RPGBOT.Podcast Episode 6 – The Tarrasque

Show Notes

In this episode of the RPGBOT.podcast, we discuss the Tarrasque: The biggest, baddest, scariest Kaiju that that ever stomped across the DnD multiverse, only to be stopped by a level 1 cleric.

Special thanks to @Knower85667267 for this week’s question of the week.

Materials Referenced in this Episode

Transcript

Randall  00:23

Welcome to the RPGBOT.podcast. I’m Randall James, your carnivorous kaiju, and with me is Tyler.

Tyler  00:28

Hi everybody.

Randall  00:29

and Random.

Random  00:30

Good evening.

Randall  00:30

Welcome, welcome. All right, Tyler, what are we gonna do this week?

Tyler  00:33

We’re going to talk about kaijus. We’re going to talk about the kaiju. We are going to talk about the Tarrasque. It is the biggest. It is the baddest. It is the highest CR in the Monster Manual. And we’re gonna have a good discussion about all kinds of cool stuff about it. We’re going to talk about the history of the Tarrasque, both real world because there is some real world tarrasque stuff, and in the game, and then we’re gonna kill it at level one.

Randall  01:00

Okay, that’s… that’s a lot. Yeah, the first time I ever heard about the Tarrasque was when we had Colby on a few weeks ago. They talked about… Yeah, their experiences with it. So yeah, I’m excited about this. Random?

Random  01:14

While I have never had cause to actually end up in an encounter with a tarrasque, it’s practically its own running joke in D&D. It is one of the original means second only to “rocks fall, everyone dies” is “Oh, no, it’s the tarrasque”. It’s going to be really interesting to see… Because most of my experience spending dozens of hours memorizing the stat block is from 3.5. So I’m interested to see what all Tyler has looked into for fifth edition.

Randall  01:44

How far back does this go? And why?

Tyler  01:47

Well, let me let me take you on a real wild tale. If you open up the Wikipedia page for the Tarrasque, the… the original story of the tasks… the Tarrasque goes back to 12th century France, I might be getting the year on that one wrong. So double check the internet. But it goes back to France, where you know, at the time, medieval Europe was super into their, like, their chimeric monsters where everything was like, let’s slap like eight beasts together. And that’s a new folk lore. And inevitably, as all of those stories end with, some saint comes along and either stabs it to death or splashes it with holy water. Either way, in this case, it was the holy water option. Saint… Starts with an A, I should have written this down, finds the tarrasque by riverbank, splashes it with holy water shows that the cross and it’s like, “Okay, I guess on the dog now” or something like that. If you look at the art on the Wikipedia page, there are some really, really stunning pieces. There… There’s one where she’s just standing with it on a leash and it has a dude, like, just legs hanging out of its mouth. And she just looks like “I’m so done with this.”

Randall  03:07

Again, 

Random  03:07

Okay, I’m sorry, I just I have to take a second here. Because this suddenly makes something make a lot more sense. I’m going to switch nerd dems for a moment into the Fate nerdom. And Martha, as in St. Martha, one of the versions of her, her ultimate attack is “summons the tarrasque”. It’s like… and she basically kick flips it into the enemy. And that suddenly makes so much more sense. So thank you. 

Tyler  03:34

Okay! I imagine that must have been very jarring to not have the context.

Randall  03:38

Yeah. So St. Martha uses holy water to befriend gargantuan monster and feed sinnerto it? Is that…?

Tyler  03:46

That… that feels right. 

Randall  03:48

Okay.

Tyler  03:48

That feels period appropriate. So, okay, so I’m going to post a thing in our group chat, and I’m sorry for the clicking noises. But everybody, I just want you to look at this picture and just enjoy it for a minute and tell me what you see.

Randall  03:51

Okay, for folks at home, we’ve been sent an outdoor… I believe marble sculpture? 

Random  04:10

This is maybe the most cursed statue I’ve ever seen. What is its face? And why? And why does it have six legs?

Randall  04:20

So it looks like King Koopa has two front legs and like a cat face. 

Random  04:27

Now that’s like a human face. 

Randall  04:29

Like weirdly Asian features? 

Random  04:32

Weirdly Asian feat… like… but then like maybe shade it 20% towards pug.

Tyler  04:42

I did not see that one coming. Yeah, alright.

Randall  04:45

Armadillo tail, which I’m not even sure if armadillos live in Europe during the 12th century. So that’s a whole nother…

Tyler  04:52

Do they now?

Randall  04:54

I mean, we can make that happen.

Tyler  04:58

So…. So the, the… the sorry.

Randall  05:04

We needed to do the history on the real life fake monster before we talk about the fake life fake monster.

Tyler  05:10

So the old Bestiaries… like way back when, there was a whole period of time where beasiaries were a thing where people would just make up monsters and be like, yes, this is super legit. And they were super into the chimeric monsters and that’s where we got a lot of things like chimeras and unicorns and manticores. So basically you just take like the scariest things and it’s like a child just like oh yeah, the coolest thing from this one animal is on this monster. So it has the face of a lion, the main of a horse for some reason, six bear-like legs, and depending on the source, the… the back nonsense is described as a double tortoise shell with spikes all over it and then a long tail like a serpent.

Randall  05:59

Okay, now that you say that I’m looking at it. Yeah, this is wonderful. Folks at home, go look at the Wikipedia article. That’s… that’s the advice. It looks like there are… it is a tortoise shell that is made of tortoise shells.

Tyler  06:13

Exactly. And covered in spikes, because why not? So, so that is the real world origin of the Tarrasque. Now how that makes it into Dungeons and Dragons, I’m honestly not entirely certain. But I mean plenty of other real world legends have made their way into D&D. So that’s not super surprising. So the Tarrasque makes its first appearance in D&D in the monster manual to in first edition a D&D, and since then, it has been this nigh-unkillable, legendary monstrosity that has stomped its way across editions for goodness, we’re looking like 50 years now. How old is D&D? Goodness.

Randall  06:59

Let’s ask the question. Like in the original literature, in Dungeons and Dragons, so AD&D, what was the mythos of the Tarrasque there? Did Martha also show up?

Tyler  07:12

I don’t think so. So this gets a little outside of the things that I know within D&D, but it’s basically been just like, we need a big bad kaiju to pop up random places, eat mountains, and take no shits.

Random  07:26

Well, I can’t tell you all the way back to a D&D second edition, I can’t tell you about 3.x. So let me let me tell you about the magical thing that is the setting of Spelljammer. In the same way that Pathfinder is the Pepsi to D&D’s coke. Spelljammer is the the sprite which spawned to this year, a mist of Sstarfinder. In 3.x, you have this, this setting where you can have all these wonderful, different planets. And so that allowed them to create the planet of FALX. F-A-L-X, everything sentient on Falx lives deep underground, and it’s mostly mind flayers. And that is because the surface of Falx is inhabited by 10s of thousands of tourists. It is in fact the place… it is theorized to be the place where tarrasques are from. It is their home planet. And on each individual world where there is “the Tarrasque” that is just one of the Falx tarrasques that has somehow been put there because a cosmic accident, a God was born, or the final justification for anything you need in D&D: a Wizard did it.

Tyler  07:27

I mean, there is an item in Icewind Dale called a Scroll of Tarrasque Summoning so there’s there’s your answer. 

Random  08:44

There’s your answer. 

Randall  08:44

Yeah. I don’t think you should practice with that scroll very often. But so so Falx is a planet, and on the planet Falx, the core of it is filled with mines flayers…

Random  08:55

And the surface is filled with tarrasques. Don’t go there.

Randall  08:59

So the greatest thing to me is that right the mind flayers are afraid to go to the surface.

Random  09:04

I mean, I don’t know that they’re afraid necessarily, although I think they levitate. So spoilers. We’ll get to why that’s a problem here in a moment…

Tyler  09:13

Not the Tarrasque. The mind flayers, just to be clear.

Random  09:16

Right.

Randall  09:18

That’s a whole nother level of terrifying. Okay, cause mind flayers normally do live underground, right? Like they’re an underdark type. Yeah.

Random  09:24

They do. Yeah, they’re an underdark type. But I mean, a tarrasque is largely immune to a lot of the stuff that makes them so horrifying. You know, a standard mind flayer by itself is like as insincere like 10? Some… like somewhere between 8 and 12 I think, I don’t know somewhere in there. 

Tyler  09:40

Exactly.

Random  09:40

It’s… it’s challenging. But it, mostly it’s, you know, whole shtick is like, I’m gonna stun you inside your brains out. Well, that doesn’t work if you’re a kaiju. So no matter how many of them work together, it just doesn’t care. So yes, that’s that’s why they live deep underground is because a planet full of tarrasques. 

Randall  09:58

Wow. 

Tyler  09:58

Yeah. If ever you There’s an excuse to live in a cave. There you go.

Randall  10:02

Nice. Okay. And so yeah, the… not… what’s right way to put it? Not every story has to say that there is this planet Falx. Some of the mythos is just that… I don’t know, we live here and there’s a tarrasque sometimes. And sometimes it kills everything. Right?

Tyler  10:18

That’s about right. Pathfinder’s setting, Golarion, has a really good take on the Tarrasque. So in in golarion, there is a deity type creature called Rovagug, who is the God of Destruction. And basically at the beginning of time, all the other gods were like, We can’t have you messing up existence. So we’re going to chain you in place and bury you underneath the North Pole, like some kind of messed up Santa. And Rovagug, famously into just wrecking stuff. Bits of his body fall off in turn into kaijus, the biggest of which is the Tarrasque, which is nicknamed nicknamed, in Golarion “the apocalypse engine.” Which if you ever were going to have a nickname, pretty good. So I want to talk about the Tarrasque stats a little bit. Like if we can get into the mechanics. So Random, I think you know,the third edition version of the Tarrasque a bit better than me. You want to go into that for me?

Random  11:15

Yeah, I would love to. Um, so, I mean, the stats on this thing are ridiculous, right? Like, is it a CR 20? Sure, but you know, if you look at it, it’s gonna hit anything. It’s AC is, you know, reasonably low, but that’s because it has nearly 1000 hit points. So it kind of doesn’t care. But it also does fun things like it’ll crit on an 18 to 20 because it wants to and it does triple damage on the grid because it wants to. The couple things in here that are really interesting and unique: the carapace. This is the thing that I looked at this and went “oh my god, I want to use this in some fight” and then was sad, I never got to. Anything, it… their, their wording on this so that they can have some kind of justification is hilarious. The Tarrasque’s armor-like is exceptionally tough and highly reflective, deflecting, deflecting all arrays, lines, cones, and even Magic Missile spells. So any spell you target at it just has a 30% chance to bounce basically. Otherwise, it just doesn’t happen. And you check for the reflection before you roll against spell resistance. So it’s just a 30% chance to not be affected by practically anything, not single target spell. And then you have to get through it spell resistance, which is also high. But the important thing and… but my favorite thing here in 3.x, there was this concept of regeneration. It was like fast healing where you heal yourself a certain amount every single turn. But the important thing about regeneration is that with regeneration, except for generally one or two damage types that were explicitly called out, you took all damage as non lethal damage. There was some more mechanics but basically, you couldn’t ever kill something with regeneration unless you had the exact damage type you needed to overcome it. You can only knock it unconscious, and then it would keep healing. Well, the Tarrasque has regeneration and the thing that you can use to negate its regeneration is… just kidding, you can’t you can only ever knock it to sleep. And then you need to cast Wish, literally Wish or Miracle a ninth level spell while it is asleep. You have to wish that it stayed dead. And that’s it. That’s the only way to kill it. You just got to deal with it. And oh, also, just because why not? If you were flying, it would just burrow because it has a burrow speed.

Tyler  13:34

I forgot about that.

Random  13:37

Yeah, once per minute, or no, I’m sorry. That’s the rush. I’m thinking of a different burrow. Once per minute, it will just run at 150 feet in a round. Kust you know casually traveled like 30 miles an hour to catch up to you. And then, you know other generic kaiju things like eating people and being scary. But yeah, that, that carapace and the regeneration, that was really the stuff that worked together to make this thing so truly terrifying.

Randall  14:00

When I’m reading now, so even story-wise, right, if it loses a limb it grows that limb back in 1d6 minutes.

Random  14:06

Yep. 

Randall  14:07

Yeah. 

Random  14:08

Yeah, no, you largely didn’t kill this thing unless you were gearing up to kill the Tarrasque specifically.

Randall  14:13

Which… Okay, so talking about having Wish your Miracle available to you. So in in third edition, at what level would a… spellcaster have Wish or Miracle available to them.

Random  14:23

Same as fifth edition: 17. 

Randall  14:24

Okay.

Random  14:25

If they have straight-classed Wizard or Cleric, which… So by the way, bards were two thirds casters, bards did not get there. Druids also don’t get there. So you specifically needed a Sorcerer or Wizard or a Cleric to straight class and that was a lot less common in fifth edition. Er, in third edition, because of prestige classes. And a lot of prestige classes would penalize you some of your casting levels if you were trying to do something so like if you wanted to focus on abjuration maybe you be a initiate of the seven-fold veils. You know, that could take up some of your spellcasting levels to get you other cool abilities, which a lot of characters want. The the prestige classes were very powerful, but it would mean that you know, maybe you don’t get access to Wish or Miracle ever. And so you just like oh, that’s the Tarrasque. I guess I’ll leave because I can’t win.

Randall  15:21

I think I’m gonna go hide in a hole now. Let me see if I can find some mind players to camp out with. Nice.

Tyler  15:27

Yeah, that or find magic items.

Randall  15:30

So how did… how did that stat sheet change? Like, has it? You know, is the Tarrasque ever stronger now?

Tyler  15:36

Ah, okay. Yes and no. So I’m going to take a quick dip back into… into Pathfinder world because I want to touch on the cool stuff that Paizo did with the Tarrasque. So. the tarrasque, CR 20 in third edition and 3.5. Has regeneration, all those things. Really hard to kill, fatal weakness of the Tarrasque, it can’t really jump, it can’t fly. So all you have to do is be about 30 feet off the ground and chase it and eventually you’ll kill it. Mate, basically, you put your party on a flying carpet and you just stay slightly out of range and shoot at it until it dies or burrows, or you get clever. Anyway, Pathfinder solved that by giving it a ranged attack, which feels a little bit like cheating. So if you’ve looked at the manticore’s stats, they have tail spikes that they can like snap at people is a ranged weapon. They just put that on the Tarrasque. It works. It… they also raise the CR to 25. Not that it needed it, but you know, you can no longer just cheat by flying, so now suddenly it’s an actual threat to a high-level party.

Randall  16:46

So actually I want to ask about this. You were saying that you could just fly behind it and kind of you know pew pew with, you know, I assume magical arrows or whatever your ranged weapon of choice are because non-magical no piercing bludgeoning and slashing have no effect. 

Tyler  17:03

Yeah.

Randall  17:04

I… I when I when I was studying up to to have this conversation I found on like the Forgotten Realms wiki, this idea that there was like a cone of suck around the Tarrasque such that creatures couldn’t fly above a certain height. Was that… was that something written in? Or is this something that like folks have added to the lore to actually make this make sense? like is that a homebrew… homebrew rule that…?

Tyler  17:30

Well, there’s the the flight ceiling that Random put on me. That’s a different story. Honestly, I haven’t seen that in the mechanics. It’s entirely possible that it’s in second edition or first edition. 

Randall  17:43

Okay, that makes sense. 

Tyler  17:44

I’m just not familiar with those rules.

Randall  17:46

Yeah, it wasn’t in… it wasn’t in the fifth edition monster manual. Certainly. And that Yeah, it definitely got the wheels going.

Tyler  17:52

Yeah. Yes, is something that would make flight less of a problem for the Tarrasque is always the solution for making the Tarrasque more interesting. Second Edition Pathfinder didn’t really change anything basically just adapted, adapted the mechanics like hey, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. One of my favorite things that we lost in the transition to fifth edition was third edition’s regeneration. A lot of creature… like regeneration fifth edition is basically just you regain hit points every round and that’s that. So like trolls, the Tarrasque, vampires, a lot of stuff, they just regain hit points, but yeah, okay, that will make it really hard to kill a creature unless you kill it quickly. But it can’t do weird stuff. Like, ah, you forgot to set the troll on fire. So the troll’s still kicking. And the Tarrasque’s weird ability to regrow stuff really quickly was actually the inspiration for a for a third-party setting called Salt in The Wou nds, which was kickstarted a few years back, and there’s an adaptation for fifth edition and for Pathfinder, but the basic premis is, there’s some city somewhere that somehow managed to capture the Tarrasque and is just mining it for stuff because it regrows everything in like 1d6 minutes, so there’s entire industries that are like no, my job is just I mind tarrasque narrow and that is all I do all day, and it just keeps coming back. Yeah, that’s so if you’re willing to eat kaiju food.

Randall  19:21

Not… not kaiju food, just… it’s you. We’re kaiju food.

Tyler  19:27

Good point.

Randall  19:28

That’s terrible. So I the entire setting is… I have, like, I have captured the Hydra. And I’m just going to keep chopping off feet and legs and diving in. Like I’m going to tunnel in and set up… Yeah, of course you would literally mine. And that’s, that’s the setting. Ho.

Tyler  19:51

Yeah, it solves the food scarcity problem, which is always an interesting philosophical question to ask. Like, Star Trek is like “hey, What do we do in a post scarcity society?” So Salt in the Wounds is like, okay, there’s no food scarcity. Now what happens? Because we’ve got this kaiju, and also we’ve got, like, wizards and stuff. Yeah, it’s cool, go check it out. They have some products up on Drive Thru RPG, we’ll have affiliate links down in the show notes. It is a very interesting premise. 

Randall  20:24

Yeah, that’s… that is interesting. 

Tyler  20:26

So let’s finally get to the meat of things. And let’s talk about what happens to the Tarrasque in fifth edition. So if… if you’ve played fifth edition for a while, at some point, you’re going to go in the Monster Manual, and you’re going to look at the highest CR creatures in there. And right at the top of the list is the Tarrasque at cr 30. It was 20 in third edition, it was 25 and Pathfinder. It’s 30 in fifth edition.

Randall  20:50

Which actually it would be worthwhile for folks at home CR rating, challenge rating, how is that supposed to scale? How are we supposed to think about a 20 versus a 25 versus a 30?

Tyler  20:59

Great question. So character levels run from 1 to 20 and always have in dungeons and dragons, basically. So a monster will have what’s called a challenge rating, which is a rough estimate of how powerful it is. So a party of adventurers of about four people, is expected to be challenged in a fight by a creature of the same challenge training. So let’s say if I had four level 10 adventures, a challenge rating 10 monster is usually a good challenge for them. So adventurers go up to level 20, and then like that is… that is as high as you can get. And then the Tarrasque is all the way up there at CR 30.

Randall  21:40

So for even if we have our level 20 adventures, you know, decked out with all the best equipment, the idea of a level 30 is that this is beyond challenging. Yeah. So you need to bring additional adventures which is going to… to scale this correctly. Okay. Yeah, wow. 30 is a big number. That’s a big jump.

Tyler  21:57

Yeah. And to put it bluntly, it’s a little overrated.

Randall  22:03

I won;t tell the Tarrasque that.

Tyler  22:06

Yeah. So this was kind of a problem in third edition, but it’s way worse in fifth edition. If you can be above the Tarrasque just a little bit, it cannot hurt you. And all you have to do is follow it around with enough… with a bow and enough arrows and you can kill it and you can do this at any level. It’s… it will still take damage from non-magical weapons. It has resistance, not immunity.

Random  22:36

No, that’s actual immunity, isn’t it? Yep.

Tyler  22:39

Oh, man. Did I? have I gotten this wrong for years?

Random  22:42

I’m looking for it right here. But with that said, I mean, you know, a second level or what a first level Cleric or maybe a third level Cleric can basically just enchant your weapon. And for an hour, you can, you know, shoot your bow at the Tarrasque which accomplishes the same thing. That’s true.

Randall  23:01

And just take shifts napping in whatever flying carpet that you’re using. And…

Tyler  23:06

okay, well, let’s let’s skip straight to the Cleric. Okay, we have a level one *unintelligible* aarakocra Cleric with Sacred Flame. If you look at reflective therapists, it notably doesn’t affect things that allow a reflex save, so Fireball, Sacred Flame all those things and it has a +0 bonus on reflex safes. Also notably absent from previous additions, the Trask no longer has regeneration. So you can turn a fight with the Tarrasque into the slowest war of attrition. All you have to do is follow it around and annoy it and it’s going to it’s going to reliably fail those reflex saves. So, like, it can’t rest to spend hit dice because you’re just following it around annoying it with the 1d8 damage per turn. It can’t jump more than five feet, which feels silly. 

Randall  24:01

Yeah, so…

Random  24:02

So that part’s interesting to me, because in previous editions in… so in the… if I look at the PF 2e one, which I just closed I think, one of the ones that I was looking at talks about it explicitly having an enormous, like, bonus to jump specifically to deal with that. Which is why I liked that idea of the flight ceiling. There it is. So the first edition Pathfinder one: powerful leap. It uses its strength to modify acrobatics made a jump and how the plus 24 racial bonus on acrobatic sex made the jump so it’s flying after you it’s just doing it, you know, in parabolic fashion.

Randall  24:38

It’s the falling with style.

Random  24:39

Exactly 

Randall  24:41

Tyranosaurus Rock Steady is going to jump straight at you. That was a ninja turtles joke for…

Tyler  24:46

I got it. Sorry, took me a second.

Randall  24:48

That’s good. Okay, and so I’m looking at the fifth edition, we’re having across editions but so in AC of 25 is a pretty high AC. What’s our level one Cleric casting… casting Sacred Flame, I guess is that against AC or is that a saving throw? Dexterity save?

Random  25:06

It’s a dex save. 

Tyler  25:06

It’s a dex save.

Randall  25:07

Okay.

Tyler  25:08

A dexterity save, Yeah.

Random  25:09

Now admittedly it has magic resistance. So it has advantage, which means that so mathematically, it’s going to hit a 13.5. If I remember how advantage does math, right? So roughly, you know, that means that like, a 50% of the time, it’s expected to succeed at your your Sacred Flame. But that means 50% of the time, it’s expected to fail your Sacred Flame. You’re doing a d8 over two damage every turn. Are you eventually going to make it through the 676 hit points? Yeah, that’s…

Randall  25:44

That’s actually… I’m, let’s like run through this real quick. I think we can do this live and everybody’s gonna love it. So I’m going to get five hits a minute.

Random  25:52

What… Okay, so let’s, let’s do the math this way. So on one turn, you would do if you hit, you would do a d8 average, which is four and a half. Nine… Yeah, four and a half. 

Tyler  26:05

Yeah. 

Random  26:05

So now we need to cut that in half. So it’s two and a quarter. Okay. So 676 over two and a quarter. It’s gonna take you 300 ish rounds. And 10 rounds is a minute. So 100 is 10 minutes. So it’s going to take you half an hour of chasing the Tarrasque Sacred Flaming it to death as a single aarakocra cleric. Okay, and it will be dead. 

Tyler  26:32

Yeah.  And, and it has 40 foot land speed. So it is slower than an aarakocra and it only has a land speed. It can’t burrow away anymore. It has no tricks. All it can do is run.

Randall  26:45

Okay. How?

Tyler  26:47

CR 30.

Randall  26:49

Well, okay, it has legendary resistance. So three times a day.

Random  26:53

It… You’re right, it will. I’m sorry. It will take exactly three more rounds, six more rounds. If we’re being generous with math.

Randall  27:02

That’s… That’s all I wanted.

Random  27:04

I’ll give you that one.

Tyler  27:05

If you can make a creature spend a legendary resistance to resist a cantrip. Like, get yourself a trophy.

Randall  27:18

Okay. So what’s, how are we going to take this? What are we going to do?

Tyler  27:23

So I’ve had this discussion online a couple of times, and the thing that people usually suggest me, why doesn’t the Tarrasque just throw a rock? And okay, reasonable question. All right. So let’s look at the same stats similar. It has an intelligence of three, which is as smart as a dog, okay, like not a smart dog. Like a dog. Like Charles Barkley if we can reference him again, Not the not the person: my dog, who occasionally appears on everyone’s audio. So he is what I consider a pretty typical intelligence dog, like responds to commands, can kind of learn thing, knows how to get into the trash, all those good things that dogs do. Could could Charlie figure out how to throw a rock? No, no, he could not.

Randall  28:17

I think I watched Charlie try to put his head on a pillow the other day, and instead he fell off the couch.

Tyler  28:21

That… that happened. That has happened several times, in fact. Again, typical dog. So there are animals who will throw rocks. Well, not rocks, but objects. Squirrels will famously like drop things from trees to drive away… I assume predators? I don’t know what a squirrels do? Like, primates, which… generally on the smarter end of animals, primates will frequently, like, throw for rocks and use tools but that’s probably a bit above intelligence three. If I remember correctly, like, apes are listed like five or something like that. So the Traskarrasque is dumb as dirt. It’s not smart enough to throw a rock. Even if it could, I don’t know that it would be very good at it. Yeah. Like Okay, you could argue plus 10 from the strength but..

Randall  29:15

Well, it would be very good at accelerating a rock, whether or not it can you know, get the release point right, to you know, Nolan Ryan you straight down the straight through your face as a whole nother… I’m again reminded of our infinitely stacked centaurs. So, right, fifth edition, we talked about the grid and the grid is 2d. This is actually a tall beast. 

Random  29:33

Yeah, technically, everything is cubic. Although that doesn’t come up very often, but like, you know, technically speaking, a human is a five-foot cube as far as D&D is concerned, which, as someone who is taller than five feet, I am mildly offended by. But regardless, you know… 

Randall  29:50

At least you’re not wider than five feet though, right? Let’s… tiny, tiny miracles.

Random  29:55

Technically, you know, is this thing maybe… what gargantuan is 20 by 20? So is this thing maybe 20 feet tall? We could argue that and you could then argue that the reach applies on top of that. But even so, if you’re going to get all of those attacks, I guess actually, it doesn’t have multi attack, so you really only get to choose once. That’s right.

Randall  30:16

It has multi-attack,

Tyler  30:17

It does. Lower-left corner.

Randall  30:19

It can use Frightening Presence, so make everything run away. Then five attacks: one bite, two with its claws, one with its horns, one with its tail. And if it’s already bitten, and therefore is grappling in the mouth, it can swallow you instead.

Random  30:34

There we go. Yeah.

Tyler  30:36

And that’s bad.

Random  30:36

I mean, if you… if you wanted to try and rule three-dimensionally, then I like your idea of a flight ceiling earlier, particularly because as I said, Yes, I have had to impose impose a flight ceiling in my games, because no, you can’t just fly 100 feet above the goblin army and drop alchemists fire and fireballs until they’re all dead. That’s dumb. Now, is that dumb from a military standpoint? No, that’s an amazing tactic. Everyone should do that. But it also renders the vast majority of content utterly pointless.

Tyler  31:07

Look, Pathfinder gave Call Lightning a range of like a mile. What was I gonna do?

Random  31:12

Well, that’s what I get for letting you be a druid. Yeah, but I mean, I like the idea of just this thing is so reality warping that it has its own literal gravity, you can’t fly. Like, if you’re within, I don’t know, a mile of it, you can only go 50 feet off the ground, and then it can eat you from there. Or, you know, whatever the case may be. That’s that’s probably how I would fix it. Because if you do have to fight this thing on level ground, it is a terror. Yeah, no joke. Like, it will still give you a real hard time no matter how high level you are. 

Tyler  31:48

Yeah.

Randall  31:48

If you fight it as it’s meant to be fought, which is that you’re not supposed to survive, the likelihood of you surviving. Not good. 

Random  31:57

Dramatically reduced. 

Randall  32:00

So I liked the tail spike. I feel like that makes a lot of sense. Because even the creature would be giving up the multi attack potentially to use the tail spike. Or maybe as a DM, you just introduce like, yeah, you know, I get sick shots, and I can aim them as I… as I choose. But I also like even the idea that it can jump, like that solves most of this, right?

Tyler  32:21

Yeah. 

Randall  32:21

What’s, what’s the range on Sacred Flame?

Random  32:23

60? 60 feet?

Tyler  32:25

Yeah. 

Randall  32:25

60 feet.  Okay. So you say Sure, I can jump that. And here’s the you know, like, I feel like there’s a conversation between DM and the players, you can go that route. If it manages to knock your level one Cleric out of the sky. That’s a long fall.

Random  32:41

So if you just look at the straight damage on his stat block, any attack will outright kill a first level character. It’s gonna do double your hit points. You’re just dead. Yeah, like there’s, there’s no question. 

Randall  32:54

So even if you just have the the threads of any of these things, it didn’t become something that you actually have to approach at the final level. So I guess the the Tarrasque can be an effective 5e monster. I think there’s an interesting conversation. I think probably this is a longer podcast, but now the Tarrasque is probably not your BBEG. It isn’t what you’re you know, this isn’t the culmination of a campaign. Although it could be where your campaign ends.

Random  33:18

Yeah, I would… I definitely think like you can have a lot of fun with because it is mindless. It doesn’t really have the character to be a big bad evil guy. (There’s your abbreviation, folks.) Right? It’s… it is not the thing that is pulling the strings, at least I hope not because, God a sentient tarrasque is not something I ever want to deal with. But you know, maybe your BBEG summons the Tarrasque accidentally or on purpose or you know, that’s the whole plot is I’m going to unleash this terror on the world. So you could find a way to work that in and work that encounter in or there is always of course, the fun, “Yes, you dream about a fight with the Tarrasque. Let’s play it and you wake up and we carry on without consequence.” Just if you want to experience the preposterous statblock in that way.

Randall  34:07

Yeah, honestly, that has to be… that has to be the best way to do it. But then, if your characters actually are successful, like in the dream, they have prophecy that they’re going to find loot. It happens to be under their pillow when they wake up. they go. Perfect. Nice. Alright, I think that was a good conversation. Right, folks? Okay, on to the question of the week. I’m going to look, you know, but behind the scenes podcasting, we’re going to do a or b. 

Tyler  34:34

B.

Random  34:35

B. 

Randall  34:35

B. Like, okay, hey, we’re gonna do next time. It’s gonna be great. Okay, this question comes to us from @knower85667267 on Twitter. The question is, “what are fun weapons to use? 

Tyler  34:50

Cool so… so for fifth edition, there’s not a ton of variety of in weapons, which is kind of a shame. Some pole arms have some cool stuff like lances. Nets are one of my favorites. They’re a huge pain in the butt to make them work. Like… immensely frustrating, but when you can make them work, real nice. That’s… that’s kind of it. Other than that it’s just damage. Oh, well, whips. Yeah, reach, finesse. Not a great damage die, But you’ve got a breach in finesse. What else do you need? 

Randall  35:20

Yeah, actually, I’ll go like… talk a little about that a little bit more. So we have our simple weapons, and we have finesse weapons. What’s the advantage of using a finesse weapon.

Tyler  35:30

So finance lets you use dexterity for attacking damage, which is useful if you want to build around dexterity. It’s crucial for rogues. Whips are the only thing that you can sneak attack with using reach. Like, ranged weapons obviously, will have more range than reach, but you can use a whip and a shield. And that’s pretty great. 

Randall  35:52

Nice. Yeah, I mean that from an RP standpoint, that seems like a lot of fun. I guess more generally, as DM is like, Are you are you willing to re skin you know, instead of a broadsword, I have the world’s largest meat cleaver, and that’s going to be… you know, I want Cloud Strife’s sword. That’s what I want.

Random  36:09

Why stop at a Buster Sword when you can have a nine foot long Katana if we’re going full founder fantasy?

Randall  36:16

Oh 100%. 

Random  36:17

And speaking of speaking of katanas and reskins, actually, you know, it’s really interesting to see like, like I’ve talked about in other editions. Fifth Edition does… er, other episodes. Fifth edition does a really good job of being a framework. Even in 3.5, where we had a staggering array of nearly two pages of weapons. There was a… so that the samurai class eventually got introduced. And because there was Samurai we all right, we need rules for a katana and wakizashi. Well, it’s dumb to just introduce another thing when we already have 50 line-items of weapons. So Katana is a bastard sword and a wkizashi is a short sword and there you go. Just call them something else, even in the crunchiest editions are still happy to do that. And I, I think that in fifth edition, really, you know, as far as what’s fun to use, make whatever you want. I will say that the improvised weapon rules are probably way better in this edition, than they have been in 3.x. So like, if, if fun for you is yes, I’m going to tavern brawl, rip a leg off a stool and beat somebody with it. Or just beat somebody with the whole stool or if you’re strong enough beat somebody with the whole bar.

Randall  37:27

But but the improvised weapon rolls in it just a d4?

Random  37:30

Improvised weapons in 3.5. Were really bad. Okay, because bonuses, like because math was not bounded, like it is in fifth edition. In 3.5, you know, if you were swinging a table leg at something with an AC of 30. And, you know, we were just talking about the, the tarrasque with an AC of 30 and AC, AC of 25. An AC of 25 is enormous in fifth edition, right? You’re, you’re hardly ever going to touch that. But in 3.x, an AC of 25 was like a yes, I am a third level Fighter. 

Randall  38:06

Okay.

Random  38:06

The… the improvised weapons, like one one prestige class was good with them: Drunken Master. A Monk prestige class. And everyone else just like, if I hit you with this, I’m probably not going to hit and even if I do hit, it’s going to deal like nothing damage and strength being the only… so there was a concept of finesse in 3.x, but like improvised weapons were never finesse. And a lot of times like anyone who had the strength to use an improvised weapon, I was just gonna be like, okay, but I have a sword. So why would I bother? 

Randall  38:42

Yeah, RP-wise like there’s there’s no point unless for some reason you’re not holding your sword or isn’t available to you. Right? 

Tyler  38:47

Exactly. 

Randall  38:48

As a DM in fifth edition, would you push folks to use the improvised weapon rules or would you just push to reskin and say, hey, look, I’m gonna give your you know, instead of giving you a plus one weapon, I’m gonna give you your nine-foot Katana and say you have 10 foot reach, but other than that, it has the stats of a katana

Random  39:06

I would definitely push the reskin myself. If this is something that somebody wants long-term if I’m gonna have this nine-foot Katana for a single legendary bossfight square by noble omatsu, great. You do that. And then it’s gone and who really cares what the rules are? If you want to keep your… your really cool thing forever, then yeah, we should work to figure out like okay, what is this most like? Then really, you know, make sure that you are having your fun with that weapon because that’s the theme of the character, right? Yeah, like the only really mechanically fun weapon is whips because it’s the only thing that has something interesting and like some of the polearms. Lances, you know, the the thing where you can like attack at range, but then if you’re mounted it, you don’t have the disadvantage on things.

Tyler  39:56

You can fight one-handed with the wire mounted and then anything within five feet you take disadvantage, which it’s the only polearm that does that in fifth edition. 

Random  40:04

Yeah. 

Tyler  40:05

It’s weird.

Random  40:05

So like, there’s there’s not a whole lot of crunch in fifth edition because there’s not intended to be a whole lot of crunch. So it really just becomes, you know, let’s, let’s take the thing that is fun and scan it the way I wanted. Yeah, okay,

Randall  40:17

I’m gonna push, we need the answer @Knower85667267’s question. What are fun weapons to use with?

Random  40:23

Yeah, mechanically…

Randall  40:24

I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go. I’m gonna go first. I’m gonna give everybody a chance. Go for it. I am 100% I’m gonna go for the Buster Sword because I’m gonna RP the hell out of that. With my scrawny arms and my really tall hair. That’s gonna be great. Wonderful. Alright, Tyler, what do you got?

Tyler  40:39

Yeah, mechanically, it’s real weird hit somebody with a whip. But it’s… weird to think about hitting someone with a weapon. Mechanically, very satisfying.

Random  40:51

There’s no real fun that I’ve experienced, mechanically with weapon apart from what we’ve talked about. However, I’m just going to plug my DM and say, if you’re in a low-magic setting, and you therefore instead of getting a bunch of magic items, get granted something crafted for you. I have basically used… what if a Druid made me mjolnir as a weapon. That was so much fun. Obviously not something that you’re going to you know, find laying around, although I can. I’ve recreated it as homebrew in D&D beyond. So I guess we can technically link it in the show notes. So there you go.

Tyler  41:27

Dan, we should do that.

Randall  41:29

Okay, I’m suddenly reminded you talking about mjolbnir. So I ran a campaign where I gifted Azuredge in Waterdeep, which was an axe with the spirit of a fella sworn to protect Waterdeep to somebody who maybe wasn’t as interested. And so that was a fun weapon, because it had personality, and often was very disappointed in the player characters. 

Tyler  41:56

We were disappointing characters.

Random  41:59

Oh, man, sometime we should do an episode talking about sentient items across editions.

Tyler  42:06

Great idea. 

Randall  42:07

So I think if we’re excluding sentient items, we’ve given great answers. Better than all that might just be whatever sentient item. Because again, as Azuredge had the choice, it wouldn’t let you pick it up if it disagreed with you. So yeah, @knower85667267 maybe that’s the answer to your question. Azuredge, or any sentient item. All right. Well, please join us next time on the RPGBOT.podcast, we’re gonna do a crash course in character optimization. I hope everybody goes to RPGBOT.net. A lot of the content on RPGBOT dotnet is dedicated to character optimization. But it isn’t something we really dove into on the show yet. So next week is going to be the first opportunity where we’re really going to kind of let that shine. Tyler is going to be very excited and I’m very excited to be present to see it. I’m Randall James you can find me amateurjack.com. At… on Twitter and Instagram at @jackamateur.

Tyler  43:00

I’m Tyler Kamstra. You can find me online at RPBOT.net find me on Twitter at RPGBOTDOTNET. facebook.com/RPGBOTDOTNET. We have an Instagram now it’s also RPGBOTDOTNET. And then finally Patreon/RPGBOT.

Random  43:23

And I’m Random Powell. You won’t generally find me on social media. Although if you look in places where you can play games, I’m often there as Hartlequin or Hartlequint. But mostly you’ll find me here contributing to the podcast and the website.

Randall  43:34

Nice. All right, all hail the Leisure Illuminati. Dan, the producer. We get a fist bump. That’s all I really wanted. You’ll find affiliate links for source books and other materials linked in the show notes. Following these links helps us to make this show happen every week. So please do. You can find our podcast wherever find podcasts are sold. If you enjoy this podcast, please rate review and subscribe. And definitely share it with your friends. If you’re loving what we’re doing, if you know people who you think might enjoy this, or somebody who’s maybe new to tabletop and wants to start learning more, I’d like to think that we’re good for that. So please share us. If your question should be the question of the week next week please email podcast@RPGBOT.net. or message us on Twitter at @RPGBOTDOTNET. But, but this time, we’re not going to exit

3 Comments

  1. sw4ahl September 23, 2021
  2. KaelDrakkal September 23, 2021
    • RPGBOT September 24, 2021

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