Thursday, August 28, 2014

D&D 5e: First test

I played a solo episode of D&D 5th Edition, using the Lost Mine of Phandelver module included with the Basic set and creating four characters instead of using the premades.
The characters were all dwarves:
  • Thorgrim Dark: fighter with noble background and defensive fighter style
  • Audhild Chanter: bard with acolyte background
  • Fargrim Veiled: rogue with soldier background
  • Ulfgar Bog-iron: barbarian with outlander background
Each character took about half an hour to make, including selecting the background, powers, and equipment, and typing it into the (downloadable, form fillable) PDF character sheet. I'd spent a fair amount of time reading through the Player's Handbook before making the character's, so if you're just picking up the book for the first time, it'll probably take longer to make a first character, but you get someone with some personality rather than just a cookie cutter Fighter Mk 1. 
For instance, I wanted Audhild to be a "Cleric", but I don't see dwarves as having a priesthood and church; I thought Bard (and particularly Valorous Bard) would be a better fit. So I picked the Bard class, but for her background I picked Acolyte instead of Entertainer. She has a personality quirk "sees omens everywhere"; her ideal is "uphold our traditions"; her bond is to her clan hold and its ways; and her flaw is "inflexible". Her skills are Religion, History, Medicine, Persuasion, and Insight, and she speaks the Giant and Primordial languages (which both use the Dwarven runes) in addition to Dwarven and Common. She's got scale mail and warhammer instead of the usual bardic leather and rapier. And this is at level 1, just following the book, with no unusual creativity required. She did take longer to make than the others, but that was due to picking out her list of known spells and cantrips. She has two pages, the others just a page each--a great improvement as compared to my 4th Edition characters who are all five or six pages, although as the 5th Edition characters level up I expect they'll need more paper.

The first encounter in Lost Mine is with four goblins who ambush the party. I set it up on a gridded map;  that's not necessary according to the rules, but I find it preferable to be able to see where everything is.

Turn 1 is a surprise round; two goblins charge downslope and attack Ulfgar, who is carrying a shield but unarmored; however, his fast reflexes mean the goblins miss. The other two stay back and shoot arrows at Fargrim, who is seriously wounded. 
Turn 2: Thorgrim rushes forward and hammers one of the melee goblins. The surviving one cuts Ulfgar, but not seriously; one goblin archer nicks Thurgrim, the other fires on Fargrim but misses due to Thorgrim's shield block. Ulfgar's battleaxe chops his goblin in half. Audhild runs up to Fargrim, gives him an encouraging punch on the shoulder and a Cure Wounds spell, and continues up the slope toward the goblin archers. Fargrim draws his bow and kills a goblin.
Turn 3: Thorgrim charges into contact with the goblin but misses. The goblin disengages and runs, but not far enough to escape. Audhild pursues and casts Dissonant Whispers, which finishes the fourth goblin.

Granted, it's a simple combat, and I did have to look up a couple of things, but running it was quick and easy. We'll see how the next encounter goes.

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