5E Adventures in Greyhawk

Week 1

The first 5E playtest tonight, running an adventure called inheritance from Dungeon #26. Basically one of the pcs inherits a small keep, but must clear it of monsters.

Party consisted of the 5E pre-gens.

Hairy NoNuts, halfling thief (Nigel) Pansy Limpwrist, elf wizard (Matt) Randolph Witherspoon XVII- human fighter (Mike) Midget the dwarf: dwarf cleric (Stephen) Lord Falcon Spit of Pelor, human cleric (Dave)

Setting: The campaign starts in the town of Longspear in the Little Hills, in the Yeomanry in the World of Greyhawk – can’t get much more old school than Greyhawk.

The party spotted a notice outside their tavern asking for heirs to the Witherspoon estate to meet with the local magistrate so they went and aranged a meeting, after Hairy persuaded the clerk to make room for Randolph in the magistrates’s busy schedule.

Meeting with the magistrate they learned that Randlph’s uncle has recently died and that he can inherited a small keep and holding, if the monsterrs inhabiting it are slain. Of course the party agrees to this rather large plot hook which struck them.

The next morning, after getting Pansy out of the nearest gay bar they head south towards Gregor’s keep some two-three days walk away.

Late afternon on the second day they see smoke rising from a farmhouse off the track and investigate. The soon come across a smouldering ruin, and see several bodies scattered about. There are plenty of tracks but the group are unable to identify them. A stange symbol has been carved onto the door of the farmers dwelling, which Lord Falcon identifes as being symbol of one of the elemental lords of evil (dum dum dum…).

Not much else is discovered so the party heads to Gregor’s keep and are admitted after stating their names and business (as per the module- ah B2). They are directed to the local inn, the Dancing Blade where they spend the night meeting with the locals and hearing rumours of a nearby series of caves called the Caves of Chaos (more dum…dum…dum)

Midget the dwarf managed to lose an arm wrestling competition with a local militaman and Pansy then propositioned the man and managed to get her (him?)self arrested by the guard after following the militiaman to his barrack and refusing to leave- she spent the night in the cells.

The next morning the guard marched Pansy back to the others and forced the party to take her- she was by this time out of control (DM lesson learned never, ever start a elf in a gay bar!)

Heading south the party followed a side track to the Witherspoon keep, some 15 miles south west of Gregor’s keep. Nearing the small, stone keep they spied smoke rising from tower and at this point remembered a secret exit was mentioned in the will. A careful search of several small copses near the tower led to the discovery of a small cemetery with a newish mausoleum dedicated to Lord Witherspoon’s wife and daughter. Behind the mausoleum was a statue of Pelor. Pansy peed on the statue and got a searing light in the back of the head, followed by a warhammer from Midget- and she soon found out how the death and dying rules work. Hairy then took the remains out of the cemetery, doused them in oil and set them alight- don’t mess with Pelor seem in to be the lesson learned (the elf had pushed her luck just a bit too far).

So at this point the kill tally read like this:
DM: 0
Matt: 0
Party: 1 PC

After more searching a secret passage was found beneath the statue and the party headed underground, with Hairy leading the way. Soon they came to a room where a large goblin (Hobgoblin) was feeding a carnivorous ape. Hairy snuck in and slew the hobgoblin with a well aimed sling stone to the bck of the head then Randolph and Midget charged across the room, which just happened to be bisected by a large pit. Both managed to roll really, really badly and fell into the 20ft deep pit.Lord Falcon of Pelor hit the ape with a spell and it charged him. Charging across the plank joining the two sides of the room the ape too rolled really badly and it too slipped and crashed down into the pit, stunning itself! Before it could recover Randolph picked himself up off the pit floor and smashed its skull in with his rather large axe.

DM Notes
A typically chaotic and fun session- lots of stuff going on. Everyone seemed to enjoy the feel of the rules and it felt like we were playing AD&D or 2nd Ed, albeit with more hit points and spells. The game definitely was fun, lots of silly role-playing to be had by all. I am keen to continue.

Nigel has decided to quit the group as he absolutely detests 4E and so has arranged to play 2E AD&D on Sunday’s instead. He originally had organised it for Monday nights but now Sunday is the only night that would work for the other players, so we are going to try to change our night so we can continue with him in the group- we are looking at changing to a Friday if that suits everyone.

Amusing Quotes
Mike seeing the map of Gregor’s keep
Hey that’s cool, can I have that one instead?

Mike (while at the cemetery): You can carry on without me.
Party: We already have.

Week 2

The game continued on Friday night, our first Friday night game. Steve and Dave (our Dwarves) erre both absent, but Dale joined us. So the party looked something like this:

Hairy NoNuts, halfling thief (Nigel) “Stacy”, elf wizard (Matt) Randolph Witherspoon XVII- human fighter (Mike) “Mini "Guns Eclair, elf wizard (Dale)

The two dwarves retreated back to camp (i.e the players weren’t there so they exited stage left) and were replaced with twin elven wizards (Dale and Matt)- Stacey being named by me as Matt couldn’t think of a name and so “Stacey, that’s not my name” seemed appropriate.

The party continued exploring the dungeons beneath the keep. Soon they came to a narrow corridor where a hobgobin was sweeping the floor. Randolph charged and the hobgoblin fled, after also surviving twin magic missile strikes, slamming the door behind him.

Flinging open the door the party was met by a room bisected by a deep pit and no hobgoblin. Hairy tried to cross the room but fell into the pit after falling through and invisible section of path across the pit. Then a door on the far side of the room flew open and two hobgoblins started sniping across the room. There followed a strange combat where the party took readied actions as the snipers showed themselves. Eventually the party overcame the hobgoblins (after being reminded about the ray of frost spell) to hold one of the hogoblins in place, but the adventurers took some damage.

Continuing onwards the party searched some already looted rooms, recovering some treasure including a wand which had been hidden in a secret panel in a bookcase. Then they retraced their steps, discovering a hobgoblin transfixed by a magical mirror- the hobgoblin was killed and a cloth placed carefully over the mirror.

Having completed the search of the lower level the party headed up the stairs and it was here that things went horribly wrong. The top of the stairs was barricaded with a heavy table and hobgoblin archers opened fire. Hairy snuck up but he, like most of the hobgoblins, was knocked out by a sleep spell from the wizards. Stacey was soon knocked out by bow fire, as was Randolph but in the end Mini Guns use of magic missile and the wand- which paralysed/held hobgoblins- meant that the party just managed to overcome the hoblgoblins, grab the incapacitated characters and retreat.

Mini guns losing more clothing/armour each time she was hit by an attack- amusingly role-played by Dale as he removed bits of clothing from the character portrait.

Thoughts on Spells
At present my main concerns are about two spells: magic missile and ray of frost, both of which seem far too powerful for cantrips- MM especially given its auto hit and use as often as you like- it needs to either become a 1st level spell again or not have any additional missiles at higher levels, or some sort of limit on uses per day (may Int bonus + level for use of cantrips?)

Ray of Frosts ability to lock down opponents also seems a bit over the top for a cantrip- imagine using it to stop a dragon from attacking- it seems far too powerful for its 0 level status.

Week 3
Hairy NoNuts, halfling thief (Nigel) “Stacy”, elf wizard (Matt) “Mini” Guns Eclair, elf wizard (Dale) Midget the dwarf: dwarf cleric (Stephen) Lord Falcon Spit of Pelor, human cleric (Dave)

The adventurers returned to their camp following the encounter with the hobgoblins on the stairs to lick their wounds and get reinforcements. Randolph decided to rest up a bit longer (Mike was away) but the next morning reinvigorated the others decided to continue onward.

Returning to the secret passage the party were thwarted when the secret door would not open. It had somehow been barred from the other side so a new plan was hatched- kind of. They headed back to the surface and crept through a copse to watch the keep. After an hour or so Hairy crawled off for a reconnaissance in force and somehow covered the 300 ft of mostly open ground to the moat without being detected. Gollum-like he slipped into the water and crossed the moat. At this point in time “Midge” wandered out of the copse and started waving at the hobgoblins to attract their attention. Being a knight he was expecting to be warmly welcomed into the keep but he only managed to attract some arrowfire and raise the alarm- much to the consternation of Hairy who had just crept up over the walls and had silenced one of the two guards! Soon a door in the courtyard below him was flung open and outpoured a dozen or so hobgoblins to man the walls.

Meanwhile the rest of the party joined Midge at attracting attention and several were hit by arrow fire (DM: at whcih point they all learned the advantage of A, disadvantage and B, dodge at the same time- a party t randomly break dancing adventurers taunting the hobgoblins at long range was, well, er weird!)

While this was going on Hairy tried to climb up to the to the top of the gatehouse but could not find suitable purchase. Suddenly the door to the gatehouse swung open and a hobgoblin stood their looking surprised. Hairy grabbed his rope (he had been preparing to throw it over a crenelation) looped it over the hobgoblins neck and jumped over the battlement! Alas the hobgoblin crashed over the battlement after him and lay dazed and choking on the ground at the foot of the wall. Hairy quickly finished it off then snuck round the far side of the keep and found some bushes to hide in whilst his comrades decided to retreat back to the copse.

After a couple of hours the commotion died down in the keep an Hairy managed to signal his comrades that he was okay then sat back to await nightfall. Once dark Midge again tried to approach the keep, this time sneaking in chain mail armour! He as detected and fled back into the darkness after once more alerting the hobgoblins. Not to be outdone Stacy crept up and blasted a hobgoblin with a magic missile only to then turn and run away! A few minutes later she again crept into magic missile range but was struck by a couple of missiles from very alert Hobgoblins and then she promptly fled into the darkness (on 1 hp apparently).

Again the rather annoyed Hairy waited for things to calm down (yet again) then slipped over the keep walls and snuck into the dungeons beneath the keep. Finding his way to the secret door he used his crowbar to remove four spikes that had fastened a heavy table in place to block that particular exit. Opening the door he greeted his comrades and they were eventually joined by Stacey. The then stealthily crept through the dungeons and up the stairs where they had been thwarted the day before and into the keep proper. Hairy then once again slipped into the darkness, his mission this time to take out the guards on the walls. He managed to silence two before his luck ran out and one did not die when hit, the guard yelled a warning and the alarm once again sounded…

DM Notes
A rather random but fun night. Hairy came into his own and his thief skills were put to good use paving the way for the party to launch their final assault next week. However, Nigel was a bit frustrated with random acts from the other party members to draw the attention of the hobgoblins but which stopped him getting into the keep on several occasions.

The quick thinking plan to garrot the hobgoblin by jumping off the wall as very funny but alas the hobgoblin failed a strength check (rolled a 2) and toppled after Hairy, only to then take minimal damage from the fall.
Notes to Matt. Just because you are a 1st level wizard with 14 hit points does not mean you can act like a fighter- AC 11 is still AC 11!

Re the adventure itself, it comes from Dungeon #26 and I am enjoying running it.

Finally I am quite enjoying gaming on a Friday night rather than Sunday night. It should work out well.

Until next week.

Week 4
Hairy NoNuts, halfling thief 1 (Nigel) “Mini” Guns Eclair, elf wizard 1 (Dale) Midget the dwarf: dwarf cleric 1 (Stephen) Lord Falcon Spit of Pelor, human cleric1 (Dave) Randolph Witherspoon XVII- human fighter 1 (Mike)

When we last left the adventurers all hell was about to break loose in the keep as one off the hobgoblins had alerted the garrison to intruders. Stacey must have felt queasy and exited stage left to find a toilet (i.e Matt was away).

Hairy took a swing at the nearest hobgoblin then jumped off the battlement onto a nearby roof, racing over to signal his comrades that the balloon was up.

The others were still waiting in the room to the left of the gatehouse that contained the entrance to the dungeon. Hearing the alarm Midgeman (the dwarf) and Randolph charged out towards the barracks, their aim to barricade the hobgoblin into the barracks. “I’m with you all the way” shouted Mini as she slammed the door shit behind them, barring it for good measure! Fortunately it was at this point that Lord Falconspit came jogging up the stairs fastening his pants having answered the calls of nature, so he opened the door and stepped out into the fray (DM Notes: Dave had to work late so arrived around 8pm)

The scene he met was one of absolute chaos. The hobgoblins were bottled up in the barracks, Harry had killed the last guard with another well aimed shot but the last guard on the wall had retreated back to the gatehouse and barricaded himself in. Randolph and Midgeman found themselves caught in a cross fire as three or four hobgoblins in the gatehouse were firing at them. Hairy continued running round avoiding trouble and taking potshots with his sling. Mini “helped” by dropping tow sleep spells into the main combat but fortunately she failed to put Midgeman to sleep, the hobgoblins, and adventurers were slowed but only two hobgoblins succumbed to the magical slumber.

Soon three more hobgoblins strode out into the fray from the leaders room. The battle that followed was suitably epic. At one point Midgeman fell under a flurry of blows, allowing most of the bottled up hobgoblins to get out into the courtyard where they could act. Lord Falconspit managed to get a healing potion and some healing to the stalwart dwarf and he was soon back on his feet and swinging (wildly) at anything that came into range. (DM Notes: Much to the relief of Randolph and Falconspit both of whom were benefiting from the dwarf being able to use his shield to blow potential blows aimed at them- I am sure it is pure altruism and not metagame need to get “the shield” back up that inspired them to help out the dwarf, no really I do).

The Hobgoblin leader squared off vs Randolph and they traded blows. Eventually though he slipped on some split liquid from a barrel that had been punctured by an arrow and his morning star flew into the air. Midgeman darted out and grabbed the morning star before retreating to his place of safety below the gatehouse (out of loS of the archers). The hobgoblin warlord bellowed in rage and charged Hairy, dove and him, flattened him and picked up his morningstar. “I’ll take that.” Randolph charged after the warlord but was gunned down in the middle of the square and lay sprawled out doing his bet impersonation of a pin cushion. Midge fell again so Falconspit dragged him into the barracks and locked them in! There were still 4-5 hobgoblins in the courtyard plus the leader so Hairy took off up the stairs that elf to the battlements and Mini locked herself in the room leading to the dungeons and continued sniping from the window.

The warlord took yet another hit from a magic missile and fled for the gatehouse (he was on 1 hp). Mini yelled out in hobgoblin that she would help any hobgoblin that killed the chief and would become their wizard. surprisingly enough her words convinced one hobgoblin that the time had come for him to become chief so he raced off to “talk to the chief.” (After her inspiring role-playing I ruled that Mini had to roll and 18+ to convince one of the hobgoblins her words would sway them). At this point the battle still had TPK written all over it but Hairy spun round and killed the surprised hobgoblin that was pursing him up the stairs onto the battlements and then found another place of safety in the shadows on the battlements. Meanwhile in the room below him the hobgoblins surprise attack on the leader missed but then Hairy hearing the commotion below dropped down into the doorway and felled the leader with a sling bullet before (one again) heading for the nearest shadow).

Moments later the courtyard fell silent. The last two hobgoblins trying to get back into the barracks had been sniped by Mini. Randolph was unconscious but stable in the middle of the courtyard. Midge had been stabilised by Falconspit of Pelor, Mini was barricaded in another room, and Hairy contemplating leaping over the battlements and into the moat. At least 5 hobgoblins were now barricaded into the gatehoue and there appeared to be little chance of getting them out. Suddenly a dirty rag was waved from one of the arrow slits in the gatehouse and the hobgoblins offered a parlay. They agreed to vacate the keep in exchange for being allowed to exit in peace. The badly mauled party agreed and soon the half dozen hobgoblins, shortbows at the ready, crept along the wall to the gatehouse entrance and snuck off into the night.

What an epic battle! It took about 2- 2/1 hours but was full on and swung backwards and forwards. I really thought that the party had bitten off more than they could chew ut a bit of lck at the right time swung things in their favour.

DM Notes
Death and dying: I like the new stabilising and dying rules- 3 successful saves and you are stabilised but you take more damage if you fail a save. Nice and easy.

Combat manoeuvres: I had the hobgoblins try little tricks like pushing the dwarf back or trying to trip him to get the players to think of non standard attack ways to fight- we simply declared what we were trying to do, rolled to hit and then did an opposed check- nice and simple and led to a few people falling prone etc. No need for feats or powers to say what you can or can’t do, simply use your imagination (what a novel concept in a RPG!).

Backstab: Nigel wanted to be able to backstab everytime he flanked an opponent (ala 3E) (we were using minis and a battlemat for this fight) but I ruled that he needed to take a round to become inconspicuous before he could do so. My main rationale coming from game play. If his backstab damage increases by +1 d6 per level by 3rd or 4th level he would be slaying everything more successfully than the fighter so ruled he needs to be able to catch them with surprise or that they somehow lose track of him in combat (hence the every second round after successfully hiding/ getting out of direct LoS ruling).

Armour: Lots of discussion about this on the forums. My guys love the new rules. In AD&D we always wanted to play fighters in light armour but there was absolutely no in game reason to do so, you always got you dex bonus anyway so heavy armour + dex= much harder to hit. We all like at you are now penalised for heavy armour (by losing the dex bonus) but from a pc concept fighters in light armour are now a good option.However, I understand that WoTC are looking at changes to the armour rules.

Healing: Needs to be beefed up give up extra HPs players have so we are adding wisdom bonus to the roll for HPs recovered from healing- not a biggie but every extra HP helps.

The thief: The last two weeks in a row the thief has really shone. Nigel likes theify characters but really made the most of his abilities and probably killed more hobgoblins than anyone on the party. you don’t need to be an uber combat character to be useful or have fun.

Until next week
Week 5
The party ransacked the keep, taking anything of value including numerous suits of scale mail armour, arms and equipment. The only issue as how to transport it back to town. After much discussion it was decided that Mini and Randolph would remain at the keep whilst the others went back to Longspear to claim the inheritance for Randolph. Hairy NoNuts, halfling thief 1 (Nigel) Midget the dwarf: dwarf cleric 1 (Stephen) Lord Falcon Spit of Pelor, human cleric1 (Dave) “Stacy”, elf wizard 1(Matt)

Late on the second afternoon a heavy summer storm swept in from the east. The party searched for somewhere to shelter form the coming storm and spotted a ruin not far from the road so headed there. With Hairy leading the way the party searched an abandoned house that gave respite from the storm outside. A few scraps of paper were found in a ransacked library and soon stairs leading down were discovered…

The party then spent several hours following a roughly hewn passage northwest, stopping at various times to discuss the wisdom of the journey. Eventually Hairy found a pit trap and sometime was spent trying to neutralise this, and they managed to safely cross but the passage reached a deadend not long after. A thorough search revealed a small steel key which was used to open a secret door they then discovered in a nearby cave.

Beyond the secret door was a spiral staircase leading up but it as protected by some sort of magic sigil. This caused the party to pause by eventually using a name gleaned from one of the scraps of paper discovered earlier they safely traversed the ward and climbed up into a wizard’s tower. They searched the library into which they emerge, finding a few clues as to who owned the tower before Stacey headed up stairs to the next level, only to be attacked by a fiendish ape-like creature. Fortunately the ape was no match for the party and was quikly slain.

DM Notes
A night of investigation rather than hack and slash and a couple of traps that cused some issues. This adventure is one of the encounters in the Lost City of Baracus by Necromancer Games- an excellent 3E adventure that I am converting on the fy and makes for a great sandbox campaign.

Week 6
The game continued, Dale couldn’t make it but everyone else could (eventually). When we last left the adventurers they had taken refuge from a storm in an abandoned brick house, under which they found a tunnel leading to a wizard’s tower, some miles from the house. Here they killed a demonic ape. Hairy NoNuts, halfling thief 1 (Nigel) Midget the dwarf: dwarf cleric 1 (Stephen) Lord Falcon Spit of Pelor, human cleric1 (Dave) “Stacy”, elf wizard 1(Matt) Randolph Witherspoon XVII- human fighter 1 (Mike)

Searching the library where the ape had appeared they found many tomes of wizardly subjects and a magical candelabra whose command words where Phuk OFF. This item intrigued the wizard, Stacey, who immediately claimed it. A letter written from the previous owner of the tower to his children was also discovered.

Having searched the room they headed up to the next level and again detected a magical trap on the door, some sort of glyph. The arty tried its best to avoid this but eventually Hairy accidently triggered it and a demonic gargoyle like creature which they killed after a brief battle. This was due in no small measure to Matt using a Ray of frost to immobilise the creature making it much easier for the party to deal with. Again the room was searched, this time a magical fireplace as the centrepiece of the room, and again the stairs led to another trapped door.

The party prepared for battle and triggered the trap on the door. This time some sort out outer planar creature was summoned- a large froglike, spell casting slaad. This battle was much tougher, the slaad used telekinesis to annoy the party but its hold person ability did not work quite the way it (or should I say I) was expecting as HP now has a save per round . Once again Stacey used ray of frost to cut down on the monsters ability to move about but even so it as a close run battle. Alas, Midget the dwarf, managed to get himself cut to pieces by the salad and was slain but the rest of the party survive the epic fight intact.

The top level of the tower had a roof made of magically reinforced glass and gave spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The highlight of the treasure found was a magical ring that Stacey found and claimed. It was a ring of wizardry which also allowed the wearer to teleport back to the tower, although it also has a less wholesome side effect, which will be revealed later.

DM Notes:
The monsters have been simply uplifted and adapted from the existing (3E) adventure and converting them has been a breeze. Another good night, the battles were pretty close and the use of ray of frost critical- I’m actually not a fan of it as 0 level spell and think it should have some sort of size restriction, Using a 0 level spell to halt a dragon in its tracks (for example) seems a little silly. Matt is starting to see the possibilities of how to use it to good effect in encounters vs single monsters so I’m keen to see what else he comes up with.

Week 7- Farewell to Stephen
Stephen has been a stalwart for the past four or five years, specialising in playing dwarves but alas changes in his job has meant he has work night shift from now on so Friday was his last session with the group.The group will not be the same without him but hopefuly we will see him now and then. Mike was not able to make it this week but everyone else showed up. Hairy NoNuts, halfling thief 2 (Nigel) Urk, dwarf fighter 1 (Stephen) Lord Falcon Spit of Pelor, human cleric 2 (Dave) “Stacy”, elf wizard 2 (Matt) “Mini” Guns Eclair, elf wizard 1 (Dale)

The party had cleared out the keep and so rested overnight. During the night Hairy found a “will” from the previous owner that named him as his heir and benefactor of his will- what an amazing coincidence.

The following day the party headed to Longspear. They had two encounters on the journey, first they met a dwarf sitting on a rock rubbing his feet- and so Urk was introduced to the party. A few hours later they encountered a band of dwarven warriors heading out into the hills to hunt orcs. These dwarves all spoke in thick Russian accents as the DM had decided all dwarves would from now on have Russian accents- beats the standard Scottish ones that seem currently in vogue. After a bit of a chat the party wished the dwarves well and continued to town.

The rest of the evening revollved orund training- the party all “went ding” but had to wait till they located some trainers before being able to advance in level. Other random, or not so random, events to occur during the evening.

1. Hairy and Stacey going to the town hall to claim Randolph’s keep. However, Hairy also found a document that proported to have been written by Randolph that the ownership of the keep was to be transferred to him. He used Stacey and Mini hanging round the counter looking provocative to try to day the clerk but he as not totaly convinced (but was rather embarassed) and so summoned his supervisor who looked over the document and then said it would need to be taken to the local temple to be verified (the document was signed Winterspawnrather than Witherspoon).

2. Hairy then handed in the will that gave him the tower, and this was accepted as genine but not until after Stacey had tried to undermine his little scheme (pointing out that both documents were written in the same hand) and this ed to some faast taking form Hairy, not to mention him dropping Stacey into troube and she was asked to show proof of ownership of the ring (later identified as a ring of wizardry) but she was unable to remove it from her finger.

3. Hairy made contact with the local thieves guild and became a member. He also managed to get the thieves to steal the document he had forged and replace it with another!

4. The various party members went to locate trainers but realised most of them did not have enough money to pay for training. At this point they were reminded that the whole reason they went to Longspear was to buy a cart so that they could transport the arms and equipment from the hobgoblins in Witherspoon Keep to town so it could be sold. They duly did so, taking week to return to town and then sold the items for a tidy profit (380gp)

5. Mini sold the wand of paralysation to a local wizard for 5000gp which she used to pay for training. The others were somewhat surprised by this but the deal had already been done (DM Note: don’t cry to me if you guys needed that at some point or moan you don’t have enough magic items).

6. Randolph got the deed of title to his keep.

7. Hairy got the deed of title to the tower, and a bill for 2000gp for land taxes non payments. He then sold the tower for 12000gp (about half of its worth) and cleared his debts and bought some new magical (+1) thieves tools.

8. Ulk got into a bar room brawl which drew the others in. Mini caused confusion by charming two of the thugs and forcing them to hep Ulk. The party did pretty well, until Stacey cast a burning hands spell casuign a fire- she them teleported back to the tower (special ability of the ring of wizardry) and the party fled the tavern. Mini was most surprised when her two charmed suitors came back for the night that had been promised and she to fled into the night.

9.The next day the party left town heading back to Witherspoon keep, encountering the surviving dwarves they’d met on the road two weekes earlier. There were now only three of them, the others having been killed by orcs. The dwarves agreed to accompany the party to the keep and become hirelings- on the way the dwarves started trying to convinced the party to declare the keep as a part of the United Shorties Socialist Republic (USSR) and that they should help them to overthrow the status quo and create a utopian (dwarven) workers paradise. The dwarves apparently referred to themselves as Comrades Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin and wanted to paint the keep red. The party meanwhile are preparing to go orc hunting in the very near future.

DM Notes
A totally random night really. Party members double crossing each other- Hairy has been trying for three weeks to get ownership of Randolph’s keep but his plans did not run that smoothly. I had planned to get the party try to buy the tower, but they had other plans. no chance of a railroad with these guys, its a bit like trying to herd cats keeping them on any sort of track.


Week 8

Hairy NoNuts, halfling thief 2 (Nigel)
Lord Falcon Spit of Pelor, human cleric 2 (Dave)
“Stacy", elf wizard 2 (Matt)

The smallest group we’ve had in quite a while tonight. Dale is moving house today and Mike has the flu so only four of us gathered. The new playtest for 5E was released this week so we were keen to try out the latest rules, which included new character generation rules. Overall I like what I see, my main reservations being character hit points vs the damage that first level spells can do (3d8 and 4d8!). To me it looks like they decided to wind back hps at the last minute and not also reduce damage of spells to reflect this- the damage of most spells seems way too high for vs level 1 and 2 characters. The players modified the characters to reflect the new rules and could make whatever changes they wanted, most stayed pretty similar though.

Our solutions are simple: We are going to bump up HD for thieves to D8 and wizards to D6.
We’ll see how that goes but another idea is to use con score + hit dice or simply a 10hp kicker (similar to what Hackmaster does). But e will see how things go over the next few weeks.

Anyway on with the adventure.

Three of the party decided to head out and search for the caves the dwarves had mentioned. The first day passed without event, but early on the second day they stumbled across a vine covered ancient ruin, which turned out to be an ancient crypt. As Hairy snuck up to investigate he as almost strangled by a vine but cut himself free and then dodged back to safety. Falconspit then used his searing light class ability to blast the plant, managing to almost kill Hairy and Stacey in the process. He redeemed himself by stabilising both before they died and also destroyed the plant so it wasn’t a total screw up.

After that they explored the ancient crypt, finding a tunnel leading down. A magically closed door thwarted them for some time but eventually after careful searching of the entire complex they found the secret passwords and managed to open to the door. Beyond was a magical garden with a fountain. Thre ater and fruit in the garden was magical and healed the good/neutral members of the arty, but harmed the evil Hairy.

DM Notes
Not a lot of combat (and the one fight they had was almost a TPK- but that’s what you get for having no fighter types) but lots of exploration and discussion of the new rules which Nigel and I both love. I really like the direction they are going so far, sure there are some issue with the playtest- XPs for monsters in this version, xp totals per level and hit points for instance, but as a fast, fun and easy to run game it is succeeding and allowing us to role play without the rules getting in the way. Some of the new concepts for backgrounds and specialties look really interesting and have lots of possibilities for making interesting and quirky characters without too much effort.

Weeks 9 & 10

Week 9
Not much accomplished really, we had has a break for 3 weeks or so, so it was a catch up session more than anything. Eventually we got back to the game and the party attacked the or lair again, taking out a few guards near the entrance.

Week 10
Last night we continued with the skirmish at the entrance to the orc lair before Hairy, Lord Falconspit and Sir Randolph fell back to their camp for reinforcements (i.e Dale and Matt were back). Heading back to the orc caves Hairy apotted orc archer on the hillside above the caves and the party started a firefight. Randolph tried to get their attention while advancing on the main lair. It took a few rounds but the orcs were eventually silenced. Now the party turned their attention to the caves themselves, clearing away into the lair, thanks to a grease spell from Matt’s elven wizard- alas he, and some of the others then fell prey to that very spell and it made getting into the lair harder but in the end the party fought their way past the greased area, just as two ogres charged and an orc shaman made an appearance…

The battle took quite a bit if of time but about a dozen orcs were slain. The grease spell halted their attempts to coordinate an attack- just when Randolph was badly wounded so will be interesting to see what happens in a couple of weeks when we rescue.

Playtest 2- main issues.
1. Mike (the fighter) felt that the human fighter’s damage was too low compared to the other pcs so decided to allow him to choose a favoured weapon as per elf and dwarf- but I still feel damage potentials are way out of whack.
2. “Monster” NPCs are always an important part of D&D an evil cleric or wizard leading a group of orcs but with the damage they can put out it is almost asking for a TPK. However, I introduced an orc shaman (cleric 3) to test things this week and he did okay without being to over the top an evil wizard on the other hand could take a bit of stopping. As the rules stand at present I a a bt reluctant to run too many NPCs against the party.
3. Hps are to low so we’ve introduced a 5hp kicker to boost it a bit.
4. Monster Hps are too low for the damage the party can do, as are the to hit numbers for monsters. It is not at all balanced.
5. Rogue sneak attack- +1d6 per 2 levels would be much better as they can dish out too much. Nigel is really enjoying the rogue and in his very capable hands he is coming up with lot of creative ways to get the drop on monsters- a nasty little Halfling he is and extremely dangerous!
6. Fighter superiority- Mike started using it this week and it made a big difference in a number of situations it was fun and made the fighter a bit more interesting.

Overall, I think the hps and damage are out of line at present, I’d be happy to bolt the backgrounds and specialties onto Castles and Crusades, it would make for a great combination!

Weeks 11 and 12

A couple of fun sessions in the past couple f weeks using the latest playtest package.

Adventure : Spellbook Masquerade (Dungeon #24?)
I adapted a solo adventure to one for the party. Basically the party got invited to a local ball and so the bulk of the night was based on meeting the local nobility and role-playing. Hairy however had to steal a spellbook from the house as well. Lord Falconspits and Randolph ended up becoming benefactors of the local orphanage.

Last Night:The Skinsaw Murders
For a change of pace I’ve been wanting to run the Skinsaw Murders (Piazo Pathfinder) as a change of pace. So arranged for the adventure to start with The Ice Queen playing a central role and had a couple of player handouts prepared with that in mind. However, Dale had managed to delete all the info on his phone so had lost his character what is wrong with pen and paper? So made up a new character- human fighter called Connor MacCloud. “Connor” being a member of the local city watch he got to become involved in the adventure at the behest of the local guard captain h had approached the party about a note fund on a mutilated body- of course this being a character of dale’s Connor is neither a fighter or male, but actually a fema izard pretending to be a male fighter! Why who knows but with Dale there an be hundreds of possible reasons. However being Connor MacCloud we insisted that Dale role –play Connor as having a French accent that was supposed to be Scottish- yes it made for a rather entertaining sessions. Especially as Dale kept forgetting “she” was a “he” when referring to him/herself.

Anyway the party eventually headed off to investigate the murders but on the way were ambushed by some local rogues and a battle erupted. The fight included:
· 3x 1st level veterans (fighters)
· 2x rogues
· 1x wererat
· 15x giant rats.
It made for a tough fight, especially as the fighter, lord Randolph, kept missing early on. However, Connor’s spells came in handy as did Hairy’s expertise dice- hairy scaled the walls to the roof, killed a thief sniper and then spent the rest of the battle providing supporting fire. Randolph was a bit dismayed that when he hit the wererat his non magical sword did no damage and so quickly change ot his magical mace.

Next week we will move onto the adventure proper.

Thoughts on the playtest materials.
Damage is much better balanced this time round.

I really like the expertise dice concept for both the thief and the fighter- makes for interesting choices in combat without the silly “I play X” card that our 4E games devolved into.

Monsters are a breeze to run, minimal stats required the the wererat was a simple conversion from 2E.

Somethings I could live without but the rules are not getting in the way of having fun and that’s the most important thing.


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