What's your playtest campaign like?

I'm not asking for a playtest report (there's a whole 'nother forum for those).  I'm interested in the tone, style, and setting of your 5e/Next playtest campaign.

Are you running something in a stereotypical faux-euro medieval setting?  Something akin to FR or Greyhawk?  Something more exotic, like Dark Sun or Eberron?  Something wild, like Spelljammer or Planescape?

What's your time period like?  Pre-history, medieval, rennaisance, modern, futuristic, post-apocalyptic?

High fantasy?  Low fantasy?  High magic, or low magic?

Running something silly, or serious?

Sandbox or crafted?

What's your playtest like? 
Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
Right now I'm running a Forgotten Realms campaign using the playtest material at home, and one in a play-by-post forum on these boards.

The home game is using the new playtest Blingdenstone adventure, and will then move on to homebrew adventures until something new comes out officially.

The PbP game is a conversion of the BECMI adventure Night's Dark Terror. As is the nature of PbP, it is slow-moving and the PCs haven't got to their first combat yet.

I suppose the "tone" of the playtests would be serious...well...as serious as any D&D adventures can be. There's always improv silliness and things done for laughs, but I suppose "serious" is as good a name as any.

Right now, the home game is going smashingly well. Group cohesion is good. No complaints about character faults or serious rules faults (yet). The PbP game is slow. They have made a few skill rolls and did quite a bit of dialogue, but we haven't gotten to the meat of it yet, so i can't really comment on it at this point.   
"Let's do these encounters.  Now, let's do these same encounters at level 2."
It's heavy story focus over here.  Combat is quick and often takes a back seat to RP and story, but we all prefer the fast, intense combat a lot.   I chose to use my home setting (which is in essence an homage to many of the D&D settings), but with a dark/Arthurian fantasy twist.  Since I don't care about the Underdark or Snirvsnibbleblabbledibbledooble gnomes, I just decided to make my own adventure (sampling the awesome homebrew adventures posted here before!)  Since I'm trying to capture a gothic/romantic era feel, the game is mostly serious (with moment of silly of course)... with my usual cast of sociopathic horrors wreaking havoc!  (Yes, quite a few dragonborn were happily sacrificed to satisfy their beastly obsession with the old ultraviolence)

On the mechanics side of things, so far everyone loves what they've chosen!  (No one wanted the Warlock, because no one liked it.  Frown )  Plus, I dig what I see so far.  Of course, there's still much more to delve into!  I can't wait for the next playtest once we're done with this wave!

An undead spectre occasionally returning to remind the fandom of its grim existence.

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
Testing-focused.  In the Portal meaning of the word.  Not really an effective campaign.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
I started them out in the original keep from B2 to go with the Caves of Chaos. 
 
 The game was a heavily story focused, with the rogue trying to set up a thieves guild and start brewing beer (her former trade) on the side between adventures and the dwarven knight negotiating bounties on the various humanods they were hunting. 
     

The party got through about half of the caves before I dangled some additional plot threads in front of them, leading them down into some caverns beneath the Keep - using the adventure Priestly Secrets from Dungeon Magazine Issue 71 and then deeper (because their reaction to a 110' shaft wasn't - lets turn back, it was "hey, I wonder what's down there") using the maps from Beneath the Little Keep by Jolly R. Blackburn. 
   
While they were messing around beneath the city, the visiting priest in the Keep was murdered (assassinated, actually) and his acolytes left town. Investigating his home, they discovered his true affiliation and decided to track his acolytes into the wilderness where they eventually caught up with them in an abandoned temple to chaos - where they played briefly with a portal to somewhere else, freeing a powerful trapped being, before returning to town (leaving the other three portals unexplored for now). 
  
 
 In the last session they left town, heading towards a larger city - from which they will hopefully be enticed into the Blingdenstone adventure - I'm pretty sure I know which hooks to cast to get them into it. If they don't bite, I'm sure we'll come up with something to do. In the meantime, something they woke beneath the keep is hunting them - but so far they only have some vague hints about what it might be and I'm not sure yet just when it will catch up with them. 
  
 
Carl
Right now I've been running a series of test chambers and arena battles intended to put the classes through their paces, seeing how variables change things.  If I can gather enough players (Hard in my area -- not for a lack of interest in Next, but for a lack of players with time outside our normal campaign) I might try to run an actual campaign.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."

 

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THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

We're coverting a Basic D&D module 'The Veiled Society' for the playtest this weekend.  

The story is set in the 'Known World', in the city of Specularum (we're calling it Mirros).  That's what it was called in later products.  'Sides, it's easier to say ;).

Veiled Society is yer basic murder mystery.  Three warring families, angry mobs, and big chase scene at the end.  Sounds like fun.  

I first played this back in the day, and it was the first time I'd ever encountered kobolds.  My last XP with 'em was in Dragon Moutain (thank Bahamut!).  Nasty li'l buggers.  Yip, yip-- yuugh!  We bailed on the playtest before the kobolds (started out in a bugbear lair).
/\ Art
I'm running mine as a Flashback set inside my normal 4E campaign.  So far the story and roleplaying are very elementary, mostly they are just kicking down doors and fragging monsters. Which is a pleasant change of pace from the usual epic 4E slugfests and webs of intrigue.

The player whose character is having the flashback (the usually cautious healer)  is having a great time with the "Well, we know I'LL live. CHARGE!!" mindset.
I would say that the Playtest is not Campaign Material at this point. I would call my playtesting experience a Mini series approach to D&D for now.
We're coverting a Basic D&D module 'The Veiled Society' for the playtest this weekend.  



Interestingly enough, I started to use Veiled Society for the PbP playtest instead of Night's Dark Terror. The only reason I finally sided with NDT is for the outdoor / river / forest / cave / town / keep layout. I wanted to expose the playtesters to as many different terrains (and various playstyles that go along with them) as possible, and NDT just seemed to fit the bill better.

I am curious how your conversion / playtest works out, though. Please do report back after you've ran it. 
We're coverting a Basic D&D module 'The Veiled Society' for the playtest this weekend.

Interestingly enough, I started to use Veiled Society for the PbP playtest instead of Night's Dark Terror. The only reason I finally sided with NDT is for the outdoor / river / forest / cave / town / keep layout. I wanted to expose the playtesters to as many different terrains (and various playstyles that go along with them) as possible, and NDT just seemed to fit the bill better.

I am curious how your conversion / playtest works out, though. Please do report back after you've ran it. 

Yout got it.

Your test sounds really ambitious (we chose Veiled 'cause it sounded straight-forward ;)).  I'm interested in hearing your results as well.
/\ Art
It's over.  Nobody liked it.

 
I would say that the Playtest is not Campaign Material at this point. I would call my playtesting experience a Mini series approach to D&D for now.


Clearly.  Perhaps a better word would be "sessions".  It's kinda hard to plan a campaign when we only have rules for 5 levels, and only the roughest of guidelines for monster creation (if guidelines can even be inferred in the first place!).

I'm idly wondering how different DMs and players face the playtest,what style of games people prefer (I've found that when people don't have lots of rules, they tend to naturally embrace their own "true" style) and a side-curiosity is how that may affect the playtest itself.

If, for example, you are testing the playtest in an engineered, combat-focused, "let's push the buttons and kick the tires" sort of style, you're probably not exposing yourself to the story or exploration "pillars".  You may find some classes mechanically inadequate as a result.

Conversely, if you're focusing on the story and the roleplaying (around which mechanics have little, if any, influence), you may miss unfortunate imbalances that may come back to bite gamers in the butt a year or so later.

So, yeah.  Just wonderin', really. 
Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging. Roll dice, not cars.
One of my players is a fisherman from his background. From that I made up the coastal city of Shimmershore, set in a tropical region. Its essentially a gold rush town that sprung up because a shipwrecked sailor realized that local ocean currents, consistent bad weather, and shallow waters/reefs all work together to wreck trade ships, who's cargo eventually mostly washes up on the shore. Thus he named it Shimmershore. Goblinoid pirates, savage tribal orcs, and even some of the citizens of the now large city all provide the party with enough problems.
I too am in a high seas adventure.  It is based on a setting invented for previous game.  I have taken some liberties as I do with any setting, but it is entirely home brew.  I gave the players a choice or two at the start of the campaign, and from their choice we have since been on the horror island (literally the island is a constantly regenerating horror story) the crew have been exploring a mostly empty shoreline hamlet, in particular the mansion within that small shore community.  I ran some nautical combat early on but am thinking of refining the system to actually be a bit more interesting as it will likely come about often.  I may steal some ideas from PDQ# for the ship to ship combat.  I'm thinkin like maybe 2 more games on the horror island, they can level, and we can leave that place for a long while and get to some normal high seas adeventuring.  The campaign setting itself lends well to an almost sandbox playstyle, though I am tailoring encounters as of right now, so it really isn't like I need to make up a real long plot just yet.  I just need to have a few smaller plots in mind and wait for them to walk into one and then let them enjoy that story arch for a while.
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