Updating my 5th Edition D&D Adventurers League Character

Adventurers League

Back in August, I had a fun time sitting down and going through the new 5th edition D&D Player’s Handbook and creating a new character for the Encounters hosted events that happen every Wednesday evening. Unlike the AD&D rules that I was most familiar with, my return to D&D came with some nice changes regarding leveling and Ability Score bonuses and more. With AD&D, every class had its own Experience Point chart — leveling for a fighter required less XP than leveling for a magic-user, for example. The new 5e Player’s Handbook not only strips out the complexities (instead offering a single XP chart for leaving of all classes, for example) that I recall with AD&D, but adds a lot of new (to me) interesting twists such as Feats and class-specific choices that offer even more customization and fun ways to play a character. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Monster Manuals — 1977 AD&D and 2014 5e D&D

Side by Side

I enjoyed being a DM for my friends, and I’m looking forward to taking the reins again. The original AD&D Monster Manual was a great source of inspiration for many adventures — I’d pick the right Big Bad, create a dungeon or castle or other location, and then scatter lesser creatures around as needed. When I reached for the MM, my players knew something was coming… or around the corner… or hidden just beneath the water’s surface. The DMG and MM were all I needed (plus a few hours or more of prep time) to give my players a good adventure, and now it’s looking like I’m going to once again have a chance to create new adventures as the 5th edition books are two-thirds released. My original AD&D Monster Manual has sat proudly on my shelf, and now it has a neighbor… the new 5th edition D&D Monster Manual. Continue reading

D&D Adventurers League: Session 5 Report (PLUS: Bonus DM Report!)

Adventurers League

For Session 5, our regular DM (Martin) was out, and in stepped Chris. I’d had Chris as a DM a few weekend back at Expeditions where he ran four of us through one of the five hour-long mini-adventures in the Defiance in Phlan story. Chris probably remembered my character as the sorcerer who decided to grab a handful of gold at a very poorly chosen opportunity, triggering a trap and causing some tense moments with my fellow party members. Won’t do that again. Lesson learned. Well, Chris stepped in for Martin and was forced to create a custom mini-quest on the spot. And he nailed it. Continue reading

D&D Adventurers League: Session 4 Report

Adventurers League

I learned an interesting bit of news about the Encounters adventure I’m currently participating in with a bunch of fellow players — until this “episode” is completed (Another six weeks!) it will be very difficult to take a Long Rest. For those of you familiar with the new 5e rules, a Long Rest is needed to restore Hit Dice (used to heal up during a Short Rest) but more importantly… our party needs one to restore spells! Spellcasters only have a fixed number of spell slots they can use, and these slots aren’t restored without a Long Rest. This doesn’t affect cantrips, so it’s not like my Sorcerer is completely powerless, but it made a few of my fellow players and I squirm last night when we realized how many more sessions we have ahead of us before we can have our spells restored. Continue reading

Of Dice and Men — The Story of Dungeons & Dragons (Now In Paperback!)

Of-Dice-and-Men

I’m continuing to enjoy my weekly D&D session every Wednesday night, and I’m just amazed at the number of new players I keep meeting at each gathering. We’ve got a 13 year old who is having an absolute blast and asking all sorts of good questions, including questions about previous versions and the “old days” of D&D. Makes me smile.

This Wednesday I’m planning on handing that young player a copy of David M. Ewalt’s Of Dice and Men, an excellent personal account of Ewalt’s experiences, both past and present, with D&D. The book has just been released in paperback, so if you’ve not read it yet, you really need to go and grab a copy. Continue reading

D&D Adventurers League: Session 3 Report

Adventurers League

Once again this week I was fortunate to grab a chair at the same DM’s table (Martin) so I could pick up where my party left off. It was suggested to me that a good idea might be to change tables and experience another DM as well as see how a transition to an earlier or later part of the adventure is handled. Fortunately, I was able to see one way it could be handled when a player from another table joined our group this week — that player had already finished a small piece of our upcoming night’s adventure. The DM had a private (and quick) chat with that player to determine what he knew (and didn’t know) and was able to tweak a bit of the adventure to keep it new for all involved. Continue reading

D&D Adventurers League: Session 1 Report

Combat

Last night, for the first time in over 20 years, I got to play a game of D&D around an actual table with some new friends. It was all part of the D&D Encounters event that will meet every Wednesday (for a while). Players will be using the new 5th edition D&D rules (that include the Starter Set as well as the new 5e Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide) as they adventure in the Forgotten Realms. Wizards of the Coast has created an adventure that DMs in the Encounters event will be running across the country (world?) with a mix of both new and experienced D&D players. Continue reading

A Tale of Two Handbooks — 1978 AD&D and 2014 D&D

Players Handbook

Here’s the deal — there are no middle versions of D&D for me. With the exception of a few rare games played over the last 10-20 years, I really stopped playing AD&D consistently in the mid-80s. I only have the D&D Basic Set and AD&D as a comparison with the newest 5e. You’ll get no 2e, 3e, or 4e commentary or debates from me — I wouldn’t be able to contribute anything. In a sense, any feedback I provide here on the new D&D rules should be treated the same as if it were coming from a new player (but a player with experience with RPGs). While I feel it’s a bit unfair to pit the 1978 AD&D Players Handbook against 2014 D&D Player’s Handbook, the reality is it’s not really a battle. AD&D was a product of its time, and it was outstandingly fun. AD&D had its problems (some of which I’ve shared above), but we still played it. A lot. With grins on our faces. Continue reading

Hey DMs! Two New 5th Edition Adventures!

Two Adventures

The D&D Starter Set has been out now for about a month, and maybe you’re one of those DMs who has already run and finished parts (or all) of the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure with your players who are now playing at level 2 or 3 (or higher). Or maybe you haven’t run it yet and are looking for something a little shorter… something that your Level 1 players can handle and won’t take multiple sessions to complete. If so, you’re in luck… because Goodman Games will be releasing two new adventures for the new 5th edition of D&D. Continue reading

Designers & Dragons 4-Volume Role Playing Game History Series via Kickstarter

1970 to 1979

If you’re like me and are fascinated by the history of role playing games (RPGs), the folks over at Evil Hat Productions are about to make your day. I’ve written recently about some of the current books available that focus on the history of RPGs, but I’m a firm believer that we can always use more. Continue reading

A Little History With Your D&D?

Playing at world

Dungeons & Dragons is back in the news, what with it being 40 years old (Happy Birthday, D&D!) and the release of the new Starter Set. Hopefully this means lots and lots of new players and new fans. There’s a lot of history when it comes to D&D, however, and anyone discovering it for the first time might also be interested in its history. Continue reading

Old or New Version, D&D Is Still Inspiring

Basic Set & Starter Set

A few days ago, as I was pondering Ethan Gilsdorf’s NYTimes.com article on D&D and writers and thinking back to those wonderful days before discovering girls, cars, and other distractions, my doorbell rang. Sitting on my doorstep was a small box. I couldn’t remember ordering anything recently, but it had my name on it. I opened it up and couldn’t believe my eyes — a friend had ordered a gift copy for me of the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set (right, below photo) that was just released from Wizards of the Coast. Continue reading