There were a few significant things about this session. First, it was the first time that I’ve run a table with 6 players. I debated for a few weeks about whether to expand the size of the group and after much consternation I decided to go ahead with it. I decided to proceed primarily because it would improve the chances of us consistently achieving a quorum and being able to play. We’re all adults with “responsibilities” and as such so absences aren’t terribly unusual or unexpected. It was a coincidence that during this particular session that all 6 players were able to attend.
My reluctance to expand the group can be largely attributed to playing past rules systems where combat could significantly bog down with a large number of player characters. I very much wanted to give the new person a chance to play but not at the expense of decreasing the enjoyment of my established players. The good news is that despite this being a pretty combat-heavy session I found that the D&D Next rules helped to keep things moving pretty quickly. There were a few points in the attack on the Forge where the party split up and I had to tapdance a bit while going back and forth between the different contingents, but hopefully nobody got too bored while that happened.
Speaking of which, this was my first experience at running what I would consider to be a large scale combat. All in all it was 6 player characters against a compound containing 10 gnolls, 20+ kobolds, a ticked-off ogre blacksmith, and a couple fairly strategic mages. I will admit that I felt a slight sense of satisfaction while hitting the PC’s with some of the same spells that they’ve been using to wipe out my precious NPC’s for the last several sessions.
The terrain setup for this session was probably the most elaborate that I’m likely to do for a while. I’ve made posts about most of the individual components already. The base was a rubberized mat from Zuzzy Mats. The islands were either polystyrene or hardboard covered in moss mats and decorated with Hirst Arts bricks and various attempts at water effects. The bridges were patched together wood from the local craft store. No individual piece was that complex or time consuming, but put together I would like to think that they achieved the desired effect.
The next session should be a good change of pace. Perhaps the diseased dragon will make another appearance and perhaps not. It may all depend on the quality of the snacks offered up by my players.
Keep turning left.