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Thread: [Nation DnD] What you need to know; recommended and required software, the basics.

  1. #1
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    [Nation DnD] What you need to know; recommended and required software, the basics.

    (Could a mod merge the posts once I've finished making them all?)

    Introduction
    Hi all, I'm writing this short guide to provide interested newcomers with the essential information they need to create a starter character and join in one of our campaigns. I hope all the relevant information will be cohesive and easy to access, to make things a bit simpler. (I know the amount of rules alone can sometimes be daunting.

    I've tried to organize the guide so that, from the top down, one can use this guide almost as a step-by-step guide, even though it's more like a small library. If you've never played DnD before, but are interested in trying, hopefully you can use this format to your advantage.

    Playing the game
    During the game, players will take turns moving their avatars or tokens, which represent their character, and using their allotted abilities and actions. Before that happens, some things will be set up, but first I'd like to examine how turns are taken during combat.

    As I said, before anything happens, certain aspects will be decided. Of these, turn order is established, I'll talk about how that works later. When it's time for you to take your turn, you first start by examining any active effects on your character. If you have ongoing regeneration, or damage (such as from poison), this is when you apply them. If you have an effect that lasts a certain number of turns, decrement the turn count and apply the effect now. Then, you get to make your actions.

    Taking Turns:
    While it's your turn, you have to keep track of the type of action you're performing. You get one standard action, one minor action, and one move action. The action card will tell you what type it is. If you aren't using an action card (opening a chest, accessing your inventory, or doing something unprecedented by the action cards) ask the DM, and he or she will decide, though you may certainly suggest for yourself what type. In a addition, there are also free actions. You can, as the name suggests, perform as many free actions as you have in the same turn. Free actions may also be performed during the turns of others.

    Some actions may also be used in place of another, according to this hierarchy: Standard > Move > Minor. This means that a standard action can become a move action or a minor action, and a move action can become a minor action, while minor actions may not be substituted. So, one may use their actions such that they move, make a minor attack, and then move to safety, by substituting a standard action for a move. (Note: the hierarchy does not refer to action order. Actions may be performed in any order.)

    Attacking:
    One of the most common types of actions are attacks. When you look at an attack, you will see a few data, including a description of what the attack is. Here, we'll look at two data in particular: the attack modifiers and the damage modifiers.

    When you attack, you make two rolls. The first roll, the attack roll, is analogous to an accuracy roll, and uses a 20-sided die. It determines whether or not you're able to hit the opponent at all, and is modified based on the attack. When you make an attack roll, we say that you roll against a particular enemy stat (for instance, their armor class). This means that your roll, plus any modifiers, must be greater than that stat for the attack to hit. If you try to make an attack against an armor class of 16, with a bonus to attack of 3, then your roll must be 13 or higher, or else you won't land the attack.

    If you happen to roll a perfect 20, we say you landed a critical hit. In that case, you ignore the next passage, and simply deal the maximum amount of damage the attack can do (pretend that you roll perfectly during the damage roll.)

    Damaging:
    Suppose you've successfully rolled an attack. What now?

    Check the attack's action card and look at its damage. The damage you do depends on the nature of your attack, as well as your characters stats. Let's say you used an attack that says "2[W] + Dex" That's a bit cryptic, so we'll look at each aspect of it alone.

    [W] stands for your weapon's damage rating. The damage rating refers to the number of faces on the die used in the roll. A rating of 10 means you use a 10-sided die. A rating of 20 means a 20-sided die.

    2 means that you get to use two die in the roll. The size of the die will depend on your weapon rating, because we're rolling a [W] sided die.

    + Dex allows us to add our dexterity modifier to the damage. If you have 20 dex, then your modifier will be +5, so you add 5 to the final damage value. (Be careful; stat mods can be negative.)

    So, if we landed a hit with an attack that was 2[W] + Dex, with a weapon rating of 8 and a dex of 20, we would roll two 8-sided dice, add the outcomes together, and then add 5 from the dexterity mod. That number is then subtracted from the target's health.

    But what was this about critical hits?
    If you get a critical hit, it's easy. When I say to act like you rolled perfectly, I mean pretend that you actually rolled, and it happened to land on the highest number. If we use the above example, our two dice would both have rolled 8, resulting in 16, which we add 5 to. If we got a crit on this attack, we'd do 21 damage to our enemy.

    There are more details to making and taking attacks, but this is the way one goes about it. The finer points of attacking and combat should be easily learned in a real fight, and particular cases, such as bloodied, combat advantage, dying, and death saving throws will be explained when they become pertinent.

    Before turns are taken
    Now that you know how to play (more or less), we need to talk about what happens before turns are taken.

    Initiative
    Initiative is a stat that varies from campaign to campaign. At the very start of a campaign, we all roll a 20-sided die, and add our Dex mod to that number. That becomes our initiative. Initiative determines turn order where the highest numbers go first. Bear in mind that enemies have initiative too, and they can move before you if your initiative is low. (Yes, I'm aware that 4e rules say to roll for initiative at the start of every fight, but we've been using this method for simplicity, and I happen to like it. It's up to the DM how he or she wants to handle it.)

    Characters
    Even before we roll for initiative (often days before), we create our character. Everything from your characters name, their powers and abilities, their inventories, to their back stories and motivations must be created even before the campaign starts. For some, spending time working on their character is the most rewarding part of the game.

    Information on Character Creation is located below.

  2. #2
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    Required software
    Because we are using maptools as our virtual tabletop for this tabletop game, you will have to download maptools if you want to play with us. You can download the appropriate version of maptools here, or download all the software I talk about through the link at the bottom of the page.

    Using Maptools
    There are a lot of features that maptools contains, and I am no expert by any means, but this is only a guide to show you only what you need to do to start playing. If you want to learn more than what is presented here, by all means do research of your own. If there are any particularly useful features that you'd like to be shared, let me know, and I'll add sections on it to the later sections. Otherwise, I'll talk about joining campaigns using maptools.

    Because the server and campaign will already have been taken care of, simply open up maptools and select "Connect to Server"

    From there, go to the direct connect tab, and input the IP address of the server's host.


    Most likely, we will be using Hamachi, a virtual private network software that lets us connect to the networks of each other without setting up port forwarding. If the server host wants to use port forwarding, ignore the next part, and use their real IP address. Otherwise...

    LogMeIn Hamachi:
    Go to this webpage and download the unmanaged version of hamachi: https://secure.logmein.com/products/.../download.aspx

    Hamachi is fairly simple, so I won't go too deep. Select "Join an existing network" and connect to the nation network. From there, find out who the host is, and use their Hamachi IP to connect to the Maptools server.

    Recommended Software
    Every software listed here is included in the .rar at the end of the guide. If you don't want to use the .rar, links to each software, other than the character builder and Dice Tool, are listed in their sections.

    Initiative Tool
    If you are the DM, this tool will be most helpful to you. It keeps track of the turn order, so that you can easily keep track of it. It also has a timer, in case you decide to put the turns on a time limit. For a player, this might not be that helpful.

    Download link: http://www.rptools.net/download/zip/...ool-1.1.b9.zip

    Token Tool
    Allows you to create custom tokens to use in Map Tool. A small, easy to use app, it's a must have for our adventures.

    Download link: http://www.rptools.net/download/zip/...ol-1.0.b28.zip

    Character Tool
    Allows you to save your character for use in Map Tool. Using Character Tool makes using many of Map Tool's various features very easy to use. Character tool is not suited to creating characters, rather saving and importing characters that have already been created.

    Download link: http://www.rptools.net/download/zip/...ol-1.0.b15.zip

    Dice Tool
    A dice rolling simulator. For individual dice rolls, Map tools has built-in commands, so this can be skipped. Otherwise, if you want to make things easier on yourself during the campaign by setting up all your dice beforehand, go ahead and get this app.

    Download link: http://www.rptools.net/download/zip/...ol-1.0.b34.zip

    Character Creation
    I decided to let this have its own standalone section, because I feel this is the biggest obstacle for newcomers, and I wanted to devote special attention to it. I also recommend using the character creator included in the .rar at the bottom of the guide.

    If using the character creator, first install the character builder normally, then run the file that says "October update" Otherwise, this should provide a step-by-step procedure of making your own character.

    Character Race
    Every race has its own racial bonuses and abilities.

    In spoiler tags is a list of every race, and its starting stats and abilities, though the list is rather daunting, and the list in the character creator is simple and easier for a newcomer to work with.
    Last edited by Juno; 08-09-2012 at 03:00 PM.

  3. #3
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     Spoiler


    When choosing your race, you should be imagining the type of person your want your character to be. After you've chosen, examine the stats bonuses you gain by race, and keep them in mind when you choose a class.

    Character class
    I could give you another list, one of all the playable classes, but without a player manual, you wouldn't know how to choose powers.

    Though, if you want a bigger list than the Charcter builder gives, you can find one here: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/lists/class

    Ability Scores
    These are your stats. There are a few ways to determine your ability scores, and I will elaborate on them when I get time to finish this guide. But for now, I'm going to post the guide unfinished so that I can get some sleep.
    Last edited by Juno; 08-09-2012 at 03:01 PM.

  4. #4
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    Stats do not determine. They describe.
    In most rpgs, there are "defensive stats" and "offensive stats" and their natures are rather straightforward. If you build a lot of defense, you won't do much damage, and if you build too much offense, you'll die very quickly. Stats aren't like that in D&D.

    Stats are not used to determine damage. Stats affect damage by describing how proficient your character is at using a particular attack. A strong character will gain flat bonuses to melee attacks, but unless he has dexterity, his ranged attacks will suffer a penalty.

    In that regard, stats describe how your character is able to act outside of combat as well. Particularly charismatic characters can lie and bluff their way through situations, but if they lack wisdom, they might not realize bluffs against themselves! A strong character might more easily pass a strength check to lift a restricting boulder, where it would not be so easy for a dexterous character. However, the dexterous character might use levers and change the strength check into a dexterity check!

    So, while stats do affect your damage, they do not determine it. They describe your character, their nature, their proficiencies as well as their weaknesses. When you apply your ability scores, don't think about how you can do more damage, but think about how to describe your character through stat points. If you want to do more damage, use attacks that are based on a stat your character is high in, rather than choosing attacks beforehand and ramping those stats up.

    Well, aside from that, I find it hard to believe that stats really don't determine anything.
    Okay, you caught me. There are a number of secondary stats that are based off of one or two of the primary stats. You can read more in-depth on those through these links:

    Strength
    Dexterity
    Constitution
    Intelligence
    Wisdom
    Charisma

    Determining ability scores:
    There are three ways to give your character ability scores.

    Roll for them
    Take four regular six-sided dice and roll each. Discard the lowest number, and add the rest. Do this six times to aquire six numbers. Attribute each number to a stat however you like.
    Pros to rolling for stats:
    • You might end up with more points than normal.
    Cons to rolling:
    • You might end up with below average stats.

    Distribution
    You start off with 10 points in each stat, and have 20 from there to add however you like. Keep in mind that the cost in points to raise a stat go up as stats go up.

    To raise your STR from 11 to 12 and from 12 to 13 cost only one point. However, raising it further will cost 2 points, and even more once the stat reaches 16.
    Pros to distributing:
    • Flexibility and precision; you can describe your character exactly the way you want.
    • No risk of winding up with all six stats being lower than 10.
    • The stats can be tailored to an unorthodox build in a way that the other two forms lack.
    Cons
    • Easy to make mistakes of using one point when you meant to use two.
    • Rolling offers the potential of higher average stats.
    • Requires knowing your build at least a little.

    Using an Array
    6 predetermined numbers (achieved by using the distribution method) are chosen as a group and given to the character's stats as the player sees fit.
    The most common array is 16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10. However, there are many, and the math behind it is a little interesting. The following arrays all give total stat mods of +8:
    16 14 12 12 12 10
    16 13 12 12 12 12
    15 14 12 12 12 12
    14 14 14 14 12 8
    14 14 14 14 10 10
    14 14 14 13 12 10
    14 14 14 12 12 11
    14 14 13 13 12 12
    You can also read more about arrays on this page: http://abutterflydreaming.com/2009/0...-score-arrays/

    You keep mentioning stat mods...
    Your stat mods are determined by ([Stat]-10)/2 rounded down. A STR of 13 will have a stat mod of +1, while STR 14 has a mod of +2. Any stats below 10 will have negative stat mods.

    Skills
    In 4e, there are the following skills:

    Your level in a particular skill is affected by your stat mods. Your class has one skill trained (raised by 5) by default, and you get to choose a number of other skills to train based on your class. (Usually 3 or 4) These numbers are used in skill checks, similarly to stat checks.

    If you want to lie to someone, you roll a 20-sided die, as does the DM. You add your skill rank to your number, and compare it to the DM's number. If it's higher, you succeed, if not, your lie fails. Instead of rolling, the DM might choose to use a difficulty class predetermined. They judge the difficulty of lying to that person be average (a DC of 10). Then, you only need to roll higher then ten minus your bluff rank.

    Powers (Also called Abilities)
    If you aren't using the character creator, you have to look up the powers that your class can learn up yourself in the handbook or online. Otherwise, you can see the powers that you can learn at level 1 for a few classes here: http://dnd4.com/phb#10

    You get two at-will powers, one daily power, and one encounter power to start level 1 with. At-will powers use up a standard action during combat unless it says otherwise. It's the same with daily and encounter powers, except that daily powers can be used only once per in-game day, and encounter powers can be used only once per battle. (Which are also called encounters.)

    Feats:
    These can best be described as passive buffs. They have various effects, such as granting you a new power, or changing the way an existing power works. As there are a lot of feats, I don't find presenting a list of all the feats to a beginner at all helpful. Instead, focus your search only to feats that are usable by your character. (Remember that some feats are usable by all characters.)

    Shopping!
    A level 1 character is generally given 100 gold to start with. You can see all the items you can give to your character here: http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/4e_Equipment
    But keep in mind that you are limited by weight. Keep you total inventory weight under ten times your strength, and you'll be fine.

    Almost done:
    If you've gone through everything listed, your character is ready to play. However, you should spend some time writing a background story for your character so that people can get to know him or her.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.4shared.com/rar/gUwa-fUg/...l?refurl=d1url

    That's it for my guide. It turned out being longer than I hoped it would be, but I think it covered all the points essential to playing a game. The rest can be learned as we go along, as I'm rather new to DnD myself! I hope to see you in-game, and remember, if you want help creating your character, I would be more than pleased to help you do so.
    Last edited by Kueh; 08-12-2012 at 02:28 AM.

  5. #5
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    Oh! This is an excellent guide. Just to be clear ... are we playing D&D 4e?

    Because, I actually have a 4e Character Builder program - it's very user friendly. I don't know if you were talking about the same one I'm using.
    The character creation and battle system seems daunting at first, but it's very easy to pick up.

    Tutorial battles would also be present - since everyone needs to have a refresher on the rules ... including me.~


    P.S

    The very last two posts are exactly the same.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Episkey View Post
    P.S

    The very last two posts are exactly the same.
    Thank you. Lol, I guess I clicked too many times and didn't notice cause I went straight to bed after. Anyway, I'll just leave that there for now as a placeholder.

    Also, we were playing 4e before, so I think it'd be easier to keep going with it.

  7. #7
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    I feel guilty now, hopefully it wasn't just my post in that other thread that prompted you to make a newbie guide. Still, sounds incredibly fun but I might wait 'till you're done here before I do anything, always good to know all the rules and such. Still, awesome guide.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sekwaf View Post
    I feel guilty now, hopefully it wasn't just my post in that other thread that prompted you to make a newbie guide. Still, sounds incredibly fun but I might wait 'till you're done here before I do anything, always good to know all the rules and such. Still, awesome guide.
    Thank you, I just finished it, more or less.

    And I was inspired by your post, but I wrote the guide so that anyone who was interested, but found the amount of rules a little overwhelming could join us.

  9. #9
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    I'm glad to see the last part of the guide. But - In 4e, this is how carrying things work.


    Multiply your Strength score by 10. That’s the weight, in pounds, that you can carry around without penalty.This amount of weight is considered a normal load.

    Double that number (Strength × 20). That’s the maximum weight you can lift off the ground. If you try
    to carry that weight, though, you’re slowed. Carrying such a load requires both hands, so you’re not particularly
    effective while you’re doing so. This amount of weight is considered a heavy load.

    Five times your normal load (Strength × 50) is the most weight you can push or drag along the ground. You’re slowed if you try to push or drag more weight than you can carry without penalty, and you can’t push or drag such a heavy load over difficult terrain. This amount of weight is referred to as your maximum drag load.


    As you can see, 4e is a bit more generous to players carrying items. Although, I think the weights of certain items were augmented in order to adjust to this new system.

  10. #10
    Mabination User Sekwaf is a friend of Nora Sekwaf is a friend of Nora Sekwaf is a friend of Nora
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    A few quick questions.

    1. What exactly is Nation's Hamachi? It's probably in another thread but I can't seem to find it.
    2. Are there some adventures that don't focus on combat, just in case you're looking for a change of pace?

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