Playtesting Caves of Chaos.

I ran a session this morning for a group of five characters.  We played for about four hours and got through the Kobold Lair, and one room of the Goblin's Lair.  You can check out a detailed play by play here on the blog I made for the game if you want.

My party was made up of 4e veterans, and I made it known in advance that we were doing an old school dungeon crawl.  As a 4e DM, running combat in DnD next is refreshing.  It is quick and dirty.  I enjoy combat, but once in a while a 4e encounter just drags on.  Not so with Dnd next.  

I made a few house rules.

1. Players win on a tie
2. Clarifying Vancian casting - Some of my players seemed to think that you could only cast a prepared spell once.
3. Healing - I just let them heal completely after an extended rest.  It seemed pointless to wait for a few days in game to gain full HP.

(On checking the rules, I saw that my house rule #2 was actyally the way it is supposed to be, but some of my players seemed to think otherwise.  Same with rule #3, but I didn't remember where in the packet to look for that rule.)

One thing I noticed was the fighter got bored by the 5th encounter.  He had one attack.  "attack with battleaxe" ... "Attack with battleaxe" ... "Attack with battleaxe".  He did throw a few handaxes, but in general, he waded into melee and did his thing.  He lamented about not having a 4e cleave attack, which would have very much helped him against kobolds and rats.

I personally like the idea of adding electrum pieces back into the game, but it got difficult to keep track of the loot.  I am used to pretty much only dealing in gp.  I suppose this could be an easy change as the DM, but the bestiary and the module seemed pretty focused on giving out silver, electrum and copper.

Lastly, and this is a small complaint, in the current package, there is no 'Caves of Chaos Bestiary'.  Some of the monsters are even missing from the Bestiary included with the packet.  I used the kobold alchemist stats for the kobold lord, but with 17HP (from the previous packet).

All in all, I really enjoyed this new iteration of DnD.  I bought Keep on the Borderlands when it first came out, and it was nice to re-visit it a few decades later.  I was a bit surprised that most of my party had never heard of Module B2.  It was nice to run them through a bit of history. 
I would suggest directing the fighter's attention to the maneuvers and feats, such as cleave, to help them realize their's more they can do.  Not only that, but there are also actions such as knock down, disarm, grapple, push, and improvisation that can all be used to change things up or add a little spice to combat.

Nice input, by the way.   Always interesting to hear feedback from 4E regulars who will have the greatest adjustment to what Next looks to be becoming.

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