Tag Archives: 5th Edition

Dragonlance: The Prologue

Dragonlance Logo

The campaign starts in the Autumn, in 343AC, in the village of Digfel in Abanasinia. The would be heroes are all children living in the village and this prologue tells the story of their first adventure together.

At this point in the story Aldorin has only been in town for a few weeks, hit mother staying here as it is one of the few places that the young elf has been able to make friends. Thorin is you but apprenticed to the village blacksmith and is learning his trade there. The group of children are all of like physical and mental age and play together when their chores are done, either in their tree-house of Solace, in an old abandoned water mill or in some nearby caves reported to be haunted.

The day started like many others, with the children meeting on the edge of town, just after midday. However something about that day was a little different, their friend Talimarious didn’t show up and so they went to call on him. When they arrived at his house they were alarmed to find out that Tally (as they affectionately called him) wasn’t there and, more alarmingly, that his mother didn’t remember him and that his bedroom was being used as a pantry. The asked around town to try and understand what was going on and were met with accusations of tall tales regarding their friend, no-one, except for them, could remember him.

Unsure as to what to do the group decided to search their most common play spots, to see if they could find any clues as to what had happened to Tally. They first checked their Tree-House, but found nothing there and so just picked up with wooden swords and shields and made their way to the Abandoned Mill. Here they found tracks of some kind of humanoid leading into the attached house. Closely looking at the tracks they determined that they were recent and look like they were made by some kind of goblinoid.

Taking great care they managed to sneak into the house and up the stairs without alerting the creature and they ambushed it as it was in it’s makeshift lair. Now, being around 10 years old, a single goblin posed quite a challenge for the diminutive heroes and what followed was a frantic 30 seconds of trying to beat the knife wielding goblin around the head with a rusty skillet what the wannabe wizard through handfuls of flour at it hoping that some of the random gibberish would turn out to be the words to a spell.

Eventually the goblin was defeated after the dwarf, Thorin, managed to leap on it’s back, grapping it to the ground while it was blinded from the flour and Remus knocked it out with the skillet, now dubbed the Skillet of Justice. Feeling rather proud of themselves the group wrapped the goblin up in as much rope as they could find and paraded him through the village before receiving a 2 steel piece rewards, spending it on sweetcakes and then running around hyperactive on sugar for the rest of the day. Of their missing friend, Talimarious, there was still no sign.

The last place to search was the haunted caves. No one knew why they were haunted and the group just recall that it was the older children that passed down this secret knowledge to them. REMUSXX did all that he could to perpetuate this myth and had previously put a scarecrow in the caves to provide a suitably ominous presence for anyone sneaking inside. As always the group approached the caves cautiously, entering through the narrower northern entrance. No-one had ever actually seen a ghost hear but that didn’t stop them creeping forward with fear in their hearts. As they approached the first cavern they heard a noise, something scuttling in the darkness before a wolf pounced on Bastion, who was leading the party. The wolf sank it’s teeth deep into the child’s arm and, in that one act, gave Bastion a lifelong distrust on all wild animals. For it’s effort the wolf earned a solid smack to the face with a wooden sword and ran away whimpering.

While Bastion nursed his wounded arm under the care of Aldoran, Thorin and Remus searched the complex of caves and found that a recent cave in had caused a hole to appear in the floor of the second cavern and that the pit seemed to descend into some form of dwarf made complex that was previously unknown. Remus returned to town to acquire rope but, being particularly intrigued by the idea of dwarven ruins Thorin obtained himself a suitable branch to use as a makeshift ladder and descended into the complex below to find that he was in a corridor, blocked at one end by a cave in and with a door in the other. While the complex certainly appeared to be of dwarven craftsmanship it was human sized in all other proportions.

Thorin proceeded to search alone, creeping cautiously forward through the first stone door and into a room containing the plinths of 5 statues, long since damaged beyond recognition. Another door lead to an north/south corridor and wide hallway with a large set of double doors, made of stone and brass and bearing the image of a fiery gate. Feeling that this last door would indeed lead to treasure Thorin put caution and thoughts of his lost friend to one side and approached eagerly, in doing so setting off a trap and falling into a pit.

When Thorin hadn’t returned the rest of the party set out to look for him, now using RemusS’s newly liberated rope. They found him quickly and managed to pull him free of the pit and after he dusted himself off he was a bit worse for wear but able to stumble along behind the rest of the party. At this point Hett, another of their friends who has been stuck doing chores, turned up and advised Bastion that his mum wanted him and it looked like he might be grounded for getting into a fight with a goblin.

The rest of the group, now with Hett appraised of their missing friend, made their way through the corridor heading north and after it turned west found 2 locked doors, one in each of the north and south wall. Hett and Remus worked together and managed to pick the lock on the southern door with their rudimentary equipment, revealing a room that may once have been a bedchamber for a number of human sized occupants, judging by the rotten remains of beds and mattresses. The northern door revealed little more, with just some smashed pottery, glass and a stone alter in the room.

Further around the corridor, that had taken a southern turn, they found 2 more doors, locked but leading to larger rooms. The eastern door appeared to lead to another bedroom, but with just a single bed inside. The western door was more curious after a glance through the door revealed another stone alter, but once it was unlocked (with Remus setting off another trap, which would have poisoned him had the poison not long since dried up) the room was shown to be clean, tidy and sparsely furnished as a bedroom. Aldorin surmised that the room must have a powerful illusion cast upon it but after trying hard to disbelieve concluded that Thorin had simply made a mistake and the group moved on.

The corridor took another turn, this time east and another two doors were found. Aldorin followed the corridor round a further turn to the north to discover that it liked back up with the original corridor to form a square. Of the two new doors, one couldn’t be opened and the other seemed to lead to some form of a library. The walls were covered, floor to ceiling with bookcases containing all manner of books and scrolls that Aldorin surmised must be magical from the runic writing on their spines. Summoning all of his power he cast a mighty spell of Detect Magic and found that all of the books and scrolls were protected by a powerful spell, all except one, a scroll buried beneath some detritus on the floor, a scroll bearing the necromantic spell of Animate Dead.

While Aldorin was “playing with boring books” as Remus put it, Remus and Hett made their way back to the mighty double doors, convincing each other of the magnificent treasures that must be held within. They knew the door was locked but with the open pit could find no reasonable way to reach the door to try and pick it and hit upon the plan of taking the bed from the neat and tidy room and using it as a ladder/stepping stone. Between the two of them they managed to manoeuvre the bed to the door but, try as they might, they couldn’t get it out of the door, either one would slip, or it would get jammed in the door or, in one instance, it simply vanished from sight as it crossed the threshold. This convinced them that magic may indeed be responsible but, again, they were unable to see through whatever illusion may have existed.

It was around this time that the children decided that they may need to go home for supper and vowed to return the next day to discover the secrets of the big room.

On day 2 they completed their chores as normal and discovered Bastion was still not allowed out to play so they went onto the caves without him. Descending down into the dwarven halls once more they approached the pit in front of the double doors. Thorin had hit upon a reasonable idea and had brought along a hammer and nails and went about constructing a platform to bridge the two sides of the pit and allow Remus and Hett to try and pick the lock. Despite REMUS’s reservations as to the sturdiness of a platform built by an apprentice blacksmith he risked using it anyway and consequently fell down the pit when it broke, twisting his ankle.

Aldorin noticed that there were large stone carvings above the door, and hit upon the idea of throwing a rope over them to suspend Hett in front of the door so he could open it. While the plan seemed dubious, it worked and the doors were unlocked causing the party to scurry to safety behind a nearby wall in case some huge creature swooped out and tried to eat them. Using a branch gathered earlier Thorin carefully pushed the door open from a distance so as to avoid any potential traps or protective wards that may have been set to guard the room. No such defensive measures were forthcoming but the group were met with an unholy screaming and flickering prismatic lights as the door edged open.

Hett, the first to enter, found himself in a large room with an arcane looking circle dominating it’s middle. Floating above the circle, surrounded by a bubble of roiling prismatic smoke was the source of the screaming, their missing friend Talimarious. The bubble was being bombarded with bolts of crackling energy emanating from 3 vases set upon ornate marble stands, in 3 of the corners of the room. A 4th vase lay broken on the floor in the north west corner. A quick search found a reset switch for the pit trap which allowed the others easy entry into the room and they instantly set upon throwing stones at the remaining vases to break them, under the belief that this would help their friend.

It was at this time that Bastion, having managed to sneak out of his house joined the group once more just in time to see one of the vases break., Aldorin was the first to strike true, shattering the south east vase with a ray of frost that left him exausted and this set of a chain of events that they would remember for a long long time and that would leave permanent scars on the children.

The room erupted with an almighty explosion, blinding all inside and bolts of light rebounded off the walls, striking both Aldorin and Thorin. Thorin began to run, heading out of the door and back to the entrance as a thick green acid fog began to rapidly fill the room, seeping out of all 4 vases. Of Talimarious there was no sign.

The group tried to run but the smoke got to Remus before he could plant a step, forcing Hett to run back and rescue him, carry his friend on his shoulders. Aldorin, exhausted from his spell, staggered after Hett and Remus, forcing his wearing feet to carry him forward faster than should have been possible. Bastion, struck with the terrible awe of the moment, was the last to leave, barely escaping as the acid fog descended on him, horribly burning the right side of his face.The group escaped with their lives, but without their missing friend. They returned to town changed by their experience, brought closer as a group and, although they didn’t know it, with a destiny mapped out for them.

Also, they were all pretty much grounded for the rest of their childhood and none of them could sit down for a week.

Dragonlance: The Characters

Dragonlance Logo

My Dragonlance party is made up of 5 characters. As this is a War of the Lance era Dragonlance campaign there are several restrictions on what classes and races would be available and several changes to existing classes and races to fit the setting. Several of those changes mean that the classes don’t quite balance the same way as things have been removed without being replaced, such as Ranger spells.

I have allowed the players to make changes to the available proficiencies in their classes and backgrounds to fit the theme of the character that they want to play, based on the story they have developed.

The Characters

Remus Cartwright, Male, Human, Rogue with the Charlatan background. Remus was born and raised in Digfel in Abanasinia and is the owner of the town inn, which is a family business. He is an extremely charismatic and good looking man and he uses this to his advantage when it comes to conning strangers and travellers out of their money, be that at cards, in inflated drinks prices and services or just base thievery.

Hett. Male, Human, Fighter with the Outlander background. Hett was also born and raised in Digfel but left the town at a young age in order to seek his fortune in the city of Haven, which is where he learned his trade as a tracker and bounty hunter. Hett is a moral man, seeking to bring criminals to justice rather than simply working for pay but he is not above underhanded tactics in order to apprehend his target, such as breaking and entering. This profession found him working alongside his childhood friend Bastion much of the time.

Thorin Ironhammer. Male, Hill Dwarf, Fighter with the Folk Hero background. Thorin is a Hill Dwarf whose family originate in Hillhome in Abanasinia. At a young age Thorin was apprenticed to the blacksmith in Digfel as part of a repayment of a life debt that his parents owed to the blacksmith. Thorin is a typical dwarf in many respects, he loves working with his hands and taking part in physical activities and he loves being underground. Due to events that took place during his childhood Thorin appears to age rapidly and has developed the physical and mental capabilities of an adult dwarf by the age of just 18, which causes many other dwarves to view him with distrust.

Aldorin Hytanthas. Male, High Elf, Wizard with the Hermit background. Aldorin is, for all intents and purposes, a dark elf. Born a Qualinesti Elf, Aldorin has spent much of his life outside the forest, in a travelling merchant caravan. When Aldorin was a baby his father and brother, both Wildrunners, were attacked on patrol, resulting in the death of his father. His bother went missing during the attack and the only clue found was a broken bow and a shattered bronze amulet. Crazed with grief, Aldorin’s mother, a White Robed Wizard, began to research forbidden magic looking for answers and when she was found out she, and Aldorin were cast out of Qualinost and labelled Dark Elves.

Aldorin has a deep mistrust of other elves, especially Qualinesti, and finds it hard to make friends. His mothered settled in Digfel for a while as he made friends there but, eventually she moved on and he stayed behind, feeling at least a basic connection to the town and his friends. His goal is to take the Test of High Sorcery and take the Red Robes, hoping to eventually find answers as to what happened to his father and brother. Due to events that took place during his childhood Aldorin appears to age rapidly and has developed the physical and mental capabilities of an adult elf by the age of just 18, which causes many other elves to view him with distrust.

Bastion Winter. Human, Ranger with the Soldier Background. Bastion was born in Solamnia, at least that’s what he was told by his mother, he doesn’t remember it. Bastion’s father, a Solamnic Knight forced Bastion and his mother to flee to Abanasinia when he was just a baby, fearing for their lives as the mobs rose up against Knighthood.

Bastion is a dour man with a face scarred by acid from a childhood event and a particular hatred of wild beasts from the same escapade. His demeanour means he spends much of his time alone, although he has been ardent in learning the craft of war, hiring himself out as a guard and medic on several merchant caravans since his late teens in addition to accompanying Hett on several bounty hunting missions. Bastion’s overall goal is to return to Solamnia and follow in his father’s footsteps, joining the Knighthood and eventually elevating his family name once more.

 

D&D 5th Ed DM Screen Review

Name: D&D 5th Edition Dungeon Master’s Screen
Type: Accessory
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
System: D20 (5th ed D&D)
Setting: N/A
Size: 27.4cm x 21.5cm (folded) 109.5cm x 21.5cm (unfolded)
Price: £10.00
Rating: 5.0 Stars (5.0 / 5)

5th Ed DM Screen

This is going to be a pretty quick review to be honest, there isn’t a lot to say about a DM Screen and I wouldn’t generally review just a screen, but I’m actually pretty impressed with this one. What I might do though is maybe take a look at the wide variety of screens I own for different games at some point.

So why is this one so cool? Well it’s down to what is actually included on the DM side of the screen. Before I get to that I’ll take a look at the pack as a whole. The outer packaging that is normally just a paper wrap with a general description on the back is actually pretty cool, obviously it is still thin card wrap but the inside is a mini-poster that advertises the D&D Adventurers League, which is pretty cool-

D&D 5th Ed DM Screen, Poster

 

The screen itself is made of nice thick card and covered with a glossy coating and it seems pretty hard-wearing, which is good because screens see alot of use. It’s a four pane screen and it’s landscape in format, as is common for modern screens, which I actually like this as it reduces the DM/Player separation. The player side depicts and epic battle across all four panes between a party and a red dragon and it’s minions.

D&D 5th Ed DM Screen, Frontal

However, it’s whats on the DM side that impressed me, especially this-

D&D 5th Ed DM Screen, Name Generator

As silly as it is, the inclusion of an NPC name generator on the screen is something that will help me immeasurably as I literally can’t count the number of times i’ve made up a stupid name on the spot when the PC’s have decided to talk to someone I hadn’t considered. I used to have a whole list of names ready, just in case, but this is a much more elegant solution.

The rest of the inside of the screen is filled with the normal kind of things you’d expect to see, details of the various conditions, cover and concealment and some random event tables. Unlike some previous DM screens this one isn’t cluttered or hard to read and is filled with things, like the NPC name generator and the random events table, designed to keep the game flowing when it might stagnate.

The inside of the screen is also covered with little bit of art, some just to illustrate things like the various status modifiers and others, like the Tarrasque attacking a village are just there to make the screen a little more interesting for the DM to look at. At the end of the day this is still just a DM screen but it’s one of the best DM screens I’ve bought in a long time.

#RPGaDay 2015 Day 3- Favourite RPG of the last 12 Months

RPGaDAY2015

So, my favourite New RPG of the last 12 months? Hmmmm, I don’t think I’ve picked up many that would constitute as new in the last 12 months, in fact I think it may just be Malifaux- Into the Breech and D&D 5th ed.

Both are great games, Malifaux is lavishly illustrated and really expands the twisted world of the setting. What I like about Malifaux is that it’s part horror, part Deadlands like steampunk and part dreamscape all rolled into one twisted but fascinating world. Add to that a system that is bespoke for the game and draws inspiration from the skirmish game and you end up with something quite special.

D&D 5th Edition Cover

In the end though, it’s always going to be D&D 5th ed for me. I love D&D, it’s my favourite RPG of all and the one I’ve spent the most time running and playing in my 20 some years in the hobby. With that said, I hated 4th edition with a passion, aside from a couple of modules like The Madness at Gardmore Abbey. D&D’s 4th edition changed the game into something I didn’t recognise as Dungeons and Dragons and, most importantly, changed the whole nature of the settings that used to be the core of D&D.

Fortunately 5th edition appears to have rectified this. The system is something closer to 3.5 which, despite its issues at high levels, is the definitive edition of the game as far as I’m concerned (let’s not make Pathfinder comparisons here) and at the same time it draws from the best parts of 1st, 2nd and 4th edition to make something really quite fun and simple and that feels like Dungeons and Dragons.

On top of that, and it was one of the things that excited me the most, 5th makes references to the settings that I love and grew up with. Dragonlance is mentioned under the Elf racial description and the Planescapes Great Wheel returns with the City of Doors, Sigil at it’s heart. Just reading these little references in the Players Handbook caused me a little twinge of nostalgia as I recalled epic moments when playing those settings and brought a smile to my face.

To me that’s why we play, it’s great to read a new game, to discover a new world and to realise how awesome it is. In the end, though, we roleplay to bring a smile to our faces and those of our family and friends and to make great memories and D&D always has and always will manage that a little bit better than any other game for me.