Friday, October 10, 2014

5E Lost Mine of Phandelver: our 2nd game night

This continues my thoughts and experiences with 5th Edition D&D started here.

Pacing seems good.  We played for about 3 1/2 hours which included role play of party bickering, several NPC discussions, some searching and three combats.  I feel like it will go even quicker once we are more comfortable with the rules, maybe even a couple of sessions from now.  Between the two sessions we have had around 6-7 combats and I really like the balance of simplicity and flexibility of the Action, Move, Bonus Action economy.   There was some delay as we bought some goods because we only have one copy of the rule set to share.  I will have to print out the basic rule set from the PDF so we can speed that part up a bit.

From WotC
As a Rogue I have not yet used my Cunning Action, but I can already see I will have to make good choices on how to spend my bonus action.  I managed to purchase some darts on the first night and I have been using my bonus action to throw one whenever I could squeeze it in between other actions.  I mean why not maximize my output?  Now I will have to choose between that, and using the Dash, Disengage or Hide.  Just enough choices to be interesting but not so many as to bog down in indecision.

When we leveled up, it was a quick and easy affair.  For my rogue it was hit points, hit die, and get the Cunning Action feature.  I am thinking Cunning Action is going to be huge and great fun.  One of the fighters assumed he was going to have to do all kinds of math to level up (as he was accustomed to 3E).  Learning he was not, I don't know if he was disappointed or relieved.  He seemed to be satisfied to get Action Surge.

I had an inspiration coin, which is how our DM is giving out inspiration, and had intended to use it against the bug bear who had nearly surprised us.  However, a couple of well rolled hits by the cleric and fighters negated the need for my rogue to attack the bug bear.  At that time I felt perhaps I was holding onto the inspiration too long.  After all, I cannot earn another one until I use this one up.

Hmmm.... maybe some spoilers in this paragraph:  It turns out I rather enjoyed the chance to use it back
in town.  I had been keeping a low profile so as not to be notice by Red Brands until I wanted to be noticed.  Our group left the inn and ran into a pack of four of them in the street who demanded we hand over our 'stuff' and get out of town.  My character hissed out from under his hooded cloak, "Get out of our way or die!" and furtively drew two darts.  The DM took the opportunity to have that Red Brand recognize me, "You have a lot of nerve to show you face around here."  To which I responded, "You won't be telling anyone." and threw the darts.  I did manage to critical with one of them and next round use my inspiration to shoot my bow with advantage at the same guy and take him down.  I liked how the rule mechanic allowed and encouraged me to use it in a way that tied to the role playing.

The wizard wanted to experiment with his spells so he ran right up to the Red Cloaks and cast Thunder Wave.  They were tougher than he thought, and although he did some damage and knocked one down they quickly brought him to zero hit points.  I don't think that is the scenario where that spell shines, and certainly seemed foolish to me but hey - chaotic folks gotta experiment.

The wizard did not even need to roll a death saving throw as the cleric had him back up with channel divinity that he split between the wizard and a beleaguered fighter.  So each night of play we have had one character go to zero hit points, or about once every three encounters.  No one has been close to dying yet but that may be in part because we are being a bit cautious.  We will see.

So far, the group concensus = fun.

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