A New Beginning

Last night we had our first go at D&D 5e, using the el-cheapo Starter Set, with me in the DM's chair running the supplied adventure, Lost Mine of Phandelver.

Inevitably there were some hiccups, since none of us really knew what we were doing. We've all played enough 3e to be comfortable with the fundamentals of playing the game, but it took us a little while to start to come to grips with the new survivability mechanisms. Also, since we were using the pre-fab characters, and none of the others had seen any of the character creation rules in the Basic Rules PDF, we had to do a little bit of deduction to figure out why some of the values given were as they are.

However, I think we're getting a decent handle on it, and it seems to play pretty smoothly and easily.

One thing that I think deserves special mention: the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic is a stroke of genius; kudos to whoever came up with that one. It's simple and intuitive, and it could be slotted into just about any RPG system (though it might get a bit cumbersome in the buckets-o'-dice games.)

One major down-side to using pre-fab characters is that players don't have the same emotional attachment to them as those they've built themselves; I have no doubt that when my PHB arrives, there will be a massive cull and replacement of characters.

The adventure is written with a neophyte DM (as well as players) in mind, which is handy because it meant I could devote more of my limited intellect to learning the new rules rather than juggling monsters and encounters. Something that I think would have been advantageous though, would have been to have the various maps printed on separate sheets — it's not a biggie, but it would have meant less page-flipping. (I've since scanned and printed them myself.) Also, having the monster descriptions/statistics in the same booklet meant I had to keep jumping from my place in the adventure to the stat-blocks and back... fortunately, the 5e monster stat-blocks are about a bajillion times simpler than the 3e ones, so it's not usually too bug a deal to scribble down the relevant info in my notebook.

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about this version.

Yet Another Hill

 I got a cheap 30-watt foam-cutting hot wand from China a few days ago, and tried it out by carving up a foam off-cut into another hill. ...