In D&D 5e, what does a shortbow, spear, javelin, trident and hand crossbow all have in common? That’s right, they do the same amount of damage. Why do we, in certain games,  have such “detail” of weapon types that all do the same damage?

While we start with weapon damage, we get off that a bit and turn towards style of play. 

Inspired by an episode of Hobbs and Friends with guest Thaddeus Moore.


Event registration for Gamehole Con is live. Nov 5-8th, 2020

Con of Champions, May 23-25, online. Proceeds go to support Tabletop Events

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Random Encounter

Comment to changes to playing online from Tom

I think Brett has it exactly right here. We’ve been playing over Zoom lately, and it’s worked fine for our gaming style. I’m a tinkerer, though, and have been looking at Roll20. The urge to try and use all the features is hard to resist. Our group is (for the most part) not all that technically oriented, so I need to keep what they need to do to a minimum. Mainly I would just be using the handout option, putting up pictures, etc. We might occasionally use the map. We don’t use one of the supported systems, so basic is best. But still…I keep looking up fog of war, adapting maps and secret GM layers, etc. etc. etc. etc.

I really need to just stop and run the game like on Zoom. I actually might stay with Zoom just to resist temptation to tinker…but Roll20 is so shiny…

Al comments on the forums about GM’s rolling dice for players

I GM online, specifically on Roll 20, so skill checks perception… are divided, arbitrarily by me, into two groups:

Things that change the roleplay, like intimidate, are GM rolls that the player sees but not the other players. It is the difference between “Stinky the Dwarf sidles up to the guard, stroking his axe and muttering ‘Wait until we hear his answer sweety’” and “Knuckles the thief minces up to the guard, reaches for his buckle knife and accidentally drops his pants.”

Things that change the characters health etc., like climbing a wall, are handled with an API script BlindRoll!, only the GM sees the roll. That is the difference between ” I carefully inch up the wall 5 frrt and then slowly move north along the wall.” and “You get about halfway up the 50’ wall when your suddenly pitching backwards with a loose stone in your hand you take twelve damage and roll a Con save.”

DM Cojo emails us on GM’s making rolls for players

Greetings BSers,

I wanted to chime in about GMs making player rolls.  As you mentioned in the episode, it depends a bit on the players.  First off, meta-gaming in RPGs drives me crazy.  I expect my players to run their characters in a manner that is consistent with the game rules (alignment, etc.), the precedent that they have set for the PCs behavior in previous games (if applicable), and make sure that they don’t use player knowledge to alter what their PC would do. 

When I am playing with a group that I know well, and that I trust to set the player knowledge aside, I don’t have a problem with them rolling the dice for things that their PC would not know the success or failure of.  However, when I am playing with less experienced players, or players I don’t know (such as in a con game), then I typically would make those rolls for them in secret.

Additionally, when I make the rolls for them, I often will try to give them some narrative clues regarding the nature of the roll, without actually telling them the result.  After I roll, and I know they failed a check, I may describe it as they are attempting to move silently, and they feel like they are being successful, but they may have kicked a small stone during the attempt.  They don’t know if they are actually moving silently or not.  On the flip side, if they barely make the roll, I would describe it the same way.  However, if they easily make the roll, I would relate the result to them in a narrative manner that they feel more confident about their attempt.  This way, they are always guessing, and never meta-gaming the results of the roll.  I feel like this is important for any actions that they would not necessarily know if they were successful or not.

Great topic as always!


DM Cojo

Dirtilus aka Dan emails us about GM’s making rolls for players

Just listened to Rolling for Players… I like both ways, but if I am DMing I gear it towards the players. Here are a few ways I have seen it or have run it. I was at a convention ( Gamehole ) and playing some D&D. A couple, a pair of Tabaxi Rogues would roll every 5 feet of the cave we were exploring. It was taking forever, but everyone at the table including the DM saw how much fun they were having so we rolled with it. Rolling dice is damn fun. Pre-rolling. ” Everyone roll me 2 twenties and tell me the results.” Then, in the middle of the adventure the DM would say ok, what’s you DEX modifier and would add the modifier to your pre-roll. DM rolling is great for adding suspense as long as its not over done. Rolling dice is fun.

Dirtilus aka Dan

Tymonger gets some time to email us.

Sean please read this….

Hey guys I just wanted to say how much I’ve been enjoying you guys as a show as we’ve been isolated due to the virus. I have been going into work still because I work in Shipping & Receiving. I have a few pointers or suggestions or comments about the last few shows that have not been able to be able to voice till now. 

Due to the isolation the group that I play with a lot online and that’s how I’ve been playing a lot lately. We’ve been playing a lot of different games or trying out different games to see if what is out there now that we have time to be able to give it the attention that it needs. Even though the system that got us all to play together online with Discord is ICRPG.But one of the games has been my favorite of course, FATE. A little side note Brett I don’t know why you’ve been keeping this a secret from everybody else but FATE condensed has come out on drive-thru RPG Pay What You Want and it’s a great book dropping the page number from over 300 pages down to around 50 and has made a lot of improvements. 

Another system we’ve been trying out is the system made by Tiny D6. We’ve been checking out their game systems seeing if any of theirs are a good match for the group. We’re even adventuring into making our own which is a collage of a couple systems together. I think on average we’re playing probably close to 5 to 6 games a week, about 2 to 3 hours per game. So basically a lot of short campaign style one shots. 

For turn order we use the ICRPG system where we make a rotation. Usually starting with the Tank type of person, DPS types (damage per second or strikers to you non WOW players) & end in me as the healer, then the Baddies end out the rotation. Wherever we stop in the rotation we pick it back up on the next time we need to act in turn order. That rotation does not change through the game, but we do have an Amendment to the rule and that is if a person really feels that they want to do an action after somebody else, then for that rotation we will make that adjustment,  then we will go back to that rotation that we used before from then on.This also helps with the effect of not over talking somebody and gives everybody a chance to have their speech. I know how it can be difficult especially if you’re playing a certain character that likes to make comments about what has just happened and that’s their style of play. I myself play a particular character that loves to put in his flavor of how he likes to speak to everybody whenever somebody takes an action. But I try to keep it brief. 

On the topic of hidden rolls by the GM so the players do not know if the bad guys can hear them, our group is liking the idea. We just have not had a chance to try it out, yet. We will get back to you on that one. But on opening a lock door or chest ICRPG uses a one heart aka ten points. You have to end up with doing 10 points of effort over time to open the chest, or to find the clue. As a GM I like for my players to think of a different way of doing things. It makes it more interesting. I could go on for hours talking about RPGs, and I have in the past. So just think of this as part 1 of our conversation. 


Die Roll

  • FATE Condensed by Evil Hat Productions, referenced by Tymonger. (DrivethruRPG)
  • Discord now offers video
  • Came across Beyond20 bot for Discord. Integrates D&D Beyond with virtual tabletops
  • Teacher Gamer Handbook, on Idiegogo, by Zachary Reznichek

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About the Author
The 'S' of Gaming and BS podcast. Besides producing and hosting the show, Sean enjoys long walks on the beach, running rpg's, and killing player...characters.