What I Did Wrong at D&D: July 27, 2016

Welcome, friends! Another week has past and here I am, writing a widwad hours before the next game. Not nearly enough time for me to internalize the lessons, as I normally make them up as I write this. But maybe something sunk in this week.
This was Week 5 of Season 2 of shop D&D, entitled “The Roofs of Gavony.” I wanted to do a roof top chase, like how Casino Royal opens, with running, jumping, and the like. And so I rifled through my factions list, trying to decide who made the most sense. I *almost* picked Kobolds, but I ended up using Kenku.

Kenku have a really interesting quirk in 5e: the have no language. They can understand Common, but they can’t speak Common. Instead, they use their Mimicry feature to make sounds suggesting what they want to convey. A really cool feature, but I wish I had spent more time making a translation guide. Instead, 90% of their dialogue was a screeching cat.

The second thing I did wrong concerns my battle map. Actually, it’s more than just item 2. I wish i had done a lot of things better.

1. Start it earlier. It was a larger job than I had thought. The markers I used weren’t quite what I wanted, although I made them work. Had I started earlier, I may have changed mediums. Spray paint or duct tape may be good materials for future scenes.

2. Too much spacing. My desires and my preconceptions had a fight and I think the players lost out. I was picturing something Urban and settled for Suburban. A lot of trees and open spaces. It’d be a nice place to live, but a bad place to hold a roof top chase. Ideally, any player should be able to chance the jump across a street, but that didn’t really happen. This is the biggest thing that I would fix in a future fight.

3. Too Big of a Battlefield. My map ended up being bigger than the table! So we had to scrunch tables together to make it work. Which wasn’t a problem at the shop, but if it had been a game else where, there could have been issues.

4. It was a combat, not a chase. I knew this was going to happen as soon as I made a map. If I had kept it more abstract, I could have made it more chase-y, but then that would have been faster and I would have had less going on that night. Once it became a combat, though, I fell prey to the fact that my party has some crazy ranged capabilities and my kenku were pretty weak. So they quickly fell as opposed to getting away.

5. No clear end. So one of the problems with making it a long fight as opposed to a real chase is that I didn’t have a great way to stop it. I had a vague idea that if they made it back to the tower/nest, they could get away, but I gave up on that after I saw the first round of combat. We weren’t going to last that long. I even let the crash the balloon.

All in all, it was a fun week. A good week for pulling random things like bolas and tightropes from no where, focusing on colorful combat, as opposed to serious tacticalness. And I scored a cool map which I’d be a fool not to use again, someday. And that’s what progress is all about. Back when I started running for the shop, I never messed up in a way that would help me out. I’m learning! See you… tonight. As I write up the WidWad for what I’m playing right now, right after the game.


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