Monday, June 16, 2014

Got my 5e on!

Our regularly scheduled D&D game got cancelled Friday night, and I was, of course, bummed out. I get cranky when that happens. But, it was OK because Saturday I was able to go to the FLGS, and take part in the weekly 5e game that my friend runs.

I initially chose a human monk (we used pregens), because I wanted to play something different than a half-orc barbarian (which is what I play in our regular game). However, one of the guys who showed up had a 9-year old son who had played the monk before. So, I offered to let him play the character again, and I chose the half-elf paladin instead.

Having played a few sessions of the various test packets, I knew going in that it would be a simple and refreshing D&D experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love the potential crunchiness of 3.5e. But there’s something to be said for the more flexible, “free form” manner of playing that D&D used to have back in the “old” days. I think 5e really does a great job of capturing that feeling, while giving you updated options and playability.

One thing I noticed this time that never came up before was character death. Depending on which edition you play, this is handled in a variety of ways. From just outright being dead at 0 hit points, to “bleeding out” until you reach -10 (or more). This actually rarely comes up for me (though I often come close with Ahnuld). However, it came up a couple of times on Saturday (we went through 4 combats in the span of just under 4 hours of play time).

In these rules, when you hit 0 hp, you collapse. Each round you have to make a “Death Save” roll. Basically, you need to roll above a 10 on a d20. If you make it three rounds in a row, you are revived with 1 hp on the next round, and are able to act. If you fail three times, you die the final death. However, if you make 1 or 2 saves, but then fail one, you have to start over the next round, trying to make three consecutive saves.

The first time I fell, I was revived by the cleric. The next time I fell (I was the tank), I made two saves, but failed my third. I was once more revived by another party member before I had to continue. Honestly, as frustrating as it was to just be laying there, I like this mechanic a lot. I’ve never been a fan of character deaths, and especially not TPK’s. So, this makes the odds of either happening very rare. And if it does, you probably really earned it. About the only thing I would change is adding some kind of modifier based on your individual character (CON bonus comes to mind) to the Death Save. To my knowledge, there were no such modifiers. At least, my DM didn’t mention any.

All in all, I had a blast. Everyone at the table was a stranger, aside from the DM (who is in my regular gaming group). Yet we all just jumped in and had at it. I also really liked that regardless of general RP/D&D experience, no one had any trouble picking the rules up and going. A lot of Grognards seem to grumble about this or that with this edition. But, in my opinion, it plays very much like the B/X, BECMI, and 1e editions. The mechanics are updated, but the overall feel of the game is in that same realm. I think they will be pleasantly surprised if/when they give it a chance.

As a side note, I decided that my character looked like this...

Which, of course, inspired me to watch this movie again last night. Still just as cheesy as it always was. And I still love it!

1 comment:

  1. That mechanic sounds very cool. I've always went for the 0hp and you be dead man. And Beastmaster...I need to watch it now.