Saturday, January 31, 2015

Return to the Mines

It's been a while since I ran my 5th edition Lost Mine of Phandelver mixed with the King Maker adventure path. The last two weeks though have seen a return to form of sorts.

Part of the problem? After being away from the game for so long, most of the players had no clue where we last left off. Not only that, but the continuity or knowing the NPCs, the locations, and the other minutia were lost on them. This is a real world penalty for taking a month + long break from the game. We'll either get over it or we'll work through it.

Another problem? I've got seven players at the table. Most of them are good solid players who know the system and  can answer any rules questions brought up quickly. But when combat happens, it's still seven players and a simple equal combat can take up a good chunk of the night, even though 5th edition runs much quicker than 4th did.

I also have been playing with my gaming style. Because I mixed King Maker and Phandelver, the characters are fifth level in a section of Phandelver that is for like second level characters. I narrated one of the fights because, well, I didn't have an hour and a half to have them go room to room killing bandits.

Has anyone else ever done that? In my mind, I know I have options.

1. Beef up the opposition: Again, 5th edition is good in that because of the low numbers, you can throw more grunts into the mix and it makes a real difference in terms of resources consumed. Problem is that it is adding more time to the combat.

2. Customize the opposition: Instead of bandits, it's bandit chiefs or some substandard in the middle.  This is the ideal road I should take but I'm using prewritten adventurers because of time constraints and I should really make MORE time to run the adventure as opposed to just winging things like that off the cuff.

But maybe my group is humoring me because they didn't seem to mind the "this is what happens" bit. I guess when you can do it for trips that have no random encounters on them, you can do it for fights in which the likelihood of death is minimal.

The good news is that the party is no onto the last branch of the Lost Mine section and should be finishing that one up soon. I've already done some legwork in possible additions/changes to the last end boss which will vary depending on the number of players that show up as the usual is anywhere from five to seven.

So far, because Wizards of the Coast hasn't released any additional adventurers and hasn't put out an official OGL or anything, the offerings remain scant and if you're looking to get into 5th edition and have an adventure out of the box, I'd still recommend Mines over the Tiamat based hardcovers.

Other opinions out there? People playing the Goodman Games unofficial adventurers? Recommendations?