Rise of the Murder Hobo!
Crit Academy is joined by Sam, The Education DM! Sam has been a DM since the mid 80s, and a teacher since the late 90s. He is passionate about Dungeons and Dragons, and Education, and mixing the two. His Facebook page is chock full of informative D&D material. Make sure to give him a follow and a share.
He joins us today to talk about his Dump Stat article "The Rise of the Murder Hobo - D&D Teaching Moral Values"
"Whilst I have seen some disagreement in the discussion as to what a Murder Hobo is, what I would rather discuss here is what I see as a rise in a lack of morals amongst characters... or is it in the players?"
-Sam, The Educational DM
Let’s talk about Blank!
Voice Acting Reference Table
This table from the reddit subgroup Behind the Tables gives you various ideas for character voices for PCs and NPCs. This table does NOT focus on accents, just what you can within basic speech habits and patterns.
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Sam, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the Educational DM?
What is your most memorable D&D moment?
Do you have any moment where you failed as a DM/Player?
Rise of the Murder Hobo Article (Insert Link)
Show will open with a short skit example provided in the article.
While there are some disagreements on what exactly a Murder Hobo is, can you tell us your thoughts on the term and its meaning?
Your article discusses a different aspect of being a murderhobo, specifically the rise in lack of morals amongst characters...or is it in the players. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
In your article you share a specific story that spurred your investigation. Can you share details of that game as well as your thoughts during it and what conclusions you finally drew during the game?
You speak with games without consequence and the looting race before others kinda game play. Do you believe that has had a large impact on how younger children approach Dungeons and Dragons and RPGs in general?
Do you believe there are other contributing factors?
Do you feel that murder and killing and other things of a morally dubious nature has a negative effect on young children?
Sam, do you believe a Good RPG game such as dungeons and dragons should have consequences for morally reprehensible behavior? If so, what are some simple examples a DM should take in that regard to quickly deal with the rising threat of murder hobos?
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Temo the Mighty - Dex Fighter (Cavalier) - Educational DM
Born the son of a washer woman and glassblower, Temo was always a dreamer. He read lots as a child, but also ran around with his friends pretending to be a chivalrous knight. Aspirations beyond the Five Shires came to a head when a dire wolf attacked the flocks near his home. Facing the wolf with just his trusty companion and mount Thundar (the Mastiff), Temo was lucky to strike some mighty blows and scare off the giant wolf. Hailed as a hero, for all his bravado and boasting, Temo knew that he had got lucky. He determined then to set out and learn to be the mighty hero that his friends and family thought of him.
Temp has never left the Five Shires, although has read all about the outside world. Despite this he seems to soak everything in with childlike wonder. With his boundless enthusiasm and innocent ideas of chivalry, he comes across as young and naive, but Temo will often use this to his advantage and is intelligent and savvy enough not to let people take advantage of him. In difficult times, he will suffer from sever bouts of homesickness, but is determined to become the hero that his friends and family think that he is, and the dream of the hero he wants to become.
A lot of the flavour from Temo came from the idea of the little man out to conquer the world. Some of the flavour came from Reepicheep (the leader of the talking mice from Narnia). I was also thinking of how a character could have a local hero background and not spoiling the fact that they are level 1. I was also thinking about what would make a character leave home, yet still have two loving parents.
While much of the power granted to clerics comes from their devotion to their deity, there are a few who have a unique talent of their own. They possess a potent mental capacity to form their will into reality. They achieve this through their own innate psionic power. These unique features allow the warmind cleric to manipulate objects and their enemies.
Origin Statblock: Deep Gnome/Svirfneblin
Stone camouflage, spell list, warpick
At will: mage hand
1/day each: absorb elements, catapult, detect thoughts, command
Warhammer. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 6 (1d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage or 7(1d10 +2) bludgeoning damage if used with two hands to make a melee attack
Mental Push. When the warmind is attacked by a creature within 30 feet of it that it can see, it can use its reaction to assault the target's mind. The creature must succeed on a DC 11 Wisdom saving throw or have disadvantage on the attack roll.
A large portal opened up, two githyanki astral skiffs streaking across the bright sky above. Arcane torrents that surround the skiffs unleashing volleys of magical fire at each other. Missed shots blasting the surrounding terrain, including a nearby village. One of the skiffs crashes, the other landing near the wreckage a few miles away from the village near abandoned ruins. Rumors around the area quickly spread through the nearby towns that an invading army from the Astral Sea
The characters are asked to investigate. During the investigation they discover Brudahn (M, LN githzerai zerth(MM)) was imprisoned by githyanki and escaped. During his flight, he commandeered an astral skiff and was chased into the material plane. Brudahn is being hunted by Aranya (F, LE, githyanki knight (MM)) and her cadre of planar bandits. They spend their days in search of rich plunder and weak enemies. Brudahn believes regardless if Aranya catches him, she and her cadre will likely stick around loot and torment the locals.
Whisper and Shout - Educational DM
*Whisper and Shout came as an idea from a group that I’m currently DMing. One player would often use play more as one might think of a barbarian than a paladin (perfectly fine). He would use his maul to bash down doors, not really caring about the noise they would make, especially since in platemail, he wasn’t exactly stealthy anyway.
I don’t often design legendary/ overpowered items. I much prefer a simple utility item that encourages the players to be creative (e.g. light stones or immovable rods), but this was a great way of the players to pick up pieces of the weapons, which would lead to the next piece, slowly creating an legendary weapon by the time they get to the end of tier 3 or start of tier 4.*
Dwarven adamantium made, these twinned warhammers were gifted to Justus, a paladin of Torm who fought effectively beside the dwarves in a particularly dangerous incursion of Duergar. Justus was known for being both devoted to his god and passionate for his friends. In the tunnel fighting, Justus was often the butt of the Dwarves jokes for his lack of stealth, but earned respect for his battle tactics. In the latter stages, Justus used these twinned warhammers to great effect in rooting out the last of the Duergar, sadly falling the hands of a Bulette that the Duergar let loose in the tunnels. As they withdrew, the Duergar took the hammers with them and they were lost from records.
WHISPER: Warhammer +1.
*When attacking structures or immobilized objects, Whisper automatically makes a critical hit.
*Wielder gains +5 bonus on strength checks when breaking down doors.
As the wielder wills, a stun effect can be made upon every impact. If a creature is hit by the hammer with a stun, they must make a Constitution saving throw DC 10, or be stunned for their next turn. This spell counts as a first level enchantment spell.
Whilst holding Whisper, the wielder has resistance to force damage. As the wielder wills, every impact the hammer makes can make no sound at all.
If the wielder expends one charge and speaks a trigger word, they can cast Silence centered on the head of the hammer creating a 10ft radius sphere of silence, which will move with the head of the hammer. Any creature or object entirely inside the sphere is immune to thunder damage, and creatures are deafened while entirely inside it. The spell can last up to 5 minutes and does not require the user’s concentration. This spell counts as a level 2 illusion spell.
The hammer will regain one charge per day, up to two charges.
SHOUT: Warhammer +1.
*When attacking structures or immobilized objects, Shout automatically makes a critical hit.
*Wielder gains+5 bonus on strength checks when breaking down doors.
As the wielder wills, a thunderclap can be made upon every impact. If a creature is hit by the hammer with a thunderclap, they must make a Constitution saving throw DC 10, or be deafened for their next turn. The thunderclap can be heard by any creature within 50 feet or adjacent rooms. This spell counts as a first level illusion spell and is counteracted by a Silence spell.
Whilst holding Shout, the wielder has resistance to thunder damage.
If the wielder expends one charge and speaks a trigger word, they can cast Thunderwave. The spell will be triggered by the next impact, with the impact being centered on the impact. Otherwise, the spell behaves exactly like the first level evocation spell see below.
The hammer will regain one charge per day, up to three charges.
Thunderwave A wave of thunderous force sweeps out from you. Each creature in a 15-foot cube originating from you must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 2d8 thunder damage and is pushed 10 feet away from you. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and isn’t pushed. In addition, unsecured objects that are completely within the area of effect are automatically pushed 10 feet away from you by the spell’s effect, and the spell emits a thunderous boom audible out to 300 feet.
*Even though Whisper and Shout can be dual-wielded, these abilities are only available when either one is wielded on its own (i.e. d10 damage).
Whisper and Shout are intended to be dual-wielded, but damage to structures only when wielded individually.
When smashed together, Whisper and Shout can create the spell: Destructive Wave.
This ability will expend all remaining charges. For the number of charges below 6, both weapons will fail to regain charges for that number of days. This ability cannot be used again until the end of that period of time. During this time, all other abilities are dormant; the warhammers remain +1 magical warhammers.
Casting time: 1 Action
Range: Self (30-foot radius)
You strike the ground, creating a burst of divine energy that ripples outward from you. Each creature you choose within 30 feet of you must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 5d6 thunder damage, as well as 5d6 radiant damage, and be knocked prone. A creature that succeeds on its saving throw takes half as much damage and isn’t knocked prone.
*Thinking how I build these into ongoing quests, I was thinking that even in Tier 1, players could find “Whisper’s Shaft” or “Handle of Shout” that would act like magic metal clubs (d6 +1). They would only have their Stun/Thunderclap abilities, DC reduced to 5. Left on the ground would spin to the direction of the location of their respective heads. When recombined, the DC would raise to 8 until the two warhammers are reunited. Assembling one warhammer would trigger dreams of where the other warhammer lay.*
Dungeon Master Tip:
While every game has spies and secret agencies gathering information to trade and sell, there are some outlets that are all about sharing the information with the masses and helping them stay informed on current events and entertain their readers. The simple chronicles can appear as simple parchment fliers nailed to a public message board with weekly news or a much more in-depth and heavily investigated topic written in a large scroll for purchase on the corner.
Whichever form you decide, consider making these an important aspect of your game. Newspapers can be a great source for scandalis news or warning rumors of some strange happenings. If you want to get real fun, you can toss in tabloids that are so far fetched and ridiculous that the characters may latch on to it out of sheer curiosity.
Player Tip: Don’t be a Dick
Arcane Teachings: Burning Snare Trap
When the opportunity rises, setting up traps to snare your enemies in always gives the characters a huge advantage. With this little it is easy, and as long as you have the snare, minor illusion and bonfire spells at your disposal, it will quickly become a table favorite.
Using the snare (XGtE) spell, you can lay an invisible trap that will restrain your enemy when they step into the area. This alone is pretty great, but it can be hard to get an enemy into a specific 5foot square sometimes. Using the minor illusion, you can both cover the already difficult trap to spot and you can put an object that can lure an enemy to it. Treasure comes to mind. Once the target is restrained, pop a bonfire cantrip or similar area of effect spell in the same area and watch them burn, bleed and scream. Though, you may want to cast silence if they are likely to scream out loud for back up.
A masked menace terrifies the region. The adventurers stumble into her scheme: the kidnapping of a famous performer known as Devon Artis. Their mission is to deliver a ransom and collect Devon.
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