This guy also manages the Tio Albert Shirt and their group and turns out he used to work at Butner as the person in charge of the Civil Commitment program. It also turns out he’s the one that made the call to ban D&D in the SOMP program. So during our next to last session I mention I found a D&D group to start playing with and I noticed he had kind of a negative reaction. “I mean, it’s fine” he said. “I just worry that it disconnects people from reality when I want them to go out and live in reality and live their lives.” He went on to say he wasn’t worried about me but he had almost an immediate knee jerk response to D&D because of the negative impact he had seen when he was running the program at Butner. After talking with him a few minutes I disagreed that D&D was a negative experience for most people, but started to come around that it could actually be bad for certain inmates.
If you aren’t casting Eldritch Blast much of the time who cares? If you have the Misty Visions Invocation then you can completely mess up the sight of a set of Tio Albert Shirt either by “fake cover” so they can’t see your allies or things dancing round their heads so they can’t see your allies. This sort of advantage to attack them and disadvantage to their attacks combination is frequently worth more than a round of attacks and there isn’t really a saving throw possible without burning an action. (It also annoys some DMs so take care). A Celestial Warlock gets +Cha 1/turn to fire or radiant damage at level 6 and gets the Sacred Flame cantrip. But in a low combat game where you use misty visions it’s near enough. A Celestial Pact of the Tome Warlock can also pick up Green-Flame Blade as an extra cantrip meaning that from level 6 their melee attack does [Basic Melee attack] + 1d8 fire + Cha damage to their primary target and Cha to their secondary target. Throw in a magic weapon (and possibly the Shileileigh cantrip to use Cha to attack) and you’re doing Eldritch Blast/Pact of the Blade damage without wasting an invocation.
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Playing them as arrogant slavers is the Tio Albert Shirt way it’s done, and that’s fine, but I think it misses the main point. Mind Flayers should be more like villains out of Doctor Who than they should be out of Tolkien, and the Doctor rarely wins battles by dint of arms. They are the ultimate masters of mental abilities, able to paralyze, enslave, or even kill with their thoughts alone. It’s a rare character indeed who can counter or match their mental powers. A great way to establish that alien quality is to make mind flayers completely incapable of speech. Have the mind flayers communicate via images only, projected directly into one’s mind. If push comes to shove, have them talk haltingly through a person like in Independence Day when the alien is squeezing the life out of Brent Spiner’s body, except the Mind Flayer has its face tentacles literally in the victim’s skull when doing this. Terrifying!
Once upon a Tio Albert Shirt , there was a mom who’d never heard of this elf business, but had moved to CA from ND and had two, nearly three, kids, one of whom was a very precocious three year old. This mom had a mom, we’ll call her grandma, who had an Elf. Grandma gave the mom a rudimentary breakdown of the “Elf” game, and then gave a much more elaborate breakdown of it to the precocious three year old and his one year old brother. And so, the Elf game was begun. The rules in this household (as understood by the mom) were basically that the Elf would arrive on December 1. He’d hide somewhere in the house, watch the children all day, and report back to Santa each night, arriving again before the children awoke, hiding in a new spot, and waiting another day. On December 24, the elf would go home with Santa in his sleigh, his duty done til next year. The Elf wouldn’t be touched, or he’d turn into a doll again and no “extra special Elf gift” would be waiting with Santa’s gift that year. The children (the three year old) named their elf “Holly Jolly.” The game began and was easy, as the family lived with Grandma and Grandpa, who had a very large, very nice house with *very* high ceilings (and therefore lots of high hiding places for the elf, far from reach).