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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Free Drizzt audio book? O.o

Quite the amazing find. Wizards is really going all out with their birthday of DND celebrations

http://www.audible.com/pd/Sci-Fi-Fantasy/Free-The-Legend-of-Drizzt-The-Collected-Stories-Audiobook/B00M9AUY1Y

The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories expands upon the epic legend of the dark elf with 12 tales performed by the all-star cast of Felicia Day, Dan Harmon, Greg Grunberg, Tom Felton, Danny Pudi, Sean Astin, Melissa Rauch, Ice-T, Wil Wheaton, Al Yankovic, Michael Chiklis, and David Duchovny!

Monday, 11 August 2014

First game with the players handbook

Well my players did not want to finish the Starter set module and wanted to get their new full players handbook characters rolled up badly so off we were to the races.

in my group everyone had bought a players handbook so 4 players with 5 PHB at the table.

1 hour later everyone had a character ready to go. We ended up with two high elves, one a fighter and one a wizard, a half elf bard and a wood elf rogue. Lot of fwefwe at the table O.o

I took their back stories and wove them together into one. They were quickly confused to find themselves starting out at the ruins of a caravan they had survived an attack by 60 red cloaked riders the night prior. following the trail they found themselves arriving at Phandelver :o

While tracking down some of the red cloaks they found their old characters had been killed and zombified. Many fights later we came across one situation where a player tried to drag a fellow out of a hole away from enemy skeletons and then claiming there should be no attacks of opportunity because "forced moves no AOO". no way I was going to let that fly because it opens up waaaaay to much opportunity for using push the enemy effects to stop AOO for party members.

the game system played robust. fun and fast. 5th edition is the game system to take us back to tension and fun in a game. A player can be killed in any combat there is once again risk and reward and that "HELL YAH!" moments when players overcome something dangerous and feel some real accomplishment.


Friday, 8 August 2014

Free content for DND5e

today wizards posted a supplement for the Hoard of the dragon queen module. This also serves as a boon of magic items, spells and monsters for your dungeons and dragons game.

Included are 12 magic items, 58 monsters and 35 spells. Interestingly this supliment also includes enough beasts that the ranger and druid classes in the PHB are helped along and can now use stats for creatures such as the Elk and Stirge.

http://media.wizards.com/2014/downloads/dnd/HoardDragonQueen_Supplement1.pdf

Thursday, 7 August 2014

found something very interesting in the hoard of the dragon queen

Supplements: you can play this adventure with just the basic rules and the tyranny of dragons appendix online, which contains all the monsters and magic items not described in this book. Both supplements are available free downloads from dungeonsanddragons.com

guess we will have something to download tomorrow :D


Character advancement: Optional rule Milestone experience rule. under this rule you pick certain events in the campaign that cause the characters to level up. in hoard of the dragon queen the characters level up after completing each episode except episode 5

Read more: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?357793-Finally/page89#ixzz39l7mkN00

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Hoard of the Dragon Queen.



Firstly the Classic heavy stock paper and beautiful printing feels like it will stand up amazingly to play sessions for years. I really like that they printed on this classic non glossy paper and still included all the color tints to make it look fabulous.

The magic items, monsters and new background template really fit in with the feel of the module. The background gives players a real connection to the events of the game so its definitely work looking at.

 The background template is an add on to existing backgrounds to add in a possible new feature and some background events that tie directly into this module so if your playing this module its useful but if not its not needed.

The maps are beautifully done pieces by Jared Blando. https://twitter.com/TheRedEpic

Reading over the module I note that they have used a mode classic pre 4th ed design. Monsters in the back and rooms in the front. This give back soe economy of space and let them pack in more material for sure. This is something that always bothered me about 4th edition so I was very glad to see this format back.

The magic items, without getting into spoilers, include 2 legendary, 1 uncommon and 1 rare. The items give a real "WOW COOL" factor.

There have been plenty of sales promo materials written up about the product so I dont see much point in rehashing that angle of this product. I will say that Kobold Press has done a great job with this and I think wizards made a great choice going with them.

Look what was in a shipping package on my door too early :D

Firstly the formatting, fonts and graphics are AMAZING. the new materials I am reading for the first time keep putting me into a jaw drooped amazed and excited to play state of mind. 

One of the things I have been most curious about has been the new feats. getting to choose your stat gains or a feat is a pretty major decision in my mind so the feats better be pretty good. Well my goodness are they ever.

Feat: Skilled - Proficiency in any combination of three skills or tools of your choice. 

WHOW that's awesome. three not one? yes please :o

Feat: Spell Sniper - When you cast spells that require an attack roll the range is doubled. Your ranged spells ignore cover. You learn an extra attack cantrip.

Geezus yes please once more my goodness thats awesome. Or you could have had +2 to the prime stat and a +1/+1 hit and damage? hmmm these feats are actually tough choices now and really define a character. 

Polearm master for example you get to use a bonus action to smack someone with the butt of your weapon after each attack AND get an AOO whenever someone ENTERS your reach.

ok enough about feats as exciting as they are.

Multiclass COMBINES your various spell casting classes and gives you a POOL of spell slots you can cast spells from all your spell casting classes using those. so you may have 4 first level spells from 2 classes prepared and 4 spell slots of 1st level and 2 of second level for example. so you can cast your first level spells 6 times with 2 of them being over cast as 2nd level spells.

Nice balance I must say.

Background provide you with some skill and tool proficiencies as well as some starting equipment AND some nice suggestions for roll play traits. Reading over a background can give you so many ideas for a character. I was unsure about the whole background thing before but after helping 4 people roll up characters I have to say I am convinced now.

And the classes. My goodness the classes.

Bards that dont suck? Monks that are cool? Sorcerers with WILD magic surges? Totemic barbarians? Drow elves that feel like second edition? my gawd I think we need to start playing longer games each week for a bit.

Then I found the gods section in the back. Not huge it has the forgoten realm gods on a list and greyhawk? whow cool wait its also got eberron? AND dragonlance? holy cow wait whats this? more? nonhuman gods? historical pantheons? OMG its got Celtic, Greek, Egyptian and Norse gods listed?

the great wheel PLUS a feywild and shadowfella nd the positive and negative plains back?

... and finaly 8 pages of monsters? ogm wizards of the coast we love you guys.

next I will be reading the hoard of the dragon queen and totally looking forward to it

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Running the starter set adventure I decided to look for downloadable versions of the maps to see if I can modify them as player handouts. I ended up coming across the artists website and he sells super high resolution downloads of his maps. This was an incredible find for me and I will definitely be getting a few.

http://mikeschley.zenfolio.com/
Work on my campaign setting shifted focus for a while and has now basically rebooted with 5th edition. I have even decided to post a module I worked up for my game groups. If anyone wants a copy you can grab setting info and downloads from the website.

http://brianmichaluk.wix.com/dargoth#!danadon/c15h0


While preparing for game night I came across some extra 5th edition monster stats posted on the wizards site. they are from October / August of last year but good enough for expanding on some encounters.

Legacy of the Crystal Shard http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Product.aspx?x=dnd/products/dndacc/sundering2

Murder in Baldur's Gate http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Product.aspx?x=dnd/products/dndacc/45370000







Monday, 7 July 2014

Wrapping up our 4th edition game last week we were all looking forward to seeing what was in the starter set. I managed to get my box set about a half day early and reading through it I felt a familiar yet ancient rumble of excitement deep within my bowels which brought me back to memories of buying my first ad&d box from a garage sale in the mid 80's

After about 30 minutes of "deciding" who would play which character it was suggested that they randomly determine who would pick first and I decided RANDOM! yes

Grabbing up the stack of characters and my trusty dice I began rolling and handing out the characters at random to the shock of the players they got characters with personalities quite different from their norm and the travel to Phandalin began.

* spoilers follow but I am sure if someone wants spoilers that bad they will read the module lol *

With a lucky perception check a player who was quite distracted with reading his characters back story noticed a goblin ambush and called a warning. The wizard having highest initiative started off with a sleep spell on one of the two sets of goblins on either side of the trail at which point the question of saving throws came up * search search * whow no save on that one?

4 rounds later the goblins lay dead, even after the dwarf failed to hit a sleeping goblin 2 times, save one they saved to question. This black hearted runt begged for his life then pointed out the snare trap on the road to curry favor and then suggested to the halfling that more snares were on the road further down. One failed perception check later and the halfling was clinging to the side of a pit on the road as the evil little goblin grinned at him. The goblin did not survive much beyond that point and the folk hero hung him from a tree that night. A few failed checks later and the party had passed all trace of goblins on the road and night was falling. They decided to hide the wagon and backtrack the next morning to find the goblins lair which had been hinted at by their prisoner earlier.

Picking up the trail and worried about further ambushes the party was careful in their aproach toward the headwaters of the stream where the rogue and folk hero decided to sneak forward. To the dismay of the party and the cry of "F^CKING FOURES!" the folk hero made such a racket rolling his traditional crap numbers that the goblins were alerted to their aproach. However two lucky bowshots ended the encounter quickly. A quick roll on the trinkets table and the rogue had a strange cube of an unknown material in his possession which he proceeded to investigate with ever spare moment for the rest of the play session.

Sneaking up into the cave the folk hero saw the starving wolves and decided they should be tamed. Another botched roll later and the wolves were fighting each other over a bit of ration tossed down and one wolf died. Deciding he had not the food to spare a goblin corpse was tossed in and the wolves feasted. Proceeding up the steep passage they failed to notice the goblin lookout on the bridge who whipped a rock back to his companions signaling them to release the waters. all but 2 of the party was washed outside and the remaining two proceeded to engage the goblin. The wizard climbed the wall and stood toe to toe with the foe as the halfling shot his bow up between the wizards feet and into the face of the surprised goblin. Silence and then rumbling came as the dwarf failed to climb 3 times and decided to trudge up the path. This brought the party into a lucky flanking position to quickly take care of the remaining goblins by the pools but not before the dwarf was flushed once more.

Heading back across the bridge the party came to the goblins living cave and when the threat was made to push the human prisoner over the cliff the folk heroes response was to shoot, poorly, at the goblin spokesmen. A tumble later the prisoner lay dying as the party engaged. Quick ministrations by the noble fighter stabilized the prisoner while the rest of the party mowed through the goblins like a wood-chipper at a midget convention and save for a few nicks and bruises the party stood victorious. and with another goblin prisoner.

Tending to the wounded man they managed to secure a his friendship and he offered to pay the party for saving him and to get him to town safely. The party left him to rest as they went to find the leader of the goblin cave which their prisoner pointed out to them after having his finger snapped and a Strength(intimidate) check succeed by the dwarf. Once again the party rogue proved himself a war criminal as he executed their prisoner after extracting what information he could including the existence of cragmar castle.

Carefully picking their way up the staircase they spotted the enemies ambush in the final chamber and the fight came to them as 2 of the party took aim with their bowes. In the brutal struggle the party cleric was felled and the final goblin tried to escape by jumping down the chimney over the wolves lair. A few poor roles later he lay dead and broken near the wolves who sniffed at his corpse already stuffed full with goblin meat.

A bit of rest and travel later the party arrived at Phandalin and were determined to set out imediatly to find cragmar castle. However everyone they talked to had no idea of its existence nor location. They did secure lodging for the night and found out about many goings on in the town. The party decided to rest however the Folk hero would have none of that! he went to the dive bar to get a drink and listen for local gossip. One brutal beating later after being jumped by 4 red cloaks he was left bleeding in the dirt but because he pulled his punches and only knocked out and did not kill one of their own they left him alive , and naked, as a warning to others.

Regrouping the next morning, a re-equipped Folk hero lead the party to the old manor house which they had been directed too. a few turns later and they found themselves face to face with the same 4 who had beaten their friend the previous night. One bloody battle later the folk hero was putting on a newly looted set of studded leather armor as the rogue searched the bodies.

End of first session

I was HUGELY impressed with the speed of play and ease to pickup the rules. My players have all played D&D since 1st edition and were all very happy with 5th edition. In 4th edition to do the same amount and fight the same number of battles would have taken 2 to 3 sessions in my estimation.

Great job Wizards


The included model adventure, lost mine of Phandelver, includes not only a very well written adventure but a really detailed set of adventure locations, NPC's and a town which can easily be used as is for a home base, adventure location and starting point for an excellent campaign.

Reading through the module fully before playing it is something I would recommend more highly than with most modules. The amount of NPC's with little quests and information to be gained is quite extensive.

If your players are module runners who point form NPC talking and hack their way through things quickly I would expect about 10 hours of play time from the included materials and they would most likely miss many of the side areas.

Real role play actors will find they can play in the setting provided for as long as they like. You could easily expand on the npc's with their given group affiliations and background.

New players would spend about 20 - 40 hours learning the game as they go and doing as new players do. Really with this game the style of play will be the determining factor.

Using the forgotten realms specifically the area around Neverwinter was a wonderful choice. There is so much back story, history and old supplements that can be used with this. Specifically the map which came with the Neverwinter book is extremely useful. Neverwinter Campaign Setting



Opening the box for the new Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition was quite a trip, bringing me back to the mid 80's when I bought a used box set from a garage sale.

Excuse the mess :D

First off the quality of the materials was fabulous. Nothing in the box felt cheep and the amount of free material to download in the form of the Basic Rules in two forms of PDF made this really feel worthwhile.

Reading through the included rules brought me back to simpler times in the older editions and nothing seemed overly hard to remember. I looked forward to running the first game with the same excitement as I remember from my childhood. Great stuff wizards of the coast!

Reference basicrules for the free downloads.