Thursday, March 31, 2016

D&D 5e, Review & Session

I recently managed to convince some of my Basic Fantasy RPG players to try 5e for me. I keep hearing from people in the OSR that is really is quite good, and I haven't played it yet, even though I've owned the starter set and the PHB for quite some time now. After reading through the Starter Set, I got some nostalgia from the basic box that I learned on for 3.5 back in high school. I used to run my friends through the basic box every time a new person would come around and say they were interested in playing. I'm not sure why I felt it was easier to teach through it, over and over and over, rather than just introduce them into our 3.5 campaign, but that is what we did at the time. The 5e Starter Set, seems to be much better than that basic box was however.

I was pleasantly surprised by how it seemed to be a very stripped down 3.5, didn't require a grid. I feel like Wizards did a great job with the Starter Set, but the basic rules .pdf would have been a nice handout.

After I read through the starter set, I was pretty hooked and read through the PHB the very next day. Don't get me wrong, some things really worried me at first look. Free cantrip casting that does damage was something that irked me a lot. On some level, it still does, because it doesn't seem to match the literature of the Appendix N (especially as I'm in the process of reading the Dying Earth series now), but I get it now. 

I decided that I wouldn't house rule anything off the bat and that we'd run the Lost Mines of Phandelver with the pre-gens to see how we liked the system. We're a couple of sessions in and my players are really starting to like it. I think at first it was because I built their characters into roll20, and I think they liked how automated everything was. Now that they're reading into it and feel more comfortable with their powers, they're growing to enjoy it even more. My only fear is that they might get trapped in the box of staring at their sheets instead of thinking outside of the box like they currently do in our BFRPG game. I'm hoping this doesn't happen.

I'm surprised by how well balanced 5e seems so far. I get why spell casting classes have these powers. It isn't 'Vancian', but for the balance of 5e it makes sense. I quickly ended up picking up the DMG and was VERY surprised at how this seems to be the best DMG written for the game since the 1e one (though it would be very difficult to one-up Gygax' DMG). This does offer plenty of interesting things that you don't normally get in the DMG though.

We're currently 2 session into LMoP, and I reckon it'll take at least 4 more to finish, unless like our 2nd session, we continue to go for double our normal session length.

In our first session, the players got the basic setup, the goblin ambush, finished the passage to Phandelver, got paid, learned some information about the Rockseeker's, met Sister Garaele, learned a bit about the Red Brands, and were given some tips about how they might go about finding Gundren. Lots of RP, a taste of combat (which was beautifully deadly for WotC D&D). The players had a great time, but I don't think they really dug in until our second session which I'll write more about later.

I've recently ordered the Sword Coast Adventurers Guide and am waiting for it to arrive. I need to pick up a MM as well. I know my players will be interested in a campaign, but I still want to finish LMoP, because I feel like it is going to become the B2: Keep on the Borderlands of this era. I'm curious what of the hardback adventures people enjoy for 5e? I thought about picking up the Tyranny of Dragons set, but people seem 'meh' about it. I'm trying to decide between all of them, or just planning out my own adventure in a more traditional OSR style campaign format. I'm not sure if my players would really want my traditional sandbox style more, or an AP layout, but I think I should at least let them try the AP style setup.

Anyway, if you're interested, you can watch our first session online here:


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Basic Fantasy Wilderlands Campaign, Session 8

This session, I became a killer DM. Sadly the next session didn't stop that. It was a mix of I wasn't expecting things to be quite so brutal, and bad luck/planning on the players.

So this session started with the group deciding to head towards the raiders on the other side of the river. On their way there, they heard the sound of joyful cheering, as they suddenly saw a faerie riding ontop of a giant bee crashed into the party. Immediately this faerie creature just disappears. The players are confronted with a mass of pissed off giant bees. The party acts quickly to take down the giant bees, but not before one of the stingers pierces through Braignirs chest, and he dies due to the poison.

The party, upset, decides to try and coat their weapons with the toxins (apitoxin) from the dead bees, and drags Braignir back to the keep for a funeral. Plimble Mae is completely distraught, as is Braignir's wife Sam, who vows for vengeance against the faerie creature that caused this tragedy to happen. Dongan decided he would ask the travelling priest if he knew anything about faeries, and was quickly able to learn that this must have been a Pixie.

Sam convinces the group to head back to where they found the Pixie as she is out for blood. They cross back over to where the fight happens and starts screaming for information. It isn't long before the Pixie starts throwing items from hidden locations in the trees. The characters jokingly get hit by platinum pieces, acorns, and pinecones as it laughs in glee, but soon Eldor speaks up in frustration and the Pixie gives him a quick stab to the gut before disappearing again. He then threatens to burn down the forest, and they suddenly hear the massive crack as a tree comes falling down in their direction. The whole group tries to dive out of the way, and most are successful, but none are beaten up too bad as the tree falls. Feeling defeated by the situation, the party decides to move onto something different.

The group remembers hearing about an old ruined castle nearby to the keep that has been overriden with Orcs, so they decided to check it out. Once inside, they find a group of orcs training and eating, and it isn't long before a fight breaks out. Sam is quick and casts here sleep spell and knocks out most of the group on the left, but it isn't long until the Orc left awake shoots an arrow straight through her spine. The rest of the group manages to trade some quick shots back with the other Orcs as Plimble slits the throats of those asleep. They manage to take out the group, but once they attend to Sam they're once again distraught. Sam has become completely paralyzed as the shot went through her Spine, and they must drag her back to the keep. Plimble decides that she will be Sams caretaker since she has bonded with her the most since her arrival just a few short weeks earlier. The group heads back to rest up and to deal with their tragic loss of Braignir, and of their new friend Sam, who, is still living, but horribly paralyzed.

So the killer DM part, is that the same player controlled Braignir and Sam. We had a massive backstory going on. I tried to fudge rolls in their favor, but I didn't pull many punches either. It was just one of those unlucky days.

Part 1:
Part 2:

Friday, March 25, 2016

Basic Fantasy Wilderlands Campaign Session 7

Oh my, I've been behind on posting these. Currently this is 1 of 3 sessions to go up, plus I have a 5e session that needs to be uploaded as well.

I'll try to keep this synopsis short because of it. Essentially this week the party decided the cave they went to previously was too powerful, and they were a little unsure of going back, so they thought they'd take on the lizardmen. Well on their way out to the swamps, they encountered a snake in the swamp. Afterwards they ran into a shadow, but avoided the fight and finally crossed the river. Once there they didn't feel comfortable reentering the swamps so continued between the swamps and the forest when they finally came across the woods on their left. They decided this would be a better entry point until they ran across 2 giant spiders. After taking some damage, they decided they had enough of spiders and went to return home where they ran into more snakes. After resting a bit back at the keep, they decided they would try the caves again, where they ran into the kobold cave. They had a chance here, but decided they'd try to scare them off and push in. They ended up getting nearly surrounded and had to run for their lives.

No one died at least, but there was some close calls, with a few people falling into the kobold's trap. Big things happened in the next session though!

Part 1
^Remember, NSFW^
Part 2