Tuesday, December 21, 2010

D&D 3.5 game 1

Ahhh..... that warm comfortable feeling of a game you haven't played in years, like sliding into a nice warm bath (with a bottle of Malbec, and {Canada's sexist D&D player} Mandy Morbid), or playing a sport your competent at with a team at your level against drunken toddlers.

Played the first session of the new D&D campaign tonight, went far better than any of us were expecting. Sure we didn't get into a fight but that is due to the PCs having brains, reconning the enemy and setting up an excellent ambush. Two dice into our next game, the trap is sprung and orcs are getting stabbed in pairs if not dozens.

In my last few gaming groups I have been blessed to be surrounded by motivated, intelligent and courteous gamers, and although only one of 4 PCs has even played a paper and dice RPG before, we seem to be off to a good start. Lots of high level tactical thinking, character intraspection and a heaping portion of desire to game right off the bat.

Needless to say I am more than a little stoked.

And you wouldn't believe the kinds of characters these guys came up with. A Svirfneblin Rogue, Air Genasi Wizard/Fighter, a human Wizard with designs on Techsmith and/or Mystic Theurge, and get this...... a Minotaur Monk, talk about left field characters with obvious depth. Sure we are starting with an ECL +3 Svirfneblin, an ECL +2 Minotaur, an ECL +1 Genasi and a 4th level Mage so game balance could be an issue, but in my brief experience in D&D (all the way back to the red box) I have found that it is far easier to just throw increasingly meaner monsters at an over powered party than tinker with the tender sweet breads of game mechanics. That being said I have to keep a nervous eye on a certain Svifneblin with 7 hit points. Game changing disadvantages make characters, never break them. Been there, loved it.

How on earth does a 30 year old man continuously spell Svirfneblin right and never get experience right once? Sigh, I think spellcheck is my DM.

Also starting a gaming group on the first Lunar Eclipse on a winter Solstice in almost 400 years of almost make me feel like a devout Heathen. Normally D&D won't turn you into a Satanist, but starting tonight....?....it might already be too late.....


  1. Sounds pretty sweet dude! I hope that in future posts that you will give us some more details of the campaign and the story as it progresses (though obviously not giving anything away). You know, so that those of us who are currently unable to game can live vicariously through your campaign.
    Anyway, keep it up!

  2. I hate to rain on your parade of awesome fun, but having re-read your post I have to ask: are all your characters ninth level? Becasue if you include a minotaur monk as one of your characters, then with it`s six hit dice plus a level adjustment of +2, then to be a first level monk the character would have to have an ECL of 9. Check out the entries for wemics or centaurs as characters in Races of Faerun, it explains incorporating multi hit dice creatures as characters. It`s at the end of the section dealing with the adjustments related to characters. Sorry to post a downer like this. Maybe I just misread your post is all.

  3. As per my reading I think we are ok. Looking in Savage Races, the Forgotten Realms setting book (with its great guide to higher ECL characters), and the astounding D&D wiki, I think the 6 monstrous hit dice are accounted for in the 2 levels of ECL. After that the Minotaur in question simply rolls hit dice per level as a normal character. I know the wording of 6 levels of Monstrous Humanoid sounds like a huge bonus, but I haven't noticed much difference in game play. Even if it was an advantage the fact that the poor guy is the sole close quarters combatant warrants some accommodation.

    Here is a quick link to the D&D wiki entry for Minotaurs:


    Game balance wise Minotaurs aren't as out of step as they could have been. Their ability modifiers are offset by some serious downside (ie: -4 to intelligence = ouch), and a lot of their bonus fluff gravy is likely offset by the very real issues of interacting in normal Realms society. 3 gaming sessions in he has killed as many orcs with his fists, horns and hoofs as the rest of the party has with spellfire or crossbow bolts. For a three member party they seem to be pretty balanced, and haven't been breezing through what I throw at them. Speaking as someone who played an ECL 2 Drow for years I think that Minotaurs are about on par by say level 2. Sure they have buckets of Hit points, but they don't have game changers like Magic Resistence or spell like abilities.

    Thanks for the heads up though, sure hope I am right about this. He nearly dies everytime we fight so I think we are on track. Simple solution would be to simply throw meaner monsters at them.

  4. I hate to say it, and I don`t want this to turn into some kind of arguement because I`m loving the blog, but on this issue I`m pretty sure I`m right.
    Minotaurs have great physical stats (can`t remember but I think there is a boost to all three physical stats but at least Str and Con) and abysmal mental/social ones (Int and Cha are terrible, not sure about Wis) plus natural weapons and armour.
    That is the equal of a Drow who have a few Spell like abilities, modestly above average stats (minus Con but plus Dex, Int, and Cha which I beleive, according to the DMs Guide, means a slight plus to the character) and some great anti magic stuff SR and so forth. In that way they are equal but different.
    However the Minotaur also has 6D8 racial hit dice and the skill points and feats that go with that. The Drow has nothing. A first level Drow starts with a single hit die and a first level Minotaur starts with seven (six monsterous humanoid [one maxed out] hit dice and a character class hit die). That`s the difference and that`s why when calculating the ECL of a creature with racial hit dice you need to add their level adjustment to their racial hit dice when determining their ECL. Then they start one ECL higher if they have a character class.
    Anyway, I don`t want to get into a nerd pissing contest about it, that`s just my reading of the rules as seen in Races of Faerun and also Champions of Ruin (Draegloth monster class levels). Not going to say anymore about it.
    But love the blog, keep it up dude!

  5. Hmmm buried deep within the DMs guide book is a small cluster of sentences about adding Hitdice to ECL, odd that this wasn't labelled and you have to dig to find it. I don't know why they would list a Minotaur as ECL 2 without mentioning it right there. I wouldn't have even noticed had you not told me.

    None the less I am not changing a thing. I don't have the characters sheet in front of me, but I know when we rolled him we spaced on his Racial Hitdice base attack bonus of +6 and he only rolled 6d8 for hp at level one (ie: no maxed first die of either first of the 6d8 or the first level of monk), so maybe my negligence has already made a small step to rectifying this. The lack of an awesome base attack bonus and that 7th d8 likely brought him down a far bit. Besides I am already throwing monsters at them that are 2 CRs higher than the rules state.

    But I have never been a stickler for rules, and since these guys are 2 levels in from when the started I think changing it now would be disconcerting for the players enthusiasm (as they are new gamers), massively disruptive to the narrative and seemingly (in terms of gameplay) entirely unnecessary. I am not too worried. One of the beautiful things about 3.5 is the flexibility of the rules, gameplay itself will (and may have already) show me how to deal with this.

    And besides semi-superpowered characters make for such a good story.......