Monday, May 28, 2012

D&D Next Playtest Report

If you don't already know by now, the starting adventure for 5e is B2 Keep on the Borderlands.  Specifically, the material centers around the box canyon of caves known as The Caves of Chaos.  The play test pack comes with a bestiary, a DM guide (of sorts), a How To Play section, and 5 pregens.   The pregens are a Halfling Rogue, Dwarf Cleric, Human Cleric, Elf Wizard, and Dwarf Fighter.  Our group had 6 players so we decided that there would be two dwarf fighters...twins.  Thus, the group consisted of Bella the halfling, Canute the human cleric, DALF (me, the Dumb A$$ Little Fighter), his twin brother SALF (Stupid A** Little Fighter), BAMF (Big A** Monster Fighter...yeah, I know, but there were kids present) the dwarven cleric, and Alanryn the elf wizard. 

Opening: the king has died and his heir is missing.  The Prince was sent to a nearby kingdom to seal an alliance and to prevent a potential war with two other neighboring kingdoms.  However, the prince's caravan was attacked near the Caves of Chaos by some creatures and he was probably carried off.  His disappearance is a State Secret and we are to find him or his body before a major war breaks out.  Thus, we're at the head of the box canyon and surveying the area as the game opened.

From our vantage point, we could see maybe 5 or 6 cave openings as well as several areas where there were piles of refuse from said cave openings.  Using the standard adventurer Right Hand Rule plus Which One Is Nearest tactics, we found a freshly eaten human with some tattered clothing of the make of the prince's retinue.  Thus, we decided to investigate the nearest cave.

Once inside, we saw an open pit with a few boards across it on our right.  Beyond that we could see a tunnel heading off into darkness.  On our left was a tunnel which curved to the right.  We took the boards from the pit and stacked them on our side of the tunnel and went left.  We found a room full of rats with a larger rat apparently giving orders.  The cleric one-shotted it with his divine bolt thingie and then the mage slept them all.  Anticlimactic end.

Going back to the pit we find 6 kobolds working to put more boards across the pit.  Again, cleric one shots a kobold, mage one shots a kobold with magic missile, rogue one shots a kobold (sling does 1d8 damage? okay......) and I get a crazy idea.  I ask the depth of the pit.  DM says, about 10 to 12 feet.  I ask the length of the boards on our side.  DM says about 14 feet.  I say I'm going to drop one end of board into pit, get running start and plant foot on board end to essentially pole vault into kobolds.  The players and DM look at me like I've just grown 2 heads.  SALF's player immediately grins and says "me too!"  BAMF's player says "yes!  all 3 dwarfs do this".  Well, I not only jump into them I also scream in an attempt to Intimidate them.  Intimidate check, natural 20 +3 = 23.  One kobold essentially breaks mentally in fear.  He collapses, soils himself, and goes fetal.  Another literally runs to the nearest wall, drops all he has, and starts trying to claw and chew a new hole in the wall.  I capture him.  The others are wiped out.  SALF's player doesn't roll above a 5 on anything for an hour....and only rolls double digits once.  It was a bad day for any rolls for him. 

Anyway, I capture the one kobold and prevent any of the other players from killing him.  Now, the other players were an interesting bunch.  The rogue and human cleric's players were a husband and wife in their late 60'ss or early 70's.  SALF's player is an Episcopal priest.  BAMF's player is a youngish guy who prefers Pathfinder and was wearing the oddest plaid fedora I had ever seen.  The elf player was very reserved but did let slip that he's not native Texan and is not fond of Texas either.  So, when I tried to capture the kobold, the wife asked "are you a cleric?  why are you protecting him?"  I had to explain three different times that our mission was to learn where the prince was and we would get no information from dead creatures unless her husband's cleric could Speak With Dead.  After we got that straightened out, we decided to call our kobold Patsy. I tied a rope around his neck and gave him 25' lead.  I also convinced him that we were looking for a job.  Thus, he needed to take us to his leader.  Again balking by the other party members, and I had to explain again that we were trying to get information to find the prince.  At this point, the elf's player asked for my character's INT.  Okay, it was an 8 but his WIS was 14 and I tried to pass this off as Cunning and not Smarts.  Finally I said, okay, the elf thought of this.

Well, Patsy leads us to the boss's room.  There were 3 tougher looking kobolds there and they were confused by us and Patsy.  I reiterated our desire for jobs by pointing out how easily we defeated the guards and how much stronger we were.  One kobold went to get the boss leaving us with the other two and Patsy.  At this point, the cleric, rogue and wizard blatantly attack the two tough kobolds...and kill them in less than half a round.  We hide the bodies and then the door is opened again as the tough kobold looks around for his teammates.  Behind him is a group of kobolds that are Patsy sized and one tough looking kobold in really nice armor.  I speak up for a job.  He challenged me to single combat.  And everyone else broke faith and attacked them all.  In two rounds, we had killed all the kobolds but the chief.  Patsy hid in a corner.  SALF tried to question the chief as everyone else ransacked the room.  SALF found a beat up horn and asked the chief about it.  After being told it was holy, SALF blew it.  The chief grinned, "now you die!  Many come to save me."  Right....as we heard them coming, SALF takes the bound chief in one arm and the horn in the other and walks out to meet the kobolds.  "Bow to me, your new king!" he proclaims.  We're all standing around him with dead kobolds at our feet.  I'm the only one who took any damage in the battle and I look crazy.  So, they bow.  We let Patsy kill the chief in front of them and proclaim him new chief under SALF.  We learn that there is an orc cave nearby with human captives.  We tell the kobolds we are going to make war on the orcs. 

We rested overnight.  Gathered the kobolds into an army and entered the orc cave.  Here's where I charged and fell amidst 4 orcs.  Divine bolt took out one orc.  The other three still didn't hit, even with Advantage.  The kobolds took down two more orcs.  And the mage magic missiled the last. 

At this point, we stopped and debriefed.  We're going to try to play again soon but SALF's player will not be in town all summer, so he's out.  This will make it tough leading the group with the king gone, I think.  And, reviewing the XP, we basically split 5500 XP six ways which puts us about halfway to 2nd level.  As I mentioned before, the game went smoothly.  I think the spells are overpowered as is sling damage.  My character had a 16 STR and was using a greataxe, so he did 2d6+7 damage.  His Theme was Reaper which allowed him to do 4 points of damage on a miss, which I don't get at all.  I guess I helped to make it fun by doing weird things and thinking outside the box.  I am very disappointed that there was nothing to guide the DM in helping to give out roleplaying XP.  But maybe I can harp on that during the evaluation.
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