Sunday, July 20, 2014

My First 5E Session

Last night I played my first session of 5E. A friend from work bought the Starter set and I started running the adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver, for him and his roommates. Of the four of us, I've been playing tabletops for 20 or so years, one roommate has been playing Pathfinder via Roll20 for a little bit, and two were self-proclaimed noobs.  They chose to play the human fighter (archer build), dwarven cleric, and halfling rogue. I npc'd the elven wizard. I won't go into too many details about the adventures (don't want spoilers), but I would like to make a few observations.

Combat was tense. The PC's and monsters all dealt out what felt like a lot of damage for 1st level. The boss monster was dropping 2d8+2 a swing. Monsters seemed to have more HP that I expected (though they were super buff like 4E).  PC's on the other hand had pre-4E hit points (though the rogue had d8 and the wizard had d6, like Pathfinder). Every combat encounter saw one of the party members being dropped to 0. Half of the encounters saw two of the four dropping. From what I've seen 5E helps you with healing (being able to "spend" hit dice to heal during short rests and regaining all HP during long rests), but from what I've seen it's needed.

The party really liked the traits, bonds, ideals, and flaws aspects of their character. Being new it, helped them get in character. Inspiration wasn't handed out much, but they're still getting into the swing of things.

Advantage and Disadvantage is cool. I prefer it to stacking endless bonuses and penalties.

There were some pretty memorable moments and everyone had a blast. We were on the edges of our seats during all the battles, especially the final confrontation of part 1. 

We're planning on running through this adventure until the PHB comes out. We finished part one and are part way through part 2.

The game felt familiar, but still different. It doesn't just feel like rehashed ideas, it feels like D&D, just new.

Succubus Sunday

Succubus by lucio parrillo
Areelu Vorlesh, Queen of Succubi
Succubus (D&D Online)

Friday, July 18, 2014

The War Mug

A tavern brawler's best friend,  the war mug is essentially a reinforced drinking vessel that can be used in combat with little worry that it will be damaged.

The first war mugs were crafted by clerics of Moradin ages ago. While the stout folk appreciated the mugs, most saw them as novelties at best. Still certain clans have kept the practice of crafting alive to the modern era. Occasionally a mug will find its way into non-dwarven hands. Martial artists of the drunken master style in particular seek them out.

Simple Melee Weapon
Name               Cost          Damage              Weight
War Mug        20 GP    1d4 Bludgeoning   1 lb. (empty)

Diplomat's Friend
Though it looks plain, the Diplomat's Friend is actually a +1 war mug. The original mugs were given to dwarven emissaries as gifts to foreign VIP's. When the command word (the dwarven word for thirst) is spoken the contents of the mug are turned into dwarven ale. This ale must be imbibed immediately or the liquid with transform back into its original state.

Gregor's Cup
This +1 war mug was crafted for a human barbarian by his avariel bladesinger adventure companion this mug was crafted from stone blessed by clerics of Moradin (the barbarian's patron). When used as a weapon this this war mug negates the disadvantage to attack rolls incurred by drinking heavily. In addition an enchantment prevents beverages from ever spilling from the mug, even when the it is used as a weapon.

Battle Stein
These +1 war mugs are made of the finest metals and gems. Despite their construction beverages in the stein always taste excellent. Beverages (including potions) in the stein can be imbibed as a free action once per round. The stains have secure lids, to prevent spillage. Unlike normal war mugs, battle steins do 1d6 bludgeoning damage.

Yes the war mug is essentially a club that you can drink out of. It's definitely more flavorful and it allowed me to make some fun magic items, so I don't really care.

Friday in Freeport - Serpent People

The Freeport setting is built on the ruins of the empire of Valossa. Created by the the god Yig and his serpent people servants, the empire dominated the world for many years until the Unpseakable One and his cult caused Valossa to fall. Yig's presence can still be seen in the world and serpent people still survive, but they are a shadow of their former glory. 

Serpent Person Hunter 

Undead Serpent People
Yig, Father of Serpents

Degenerate Serpent People

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ser Willem, Fallen Knight of Amaunator

Ser Willem is one of my favorite npc creations of the past few years. I've blogged about him before. This is the 5th Edition Forgotten Realms version of Ser Willem. This is also my first attempt to stat out an npc or monster in 5th edition. I have to say I really enjoy the simplicity of it. Technically the stats aren't complete, but I didn't want to get in trouble by posting the ghoul paralysis rules. If you don't have the starter set I'd say just give those struck by ghoulish smite a constitution save to avoid paralysis.

Also, this is the song that inspired his creation.

Ser Willem
Sir Willem's tale is a sad one. A young knight in the service of Neverwinter's church of Amaunator (Lathander), Willem was once a noble warrior destined for greatness. During an early mission he was sent out with a few senior brothers to clear out a graveyard infested with zombies. Upon arrival the group quickly realized they'd been misinformed (and were ill prepared). Instead of zombies, a pack of spellplagued ghouls  had claimed the cemetery as their own. Willem was paralyzed early in the confrontation and watched helplessly as his brothers and sisters were devoured. Through some miracle (or curse depending on whom you ask), Willem was able to overcome his paralysis and escape. However, his injuries were severe and he died. The ghoulish taint infused his essence and prevented him from passing into Amaunator's holy light. Instead he rose as an undead abomination. Some part of his noble spirit still dwelt within him and he was able to maintain a semblance of who he was. He pledged to use his new cursed state to rid the world of necromantic monstrosities and those that would seek to create them.

Ser Willem
Medium Undead, Chaotic Neutral
Armor Class 16
Hit Points 40  (5d10)
Speed 30
  STR       DEX      CON      INT      WIS       CHA
14 (+2)   15 (+2)   10 (+0)   10 (+0)   12 (+1)   8 (-1) 
Skills Insight +3, Religion +2
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities charmed, poisoned
Senses darkvision 60'., passive Perception 11
Languages Common, Celestial
Challenge 3 (500 XP)

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target.  Hit: 9 (2d6+2) piercing damage.

Ghoulish Smite. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d8+4) slashing damage. If the creature struck isn't an elf or undead there is a chance they are paralyzed [Read Ghoul entry in the Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set for complete rules]

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Goody White's Book of Folk Magic

Sean K. Reynolds has posted his first kickstarter and it sounds cool. Goody White's Book of Folk Magic is a new sourcebook for Pathfinder. The project is small and rather inexpensive, but sounds really interesting. The book presents new spells for witches and divine classes, as well as witch hexes, and ritual magic that can be used by any class.

D&D is a game for adventurers, I get that, but it's nice to have utilitarian magic for a setting and Good White's Book of Folk Magic provides that. Check it out and if it seems like something you like, support the project.

Personally I'm excited because I think this will be a great compliment to Strange Brew.

Grandmaster Training, Divine Boons, and Legendary Boons

I liked with 4th edition. I didn't think it was the greatest rpg of all time, but I definitely had a lot of fun playing it.

The 4E Dungeon Master 2 introduced alternate award ideas and I thought they were really cool. The three coolest were legendary boons, divine boons, and grandmaster training. Here's a quick description:

"Divine Boons 
Individuals who aid a deity’s holy cause receive wondrous, divine gifts. A particularly blessed character, or one who earns a deity’s gratitude, can gain a divine boon.
Legendary Boons
Great deeds can confer wondrous powers on individuals. A character could earn a legendary boon by bathing in the blood of an ancient dragon, reading a tome of esoteric knowledge, or solving the riddle of an immortal sphinx.
Grandmaster Training
The absolute master of a craft, such as an archmage or the greatest living swordmaster, can teach techniques and abilities that transcend a character’s normal limits."
Drizzt grandmaster training appeared in
the Neverwinter Campaign Setting

Mechanically in 4E, these rewards gave you new powers and bonuses like any other magic item. They were even statted like magic items. That being said they seem so much cooler to me than regular magic item. A +2 magical staff is cool, but learning one of Merlin's signature spells is cooler. Yeah I'd dig a magical sword, but I'd rather have D'artagnan teach me how to to an leaping sword attack.

I doubt these kind of pc rewards appear in the initial 5th edition books, but I think I'm going to include them. Expect to see homebrew boons and training in future posts.