So. . . Change of plans. I was going to talk about Hoard of the Dragon Queen but what I worked out with some local gamers is much more interesting, so I can’t go spoiling what’s in the book – just yet.
What I can say is that I will be running HotDQ for a group of players that came into D&D with 4th edition.
I’m going to take complete 5th edition virgins through the campaigns that Wizards of the Coast published – in order, and introduce them to the new system the way WotC intended.
I wanted to talk about the broken-ness of running packs of Kobolds at 1st level character when all Kobolds get Pack Tactics: Giving them Advantage on attack rolls if an ally is within 5 feet of them/their target/their anything – and Advantage in the early levels is game changing. Now, I love Kobolds. They’re the greatest underdogs in the Monster Manual. I ran a campaign (in 3.5) of five Kobolds that called themselves “The Fist of Tiamat.” I am not hating on Kobolds. But when six Kobolds almost take out six heroes at the gaming table, they can be considered a little strong (I was playing a Halfling Ranger in the Adventure League module called Treasure of the Broken Hoard that saw (almost) his entire group decimated by them – not fun).
So this segment will be placed on hold until that game goes live. Instead I’m going to talk a little about character choices given a Half-Orc Fighter I’m currently playing in a game of Curse of Strand – the Adventure League campaign for last season.
I named him Grouhl (pronounced Growl) Oathbound, an Outlander raised primarily by instinct and a wolf pack that found him to tough to eat – and more useful in the pack than in their bellies. He was found around his seventh or eighth year by a mercenary group and adopted as a mascot – at first, but his tenacity and his inner reserve set him apart rather quickly. He began training with the mercenaries, learning not just to fight but to negotiate contracts; learning to live by sword and coin alone. As such he sports a selfish alignment of Neutral Evil, caring little for anyone else but himself.
He’s been fun to play so far, as I gave him an Intelligence of 8 – so I don’t share the burden of thinking things out when it comes to problems we face. I’m more of a point me in a direction and set me loose character. It has led to some wonderful role-playing experiences as the rest of the group has to deal with the lack of choice making and the harsh realities of my action-before-diplomacy tactic.
Grouhl is not a talker. If he is talking to someone not in the group and it has nothing to do with payment for a job, we have made terrible life choices this game session.
I decided early on that I wanted to try out the Champion archetype. Making use of a greatsword (2d6) with his Half-Orc racial ability to make that a 5d6 when he rolls a critical hit was my main goal. Heavy weapons fighting style also helps when some of the 5d6 crits actually hurt by letting me re-roll 1s and 2s. The heavy weapon feat also works wonderfully with the archetype. The Bard helping me fish for critical hits by casting Faerie Fire makes him my MVP – even though I don’t tell him that.
Also, switching gears at level 6 with my first level of Paladin puts me in the position where I now have more of a health buffer with the Spellcasting, Lay on Hands, and Second Wind all helping me stay in the fight longer. With spells I get the ability to Smite as well, giving me even more damage output – which is Radiant damage to boot: Bringing me to a total of 5d6 + 4d8 damage on a critical hit with a Smite.
I’ll hit level 3 Paladin. Choose the Oath of Vengeance and give myself Advantage for 1 minute against one target. Then I’ll go back and finish out any leveling as a Fighter.
CoS feels more difficult than the season before it: Out of the Abyss. But OotA also felt like casters were item starved – which seems to be the case from what I’ve read on the forums of all the seasons thus far. I played a Half-Elf Warlock in OotA that I enjoyed immensely – but that’s a story for another day.
Have a good weekend folks! Get in some good games of whatever is tickling your fancy at the moment, and I will hopefully see you at the gaming table!