This was the new beginning for D&D. It may have been season 19 of D&D Encounters, but this was the first adventure that used the official new 5e rules so in a way it was like season 1 again. We had high expectation for 5e, especially after participating in the D&D Next playtest for so long, and we had high hopes for the first adventure that used the new rules. It was a lot of fun and there were plenty of memorable encounters at the tables I ran.
Today I’m going to take a long, hard look at Hoard of the Dragon Queen. I’m going to identify the good and the bad and then judge it on its merits. Was it a good adventure? Did it work as a season of D&D Encounters? Read on and find out.
On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From July 20, 2011, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Eenie, Meennie, Mini.
I wasn’t a fan of minis until 4e came along. The introduction of very tactical combat made the conversion easy. I enjoy the different perspective that a large mini represents on the battlefield, how lines of sight might be affected and how the battle in general unfolds. Of course it has also led to several members of the Dungeon’s Master team to develop rather large collections of minis. Which is all to my benefit as a player and DM.
One of the questions I’m constantly debating is whether to use a mini that matches the monster they player’s are fighting. Now let me clear up that last statement. If the players are fighting a dragon, a beholder or a giant I use the appropriate mini. The dragon might not be the right colour, thought that’s usually not a problem, but the mini at least represents the monster.
Where I’m less specific is with humanoid combatants. My half-orc’s might look like humans, and my minotaurs might look like elves. As long as I have a mini on the table I’m usually satisfied.
The party defeated the half-Dragon and his five fanatical Barbarian underlings in the Dragon Shrine during the last session. Most of the PCs were pretty banged up so they took another short rest before advancing to the Dragon Hatchery this week. Fortunately none of the creatures still inside the caverns stumbled upon the PCs while they rested so after an hour it was down the stairs into the bowels of the cave.
We ran four table this week at Hairy Tarantula North in Toronto. Three groups are nearing the end of Episode 3 while the fourth table has already moved on to Episode 4. Our usual fifth which has also already moved onto Episode 4 decided to play on a different night beginning this week. It’s good for us because it frees up some space and it’s good for them because they’re now on a night where there’s nothing else going on at our FLGS giving them free run of the place.
This week I had seven players at my table, six of my regulars and one brand new player. The new players had a lot of experience with D&D 2e and 3e, but none with 5e. The table rounded out as follows: Elf Rogue / Arcane Trickster (4), Dragonborn Fighter (4), Halfling Rogue / Assassin (3), Tiefling Bard (3), Tiefling Warlock (3), Elf Ranger (3), Human Fighter (1).
If it’s one things games never have enough of, it’s dice. And with a massive collection of dice comes the inevitable problem of where to store them all. Well, if you’re sick of keeping you dice in a purple, crushed-velvet Crown Royal bag then you should check out Hex Dice Chests.
Quentin and Dan are just a couple of gamers with a passion for woodworking. They’ve got an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign on right now where you can order your own Hex Dice Chest. It’s already 1,000% funded! The Kickstarter runs until the end of day Sunday, November 2. Check it out.
Now if you think these Hex Dice Chests are just the thing for you, but you’re a bit short of funds right now, you’re in luck. Quentin and Dan have graciously donated 4 free Hex Dice Chests to our readers. We’ve decided the fairest way to dole out these prizes is to have a random drawing.
First it was Vampires. Then it was werewolves. Now the popular media seems obsessed with zombies. Where the Vampires and Werewolves got the Twilight treatment and were essentially emasculated by removing the fear factor, zombies for the most part have stayed true to their traditional monstrous selves that everyone’s come to know and expect.
Zombies are everywhere. AMC’s Walking Dead is one of the most popular shows on TV, and the comic that it’s based on is still going strong after 100 issues. It seems that there are more and more zombie novels on the shelves these days than ever before, and there have never been as many big-budget Hollywood movies featuring the undead menace as there are this year.
We’ve practically reached a point where zombies have become a cliché. They’re overused and dare I say it, are starting to bore us. After all, how many different ways can you tell a story that involves a zombie apocalypse? Well, that depends on how imaginative you are. The key to telling an interesting zombie story, or in the case of gamers, running an interesting zombie-themed camping, is to use an angle that we haven’t seen before or at least hasn’t been used to death.
We’re back! After a two week absence our weekly D&D Encounters adventure is back on track. During the last session the PCs faced off against a lot of Kobolds, a few Flying Kobolds, and some really nasty Guard Drakes. The combat was so loud and took so long that more Kobolds from the next room heard the sounds of combat and joined the fight.
Eventually the PCs defeated the all the monsters, but it was a close call. The heroes took refuge in the Kobolds Barracks, now empty since all the monsters left the room to join the fighting. After completing a short rest they were ready to descend the rocky, staircase into the darkness in pursuit of Dragon Eggs and treasure.
Over the past two weeks at Hairy Tarantula North in Toronto we’ve deviated from our typical D&D night path. Two tables finished Episode 3 and decided to play some D&D Expeditions for a couple of weeks. The other tables took a break from D&D Encounters for Canadian Thanksgiving, but many players still showed up at the FLGS and joined in their own D&D Expeditions. This week three tables began the night in the Kobold Barracks (area #8) while the other two tables began Episode 4. But we’ll talk more about that later.
My table had our usual seven players. Everyone had played one or more D&D Expeditions adventure since I last ran the group, so there had been some levelling and character swapping. The party now consisted of the following PCs: Elf Rogue / Arcane Trickster (4), Dragonborn Fighter (4), Halfling Rogue / Assassin (3), Tiefling Bard (3), Tiefling Warlock (3), Elf Ranger (3), Elf Cleric (2). The player running the new Cleric has a level 4 PC but didn’t want to level out of tier 1 yet so she switched to a new PC she’d already run at D&D Expeditions.
On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From May 21, 2010, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: What Music Is Playing During Your Battle?
In grade 5 my teacher asked the class if we could only have one song playing as our theme song, what would it be?
For the life of me I don’t recall what song I selected. However, John Arcadian’s post at Gnome Stew got me thinking about this again. John highlights the tool Pandora. Now, because I live in Canada I don’t have access to this nice tool. I do however have access to my ipod and all the CDs I still haven’t copied over to a digital format.
John’s article brought me back to that question my grade 5 teacher asked, only this time it was what songs would compose my D&D soundtrack?
On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From June 8, 2011, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: Playing Yourself as a D&D Character.
Last week fantasy author Joel Rosenberg died. Rosenberg’s Guardians of the Flame series was my introduction to fantasy fiction. In book one, real world college students become the characters they created when they are transported into their fantasy role playing game. Once inside the game world they realize that in addition to possessing all of the powers and skills of their characters, they still also know everything they did in real life. These characters apply their modern beliefs and values along with rudimentary technology into the game world and become a powerful force striving to make an imperfect world better. As an avid gamer I thought this was the most brilliant premise I’d ever heard the first time I read these books.
The series capped at 10 books, but for many fans the essence of what made this series great ended with book five. Books six through 10 saw the real world character retire (or die) and their children become the focus of the adventures. I’ve read those first five books many times. And even though I’ve read hundreds of other fantasy novels since then I still think that the initial premise of the series holds up. I mean, really, who among us hasn’t imagined themselves as their character at one time or another?
On Friday we comb through our extensive archives to find an older article that we feel deserves another look. From August 7, 2009, Dungeon’s Master once again presents: The Gaming Jerk.
During a recent D&D game at my Friendly Local Gaming Store (FLGS) I got stuck next to a gaming jerk for four hours. Being the nice guy that I am I didn’t say anything at the time, but the more I thought about it afterwards the more I realized that gaming jerks need to be singled out and reprimanded for the good of the game.
The PCs returned to the Dragon Cultists camp and began exploring the cave in which they believe they’d find treasure and dragon eggs. During the last session they faced Dragonclaw Guards, Violet Fungi, Kobolds, and Striges. This week they continue deeper into the caverns in search of stronger opposition and valuable treasure.
We continue to run five tables at Hairy Tarantula North in Toronto. We had one new player this week, keeping our streak of new players every week alive. One of the groups completed Episode 3 last week so they’ve decided to run some D&D Expeditions until the rest of the tables catch up.
I had six players at my table this week, all familiar faces – Halfling Rogue, Halfling Ranger, Elf Rogue, Tiefling Bard, Tiefling Warlock, and Dragonborn Fighter. All were level 3 except for the Halfling Rogue who is still level 2.