Archive for November, 2012

D&D Next Playtest: Levelling Up

Posted in Characters on November 18, 2012 by Carl

Normally I’d leave things until an extended rest to level up, but as this is a playtest it’s best to keep things moving. So everyone goes to Level 2. As packet 5 is available I decide we may as well use it, and spend some time levelling everyone’s character in order to get familiar with the various class and race mechanics, and to get a good handle on what has changed. Quite a bit, as it turns out. Most significantly;

  • The rogue now has the expertise die mechanic, and Sneak Attack is slightly nerfed
  • The archer loses his twin strike ability
  • The wizard loses Ghost Sound, and Magic Missile is now a level 1 spell, doing more damage.
  • There is no Sorcerer class.

I’ve tried to go for a pretty minimalist character sheet layout. See what you think:

Note to players: I’ve selected stuff for you when levelling up and recreating the characters from the last set of pregens. I’ve also used half HD value when adding level up HP. If you want to change anything I’ve done or take your chances on a die roll for HP you can do that.  I’ve not worked on Todd yet. Stefan, if you can email me a .doc version of him, or add him to this post, that’s fine. If not let me know and I’ll create his sheet.

As I mentioned on Friday, I won’t be available for the next two weeks.

D&D Next Playtest: Session 2

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2012 by Carl

The party (apart from Todd Buttercup, who is busy minding the mule cart this week) track kobold clawprints to another cave. They also find another cave with what looks like a sleeping bear, but which turns out to be Unk the ogre’s dinner. The party persuade Unk, with the use of all their treasure, to go and kill the goblins in the cave next door, which he cheerfully does. At least he does until he gets bored and goes back to eating in his cave.

The party push on into the cave complex, encountering more goblins but scaring them off through inspired use of the wizard’s Ghost Sound spell. The goblins end up barricading themselves into what looks like a store room, and the party decide to leave them there and continue to explore.

Heading back the party discover they have been blocked in; the goblin leader has fetched some hobgoblin troops, who have barricaded the them in.

The battle that follows includes:

  • The barricade getting set on fire
  • Thriceborn diving alone through the flames, getting his head kicked in and being dragged away to who knows where by goblins
  • Rufus the cleric melting the goblin leader’s face off in a one-hit kill radiant nuke strike
  • Unk returning to the fray after apparently being insulted by the goblin leader and trashing the barricade and the few remaining hobgoblins
  • Unk turning on the party and taking out the majority of them, before Sabriel and Morrin finally manage to take him down.

The party bind their wounds and press on, desperate to find their stolen comrade before unspeakable things are done to him. They head down rough-cut stone steps until they find a heavy studded oak door, barred on the far side. With a bit of finesse work they release a hidden catch. The door swings open and bellowing war cries the heroes charge in…

100 XP each. Everyone levels up!

A fun session to DM again from my point of view. Still some balancing issues to iron out (that cleric attack did 21HP!) but overall a fine piece of work so far. I can pretty much run the whole thing from the map and the bestiary, dipping into the room descriptions on occasion. No computer, no status tracking, no minis or grid; the whole thing feels a lot more free and fluid to run than 4E or 3.5. Of course this is level 1, it will be interesting to see how things change as we start to reach higher levels.

D&D Next Playtest: Session 1

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2012 by Carl

The first playtest session was run as part of SRaOCON 2012 (or 7 blokes old enough to know better in a rented cottage, as our wives refer to it). It was based on Caves of Chaos from the August packet.

The party gathered in the inn to make their introductions and plan their rescue of the heir, Prince Dalmar. The party members were:

  • Morrin Payne: Human bounty hunter
  • Rufus Payne: Human cleric
  • Barda Billingstone: Dwarven defender
  • Todd Buttercup: Halfling sorcerer
  • Gander Thriceborn: Halfling thief
  • Sabriel Silverbrook: High elf mage

From there it was straight to the caves, and in short order:

  • A skirmish with kobolds at the cave entrance
  • a near-TPK with two halflings trapped in a pit, a surprisingly nasty pack of rats and kobold snipers in the shadows
  • a major battle with kobold dragonshields, hidden snipers and the kobold traplord, which resulted in another near-death for Gander at the burning hands of the wizard
  • the discovery of the kobold living quarters, another trap, fleeing kobold young and females, and near-genocide with only three out of 40 kobolds managing to escape the party’s assault

Satisfied with their day’s slaughter the party locked themselves in the store room and hunkered down for a rest.

125 XP earned each.

The verdict from players and DM on the new system was overwhelmingly positive. The game played fast and fun, and the transition from exploration to RP to combat and back seemed effortless. After so long running a 4E campaign, and getting slowly more and more jaded with the tactical skirmish element D&D Next seemed like a real breath of fresh air. It really felt like a return to the core and origins of the game, without the masses of fiddly complexity that turned me off 3.5.