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Your players are suckers (and other thoughts)

Written by Expy - Published on August 23, 2008

Your players are suckers – for compliments, that is!

Aren’t we all? As a DM I like being complimented. My players are good to me. They thank me after each game. They even thanked me after a total party kill once!

The DM should return the favor. Thank your players. Also tell them right away what you thought was awesome about their play during the session. Let’s call it reminiscing about the present. It’ll pump up your players, get them (even) more involved in their character, in the campaign.

At the beginning of the game you can disguise your compliments as the last game log. May I suggest the intrepid hero strategy – and make sure you gush over the awesomeness your players displayed during that previous session.

Plate is out. Scales are in.

All you fashionistas have probably noticed that many fighters have thrown away their old plate mail armors and replaced them with trendy scale armor. Why is that? Unless my mind plays tricks on me fighters don’t have Plate armor proficiency at level 1 in 4e. Am I crazy or did I read that correctly?

Expy’s been telling me for years that scales are cool…

Mailbox crashing under the sun

If anyone emailed m about the Rolling 20s under the sun thing I might not have gotten your email – my mailbox crashed the night after the article went live. I lost about 16 hours of email. Sorry about that. Can you email me back, please.

Premium dice (schmuckium dice?)

Has anyone seen the WOTC premium dice box thing? I spotted it at the store. I think there’s a dice bag and a set of dice in there but I’m not sure. I was wondering if the value is good for the price.

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Written by Expy

Meet Expy The Red Dragon

Expy is the mascot for DungeonMastering.com and the real mastermind behind Expy Games. He likes to hoard treasure, terrorize neighbors, burn down villages, and tell white dragon jokes..

No matter how fearful the legends claim dragons are, they always end up being defeated in 5 rounds by adventuring parties they encounter. That’s what dragons are – experience points for the heroes in your Dungeons & Dragon party. And this mascot is no different, hence the name Expy.

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11 Responses to “Your players are suckers (and other thoughts)”
  1. Nathan says:

    I got the “official” dice ’cause, one, I was new to tabletop RPGs and didn’t know which ones I’d need, and two, there aren’t any hobby stores nearby (downtown Denver), and I was ordering my books from Amazon.com anyway… May not be the rock-bottom price for such things, but doesn’t seem like a gouge, either.

  2. Ninetail says:

    According to Amazon, the dice box contains 10 dice (one of each, plus 3 extra d6s and 1 percentile d10 — I assume labeled 00, 10, 20, and so on).

    Amazon’s price is $10 and change, which is pretty good if your order amounts to $25+ (so you get free shipping). A 7-die polyhedral set and a dice bag can be had for around $4-5 (if you’re not picky about the color of the dice), but shipping will tack on a couple more dollars to that.

  3. Mike Lemmer says:

    You read that correctly; fighters no longer start with Plate Proficiency. Only paladins start with Plate now. However, I don’t think it’s much of a loss. You have 1 less AC, but take no penalty to skill checks (vs -2 for Plate). By paragon level, you can also take a feat to remove the speed penalty and have a fighter moving around like he was wearing leather armor.

  4. Russell says:

    Historically, dice put out by WotC and earlier by TSR were unbalanced c—. But about 2 years ago I got a Starters package that came with a paperback PHB, and seto fo random D&D mini’s and dice. Just a standard set of 7. Thie dice were decent but they didn’t match. So these may be ok.

  5. barasawa says:

    Yep, only Paladins start with training in Plate without spending a feat.
    You can look at it as an insult to the primary tank if you want…
    Of course, Scale only loses you 1 AC, but you don’t have the additional penalty of -2 skill checks from Plate.

    Take it how you like, I haven’t decided about it yet.

  6. Yax says:

    @Nathank, Ninetail, Russell : thanks for the take on the premium dice.

    May I add that I just think it’s weird to have only a few dice. I like hoarding dice and can’t fathom gaming without mounds of them lying around.

    @Barasawa: I don’t think it’s an insult to the main tank. I like the 4e fighter so much it makes me want to play one (and dance!)

  7. Nathaniel Daffinee says:

    Fighters are pretty awesome in 4e. Their combat challenge feature just makes the world go round. Of course, so does the paladins’ divine challenge. It really ‘lights’ things up. And the whole thing with plate or scale, I think it’s pretty cool when you take a tactical warlord with hide armor, and pump his intelligence so much that he might as well be wearing plate by paragon level. *sigh* So much awesomeness in 4e, it’s so hard to choose a favorite.

  8. Nathan says:

    “Historically, dice put out by WotC and earlier by TSR were unbalanced c—.”

    When I read that, I thought, “Oh, s—, are my dice…?” So, I’ve been doing a lot of rolling, and here are my results:

    Start with the d4. In a perfect world, the average roll is 2.5, with a standard deviation of 1.12. I rolled mine 100 times, which gave an average roll of 2.51, with a standard deviation of 1.13.

    Next, the 4 d6s. In a perfect world, the average roll is 3.5, with a standard deviation of 1.71. I rolled mine 150 times each, which gave average rolls of 3.43, 3.29, 3.52, and 3.63, with standard deviations of 1.68, 1.60, 1.71, and 1.74, respectively.

    Then, the d8. In a perfect world, the average roll is 4.5, with a standard deviation of 2.29. I rolled mine 200 times, which gave an average roll of 4.68, with a standard deviation of 2.31.

    Next, the 2 d10s. In a perfect world, the average roll is 5.5, with a standard deviation of 2.87. I rolled mine 250 times each, which gave average rolls of 5.56 and 5.66, with standard deviations of 2.73 and 2.91, respectively.

    Then, the d12. In a perfect world, the average roll is 6.5, with a standard deviation of 3.45. I rolled mine 300 times, which gave an average roll of 6.20, with a standard deviation of 3.51 (I may need to test this one a bit more).

    Finally, the d20. In a perfect world, the average roll is 10.5, with a standard deviation of 5.77. I rolled mine 500 times, which gave an average roll of 10.46, with a standard deviation of 5.96.

    I was looking at the specific faces on the d20 that were rolling significantly above or below the average (in a perfect world, I would have rolled each number 25 times each), and interestingly, all the below average faces were in a band around the die (i.e., there were two hexagonal “caps” of 6 faces on opposite sides of the die that didn’t have any faces that had come up less then 25 times each). I rolled the d20 250 more times, and some of the high and low rolling faces averaged out, but some of them increased. Interestingly, the two lowest faces were exactly opposite each other (10 and 11), and the highest rolling face was adjacent to the lowest rolling face (17 and 10, at 56 and 21 out of 750 rolls. However, the new numbers give a total average roll of 10.51 (very close to the standard of 10.5 for d20s), but with a standard deviation of 5.95 (not nearly as close as the standard of 5.77 for d20s). Basically, I rolled more high and low numbers, then I did middle rage numbers. I think I may have to roll it a whole lot more, and see if this trend continues, or if all averages out over time…

    Does anybody know, is there any organization or group that tests dice for balance and quality?

  9. StingRay says:

    Nathan: I’ll bet that any Vegas casino tests dice, but I don’t know how much luck you’d have. ;-)

    Yax: I think the D&D dice are a bit overpriced. There’s nothing that really recommends them over any other set of dice. I was late to a game one night, and realized I forgot my dice. The only store open at the time was the Barnes & Noble and the only dice they had was the 3.5 premium set. (I notice they changed the dice color as well as the box art.)

    They were a lifesaver in a pinch, and if you’re the kind of person who can get by on only one set of dice, they’re fine, but I just don’t feel right unless I’ve got a big pile of dice in front of me. You never know when you might have to chuck one across the room for rolling poorly, and replacements need to be close at hand. :-)

  10. Yax says:

    Thanks for the input everyone.

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