Friday, July 10, 2015

My First 5E Campaign Session 6

This session was pretty much just combats.

I’m pretty much using this campaign to figure out things about 5E. Once I get a good baseline understanding of how the game works, I can then allow for other options and what not from non-core sources.

So far I’m finding that the classes are decently balanced, but no so much as to be boringly similar, like how 4E got with its bloat of classes.

I’ve yet to see if I’m giving out too much in the way of magic items.
75% of them at this level are temporary ones, such as potions and scrolls, and healing potions are about half of the items overall. (And trust me, they get used.)
The remaining 25% are simple +1 weapons, a +1 shield, and a Wand of Magic Missiles (and yes, I don’t count that as temporary given how it works).

This session was basically a transition night to go from the “Newton zone” to the “Franklin zone”. I’m using a spreadsheet to deal with choosing monsters and giving the right amount of treasure. These transition sessions are what I’ll be doing to balance the treasure the party has earned versus what it’s been given.

I could be more complicated, but it’s not worth it.

Justin was not at this session. Between work, college classes, and camping weekends he shows up about half the time. This will allow for me to see if people lagging behind in levels are as much of a drain as they were in 3E.

In 3E, if you were 2 levels behind, you were often a liability. Hopefully with 5E’s less steep power vs. level incline, it won’t be an issue.

Aaron played Rhoanel, half-elf bard
Dale played Rumi, wood elf monk
Everett played Markus, halfling rogue
Craig played Knox, half-elf sorcerer

Justin’s Cedraic, half-elf ranger, was off scouting while the party risked their lives.

We started in Newton where the party had just seen the meteor fly overhead.

It was obviously the talk of town and everyone had their own interpretation of what that meant. It was a messenger of doom, a sign of good times, and so on.

They stopped at Tonus’s house for a chat, but he was mostly playing the senile old man bit where he’d say one thing, then forget the whole conversation a minute later.

When asked about the meteor he said “It’s about time that thing showed up.” When they pressed further he said “What? Huh? What meteor? There was a meteor?”

So the party left town and walked along the road to Castle Franklin, reportedly a five day journey.

This party found a way to make that 7.

Their first night they were attacked by shadows, and that scared them quite a bit. Luckily the strength drain goes away after an hour.

They had to rest extra long to make up for the lost rest.

A day later they saw a sign for chicken crossing, except the chicken’s shown to have a lizard tail in the picture. They decided to travel faster on the road, but they didn’t know that this road was a railroad and they were promptly attacked by a flock of 10 angry cockatrices.

In a fit of horrible rolling by both Dale and Aaron, Everett and Craig, the two newest members of our group, had to fight 6 (maybe it was 8) of the remaining cockatrices alone.

And they did it.

Knox spent his time avoiding getting hit, while Markus did the damage to finish them off one at a time.

And the DM anticipated this fight may have had a bad ending, so he had a force of knights and their retainers show up 5 minutes after the last cockatrice was killed.

The knights informed them that their now-solid companions would be back to normal in a day.

The knights then road off towards Castle Franklin on their own quest to join some warlord.

Once the fully flesh and bone group got moving again they came to a pile of villager and orc bodies blocking the road. When Rhoanel went up to investigate, an ogre burst out of the pile while hidden orcs appeared on the sides of the road.

The party killed the ogre in 1 round. The orcs fled.

And finally they started seeing some farmlands instead of open grasslands.

And they found a quick dispute between a farmer’s daughter and her parents. She was running away to be with her boyfriend because she loved him and stormed off.

They pleaded with the party to help their daughter. She wasn’t acting normal as the man she was supposedly in love with was a known thug “Slick”, who had been causing problems with his gang of bandits recently.

The party was given directions to where the girl went and found the cave hideout.

Long story short, the bandits did a lot to stop the party and harass them when they could, but it wasn’t enough.

And they found the love potion that Slick had given the girl. Once he was dead, the potion’s effect ended.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

My First 5E Campaign Session 5

This session was a full one.

Welcome Craig to our group. (Note: Craig is not the guy we invited then uninvited.)

After a chunk of time of just a few players, it’s good to have a good sized group.

5E, I think, is slowly gaining traction. Pathfinder is still strong, but a lot of people are giving 5E a try.

The biggest complaints seem to be a lack of options and low level lethality.

A lot of people see the number of books in Pathfinder as a problem. It’s hard to get new players into a game like that if they have to buy and read a ton of books to make a PC as good as everyone else at the table.

So I’m thinking that since 5E is new, and PF is losing its more casual players to the more rules-light 5E, Pathfinder is going to have to change somehow.

It should be interesting to watch 2 different versions of D&D fight it out.

Though I still think that 5E could use more monsters and an SRD/OGL.

So for the first time in a long while, our table was full with five players and a DM.

Aaron played Rhoanel, half-elf bard
Dale played Rumi, wood elf monk
Everett played Markus, halfling rogue
Justin played Cedraic, half-elf ranger
Craig played Knox, half-elf sorcerer

Everyone is level 3, and a few are painfully close to level 4.

This night was a mostly combat night, though the group did their best to role-play. Unfortunately the DM set up the situation that what they tried to role-play was doomed to fail.

We last stopped with the Rhoanel, Rumi, and Marcus in Newton and Rhoanel wandering the wilderness (with an -away/afk- tag over his head).

The quests the party had remaining to take care of were making sure that boat travel was made safe again, and making sure that a side road leading to Pirate’s Bay was made safe again.

Two very similar quests with quite a lot in common.

The party started with the path and met Cedraic and a few moments later Knox arrived.

Justin: “You have your name floating above your head. You must be a PC.”
(There was some small actual role-playing, but what Justin said was probably more correct.)

So the 5 PCs travelled north along the slightly overgrown road, which became more and more overgrown the farther they traveled.

They saw a bear along the way. It saw them. They made a bunch of noise and looked big and it ran off.

Then they travelled north some more, until the road all but disappeared into wilderness.

They kept going and began to see things out of the corner of their eye that disappeared when they looked.

At one point they took a step and a ball of light appeared behind a tree. Then they took another step and it was gone.

The sounds of nature also seemed to be a bit less cordial and a bit more feral.

Then they came to a sign saying “Keep Out!” with an old shack several dozen feet away.

They slowly moved forward, ignoring all potential illusions until an old woman came out of the shack to yell at them to “Go away!”

All attempts to parlay with her were met with “Go away!” or something similar. When it came to a stalemate of actions, she attacked, as did her pets in waiting.

Some of the party was surrounded by several blights of all types with the old woman, a green hag, turning invisible until she had a chance to attack a weak target. The rest of the party was scattered about.

A few PCs went towards where the hag was while the rest dealt with the blights.

Knox thought he’d be ok being close to a pair of vine blights, but he was quickly dropped to negatives (even with several of us saying “Are you sure?”).

But the party won after they got their bearings.

Then they set the house on fire…before searching it for treasure. Oh well.

With that quest completed they returned to town and got their reward. Then they rested and headed towards the pier to figure out how to take care of the creatures destroying or damaging shipping boats.

They still had the boat from the last session, so they scouted around walking on the beach, searching the area, and finally they returned to town and bought fishing gear.

Eventually, toward the latter part of the day, a mermaid appeared to them and they began talking.

The mermaid admitted that it was her damaging the boats because she didn’t like them. As she talked further talking with the party, they got her to agree to stop doing it, but she would need them to come to her cave to sign the proper papers.

The party thought it was odd, but agreed to follow her to her cave.

As she swam ahead, Rhoanel decided to try to cast Read Thoughts, and it worked.

She was thinking “I’M HUNGRY!”

So that ruined that role-playing too.

One of them tried to get in the water to deal with her directly, so she showed that one her true face (that of a sea hag) and then swam off to her lair and prepared for their coming attack.

The party eventually found her mostly submerged cave and spent a lot of time scouting it out invisibly before attacking.

Their scouting revealed her and 8 giant crabs, but it did not reveal the hidden squid in the water.

The party spend a fair amount of time preparing, and they tried to go in unison to the cave but their swim checks prevented that.

So they entered the combat nearly one at a time, which made it rough on the first people to enter the combat, but thanks to their good saving throws and my horrible rolling, this fight was a wash.

So they got their treasure and returned to town to get their reward and a few bonus hit points.

The next morning they woke up, heard an odd explosion and looked overhead to see a meteor streaking across the sky.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

My First 5E Campaign Session 4

-shudder-

Proof that player interviews are not 100% full-proof.

We invited a guy to join us, and then uninvited him.

Let me just say that his role-playing style didn’t mesh with ours.

-shudder-

I could explain more, but I don’t want to. I lost sleep over this one.

Anyway…

Justin was out this night, and it was a mostly combat night.

Aaron playing Rhoanel, half-elf bard (level 3)
Dale playing Rumi, wood elf monk (level 3)
Everett playing Markus, halfling rogue (level 3)

We last stopped with the party travelling to the cave opening on the small flat land section of The Shield Wall. (Since Cedraic wasn’t there, we role-played him just guarding or scouting around.)

When they got near the cave opening, they noticed a small rowboat (4-6 people), pulled up onto shore.

When they listened at the cave entrance, they heard humanlike voices.

So they went inside and attempted to chat with them. Well the response didn’t thrill the party.

There were 5 humans in robes investigating the back of a carved out room in the Shield Wall. The place they were investigating was what appeared to be a hole that had been closed not that long ago (no dwarf or similar skills around to help more with that). The humans had chisels and hammers.

The 5 humans said something to the extent of “Leave now and we’ll let you live.”

Note: they were lying.

When the party was halfway up the 150’ climb, half the humans attacked, aiming for the rope.

The party had to spend a lot of time trying to climb back down, and not fall.

Rhoanel used an illusion to cover the lower area in a fog, but that only impaired the attacks. The group of humans had a caster (actually 3 casters, but only 1 could attack at that time), and he spent his time harassing the party, including using a Command spell to make Rhoanel flee up the rope.

The fight took a fair chunk of time, and the party eventually won, but only after they made it to the ground.

Inside they decided to check the wall the robed humans were interested in. So they used the chisels to open it up.

On the other side was a more natural cave, with plenty of salt water smell in the air.

They grabbed a torch the robed humans used and descended into the cave.

First they found the remains of a person long dead, and now the home to lots of vermin (spiders and centipedes).

Further down they triggered a shrieker mushroom, which caused all the bats and other vermin in the room to spaz out, and thus get attacked (bat swarm, a couple of giant bats, and a giant centipede).

The 3 PCs made fast work of them. (Monks can be kick ass.)

The cavern split into a Y. The side the party investigated first was mostly full of small vermin that they did their best to not disturb.

The other side had another dead body, but this time when they searched it, they triggered a trap (without realizing it was a trap…woohoo secret DM rolling).

Four poisonous snakes surrounded the party and bursting forth from the body a swarm of smaller snakes attacked.

The party realized they need a tank sometimes, but what they realized more was that their rogue should not tank at all, as Markus left the fight with lots of bite marks. (And he is very lucky halflings get some poison resistance.)

Well they had been beaten up pretty bad, so they decided to rest for a moment and then move on.

When they came to a large cavern, filled with a lot of webs, they decided to head back to the cave entrance and took an 8 hour rest. The DM gave them a chance to see the candleholder they were after, but horrible perception checks stopped that. They saw it later anyway, just in the middle of the fight.

Well they thought they were going to be up against a spider. No, they were up against an ettercap. He was smart enough to prepare just like they were. So he was able to add a few more creatures to his side of the combat, and some more webbing to his lair.

Now they were up against the ettercap, who was hanging out on the ceiling webs, 4 giant wolf spiders (who attack the party once they’re halfway in), and the ettercap filled a couple of clay pots with some angry snakes (so he could drop them on the party).

The party crept through the lair, making their way through a maze of webs, mostly waiting for the giant spider they expected to drop on them.

Then several spiders jumped out at them and a clay pot dropped near them while the ettercap stayed up top.

The 3 PCs were fully rested and expected a big fight, so they tore up everything that came at them. When the ettercap came near them, he didn’t last 2 rounds.

After a thorough search, they grabbed the candle holder and any other treasures, and then returned to town.

They returned the candle holder to Talbert, but not before trying to read his thoughts with a spell. His thoughts were of relief and happiness. So the party made some gold and were happy.

Next session – a full group and some hacking and slashing.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

My First 5E Campaign Session 3

Everyone was here this night. And we may have another join us soon (scratch that, since I originally wrote this the person who was going to join us has had his offer rescinded).

I was a bit more capable this session, able to think a little more on my feet instead of some “uh…um…er” moments like I had the week before.

I also handed out several magic items by the end of the night. I’m a DM that tends to put the good magic items and other equipment towards the big fight at the end. Of course I had the boss use the items, which can make things scary for the party.

I like that 5E is making sure the first couple of levels go kind of quick. I’ve never really liked the fragile low levels and tend to bypass them or make them go by quickly. The drawbacks of bypassing the lower levels are that you’ve not had a chance to grow into your PC and develop teamwork with the group, and you might be a bit overwhelmed if you bypass too much and have to deal with too many abilities all at once.

Aaron playing Rhoanel, half-elf bard (level 3)
Dale playing Rumi, wood elf monk (level 3)
Everett playing Markus, halfling rogue (level 3)
Justin playing Cedraic, wood elf archer ranger (level 3)
We started by fast installing Cedraic into the game.
He found his way to Newton and eventually heard about some people that sounded like Rumi and Rhoanel off to investigate The Overwatch. So he found his way there and did snuck into the place and found the party.

Unfortunately they did a bad job of being quiet about it. Between Rhoanel playing his music and the conversations by talking too loudly to each other, the goblin leader in the upper level of the place heard them. And Cedraic heard the sound of the door to the upper level being barred.

And then they all heard the all too familiar sound of a goblin battle horn.
And Cedraic was then not happy to see a large shadow outside of something flying, land on the top of the tower.

The group immediately got to work barring everything up and fortifying the place as best they could.

Within minutes there were at least two worg riding goblins circling the place and several other goblins hiding with bows waiting to shoot at a moment’s notice.

When the PCs took a shot through an arrow slit, the goblins shot back. The PCs killed a worg rider with this quick exchange, so the worg riders stopped circling and hid out of sight.

Then both groups waited.

After a time, the party decided to flee out of the backdoor.

The area behind the tower had a near mountainous section to it, with a giant vulture waiting for them with its keen eyes. It shrieked out a warning to its master and the goblins came running.

For this fight, there was too much for the party. So I staggered the goblins in. And that was still almost too much.

Round 1: 4 goblins in hiding, and 1 giant vulture
Round 2: 4 more goblins
Round 3: 2 worgs and 1 goblin (the other had been killed)
Round 4: 1 goblin boss and 2 goblins

The party pasted the vulture on round 1, so the goblins did the same to Rumi.

The next couple of rounds involved ranged attacks and maneuvering. And once again the party got a bit separated but Rhoanel was able to get Rumi back up.

By round 6 it was pretty much just some goblins and the goblin boss, and 4 very beat up party members.

Rhoanel goes up to the goblin boss and crits. The boss has a special ability where he can switch places with a nearby goblin and that goblin takes the hit. That goblin took 14 damage.

Three more goblins died thanks to that ability. Two of those 3 died by a crit as well.

The DM rolled poorly for the goblin bosses attacks, who was +8 to attack and did 1d6+7 damage thanks to all the bonuses it had. But it’s not like the party didn’t get hurt in the process. I think their total hit points were under 20.

They searched and collected their treasure (and finally got some real magic items).

Earlier, on his way to The Overwatch, Cedraic found the iron shipments; 10 carts full of iron bars and rods, with a lot of horse skeletons (stripped of meat by the goblins and the giant vulture).

Random encounter! I had the encounter chart set up already…and humorously they rolled the “Caravan of iron ore” encounter. This happened while the party was investigating the iron carts near the road, which made the initial bit of the encounter a little tense.

The party guarded the iron shipment and upon return to town they aided the return trip of the caravan to get the “lost” iron.

While the lost iron was being setup for the horses, Cedraic used the time to check out the stairs up the steep hills behind The Overwatch. At the end of the goblin boss fight, he found a wooden tower (or dread gazebo if you will). While investigating it he had made a nat 20 spot check he saw where the ocean and steep hills met, and what looked like a small landing at the bottom. While at town he bought out their rope (300’) and climbed down to investigate it more closely.

He found a small cave opening, but people were waiting on him, so he rejoined the group and noted this for later.

The party collected their rewards for getting rid of the goblins and returning the iron. And of course this added to their minor levels of local fame.

Quest reward: the party now received 5 temporary hp after a long rest for the duration of them being in this region, with a chance of that becoming permanent.

This made them targets for other people needing tasks done.

While Rhoanel was looking to buy a pearl, the jeweler, Merit, asked that the party check out the stories of sea monsters destroying boats to the point that no one would come to the town’s small pier.

While at the inn a few people approached them saying that there was a fork from the main road that some evil witch that kills anyone who enters her territory. Without a local militia, they’ve just stopped using the road.

A man named Talbert, from the church of Arimu, offers the party everything he has if they can find a golden candle holder relic he’s searching for. Legend says it was lost long ago in this area.

Rumors heard at the tavern:
- I saw a wrinkled old woman talking to a dead tree.
- The king fled from the capital to hide in his summer palace.
- The Church of Hallus is on another crusade, looking for some old cup or something.
- Old Merton is always looking for weird things. He once told me he’d pay 10 gold for live snake eggs. He thinks he’s going to train them or something.
- Mayor Sern is only mayor because I didn’t expose his secret about him being a warlock.

And they met a very old man named Tonus that many in the town are fond of. He mostly just sits on his porch and snoozes or watches. He was once a wizard, and was lucid enough to swap some scrolls for the party (something they couldn’t use, to something they could use…but random and of lower level).

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My First 5E Campaign Session 2

Like all things 5E, this campaign is kind of laid back.

This is kind of a tester campaign. I’m using it to gauge how to balance 5E combats and other challenges, to test what the “proper” amount of treasure is (in magic items and gold).

When I first tried running a 3E campaign, it ended with me woefully overestimating the PCs. 2E monsters were a cakewalk compared to 3E. So I had a TPK on week 6.

So I’ve not invested as much role-playing data into the campaign.
It’s just a bunch of adventurers going about trying to do the right things (while killing monsters and taking their treasure).

And it showed this past week.

I was “off”. My excuse is that I’ve been exhausted and really need a vacation. (How interesting…I’m going on vacation soon. And why yes, gambling will be involved.)

This week we finally got a new player, and then Justin cancelled at the last minute.

So welcome aboard Everett.
He has played a few rpgs through the years, but mostly has played 4E, and we are his first 5E group.

Our cast:
Aaron playing Rhoanel, half-elf bard with aspirations to be a paladin (or fake it)
Dale playing Rumi, wood elf monk (female if that means anything to you)
Everett playing Markus, halfling rogue
(Justin would have played Cedraic, wood elf two-weapon ranger)

All PCs are level 2 at the start of the night, and level 3 by the end of it.

We stopped with the party having passed the dryad’s test, and looking for the village of Newton.

Cedraic scouted around and found the beach, making it a bit harder to get lost. Then he scouted out off and disappeared into my-player-isn’t-here-land.

Yes, these upcoming fights are generic and boring, but it’s the norm for level 1-3. I’ll more interesting things as time goes along; at least that’s my plan.

So we start with Rhoanel and Rumi traveling south along the beach for a ways until they hear screams for help.

They come upon 4 goblins threatening a pair of fishermen on a small pier.
Also responding to the cry for help was Everett, who’s been getting paid to patrol the roads.

The combat lasted maybe two rounds.
The three PCs did their introductions and swapped information.
Newton is only a few miles away.
Markus was also one of the soldiers to hold back the goblins, but his group managed to kill all the goblins and get back in time to flee on a boat.
The size of Newton has doubled thanks to refugees.
Newton hosts a large number of forges, in support for probable war.
The war has been quite good for Newton.

As the party is chatting, they hear another scream for help.

A middle-aged woman, Esmerelda, screams that there are goblins and rats in her house.

In true PC-RPG fashion the party kills the goblins and rats, and she thanks them and the party continues traveling about the road.

Random encounter!
That’s right I made sure to bring them back in true 1E fashion.

This was another pair of goblins each riding a worg.
The party played it smart and was lucky. No worg hit them, but the goblins got a few good hits in.

After resting for a few, they got back on the road and soon were in Newton.

It was pretty much what Markus said; a basic small town that has a few too many people.

The party rested a few days to level up and then the story pushed them along.

Between Markus, Esmerelda, and the fishermen, the party had become a good target to look to for help.

Most of the town’s soldiers have gone off to war. The few soldiers remaining guard The Overwatch, a tower protecting a fair section of the road.

Unfortunately for Mayor Hal Sern, The Overwatch has been taken.
And unfortunately for Leon, the head of the ironworkers guild, a shipment of iron bars has been delayed.
A scout sent out came back with an arrow, one of many he says, that were all about the place. The arrow looks like goblin-make, and reeks of goblin as well.
With promise of proper remuneration, the party heads out to The Overwatch.

Random encounter!
It was just a trio of monks heading to Newton.
Once the party confirmed there weren’t goblins under the robes, they moved on.

One thing about this group, they’re mostly set up for stealth. Leather armor or no armor equals no penalties for it, and poor rolling by the goblins, meant the party was able to sneak right up to the door.

And then they pounded it open.

Eight goblins were inside. Half of them didn’t survive the first round. The other half fled into a hole in the ground.
Three of the remaining four were killed in the next couple of rounds.
The fourth was able to open up some grates that held in some fire beetles and rat swarms before he was killed.
(Note: I feel like the rat swarms were done right in 5E.)
The party was mostly separated and they were forced to chug several of the healing potions I’d been giving them before they were eventually able to win.

And we stopped there.

So far I’ve given the party several magic items, but not a single permanent one.
Half of the items they’ve received are healing potions, with the other half being mostly scrolls, and a single Wand of Magic Missiles.

I’m hoping this is a balanced setup, and we’ll see soon.

Friday, May 08, 2015

This Campaign World

This campaign world will have nothing all that special to it, at least when compared to most of my previous campaigns.

Other than several basic ideas and notes, I’m going to make up a lot of it shortly before the game sessions or on the fly.

Whereas my previous campaigns had a lot of notes and plenty of information for the game, then I mixed PC backgrounds into the story.

The PC backgrounds may work to further the story, but are not necessarily integral to the game itself. It is very unlike the Endrin campaign I ran several years ago where I wove the PCs’ stories into the game and with resolutions to them. Or maybe the most recent Valley campaign where I somehow mixed roleplaying and PC histories into a 4E campaign.

(Note: I’ve wanted to return to a campaign like those again, but I need more players and a more sufficient understanding of 5E before I attempt that.)

Here are some basic notes that I have for the game world, some of which are being repeated from a recent blog entry:

The planet is smaller than earth size, but I’m not giving any dimensions because I neither need to nor do I feel like figuring that out.

There are 3 small continents, two of which are goblinoid dominated. The last continent is the largest and northernmost with its southern areas being temperate and northern being the edge of arctic areas.

About 100 miles from the shores of all land heavy fog conceals all but nearby water, nearly even blotting out the sun. Some ships return, and have even crossed around the world, but it’s not safe and only the most foolish or foolhardy have done so.

The planet has one small moon and a faint ring that can best be seen when the sun is moments from setting. This ring often causes shooting stars that people wish on.

Devils, demons, and similar monstrosities exist in children’s fables and other stories, but it is known that they are most definitely real and nothing positive has ever come from dealing with them. Their evil seems to know no bounds and even the smartest warlocks guard themselves carefully. Entire kingdoms have been brought to ruin by a single such foul creature. This is why both warlocks and any person thought to be dealing with, or having a bloodline of the hell-born creatures are not suffered to live.

Demons and other dark creatures are more rarely seen that dragons, and more rare are the angels that supposedly exist, but no one in this era have seen one.

(Hence in this campaign there are no tieflings or aasimar.)

There are stories of rises and falls of many civilizations on the three continents going back many generations. This gives many ruins of ancient times for adventurous types to investigate. The whispers of the goblin armies being the doom that brings the next fall are becoming louder.

Teleportation is similar to what I have done before. Several towns have enchanted fountains that decrease the risk of an error in teleportation. The only requirement is that you have visited the fountain and cast the teleport spell while at the fountain to attune you to it.

The “Great Wheel” cosmology does not exist. There are pretty much the stories of The Great Pit of Hell that wicked people go to, or they go to join their god.

The life spans of all humanoids I will have to rewrite, but while some races tend to live longer or shorter than humans, it’s not as drastic as per the rules as written. Elves and dwarves do live longer, goblinoids and such live shorter, just to a lesser extent – though their racial tendencies towards peace, violence, eating smartly affects this as well.

As with other campaigns, deities may or may not have names. I’m perfectly fine with simply having a “Church of Life”, a “Church of War”, or even a “Church of Ares”. That I’ll leave open to whatever is needed.

There is one church that is setup already, but it really isn’t a church per se. There is no one god or aspect to it. It attracts many different people to it, mostly to help those who are down on their luck. The Church of Arimu is often the last stop for those who have no other options. It has many success stories of bringing people back from ruin, and it has many failure stories of people whose fall they could not break.

The last continent, which I should really pick a name for, is not sitting idly by for the goblin armies to conquer it too. Many kingdoms, warlords, free cities, villages, and more are preparing for war.

This war preparation has created an economic boon for those who supply raw materials needed.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Has That Good Old Feeling Returned?

I think I like 5E more as I see more of it.

When I first started playing Basic D&D, I was hooked immediately and it only grew from there.

It slowed down during the middle era of 2E. They released so much stuff that you couldn’t keep up unless you played a campaign every other day and had a job that would pay for all the books and still somehow had the time to read those books.

Then 3E came and reinvigorated the game.

And then 4E hit and ruined the game for me. And no one can tell me I didn’t give it a fair chance. I ran a campaign from level 1 to 15 (I think, it’s on the blog here somewhere), so I gave it a good try.

5E has not undone all that damage.
I still don’t trust Hasbro/WotC, nor do I care for Mike Mearls’s style, but the path they’ve currently set for the game I’m seeing some positive things.

They are not making a new sourcebook every 1-3 months.
And I am totally ok with that.
1E only released modules every month. Heck, unless I’m getting my 1E & 2E books confused, they released less than a dozen 1E AD&D hardcover books.

With 4E they glutted the market with a new hardback book way too often. In fact, it gave players so many damn options some players would want to switch PCs every few weeks.

Release player options too slowly and players get bored. Release them too fast and some DMs will get frustrated when their storylines get shredded from constantly changing PCs. (Yes that has happened.)

(Side note: 5E definitely needs some monster manuals. We need some variety in foes badly.)

As for the 5E hardback modules, I’m not particularly impressed.

This isn’t nostalgia talking, but I’d rather have a small paperback module with a basic premise and plot given, and let the DM fill in the rest as needed, than a $50 hardback module full of art and options and sweet looking maps.

Give me just what I need and I’ll do the rest. Not a novel that fills in every nook and cranny of information.

(Unless it’s a starter adventure that helps new players and DMs figure the game out.)

“Didn’t you run a giant module called the World’s Largest Dungeon?”
Yes, but it was 15 modules combined into one super-module, each with its own personality and feel. And those regions were filled with little more than basic guidelines to get you going. You fleshed out the rest in the manner you saw fit.
Some of the best times we had in the WLD were when I modified a region to fit my style of DMing.
You really can’t do that with a novel module. They’re set up a certain way, and if you change one thing, it may impact other things.
I’d rather just make up my own stuff.

So 5E modules aside, the potential for 5E is looking very good.

The rules themselves so far have not detracted from the game.
With 4E you had to work your game around the rules all the time. If you changed one rule, it impacted everything. (Want to remove sliding? That kills probably half powers in the game.)
With 3E you had to work your game around the rules at higher levels. If you changed one rule, you had to be careful how much it would impact other rules and options. (Want to nerf a feat? Be careful it’s not going to impact other feats and abilities.)
With earlier editions, the rules were there, but not in your face. If you changed a rule, you had to maybe slightly adjust another rule. (Wave your hand and the rule goes away. It’s only a problem if a player doesn’t like it.)

5E is giving me hope that the rules are back to being malleable, and that is refreshing.

While 3E was fun, and even aspects of 4E were too, it’s time for the rules to step aside again and allow us to run our own games as we see fit.

A couple weeks ago, after my first 5E campaign session, everyone seemed happy and that there was potential there in the game. It was a different kind of energy that hasn’t been at the table in a while.

I want to keep that going. I hope 5E helps.

I’m feeling positive about D&D again, and I want it to stay that way.

I hope the higher levels work, whereas they broke down in previous editions.
I hope they don’t release too much, or too little. (I don’t count modules that I won’t buy.)
I hope they release an SRD equivalent to allow smaller companies to support this game like with 3E. This would really help unite the gamers into one system again.
I hope they release a new monster manual once a year.
I hope they release new player’s options every other year.
I hope they don’t release a 5.5E. That will undermine trust in them.
I hope they keep their release of information for previous game worlds limited to a 20 page free pdf online. A decade later I still loathe Eberron, but there will always be a soft spot for Dragonlance even though I haven’t played it in nearly 30 years.
I hope that when they do release new material, they keep to their modular D&D idea so we can keep or dump what they give. Some people love psionics, but I still dislike it.
I hope they keep the game in a status where a battlemap is not needed, but the rules aid it if there is one. I want to switch between using one and not.
I hope they understand that we older gamers are more into the grim and gritty high-fantasy D&D and the younger are more into the anime style D&D, so the designers can strike a balance between the two. I don’t want to see certain things in the game, yet I don’t wish to have it taken away from others, so long as it doesn’t impact me.
I hope that 5E and Pathfinder can exist alongside one another. Ok, this one is me being selfish. I want PF to keep all the wargamers/munchkins so 5E can grow without their input, yet still have a competitor to keep it on its toes.