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D&D Next

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Grundbegriff
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Grundbegriff » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:38 am

Starting Phandelver in a couplethree weeks for a passel of new players. It's been a while, but I'm enjoying the DM prep-- especially because I'm resisting the urge to work against the module rather than with it.

Any tips on leading this particular adventure with its prefab characters?

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Redfive » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:01 am

Grundbegriff wrote:Starting Phandelver in a couplethree weeks for a passel of new players. It's been a while, but I'm enjoying the DM prep-- especially because I'm resisting the urge to work against the module rather than with it.

Any tips on leading this particular adventure with its prefab characters?
I can't speak to using the pre-fab characters, and I'm only about halfway through the module with my group but I can say a few things that could be helpful:

- it's a good module so like you said you don't really have to work against it
- the very first encounter 'goblin arrows' I think can be deadly, especially to a group of new players
- when they arrive in Phandalin there are quite a few NPCs. You might consider taking a couple of sessions to meet everyone as I felt that they were tending to run together for my group.

Still trying to get this restarted for my group.

We were using Roll20 to play online but that stalled and after several months we now have access to Fantasy Grounds which has a bit of a learning curve as well.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by hentzau » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:23 am

The prefab characters are actually really good to use for Phandelver. Make sure your players read through the backstories for the characters. They contain a TON of links to the various NPCs and quests that they will encounter in Phandelin. For example, the dwarven cleric is cousin to Gundren Rockseeker, the guy that they are there to protect/find. And the longbow fighter has a tie to the quest with the Green Dragon that took over Thundertree.

This means, of course, that the players don't put a whole lot of work into creating their own backstories. But for newbie players, it can help spur on the reasons for doing things.

Red5 is right, the first encounter can be tough for first time players, but don't be afraid to drop a couple of characters just to put the fear of god in the players. Try and avoid a TPK, of course. Bad form to do that on the very first encounter.

If you're feeling extravagant, you can go out and buy PDF copies of all of the maps from the original artist's page. This will help them to visualize the action a bit better (also, he has copies that remove all of the labels.)

But yeah, the module is excellent. My advice is to read through the whole thing once (not necessarily every encounter, just an overview) and then prep the first couple of adventures in detail. For the first session, the goblins and Cragmaw caves will pretty much chew up about 3 hours of play. Second session they get to the town, and here's where things open up for them. Once in town, they have a lot of different things they can do, so you have to now think on your feet and be ready to jump to any of the offshoot quests, depending on what hair they get up their butt.

Hope it goes well for you! I'm running this at OctoCon in a couple of weeks for some new players myself (third time running it.) I really wish they had more modules of this caliber rather than the gigantic mega modules they have been selling.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Oct 02, 2017 11:19 am

hentzau wrote:
Red5 is right, the first encounter can be tough for first time players, but don't be afraid to drop a couple of characters just to put the fear of god in the players. Try and avoid a TPK, of course. Bad form to do that on the very first encounter.
Yeah, it can be brutal, especially with the rule that if damage beyond zero equals starting health, it is an instant kill. A goblin can one-shot people with a crit. I'd recommend giving them every chance to see the goblins before they get surrounded. Collect all of the players Passive Perception numbers before the game so that you can compare them to the goblins' stealth rolls. Consider splitting the goblins into two groups (each side of the road, perhaps) to reduce the chance that one good stealth roll makes all of them undiscoverable.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Grundbegriff » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:00 pm

Good tips. Thanks, everyone!

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Re: D&D Next

Post by hentzau » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:26 pm

I'm continuing to have a great time running Storm King's Thunder for my kids and their friends. All of the characters have reached 6th level, and just had a very humbling encounter with four stone giants. Came close to a TPK, four out of the five characters had been knocked out at least once prior to them downing two of the four giants (and that sent the other two giants packing.) The most amusing part of the adventure was the characters finding an inn where they had several large mastiffs guarding it, and a bunch of mastiff puppies. They spent a solid half an hour trying to decide if they wanted one of the puppies. They finally decided in favor of buying a puppy, and then spent time wandering around town to buy a leash and harness and the like. It was pretty funny.

I do have a minor concern about one of the characters though. She's playing a Dwarven Monk, and built the character without my advice, and as such she is not a great monk. She has great strength and con, but her Dex isn't great, which hinders her on almost everything. So I heard her discussing with the other players on Sunday that she is thinking about multi-classing into Barbarian.

Up front, I'm not a huge fan of multi classing, but I don't thing she's happy with how her character is performing. And frankly she runs her monk more like a barbarian than a monk (she has anger issues.) A level in barbarian would help her out a bit, it would allow her to rage which would give her resistance to most weapon-type damage. She can't use the barbarian unarmored defense, according to multi class rules, so her armor class wouldn't go up any. And I'm not sure I would allow her to use her monk abilities while raging, it just doesn't make sense to me.

So I'm going to have to have a talk with her, to see what she really wants to do with her character.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Blackhawk » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:26 pm

SKT is the Dark Souls of 5e. It is intentionally unbalanced and designed to teach the characters humility.

As to the dwarf monk - my advice is to never make a player stick with a character they aren't happy with. It can sometimes make story elements awkward, but it is always better to have a player having fun. An unhappy player makes for an unhappy game.

One suggestion - there is no rule preventing non-spell ki abilities while raging. If you have a thematic reason for not seeing them working together I could understand it, but doing so would cripple the class combination, and some players would see prohibiting something allowed by the rules as unreasonable. If you can't justify it through lore ("Your mantis is no match for my badger style!"), then you'd be better off finding a different solution than the multiclass. Not doing so would weaken the character by giving them a useless core combat ability.

In that case, I'd suggest a complete character redesign or replacement. If your group is willing to hand-wave a retcon, have the pick monk and change race, or pick dwarf and change class retroactively. If your group can't stomach such changes, talk with the player and have them replace the character entirely with something that makes everyone happy (the monk's brother could be a dwarven battlerager out for vengeance after the monk's death, for instance.)
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Zarathud » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:34 pm

I'd retcon the class change that loss of monk status led to barbarian class abilities. Like a paladin reverted to cavalier/fighter status in old school D&D. Go with what works unless you're Adventurers League.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by hentzau » Wed Nov 01, 2017 11:38 am

Yeah, I've been thinking about this for a bit more (funny, as the DM I probably struggle more with these types of decisions than the player does) and I'll absolutely allow it now. I could even set up a scene with her old master talking about her struggles with her rage hindering her growth along the Path of the Open Palm and that maybe she should embrace her anger and learn to channel it, if she couldn't focus herself to the Path. I'll have a discussion with her about it. They're due to level up after the next big set piece, the Eye of the All-Father. I may try and have that scene before that.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Zarathud » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:29 am

I am just so happy to have a certain bottle filled with a Blue Dragon polymorphed into a cow, rather than the big nasty scary. It's nice to be a War Cleric able to cast Detect Magic just because something doesn't feel right when the DM is describing an item. ;)

One day the rest of the party will get over that I'm not designed as a permanent healbot.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by GreenGoo » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:51 pm

Hey, I'm going to drop this in here. If it's too much off topic let me know and I'll move it else where.

Just some comments first.

My eldest has started playing D&D after school with friends. One of them is even a girl?! Cool.

My 2nd, autistic son watches as much D&D content on youtube as he can get. I often listen to it too as I'm in the same room. He's jealous of his older brother because he wants to play too, but doesn't have the circle of friends.

Oh, and when they were younger, I used to "play D&D" with them by being the main story teller while they had characters which they roleplayed/told me what their actions where. No dice or rules were involved. They said stuff and I told them what happened based on their actions. I did this at bedtime instead of reading a story sometimes.

I'm probably going to buy the eldest the beginner's edition for Christmas. I think that's the one with all the tools you need to run a game with the core ruleset. When I do, I'll probably run a simplistic game at home for anyone who wants to play: kid #1, #2 and #3. This will allow kid #2 to get some D&D play time in.

Ok, that's just some random stuff.

What I'm looking for is web content about 1st and 2nd edition. 95% of my time was with 1st edition, but I played some second edition in university. There are some seriously awesome resources online, like the video game writer with his beard and million videos who's name escapes me right now. Great, great videos. And Critical Role. Just to name two. You guys probably know all of them plus more.

Here's where my request gets specific. I'd love some AAR's of 1st and 2nd edition modules, or well spoken, well organized reviews/discussions of those same modules. Essentially, I want to hear what some of these amazing DM's have to say about the modules I grew up with and have serious nostalgic love for. AAR's of a group they ran through would be awesome, but even just talking about what they like/don't like about the modules, what works, what doesn't, etc.

Have you guys heard of anything like that? I'd prefer anything that approaches professional levels of dialogue. I'm not interested in hearing a 50 year old guy with a lisp (the bearded guy has a small speech impediment. I'm sort of being facetious here), no social skills, and limited or non-existent insight. If that sounds unusually harsh, I apologize.

The web content I've found has spoiled me. It's freakin' awesome, and I'm hoping there is something similarly awesome but specific to module discussion from 1st/2nd edition (because this is where my heart lies).

Any ideas?

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Blackhawk » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:42 pm

I don't know any classic D&D focused resources off the top of my head. I cut my teeth with 1st and 2nd edition as well, but I haven't touched either in probably 20 years.

I'd suggest asking over at ENWorld or Giant in the Playground forums.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by hentzau » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:31 pm

If you're looking for 1st and 2nd edition stuff, RPG Now has a ton of it.

And the beardy guy you're mentioning is Matt Colville, I would reckon.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by GreenGoo » Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:46 pm

That's him. Couldn't think of the name and was too lazy to look.

Great vblog.

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Re: D&D Next

Post by IceBear » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:40 pm

I haven't seen anything regarding AAR for old modules. I know a site where you can pretty much download every thing TSR ever published for D&D but no details on their experience playing the game. I know that Goodman Games have been publishing essays by various authors of their experiences playing 1st and 2nd edition D&D (along with other games) in their past kickstarters.

If you want a link to the website message me but can't post it here

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Zarathud » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:54 pm

We are on our last session of Storm King's Thunder, entering into the last battle with the Big Bad. I get to play one of the friendly NPCs who will make things interesting in the process.

Doing pretty good so far given we've lost the Paladin and Barbarian to real life. We have a Blade Singer who is impossible to hit and polymorphs party members, a stabby Thief, a utility bard and my War Cleric. I think we're about to be outclassed, but we'll see how we can cheese our way through to the end.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by hentzau » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:26 pm

Zarathud wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:54 pm
We are on our last session of Storm King's Thunder, entering into the last battle with the Big Bad. I get to play one of the friendly NPCs who will make things interesting in the process.

Doing pretty good so far given we've lost the Paladin and Barbarian to real life. We have a Blade Singer who is impossible to hit and polymorphs party members, a stabby Thief, a utility bard and my War Cleric. I think we're about to be outclassed, but we'll see how we can cheese our way through to the end.
We are still so far away from the end game, but the players are having a blast, so I'm OK with taking it slow. They're about to head north to find Harsnag and head into the Eye of the All Father, so this is where things really start to get intense for them.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Redfive » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:03 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:51 pm
Hey, I'm going to drop this in here. If it's too much off topic let me know and I'll move it else where.

...

Any ideas?
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Re: D&D Next

Post by GreenGoo » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:11 pm

Redfive wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:03 pm
GreenGoo wrote:
Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:51 pm
Hey, I'm going to drop this in here. If it's too much off topic let me know and I'll move it else where.

...

Any ideas?
Find me in Discord, I can help.
Will do. Will stop by tonight.

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Zenn7 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:11 am

We played again today. Our warlock couldn't make it, but DM let his kid play a Druid he'd set up for one of our options for a 1st level character when we started. Rush level up to L2 and few brief explanations for the kid to help pick out spells, and then it was off to decide where we go next.

I took assassin for my L3 rogue.

All we have done so far is clean out the red cloak manor. Listening to the list of options, we decide Thundertree sounds good and go there.

We encounter the shrub guys - our brave melee folks walk up with swords in hand and swish... swish... swish... completely miss. I am loving my hand xbow and primarily just attack from range with it. Killed the first 2, more came behind us, ended up shooting one of them too. Made for a very amusing image that the sword swinging warriors couldn't hack these shrubs, but somehow I managed to land my narrow pointed quarrels into them 3 times in a row. :)

Eventually, we meet the druid, who wants us to chase of the dragon. Party of 6 - 5 Level 3's and 1 Level 2. So we go to the dragon's tower, figuring we will have to reason with it, make a deal, do it a favor or something. Assuming there is no chance we can beat it. DM lets us know before we get in and die, it will not negotiate with us. So we abandon that, not sure what we were supposed to accomplish here. Had thought the dragon encounter was like the last thing in the module, but we are what--- 1/2 way through?

Go check out the masked guys on the east side of town. We had followed a couple back to their place, sneak around and don't learn much, debate about knocking on the door or storming the place. They eventually open the door and notice us. Get their main speaker. DM slipped up and told us they were dragon cultists, and they started playing that up. 1 party member was thinking we might be able to beat the dragon with their help. Me and another were thinking "dragon cultists who are happy to worship an evil dragon??? not good people, they need to go..." As the main cultist was going on and on about how great dragons are and whatever, interrupt the DM - I shoot the guy w/ my xbow - I have surprise right? DM "Uh..... yeah???" Needless to say the critical hit with sneak damage did him in. Shot another one but didn't manage to kill him. They ran away, we let them. DM thought it was inappropriate, but ultimately decided in line with my assassin character.

Wrapped up the adventuring for the night, but we did a "dream sequence" (not real, no rewards, no penalties if we die, resources not used up) fight against the dragon. Wanted to see if we were supposed to be able to win somehow. Our characters didn't know we got a potion of flying from the cultists, but as players, we knew. So we used that as part of the fight. I'd fly up, hopefully surprise the dragon and sneak attack/crit it.The others would be in the cottage portion of the tower and rush in after the surprise round.

First time out, by the time the dragon got to turn one, it had 29 HP left. Debating between disengage and dodge, DM settle on dodge. The 2 melee guys next to it landed hits even with disadvantage and collectively did enough to kill the dragon. It never got a single attack. DM wanted to try again.

I defied the odds and got surprise again, only landing one hit with the xbow this time. The dragon got to go a little sooner and we poorly chose to have 3 people perfectly lined up through the door into the cottage - BREATH ATTACK. 1 died (massive damage to the poor L2 dragon). 1 went down (dwarf priest - hadn't remembered dwarven poison resistance). One barely stayed standing. Second round, he bit the wounded guy from the breath attack, then flew up (I stayed 30' up to shoot, didn't need to get closer) and attacked me. Missed with both claws. He landed and then died.

DM says try a 3rd time, no flying potion since our characters wouldn't have known about it. So I sneak through the door, shoot and move to the far side wall in the cottage away from the door. Successful surprise for another solid opening crit sneak attack. The druid and cleric both end up on the far wall w/ me and one fighter who hasn't moved, making us all nice targets for a breath attack when the dragon squeezed by the fighter in his way (crud, forgot about squeeze movement). Druid dies, I go down (I save so I don't die, not enough HP to stay up even with a save). Ultimately, we take the dragon down.

We noticed a consistent theme of lucky rolls though, where we often rolled more hits and got several crits. Don't think we'd had a single crit (other than my surprise attack on the main cultist) before now. Concensus was we could have beat the dragon but likely the druid would have died at least, possibly more of us. Not a price we were willing to pay.

Fun night overall. But if we are not supposed to fight with the dragon and not supposed to negotiate with it, the module should give us better signs. The druid told us he wanted the dragon gone and was going to give us some info about another place we needed to go in exchange. So we really thought we were supposed to be able to work with it somehow.

Still and all, great fun! :)

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Blackhawk » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:26 am

I know the module well. Don't read this until after you're sure you're past this part.
Spoiler:
The entire module is written as a D&D tutorial for new players. That encounters is intended to teach you that some encounters are not winnable, and that sometimes running like hell is the right strategy. The dragon is not supposed to be beatable except with multiple deaths - if you're lucky.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Zenn7 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:52 am

Thanks Blackhawk. We are definitely done with it. DM told us what the treasure was we could have had, but would only do that after we agreed we would not go after the dragon for real.

I'd read that about the dragon before. I did not say anything, but I had thought I'd read that you could talk to the dragon, negotiate or a quest or something was one goal. Also, it seemed like a reasonable approach for how to deal with it.

Just seems odd though that the Druid asked us to chase the druid off and if the DM hadn't meta-gamed to tell us about the dragon and that it wouldn't talk to us, we'd have no way of knowing we were totally outclassed. The druid wasn't telling us how dangerous it was. And we're all experienced players (enough to know fighting the dragon was not a healthy choice). Seems like the druid should have been warning us away from the dragon, it's too powerful or something rather than suggesting we go drive it off. Would think it would be hard for new players who don't know dragons are quite that tough to figure out this is not a good choice other than by going in and starting a fight with the dragon, only to see how outclassed they were and try to run away. By that point, the dragon has likely fired it's breath weapon (most likely killing 1 or more party members with massive damage).

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Blackhawk » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:29 pm

It isn't so much about forcing you to literally run (I was being a little hyperbolic), but more that it was to check the instinct that players have to do everything like a game of Diablo where everything you see is there to be killed. Of course, it requires that the DM both realize this and implement it correctly. A lot of DMs run the game like Diablo! ;)
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Re: D&D Next

Post by IceBear » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:04 pm

Can't remember if it's a young or adult Dragon. Guessing it was a young Dragon or it would have had legendary actions and been harder to take down without losses

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Redfive » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:01 am

IceBear wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:04 pm
Can't remember if it's a young or adult Dragon. Guessing it was a young Dragon or it would have had legendary actions and been harder to take down without losses
It's a young adult. My group of 3 4th and 3 3rd level successfully ran it off.

It did 35 pts of dmg to 2 of them with its breath weapon, knocking 1 out and leaving the other with 2hp before it was driven off though.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Blackhawk » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:43 am

A young adult scripted to run off at about half health, so a significantly weakened version.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Zenn7 » Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:17 am

We got together again Saturday. The player playing the character I had a contract to kill wanted to switch characters (he played a predesigned fighter just so we could get going quickly, wanted something he could get into and roleplay more). I wanted to carry out my contract (I felt failure would result in me being a job for the next assassin). But DM didn't want to just off-screen make it happen, so I'm trying to figure out what's happening so I can find a shot. He had a loyal follower/friend come to notify the character his father died and he needed to return home (he was a minor noble of a land ruined by a volcanic eruption). Spending one last night in the inn where we were staying in the main town for this module (Phelandel?). We were heading out in the opposite direction in the morning.

Waiting til an hour or two after everyone fell asleep. No sound at any doors, but light in the target's room. Gambled I could pick the lock and open the door stealthly. DM decided no, and the guy knew someone was out to get him. Since I had a dagger in hand, ready to sneak and backstab/assassinate, he screamed "It's you, you bastard!" and grabbed his weapon and attacked, winning initiative. Rest of the party in adjoining rooms wakes up, comes out to me fighting him (him in night clothes, me in my studded leather armor). Having not been able to get the backstab in, I knew I was going to lose and should have disengaged but stupidly fought 1 round, then went down. Then someone healed me, someone else moved my weapons away. I attempted to grab my weapons and run (wasn't gonna leave that hand crossbow behind I'd worked so hard for). DM ruled that the target had readied an action that if I made a move towards attacking him, that he would strike again with a non-lethal blow. Since I said I pulled another dagger to use defensively, while grabbing my weapons to run, that was aggressive (pulling another weapon) and he got his readied action and knocked me out.

Very poorly planned. I had no idea how this was going down, only that the character would be leaving the party in this session and that was the time to strike. DM wanted to play it out, but did not take the time to really focus on it so I had to wing something.

So the assassin is in the local jail.

Fortunately, our other fighter wanted to switch away from fighter (he took fighter because we didn't have any tank sort and he and I like to strive for a balanced party). He's going to take a bard or rogue skill monkey and I was going to take a tank, just not yet (we weren't quite ready). Fortunately I'd spent the time while this fight was going south and the rest of the confused party was trying to figure out what to (the players were trying to figure out how this was going down and what their characters would do; much confusion in game and around the table), knowing I was done with the assassin, looking up my new character. Settled on a Barbarian - bear totem spirit. Looks like he'll make a solid tank, though I'm currently doing the no armor option (AC 15). We used point buy, I took a half-orc and min-maxed - 15 for Str/Con/Dex, 8 for Int/Wis/Chr. 17 str/16 con after half-orc racial adjustments. This was somewhat min-max, and somewhat intentional for roleplaying an idiot, who can do stupid things sometimes cause... he's an idiot. :)

Krogg was kicked out of his old tribe (which we were going to check out the orcs that were nearby as one of the module side quests, the DM decided that was my old tribe). I added some further flavor that the original tribe destroyed my last tribe (not killed, destroyed). My last tribe consisted of some rocks, broken boards, broken axe handle, jug w/o a cork... gave them all names and described how they "died" for the DM after the session.

I can't do a silent, calculating, cool, relaxed low key guy. But I can do an idiot barbarian who has adopted the party as his new tribe and he's the tribal protector. :)

Gonna miss that awesome backstab attack and extra shot w/ the hand xbow in combat, but now it will make sense if I violently attack someone who seems like they need to die. Like that dragon cultist leader.

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Re: D&D Next

Post by GreenGoo » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:43 pm

Son has been playing D&D pretty regularly on Thursdays at a friend's house so I picked up a set of dice and a dice bag for him. I can't believe he hasn't asked for his own set of dice yet. I love dice.

My wife said "don't you still have a bag of dice?" and my response was "Those are MINE!" "My dice".

Bought the starter set for the other son who doesn't get to play but really, really wants to. With the simplified rule set and documentation meant for beginners, I can probably throw something together for us at home without spending 10's of hours in prep.

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Zenn7 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:23 pm

We played again today, made it to Cragmore Castle (sp?) where we were supposed to be able to rescue the guy who hired us initially.

One guy was out sick (he started new character last time - the Arcane Fighter option. Our old tank switched to a Rogue 1/Bard 2 Half-Elf. The Warlock switched to a Half-Elf Sorcerer. The new druid switched to a Sorcerer. Cleric and Ranger are the only original players.

Having established Krogg the Barbarian (8 int/wis/char) is a dim-witted idiot, we get there. Spoiled in case anyone did not get this far.
Spoiler:
DM decided one of the new characters new where Cragmare Castle is. Off we go. We get to where we can see the castle and circle around looking for another entrance besides the main gate. Find a backdoor.

In the backdoor, we find 2 hobgoblins, 1 was able to run while we spent 3-4 rounds trying to roll something higher than a single digit so we could hit/kill it. The runner brought 2 reinforcements. Then we run into a bugbear boss, another hobgoblin (think he's one of the 2 reinforcements), a wolf and a "drow" (apparently a doppleganger). This ends up all being one running fight. We decide at the beginning we will try to keep someone alive to interrogate.

I rage at some point (3rd level, totem of bear - down to 7 HP, got healed up to 19, back down to 5, healed back up to 19...). I come into the bugbear's room, the drow gets a surprise attack on me and does a lot of damage. We end up with the hobgoblin and severely wounded drow get put to sleep (by sleep spell). We finish off the wolf and I'm still raging. Figure I'd keep one alive, but the hobgoblin slept through the whole fight, drow had hit me hard, I wouldn't be in my right mind to think not to kill the drow, he'd be a better prisoner, so raging Krogg kills the downed drow, leaves the hobgoblin (that we keep prisoner).
Krogg annoyed a couple other characters (think the players got the idea it was RP) and one player was trying to understand what they have to do with the raging Half-Orc so they can deal this sort of thing going forward.

Later, after we left Cragmore Castle, we were interrogating a hobgoblin prisoner and he talked to me in goblin. I'd told DM about my last tribe (some stones, boards, broken great axe handle... I named them all; my original tribe destroyed them). The hobgoblin said I was a legend in the region (for my comical stupidity). He had heard the tales and laughed. I took it as an insult to my old tribe that had been destroyed and, being the hasty sort, immediately smashed his skull in. (We'd gone all we were likely to get out of him other than something about some owlbears). Thought this was an appropriate action, given the emotional reaction provoked (it's only a week or so ago my sticks and stones tribe was destroyed.

Talked to another player who thought I'd have to get the rage more under control overtime and think I'll try to roleplay the party's influence on me being less rage stupid. My original orc tribe didn't really try to deal with this rage stupidity and the few times they did anything about it, it was usually just a violent reaction to me.

This sound being stupid or reasonable process while raging?

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:42 pm

It sounds about right to me. Int 8 isn't too low. It's around ~88 IQ, which is below average, but still on the edge of the average range. You'd eventually be able to learn to work within a plan a bit when you're raging and that gives you an option for growth, but it is good RP that when something hits Hulk, Hulk smash. RPing a dumb/forgetful/mischievous/crazy character is really tough. Don't push it enough and you aren't RPing. Push it too far and it will genuinely irk the other players. I had a dwarf barbarian once (a Battlerager) who was absolutely impulsive and direct. If they came up on a door, his answer was to open it. Check for traps? Listen at the door? Nope. The goal was to be on the other side, and the door needed opened to get there. This applied to everything, from enemies (Leeeeeroy....) to conversations (he had no social filter or guile and would just say what was on his mind or ask the question we needed to be subtle about.) Of course he wasn't an asshole, so if someone else asked him to wait, he'd wait, but if nobody did so, he'd simply act. If the party did nothing but argue about what to do next, he'd simply act.

The party learned that he wasn't annoying as long as they didn't let him lead. I made sure to give them that out rather than screwing up every plan they made.

As an aside, this was a direct response to me usually playing the leader/planner in every game. I decided to force myself into a situation where RP made it impossible to play that way.

Minor spoiler for content you've already passed:
Spoiler:
When I ran it, my party got to Cragmaw Castle and decided not to try the front. They walked in the back door, guessed exactly the right door, found the prisoner, and walked right back out. They never had to mess with anything but one hallway and one room. It was a bit of a let down after the amount of effort it took to prep the castle, but such is the life of a DM.
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D&D Next

Post by Zarathud » Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:59 pm

My latest character is a War Cleric. The thief complains all the time that I "don't heal", but my role is to keep him fighting not at full health. My guy WANTS the thief to do damage and get smacked around and learn a few life lessons -- only partly because his version of RP on a min/max DEXterity/CHArisma build is 1. Can I sleep with it? 2. Can I use my feat to charm it? 3. Can I kill it?

Translate the low INTelligence into something more concrete -- impulsive, stubborn, thickheaded, etc. My brother-in-law the crazy Wizard came up with a WISdom character flaw -- he's confused about what timeline he's currently in -- that actively interferes with his desired role as the strategist. Don't do this, BTW.

My War Cleric with 8 INTelligence is just looking for a Questgiver to give him a direction and permission to fight Evil. He's not going to think through the consequences or stop afterwards. But his high WISdom means he's never going to get that permission from (or blindly follow) the crazy wizard or the thief. Something tells him that their advice will only run afoul of the Law. The Dwarven Battlerager and I get along because they both agree to fight. At times I have had to say "My vote is for X, but I'm dumb" when as a player I knew my character was going to agree with something that would set back the plot or be fool hearty.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Blackhawk » Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:15 pm

I ran a low-Charisma war cleric once. His thing was that he didn't want to be a cleric. He was a drunk and a sailor, and he liked it that way. His deity, however, saw his potential and granted him the power whether he liked it or not. The campaign folded too quickly, as he'd have been a blast to develop.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by Zenn7 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:11 am

I might have liked to have gone w/ 6-7 for Int and/or Wis (not Charisma, he's supposed to be somewhat tolerable to the party, half orc, but a friendly one), but by the book point buy sets you at a minimum of 8 and didn't see an option to go lower.

8 is pretty bad for both though. He's a gullible idiot who is not going to impress anyone with his strength of personality. But he's made it clear that since his new tribe (the party) has allowed him to join, he will protect them at all costs.

Not quite as impulsive and direct as your battle rager (on his own, he would be), but he's just bright enough to recognize the party is generally smarter/wiser than him so it's probably good to follow their lead (so long as they don't take too long... otherwise, the next/last idea is probably good enough to execute right now). Krogg is always willing to listen/search/whatever doors. Krogg is not particularly great at these things but always volunteers when the idea comes up (oddly, no one ever takes him up on that). Krogg thinks he's a lot like a bear, he just doesn't really grasp that bears are not great at everything - "We should send the stealthy ones." "Krogg go! Krogg stealthy like the bear. :)" Said in a somewhat loud, proud and totally unstealthy manner. Though with no armor and 15 dex (net +2 stealth), he's not really that bad.

He also likes to spout off orc wisdom. "Orcs good at interrogating. But agree we shouldn't do it here, it get's kinda loud with all the screaming." And provide food for the party! (Outlander - provide food for self and up to 5 others). I asked the dwarf cleric who is constantly looking for recipes if she wanted her food dead or alive. She chose dead... <snap/crack> - "here you go!". Shame we decided not to have a fire that night.

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Blackhawk » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:54 am

They capped the minimum to prevent cheesy builds like you had in some other versions where people would set a stat really low in order to maximize something else. That kind of min-maxing got to be absurd, but being in a group with min-maxers like that meant that you were stuck doing it, too.

My battlerager wasn't dumb by any means. It was more of a philosophical thing with him. The shortest route between two points is a straight line. If you want to be somewhere, quit wasting time, point your nose at it, and go! If you don't survive - well, you shoulda been tougher, don't you think?
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Re: D&D Next

Post by GreenGoo » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:40 pm

Grundbegriff wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:38 am
Starting Phandelver in a couplethree weeks for a passel of new players. It's been a while, but I'm enjoying the DM prep-- especially because I'm resisting the urge to work against the module rather than with it.

Any tips on leading this particular adventure with its prefab characters?
How's this working out? I'm about to start the module for my 3 kids + wife, although we're going to do a little tutorial adventure first. My knowledge of the 5th edition rules, even just the basic stuff in the starter set is pretty shaky, but I can probably wing it with my past DM experience plus using DC rolls for anything I think is worth it.

I'm going to see if there is a procedural list/chart/whatever for how combat rolls out, just as a reminder to keep me on track so I don't forget any stage. That said, the game is simplified from when I played, which is a godsend, as I just don't want to put a huge amount of energy into it. At least not until I know whether it's going to take off with the kids or not.

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Re: D&D Next

Post by GreenGoo » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:53 pm

So here's a little AAR.

Tonight I sat everyone down to go over the pre-fab character sheets included in the Starter Set. The idea was to go over basic concepts on the sheets, and to have everyone decide which pre-fab character they were going to play.

It went pretty well, and then it came time to talk about ability modifiers and how they are used for DC checks. I start with little scenarios. A portcullis is dropping and each individual attempts to keep it from closing using their strength modifiers. They seem to catch on ok.

Also, I need to explain what some of the words mean. Dexterity, charisma, that sort of thing.

We are doing dexterity, so I decide that everyone is going to attempt to jump a 10' gorge. I'm using Dex instead of Str. Better to keep things flowing that stop everything to check the rules, amirite? In any case, daughter jumps with her halfling rogue. She teeters on the far edge for a second but then catches her balance. She's over. My son jumps with his dwarf cleric. Boom, no problem. Glances around smugly. Wife jumps her human fighter. No problem. I jump with the Wizard, and fail by 1 pt. I decide he's hanging on the edge and calls for help. My daughter immediately attempts to run over and push him off. Yeah. Great. My son decides to knock her over before she can reach the wizard and then save the wizard. They roll strength DC's against each other, and he rolls low and she rolls high, tie. So they are tussling while the Wizard loses the grip of 1 hand. My wife runs over with her fighter and grabs the Wizard's wrist and starts pulling. Well, she fails her strength roll badly, so she pulls on the Wizard just enough to dislodge him and then lets him slip through her fingers. The Wizard falls to his death (in game I would have rolled damage to give him one more chance to live).

So I look around the table, and everyone is like "holy crap". Which makes me reflect on the game I'm about to run and how the simple act of jumping across a small open space resulted in the death of one of the party members in less than 5 minutes of play.

This is gonna be interesting.

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Re: D&D Next

Post by GreenGoo » Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:54 pm

Oh, my wife is going to play the Lawful Neutral Noble birth human fighter. I suggested Arrogance Von Betterthanyou as her character name.

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Re: D&D Next

Post by Zarathud » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:39 am

GreenGoo wrote: So I look around the table, and everyone is like "holy crap". Which makes me reflect on the game I'm about to run and how the simple act of jumping across a small open space resulted in the death of one of the party members in less than 5 minutes of play.

This is gonna be interesting.
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Re: D&D Next

Post by hentzau » Thu Jan 25, 2018 1:32 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 10:53 pm

So I look around the table, and everyone is like "holy crap". Which makes me reflect on the game I'm about to run and how the simple act of jumping across a small open space resulted in the death of one of the party members in less than 5 minutes of play.

This is gonna be interesting.
First level is a dangerous time in the life of an adventurer.

(and I would be careful around your daughter...)
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Re: D&D Next

Post by GreenGoo » Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:11 pm

Are attack rolls modified by the strength modifier AND the proficiency bonus (assuming a proficient weapon)?

That seems...huge.

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