Sorry for the gap between posts here. A few of my players had last-minute conflicts and were unable to make the planned session for 2/28. We ended up playing some Lords of Waterdeep instead which was a thoroughly enjoyable alternative. We picked up the playtest campaign again on 3/14.
We had a new player join the group and he opted to create a monk. I was happy about that because it’s one of a small number of classes that I haven’t seen in play at all yet. I’ve gone back and forth in my opinion of the monk class over the years. I like that sort of mobile melee combatant, but the concept of someone running up to a heavily armored opponent (or dragon!) and punching them always felt a little silly to me. In any case, this iteration of the monk seems like an interesting one. The ki point system starts to give some good flexibility fairly early in the monk’s advancement and most of the traditional D&D monk abilities seem to be represented.
I had a minor situation to deal with right off the bat since I had one new player and one who had missed the last session. I had already set up the disappearance of Trog during the previous session and was prepared to bring him back into play via the spiderweb, but the new player came on board right before the session and I didn’t have time to come up with anything clever for his PC. I also knew that it was going to be a full night already and didn’t want to devote more time to finding him elsewhere in the dungeon AND I thought it best to get him involved as quickly as possible. So, one person trapped in the spiderweb became two.
The terrain setup that I used for this session was my most elaborate to date. I used a few of the items previously described here, namely the rocks and underground pool. I also used a slight variation on this technique to create a spider web template for use in the first encounter with the giant spider. I also stacked some tiles to get a little elevation for the sniper nest, which kept the layout of the encounter in the pool understandable. For the room with the portals and curtains, I actually created small disks of clear plastic with the appropriate substances on them as clues. (actual ash, actual dirt, and some water effects gel to represent the water) Not pictured below, I added some dried sheet moss (typically used in flower arrangements) to represent the dead foliage in the garden encounter. It looked good but was a total mess to clean up. It’s probably not something that I’d do again.
I don’t have a whole lot more to say about the D&D Next playtest rules after this session. The highest compliment that I can give them is that for the most part they stay out of the way. I had to do some customization/conversion of monster stats for a few creatures, but that was about it. I improvised DCs for any other checks using the recommended scale from the play test documents.
The most fun of this particular module was the hallucinations. The module gives a few examples of this sort of thing but largely leaves the specifics up to the DM. I jotted down several ideas prior to the session and selected the ones that seemed to fit best at the time when I wanted them to occur. The monk had punched the lemurs during that encounter, so it seemed plausible that doing so might have some after effects. The barbarian suffered from the phantom pit largely because we just had an off-topic conversation about how gravity was a bigger killer of D&D characters than monsters. I’m hoping that the hallucinations are providing the desired effect. Just wait until reality starts getting so weird that it’s *really* hard to decide what’s real and what’s not.