Take a ramble around D&D

I have a lot of D&D posts in the pipeline. The problem is, all of them are going to take work and research and time, all of which I don’t have or don’t want to commit right now. So, instead of floundering around at one of those this week, I’m going to give them the time they need to simmer, maybe add the spice of research and a fresh grinding of doing the work, and instead, serve up this as your entrée into random dnd blog-ness. It might be a bit of a ramble, but its a DND related ramble. That makes it okay.

I bought a copy of Dorkness Rising recently. I shouldn’t have, as I am approaching ‘skint’ a lot faster than I would like, but it is really nice to have on DVD so I can lend it to people. I have no idea what special features it has on it. As soon as it came in, I lent it out.

I might be running some D&D today instead of playing. Not entirely sure. I’m sprinting over to the game store as soon as work is over and seeing if they need some assistance. The event is called D&D:Beginners or something like that. Geared for kids, you know. I’ve been referring my regular Wednesday group kiddos to it, so it might have a decent turn out just from me. I probably ought to make sure I have a couple of super simple premade characters and a bit of an adventure if I have to just start running a thing. Not quite sure what I’d want to do. Probably my old kobold warren. I can run that one cold, if I can write down some names real quick

On Wednesday, I had only six at my table. Seems like a lot for the word “only” doesn’t it? But it was a good number. Not quite the intimate 4 players games I’ve been at before, where you can actually interact with everyone with solid RP instead of having to rely on combat to move forward with.

My average party level took a hit again. One established player brought in a new character to try out, and an other person returned with a level 2 character. I hadn’t expected her to come back unless her kid needed a ride and the dad couldn’t make it. (I am 112% assuming these relationships, btw.)

She also is player a ranger, which is a thing I hadn’t been aware of when she was here before. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Ranger may be a bit under whelming, but it’s still an okay option. The real issue is that it’s a more technical class to play, which is not a great thing for new players.

I tend to start people off with fighters. Nothing is as simple and almost mindless as a fighter, a good way to ease you in to the game without throwing you in the deep end.

13th Age, which I will talk about eventually, does something interesting where they rank their classes based on complexity. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that for 5e. Something to do, I suppose.. (this ranking does not take archtypes into account. Fighter may be simple. Battlemaster and Eldritch knight are not)

  1. Fighter
  2. Barbarian
  3. Rogue
  4. Warlock
  5. Wizard
  6. Monk
  7. Sorcerer
  8. Paladin
  9. Ranger
  10. Bard
  11. Druid
  12. Cleric

There. That’s my list ranking class complexity, from simple to complex, done off the top of my head. We start, of course, with the 3 martial classes. Fighter is basically “I attack with a weapon”. Rogue and barbarian add a bit on top. I ranked the barbarian a bit simpler than the rogue because Sneak Attack needs to be figured out every round, where as once rage activates, you don’t need to think about it.

Warlock is next, which may seem odd, but, if we’re paring away a lot of the class options from play and we’re not building the character, warlocks are simple to play. They have a pair of spell slots to use and a limited number of spells to use them on. After that, its wizards. They have a lot more choice, but their actual gameplay works out pretty simple (depending on spell choice and if you have spell cards). You’re just using your spells to fit the situation. All the other classes have a bit more involvement on their round.

Monk is next. Ki points can get a bit confusing, but most people use them just for flurry of blows, so Monks just need to understand the Bonus Action concept fairly well, and then they’re good to go. Well, they also have a class specific resource, which is mirrored in the sorcerer who has a similar pool. It gives them a bit of flexibility and control on their turns, which, in turn, is a type of complexity.

Next are our two fighter/cleric splices. I think paladin is a bit simpler than ranger, mostly because Paladins are more likely to Smite instead of spellcast. Also, rangers have all these bits and bobs that might come into play and you can never be sure.

Next is bard. bards can very easily be simple to play, if you’ve built them that way. Or they can have complicated spells and get really involved in combat. Bards can choose to do martial or arcane on their turn, as well as bardic inspiration, so their turns can get rather complex.

Penultimate is the druid. this is entirely due to wildshape, which has around a page of rules. Granted, a lot of that is edge case definitions, but its still a lot to take in. You also need to have the animal stat blocks. And it can cast spells if desired.

Cleric is my last, which may seem odd, but that’s because of how their class works. In my mind, clerics are inseperatable from their domains. sure, I guess, you could separate it, and then mechanically, they’d be around the wizard. But, in addition to the class mechanics, clerics are in this weird place. Are they squishy laser clerics? are they basically paladins? they’ve gone back and forth in what they’re role is. In 4e, they had the leader role, which is sadly not a thing anymore, but they still have some remenants of that job, which makes it a harder class to play.

These are my 2 copper on the topic of class difficulty. Really, you can play any class as easy or as hard as you want, filling pretty much any role with any class.

Man, now I’m jonesing for some 4e. It had it’s problems, but each class knew how it was supposed to function in combat. And as long as you went along with that role, your character worked (mostly). It’s taken me a few years to long for this aspect of 4e. I guess looking at 13th age has reawakened some of the good memories (13th age is basically DnD4.5, except there are good reasons that it is not.)

I should, by the time anyone gets around to reading this, have a copy of Tales form the Yawning Portal, which means I’ll have every official 5e book, adventures and otherwise, that are out. So far. I have a preorder on the book in November, which is highly discussed before D&D every Wednesday. I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but I am horribly curious.

One of the things I would like in it, which may or may not be in it and its too late to be added, would be an multipage write-up of each of the factions in the sword coast. Give us names, adventure sites, business plans, goals, NPC statblocks, adventure hooks, towns with high concentration,basically, what the monsters got in Volo’s, but for these organizations. I like the factions. I think they are a very useful construct, I just wish I had a bit more to play with. Like if the Adventurer’s league stuff was folded into the actual game instead of being on the outside.

My Tuesday game is still a bit stressful for me. I really need to just let go and let it go wherever. Use it to learn the locations in Chult and not try to drive a story. It should be very casual D&D for me, not a serious game. Maybe in the future I can run a serious game that gets all roleplay-y, with character development and intricate plots and everything, but for now, I need to chill and just have fun with the game, you know? I always want to make it a big production, but I should just let it ride.

Heck, today in the shower, I had a fun idea that, even if I was not behind on a bunch of projects, I would not have time fore. That’s how a bunch of my projects go. I need to place this not even on the backburner, but out side of the pantry entirely.

(I’m trying to get to 1666 words in this ramble. I’ll be trying NaNoWriMo this year, so I want to know what that feels like when writing my daily words at work)

I am doing odd things with my Tuesday group. I don’t know the end goal, but I’ve started to put pieces together in my head. I think it will end up being comparatively short, which isn’t a bad thing. Treating this “season” or “story” as a brief refresher before we start something better would be nice. Might do a more straight forward dungeon crawl after this. I don’t know. The jungle crawl resources are a bit more reuseable than a dungeon, depending on how its prepped. I might be able to save the the technique and prep work in the art file. Hmm. Or maybe write a program to automatically generate the dungeon from text, since we’re doing some bluesky  thinking

actually, that would be pretty cool. I’ll have to think about that.

It also might be worth trying to play things other than D&D with this online group. It’d be nice, but I’m fairly sure this would not be a group I could get to do homework, so all of the learning a new game would be on my shoulders to simplify and instruct. So I’d have to really really love the game to do it.

We’ll see. Anyway, thanks for reading this thought chain. This is basically how I plan for D&D. My thoughts run through a bunch of avenues, I make a fake table that wouldn’t be useful if it was accurate, I wish for some things, and then it’s show time. It seems to work okay.

Cheers.

 

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