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Jul. 9th, 2015 @ 11:42 am The battlewizard, the priest and the princess in the cave of the ghoul-pirate
Immense thanks to ghoti, cjwatson, and B for helping playtest my 5e one-shot! It definitely needed some polishing, but it went fairly smoothly considering I've never used 5e before and none of them had played DnD before at all.

I might have another write-up with more specifics about what I thought went well and what I think I need to practice on, but I couldn't resist posting a dramatised account of the first half of the adventure. (I hope that's ok?)

Cpt: I'm Captain Amelfica. I'm a trained elf battlemage, veteran of the elf wars. We carried the whole continent then, I don't trust humans or dwarves not to bungle anything, or to just steal it. I'm playing a hardened veteran who's seen it all before, more so than I actually am. (B)
Princess: I'm the swashbuckling princess Miranda, daughter of the Duke. I'm kind-hearted and well meaning but always getting into trouble. (ghoti)
Priest: I'm Miranda's court chaplain, ex-army-chaplain. I think she should stop charging headfirst into caves full of-- come back! (cjwatson)
GM: Your ship is blown off course in a storm, and a threatening spectral visage appeared in the wind, sabotaging the rigging and driving the ship ashore. (Me)
GM: The captains asks for brave volunteers to try to track the spirit and try to drive it off so they can launch the ship again.
GM: Or you're foraging for supplies.
GM: Um, let me check my notes, I can't remember how this bit was meant to go.
GM: If I run this again, I need to make it clearer.
GM: OK, You scramble along the bottom of the cliffs.
GM: Who's going first?
Party: The wizard!
GM: OK. Following along the bottom of the cliffs, the wizard stumbles off the rocks find a large amphibious creature nesting in a small cove, like a mutant toad/seal.
GM: The cove runs back from the beach into a narrow gorge.
Cleric: Is this like a computer game where you have to fight everything you see?
GM: No.
GM: It depends on the GM, I'll assume the characters will often be put in the position of fighting, but shouldn't assume they need to unless they want to or something is obviously threatening.
GM: It hisses angrily at you, trying to drive you back from its nest.
Cpt: Err..
GM: It advances threateningly, not wanting to leave its nest, but wanting you to back off.
Cpt: Err...
Princess: I talk to it!
GM: Roll persuasion.
GM: As far as you can tell it's just an animal, but it senses your calming tone of voice
GM: And your fundamental kindness.
GM: And the fact that I secretly substituted your +3 handle animal for your persuasion.
GM: If you step back RIGHT NOW it will probably leave you be.
Cpt: Err...
Party: Lets step back non-threateningly and explore the gorge.
GM: OK, who's going first?
Party: Not that again.
GM: Shut up. Who's going first?
Party: The wizard!
GM: OK. It slopes uphill, and the rock walls curve in until it becomes a damp cave, still with water flowing shallowly along the bottom.
GM: Algae covers the rock, making it slippery. In places, dense strands dangle from the ceiling.
GM: Who was leading again?
Party: The wizard!
GM: Make a perception check.
GM: You see one of the strands twitching slightly as you get close, and twist your body away.
GM: Make a dex save.
GM: You stumble sideways into the strand. A large chunk of algae like a overgrown aquatic slime mold drops from the ceiling enveloping your face.
GM: It stings and burns.
GM: OK, now make a con save.
GM: And take, um, let me check my notes, *rolls* *adds one* seven acid damage.
GM: How many hit points do you have?
Cpt: One.
GM: I meant, oh, never mind, I get the idea.
GM: Roll initiative.
Cpt: Twenty-lots.
Cpt: BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM. Magic missile.
GM: Wow, that's good rolling.
GM: The first magic missile slams the slime-mold off your face and into the opposite wall of the cave.
GM: The second hits it in midair and blows it into drifting specks of algae.
GM: The third incinerates the remains.
GM: That's what wizards are good for. Everyone else, scribble out those initiatives, never mind.
GM: That's how combat starts. And that's how combat ends.
GM: And when you've run out of first level spell slots I'll show you it goes in the middle when the monster and the other PCs actually make an attack roll.
Priest: What are the rules for healing spells again?
Party: After healing the wizard, we continue up the cave.
GM: Who's going first?
Princess: Me me me me me!
Cpt: I'm ok with that.
Priest: *sigh*, but ok, I'll be right behind you with a healing spell when you need it.
GM: Someone has driven iron spikes into wall at periodic intervals, and a rope bannister is strung between them. The cave is still damp, but starting to look more like a tunnel.
Princess: It's a trap?
Princess: Is it a trap?
GM: It seems perfectly safe.
Cpt: If I roll higher than 7 on perception, is it a trap?
GM: No, but it's 20 years old, some of the spikes are probably loose.
GM: Such as, at the risky bit of the next encounter, for instance.
GM: If you test each as you come to it, it should be safe.
GM: Do you tell the royal meat-shield leading the way?
Cpt: Yes, of course! Meat-shields aren't effective if they fall into something fatal, expose me to danger, and start a diplomatic incident.
GM: Excellent. Good decision, well done.
Priest: Now you mention it, I'm a dwarf. Can you explain how knowledge skills work again?
GM: You can't tell much from the tunnel, but it's clearly an original cave which has been "tidied up" into a tunnel.
GM: But not my professional-stoneworkers, at least by dwarf standards.
GM: You can't tell much at this remove, but it's consistent with non-dwarf non-professional stoneworking, such as by [spoiler]
Party: Hmmm.
Party: We continue.
GM: Blah blah blah pool of water toad-seals blah blah
GM: Blah blah blah make two saves SURPRISE the princess falls off into the water
GM: Splash!
GM: The toad-seals are angry at your encroachment and not listening to your fundamental kindness.
GM: Roll initiative.
Princess: I climb out of the water.
GM: Another 1.
GM: You fall back into the water.
GM: Again.
Cpt: BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM burning hands.
Cpt: Off the side of the platform, over the prone princess, catching all three toad-seals in the cone.
GM: Wow, that's good rolling.
GM: All three toad-seals flobber sideways trying to avoid the blast, but they're simply not that nimble.
GM: The first one is instantly fried, crispy and scorched, and rolls over floating belly up in the water.
GM: And the second.
GM: The third is severely scorched, but still moving.
GM: It chomps at the princess and *rolls* bounces off her armour.
Priest: I jump down into the water SPLASH and SMASH it with my warhammer.
GM: Its head explodes. It rolls over floating belly-up in the water leaking bloody bits.
GM: I'm sorry :(
Princess: Awwwwwww :(
Princess: Since they're dead anyway, would they be good supplies of meat for the ship.
GM: Uh, I didn't think of that.
GM: But yes, that would be significantly helpful!
Cpt: And they're cooked already!
GM: Yes, exactly. This is why you bring a wizard :)
GM: Although I suggest butchering them on the way _back_.
GM: I'm going to skip to the end because I can't describe all of it.
Priest: BAMBAMBAMBAM. Bolt of holy force.
GM: 17 damage.
Priest: BAMBAMBAMBAM. Warhammer crit.
GM: 17 damage. Again.
GM: It dies.
Princess: BAMBAMBAMBAM. I hit the boss monster with my axe.
GM: It dies. You win, and clean up all of the loose ends.

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Date:July 9th, 2015 11:24 am (UTC)
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Thank you for this!

Just one niggle: the wizard's name was Captain Amelfica.

Also, thank you for putting in the table football for me. The reason I spent so much time playing with that was because I wasn't sure if it was and adpatation of a resource you'd already planned or completely new.
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Date:July 9th, 2015 11:39 am (UTC)
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Doh! I was super careful to get that right because I'd been getting it wrong all last night, and then oops, it somehow changed back again. Thank you for spotting :)

The reason I spent so much time playing with that was because I wasn't sure if it was and adpatation of a resource you'd already planned or completely new.

Thank you! :) That was exactly right.

I made it up on the spot, because cool suggestions from players are always valuable, and I wanted a DnD version of table football (even though they probably have the tech to make a table football table if they wanted).

If I had had any clues or features of the room, I likely _would_ have combined it with stone figures if I'd thought of a way to do that -- eg. if the hilt hadn't been there, I might have made the figures intelligent enough to give that sort of background info on the pirate lair, or have a "replay" feature or something. So that's pretty likely. But this time, I didn't have anything else that seemed to fit, and I didn't want to force it, so I stuck to me first idea.

So investigating is usually useful!

FWIW, they probably would be useful in other circumstances -- it's fairly easy to find out the command word if you're not in a hurry, and then they animate for half an hour or so. They can't talk, but they can follow simple instructions like "run forward".
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Date:July 9th, 2015 01:28 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, tiny minesweepers! <3
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Date:July 9th, 2015 11:41 am (UTC)
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And J was really interested, we really must try something with her, although I think it should be simpler than DnD -- I thought our session went pretty well, but there's still a lot of looking up rules etc in between each actual dice roll.

What did you think about the tone -- that's about my default for GM'ing, but I can do less gritty too (especially if it was something like superheroes instead of fantasy).
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Date:July 9th, 2015 01:28 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I think something a bit more focussed would work better. I think your tone is fine :) The hobbit scenario we started is a bit grown up for her but she loves it, and we should do more of that.