Sunday, May 27, 2012, 2:20 PM
Categories: Dungeons & Dragons
Our gaming group played the DnD Next (5e) playtest scenario last night for the first time. I am our DM and we have 5 players. All of our group are veteran 4e players. 2 of us are veteran AD&D players. We are split 3 and 3 male/female with 4 adults and 2 teens.
We all really enjoyed it! Specifically in bullet format things we liked about the playtest:
-Speed of combat
-Ability to have both at-will spells and 'daily' spells
-Use of character Hit Dice as a mechanism for short rest healing
-Advantage/Disadvantage (yes, I am listing this twice because we REALLY liked this)
-Ease of play--character sheets were layed out well and information was readily available.
I personally liked the use of the old Keep on the Borderlands Caves of Chaos (I was even able to use my old module's map).
-Limits on Long Rests and inherent limits on short rests
-Tomes and Lore checks
-Racial Immunities and abilities
-Spell Prep times for Wizard and Cleric
-'Theater of the Mind'--we played the whole session without a grid or miniatures and everyone enjoyed it though half of us at the end of the session admitted that though it was fun, they would have preferred the grid and miniatures at times to aid in visualization.
-Using Con scores as part of starting hitpoints for characters.
One thing we didn't like
-Inability to increase the number of spells per day for high intelligence and/or wisdom scores
-No area on the character sheet to list encumberance
all in all, great experience. Eager to see more.
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Friday, July 2, 2010, 3:28 PM
Categories: Dungeons & Dragons
In our campaign within the land of Pendragon, the town of Winterhaven was sacked by a horde of zombies. Nearly everyone was killed except for a few citizens. When the characters returned from the depths of the Thunderspire Labyrinth, they got the word of the tragedy and as swiftly as possible made their way to the former town. The party is level 8 now, and at a crossroads in their campaign with several directions they could pursue known adventure hooks. However, since the town was essentially empty, the party wanted to take over ownership and rebuild it. It was early summer so they figured if they could get enough people to immigrate into the town they could re-populate the farms and then rebuild enough to survive the winter. The lure of gold (essentially an investment of capital provided by the party) and a new future with a brand new start in a new town, would attract some people. The party would take up residence in Lord Pedriag's old manor as the "New Lords".
So giving this some thought, I thought I would use the Skill Challenge construct to facilitate the rebuilding, and provide some opportunity for role-playing as they met some of the new NPC's that immigrated. This is what I came up with. I think it will be fun, exciting and gets the party some XP that they could expect to get as they learn new things handling all the myriad tasks and problems that would go on with the engineering of a new town. As far as Skill Challenges go, it covers a very long time frame--over a month in length, but regardless, I think it works well.
From the DM perspective, it is also a great way for me to introduce and/or flesh out some great new NPC relationships. Gustav the Baker (and his staff of Halflings), Rendir Halfmoon (and his family) from the Seven Pillared Hall, as well as Thair Coalstriker (and his six brothers who immigrate from Hammerfast to run the forge) are just a few. Of course, all these people coming in will be bringing lots of stories and rumors so the opportunity to throw out more adventure hooks is high. This comes at a good point in the party's career as they are nearing the Paragon Tier. Tell me what you think!
Joel, the DM.
Rebuilding the town of Winterhaven
Many decisions have to be made in order to successfully get the town of Winterhaven back in shape to take advantage of the upcoming harvest. Fortunately, almost all the farms were planted prior to the attack, but since most of the farmers were slain, getting the farms re-populated and ready for harvest is of paramount importance. Equally so, is the construction of key buildings and houses that people will need. The overall goal is to enable Winterhaven to prosper enough so its new inhabitants can survive the winter and possibly begin to engage in significant trade with other towns in the Vale.
Setup: The players will be forced to accomplish various tasks and make decisions about construction and governance of the town of Winterhaven. Not to mention responsibility over the livelihood of the numerous immigrants that will be flowing in from across the Vale. This Skill Challenge will take the party through the month of July up to the first week in August.
Level: 12 (3,500 xp)
Complexity: 5 (12 successes before 3 failures)
Primary Skills: Diplomacy, Intimidate, Nature, Religion, Streetwise
Diplomacy (DC 19): The party interviews the immigrants and negotiates contracts, taxes, trade agreements, and other essential “government stuff”. 4 attempts allowed with this skill.
Intimidate (DC 22): Cajoling, prodding, and strong-arming, may be needed to convince some to play nice and do what is best for the survival of the new Winterhaven. Not to mention, keeping any criminal element cowed can only help. Only 2 attempts allowed with this skill.
Nature (DC 18): Knowledge of farming, cycles of growth, weather patterns, hunting, livestock, harvesting methods, and irrigation are all essential elements to explore as summer continues to march into the Fall harvest. Unlimited attempts allowed with this skill.
Religion (Trained only, DC 20): Setting up the new temple is also essential. The new citizens will want to draw strength from their religious beliefs and to ignore that would be harmful to the overall effort. Providing religious services, conducting counseling, and reminding everyone of their patron’s involvement in this endeavor is key. 3 attempts allowed with this skill.
Streetwise (DC 18): Everybody tries to squeeze as much gold out of a situation they can. It’s just good business right? Well, suckers are born every minute. You can use streetwise to avoid being one of them. Keep the shady dealing to a minimum and focus on eliminating corruption from the start. Keeping everything above table is the goal. 3 attempts allowed with this skill.
Secondary Skills: Endurance (Group), Arcana, Heal, Perception, History, Bluff, Insight
Endurance (DC 15): At times it is necessary to roll the sleeves up and do it yourself. This represents the whole party working together to raise a roof, unload an essential wagon train load of material, staying up late to assign the next days work details, clear a section of rubble so building can begin. The party can “pitch in” as often as they wish. Each success allows one additional attempt in the primary skill of the party’s choice (Diplomacy, Intimidate, Religion, or Streetwise)
Arcana (Trained only, DC 22): When in doubt, cast a spell on it. Those trained in Arcana can use their powers of magic to lend a hand where most needed. Each success allows a +2 bonus to the next primary skill check made.
Heal (Trained only, DC 18): People get hurt. Hurt people can’t work. Work stoppage is a bad thing when Summer is drawing to a close. Keep that labor force strong and healthy. Can be attempted 3 times. Each success eliminates a Primary skill failure of the characters choice.
Perception (DC 20): “Is that guy wearing an Orcus pendant underneath his cloak?” Ne’r-do-wells always show up to disaster sites attempting to prey on the unfortunate. Beyond that , noticing things that need to be done is also incredibly valuable—“Wait, that brace is cracked! Don’t put any weight on it!” This represents the party members catching “gotchas” before they happen. Can be attempted 3 times. Each success eliminates a Primary Skill failure of the characters choice.
History (DC 18): “Hey, I remember reading about this guy who did this thing that helped out a lot”. Education is priceless. Use yours to help rebuild Winterhaven. Each success grants a +2 bonus to the next primary skill check of the party’s choice.
Bluff (DC 22): Sometimes, it’s best to be “tactful” in lieu of brutal honesty. Telling the newcomers what they want to hear might help motivate them to work harder. Each success grants a +2 bonus to the next primary skill check of the party’s choice.
Insight (DC 18): “Sure, he SAYS he has all this experience, but I’m telling you, the guy is lying!” With so many lives at stake making decisions based on the truth is essential. You’ve got to have the correct facts in order to make a proper informed decision. People lie for all sorts of reasons. Don’t be fooled. Set your most insightful party members as the “interviewers”. This skill can be attempted 3 times. Each success eliminates a Primary Skill failure of the characters choice.
Zero successes: People are dissatisfied with the future outlook of this town. No additional people added to the population
1 Success: 100 people are added to the population.
2-3 Success: 250 people are added to the population
4+ successes: People are confident in the leadership and direction of the town. 500 people are added to the population
Zero Successes: People feel the “New Lords” are kind of weak and will allow crime to flourish. No additional people are added to the population.
1 Success: These guys seem to be powerful enough. 100 people are added to the population.
2+ successes: These guys are badasses. Crime will not flourish here. 250 people added to the population.
Zero Successes: Crops fail—famine is likely. Crops only available to feed 100 people over the winter.
1-2 Successes: Crops are severely limited. Food will be available to feed 300 people over the winter.
3-5 Successes: Crops are fairly adequate. Food will be available for 1000 people over the winter. 300 people are added to the population.
6+ successes: Bumper Crop! Food will be available for any number of inhabitants in Winterhaven as well as plenty for export. 1000 people are added to the population.
Zero Successes: Our patrons have abandoned us!! All is doom and gloom. No additional people arrive in Winterhaven.
1 Success: The patrons help those who help themselves. The people may feel they are in for a time of trial, but they believe their patrons are with them. 100 people are added to the population.
2-3 Successes: The patrons are watching over us and our future is bright. 400 people are added to the population.
4+ Successes: The Patrons are with us! We cannot fail! 600 people are added to the population.
Zero Successes: Corruption flourishes. People become disillusioned. No additional people arrive in Winterhaven.
1 Success: Crime…it’s always going to be there--what can you do? 100 people are added to the population.
2+ Successes: The New Lords run a tight ship. Con artists beware! 250 people are added to the population.
When 12 primary skill successes have been achieved or 3 failures suffered, the challenge is over. Starting with a base of 200 people, add additional population from the results above. This will be the population of Winterhaven. Obviously, the Nature roll is the most significant (which is fitting since agriculture is most significant for survival). Religion and then Diplomacy are next. See the below chart for the importance to the party of population.
200-400—barely a hamlet. More importantly, not enough of them will be available to tend to the farms. Famine and poverty likely. No gold available from taxation.
400-700—a solvent small town. They grow enough to feed themselves and not much else. Limited trade, so only 10 gold a month available from taxation.
700-1000—A nice sized town. Trade will grow. 100 gold a month available from taxation.
1000-1400—Bigger than Winterhaven used to be but slightly smaller than Fallcrest. Trade will flourish. 400 gold a month available from Taxation.
1400-1800—Exceeded expectations. Trade the equal of Fallcrest. Money will flow up and down the Great Road. 500 gold a month available from Taxation.
1800-2000—Largest town outside of Hammerfast. Further growth hindered by lack of infrastructure. Major developments will be likely. Trade will be the equal of any other town in the Vale. 600 gold a month available from Taxation.
This gold will be used to fill the city coffers and will pay for things like wages for the Town Watch, City Guard, the Grey Watch Rangers, and all their equipment and lodging barracks (for the City Guard at least). It also can be used for public works (town well, fountains, etc), upkeep of the city walls, schools (perhaps), etc. Also, as the New Lords, they can spend gold for personal uses as well since they are the ultimate protectors of Winterhaven. Stipends for the city council that governs in the absence of the New Lords is also drawn from this money.
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