Hey everyone. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done an Actual Play report thread, but given that we’re doing a test drive of the newly released Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, I figured I might as well start again just to get back into form.

Finder’s Keepers is very different from my usual campaigns in the sense that I really didn’t come up with a pitch for this. It was one of those games where the players jumped in with both feet to make characters, and I’m left to come up with a plot from what comes out of this process.

Thankfully the 5e character creation, with it’s Background traits makes it very easy to build adventures around the hooks in every character. I took one look at the characters I got, and I already knew what to push.

Let’s have a quick look over our characters:

Princess Allyna Cormyth (played by Silver Countess) is an impulsive 16-year old half-elven sorceress born into a respectable royal family of elves. Her mother was the second wife of the patriarch, and was a former adventuress in her own right.

When a mysterious masked man beguiled his way into one of the royal family’s parties and magically coerced her father into wagering away a precious family heirloom, Aleena set off that very same night to track down the charlatan and retrieve the artifact. She didn’t bother telling anyone in person, of course, as that would just give the fiend an even bigger head start, so she figured that a note left on her bedside table would suffice.

Vinran Thorngage (played by Hikkikomori) is an optimistic, if imposing looking halfling druid. His swarthy and muscular form betrayed his former life as a sailor and now dedicates his life to the pursuit of travel in hopes of safeguarding the balance between civilization and nature. Along the way he’s also picked up a peculiar habit of taking souveniers of his journeys, often without asking permission from the original owner.

Akta (played by Hystrix) is a Tiefling bard with a chip on her shoulder. An aspiring performer with a deep and abiding love for drink, her work is often a scathing rebuke against the follies of those in power, making her quite the rabble-rouser in many cities. Aside from looking for fame in all the wrong places, she also wants to retrieve her lute, which had been stolen from her by a rival.

As you can tell, theft seems to be a common thread for the team, so I figure I can pull on more than a few strings to get them involved one way or another.

And so with that let’s get started, shall we?

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Last weekend, my gaming group didn’t have a full set of players to continue the Exalted campaign we had running, so we decided to try and give the new edition of D&D a spin.

It was one of those times when I didn’t have a campaign concept ready in mind, and hence no pitch to guide the players, but I figure it wouldn’t be so bad if they just made pretty much whatever they felt like. As long as they conform to the singular condition being that the player characters had to be Good characters.

The character creation process was quick and painless. I wasn’t certain if it was due to familiarity, as all the players had passing knowledge of D&D character creation from experiences they’ve had with 3.X and 4e, but it was quick, and fun.

I was particularly impressed by how streamlined everything was. There was much less mechanical speedbumps involved, less tallying of skill points and less time sorting through Feats. People put together a race, a class and a background, and they were happy.

Now, I have to take a moment to write that my players aren’t exactly fans of earlier editions. Some felt it was too restrictive, while others felt that the mechanics were too complicated to be fun. I didn’t hear any complaints during 5e character creation, and I certainly hope that that’s a sign that the rest of the game will be equally easy to run.

Already I can see a few signs that the streamlining is there. From the elegant Advantage / Disadvantage rules to the Inspiration mechanic and the simple implementation of damage resistance, the design team has certainly taken steps to trim off all the fat and leave nothing but the fun.

This weekend I’m planning a small adventure for my players, and I’ll finally get a taste of how the new edition runs as a GM. Hopefully this positive review isn’t limited to a first impression, and 5E will wow me on the table when I run it as well.

[D&D 5E] Taking her out for a spin

Posted: September 28, 2014 by pointyman2000 in Roleplaying Games

Just yesterday I was able to score a copy of the 5e MM in a local FLGS. Being a saturday I figured it would be a good opportunity to try the game with
my traditionally D&D-adverse group of players.

It didn’t take a lot of convincing, thankfully, and soon my players were already starting with character generation. It took about an hour to build 3 characters, which is a pretty good time, given that all of us were new to this edition.

Initial impressions were very positive, especially with the character backgrounds. while my players were used to building their own character back stones, the backgrounds from the book were fun and inspirational.

Resulting characters were well rounded and felt capable even at level 1.

For the curious the characters that resulted from our experiment are:

-A Half-Elf sorceress of noble birth with chaos magic in her veins and a burning need to recover a lost family heirloom.
-A Halfling druid with a lust for travel and an inconvenient habit of stealing things.
-A Tiefling bard who has dedicated his craft to the art of satire to shame cruel nobles and spur change in the hearts and minds of the people.

I’m still tying their stories together but it certainly feels like a fun party to run for.

Next week, we kick things off with a bang.

Roleplaying games is an incredibly rewarding hobby, but there’s always a bit of difficulty when it comes to introducing new players into the hobby.

Part of this difficulty lies with the fact that it’s so tempting to overload someone with expectations and pressures that take the fun out of everything. Players joined the game hoping to have fun, but three culprits manage to ruin their fun even before they’ve had a chance to really appreciate the hobby::

Optimized Character Creation

New players don’t know the system, and will make sub-optimal characters as a natural consequence. This is not a bad thing. The objective of running a game for new players is to focus on the fun, rather than stressing them out about making the right choices for a character.

While some systems will need you to call out a few must-haves, make sure to not go overboard and take away their chance to enjoy character creation.

Optimized Combat

Combat is another place where it becomes very tempting to step in and “guide” them through. GMs and veteran players alike are guilty of doing this. Combat for new players is a chance for them to shine and get to know the basics. It’s not about them making perfect strategic choices right off the bat. If they’re not quite used to it yet, bring up where they could improve after the fight is over rather than trying to remote-control them.

One-Solution Situations

GMs are the culprits here. Given that these players are new to the game, it’s unreasonable to give them situations which have only one solution.

Come to think of it, it’s unreasonable to provide that situation to any player, regardless of experience level.

Ultimately it all boils down to permissiveness. Think back to the early days of your rpg life. The fun comes from being able to play a role, do fun things, and achieve the impossible. Don’t make it hard for players to discover that experience. Let them understand the appeal first. Once they understand the appeal and are hooked, then you can start introducing the various challenges and obstacles that will make play even more rewarding.

One of the most interesting concepts in The Strange has to be that of Translation. Essentially, player characters are able to shift from one recursion to another through a process called Translation, which changes a person so that they fit and make sense in the new world that they’re going to.

The process of translation is neat because it gives the character a different look and even skills that fit the recursion. This process of Translation can make a character look very different in another world.

Translation is performed by player characters (and other special characters) through the process of a four-hour trance. After a Translation recursor need to acclimatize to their new world, which leaves them slightly vulnerable as they cannot access their focus abilities during this time as they settle into place.

Translation isn’t quite as easy as it sounds, however, as it also requires knowledge or a sympathetic connection to the recursion you plan to Translate to. This can be an object from the destination recursion, or a likeness of the destination (like a photo) or knowledge of three specific and related details about the destination recursion, or finally a recursion key.

These are only necessary on the first visit, as recursor can go back to any recursion they’ve visited before without these.

Translation isn’t a certain thing, as there’s a chance that the process could fail, and spectacularly so. This could lead the team in some very weird situations as they might find themselves in a strange and unknown recursion and will be forced to survive until they recover enough to translate back to a familiar world.

Out of all the concepts I’ve run into so far in this game, Translation is perhaps the one that I’m having the most fun with in The Strange.

This comes from the fact that recursions can be pretty much anywhere you can think of. With the tendency of some recursions to be brought into existence by leaking literature or fiction from our world to The Strange, you can have adventures where player characters end up Translating to Equestria from My Little Pony, or Eternia from He-Man.

Regardless of where they end up, there’s bound to be all sorts of fun you can have from trying to figure out the new recursion and what you have to do when you’re there.

If you’d like to study with us, you can get a PDF copy of The Strange from DriveThruRPG for only $19.99 or roughly Php 860.00