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Thread: DnD Head Canons

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    Default Re: DnD Head Canons

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Clever diviners will learn at least one language that uses compounding rules similar to German. That way the one word answer allotted to many divinations can be something like "Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenüber tragungsgesetz" that crams an entire sentence into a single word
    Playing in German, I in fact do know players who have tried that. Like, spending half an hour making up new compound words to put a longer message into the twenty-something words you can send with some spells. And then arguing with the DM whether Bad-guy-lair-map-coordinate and things-discovered-by-the-expeditionary-archer-corps-that-we-sent-west and event-in-which-our-main-fighter-died-to-a-poison-arrow-shot-by-insert-name-here are one word or not.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2020-05-29 at 03:23 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Playing in German, I in fact do know players who have tried that. Like, spending half an hour making up new compound words to put a longer message into the twenty-something words you can send with some spells. And then arguing with the DM whether Bad-guy-lair-map-coordinate and things-discovered-by-the-expeditionary-archer-corps-that-we-sent-west and event-in-which-our-main-fighter-died-to-a-poison-arrow-shot-by-insert-name-here are one word or not.
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    Radiant damage is literally radiation. Gods are entities of great cosmic and universal power, so it makes sense that they would be nightmares of irradiation. Divine healing is using targeted bursts of radiation to take care of infections and problems to allow the wounds to heal significantly faster and with much less risk. Radiation is dangerous to most creatures, but undead in particular are susceptible, as their bodies are already withered- a blast of radiation would do irreparable damage. The Abyss might be the gods blasting the place with their energy, demons being the mutated spawn of the radiation-scoured landscape.

    (If I got any facts wrong, please let me know. I'm far from an expert on the matter, and I haven't done research to back up these comparisons yet!)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunderedWorldDM View Post
    Radiant damage is literally radiation. Gods are entities of great cosmic and universal power, so it makes sense that they would be nightmares of irradiation. Divine healing is using targeted bursts of radiation to take care of infections and problems to allow the wounds to heal significantly faster and with much less risk. Radiation is dangerous to most creatures, but undead in particular are susceptible, as their bodies are already withered- a blast of radiation would do irreparable damage. The Abyss might be the gods blasting the place with their energy, demons being the mutated spawn of the radiation-scoured landscape.

    (If I got any facts wrong, please let me know. I'm far from an expert on the matter, and I haven't done research to back up these comparisons yet!)
    Isn't radiation generally dangerous due to the damage it does to living cells? How would that be more dangerous to undead?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    Isn't radiation generally dangerous due to the damage it does to living cells? How would that be more dangerous to undead?
    Yeah, that was a stretch. I think that perhaps the undead can't replicate cells, so if the ones they have are damaged, they're done- they need to keep what they got going.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SunderedWorldDM View Post
    Yeah, that was a stretch. I think that perhaps the undead can't replicate cells, so if the ones they have are damaged, they're done- they need to keep what they got going.
    I suppose that could work. You could say undead cells are actually pretty close to living cells, but non-replicating and theoretically immortal (if you don't finish the undead off). So they don't fall apart on their own, but can't heal without magic. Then of course regenerating undead are already clearly more magical than zombies or skeletons and the like. Hmm... if Undeath is a sort of biological change, that could explain why it generally turns you evil. It's changing how everything, even your brain, works.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    Alternately, if you want to set Gnolls as a not inherently evil race; Yeenoghu is male, but he's a usurper. Gnolls do have a real deity, in fact a whole pantheon, but the head deity is female.
    I like this. I do something different in my world, but this is still neat.

    In my world, I leave it as an unanswered mystery. Yeenoghu-worshipping gnolls (called "the Butcher's Brood" by other gnolls) make up about 25% of gnolls. And with the advent of 5e's Volo's Guide, I decided that they can, in fact, reproduce in that fashion, but those gnolls are also sterile.

    The rest of gnolls in my world tend to be more close to nature. A lot of Primal classes (Rangers and Druids) among them. They hold that Yeenoghu corrupted several tribes of gnolls in the past and that they are a naturally occurring race. These gnolls can breed normally. Now, keep in mind, that most of these gnolls (about 70%), even though they are not demon-worshippers, are still Evil. Their most typical patron deity is Ragashak, the Chaotic Evil deity of Beasts, Slaughter, and Winter. But their druids are still part of Druid society, still welcome at Druid Moots, and so on. But they hate the Butcher's Brood with a passion.

    A small number of gnolls (maybe 5% of the total population) are more Primal-class focused and worship non-evil forces (either Neutral nature deities, or just revere Nature like a standard druid). But these tribes tend to be paranoid and xenophobic, namely because most non-gnolls will be quick to blame them for the works of their evil kin.

    While no one knows the truth (if the Primal gnolls somehow broke free of Yeenoghu or if their story is correct), evidence seems to point in the direction of the Primal gnolls' story, as even if one of their kin falls to worship of Yeenoghu, they will start being able to create more gnolls in the fashion of the Butcher's Brood. It is basically a mark that stains their soul. Yeenoghu asserts that all gnolls are his by right, and seeks to corrupt as many other gnolls as he can into his worship.
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    Number of deeds affects alignment significantly more than the magnitude of those deeds. This rectifies some of alignment's aparent contradictions, such as the lizardfolk in Book of Lairs being neutral despite engaging in premeditated murder, and yet humans being evenly divided between alignments, despite nowhere near a third of the population doing anything so heinous.
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    In addition to generally low birthrates, the vast majority of longer-lived races die relatively young, compared to their full lifespans. The longer you live, the more likely you are to die of disease, accidents, violence, etc. This is part of the reason the nigh immortal races aren't in charge of everything, at least for humanoids: they aren't good enough at not dying of everything else for it to be too significant an advantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Clever diviners will learn at least one language that uses compounding rules similar to German. That way the one word answer allotted to many divinations can be something like "Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenüber tragungsgesetz" that crams an entire sentence into a single word
    It just occurred to me that you could do a version of this using proper nouns as well. Like you could buy a bunch of animals and name them after commonly used phrases. Like a cross between those weird long names that racehorses tend to have combined with that one old Geico commercial with the collect phonecalls.
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    Attempting to cheat the word limitations on divinations is the origin of at least one variety of Inevitable. They act as the Fantasy Commune Commission to regulate ethereal contact with gods.
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    Blink dogs and worgs actually speak the same language. It simply has two different names, since blink dogs refuse to call the language they speak 'worg' and worgs refuse to call the language they speak 'blink dog'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    Isn't radiation generally dangerous due to the damage it does to living cells? How would that be more dangerous to undead?
    When normal people think radiation, what they're referring to is usually "ionizing radiation" which is a type of radiation which can knock electrons out of their molecules, altering their chemical properties and ability to participate in chemical reactions. In living cells that can result in damage as the basic chemistry life relies on gets gets disrupted - this can result in DNA and protein damage and a whole host of other effects.

    But radiation is more than just that. You rely on radiation to see. The cones in your eyes are stimulated by very particular wavelenghts of radiation in the 400-700 nm range. Your oven relies on radiation to cook your dinner. And no, I am not talking about microwave ovens, although that applies equally. No, your normal oven uses infrared radiation emmited from the heating elements. Wifi is also radiation you can use to carry data (because of its longer wavelenght it isn't as impeded by obstacles as much).

    That said, radiant damage could easily be some kind of funky magic radiation that disrupts whatever process keeps undead going. Or counter that energy, returning them to a neutral un-animated state. Since you generally need an energy gradient for things to happen. So if we were to theorize the mechanics of the undead, a flow of energy from the material plane to the negative energy plane could be one way to power an automaton. Another would be a flow of energy from the positive energy plane to the material.

    Which actually brings me to my headcanon - long winded as it is - healing is a direct counter to undead. If undead are removing energy from the world, healing adds energy, helping maintain a kind of balance. So clerics get 2 ways to help maintain balance:
    1. Stop the drain of energy.
    2. Offset the drain of energy by adding more.
    Last edited by martixy; 2020-06-29 at 03:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ideasmith View Post
    Blink dogs and worgs actually speak the same language. It simply has two different names, since blink dogs refuse to call the language they speak 'worg' and worgs refuse to call the language they speak 'blink dog'.
    Kind of like North and South Korea. They both speak the same language, but North Korea calls it "choson-mal" and South Korea calls it "hanguk-mal" because Korea had a lot of names and they both picked a different one.
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    *There is greater than normal malice between gnolls and hellhounds

    *Elves' long lifespan leads to a much greater part of their population being able to train as adepts, experts, and magewrights. This leads to a higher quality of life in elven settlements. This, in turn, leads to their haughtiness elsewhere.

    *Elves talent with longswords and bows is totally instinctual. They can pick one up and use it without having ever seen one before.

    *Elves' long lifespans make multi-generational feuds impracticable among elves
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    Improved evasion represents duck-and-covering and this is also why Olidammara has the armadillo as his sacred animal
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    Elves reach maturity at the same rate as humans. They grow up, learn a trade, get married, have children, sing songs, have grandchildren, and teach their trades to their descendants. Once their grandchildren finish their apprenticeships, the elf's obligations to society are fulfilled and they are free to do risky things that might get them killed.

    An elf over a century old starts adventuring at 1st level because they haven't learned much that's useful for an adventurer. They spent decades making shoes, singing songs, and enjoying leisurely three-hour liquid lunches with their friends. Adventuring is their retirement hobby.
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    Since I feel the need to explain why anyone would choose to gain a level in an NPC class:

    Characters with no levels in PC classes can gain levels without adventuring. Also, Characters who do have levels in PC classes are infertile, although magic can bypass this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideasmith View Post
    Since I feel the need to explain why anyone would choose to gain a level in an NPC class:

    Characters with no levels in PC classes can gain levels without adventuring. Also, Characters who do have levels in PC classes are infertile, although magic can bypass this.
    Quote Originally Posted by ideasmith View Post
    Characters who do have levels in PC classes are infertile, although magic can bypass this.
    Quote Originally Posted by ideasmith View Post
    Characters who do have levels in PC classes are infertile
    WTF? Why, tho?
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    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    WTF? Why, tho?
    Off the top of my head: "Yes my new fighter, Leonardo Viginti, is a direct descendant of my last 20 characters, what of it?" Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I could see how the wrong players might make that annoying. Don't know if that's the reason for it though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideasmith View Post
    Since I feel the need to explain why anyone would choose to gain a level in an NPC class:

    Characters with no levels in PC classes can gain levels without adventuring. Also, Characters who do have levels in PC classes are infertile, although magic can bypass this.
    Isn't there sort of a consensus that adept and magewright are superior to the martial classes though>
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Isn't there sort of a consensus that adept and magewright are superior to the martial classes though>
    Only sort of. If you look at the retiering threads, Magewright ranks below a number of "bad" martial classes, both rank under ToB classes and several other martials. Adept specifically is generally (and I use the word loosely because people will die fighting for 3.X fighters to be considered equal to casters) considered better than the "mundane" martials, in terms of ability to deal with the game as a whole. It's also probably better than any of the martials in core besides Rogue just because most of the martials best stuff is outside it. Magewright is actually pretty bad and is only "saved" by the fact that it gets to abuse Animate Dead... several levels after everyone else who can cast that spell gets it.

    Oh, and I cast protection from thread derailment for my action.
    Last edited by Luccan; 2020-07-08 at 12:18 AM.
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    Back on headcanons: on Krynn, the gods were actually preoccupied with some terrible extraplanar threat after the Cataclysm, because the whole "the gods abandoned Krynn but actually it was the people who abandoned the gods because they didn't answer prayers but that was because..." ordeal is ridiculous. It works if the gods are like Greek Olympians and are cruel and don't care about mortals, but at least some of them are supposed to be Good.

    So the gods were actually forced to turn away from Krynn while defending it from Chtulhu or whatever it was, and when they were done they found out people had stopped worshipping them and so had to work through Goldmoon and friends to get people to believe in them again, instead of behaving like abusive partners.
    Last edited by Silly Name; 2020-07-08 at 05:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    WTF? Why, tho?
    In addition to the reason stated, this allows ducking various subjects a group may find it pleasant or prudent to duck.
    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    Off the top of my head: "Yes my new fighter, Leonardo Viginti, is a direct descendant of my last 20 characters, what of it?"
    Those 20 characters would have had access to magic. They are, after all, characters in a D&D world. The lack of official pregnancy magic gives the DM a lot of leeway when adding/designing such. Hiring an Adept to cast lesser stork call is only difficult if the DM wants it to be.
    Quote Originally Posted by Luccan View Post
    Nothing necessarily wrong with that, but I could see how the wrong players might make that annoying. Don't know if that's the reason for it though.
    That is part of the reason.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideasmith View Post
    Those 20 characters would have had access to magic. They are, after all, characters in a D&D world. The lack of official pregnancy magic gives the DM a lot of leeway when adding/designing such. Hiring an Adept to cast lesser stork call is only difficult if the DM wants it to be.
    Are people in your world actually aware of classes and levels? Like, the characters themselves know they're an 8th level Fighter or a 12th level Rogue or whatever?

    Because in most worlds that's not a thing. People don't "level up", they naturally accrue experience - the game aspect of levelling up is an abstraction of this process, not a tangible, quantifiable thing in-universe. A Wizard doesn't consciously take her fifth wizard level to access 3rd level spells, she masters the arcane incantations and meditative disciplines necessary to access more powerful spells.

    Likewise, a farmer never decides to "take levels" in Commoner: he was born in a farmhouse and will live and die there, never getting to swing a sword or try to cast a spell and thus having zero access to the skills and training necessary to become something else. Or maybe he simply never cared for that. The Commoner class exists to give those people stat blocks if the need be, to represent completely average people with no formal training or innate supernatural talents - those are for special people (PCs and their opposition), not James the innkeeper or Mary the cook.

    I don't think I've ever come across a campaign setting (that wasn't explicitely comedic and riffing on those things) whose inhabitants acknowledged ideas like "class levels", "feats" and "skill points" as real.

  26. - Top - End - #386
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    Default Re: DnD Head Canons

    Quote Originally Posted by Silly Name View Post
    Are people in your world actually aware of classes and levels? Like, the characters themselves know they're an 8th level Fighter or a 12th level Rogue or whatever?

    Because in most worlds that's not a thing. People don't "level up", they naturally accrue experience - the game aspect of levelling up is an abstraction of this process, not a tangible, quantifiable thing in-universe. A Wizard doesn't consciously take her fifth wizard level to access 3rd level spells, she masters the arcane incantations and meditative disciplines necessary to access more powerful spells.

    Likewise, a farmer never decides to "take levels" in Commoner: he was born in a farmhouse and will live and die there, never getting to swing a sword or try to cast a spell and thus having zero access to the skills and training necessary to become something else. Or maybe he simply never cared for that. The Commoner class exists to give those people stat blocks if the need be, to represent completely average people with no formal training or innate supernatural talents - those are for special people (PCs and their opposition), not James the innkeeper or Mary the cook.

    I don't think I've ever come across a campaign setting (that wasn't explicitely comedic and riffing on those things) whose inhabitants acknowledged ideas like "class levels", "feats" and "skill points" as real.

    While characters are not aware of game terms, they are aware of the abilities that the terms are abstractions of. So while a first level cleric would not be aware of classes and levels as such she would be aware that she had different abilities than her ranger pal, that she was going to be able to cure diseases before she became able to raise the dead, and that she was not yet able to do either.

    And that farmer you described would be aware that if he stayed a farmer, he wouldn’t learn to fight or cast spells.

    Your suggestion that he doesn’t leave the farm because he can’t - and that all the other characters with NPC classes are similarly stuck - is a valid head cannon. As it happens, I have enjoyed imaginary worlds that used this idea in the past and will certainly enjoy such worlds in the future. It is not, however my preferred head cannon for D&D and it was therefore not what I chose to post in this thread.
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