I meant to do a large write-up of the Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set, focusing on the outcome of my player’s run through the Lost Mine of Phandelver module but it seems they set out to prove the 5th edition’s lethality by up and dying pretty early in. So instead you get a taste, Hell that’s all we got. Last night’s game was still a blast though, and it did allow me to get to bed early.
The guys leapt right in and chose their premades, as expected they made mention that they would like to write up their own PC’s at some point but the idea was to try out the provided stuff. Thus the people of Neverwinter were graced with the presence of Thuz Bunkerton – Human fighter & hero of the Folk, Barrion Whispershadow – Wizard and acolyte of Oghma, Throngar Rocktaint – Dwarven Cleric and cousin to their patron Gundran Rockseeker, and finally Fingle Stinkfeet – Halfling Rogue who is fully committed to the team who’s name lends some credence regarding the stentch of his feet.
I set the stage for them so they found themselves guarding a wagon loaded with supplies, owned by Gundran, & driven by a man who was constantly being pestered by Fingle Stinkfeet. Throngar Rocktaint loudly informed the others that he had come by his last name honestly by taking a pickaxe to an uncomfortable portion of his body and didn’t even wince, and everyone else seemed to just cringe and move on from that. Not much else to say I suppose.
Introductions were made and they laid waste to a few goblins attempting to take their wagon by force. Thuz took the brunt of their damage but didn’t let it bother him much, he used one of his Bonus Actions to get a bit of healing (Bonus Actions are cleverly disguised one use Minor Actions, can’t let on that they borrowed from 4e too much now can we). They wasted no time charging up the hidden goblin path once found, namely because Throngar was afraid for his cousin and wanted to waste no time. They sprung two traps and only suffered for one of them.
They found a cave and took out the two goblins guarding it. After crossing the stream, Thuz made sure to leave his wet socks on the ground to dry, this is somewhat important. They then made the choice that might have cost them everything. They decided they didn’t want to take a short rest because an hour was a long time and they feared for the captured folk. So they went into the cave to save the captured dwarf and human warrior. They bypassed the first room on their right, adhering to an ancient adage of our group known as “lucky left”. This ensured they had to try and climb up a horribly steep tunnel that actually cut through most of the cave and directly to the final room. They made way too much noise doing so and alerted the Goblins above to their presence. In the end they miraculously made it up but were met with six bow wielding Goblins.
The rest did not go well for them, my rolls were solid and the arrows struck home. Thuz the folk hero, after noticing two members of the party go down, loudly proclaimed he had to go check on his drying socks but sadly did not make it out. Fingle was the last standing and attempted to take cover behind Thuz’s body but a critical hit took him out as well.
So it seems we suffered a Total Party Kill, quickly too. One of the finer things we noticed about this new edition was the speed of combat. Things were fast. This entire gaming session took less than an hour and a half, even with all our joking around and decision making. Weirdly enough playing Theatre of the Mind style felt odd to me. I haven’t played Dungeons and Dragons that way in a very long time as 3.X and 4e remain my most played iterations of the game. It worked well though. It was refreshing to divorce myself from the grid. I’ve been playing a lot of TotM games lately and bringing that back to D&D is great. I imagine even the grid based stuff would flow a lot faster though.
The game is certainly more lethal, at least we’re back to it being so at early levels. Those who were craving that have certainly gotten it back. I can say though that the addition of a bit of extra healing during short rests (again we crib a bit from 4e, but don’t tell anyone. If we don’t call them healing surges no one will know! :P) players have a bit of extra to lean on hit point wise so they aren’t super squishy like they’ve been in some past games. It’s a solid compromise in my opinion.
So sorry folks if you were hoping for more! Honestly, there are some great play throughs out there if you want to look them up. My next game may not even be this module anyway. I like to make my own stuff usually. We’ll see though. If anyone wants to ask me some questions about what I did or didn’t like about the system, hit my up in the comments or on twitter! I’m easy to find and I’ll talk your ear off on this stuff. Take care folks, and good gaming!