowly across the cobblestone street in the dark of midnight, feet not making a sound as she slips past the searching watchmen. The hunter nocks an arrow, aiming with her short bow from the brambles and bushes waiting for this one perfect shot at the great wolf as it pads slowly into view. The acrobat steps off the precipice and silently begins to fall downward towards the unwary thug in the alleyway, his daggers held high for the killing strike. Stealth is the cornerstone of surprise, which is the cornerstone of victory.
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Last week we discussed using the skill Religion in Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition. Today we’re getting a grip on that skill of nimble fingers, sleight of hand. This will be a short one, as it’s pretty straight forward and a DM hardly needs inspiration in cultivating the use of it.
Using Skills – Sleight of Hand
The juggler stepped through the crowded market area, ignoring every jostle and bump as she kept five balls in the air -as well as nicking a bauble surreptitiously off of a market stall. The courtier made her rounds through the ballroom, greeting diplomats and nobles one after the other with a friendly pat or a hug; none would realize until much later that their pockets were much lighter. The guard captain once again frisked the urchin he had caught stealing in the wharf district, but could not for the life of him figure out what happened to the coins he swore he saw the vagrant grab. Sleight of hand is the go to skill for the sticky fingered.
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So I fell off the planet for a bit around the holidays. Things got busy and I mentally checked out and was unable to really produce anything of worth or note. A new year is in front of us, however, and I am getting back upon the horse.
Today we’ll be discussing the skill Religion. I want to thank you for sticking with me through this series. I’ve rather enjoyed writing it and seeing the discussion it creates. We’re nearing the end of the skill list, and with that I need to think of another excuse to post weekly to my blog.
Using Skills – Religion
The ranger motions for the traveling band to stay back as he examines the half-hidden stone marker among the brambles near the woods path, recognizing it as a symbol for a infernal cult that haunts the wilds of the area. A cleric studies an ancient apocryphal text of his church, recognizing some of the iconography as still in use today. The diplomat nods casually to the grand looking priest that meets her at the entrance of the temple, but bows reverently to the old woman in plain robes that stands beside him – knowing her to be the true head of the religious order. Religion is a skill for those who want to be proficient in divine knowledge.
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Thank you for joining us for the next part in the Using Skills series. Last week we covered Performance, and this week we’ll be covering Persuasion. Enjoy!
Using Skills – Persuasion
The duke walks among the guests of his fete, speaking to each in turn with a good-natured comment or a knowing wink. The street urchin appeals to the good graces of the guardsman who holds him aloft by the scruff of his shirt. The knight makes an impassioned plea to the chamberlain of the city, trying to convince him that the dangers in the forest are a danger to the city as well. Persuasion is the ability used by those who wish to influence others with their personality and grace.
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So I may have missed a couple of updates here for a couple of weeks. Holidays keep me busy and tired because of my real (lame) job, and so my blog suffers. Nevertheless, late though it is, I have for you the next part of our Using Skills series. Last time on this series we covered Perception, which I recommend you go back and read. This time clear your throat and tune those strings, it’s…
Using Skills – Performance
The old warrior, far past his battle years though those long near-forgotten days still marked him with scars upon his arms and face, leaned forward in his customary chair by the fire. His audience, a small group of disparate children, crowded around him. The light of the fire cast shadows that danced behind them on the oaken beams of the great hall. He stared past the children to these fey shapes and as he leaned in, they did the same – ready to cling on to his every word. His voice, it was said, had the power to summon up the spirits of warriors and dragons from days gone by; to transport you to primeval glades and crystalline caverns; to unveil the very fabric of the magical universe. Finally his old voice, gravelly and low, spoke out the first incantation that brought all of this to life: “Once upon a time…”
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Thank you for joining us for this week’s edition of Using Skills, covering perception. Last time in this series we took a look at Nature. Last week we had taken a break and instead presented to you a new version of the Automaton race. Check it out!
Using Skills – Perception
As her party circumvents a dank old tunnel, the sorceress taking up the rear finds that an odd shape on the ceiling above catches her eye. From his hidden spot on the balcony above the ancient chamber, the thief gazes around trying to find anything out of the ordinary in the chamber below. As he makes his way through a large crowd, the knight notices a small dirty hand make its way to his belt pouch. Perception is the boon of any adventurer that wants to survive in the dark and hidden places of the world.
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Back in September I released an alpha version of the Automaton race for 5th edition D&D, which was meant to bring a more universal “warforged” like race to the table. Not liking the current warforged available via the Unearthed Arcana series because it was both under-powered and boring, I decided to work on something that I thought would be more fun to play.
I received a lot of great feedback last time, as well as a lot of grief because I had made it overpowered. My thinking in this was that I wanted to make it overpowered to scale it back, but (rightly) people pointed out that I had taken this too far and it was pretty broken as a result.
Using the feedback I have received I have made a number of changes. This included reducing the number of subraces to three, moving the balance of functionality into the subraces, and overall lowering the power level all around. I think I have made it more balanced and playable. You can check out the new Automaton below. I hope you enjoy!
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Welcome to the next edition of Using Skills! Last week we looked at Medicine, and this week we’ll be looking at Nature. Enjoy!
Using Skills – Nature
The wise woman pulls a cluster of dried herbs from a flour sack and tosses them in a cauldron while making a note in her book. A struggling wood elf scours the floor of the dense forest for a certain white flower, knowing the taproot of this local plant will neutralize snake venom. The green knight scans the trees, confused as to how birch trees could be growing so far south. Nature is the knowledge of flora and fauna, and the lore of the wilderness.
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Last week we covered Investigation in our Using Skills series. This week we’re back with Medicine. Enjoy!
Using Skills – Medicine
A city watchman brings his torch closer to the body in the alley, trying to figure out how the person died. A cleric prays over an ill peasant while taking note of her symptoms to develop a diagnosis. The barbarian gingerly wraps the wounds of his unconscious companion to stop the flow of blood in an attempt to keep him from death’s door. Medicine is the science of health.
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All right, we’re finally back on track with our ongoing series Using Skills, in which we define and explore each skill in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Last time in this series we took a look at Intimidation. Today we’re looking at Investigation. Enjoy!
Using Skills – Investigation
A scholar pores over a text, surrounded by piles of books, looking for the one clue that will cause everything else to fall into place. The scout inspects a tile in the floor that looks ever so slightly different then the rest. The dwarven foreman taps the cavern wall lightly with his small surveyor hammer, listening to the sound, looking for the best place to begin work on a new tunnel. Investigation is using your powers of deduction to link clues and arrive at a conclusion.
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