Hello my faithful readers! Considering that at the time of writing and posting this I am working on judging the entries in the first ever “DMs Adventure Jam” I decided to do a review of something fairly light and fluffy.
Recently I was sent this PDF on the DMs Guild from the creators, who also run a podcast, called DnD Character Lab.
What we have here is a collection of 27 “Combo Actions” that you can use in game to allow players to team up for special moves. They have rules for how these actions function, as well as quite the selection of varied attacks.
First, the general idea here is that in order for the players to use one of these combo moves, they have to fulfill certain conditions. Let’s look at one of the moves and break down how it works.
Now if you read X-Men you might recognize where the inspiration for this move comes from. First, you have a Combo’s name, then the 2 “Participants” required to activate it. There are always 2 characters required. In this case, it’s a Barbarian and a Rogue. But it could be something like a Cleric, and someone who has the Command spell. Or someone with a strength score of 16 and a second with 16. There is a variety of options available.
Next you have the action time, many of which are the 1 action. Then Range, which as we can see here is 30ft (this is the range of the action NOT the distance the two players must be within, in most cases they need to be adjacent). Then the rules to activate the ability. Both players must do some sort of Ability Check, Save, Attack Roll, ect. If EITHER player fails their check, the Failure action takes place. If both succeed, then the success action.
And of course we also have flavor text. I love these bits by the way.
Now to actually use this actions it’s a bit more complicated. First, the person at the highest initiative has to declare that the action will be taken. It does not complete or trigger till the person at the lowest initiative takes their turn. Both participants must of course succeed at their rolls to trigger it. Finally, the characters may still move or use their bonus action as long as the combo does not require those things.
These actions will add a ton of variety but also complexity to your game if used and they are certainly not for new players. In fact, many of them are borderline “broken” in some fashion. Others are just extremely powerful, which makes a sort of sense given that it takes two players to pull them off. Just be aware, and use these combos at your own peril and be ready for the chaos they can add to your game if you get this.
Formatting wise the PDF is easy to read. The “writer” of the PDF also has asides and such (the aforementioned Wombo) which had me giggling each time I read them. I do admit that some of the “Participant” parts make little sense, like one needing “A monk and a Bludgeoning Weapon”. This means that the first person has to be a Monk, and the second person has to have a Bludgeoning Weapon, but it kinda makes it sound like the Monk needs the Weapon, which is silly. I think it would have been better if it was something like “Participant 1: Monk” and “Participant 2: Character with a Bludgeoning Weapon” to show its 2 unique people clearly.
Overall, I like what is presented here but it is NOT for everyone. If you are trying to run a balanced game, do not under any circumstances use these combos. Several of them can borderline break your game and allow your players to cause extreme levels of damage and havoc. If however you don’t mind a bit of gonzo cheese, and don’t mind your players going full hog and wrecking stuff, this is the perfect addition for you. Every combo is flavorful, fun, and while they are a bit complex to get working, allow for a variety of “Rule of Cool” moments.
You can purchase the PDF on the DMs Guild right here, and it’s cheap enough ($2) that you may want to pick it up just to see how it is.
Oh and the art is pretty damn spot on. Here is the art for the Fastball Special above.
Thanks for reading, and remember, Stay Nerdy Folks!