Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Slave to the Game

I'm back!

Oh. These balloons are all deflated... Ah well.

This post is about the new D&D, and a game I'm prepping, so if you wanna read about that just skip to the text under the bold, linked, title further down. If you wanna read a bunch of boring stuff about how I've been doing nothing in the last six-and-a-half months, then read on!

So what have I been up to? Well, to be perfectly frank, not writing. I've hit a bit of a phase lately where all I want to do is watch police procedurals on Netflix (if you've never watched Twin Peaks, then you definitely should, and if you don't like Twin Peaks then I really can't do anything for you. Sorry), and play Hearthstone (I can't stand World of WarCraft, but this game is so good). I'm trying to fight my way out of this slump, which is really the only way to do it. Slumps like this can't be beat with time alone. I just regret that it's taken me this long. So what's worth writing about so much that I dusted off this old blog?

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition 

I'm not going to write a whole review here (or maybe even at all), but I have to say this this is quite possibly my favorite version of D&D yet. The rules are so simple to grasp, which is really what I want these days. I just finished a two-and-a-half year long Pathfinder campaign, and I can honestly say that while I'm still willing to play Pathfinder and D&D3, my days of DMing it are over, over, over. It's just too damn complex, and too damn high-powered.

I'm sure D&D will expand the game to a point where characters can turn invisible at will, and remain so forever, or that rangers will be able to fire five different magical arrows at once, but from what I gather these will be, mercifully, optional. The core of the game is an intuitive sword-and-sorcery system, that one will be able to season to taste. I, personally, will be taking a hard look at the rules for feats, before I agree to allow their use at my table, and while I love, love, love miniatures, I'm not running out the door to include their use either.

It's also a bit biased of myself to say that I'm a big fan of DM agency (fancy-schmancy way of saying the DM is always right and can veto stuff), but this edition seems to lean more towards that than 3rd or 4th edition, without going all the way to tyranny. I mean, it's shitty when you have a terrible DM and s/he's surrounding you with nothics like you're at some sort of nothic rave (really, Carmin?), or violating the "yes, and..." rule of improv every encounter, but for the most part, I like the DM to not be constrained by the rules. Whether I was valid in feeling that Pathfinder constrained me or not, it's just how I felt, and how I don't feel now with D&D.

So what next? I'll be running an event at the shop I work at soon that will involve D&D, and I've been wondering what adventure I'll run. Seeing as how Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) launched me on the classic RPG kick that I've been riding high for the last little while, I thought I'd run an old AD&D module and see how well it converts to the new game. I'm betting my reputation as a world-class DM (and a handsome one at that) that it'll run like a dream. 

I'd be a fool not to give it a test-run, though. To that effect I'll be hosting a game next week to give it a dry run. It'll involve four players who have yet to play the new D&D so it'll be the perfect arena to work out the kinks. The adventure will be A0 Danger at Darkshelf Quarry.

You may be grasping your computer monitor and shaking it with fury. "You simp!" you scream, spittle turning your Linux display into a corona of prismatic light. "A0 is not part of the original 'Against the Slave Lords' arc, but a mere imitator!" Well now, settle down. Sure, it's an AD&D module written in 2013 (and a prequel at that), but it's written by Skip Williams who used to work at TSR in the late '70s, and who's written many D&D modules in the past and so I have the utmost confidence that this adventure will provide the AD&D experience I desire. Besides, unlike the other A-Series modules, this one isn't designed to be a tournament module. I don't have anything against tournament modules, it's just not something I want to run at this moment. Besides, I already bought the damn re-print, and so far I've run neither Jack nor Squat of it.

So what's the battle plan? I'm going to run the adventure as it's displayed in the book, and sub in the monster stats from the new game (which can be found in the Starter Box, and the last D&D Next playtest document). That's it! If anything strange comes up during the game I will take notes, and adjust as I see fit. Great Gygax! How easy does that sound? No more templates or charts that I have to adjust to ensure game balance (a nebulous term for RPGs if I've ever heard one). I'm free, folks! I'm free.

I'll let y'all know how it goes next week.



David Larkins said...

I feel much the same way about 5e as you, and I'm looking forward to giving it a test run soon.

If you do dust off any actual 1e modules, I just ran across a really handy little tool today that might make it easier to stat up the monsters therein:


Someone's even coded it up!


Carmin Carotenuto said...

Wow! Thanks for the tip. I'm going to try this out with another module I have laying around to see how well it works!