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    Default Handbook of Heroes

    What would happen if the world’s dumbest adventurer got hold of a magical self-help book? What if that book was filled with genre savvy advice? The Handbook of Heroes chronicles the adventures of Fighter, Thief, Wizard, and Cleric as they fight monsters, delve dungeons, and plunder the innocent in search of loot.

    We’re a joke-a-day style comic with a love for high fantasy and roots in tabletop role-playing games.

    Link to comic.

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    Handbook of Heroes #309: Altered Bestiary

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    My solution to the problem of players who read the monster manual is to just describe the creatures visually. That's not a troll, that's a large, earth-colored gangly creature hunkered over some carrion. It smells awful and its skin looks like a forest floor threw up all over it.

    Yeah, it could be a troll, but it could also be something else, so they need to approach it with caution and ask themselves which assumptions theyre willing to make. If their characters invest in learning about local monsters and prepare for the possibility... then ill probably reward them with playing the encounter straight. They did their homework, they prepared, they should earn a win.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Yeah, it could be a troll, but it could also be something else, so they need to approach it with caution and ask themselves which assumptions theyre willing to make.
    So in other words, it really could be a demon.

    For serious though, investigation is a key part of the dungeon delving experience. If you only go in with the murder hobo's "kill on sight" strategy, you're going to have a bad time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRD1812 View Post
    So in other words, it really could be a demon.

    For serious though, investigation is a key part of the dungeon delving experience. If you only go in with the murder hobo's "kill on sight" strategy, you're going to have a bad time.
    Pretty much, yeah. A prepared adventurer is a happy adventurer. For a lot longer, anyway.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRD1812 View Post
    So in other words, it really could be a demon.
    It could be.
    5e has a monster called the Stench Kow. It is literally a stinky demon cow.

    It is an interesting coincidence, is it not?
    Awesome avatar (Kothar, paladin of Tlacua) by Linkele!

    Quote Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.i.46
    'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind.
    My Nexus characters

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    Handbook of Heroes #310: Bad Wrong Fun

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    Theres only one thing I wont tolerate to any degree at my table, and that's genuine malice-fueled PVP. I will not allow anybody to use the game I am running for them in my house, out of my own pocket, to settle a personal vendetta against another player. If two people genuinely don't like each other, and they cant even be civil to each other in the same room, one or both of them are leaving. I don't care if somebody finds bullying somebody to be fun, if both players aren't in on the planning of the character conflict, and if theres an intent to hurt somebody in real life in some way, youre gone. Its my one line that I absolutely will not cross under any circumstances, and one of the few things I suspect a majority of people would agree qualifies as objectively badwrongfun.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Theres only one thing I wont tolerate to any degree at my table, and that's genuine malice-fueled PVP.
    I think when a player's mom is forcing age inappropriate interaction on the players (I can't figure out why, but I assumed most of the 'main' group were in their late teens to twenties at least) and refusing to acknowledge a hobby isn't the same as free baby-sitting, your group is probably doomed from the get-go. No amount of sensible PVP rules is going to save it at that point, and if a bunch of kids came in and ruined your group...Yeah, real tempting to let their imaginary dragons duke it out while you watch.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    I think when a player's mom is forcing age inappropriate interaction on the players (I can't figure out why, but I assumed most of the 'main' group were in their late teens to twenties at least) and refusing to acknowledge a hobby isn't the same as free baby-sitting, your group is probably doomed from the get-go. No amount of sensible PVP rules is going to save it at that point, and if a bunch of kids came in and ruined your group...Yeah, real tempting to let their imaginary dragons duke it out while you watch.
    I mean, if theyre all having fun PvPing, that's all well and good. In the context of Handbook of Heroes, the comic that came with this topic would be fine (assuming im not horribly misreading it), Fighter killing Jeremy the Dragon out of spite would not be.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    ...Fighter killing Jeremy the Dragon out of spite would not be.
    I don't have brothers, but this seems like a likely outcome of having your teenage brother being forced to stop his hobby to babysit his brother who is either too bratty or too young to properly understand the rules. Fighter is still a jerk, but at that point, what would you really expect from forced social interaction and manipulative behavior?
    Quote Originally Posted by Oko and Qailee View Post
    Man, I like this tiefling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    I don't have brothers, but this seems like a likely outcome of having your teenage brother being forced to stop his hobby to babysit his brother who is either too bratty or too young to properly understand the rules. Fighter is still a jerk, but at that point, what would you really expect from forced social interaction and manipulative behavior?
    Maturity? I mean yeah, its not great that gaming night is being interrupted for babysitting night, but its definitely not worth getting into a fight with real people, even by proxy. If anything, the proxy makes it worse, because now you've dragged the other people at your table into it.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Maturity? I mean yeah, its not great that gaming night is being interrupted for babysitting night, but its definitely not worth getting into a fight with real people, even by proxy. If anything, the proxy makes it worse, because now you've dragged the other people at your table into it.
    You are absolutely right, it isn't a good idea, nor is it the right thing to do. I just many adults would probably just let the kiddos murder each other's characters repeatedly and watch, because when you have to contend with a player's mother AND children refusing to learn the rules, yeah, I think the right thing to do might fly out the window. I still think this should be an expected outcome when you have to contend with the complaining of a player's mom.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oko and Qailee View Post
    Man, I like this tiefling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    You are absolutely right, it isn't a good idea, nor is it the right thing to do. I just many adults would probably just let the kiddos murder each other's characters repeatedly and watch, because when you have to contend with a player's mother AND children refusing to learn the rules, yeah, I think the right thing to do might fly out the window. I still think this should be an expected outcome when you have to contend with the complaining of a player's mom.
    Frankly, theres nothing that says that today's game needs to be part of continuity. Jeremy and friends are playing? Ok, lets shelf the current serious game and run through a silly game that lets everyone feel powerful tonight. Everyone rolls up new characters, everything is allowed, its going to be a paper thin nonsense plot designed to show the new kids what goes on. And if they like it and have fun with it, maybe ease them into joining the normal game, and if its still a problem, freaking talk to Fighter's Mom about forcing these guys to babysit for her (although the implication to me was that Fighter was hosting while his parents were home, and Jeremy didn't want to be excluded). Bullying somebody and trying to hide behind the game is never acceptable.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    I don't really think it is bullying to let the kiddos have at each other, especially since it seems heavily implied they aren't likely to listen or care what others say. A person who thinks that their character HAS to steal from the party usually isn't presented as a socially capable and understanding type in this sort of media. If the children start screaming at each other and won't listen to you...Yeah, maybe that one isn't on you.

    And even if Fighter was in his parent's house, doesn't mean he should have to include his siblings in all of his social interactions with his friends. Forcing people to drop everything they had planned to accommodate you really isn't a good expectation to instill into kids of a certain age, which Jeremy might be. It would be swell of the party to run a mini-session for them, but it should be a favor and a nice gesture, not a forced interaction.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oko and Qailee View Post
    Man, I like this tiefling.
    For all of your completely and utterly honest needs. Zaydos made, Tiefling approved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    I don't really think it is bullying to let the kiddos have at each other, especially since it seems heavily implied they aren't likely to listen or care what others say. A person who thinks that their character HAS to steal from the party usually isn't presented as a socially capable and understanding type in this sort of media. If the children start screaming at each other and won't listen to you...Yeah, maybe that one isn't on you.

    And even if Fighter was in his parent's house, doesn't mean he should have to include his siblings in all of his social interactions with his friends. Forcing people to drop everything they had planned to accommodate you really isn't a good expectation to instill into kids of a certain age, which Jeremy might be. It would be swell of the party to run a mini-session for them, but it should be a favor and a nice gesture, not a forced interaction.
    I guess I don't understand your point then. Yes, it probably wasn't great to force Fighter to let Jeremy join, but Fighter was the only one who had a problem with it, the rest of the table was quite glad to let the younger kids in. And like I said, if the in-character fighting is fun for all parties out of character, more power to them. Its just when you do what Fighter does and use in-game violence to deal with out of game issues that it becomes a problem. Its not even that Fighter was forced to accept Jeremy that causes the conflict, he's just bitter, jealous and a jerk.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    That no amount of sensible PvP rules and decent behavior is going to make up for forced interaction from someone's mother.

    And is anyone else confused by the Street Samurai's design? Are those ripped pants, or ripped leggings? It looks like the later, but I would like to think that the rule that everyone gets a free outfit is usually enforced. Pathfinder has that, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Oko and Qailee View Post
    Man, I like this tiefling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    That no amount of sensible PvP rules and decent behavior is going to make up for forced interaction from someone's mother.

    And is anyone else confused by the Street Samurai's design? Are those ripped pants, or ripped leggings? It looks like the later, but I would like to think that the rule that everyone gets a free outfit is usually enforced. Pathfinder has that, right?
    I mean, if the point youre trying to make is that Fighter is a prick... yes? But being forced to invite the younger sibling (and friends) to play is not automatically going to result in a fight, its just that Fighter is the kind of person who will start a fight over nothing to begin with.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Handbook of Heroes #315: High Plains Drafter

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    Handbook of Heroes #316: Prove Thyself

    In which our Heroes encounter the conundrum of satisfying 1-on-1 duels.

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    Personally, I tend to fall into the "fair fights are for chumps" camp. While it can be entertaining at times to have two combatants whose relative HPs are falling at approximately the same rate, if im actually one of those combatants, that means that my victory is probably going to come about because of luck, not skills, and that if I botch a roll, or he gets a good crit, that will be the deciding factor in victory, rather than anything special about me, in particular.

    If im going to duel somebody, I don't just want to win, I want to utterly outclass them. I want there to be no doubt that I won because I was stronger, faster, more handsome and generally a superior human specimen. Especially if im an elf or something.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Personally, I tend to fall into the "fair fights are for chumps" camp. While it can be entertaining at times to have two combatants whose relative HPs are falling at approximately the same rate, if im actually one of those combatants, that means that my victory is probably going to come about because of luck, not skills, and that if I botch a roll, or he gets a good crit, that will be the deciding factor in victory, rather than anything special about me, in particular.

    If im going to duel somebody, I don't just want to win, I want to utterly outclass them. I want there to be no doubt that I won because I was stronger, faster, more handsome and generally a superior human specimen. Especially if im an elf or something.
    We're talking about the power fantasy here. And I can get behind it except for one thing: I didn't do anything. The game balance did it. In other words, if I can find a way to cleverly defeat an opponent rather than letting my stats do it for me, that feeling of victory is far more rewarding. YMMV of course.

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    Handbook of Heroes #317: Rocket Horse

    Ludicrous speed is inherently hilarious. What's the fastest you've ever manage in an IRL game?
    Last edited by DRD1812; 2018-09-18 at 06:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRD1812 View Post
    We're talking about the power fantasy here. And I can get behind it except for one thing: I didn't do anything. The game balance did it. In other words, if I can find a way to cleverly defeat an opponent rather than letting my stats do it for me, that feeling of victory is far more rewarding. YMMV of course.
    Eh, I still built the character. If I rig up a bunch of traps around my castle to fend off bandits while im gone, I still put in work for the result, even if the decisions that mattered didn't take place during the actual confrontation.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    Eh, I still built the character. If I rig up a bunch of traps around my castle to fend off bandits while im gone, I still put in work for the result, even if the decisions that mattered didn't take place during the actual confrontation.
    I'd feel the same if I took down an enemy many times more powerful than me. If I beat up a evil twin or managed to take down the tarrasque many levels earlier than CR would lead us to expect. But when game balance dictates that you're mechanically superior to your opponent, mechanical choices begin to feel hollow. What I mean is that the game is stacked in favor of the players. Just think how often you've experienced a TPK. I'm betting it's significantly less than half the time. It's that knowledge that's hard to reconcile with the power fantasy.

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    Handbook of Heroes #319: Powerful Ego

    Any of you guys have trouble maintaining an accent? It's even worse when your buddy is better at it than you. Let me tell you about my pal Dewayne....

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRD1812 View Post
    I'd feel the same if I took down an enemy many times more powerful than me. If I beat up a evil twin or managed to take down the tarrasque many levels earlier than CR would lead us to expect. But when game balance dictates that you're mechanically superior to your opponent, mechanical choices begin to feel hollow. What I mean is that the game is stacked in favor of the players. Just think how often you've experienced a TPK. I'm betting it's significantly less than half the time. It's that knowledge that's hard to reconcile with the power fantasy.
    I... guess I don't understand the concern then. Sure, past a certain point how much extra force you bring to the table starts to make the specific flavor somewhat meaningless in an abstract kind of way, but that doesn't mean im going to enjoy roasting somebody alive, or cleaving them in twain, or bluffing them into thinking theyre a vampire in sunlight or whatever shenanigans I have chosen as my idiom any less. Im perfectly capable of going on a power trip for my character. After all, being good at my idiom was my goal. I'd feel rather foolish if I was so bad at it that I kept getting killed and losing fights all the time. The trick, to me, is making the decisions that get you there seem as meaningful and important as they will turn out to be.

    Also, my favorite sentient item ever was a holy sword created by minions of the God of Mirth and Laughter. It was a talking sword that when drawn in combat would just constantly prattle on and on. It was fairly opinionated and moderately knowledgeable, so I could use it as a DM mouthpiece when I needed to (ie to heckle my players), and it actually had a fairly hefty penalty to hit due to the distraction factor. But it balanced that out by rendering the party immune to sound-based attacks, and had a very, very impressive bonus to damage, on top of being a vorpal sword, because why not? So you would be swinging around wildly with this thing, listening to it heckle you about how badly you suck at swordfighting, and then every now and again you would just accidentally decapitate your target.
    Last edited by Keltest; 2018-09-27 at 01:31 PM.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

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    Handbook of Heroes #320: Named Arrow


    Naming your attacks is hard. I tend to get stuck on the "NOUN of the ADJECTIVE NOUN" naming convention. That makes it easy to churn out attacks ("Flurry of the Frozen Dawn! Javelin of the Lightning God!"), but it feels like a cop out. What I really need is a better grammar....

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    I don't tend to name attacks, annoucing to your enemy your power source and possible other information doesn't sit right with me. Or screaming much of anything since that tends to attract unwanted attention. You know what they say, speak quietly and travel with a very loud barbarian.

    That, and my favorite spell is black tentacles, sooooo...Yeah, I think most DMs would prefer I didn't name that attack.

    As for the issue of a fair fight, I think it heavily depends on the type of campaign. A story based campaign has details to exploit and use, NPCs to rally, and a villain you WANT to defeat. Kick in the door style play really doesn't lend itself well to that, I think, because there aren't as many details to the world. Would also depend on DM style, as some can balance an intricate world better than others. Not saying that is the only skill to DMing, but it is an important one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Oko and Qailee View Post
    Man, I like this tiefling.
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    Handbook of Heroes #331: Classy Quests, Part 1/4

    In which a wizard takes a succubus quest and vice versa.

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