I knew the word 'spelunking' from a very young age. I've been told I was weird by a friend for using it to describe pretending our sleeping bags were caves that we were exploring.
I maintain it would have been weird NOT to use the word.
I'm with you. I learned it from "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" when it was listed as the hobby of one of the criminals you had to catch.
With Eryndir's acquiescence, we conclude Chapter 1 of "Watchers of the Dawn" and each of the characters advance to level 2. Please do let me know what class you're taking for your second level. In addition to the rules presented in the PHB/SRD, I also like playing something called "The Box Game." In The Box Game, you roll for hit points as normal. Then you decide whether or not to take what you rolled or what's in the box.
I'll publish a short interlude, a summary of Chapter One, and we'll be ready to start Chapter Two on or before Monday.
Eryndir is taking a second level of rogue, which grants him Cunning Action.
Seven is pretty good and all, but would you prefer what's in the box? It could be an eight.
That's tempting, but I will stick with my roll. Please don't tell me if it's an eight. I would prefer to live in ignorance.
Cleric 2 here. My preference is always to just take the average, which according to the SRD appears to always be rounded up. But I guess The Box Game sort of mitigates the risk of rolling.
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken
Yeah, I'm keeping that.
But, but, but the box!
I'm not at home, but I'm going with Warlock. I'm not sure what HD it is, problably a d6, but I'm going to roll a d4, d6, and d8 and figure out which one is right tomorrow unless someone wants to tell me before then. [I'm flying back from Columbus OH today for work].
You got a 6 on your roll of 1d8. Would you like what's in the box?
For convenience, I've included a link to the warlock on the SRD here. This level, you're going to learn a new spell and learn two "invocations" - neat abilities that simply are a part of you. We're not using any of the third party publications, but we are using the Unearthed Arcana ones in this game. You can find the SRD invocations here and the Unearthed Arcana in the various articles here.
Charn will do a level of fighter.
No box for me. When we're all done, will you show what's in the box, like on Let's Make a Deal?
This is the least gratifying leveling up experience I've ever had in a game and I'm disappointed in all of you.
You don't get to see what's in the box unless you're taking what's in the box.
Yeah this is surprising. I actively encourage players to take the average (especially if they have a positive Con modifier) and everyone still rolls, no matter how many prior rolls went belly up.
I don't want what's in the box, but I want to know what's in the box. So I'll take it. Like eating my vegetables. Give it to me.
I'll roll 1d8. You sure?
I thought the box would be something CRAZY like 'you're now reincarnated per this chart'. I rather like my 6 on a d8. I don't think you'd do better. So if knowing that it's just you rolling, I'll take my 6 if you'll let me. If you INSIST on rolling since I now know what's in the box, that's fine too, but that wouldn't be my choice.
You'll keep your six. We'll see what happens at level 3.
After departing from the tower, the travelers make their way back to the Druid Hatepshon. The trek is arduous but relatively uneventful.
Do they tell the druid that they accomplished their mission?
When they arrive, Eryndir would greet Hatepshon warmly. He is fond of the druid's humor.
He will tell Hatepshon that they alerted Commander Highleaf about the communists in the woods. He would also mention that they told her that her poorly laid traps had killed her friend, Simeon. Finally, that there wasn't much aid they could provide, so they returned to ask about the cave and his "acquaintance."
Charn concurs. He would also add, "Frontier life has strange effects on people."
Able adds, "If you consider them friends, I think less of you for it," then spits into the earth.
FYI - I got very sick starting Thursday (Thanksgiving) morning. Among other issues, it has been very hard to stare at a screen. I had a giant does of anti-biotics via injection and I am already feeling hundreds of times better - still about 50%, so I was NOT good.
Accordingly, Charn rolls those silvery orbs he has for eyes and explains, "My esteemed colleague here was shocked, shocked that they took offense at eating food that was not for him."
This is the OOC thread because I'd like to look at some OOC issues. Obviously, folks are still getting ready for a 5e game and getting a feel for the very atypical world we're set in. I'm trying to get a feel for everyone as players. There does appear to be a fair amount of interparty strife that I'd like to manage. Some amount of disagreement is fine, even good. When party dynamics begin to prevent folks from working semi-cohesively we have to figure out what we as players want to see in the game.
@deadDMwalking - I'm sorry to hear you were sick, and I'm glad to hear you're getting better! Holiday illness is the worst and all too common. What do you think of the game so far and what would you like to see?
@Dafyd - Charn seems very willing to go with whatever other folks want to do. Does Charn have anything he would specifically like to see happen, whether it is with the party or within the world?
@Trigger - Eryndir seems to be bending over backward in the name of group cohesion. Are there places that you're thinking he shouldn't have done that?
@MinusInnocence - Just checking in, let me know if you need anything or have any questions. Feel free to contribute your thoughts too.
You ask a very pointed question, I think.
My goal right now is to play Dungeons & Dragons. Seems simple. That requires the four of us players to be, if not on the same page, at least in the same book.
So when we're at the Watchtower and Able says he absolutely won't participate in anything having to do with the Tower period, and Eryndir says he'd like to help the abused Irregulars mutiny and overthrow a tyrannical leader, and Charn says he won't do anything to undermine the Tower's leadership, something's got to give way or the party splits up and we're not playing D&D anymore.
Yes, I would have liked to pursue that story line a little more. We've got an adventure party and we haven't had many adventures yet. I'm not usually the type to abandon quests. I think there's always a story to be told, always options to explore, etc.
At the end of the day, though, I just want the adventuring to begin. Eryndir won't always bend over backwards. I'm happy to have him push back on other party members at times. However I can't drag someone into a quest they don't want to be on.
If it takes abandoning a quest to start the adventuring, so be it.
I think at the tower, we reached an impasse for several reasons, and returning to the druid was the consensus option. It's really the first time we've had a deal-breaking disagreement, and I think that will be less of an issue moving forward. Charn wants to suppress the Communists, which appears to be where our greatest level of consensus lies.
First off, I'm enjoying the game, and I would like to continue playing. It is not my intention to lessen anyone else's fun. If that means continuing with a different character, I'm okay with that.
The following are my thoughts broken up by system, the game so far, and Able as a character.
The System - D&D 5th edition
I'm used to having a certain degree of mastery of the edition. I've introduced D&D to a number of my friends, I've been a long-time DM, I've played 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5, Pathfinder and various other systems unrelated to D&D including BESM, Deadlands, Deathwatch and more. I collect gaming materials and I'm usually aware of the core mechanics and such. That said, I don't have the free time I did when I was in High School, or even my early 20s. The fact that I don't have mastery of 5th edition is entirely my fault. As far as the system goes, I'm withholding judgment for the time being. There have been several instances where I've felt my best course of action is to simply spam Eldritch blast over and over. I don't think that's very fun, so I've been trying to avoid doing that, but it often seems that it would be the most appropriate action all things considered. I think some of the other characters appear to be dealing with the same thing - maintaining a hiding place and sniping with advantage seemed an optimal strategy for Eryndir when we fought the Commies in the river - Advantage is a pretty big deal, after all. A 1st level wizard in any of the D&D systems mentioned above has severely constrained options as well - my hope is that this becomes less of an issue as I gain system mastery and the party advances a few levels. In other editions, it is usually by 5th level that you really feel you have enough options. So while I've enjoyed other editions MORE, I don't think I have enough information to make a truly informed decision about how I feel about 5th edition RULES.
The Game So Far
I actually really do enjoy the game. I am concerned about the way Communists have been depicted as essentially 'kill on sight'. I am not a Communist, nor do I think that any sort of 'true Communism' would actually be good in any meaningful sense. I don't see why these people are in any Communist, but basically every real world 'communist' regime was anything but. Obviously the Communists we've fought have deserved to be murdered, but I don't understand what their MOTIVATION is supposed to be, or why they're called Communists. If you had chosen a religious group like Jews or Muslims, I would not be playing. I think it's probably fair to say that in REAL LIFE, killing Communists isn't as easily justified as killing Nazis - most Communists are motivated by an apparent desire to help their fellow-man. Obviously, since they're attacking me, I don't have a problem with defending myself, and while I am curious as to why they choose to act as they do, and why they call themselves what they do, I haven't spent any effort in game to explore that.
Beyond the primary opposition, I do like the characters that you've introduced. I think that we could choose to interact with them in a number of ways, and that has been satisfying.
Oh boy. This is the big one. For me, playing a character as you envision them is paramount. Now, Able isn't exactly who I thought he would be before I made him - the personality was largely developed from answering the questions and effectively following the Player's Handbooks advice on Tiefling characters. I have been trying to demonstrate his personality through play, but I don't know that it has been communicated accurately. As far as party conflict, while it might appear that he doesn't get along with Eyrindir, he has a bigger philosophical division with Caleb.
First off, money is not his primary motivation. It is really more about FAIRNESS, and withholding moral judgement.
There are people that Able would be willing to help without any promise or expectation of reward, at considerable risk to himself. This would primarily fall into the category of people that are vulnerable and otherwise helpless - like children. That said, he would resent anyone that promised Able's help without consulting him - even if he would do it, it is PRESUMPTUOUS to assume he would without asking. Essentially, that's his beef with Eryindir - it isn't anything he's done, it's just the way he does it strikes him as rude. It's a version of 'you don't know my story, man'. If you think of Able as someone who has been mistreated more often than not, I think that position makes sense.
Able also mistrusts authority - he has seen it used unfairly and arbitrarily often enough. Petty abuses of power (like the orc being tortured and the infantryman being kicked) cross a moral boundary with him. You can think of him with a personality very similar to Han Solo in the first Star Wars - he doesn't make moral judgments of others lightly - he's happy to work for a smuggler or a rebellion - but he wouldn't work for the Empire. Effectively, his moral code is more important than his mercenary ethic, but his default position is neutral without some inducement. Effectively, he isn't willing to help others just because someone asks (he's not GOOD), but he is willing to help others if it isn't terribly difficult or they're willing to compensate him appropriately. Caleb might only choose to help the Empire (both the Rebellion and gangsters are participating in an illegal activity, after all), but there's really no amount of money that could induce Able to do so.
His willingness to consider the merits of organizations based on their ACTIONS rather than their 'established right to order' should be clear by his reluctance to attack the Communists before they attacked him. In his mind, they could be the 'righteous rebellion' against an 'evil faceless government'.
In any case, since we haven't sat down and hashed this stuff out in character, I'm content to see where it goes. Able isn't going to go PVP or anything - everyone is safe when he's on watch. A little bit of tension can be good. Working out IC how the party makes decisions might go a long way toward making him easier to work with - nobody should commit him to a course of action he hasn't agreed to.
So if we don't offer to help people without discussing it in character and we don't follow the orders of lawful authorities without considering their own moral positions, I think he'd be easier to get along with. If those restrictions make things too difficult, I certainly don't mind retiring him for someone more 'happy go lucky'.
A bit about Charn:
Charn is sensitive about being rude to hosts, as that is how he found himself in the Outpost to begin with. He may not agree with the person, but he's going to avoid getting in his own way whenever possible. So, for example, when Able helped himself to our host's wine and smarted off to her, Charn was bewildered and horrified. Cutting our losses and leaving seemed like the least bad option to him.
I enjoy talking things through, especially when the actions of one of us can affect the whole group. It's all fun and games when we're trudging along to say whatever, but when we're meeting with folks, it's going to turn into "Who can post first?" rather quickly as we resolve or provoke conflict, and that isn't especially fun for me. I don't mind if we decide in discussion that someone is going to piss in an NPC's cornflakes and put Charn on the defensive, but when we don't coordinate ahead of time, it feels like we're doing damage control instead of thinking things through.
The best part about playing DnD as adults is that we can talk like adults about the things we love in gaming. The last couple of posts remind me of that, so thank you all.
@Trigger I think I wanted to ask a question where I knew you would have an answer. What I really want to do is foster discussion about the game so that we're all moving in a direction we like, rather than moving in a direction where we're awkwardly dancing around things. I think your response makes sense - Eryndir is bending over backward in the name of group cohesion - and now I know the whys. I think the broader discussion we're having will help you achieve your goal of making sure the adventuring proceeds.
@Dafyd I think your concerns about reactions are well founded, and it seems to me that Charn is a very reactive character as well. From your two posts, is it right to say that you would like more opportunity from the players to react before committing to a course of action, and more direction from me as the DM to point out the things to which you should react? I'm very eager in feedback from you guys about what you like because the vast majority of my games are either live or over Roll20 where I get very fast feedback from players about the things they enjoy.
@deadDMwalking Such a post! I'll break up my responses the same way. The System I think Warlocks are a lot like ADCs in League of Legends. Your job is to provide consistent, sustained damage and your abilities aren't going to be wombo-combos like a midlaner or a jungler. Instead, your presence guarantees the fight is going to end. Eldritch blast is your auto-attack in that regard. Other classes like Wizard and Sorcerer are going to be more focused on narrow flashy attacks with fireballs and what not. They also run out of steam once they shoot their shot, whereas Warlocks get all of their snazzy powers back on short rests. You didn't have an opportunity to do a dungeon in level 1, but I'm not giving anything away when I point out that you're on your way to a dungeon now that you're level 2. I suspect we're going to see Caleb, a long-rest caster, being much more careful with his resources than Able, who can put it all out there every fight. I'm eager to see your thoughts as we proceed. Please do provide commentary during chapter two about these topics.
The Game So Far I think every DM loves to hear that people like the game. I want to point out that the opinions and stances adopted by the NPCs in the game are nothing at all like my own. Similarly, I don't think @MinusInnocence actually worships roads, but I would love to find out that is the case. Right now, you have a Martial Order of Communists to fight because of plot points you'll learn more about in the dungeon. There are also literal demons that you've met, so you could fight those as well if you'd like.
Able definitely has a different approach to the world than some of the other characters, but I don't think the differences between them are incurable. I think there is a lot of importance to play the character as envisioned. I think the most important part of the game is making sure the players share that vision so we can all appreciate each individual's character craftsmanship. By way of example, one of my favorite parts of this game was when Charn was pressed for his story about how a piece of cheese forced him to run all the way out to the frontier. The players and the characters got to enjoy the story.
I think I'd like another scene where a character and Able have the chance to hash out their philosophical differences. I tried to provide an opportunity when Hatepshon probed everyone about why they were at the Outpost, but I only got marginal results. What suggestions do you have for me about generating more scenes like that one?
Caleb makes me lawl.
Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold
I don't want to get too much into politics because that isn't really constructive but I will just say Caleb was born from how much time I spend trolling strangers on the Internet.
I just want to clarify that I didn't mean what I said about the characters being at loggerheads before as a criticism of my fellow players. I understand why folks made the choices they made and, while they were different from the choices I would've made, they're totally valid. I hope I was clear about that, and respecting those choices in the moment.
I come from a bit different of a philosophy. Think of it as the improvisational theater "yes, and..." mentality. The DM gave us a story, and I was happy to say "yes, and..." -- to find a way forward. It felt antithetical to me to say "no, I don't like where this is going. Let's abandon the quest, go back to the quest hub and find another." But I understand why people wanted to, and if it got the story moving forward, I was happy to do it.
Eryndir doesn't really want to be a leader. He's not trying to be the face of the group or the decider for the group. If he seems eager to commit the party to something, it is really because that seems to be the direction that the DM has pointed us, and I'm eager to explore the story that the DM has put so much time, effort, care, energy, thought, and creativity into weaving for us.
It also happens to be that I spend 8-10 hours a day in front of a computer, five days a week. I know not everyone has that kind of job and it's never my goal to hog anything. Sometimes, though, when a thread has gone dead, my only desire is to bump it and see if it sparks new activity. I try to balance my ability to post constantly with my desire to have others participate fully. If I ever miss that balance, please tell me.
I've created the OOC and IC threads for Chapter 2. Some folks started some IC discussions, so I think it is appropriate to have those IC discussions in an IC thread. It does involve a minor rewind of time, but feel free to adjust your actions as you feel is dramatically appropriate.