Not too Bad for First Run (Caves of Chaos)

This was actually my second playtest, but first as DM. There were only 2 players, but each ran 2 characters. So the only character left out was the wizard. After the looked briefly over the character sheets we were ready to begin.

[sblock: Session Summary]
The group decided to enter through the goblin caves, and made their way towards the first guard room (17). After taking out the goblins there with no difficulties, and seeing the stairs leading up they set up a makeshift barricade with the spears in the barrel to have a warning if something came from this direction and doubled back.

Doubling back they found the next guard room, and the rogue and cleric managed to shoot down the 2 goblins that tried to get to the secret door, with the last one pounding on the door when they smashed him. Listening at the door, the heard the sounds of the large creature on the other side, that ended up just walking away from the door when no one opened it... Then the defender cleric decided to kick it down, and seeing the ogre the slayer took the shot with his crossbow... Though both the slayer and the knight took some heavy damage, nobody dropped, and they managed to defeat the ogre. It was quite impressive, and I'd really like to thank the flatter math for making such a thing possible.  The only spell was the crusaders strike of the defender. So with a 5 pound bag of silver from the goblins, and a 50 pound sack of coins from the ogre they took their first 10 minute rest.

Moving onwards afterwards the halfling snuck ahead finding the warren filled with goblins. Undetected so far, they decided the best way to handle it was have the halfling fire a shot into the middle and then run back to the  corner intersection in the hallway to fight them there. The goblins came in waves of 5 to 6 with more coming in each round. During this battle both slayer and knight were rendered unconcious, but via potions and cure light they were brought back up. The last 6 goblins ended up retreating back to increase the numbers in future encounters.

Having spent their hit dice already and used all their healing capabilities (and sacks of coins they hadn't taken the time to count anyways) they decided to call it a day and head back to town to restock.

Their total in game dungeon diving was about 2-3 hours (about the same as real time) before they had to retreat (or risk carrying someone out soon).
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Afterwards:

Without knowing why the dwarves and halfling had higher damage than the rules would have pointed to, we weren't really sure what to do for the new weapons they picked up. The group really didn't have too many difficulties, since the defender could put himself front and center with the slayer and the others could fire over his head. So until the ogre they hadn't suffered anything other than superficial wounds. Once they actually took a few hits though the healing was gone quickly.

Healing spells were the only spells that mattered, if they hadn't fought the ogre crusader's strike would have been pointless since everthing died on a hit anyways.

Survival is based on disproportionate attacks, defenses, and hit points. The monsters had pretty consistant poor initiative rolls, resulting in most being dead before doing anything. Then when the goblins were only able to hit 25% of the time they were little more than speed bumps.

The skills system was easy enough, the characters were good from a numerical stand point (fighting goblins we didn't get slayer killing even on a miss though). The enemies were really the problem, the ogre was a great battle, but they survived mostly from luck which is fine.. Afterall the are level 1's fighting an ogre. The room vs 22 goblins was great as well but by doing them in waves I realize now that it turned them into 4th edition goblins.. Goblins that took 3-4 hits to kill. If I would have sent all 22 at once they would have massacred the party.

So this might seem harsh, but we had fun and it's a good start. Criticism is more useful than praise though for improving a system. Overall it was a nice step back to simplicity from 3rd and 4th, but it went a little too far back to simplicity. It seemed more like dodgeball, where the characters were doing fine, but once they got hit in a couple of encounters it was over.

Always a GM, never a player (not really but sometimes feels like it).

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