• Spiders descend
  • The restrained condition
  • Other conditions
  • Restraint in action

Episode 14: Full Moon Nights, Part One

DM Notes

Dear adventurers,

I’m going to try to send out a weekly email to check in with everyone about our campaign during the week. This will usually include a reminder of where we left off, a video or reading where you can learn a little more about D&D in general, and a video where you can watch others play through a similar situation. You don’t have to do any of this, I just put it together to help remind myself of what I’m learning about the game and to share things I think are a mix of helpful and fun.

We left off with a cliffhanger at the end of episode 14 as a pair of giant spiders were descending down the cliff face above Hag, poised to attack the party by surprise. Giant spiders are scary! Rumor has it some of you have already been learning about them, which is good because your characters would know these things. They are scary, but hardly unheard of. Every corner of the known world has such creatures, and stories of their poisonous bite and their web attack are the stuff parents tell to keep children in their beds at night.

As you learn some of the things your characters already know about giant spiders, an important feature to note is the way their web attack imposes the restrained condition. You’ll find a discussion of how that works, as well as other conditions like poisoned, on pages 290-292 of the Player’s Handbook (PHB). For example, you can see the poisoned condition, another effect the giant spider can impose (note that the giant spider’s poison is scarier still — if you drop to 0 HP from the poison, it also applies the paralyzed condition! For a whole hour!) You’ll also learn about the grappled condition. Hag and Enya have firsthand experience with this at the hands of the ankheg you fought, the burrowing beast that surged up out of the ground and attacked the party while they were traversing the northern plain on their return from Thundertree. In fact, you yourselves can all attempt to grapple things using a special “Grapple” form of the “Attack” action on your turn, and you can learn about how that works on page 195 of the PHB. (Right before a section on another special form of the “Attack” action, the “Shove” action, which we also saw in play last week, and which you all can also attempt.)

I personally learn best through a combination of reading about something in the Player’s Handbook, then watching a video about the same topic to hear people talk about what I just learned, seeing it in action in other people’s games, and of course experiencing it when it comes up at our own table. From one of the players in Critical Role, a group of really entertaining professional voice actors who broadcast their Thursday night games live online, here’s a great video discussing those same conditions from pages 290-292: Handbooker Helper: Condition Effects.

Finally, I wanted to share a video of a combat encounter where the party faced the restrained condition. The video I’m linking to here is of a full game session, but this link should take you right to the 2h15m28s mark just as they return from a break. It will jump quickly into a combat that will last a little under an hour. It’s not as important as having a look at the conditions in the PHB or the video reviewing how they work, but it’s entertaining, and it can be fun to see a lot of different characters and their abilities. These guys are all level 11 characters, much more powerful than we are, but it can be cool to see what higher level play looks like. With no further ado: Blessing In Disguise | Critical Role | Campaign 2, Episode 95.

That’s all for this week! A reminder that I’m hoping to assemble some memorabilia from our campaign, and that each of you has something small you’re doing to contribute to that. I’ll start putting those together once I receive them and I’ll try to assemble a simple website where I can preserve those and other materials for us to enjoy in between sessions.

Be heroic,
Be clever,
Have fun,


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