Let’s Play – XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Episode 28: Three-Soldier Squads

After a standard mission in the sewers, we’re thrown into back-to-back missions where XCOM can only send half-size squads of three soldiers each.

DLC: War of the Chosen, Tactical Legacy Pack, Resistance Warrior Pack
Mods: Commander’s Choice
Difficulty: Veteran

Episode 28: Three-Soldier Squads

M42: Operation Haunting Thunder – Destroy the Alien Relay

  • Maj. Falkirk ‘Runner’ Anderson (Skirmisher)
  • Magus Dommel ‘Talus’ Stonereach (Psi Operative)
  • Col. Saran ‘Decker’ Amus (Specialist)
  • Cap. Bryseis ‘Daemon’ Esterborn (Grenadier)
  • Maj. Undril ‘The Order’ Silvertusk (Specialist)
  • Maj. Mauta ‘Shadowrun’ Kulia (Sharpshooter)

M43: Operation Northern Grin – Raid the ADVENT Convoy

  • Magus Dommel ‘Talus’ Stonereach (Psi Operative)
  • Col. Saran ‘Decker’ Amus (Specialist)
  • Cap. Bryseis ‘Daemon’ Esterborn (Grenadier)

M44: Operation Witch Shriek – Rescue Operative from ADVENT Compound

  • Magus Dommel ‘Talus’ Stonereach (Psi Operative)
  • Col. Georgiano ‘George’ Tortle (Ranger)
  • Col. Gillian ‘Triton’ Flounderson (Specialist)

Weekly video game adventures. Streamed live Mondays and Fridays.

Support the channel via Patreon.

Goodreads Review – The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire #2)

The Lost Heir (Wings of Fire, #2)The Lost Heir by Tui T. Sutherland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in the Wings of Fire series centers on Tsunami the SeaWing as the Dragonets travel to her homeland. This time we’re treated to some lite political intrigue surrounding the mysterious deaths of the Queen’s royal daughters, of which Tsunami is a returning surviving heir.

The overall mystery is a bit lackluster and few of the new SeaWing characters are interesting. I also didn’t like that most of the dragonets are sidelined for the entire middle of the book, leaving just Tsunami to explore and deal with the new characters and setting. Yet that also gives her a much bigger chance to grow and develop as a character.

I’m giving it four stars like the first one because it’s still very well written, with excellent pacing and a good mix of violent action and quiet introspection. I am a bit worried that the books will feel formulaic as the dragonets travel to each different kingdom and end up as prisoners having to escape – thankfully they themselves call that out at the end of this book!

View all my reviews

DMs Guild Review – Psyborg: Fighter Subclass

Enhance your fighter with psybernetics and psychic spells with the Psyborg subclass.

A review copy of “Psyborg: Fighter Subclass” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work via Patreon.

Designed by:  Anthony Joyce

Ah, fighters. Stalwart protectors. Can tank and dish out the damage and are BORING AS HELL. Sorry fighter fans. They even got shafted when it came to 5E subclasses, with Battle Master being the only real option (prove me wrong).

Psyborg: Fighter Subclass” adds a crazy big new subclass for my poor fighter friends, one which instantly makes me sit up and take notice. You may be worried about adding cybernetic – sorry, “psybernetic” -enhancements to your player characters, but the designer smartly uses spells and spell-like abilities featured in other classes to make the Psyborg much more balanced, at the cost of making it a bit less original.

Continue reading “DMs Guild Review – Psyborg: Fighter Subclass”

Let’s Play – XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Episode 27: Avenger Down

The aliens strike back while XCOM is wounded and tired, first with a resistance assault, then a devastating UFO attack that downs the Avenger, forcing XCOM soldiers to fight for their lives.

DLC: War of the Chosen, Tactical Legacy Pack, Resistance Warrior Pack
Mods: Commander’s Choice
Difficulty: Veteran

Episode 27: Avenger Down

M40: Operation Ghost Face – Haven Assault

  • Lt. Korinn ‘Draconic’ Dragonborn (Grenadier)
  • Init. Troll ‘Shaman’ Ursev (Psi Operative)
  • Cap. Tymerious ‘T.I.M.’ Marbrand (Specialist)
  • Col. Xandala ‘Summerwise’ Cimber (Reaper)
  • Col. Georgiano ‘George’ Tortle (Ranger)
  • Cpl. Filkur Foppin (Specialist)

M41: Operation Half-dead Corpse – Defend the Avenger

  • Sgt. Filkur ‘Swamp Druid’ Foppin (Specialist)
  • Cap. Felgolos ‘Flying’ Misfortune (Sharpshooter)
  • Col. Gillian ‘Triton’ Flounderson (Specialist)
  • Maj. Kazin ‘Mind-Zei’ Eldric (Templar)
  • Lt. Bryseis ‘Daemon’ Esterborn (Grenadier)
  • Cap. Kethra ‘Trickster’ Keyleth (Ranger)

Mid-mission the following soldiers were added:

  • Maj. Miri ‘The Monk’ Greycastle (Ranger)
  • Col. Georgiano ‘George’ Tortle (Ranger)

Weekly video game adventures. Streamed live Mondays and Fridays.

Support the channel via Patreon.

Our D&D House Rules


Beginning at Level 2 a PC can sustain a lasting injury when their health drops to 0 (or lower).

PC must make a DC 15 CON saving throw. Failure results in a Lasting Injury, which should be denoted on the character sheet until healed. (DMG 272)

If a PC hits their negative maximum (-17 if you have 17HP), you don’t automatically die. Instead you gain one Failed Death Save, and must roll for a Lasting Injury (no CON saving throw)

To determine which Lasting Injury, roll a d20:

  • 1 Damaged Eye – Disadvantage on ranged attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight. Advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks. If you lose both eyes you are Blinded.
  • 2-5 Crippled Limb – Player chooses which limb.
    • Arm – Can’t hold two different objects or wield two-handed weapons. Disadvantage to some STR saving throws/checks.
    • Leg – Speed is halved, can’t use the Dash Action, Disadvantage to most DEX ability checks and saving throws.
    • Crippling both arms means you cannot wield anything, crippling both legs means you can’t move at all.
  • 6-9 Internal Injury – Disadvantage on CON saving throws/checks. Roll again if already suffering from this.
  • 10-13 Concussion/Head Trauma – Disadvantage on Intelligence saving throws/checks. Roll again if already suffering from this.
  • 14-19 Nasty Scar – Disadvantage on Charisma saving throws/checks, except Advantage on Intimidation checks. Can choose where the scar is, but must be visible.
  • 20 Minor Scar – Not immediately visible. Confers no advantages or disadvantages. Builds character.

A PC can have more than one Lasting Injury, though some do not stack or have obvious limits (only unlimited one are the scars).

All injuries can be healed via Greater Restoration (or better) healing spell or service. Healing spells can remove multiple Lasting Injuries at a time.

If proficient in the Medicine skill, can attempt a DC 20 Medicine check (requires Healer’s Kit and expends one use regardless of success) once per day to heal a PC’s Lasting Injury (PC can not heal their own injury). Medicine check can only work for one Lasting Injury at a time.

These rules apply only to PCs, however NPC foes can suffer Massive Damage (see below).


Massive Damage applies only to NPCs, and triggers whenever a single blow does equal to or greater than half their max HP. The target must make a DC 15 CON saving throw, failure results in System Shock. DM rolls a 1d10 (DMG 273):

  • 1 Target immediately drops to 0 hit points, dead
  • 2-3 Target drops to 0 hit points but is stable
  • 4-5 Target is stunned and cannot take any actions/reactions until the end of its next turn
  • 6-7 Target can’t take reactions and has disadvantage on all attacks until the end of its next turn
  • 8-10 Target can’t take reactions until the end of its next turn



Upon reaching a new level, players roll their hit dice to gain new maximum hit points. If it’s less than the average + 1, they can take the average + 1 (d10 is 6, D8 is 5, etc). Then also add their CON modifier.


If there’s a tie between two (or more) PCs and/or NPCs the tiebreaker goes to the higher DEX modifier, then higher DEX stat. If still tied, all tied parties roll a d20.


Skill check depends on the creature type (DM will tell you).

  • Aberration  – Arcana/Nature  
  • Beast  – Nature  
  • Celestial  – Religion  
  • Construct  – Arcana
  • Dragon  – History/Nature  
  • Elemental  – Arcana
  • Fey  – History/Nature  
  • Fiend  – Religion  
  • Giant  – History/Nature  
  • Humanoid  – History/Nature  
  • Monstrosity  – Nature
  • Ooze  – Nature  
  • Plant  – Nature  
  • Undead  – Religion/Arcana

<10 = You know nothing, Jon Snow.

10+ = A bit of background info, general strength vs party.

15+ = Unique attacks and traits

20+ = Any resistances and weaknesses


Upon reaching level 2, all druids will get to start with 3 beast shapes that a relevant to their backgrounds (forest, underdark, hills, etc).

There are two methods for gaining additional beast shapes:

Observation: Spend at least 1 hour observing a beast from a vantage point of no more than 150 feet away. Then make a Intelligence (Nature) check, with the DC equal to 10 + the Beast’s CR.

Interaction: Directly and peacefully interact with a non-hostile beast for at least 10 minutes, remaining within at least 15 feet. Then make a Wisdom (Animal Handling) check with a DC equal to 10 + the beast’s CR.


A Dangerous Area is generally any campsite outside of an inn or protected area.

GUARD – Up to 4 PCs (or NPCs) can be designated as guards during any Long Rest in a Dangerous Area. The DM will first roll to see when a possible encounter could take place and if so, which guard shift. A Guard uses his or her Passive Perception to spot any incoming threats.


If a PC goes 24 hours without a Long Rest, they must succeed on a DC 10 CON saving throw, or gain a level of exhaustion.

It becomes harder to stave of exhaustion if you stay awake for multiple days. The DC increases by 5 for every 24-hour period without a Long Rest.

Finishing a Long Rest reduces Exhaustion level by one.


Stealth during combat will always be contested by every opponents’ Passive Perception. Advantage or disadvantage can be granted under certain circumstances, and the stealther must always break line of sight in a reasonable way. “Reasonable” is ultimately determined by the DM.



Picking a lock requires Thieve’s Tools and proficiency in the kit. The skill check modifier is DEX + PB. You will not know the Difficulty Challenge for any given lock, but the DM can tell you if it looks ‘Easy’, ‘Medium,’ or ‘Hard.’

Picking a lock takes approximately 10 minutes. Locks cannot be picked in combat (unless you have the Fast Hands ability from the Thief subclass).

  • Rolling a natural 20, or succeeding the check by 5 or more lets you almost instantly picking the lock, taking only 1 minute instead of 10.
  • Failing the check by 5 or more damages your tool kit, conferring Disadvantage on future uses until the kit is repaired. A damaged kit can be repaired by any skilled artisan in cities and most towns for 10gp, or via the Mending Spell.
  • Failing the check by 10 or more jams the lock, preventing any further attempts (including with a key).

Note that many doors and chests could be bashed open, but this generates a lot of noise, and in the case of containers, could damage or destroy whatever’s inside.


Stealing from an NPC is normally a Sleight of Hand check contested by their Passive Perception, though it may be impossible to steal obvious things (the shirt off someone’s back).

  • Success = steal the item without detection
  • Failure by 5 or less = fail to steal the item, but the attempt was undetected.
  • Failure by 6+ = fail to steal the item, and your attempt was detected.


As per PHB 203, a spellcasting focus can take the place of material components EXCEPT for those that have a monetary value, such as a 50gp Diamond for Chromatic Orb or a 500gp Diamond for Raise Dead. Such materials will need to be purchased, logged, and deducted in the spellcaster’s inventory.

Note that some components are NOT consumed upon casting. Read the spell descriptions!


Fog Cloud renders the affected area as Heavily Obscured. Anyone inside the Fog Cloud has Total Cover and cannot be targeted by those outside the Fog Cloud (AOE spells and effects can still hit them), nor targeted by anyone inside the Fog Cloud who are more than 5 feet away from them.

Targets within the Fog Cloud can be targeted if within 5 feet of an opponent, but attack rolls and skill checks that rely on sight have Disadvantage. Flanking Advantage does not apply in the Fog Cloud.

Note that Darkvision does not see through magical darkness such as Fog Cloud, but Blindsense or Tremorsense would since they don’t rely on sight.

Moving through the Fog Cloud counts as Difficult Terrain.


Minor Illusion can only create sounds or static images of objects, no bigger than a 5ft cube (PHB 260).

Any physical interaction with the illusion reveals it as such, like an arrow going through it.

Plunking down an illusion in front of non-mindless creatures will grant them advantage on their Investigation check. The illusion still works for other creatures until it’s physically interacted with.

IDENTIFYING A SPELL (Counterspell Rule)

When an NPC casts a spell that a PC can see, the DM shall first explain that a spell is being cast, and describe any material and/or unique somatic components or visualizations.

The PC that wishes to use Counterspell must make an Arcana check as a Free Action.

The PC has Advantage on the check if the spell is on the same class list as the PC (If a spell is part of a monster’s Innate Spellcasting trait, no advantage is conferred).

The DC is 15+ the spell’s level.

Once a spell is cast through Roll20, Counterspell cannot be used. DM must provide time for the PC to make appropriate checks.

As per Xanather’s pg 85, identifying a spell is an Arcana check regardless if the PC uses WIS or CHA for spellcasting – “Being able to cast spells doesn’t by itself make you adept at deducing exactly what others are doing why they cast their spells.”



Climb Onto Larger Creatures – Make a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check vs the target’s Dexterity (Acrobatics). Climbing onto a larger creature this way grants advantage to the grappler/climber. The larger creature can attempt a Strength (Athletics) check vs the climber’s skill check to shake them off.

Disarm – Make a normal attack roll, but vs foe’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) rather than AC. Does no damage if successful but causes the foe to drop their weapon/item.

Tumble – As an action or bonus action, make a Dexterity (Acrobatics) check vs target’s Dexterity (Acrobatics). If successful, you can move through the target’s space and adjacent spaces without incurring an opportunity attack.

Flanking – Flanking is not an action, it occurs whenever two allies are adjacent to an opponent and on opposite sides. Both gain advantage on attack rolls as long as the situation remains in effect. This does not apply to NPCs (though some have similar built-in abilities).

Grapple (this is directly from the PHB/SRD)

When you want to grab a creature or wrestle with it, you can use the Attack action to make a Special melee Attack, a grapple. If you’re able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this Attack replaces one of them.

The target of your grapple must be no more than one size larger than you and must be within your reach. Using at least one free hand, you try to seize the target by making a grapple check instead of an Attack roll: a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target’s Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use). If you succeed, you subject the target to the Grappled condition (see Conditions ). The condition specifies the things that end it, and you can release the target whenever you like (no action required).

Escaping a Grapple: A Grappled creature can use its action to escape. To do so, it must succeed on a Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check contested by your Strength (Athletics) check.

Moving a Grappled Creature: When you move, you can drag or carry the Grappled creature with you, but your speed is halved, unless the creature is two or more sizes smaller than you.


You may move through (but not land on) the same space an ally occupies at the cost of double the movement for that space (shoving them aside without injuring them). Assuming a small/medium ally, it would take 10ft of movement to cross that ally’s 5ft square.


(DMG 183)

If a PC has time and is not under duress when performing a task, normal Suffocating rules apply – You can hold your breath for a number of minutes equal to 1+CON modifier.

However if you’re under duress, such as the middle of combat, or have something happen to you (such as a saving throw) then you are considered out of breath and choking. At that point you can survive a number of ROUNDS equal to your CON modifier (minimum 1 round).

At the start of the turn after your rounds are up, you drop to 0 hit points and can’t be stabilized or regain hit points until you can breathe again.


A town’s local priest or temple can provide healing and information spells, for a price, up to 3 times per day. Those with Acolyte background can get the first spell for free (50gp or less), once per day.

  • Cure Wounds 10gp
  • Identify 10gp
  • Lesser Restoration 40gp
  • Prayer of Healing 40gp
  • Remove Curse 50gp
  • Speak with Dead 90gp
  • Divination 210gp
  • Greater Restoration 450gp
  • Raise Dead 1000gp

DMs Guild Review – Secrets of the Blind Palace

A well-crafted haunted mansion adventure for 3rd level.

A review copy of “Secrets of the Blind Palace” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work via Patreon.

Designed by:  Tal Aviezer

Secrets of the Blind Palace” is a haunted mansion dungeon adventure designed for 3rd level. It’s by the same designer as “Attack on Coppercoil,” and features an even more intricately detailed dungeon with suitably spooky encounters, a cleverly interwoven investigation, and a meaningful series of choices at the end.

Continue reading “DMs Guild Review – Secrets of the Blind Palace”

Tomb of Annihilation Session 30 Recap

We take on the beast of Orolunga, and finally level up to five.

Streamed, recorded and uploaded every week. Subscribe for our weekly adventures. Join us live on Fridays at 7pm Pacific/10pm Eastern!

Support my channel via Patreon!

Previously on Tomb of Annihilation

Mannix, level 4 Human Inquisitive Rogue
Khaless, level 4 Half-Drow Assassin Rogue
Gillian, level 4 Triton Bard of Whispers
George, level 4 Tortle Battle Master Fighter/Rogue
Therin, level 4 Hill Dwarf Druid of the Moon

The party wanted to tackle one more thing before leaving the ancient yuan-ti temple of Orolunga. A wyvern had taken up residence along the south side of the upper level, terrorizing anyone who got close. It had also amassed a sizable treasure pile, which no self-respecting adventurer could leave behind.

NOTE: My version of Orolunga is partially based on the Viper’s Pit dungeon designed by JVC Parry on the DMs Guild. I replaced the hydra with a wyvern.

Continue reading “Tomb of Annihilation Session 30 Recap”

Let’s Play – XCOM 2: War of the Chosen Episode 26: Hunter Showdown

We effortlessly take out the final Chosen, then carefully investigate the alien forge.

DLC: War of the Chosen, Tactical Legacy Pack, Resistance Warrior Pack
Mods: Commander’s Choice
Difficulty: Veteran

Episode 26: Hunter Showdown

M38: Operation Burning Star – Assault Chosen Stronghold

  • Maj. Mauta ‘Shadowrun’ Kulia (Sharpshooter)
  • Magus Dommel ‘Talus’ Stonereach (Psi Operative)
  • Col. Gillian ‘Triton’ Flounderson (Specialist)
  • Col. Xandala ‘Summerwise’ Cimber (Reaper)
  • Col. Georgiano ‘George’ Tortle (Ranger)
  • Maj. Kazin ‘Mind-Zei’ Eldric (Templar)

M39: Operation Demon Priest – Investigate the ADVENT Forge

  • Cap. Kethra ‘Trickster’ Keyleth (Ranger)
  • Maj. Miri ‘The Monk’ Greycastle (Ranger)
  • Maj. Undril ‘The Order’ Silvertusk (Specialist)
  • Maj. Saran ‘Decker’ Amus (Specialist)
  • Cap. Felgolos ‘Flying’ Misfortune (Sharpshooter)
  • Lt. Bryseis ‘Daemon’ Esterborn (Grenadier)

Weekly video game adventures. Streamed live Mondays and Fridays.

Support the channel via Patreon.

Official Discord Server!

For fans of my YouTube channel, including our weekly D&D live play show, we now have an official Discord server. Multiple chat channels are set up where we can talk tabletop RPGS, board games, video games, and discuss the current D&D campaign.

You’ll also be able to easily look up helpful information surrounding our D&D campaign, such as reschedules, resources for maps, and our house rules.

Patrons also get a special Patron role, as well as access to private Patron-only text and voice channels.