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Midsummer murder hobos
Tiamat Online
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Post: #101
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
Fifth: first experiences

So far I like fifth. Some things I like more in the previous editions, but I find I am missing these things less and less. Generally, the system plays well at low level. Monsters are a little boring, but I've found that is actually not very hard to plug some of the great abilities from 4th.

I think I am also getting a better sense of the power-level of fifth. I am not quite sure yet as my players made sure they had the tactical advantage most of the time. However, when taking this into account, it seems that what the DMG would evaluate as deadly, hard, and medium, I would evaluate as hard, medium, and easy respectively. It might just be that the DMG is counting resources differently, but it seems to me that there's room for a category above what the DMG refers to as deadly when an encounter actually becomes dangerous and there is serious risk of defeat. I am very curious how this dungeon will play-out and how this will develop as the party levels further.
(This post was last modified: 15-06-2016 12:02:14 by Tiamat.)
15-06-2016 12:00:42
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(me) Melchior Offline
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Post: #102
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
I really enjoyed last session.

About the combats, I enjoy that even though we are pitted against a large group we have no chance of defeating in a straight fight, it was left up to us to find a way to deal with them. It feels like we had lots of options available, maybe get a posse of villagers to even the numbers, set up traps in the woods, climb the cliffs to set up an ambush or just say "f*ck it" and go home.

I also enjoyed that gathering intel and knowing what we could face was useful. That we found out we could expect patrols, guards, watchmen, and an adequate responds if we would be detected. It made it feel like we dint win because we had higher levels or the DMG had the encounter set on easy but because we had a plan and we decided not to fight the group as a whole but only attempt to do it in winnable chunks.

The fights we did have all felt tense to me, not necessarily in a "oh no i'm low on hp" kind of way (even though I lost half my hp in one round where they rolled low on dmg) but more in a, will our plan work? can we draw out a patrol? ambush them? deafeat them? how strong are they? prevent them from warning camp? sneak up on the next group, will we be fast enough to stop their scheme and can we save the hostages? etc etc.

The small fights may not all have been deadly but it feels like we are not fighting small fights but are in fact fighting the big 25 goblin group.

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(This post was last modified: 15-06-2016 13:03:37 by (me) Melchior.)
15-06-2016 12:53:36
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voh Online
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Post: #103
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
I'm in agreement with Mel ^

Mostly, to me, it feels very much like an old-school game/campaign. Maybe that's D&D 5th, maybe it's your style of DM'ing, but it brings back memories and that's not a bad thing. It does make me far more careful than I've had to be in other campaigns for a while.

I think it also helps that we know our characters are forfeit if that's what the odds end up saying, and that it's a time-restricted campaign as well. There no years of bonding planned and as such, that changes how I play.

So far so good, indeed Smile

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15-06-2016 13:29:28
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SageGenesis Online
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Post: #104
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
Also in agreement with the above.

The real difference, for me, as that 5e goes back to an older style of gaming where victory in combat is mostly decided by the things that happen before initiative is rolled; positioning, ambushes, even chargen choices. The rewards for approaching a combat cleverly are high.

Games like 4e and 13th Age are more based on achieving victory based on the things which happen after initiative is rolled. For example everybody has more hit points (at low levels), so that they can experience the Big Nasty Power once and then learn inside the fight itself how to deal with it. The rewards for approaching a combat cleverly are relatively minor, and it's more about being smart inside the combat itself.

These are of course not black and white situations. Even in 4e you have benefits from ambushing the enemy, and even in 5e you need to pay attention during the fight itself. Just a matter of emphasis.

It's an old school style that feels somewhat fresh to me because I haven't experienced it in a long time, especially as a player. That said, while 5e does belong to that style I don't think it's exceptionally good at it - the differences between a trained forest ambusher and an average farmer are minor, making blind luck a big factor. I also know that at later levels, like in 2e and 3e, the spellcasters can dominate the game and leave other PC types to play second fiddle. That's also fairly old school but not something I look forward to experiencing often. (Fortunately this game has a planned end long before that can happen.)

Between the early campaign end, the clever players, and the DM who is willing to borrow from other games, we sort of picked the best pieces and it shows.

What you need to understand about the apocalypse is that you aren't Mad Max. You're part of the skull pyramid in the background.
15-06-2016 13:49:54
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(me) Melchior Offline
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Post: #105
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
I also liked the Goblins shouting and commanding the wolves in their own guttural language, that was cool.

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15-06-2016 18:09:43
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Tiamat Online
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Post: #106
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
For next session; take another look at your character so you know it well.

Your toughest challenges are still ahead of you, but may provide an opportunity to level up midgame if you're victorious. However, I'll only allow this if you've actually made all corresponding choices beforehand so you can update your character in 5 mins. A little time to celebrate would be ok, but if mid-game leveling would take longer than that it would impact game flow too much.
21-06-2016 15:47:17
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SageGenesis Online
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Post: #107
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
For next level:
  • Regain Feather Fall spell
  • Gain Mage Hand cantrip
  • Gain the Resilient (Constitution) feat.
  • Gain 10 hit points.

What you need to understand about the apocalypse is that you aren't Mad Max. You're part of the skull pyramid in the background.
21-06-2016 16:17:06
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Tiamat Online
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Post: #108
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
Sounds great Grin

I've also sent you an email. Don't know if you can help.
21-06-2016 17:30:42
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(me) Melchior Offline
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Post: #109
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
Im thinking
For next level fighter:
  • Action Surge 1 use
  • Gain 9 hit points.
Or Rogue:
  • Thief, fast hands, second story work.
  • +1d6 sneak
  • Gain 8 hit points.

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22-06-2016 08:39:51
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Tiamat Online
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Post: #110
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
Both sound like excellent options. Remember that you can sneak attack only once per turn.
22-06-2016 10:59:01
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(me) Melchior Offline
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Post: #111
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
Feel like if I choose rogue now, I'll stick with rogue till lvl 5.
I'm not sure about that yet.

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22-06-2016 13:56:53
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voh Online
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Post: #112
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
I'll look into it this weekend!

robindevoh.com - NaNoWriMo prep & onwards, writin's the main topic.
22-06-2016 19:29:12
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Tiamat Online
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Post: #113
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
For Isen, note that I am not banning the Assassin though arguably I would agree that the Thief would probably be more fun to play. Assassinate would just be allowed on the first attack only. I would also think it would be cool if assassinate were to be set up the round (action?) before. To emulate taking precise aim at a target from hiding.

I've slightly updated the in-combat healing to allow Isen to use his Surge and Second Wind actions as the same bonus action for 2HD.

I was planning to allow you to roll for HP as we do in birthright ( was actually planning to introduce this the previous level). At level up re-roll all HD then take the highest of: 1) your current HP; 2) HP without rolling; and 3) your re-roll.

This synergizes with the Durable feat. I think Thamian would probably want the Con save that goes with resilient, but perhaps he might consider Durable in light of this. Regardless, I think Grommen might want to take a serious look at this feat as it would bring his Con 17 (+3) to 18 (+4), upping his HP and AC. Also, Grommen would roll HP of 1d12 with a minimum of 8 for an average of 8.8 HP for every level beyond the 1st. Effectively, going from level 3 to 4 you'd gain 10 HP (20 w. Rage) without this feat and 20 HP (40 w. Rage) with it.

While this would make Grommen effectively unbreakable (110 effective HP while raging), he may go for a more balanced approach instead. Being a greater threat might make the Barbarian harder to ignore. This could be done by the Great Weapon Master feat (for cleave as well as +10 damage at -5 to hit). Alternative is taking +2 to strength.

Do check with me before taking a feat as these are optional rules. Great Weapon Master as well as Sharpshooter are generally considered OP, but I'm generally fine with them unless you'd want to build rediculous synergies. I am specifically banning Polearm Master and Crossbow expert in their current form.



Last, I am considering a modified version of the DMG initiative rules (like the old-school AD&D). Where you declare your action first and then roll initiative (with advantage/disdvantage for fast/slow actions). Then act as declared in order. This would result in sub-optimal combat actions, but add a strategic layer. Combat would be less chess-like of everyone taking the optimal action, but emulate the actual chaos of everyone taking actions in the same 6-second period. When done well, it might work great. I don't think it would really slow combat down, but I'm not certain about this.
(This post was last modified: 23-06-2016 10:11:02 by Tiamat.)
23-06-2016 09:54:17
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Tiamat Online
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Post: #114
RE: Midsummer murder hobos
With the defeat of Dagon en the death of 2 PC's and Victor the dracophobe, the campaign has come to an end. Grummon and Thamian will be sorely missed; without the risk they took, Dagon would not have been defeated. Isen has found new employment with the dragon; Rumple, who was only able to get out with his life because of the (overcomplicated) house retreat rules will have to find a new goal in his life. The villagers have been hit heavily. Father Ryan, Lord Devon Silmond, Shortened, and Garret have gone missing in the flood, Lana and James paid dearly for looking for their friend. Aura and Jelleneth survived. So did Jelleneth's parents Elizabeth and Tunsten, but it is unclear whether they will stay in the village to rebuild it. Lady Lenora and the coming out of the Dragon may temper Mederic Silmond. If not, he might have a rebellion on his hand, as Willy is nowhere to be found to protect him. Despite the heavy toll, the blight has been lifted and the age of Vilaxis has begun.

Behind the screens: First, if you had made other choices during this campaign you would have had a different endgame. You could have dealt with the Dragon, Lord Silmond, the crimson circle, or the Dwarven King beneath the mountain. By following Jelleneth in the second-to-last session, you took the cultist elder evil route. You did not find the Soulburner (an artifact), did not learn where Victors hatred came from, did not meet the Halfling with his Blight Troll troupe, and did not encounter the Crimson Circle Captain that killed Grummon 's family.

Second, I don't think the last session was my best; creating a fitting end and endgame challenge took quite a bit of my mental stamina. I was left with too little to run the combat in a high-stakes and tense manner as had planned. Also, traffic and dinner took further away from my focus and I never really got into the flow. I should have better run the part between the temple and the encounter with Dagon. Also time keeping could have been better. The reason I cut your excursion into the Troll lair short was that we needed time for the final battle; it would probably have been best they had just left the area.

Last, as someone who doesn't want to invest a lot of time into new systems, 5th is great. On almost all fronts, I think it is an improvement over 3rd. Things could have been better however: encounter building is less straightforward than in 4th and more akin to 3rd; monsters could use more interesting abilities. It doesn't compare well to 4th. Still, compared to 3rd, it comes off well. I don't think the mechanics are too simple. They're simple, they work, and it is very easy to have the mechanics in the background and focus on the game. It has a familiar 3rd feel, but it trims a lot of the system fat. All PC's contributed well with their abilities. All in all, I had a blast!

Edit; some edits
(This post was last modified: 24-08-2016 11:31:20 by Tiamat.)
24-08-2016 11:09:30
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