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The Saga Continues.. Not That One But My Castles & Crusades Ordering Adventure..

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 21:49
The Castles & Crusades saga continues & this time it starts with the collectors store.com. Back on 24th Apr 2020 I was looking for some Castles & Crusades book bargains. Up pops the  the collectors store.com & a bunch of great C&C titles. So I jumped at the chance to own some of these. They really are some great ones. I found  Castles & Crusades Death in the Treklant for 3 dollars & fifty Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Holmes Ref: Dungeoneering Reference Sheet

Zenopus Archives - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 21:06
Screenshot (click on image for a larger view)
Another week, another Holmes Ref sheet!

This one is a true DM's aid for dungeon exploration using the Holmes ruleset, covering Time, Movement, Light, Surprise, Wandering Monsters, Reaction Rolls etc.

DUNGEONEERING REFERENCE SHEET (click here to download)

A few notes:

---The 1/12 movement rate for combat rounds comes from two sources:
(a) the rates given by Holmes in the section "Combat Rounds, Time and Movement in Melee" on page 20, where indicates that movement in melee "is usually at a sprint; an unarmored man can move 20 feet per melee round, a fully armored man only 10 feet".(b) the extension of the above rules on page 3 of the first printing of B2 Keep on the Borderlands, which repeats the above rates, plus give 5 feet per round for Armored & Encumbered, and states that a monster's melee move can be determined by dividing the monster's move by 12 (although this really should be 6, see below).---Monster Movement. The column for "Monsters" on the Time & Movement table doubles the movement rate for monsters. This corrects a problem I noticed a number of years ago regarding the relative movement rates of characters as compared to monsters, as explained in this thread on ODD74.

To reiterate: OD&D had movement rates of 12" (120' in the dungeon) for light foot, 6" (60') for heavy foot, and 3" (30') for encumbered heavy foot. These are given in the Encumbrance Table on page 15 of OD&D Vol 1. 

But OD&D Vol 3 further explains that characters get two moves in a 10 minute turn, and thus gives a movement rate of 120' for a fully armored character (which is equivalent to heavy foot). Thus, the 60' rate for heavy foot (fully armored) is actually 120' in the dungeon.

Holmes, when making the Movement table for Basic, incorporated this double move into the listed rates, and thus giving an Exploring rate of 240' feet for unarmored (i.e. light foot), 120' for metal armor or encumbered (i.e., heavy foot) and 60' for metal armor & encumbered (i.e., encumbered heavy foot). 

However, the Movement table in Holmes does not include monsters, and the Monster List in Holmes does not incorporate this same double move per turn, and instead simply gives a Move stat for each monster that is as exactly given in the list in OD&D Vol 2. 

Without giving monsters these two moves, characters are going to be moving twice as fast relative to monsters. You can see this if you scan a list of monster movements (for example, in my Monster Reference Table), and note that the 240 feet/turn Exploration rate for an Unarmored men given in the Movement table is faster than any monster Move stat on the list other than Horses and some flying beasts. If you further compare the 240 feet/turn Exploration to the humans in the monster lists in Holmes, which including Bandits and Berserkers (each in leather armor), you will see that they have a move of 120 feet/turn, half of that of characters.

So to correct this, I've included a Monsters column, where it is noted that the movement for a monster in a turn should be double their Move stat from the Monster List. This doubling applies to ally of the movement rates: Exploring, Walking Normally, Running and Combat.

---The Phosphorescent Fungus is from the Sample Dungeon, Room L. Holmes also used this in the Maze of Peril. Real world fungal bioluminescene is known as foxfire. As I've written previously, "Margaret St Clair's The Shadow People, an Appendix N book that I read and enjoyed, has an extensive worldwide underworld lit by foxfire, but I don't know whether Holmes was familiar with this book."

---The Swimming rules are from the Sample Dungeon, Rooms H and M.

As usual, please let me know if you spot any typos & ask questions about anything unclear.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Top Comments – Pages 1395 – 1396

Looking For Group - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 16:09

Tuesday, YOU are the star! We curate our favourite comments from the previous week’s comments on lfg.co and Facebook and remind you how clever you are. Here are your top comments for Looking For Group pages 1395 – 1396 Looking […]

The post Top Comments – Pages 1395 – 1396 appeared first on Looking For Group.

Categories: Web Comics

Explained: cloud-delivered security

Malwarebytes - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 15:15

As a counterpart to security for your assets in the cloud, you may also run into solutions that offer security from the cloud. These solutions are generally referred to as cloud-delivered security. Cloud-delivered security is sometimes called security-as-a-service which we will avoid here as it might be confused with the more generally used term Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Types of cloud-delivered security

It is not hard to imagine several types of cloud-delivered security:

  • Definitions or rules for detection are in the cloud
  • Security controls and logs for systems that in multiple places are located in the cloud
  • Suspicious files that are not recognized are uploaded to the cloud for closer inspection
  • The security applications run completely or partially in the cloud and check on the security health of the physical systems

With detection criteria in the cloud there is only one update needed for new definitions and not for every individual system.

Controls and logs in the cloud enable security management to be the spider in the web from virtually anywhere.

The closer inspection of the suspicious file can be done by the security provider themselves or use a more general resource like VirusTotal.

Using containerization, security applications can be shared amongst different systems, even if they are running a different operating system.

Models of cloud-delivered security

Besides these different types, there are also three basic cloud delivery models:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

SaaS clients use applications supplied by a service provider. SaaS does not allow or require any control of the cloud platform or the infrastructure. This can be beneficial to some organizations while others would like at least some control.

PaaS users can deploy consumer-created or acquired applications using programming languages and tools supported by the provider’s content policies. This both limits the choices but it also enhances security.

IaaS is interesting for more sophisticated and demanding users as it allows them to deploy and run arbitrary software. This could apply to both operating systems and applications.

The main difference for these three delivery models is the internal organization of the cloud infrastructure. For the user this mainly results in a degree of freedom in how to use the infrastructure.

Cloud-enabled architecture

A cloud-enabled architecture is by definition built in the cloud and delivered as a service. This means it provides a platform that you can easily deploy, and it will help you minimize the need for costly appliances and backhauling.

Even more than when you are starting to use cloud enabled architecture, moving existing critical capabilities such as endpoint security into the cloud requires careful consideration of a wide range of privacy and security assurances. But sometimes the choice between the two isn’t one that is available. Circumstances do not always allow for the easy path of stepping into a readily prepared platform.

SaaS-based, cloud-enabled architecture should provide customers with a system that can be operational in minutes and requires no on-premise infrastructure. It may combine multiple security functions into one solution, so you can extend protection to devices, remote users, and distributed locations anywhere.

Integrated cloud security service benefits:

  • Flexible security protection on and off network
  • Consistent policies across remote locations
  • Easier to scale on a subscription-based model
Benefits of cloud-delivered security

There are several benefits of cloud-delivered security:

  • The protection will benefit all cloud resources and the SaaS applications
  • It makes it easier to get insight into mobile users, application usage, and overall traffic
  • Enhancement of management efficiency because it can be centralized and done with minimal effort
  • Significant improvement in discovered malware incidents and attempted breaches
  • As a result, a reduction of security related downtime
  • Ease of gathering sufficient audit evidence
What to look for in cloud-delivered security

There are several aspects organizations may be looking for in a cloud security solution. These can vary by type of organization and their priorities. In no particular order these may be:

  • Assistance from security vendors
  • Cloud administration and management
  • Scalability and cost efficiency
  • Protect all critical infrastructure
  • Extra features

Security should work for the organization and not the other way around. Security vendors are expected to assume a stronger, more active role in managing and helping the client to maintain the protection of their systems and network(s). Cloud-delivered security allows the organization to focus on their business and abandon or reduce the do-it-yourself security approach.

For businesses looking to simplify their security management through the elimination of hardware, reduced administration, and centralized management, the cloud is the most viable option. And it allows the vendor or a provider to perform remote administration and management.

Cloud-delivered services can dynamically grow and shrink based on the needs of the organization and you only pay for what you need based on usage. Moreover, it can also be less expensive to acquire since they are usually sold on a subscription basis, where payments are spread out over time.

To optimize the use of assistance, centralized management, and scalability, a cloud-delivered security solution should be designed to protect all critical infrastructure, applications, and data delivered as-a-service.

Usually organizations can add extra services or features to the security solution, which can include, for example, identity management, email security, and other features.

Possible drawbacks of cloud-delivered security

Some organizations may shy away from cloud-delivered security for various reasons.

Organizations may feel they have less control over the functionality of the security solution, which is not always justified as it will depend on the chosen model. And most of the times you will still be able to file feature requests with the vendor and work them out.

Organizations may have doubts about the privacy of the delivered technology and storage of logs in the cloud. But if you can’t trust your security vendor there is a worse problem that needs to be solved first.

Further, data residency can lead to compliance issues for some organizations in some countries. This absolutely should be researched before onboarding with a vendor. It would be a shame to engage in an onboarding process only to find out that there will be compliance issues.

Smaller businesses and cloud-delivered security

Smaller businesses can still profit from cloud-delivered security by acquiring it from a Managed Services Provider (MSP). Security vendors will provide MSPs with a cloud management console where they can keep an eye on all their customers. This enables the MSP to protect, monitor and remediate against security threats.

Stay safe everyone!

The post Explained: cloud-delivered security appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

100+ Free Crochet and Knit Patterns for Caron One Pound

Moogly - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 15:00

Caron One Pound is a fantastic value yarn with tons of free patterns on Yarnspirations! I’ve highlighted some of my favorites in all skill levels, and added a free Moogly pattern too! Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Yarnspirations. Caron One Pound = Amazing Value! First, let’s talk about Caron One Pound! Check out this...

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The post 100+ Free Crochet and Knit Patterns for Caron One Pound appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

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Categories: Crochet Life

Doctor Who Lockdown: Week Six Roundup

Blogtor Who - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 14:33

The first DWM and Big Finish produced under lockdown arrive, and Staying in the TARDIS makes a host of BBC content free and online for the first time. It’s week six of lockdown! Week six. Days 36-42. Long enough to have watched the entire 57 year run of Doctor Who in one sitting, and then […]

The post Doctor Who Lockdown: Week Six Roundup appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Spell Tactics for 8 Wizards in the D&D Monster Books and for a Wizard of Your Own

DM David - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 13:17

Evil wizards in Dungeons & Dragons can make exciting foes for players. They have access to a range of spells that threaten characters and create tactical puzzles. But that potential seldom translates into play. The designers of fifth edition aimed to make a typical fight last 3 rounds. That seems brief, but wizards lack hit points and they carry a big bullseye, so they can only dream of lasting so long. Too often, some evil “mastermind” stands in an open room, whiffs an initiative roll, and dies in an encounter that resembles an execution by firing squad. Dave and Gary did not give D&D to us just so players could claim a Table H treasure without a fight or even any cunning.

Five years ago, I wrote the The Evil Wizard’s Guide to Defense Against Murderous Treasure Hunters. That post focused on defensive spells and assumed dungeon masters would choose spells rather than stick to the lists in the Monster Manual and Volo’s Guide to Monsters. Sometimes players who see non-player wizards go off script can get a bit salty. After all, an archmage who prepares greater invisibility becomes a much bigger threat than one bringing the standard spells listed in the book. For a convention table, I’ll stick to a standard spell selection. For a home game that includes players who welcome a challenge, anything goes.

This post focuses on the game’s stock wizards and their spell lists.

Wizard encounters

Wizards make poor solo foes. Better fights come where wizards—even the boss—play supporting roles. Players must wonder if they can safely ignore a casters’ allies to focus fire on the wizard.

If wizards are paper, the party’s archers are scissors. Ranged rogues and sharpshooting fighters break concentration and heap damage on a wizard’s meager health. Avoid starting a fight with a spellcaster standing in the open, because they rarely bring enough hit points to survive long. In fifth edition, a character can move into view, cast a spell, and then move back out of sight. Make the party ready attacks or charge in to face the wizard’s allies. I dream of wizard battles where a solo wizard boasts defenses that the players must fight to unravel, but we have a game with sharpshooters instead. (This message brought to you by the alliance to return protection from normal missiles to D&D as a non-concentration spell.)

Spellcasters are smart and have the potential to become recurring foes, so whenever I pit the players against a wizard, I plan an escape and reserve the spell slots required for that plan. For lower-level casters, my escape may require invisibility or fly. Higher-level casters may reserve teleport or wall of force.

Next, identify the wizard’s most powerful offensive spells. For the mage and archmage in the Monster Manual, this means cone of cold followed by fireball. Few D&D battles last long enough to tap lesser spells.

Next check the wizard’s defenses. Without their defensive spells running, wizards become as fragile as soap bubbles. Unless the players make a special effort to gain surprise, and succeed, let the wizard raise a few defenses before they enter battle. Since defenses often require concentration, pick the spell that merits that focus. Sometimes this means concentrating on an offensive or battlefield control spell rather than a defense.

The rest of this post highlights the wizards in Monster Manual and Volo’s Guide to Monsters, from the tricky illusionist to the mighty (underwhelming) archmage.

Illusionist

A 7th-level wizard.

Escape

Invisibility [2nd-level Illusion] (V, S) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 hour)

Invisibility lets wizards escape from melee, but without much stealth, they need more tricks or obstacles to block a chase.

Disguise Self [1st-level Illusion] (V, S) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: 1 hour)

Disguise self enables an illusionist to blend into a crowd.

Minor Illusion [Cantrip] (S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: 1 minute)

Minor illusion could make a hall or a door look like a plain wall for long enough to engineer an escape.

Offense

Phantasmal Killer [4th-level Illusion] (V,S) (Casting time: 1 Action) (Duration: concentration, 1 minute)

Phantasmal killer only hits one target and requires 2 failed saves before inflicting any damage. Even that feeble effect requires concentration. An attacking illusionist can only target the barbarian and hope for the best.

The illusionist starts with feeble offensive spells, so more than any of the other wizards, illusionists work as part of a group of foes.

Defense

Mage Armor [1st-level Abjuration] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: 8 hours)

Every wizard the players face will have mage armor in effect.

Mirror Image [2nd-level Illusion] (V,S) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: 1 minute)

Even compared to higher-level options, mirror image ranks as the best no-concentration defensive spell.

Make it fun

Illusionists make bad foes for dungeon showdowns. Instead, use an illusionist in an urban environment to trick an frustrate the party, potentially helping other attackers.

Major Image [3nd-level Illusion] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: 10 minutes)

Use crowds, illusion, and cover to avoid being spotted, and major image to befuddle the party. For a good model, think of the super-villain Mysterio as seen in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Power up

Hypnotic Pattern [3nd-level Illusion] (S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, 1 minute)

To make an illusionist more dangerous, perpare hypnotic pattern rather than phantom steed and shield instead of magic missile.

Mage

A 9th-level wizard.

Escape

Misty Step [2nd-level Conjuration] (V) (casting time: 1 bonus action) (duration: instantaneous)

For a quick escape, use misty step to teleport to someplace relatively inaccessible, such as a balcony or across a chasm, then dash out of view. Misty step just takes a bonus action to cast, but you cannot cast a spell as a bonus action and cast another spell other than a cantrip in the same turn. See Player’s Handbook page 202.

Fly [3rd-level Transmutation] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 10 minutes)

Fly offers a defense against melee attackers and a potential way to escape a fight that goes bad. When a wizard can fly in and out of cover, the spell makes a good defense.

Offense

Ice Storm [4th-level Evocation] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: instantaneous)

While ice storm falls short of the damage from cone of cold or fireball, the spell slows movement and makes a good opening attack.

Cone of Cold [5th-level Evocation] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: instantaneous)

Fireball [3th-level Evocation] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: instantaneous)

While the other wizards in D&D’s monster books include some weaker spell choices to make them into distinctive foes, the mage picks the strongest spells as a player might.

Defense

Greater Invisibility [4th-level Illusion] (V, S) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

Greater invisibility rates as the best defensive spell in D&D. Most attacks on you suffer disadvantage. Plus, you avoid spells that require a target “that you can see,” which includes counterspell.

Counterspell [3rd-level Abjuration] (S) (casting time: 1 reaction) (duration: instantaneous)

An enemy wizard will run out of turns before running short of spell slots. Counterspell gives wizards a use for their reaction and lets them benefit from casting two leveled spells in a round rather than just one. Counterspell lets you trade another caster’s action for a reaction that a wizard probably would not use. Despite the power of counterspell, most enemy spellcasters benefit more from ducking out of sight between turns.

Whenever players face enemy spellcasters, pay close attention to the 60-foot range of counterspell. If possible, spellcasters move out of that range before they cast.

Shield [1st-level Abjuration] (V,S) (casting time: 1 reaction) (duration: 1 round)

Shield offers protection against archers and melee attacker that lasts a full round. Use this to protect against readied attacks when you move into view to cast spells.

Also: mage armor.

Make it fun

The mage brings the best spells on the wizard list, so of all the monster-book wizards, this one hits hardest for its challenge rating.

Power up

For a more durable, and therefore more dangerous mage, swap suggestion for mirror image.

Conjurer

A 9th-level wizard.

Escape

Misty step.

Offense

Evard’s Black Tentacles [4th-level Conjuration] (V, S) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

In most fights, start with Evard’s black tentacles and follow with fireball.

Cloudkill [5th-level Conjuration] (V, S) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 10 minutes)

If the natural terrain somehow prevents attackers from easily escaping from a cloudkill, or against parties dominated by ranged attackers, start with cloudkill. Remember, cloudkill creates a heavily-obscured area that blocks vision.

Defense

Stoneskin [4th-level Abjuration] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 hour)

The quality of stoneskin depends on the number of foes wielding magical weapons or attacks. Against groups likely to fight a 9th-level wizard, stoneskin offers nothing. Just about every non-player character wizard prepares stoneskin, and that’s always a mistake. With so many of the conjurer’s spells requiring concentration, stoneskin becomes doubly useless.

Also: mage armor

Make it fun

The combination of cloudkill and Evard’s black tentacles makes an exciting challenge for a party facing a pair of conjurers.

Power up

Prepare shield instead of magic missile and mirror image instead of cloud of daggers.

Enchanter

A 9th-level wizard.

Escape

Invisibility.

Offense

Enchanters have fireball, which seems like a bid to give them something to do in a fight, even if that lacks the flavor of the specialty.

Hold Monster [5th-level Enchantment] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

In the best case for hold monster, the enchanter paralyzes one character and spoils one player’s fun, then the rest of the party takes an average 1.5 turns to zero the caster’s 40 hit points.

Haste [3rd-level Transmutation] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

Haste ranks as an excellent spell for an enchanter to cast on an ally, but a fight with a hasted, charmed assassin doesn’t feel much like a fight against an enchanter.

Dominate Beast [4rd-level Enchantment] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

The best setup for a battle against an enchanter features a giant ape or a tyrannosaurus rex improbably around to become the target of dominate beast.

Defense

Instinctive Charm seems like defense that shows an enchanter’s flavor, but enchantment spells tend to require concentration, so an enchanter probably won’t cast one every turn, and the ability will rarely recharge. Let the ability recharge every turn anyway.

Also: mage armor and stoneskin.

Make it fun

An enchanter serves as more of a story piece than a combatant. For a fun battle against an enchanter, add odd creatures under a geas to defend the wizard and perhaps a fearsome beast in a cage.

Dominate Person [5th-level Enchantment] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

For enchanters to show their power, power up with dominate person.

Power up

Confusion [4th-level Enchantment] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

Switch hold monster for dominate person, confusion for stoneskin, and shield for magic missile.

Evoker

A 12th-level wizard.

Escape

Wall of Ice [6th-level Evocation] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 10 minutes)

A cautious evoker saves a 6th-level spell slot for a wall of ice to block pursuit.

Also: misty step.

Offense

Bigby’s Hand [5th-level Evocation] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

Rather than casting chain lightening, start with Bigby’s hand to interfere with melee attackers, and then start blasting with cone of cold and either fireball or lightning bolt.

Lightning Bolt [3th-level Evocation] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: instantaneous)

Defense

Mage armor, mirror image, and counterspell.

Make it fun

With so many blasting spells and few defenses, the evoker will probably strike hard, and then die quickly. This caster may work best supporting other foes in a high-level encounter.

Power up:

Prepare greater invisibility instead of stoneskin and shield instead of burning hands.

Abjurer

A 13th-level wizard.

Escape

Teleport [7th-level Conjuration] (V) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: instantaneous)

Teleport enables a near-certain escape, so long as you allow time to cast it.

Wall of Force [5th-level Evocation] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 10 minutes)

Wall of force can serve three purposes.

  • Create a barrier to enable escape.

  • Trap some of your foes so the rest become outnumbered by your allies.

  • Create a defensive shield that blocks attacks while you blast foes.

An invisible wall of force lets you see targets for spells, but “nothing can physically pass through the wall of force.” Few wizard spells let you continue to concentrate on the wall while enabling attacks through the wall. Sadly, none of the non-player character wizards prepare both wall of force and something like disintegrate or finger of death. Unless you change spells, this lapse eliminates the wall’s third use.

Also: invisibility.

Offense

Symbol [7th-level Abjuration] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 minute) (duration: until dispelled or triggered)

The abjurer’s most dangerous spell takes too long to cast in battle, but it lasts until dispelled or triggered. Each symbol costs 1,000 gp to inscribe. This leaves DMs to decide how many symbols protect an abjurer. One seems sporting.

Symbol aside, start blasting with cone of cold, and then fireball.

Banishment [4th-level Abjuration] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

As soon as you take damage, upcast banishment in a 6th- or 7th-level slot and bolster your Arcane Ward.

Defense

Alarm [1st-level Abjuration] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 minute) (duration: 8 hours)

Abjurers should never face an attack unprepared. Best case, that means casting symbol on the entry, taking a position that puts a barrier between you and melee attackers, and having a globe of invulnerability in effect.

Globe of Invulnerability [6th-level Abjuration] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute)

Globe of invulnerability only protects from magical attacks, so it just leaves most casters vulnerable to the party’s archers. Paper, meet scissors. Fortunately, the abjurer’s Arcane Ward grants a measure of protection that other wizards lack. Plus, the ward takes damage instead of the wizard, reducing concentration checks. The globe might remain active long enough to shape the battle.

Also: mage armor, shield, counterspell, and stoneskin.

Make it fun

The abjurer rates as the only wizard able to make a globe of invulnerability into a tactical challenge for an adventuring group, rather than a bubble a few arrows pop. So start with the globe. Once the wizard takes damage, switch to concentrating on banishment.

Forget the archmage, the combination of symbol, Arcane Ward, and banishment makes abjurers the most dangerous wizards in the monster books. If enough characters fail their saves, banishment could make half the party vanish. If you pit an abjurer against a group, ready a plan B involving a capture, a rescue, or a deal that can avert a total-party kill.

Power up

Prepare mirror image instead of arcane lock.

Diviner

A 15th-level wizard.

Escape

Teleport and fly.

Offense

Mass suggestion [_6th-level Enchantment] (V, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: 24 hours)

A diviner’s best strategy probably starts with a mass suggestion that convinces everyone to leave in search of the real villain. Unlike suggestion, mass suggestion doesn’t require concentration.

Maze [8th-level Conjuration] (V, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: 10 minutes)

Escaping maze requires a DC20 Intelligence check. Because so few player characters boast an Intelligence above 10, the spell usually guarantees one character leaves the fight for its duration. If the party includes a paladin, then use maze to banish that character and their boost to saving throws. Otherwise, wait to see who saves versus mass suggestion.

Delayed Blast Fireball [7th-level Evocation] (V, S, M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: concentration, up to 1 minute)

A diviner can see enough of the future to know not to cast delayed blast fireball, saving their 7th-level slot for teleport instead.

Also: ice storm and fireball.

Defense

Portent will probably only get one use, so keep it for a saving throw.

Make it fun

Like an enchanter, a diviner serves better as a story piece than a combatant. Diviners make good patrons because they see enough of the future to send the party on quests.

Archmage

An 18th-level wizard.

Escape

Teleport, wall of force, fly, misty step, invisibility, and disguise self.

The wealth of spells that enable archmages to escape reveal the role of these wizards: Archmages underperform in combat and work better as plotters who avoid fighting whenever possible.

Offense

Cone of cold, banishment, and lightning bolt.

Defense

Time Stop [9th-level Transmutation] (v) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: instantaneous)

Time stop gives an archmage a chance to cast a suite of defensive spells.

Mind Blank [8th-level Abjuration] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: 24 hours)

Mind blank serves as a story piece more than a spell that actually defends against anything players might use to attack an archmage.

Fire Shield [4th-level Evocation] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: 10 minutes)

As a 4th-level spell, fire shield ranks as the worst no-concentration defense. The damage amounts to less than a typical melee attacker can deal, and wizards lack health to lose in trade.

Combine fire shield with stoneskin, the worst defense that requires concentration, and you follow a recipe for a short and disappointing showdown.

Make it fun

The archmage’s spell list makes this wizard weaker in combat than some of the lower-level specialists. I suspect the designer who concocted this spell list imagined a fight starting with a time stop that enables an archmage to erect defenses, followed by a barrage of attack spells. Unfortunately, the feeble defenses do little to thwart a party facing an archmage. The archmage’s 99 hit points may not last two players’ turns. Paper, meet scissors.

The smart move is to skip time stop and upcast banishment at 9th-level, and then to blast the survivors who made saves. Once you thin those foes, cast wall of force to split the banished party as they pop back. Divide and conquer.

I’m not sure which of those strategies seems less fun for players.

The Intelligence-20 move is to teleport away to live for more evil schemes.

Power up

Disintegrate [6th-level Transmutation] (V,S,M) (casting time: 1 action) (duration: instantaneous)

Prepare greater invisibility instead of stoneskin and disintegrate instead of globe of invulnerability.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On Superhero Worlds

The Splintered Realm - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 12:05
On a suggestion, I found a pdf of the original version of Aaron Allston's Strike Force and skimmed through it - and I didn't love it, at least not in terms of what I want to do. I thought that the practical discussions around running supers gaming were good, but other than that it's mostly a roster of characters. I suppose that what I keep reacting to is that many supers gaming supplements are 'here are my/our cool characters' rather than 'here is where your cool characters live'.

It is one of the key problems with gaming in Marvel's or DC's worlds - it is awesome to be where Batman is and to fight some of Batman's enemies, but when Batman keeps showing up, he kind of takes the spotlight from you. I have addressed that by having all the great heroes be also kind of dead. Ermugurd, there were all these incredible heroes who did tremendous things, but now there's a bit of a void and we hope you'll step up, because they didn't take any of their villains with them when they died.

And, the fact that they're dead almost makes me want to avoid creating stats for them. How powerful was the Emissary? How much could Magni lift? What was Eldritch able to do? They assume a more mythical status if I don't tell you how powerful they were - because of that, you are always just a little bit in their shadow. And it's always just a shadow.

I'm interested in the stories of before and after those heroes lived. I'm actually not all that interested in telling stories about the greatest heroes at the height of their powers defeating overwhelming threats.

And again, my focus is on creating a living gaming environment, not a fixed world that has already had the coolest stuff happen.

Watch fans all over the world recreating Doctor Who scenes during lockdown

Blogtor Who - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 11:00

Doctor Who fans around the world have been uniting to recreate iconic moments at home. The Homemade Who project was launched last month to give the Doctor Who community something creative and fun to do while we’ve all been in lockdown. Celebrating 15 years since the show’s 2005 revival, fans were asked to recreate some of […]

The post Watch fans all over the world recreating Doctor Who scenes during lockdown appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 14

Blogtor Who - Tue, 05/05/2020 - 07:00

We’re back again with another box set for Doctor Who: The Collection. This time we return to Tom Baker’s era and a significant period during the Fourth Doctor’s tenure; Season 14. But have these sets run out of steam or can they keep the momentum going? It may have been Star Wars Day yesterday (May […]

The post REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Collection – Season 14 appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

Less like a slog

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 21:52

Yesterday was dreadful. I was a misery case for much of the day – no need to go into any details, I’m pretty sure we’d all have no trouble thinking up a few good reasons to feel crappy at present, if you wanted to sit down and make a list. I did all the right things, went for a walk and a run and got some sunshine on my face, and I made a nice dinner and I knit myself silly, and took lots of deep breaths, remembering that for better or worse, all states are temporary. I got a good night’s sleep and this morning I feel more like myself – more hopeful, more optimistic and with a clearer ability to see that it’s all not as bad as it could be, and the up side of being capable of not much more than knitting yesterday?

I’m almost done the sleeves of Ken’s sweater. I’ve got about 14cm to go on one of them, and only maybe about 5cm on the other, and then I’ll start the shaping and they’re as good as done. Yesterday I was convinced that Ken had long and stupid arms, but today his arm length seems completely reasonable.  I don’t know if it’s because my mood is better today or that I’m just so close to done, but I’ve almost entirely stopped mumbling about him being built like an orangutan. (He’s not. I think I was just crabby.)

(Someone always asks what the strands of yarn are, weaving in and out of my knitting – they’re running markers, how I keep track of rows or compound instructions. I flip a piece of yarn back and forth between my needles every so many rounds and it counts where I’m at for me. I’ll show you sometime, but it’s how I make sure things that come in twos are the same.)

Moreover, it rained on the weekend and so all four of those little skeins are finished, and now I’ve just got to figure out what they want to be. There were lots of good suggestions on instagram yesterday, and I think they want to be mittens. Which mittens? Too soon to tell, since nothing is singing my name too loudly at the moment, but maybe I’m just not listening. If you’re in the suggestion business, each of those little skeins is about 75m (for a grand total of about 300m, if you don’t feel like adding) and the yarn is rustic and sturdy, so I think the mittens should be too. Maybe something like the ones from Saltwater Mittens? Rigged for four colours? Who knows. It will come to me, I hope.

In the meantime, that sweater is going down. This is no time for grey, but it’s definitely a good time for the joy of a finished thing, and an even better time to put a friend in a new sweater. There’s still plenty of chilly left in Canada.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Foul Deals in N1: "Against The Cult of the Reptile God" By Douglas Niles - An Alternative Timeline Adventure Set Up For Using The Siege Engine System

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 18:35
"Terror by night! The village of Orlane is dying. Once a small and thriving community, Orlane has become a maze of locked doors and frightened faces. Strangers are shunned, trade has withered. Rumors flourish, growing wilder with each retelling. Terrified peasants flee their homes, abandoning their farms with no explanation. Others simply disappear. . .No one seems to know the cause of the Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

5e Inspiration android beta test 1

Blog of Holding - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 17:50

I just released the first Android beta test for Inspiration 5e. This test concentrates on dungeon exploration, levels 1 to 7.

You can download the APK at http://blogofholding.com/5einspiration/android/inspiration5e.apk

Installation instructions: Follow the link above. You’ll need to say OK to install an untrusted app, and grant permissions for the app to look at your contacts and location. Note: I don’t save or share this information. I ask for photo permissions so that I can allow you to share a bug screenshot with me. I don’t use or look at location data at all, and I don’t know why the app asks. I’ll fix this in future versions.

Here’s what I’d like you to test:
-Turn on Map Mode and explore a dungeon
-Browse for a monster or spell

Here’s what I’d like you to tell me:
-Is it obvious how to save or reroll dungeon rooms, encounters, and treasure? With Map Mode on, is it obvious how to explore the dungeon?
-Is it obvious how to look up a monster or spell?
-When you restart the app, are your settings and Saved items saved?
-What are your biggest annoyances?
-Any suggestions or feature requests?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

High School Ministry – May 8th – Youth Events

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 16:25


This week!

Online Game Show!
May 8th – Friday 7:25 – 9:25pm
Bring another device as we play a game with the grand prize and a McDonalds meal delivered to your door!
CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

Hello Students and Parents!

We are continuing our interactive services and are enjoying time with our students online! I hope you have been able to hear feedback from your kids! We always want to improve!

We meet  Friday HSM Night from 7:25 pm-9:30 pm. This will likely be our new normal for a while. But we are always up for suggestions!

There have been concerns of security over Zoom and I can assure you that the platform is safe for us to use. There are several measures we take to ensure our student’s safety at this time. Please email if you’d like to here the steps we are currently taking!

How do you do join us online? We’ll be hosting a ‘Zoom meeting’. That means, we can play games together, talk and even worship! If you aren’t familiar with ‘Zoom’ it’s simply a video-conferencing application that can do a lot!

Here’s how you prepare for our Interactive Service!
Step 1) Download the ‘Zoom’ app on your device! Here are the links below!

Mac – CLICK HERE
PC – CLICK HERE
Andriod – CLICK HERE
iOS – CLICK HERE

*You don’t have to download the app if you’re on a laptop/desktop, but it’s more robust if you do!*

Step 2) On Friday May 8th @ 7:25pm – click our Zoom Meeting URL

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

Step 3) Enjoy the service by listening and participating!

Feel free to email Mathew, our Youth Director, if you have any questions.
mathew@churchoftherock.ca

MONTHLY CALENDAR

 
Click here for the church calendar

The post High School Ministry – May 8th – Youth Events appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

Threshold Jr – May 4th – Youth Events!

Mark Hughes (Church of the Rock) - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 16:13

This week!

Threshold Jr Bible Study!
May 4th – Monday @ 2pm-3pm
These meeting are meant to connect on an additional time then just on Wednesday. They are more laid back but just as fun!
CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

AND


Online Game Show!
May 6th – Wednesday 7 – 9pm
Bring another device so you can play our Trivia Game Kahoot! The winner of this game gets McDonalds meal delivered to their door that night!
CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

Hello students and parents!

We are continuing our interactive services and are enjoying time with our students online! I hope you have been able to hear feedback from your kids! We always want to improve!

We meet Wednesday Threshold Night from 7:00 pm-9:00 pm. This will likely be our new normal for a while. But we are always up for suggestions!

There have been concerns of security over Zoom and I can assure you that the platform is safe for how our group uses it. There are several measures we take to ensure our student’s safety at this time. Please email if you’d like to here the steps we are currently taking!

How do you do join us online? We’ll be hosting a ‘Zoom meeting’. That means we can play games together, talk and even worship! If you aren’t familiar with ‘Zoom’ it’s simply a video-conferencing application that can do a lot!

Here’s how you prepare for our Interactive Service!
Step 1) Download the ‘Zoom’ app on your device! Here are the links below!

Mac – CLICK HERE
PC – CLICK HERE
Andriod – CLICK HERE
iOS – CLICK HERE

*You don’t have to download the app if you’re on a laptop/desktop, but it’s more robust if you do! You can use your phone, but still works better on laptop.*

Step 2) On May 6th @ 7pm, click our Zoom Meeting URL

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE ONLINE SERVICE!

Step 3) Enjoy the service by listening and participating!

Feel free to email Mathew, our Youth Director, if you have any questions.
mathew@churchoftherock.ca

MONTHLY CALENDAR

  Click here for this month’s calendar

 

The post Threshold Jr – May 4th – Youth Events! appeared first on Church of The Rock.

Categories: Churchie Feeds

A week in security (April 27 – May 3)

Malwarebytes - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 15:17

Last week on Malwarebytes Labs, we looked at how secure the cloud is, understood why unexpected demand can influence an organization to consider their “just in time” (JIT) system, speculated on why the threat actors behind the Troldesh ransomware suddenly released thousands of decryption keys, preached the good news about VPN being mainstream, touched on the relationship between cybercrime and a challenged economy, and identified what users can do if they received an extortion email.

Other cybersecurity news
  • The season of threat actors banking on coronavirus continues as fake news sites spring up to promote a “pandemic survival book.” (Source: Avast Blog)
  • Cybersecurity experts warned small- to medium-sized businesses about an increase in targeted attacks, thanks to the pandemic (Source: TechRadar)
  • While internet users are using VPN all the more, experts have seen attacks on something probably no one has thought about protecting: the router. (Source: InfoSecurity)
  • Phishers targeted Zoom users yet again with spoofed meeting notifications that would likely cause them to panic and click the phishing link. (Source: Source: Bleeping Computer)
  • Payment card details owned by US and South Korean citizens were reportedly sold underground for $2M USD. (Source: Group-IB)
  • While governments have renewed interest into using contact tracing apps to help contain COVID-19, the interest in using Bluetooth attacks may naturally follow. (Source: ZDNet)
  • Israel’s National Cyber Directorate published an alert about attacks on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. (Source: Security Week)
  • Parking meter vendor CivicSmart was attacked by ransomware and had their data stolen. (Source: StateScoop)
  • Some ransomware gangs opted out of targeting hospitals. For some, it’s business as usual. Colorado hospital shut down by ransomware. (Source: Health IT Security)
  • OceanLotus APT is suspected to be behind an espionage campaign dubbed PhantomLance, which targeted specific victims in Southeast Asia. (Source: Threatpost)

Stay safe everyone!

The post A week in security (April 27 – May 3) appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Leisure Arts Diamond Art Book Giveaway

Moogly - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 15:00

I have been so excited about this Leisure Arts Diamond Art Book Giveaway! I got to design 4 projects for 3 of the brand new Leisure Arts Diamond Art Books – Sparkle at Home, Baby Sparkle, and Sparkle Holiday! And now I finally get to share them all – and give away a copy of...

Read More

The post Leisure Arts Diamond Art Book Giveaway appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

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Categories: Crochet Life

Night Crystal Pass

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 05/04/2020 - 11:01
By Matt Kline Creations' Edge Games S&W Levels 2-4

You’ve been hired by Silver Hammer Trading to investigate a river trade route, running through Night Crystal Pass, that has fallen into disuse. Unfortunately, the dwarves they send along as observers have their own agendas. And then there are the goblins… hideously transformed goblins.

This 23 page adventure describes an eighteen room small dyson map of a dungeon/temple along a river. The usual. DM text long and unwieldy. Read aloud fairly staid and misused. A couple of NPC’s accompany the party. They add nothing except a hidden victory condition.A pretty typical OSR adventure, with all of the implied meaning that phrase has.

Ok, you’ve got a six hour river journey ahead of you, with two tag-a-longs, and you roll for wanderers every hour. 3HD and 4HD wanderers. With 2d6 being the roll and 2, 12, and 7 being “No Encounter.” Yeah .. this thing is a little rough for level 2’s. 

Hanz and Franz go down the river with you to make notes on the journey. One wants to collect magic crystals and the other LUVS a dwarf goddess. That’s their secret agendas. So, they wander off at times, or can, to do their things. It’s not really an issue with party interaction. I would probably let them wander off and not care.  Until, of course, you get to the end of the adventure. THEN, if they are not with the party when you reach the town at the other end of the river, you don’t get paid your 1000gp. So, it’s a fucking escort mission with two dumbasses but you don’t KNOW it’s an escort mission. Easily solved by an up front DM, but it still pisses me off. It reminds me of that Cracked sketch about every escort mission ever.

Read aloud is the usual. Things are described as “large” and “low.” Boring adjectives and adverbs that do little to convey any real concrete impression of an area. “It looks like an attempt was made to …” that’s a conclusion. Conclusions don’t go in read-aloud. You describe an area in such a way that the players draw the conclusions about the area. That’s a big part of the fun of D&D, or any RPG for that matter. The discovery of something. If you tell them everything up front then it’s just a slog through combat after combat and you can do that in Advanced Squad Leader instead. Or maybe Gloomhaven. There’s also broken interactivity through oversharing in the read-aloud. The read aloud goes in to too much detail. Rather than present an opportunity for the party to investigate, and discovery, through an interactive back and forth with the DM, it instead just tells you the secrets up front. It’s fucking boring.

DM text is long, of course. Full of the history of the rooms, of course, that add nothing to an encounter. Full of conversational style of detail that makes it hard to scan. A page for a simple encounter with a couple of monsters and a barrell in the room.

This smells, at this point, of someone just cranking shit out for the sake of cranking shit out. That pisses me off. I feel cheated, as if our goals are the not the same. Someone seeking the lucre as opposed to doing the best the can because of enjoyment of the game. I come back to publishers who have done bad work, time and time again, because I’m always hopeful that they’ve improved their game. Some have! There are positive examples! And then there’s the people who are just cranking shit out. Tomorrow, I do something different, I hope!

This is $1.50 at DriveThru. The preview is the first four pages. Which is all filler. So you don’t actually get to see any of the encounters. LAME! Do you think, perhaps, I’m wrong? Perhaps I’m wrong and the reason for the preview button is to ensure that it is black text on a white background? No? Yes? I don’t fucking need this shit in my life on a Monday morning during a lockdown, or, to be frank, ever. 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/309712/Night-Crystal-Pass-A-Swords–Wizardry-MiniDungeon?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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