Dungeons & Delvers: The Bigger They Are...

I was thinking about giants for some reason last night.

I get that Dungeons & Delvers and the game it's based off of can get pretty abstract, but I found myself wondering why armor or shields matter at all when a two-story-or-so-titan is trying to mash you into juicy adventure-paste, so I came up with a few ways to handle attacks from some really big monsters.

The first is to note in an attack that it completely ignores your armor and shield's Armor Class modifier (I think DR would still potentially apply if the GM thinks it could cushion the blow). Using a stone giant as an example (from one of the many free Appendix D issues included with the core game), it would say something like:

Club +11 to hit; 2d8+11 bludgeoning damage. This attack ignores AC modifiers from wearing armor and carrying shields. At the GM's discretion some magic effects and items might still apply.

This would require a bit of recalculation on the part of the player, but I think it would only halt the game for a bit: after that I figure the players would have their non-armor-and-shield AC ready to go until the encounter is over. The bigger issue could be the GM determining whether something like the Abjurer talent still counts.

So I think a better solution is to do this:

Club One creature within 10 feet of the stone giant must succeed on a DC 18 Reflex save or suffer 2d8+11 bludgeoning damage (ignoring armor).

Here no calculations are required: just make the roll and hope for the best. I guess also PCs with a class-bolstered Reflex modifier will have a slight edge as well, but then they probably really need it. Could also change ignore armor to armor piercing for smaller-but-still-pretty-big creatures. Just depends on the size and what it's doing.

Something more drastic would be to give them damage-on-a-miss.

In games like Shadows of the Colossus, it's not enough to dodge a colossi's attack: the shockwave and explosion of debri from a near miss can still harm you and send you flying. I like that, so to give giant's (and other big-ass monsters) some added oomph, you could make it so that their attacks do damage on a miss (either half or some other reduced amount), or if you go the saving throw route just have them do something even if the target succeeds on their save, anyway.

This wouldn't be for every Large-or-larger critter (I mostly think these would apply to Huge and Gargantuan monsters); it would be used on a case-by-case basis.

So what do you think? Should (some?) attacks from giants and similarly big monsters ignore armor-and-shield AC mods completely? Should it require a saving throw? Should it do something on a miss/successful save? Should I just stick with how d20 handles it? Do you have another/better idea?

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want!

After months of doing other things, we turned our attention to and released The Warden. It's based on the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons class of the same name, but judging by the responses we did an excellent job converting it over.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

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