DMing D&D 5e (Villains Unite)

After years of playing pen and paper roleplaying games, I have come to a conclusion: all players are basically evil. Or, at the very least, the players I usually play with are. So when I got a group of people together to play a little Dungeons & Dragons, I decided to shoot for the moon and just say everyone was a bad guy to start off with. This was, decidedly, asking for trouble from the players. I thought they might try some just awful things–and the party has not disappointed. However, I can’t help but feel like they would have done awful things as villains or heroes. We’re just being honest in their intentions.

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This all started after I played 5e for the first time. For those out of the know, there have been 5 major releases of D&D. Each has its own quirks and people like different versions for different reasons. I played 4e, and while enjoying it, did not love it. When I finished one session of 5e, however, I drove straight to the nearest games store (Games HQ) and bought the Starter Box. Then I made a Facebook group and started asking friends to play. It was that immediate of a want to play. Everything in 5e just feels right–it plays the way I write rules for my own RPG systems.

The starter box, for those interested, comes with a rule book, an adventure campaign book, a set of dice, and character sheets. Basically, everything you need to start playing immediately. I grabbed a box of pencils and some extra dice just to be safe. I also grabbed the Player’s Hand Book. The Starter Box’s booklet is good but leaves out some of the races and classes that can make things more interesting.

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I asked friends who I’d either played with before or had talked about wanting to play recently. There were the three people I dungeon mastered during my first time (my two brothers and a mutual friend) and a couple of college friends.

Once the party was assembled, we made a date and got started. First, I completely forgot to think about how we are all old people now. Getting started at 7 was rough. We had a good time, though. Phandelain, for those who don’t know, is a semi-open world campaign in which the heroes have to discover what is happening in the depths of a dwarven mine. In my take on the story, the adventurers are all members of Darkdoom’s army. His sinister plots require powerful magical artifacts in order to defeat… Uh… THE WORLD!

So they set out. They need to get Gundren Rockseeker to the mountain and make a lair nearby. But, as it goes, Gundren was captured by goblins. The party found his wagon overturned and filled with arrows. They decided to rush right in and get shot full of arrows. They took down one and other got away. Instead of charging after the other, they actually made camp, set traps, and set an ambush for the goblin. The next morning they absolutely slaughtered the goblins that came looking for them. The party proceeded to dismantle, disarm, and repurpose all the traps in the forest. The goblins didn’t stand a chance.

 

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“You roll WHAT for damage?”

 

 

 

At one point, our fighter, Woody, took a goblin with 1 HP and wanted to use a snare trap to finish him off with. He critically failed and threw himself onto it instead. The goblin then failed an attack roll. Our rogue ,however, did not. They took so little damage that it was less a quest and more of a horror movie for goblins.

In later sessions, I plan on cranking up the challenge rating. I am also giving more enchanted items to the party that have dual helpful/harmful effects in hopes of more critical fails. We already had our second session, which I’ll write up about soon, and things went more according to plan. I had to double the number of monsters in each room or give them 25% stat bonuses but the party was slowed down.

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So far, I’m really enjoying D&D. The fifth edition is much easier to get started with and it gives a lot of different options for making things more complex as you go. I really don’t have any complaints so far. Combat can get a little tedious if it goes on for more than four or so rounds. Which is more of my fault for not planning more things to happen. However, the party cleared an entire dungeon in under 2 hours with 5 different combat sections. I think my last 4e game I was in lasted 5 hours and we only cleared 2 combats. Give and take.

I’ll write up more as I can. I have a whole side quest for them to run their own lair. It’ll work a little like the business running side quests but I’m adding in minions. Basically, they can hire people to work for them and then assign them to different quests. They will be able to make money through the business or through quests their minions complete. They will also have to deal with the town getting suspicious, however. So, they’ll need to manage the risk heroes coming after them but getting the best loot.

Thanks for reading!

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To start your own adventures, check out a copy of the players’ handbook:

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