When playing episode two, our merry group was joined by a new player, Tobias, to fill out the party.
Monday, June 29, 2015
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
Last time, we left our player characters (the PC:s) in the middle of the first episode. They had arrived in a beleagured Greenest, vowed to help the townsfolk, found an old tunnel under the keep and saved some villagers from being burned alive inside the temple of Chauntea. The night had more in store for them, though, as this action-packed episode continued.
The Dragon Attack
While the rain kept falling, the PC:s stealthily arrived at the keep and returned the saved villagers to the courtyard. Governor Nighthill was suitably pleased, but regretted that he couldn't offer any rewards until the night was over and the damages could be calculated. The PC:s managed to trick an unwilling Escobert into providing his own healing potions, however.
Suddenly, explosion-like loud noises erupted from the parapet. The party headed up the ladder to find several guards under attack by the large blue dragon himself! Groups of guards fell to a single lightning blast as the azure reptile swooped by. They soon realised that they couldn't do much about the situation, although Kerr had to be talked into not jumping onto the dragon mid-flight.
Back in the safety of Nighthills headquarters, the PC:s learned that the local mill was under attack by invaders in dark cloaks. Through a spying glass, they also spotted the invader leaders on the town square; a large half-dragon and an armored woman seemed to be in charge of the looting operations. Governor Nighthill was also very interested in securing a prisoner to be interrogated once the PC:s made it back.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
The Dungeon Master's Guide suggests two systems when it comes to gaining levels and developing characters. There are experience points and there are milestones.
The old XP model is a classic and I think it comes naturally to most players. Defeat a monster, save the prince or disable a trap and gain an amount of XP that corresponds to the difficulty of the task. Gain enough and you will eventually get over the next level threshold. However, I think that 5th edition’s worst rule is the encounter building and XP budget system. In it, the character’s levels define a set number of XP to gain each day. It scales according to monster challenge rating and number of individuals in an encounter. Trying to figure out a well-balanced fight is a chore which involves cross-referencing two or more tables.
Furthermore, the XP system in a table RPG poses several questions. For example, what exactly happens when you gain a level and how can you reach such insights that you are suddenly twice as powerful and equipped with a new set of abilities in the middle of a fight? What about that last, killing hit taught you all of that? Where/when do players gain levels, how does experience work on a psychological level and why are players rewarded when going on killing sprees?
Friday, June 5, 2015
So it’s time to recap our first session of our first campaign in 5th edition DnD. After discussing table rules, creating characters and explaining the basic rules as well as the inspiration system, we were finally off to Faerûn for some action. At this time I had been waiting for this moment for the better part of the last six months, so I was rightfully excited.
As you will notice, I decided on combining the missions available to the characters and let a central quest giver hand them out. I figured it would be a familiar scenario structure so that we could instead focus on the characters and explore the new system.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Yes, it appears that I am not only a lazy DM, I am also somewhat ignorant. David told me that, first of all, his character is called Adoaver and nothing else. I also forgot his very good table rule! Without further ado, here's:
5. My turn; my decisions
When playing board games like Descent, where there are several players in one team vs. one ”overlord” (a setup similar to a tabletop RPG) there is a tendency toward one or a few players playing out all the player turns. These turns can take forever, as the dominant player(s) discuss and lobby their thoughts around in order to make as few mistakes as possible. This leads to a: that the quiet, often inexperienced, players never progress and b: that it can feel like playing against an AI. Making mistakes is perfectly fine and makes for far more memorable sessions than the effective, win-against-all-odds attitude.
Players like to talk about their own stats, feats and actions, and how powerful they are. They like to talk about other players characters even more, in terms of comparison. There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't want that discussion in the middle of a session. Instruct or advice your fellow adventurers outside the game, preferably in one of the several pauses that comes up sooner or later.
As experienced roleplayers, we should already be aware of all of this, but tendencies toward the ”power” or ”min/max” playstyle may creep in when the party is in a tight spot. That's why we decided to let every player make his or her own decisions, without other interference than in-game character talk. This makes for far faster combat rounds and, I think, happier and better players.