Saturday, October 25, 2014

Kingmaker: Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Second Session

I continue my bastardization of running the Mines adventure that comes with the Dungeons and Dragons starter box set mixed in with the Kngmaker Pathfinder adventure path that takes place in the River Kingdoms.

This week's adventurers included:

Gerak: Thief halfling: The player is using an old prepaint from the Dungeons and Dragons miniature line.

Kantos: Dragonborn Fighter: The player is using an old prepaint from the D&D line. He's lucky that my friend, Tom, whose house we're playing at, has a ton of these. Tom was quite the collector back in the day.

Amun Ramas: Druid: Using a metal Reaper cleric with an Ankh staff to represent his Osiron (Egyptian) character. I painted this for him a few campaigns ago but thanks to the Army Painter dip I used, it's still in great shape. That stuff keeps a nice hard shell around the figure.

Erdan: Elf Monk. Using a prepainted figure from the batch, but that prepaint is not an elf. I just finished painting an actual elf monk from Stonehaven, but the gloss coat I threw on it to protect it hadn't dried yet so I'll bring that over next week. Note, there aren't a lot of figures that fit this race and class combination. I think that Reaper has one and that's about it. Too bad I'm personally not a fan of either sculp but you take what you can get.

Erik, who is playing the elf monk, was running late so the group decided to do a little exploring and to hunt down Tuskgutter, one of the side quests in the adventure. This would be one of the things that set the tone for the game in that monsters look like they have a lot of hit points but that tends to be countered with poor Armor Class values.

The group killed the giant boar and make their way back to the encampment as Eric had arrived at that time. With their elf monk in hand, they made their way down to the bandit hideout, which they knew its location from capturing a bandit in an attack against the outpost. On the way, the encampment leader, Olog, asked the party to check in on the hermit who provides the outpost with potions.

The party had an encounter with some wild hogs, rolled off the random encounter table, but after fighting Tuskgutter, I didn't want to fight out another combat with pigs so I ruled that the party made short work of them and that they continued on their way.

Meeting the eccentric potion maker, they did him a little favor, gathering some various berries, during which time I described a few of the local bits of fauna and flora to give the players more information on the River Kingdoms region. The eccentric old man offered them 25% off potions but hey, when they looked at information on Potions of Vitality, no actual prices. I ruled that if a potion of healing for 2d4+2 was 50 gold, that Vitality, which does a lot more, was 100 gold.

Looking real forward to that Dungeon Master's Guide. The current download also didn't have prices, not does the starter adventure.

A few set encounters on the way to the bandits included some kobolds that were resting in a field of radishes, and a huge trap door spider, both of which the party made relatively short work out of. One of the players got a little too enthusiastic in his cleaning of the trap door's spider lair by using his dragon breath on the lair and set aflame the webbing and some paperwork that was down there.

Ooops for him. It's like when players smash open a chest with potions. If you insist on doing things the violent way...

I had an NPC cleric join the party while they were fighting the bandits. I figured that they were short one character so it shouldn't be that big of an issue. The fight was run with generic bandits and a bandit captain and the players did fairly well although the dice sometimes turned against them.

The party returned to the outpost and encountered a few more travellers who'd either come here due to visions, a priest looking for an ancient temple, or because they were here to 'officially' fight bandits from the home kingdom.

I had the druid of the party have a vision of the White Elk, a herald of 'Old Deadeye', a farmer's god of battle so to say. The White Elk showed the druid where the ancient temple was and the party managed to clear out the cursed individual there who was a maddened Polar Bar (aka Cave Bar variant from the Monster Manual.)

The party made enough XP to get up to third level.

In terms of the original starter adventure, the I switched out the Forgotten Realms city for Pitax, a city of scum and corruption in the River Kingdoms, and the party will probably head there after fighting against the 'Stag Lord', the main antagonists of the first chapter of Kingmaker.

While using the 5th edition Monster Manual, not a fan of it in some instances. In many ways, 3rd edition brought animals into a meaner place with the various 'Dire' versions of things. There's no template for that in 5th edition that I saw but I was able to use various animals like the giant spider and polar bear to make up for most of the things I needed. Running kobolds and bandits also proved easy.

Another quirk of 5th edition? And it could be I'm missing it, no masterwork items. I could have introduced them to the game but m'eh. I'll live with those not being available.

The relatively low armor class of the characters, the highest being the dragonborn fighter with a shield and his armor, was 18. Everyone else tends to be in the 14-15 range.

Still haven't handed out any inspiration. Think I'm going to have to ask the players to write the various bits that they get inspiration for and use it for reference or something. The Dragonborn player described his handling of Tuskgutter well and I probably should have given him a point for that. But to be honest, I'm not feeling the love for this mechanic. It seems very limited, especially if you can't have more than one at a time.

Maybe I'll offer to give them a point if they write up campaign session recaps? Not sure. How's everyone else handling it?

In terms of props, I used the old map tile set Ancient Forest. Let me say that I'm thankful Paizo figured out a better way to store and keep those tile sets? The new one, Forest Trails for example, the new forest pack and it comes in its own holder and has a miniature version of itself on the back. This allows you to see which tiles go with which set and allows you to keep them together without having to rubber band the package? Fantastic work there! It's an actual evolution of a product.

Compared to the flip mats, the tiles are still a pain in the ass. The flip mats, you bust out the mat and slap it down. These you still have to assemble. Mind you, I like a little variety so I have both but in terms of easy of use? Yeah, the flip mats take the cake here. I have the old one by Gale Force 9, but as we're playing at a friend's house, I'm not carrying my whole library over there every week.

Note for those who might be interested in the Pathfinder setting in this region, Paizo offers for free, a Player's Guide that's supposed to allow players a bit of customization to fit in the region here:

In terms of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition itself, I'm actually kind of disappointed and okay with it at the same time. The dearth of support coming from WoTC, especially in terms of content that would keep me interested in coming back to the site, is amazing in this digital day and age.

On the other hand, the game system, from a few plays so far, seems a lot easier to wing. It seems a lot more compatible with the material that's already available. Good for me, bad for WoTC. I wasn't impressed with their previous hardcover adventure Hoard of the Dragon Queen and am seriously thinking about cancelling my preorder for The Rise of Tiamat.  If I can run any of the hundreds of older bits I have, if not completely free range it, my need for actual new product drops pretty close to zero.

How's everyone else finding the system? My players haven't complained about the lack of fiddy bits like Prestige Classes or Feats, which is surprising in it's own one as one of the guys is a master of manipulating game systems. To see him 'cool' with the relatively limited amount of options in the Player's Handbook is interesting.

I still need to find my old make your own game master screen and put together a few of the rules on combat, although we didn't run into any show stoppers this session.

Next week I imagine that the players will take on the Stag Lord and then move back into the starter adventure so I'm curious to see how that goes. They may be a little more powerful but I doubt they'll be much higher.