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September 28th, 2014

Last night was the second session of my Silver Coast (D&D 5E) game. Spoilers for Lost Mine of Phandelver ahead!Collapse )

Impressions? So far I'm very pleased with 5E. As I posted on the ENWorld boards: "When I actually broke down and started playing around with 5E, I felt a profound wave of relief. I am so burnt out on the 3.x engine, and the past couple of years of Pathfinder have not helped. I've been using Hero Labs, and even with that the piles and piles of options, traits, class archetypes, and ALL the modifiers... I can't take it any more. I eventually tried to get my group to switch to Savage Worlds, just to get away from it."

I also wonder if the stories I've heard of PC fragility have not been overstated. Not that I particularly want to see PCs dropping left and right, but much of what I've read online made it sound like low-level characters were barely able to cope with even the most trivial encounters. So far the PCs have mostly gone through the opposition like a hot knife through soft butter. I'm actually fine with this, as it makes me feel more confident I can throw whatever I feel like at them, especially now that they've got enough hit points that they're not likely to get one-punched.

As the game continues, I know I'm going to be drifting further away from the adventure as written and more into "my campaign," but I'm really impressed with how good of a jumpstart the Starter Set provides. I'd say it's easily as good for the modern gamer as Keep On the Borderlands was for gamers in 1979.

Dungeons & Dragons is back, baby. :) Gygax and Arneson be praised! ;)

-The Gneech

[1] Of course Pelann was the one major encounter area I had not prepped– but I had the notes from the module, and after a bit of furious scrambling to print out a map for the players and quickly re-reading a few paragraphs in the book, had enough to roll with. But next time they decide to go there, I'll be ready. ;)

Obsidian, 5E-fied

Done as an exercise in system mastery.

Obsidian
Medium humanoid (drow) bard 5, neutral


Proficiency Bonus +3
Armor Class 15 (bracers of defense)
Hit Points 33 (5d8+5)
Speed 30'


STR 8/-1, DEX 14/+2, CON 12/+1, INT 17/+3, WIS 10/+0, CHA 17/+3
Saving Throws Dexterity +5, Charisma +6
Skills Acrobatics +5, Arcana +6, Deception +6, Insight +3, Intimidation +6, Investigation +6, Perception +3, Performance +9, Persuasion +9; +1 to all ability checks that do not already include her proficiency bonus
Proficiencies light armor, rapier, shortsword, hand crossbow, whip, jeweler's tools, dulcimer, flute, viol
Senses darkvision 120'
Languages Common, Elvish, Undercommon
Challenge (don't have DMG guidelines yet; best guess CR 3, 700 XP)


Background Guild Artisan
Personality Traits "Your appearance is everything– to be capable is expected, but to be capable and look good while you're doing it, takes true talent. While no longer among the drow aristocracy I was raised in, I still tend to view others around me as either underlings, rivals... or customers."
Ideals "Community. Polite society has its hazards, ranging from a knife in the back to poison at the table, but it is still far more comfortable and less dangerous than wrestling owlbears to put food on the table."
Bond "My art is all that truly matters, whether it's the beautiful jewelry I craft, or the beautiful music I make. Everything else, from tromping through squalid dungeons to sleeping in the wilderness with a tree root in my back, is in support of this."
Flaw "I am arrogant. I know this. And impatient. I know this too. But I know what I want– and I shall have it."


Fey Ancestry Obsidian has advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can't put her to sleep.
Trance Obsidian doesn't need to sleep. Instead she meditates deeply for 4 hours a day, gaining the same benefit a human does from 8 hours of sleep.
Sunlight Sensivity Obsidian has disadvantage on attack rolls and Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when she or the target are in direct sunlight.
Innate Spellcasting Obsidian can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:
  • At will: dancing lights

  • 1/day each: darkness, faerie fire (save DC 14)

Guild Membership Obsidian is a member of the Artisans Guild in Khojar, gaining the benefits of guild membership, as described in the Players Handbook.
Spellcasting Obsidian is a 5th-level spellcaster that uses Charisma as her spellcasting ability (spell save DC 14; +6 to hit with spell attacks). Obsidian can also cast any spell she knows as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag. Obsidian knows the following spells from the bard spell list:
  • Cantrips (at will): mage hand, prestidigitation, vicious mockery

  • 1st level (4* slots): cure wounds, detect magic, dissonant whispers, thunderwave

  • 2nd level (3 slots): hold person, see invisibility, shatter

  • 3rd level (2 slots): dispel magic

*+1 slot with pearl of power.
Bardic Inspiration (d8) Obsidian can use a bonus action on her turn to choose one creature other than herself within 60' who can hear her. That creature gains one Bardic Inspiration die, a d8. Once within the next 10 minutes, the creature can roll the die and add the number to one ability check, attack roll, or saving throw it makes. A creature can only have one Bardic Inspiration die at a time. Obsidian can use this ability 3 times per day, and regains any expended uses when she finishes a short or long rest. (Improved by Font of Inspiration.)
Expertise Obsidian adds double her proficiency bonus to Performance and Persuasion checks.
Jack of All Trades Obsidian may add half her proficiency bonus (rounded down), to any ability check that doesn't already include her proficiency bonus.
Mistress of the Lash Obsidian has studied the whip techniques of drow nobility. As an attack action, she may use a whip to attempt to trip a creature of up to one size larger than she is if the creature is within the range of the whip. This uses the same mechanics as Shoving a Creature, except that Obsidian uses her whip attack roll in place of the Strength (Athletics) check, and it can only be used to knock the target prone. She can also use a whip to attempt to disarm a foe, by making a melee attack roll with the whip, opposed by the Dexterity save of the creature she's attempting to disarm. If she is successful, the target drops a weapon or small object they are holding in one hand. Using the whip in either of these ways does not inflict any hit point damage.
Song of Rest Obsidian may use soothing music or oration to revitalize her allies during a short rest. If she or any friendly creatures who can hear her regain hit points at the end of a short rest, each of them regain an extra 1d6 hit points.


ACTIONS
Whip +5, 1d4+2 slashing, reach, finesse
Hand Crossbow +5, range 30/120, 1d6+2 piercing, ammunition, light, loading
Rapier +5, 1d8+2 piercing, finesse


REACTIONS
College of Lore: Cutting Words Obsidian can use her wit to distract, confuse, and otherwise sap the confidence and competence of others. When a creature that she can see within 60' makes an attack roll, an ability check, or a damage roll, she can use her reaction to expend one of her uses of Bardic Inspiration, rolling the Bardic Inspiration die and subtracting it from the creature's roll. The creature is immune if it can't hear her or it's immune to being charmed.


Gear weapons, bracers of defense, pearl of power, a small collection of scrolls and potions


The Pathfinder version of Obsidian is optimized for two things: social scenes, and Use Magic Device. 5E has curtailed UMD, making it explicitly a rogue ability, but it's also made it much easier for everyone to access most magic items generally, so it doesn't matter so much. The College of Lore will allow Obsidian to learn spells from other classes at 6th level, allowing her to still have some of that "dipping into wizard blastiness" feel.

For some reason, whips are classified as martial weapons, which bards do not get proficiency with unless they take up the College of Valor, and if even if they did, whips as presented have lost all of their utility and just become a reach weapon. In order to get around both of these problems, I created a custom feat which Obsidian took at 4th level instead of an ability score increase:

Master/Mistress of the Lash (Custom Feat) You have studied the whip techniques of drow nobility. You gain proficiency with the whip if you do not already have it. Furthermore, as an attack action, you may use a whip to attempt to trip a creature of up to one size larger than you if the creature is within the range of the whip. This uses the same mechanics as Shoving a Creature, except that you use your whip attack roll in place of the Strength (Athletics) check, and it can only be used to knock the target prone. You can also use a whip to attempt to disarm a foe, by making a melee attack roll with the whip, opposed by the Dexterity save of the creature you're attempting to disarm. If you are successful, the target drops a weapon or small object they are holding in one hand. Using the whip in either of these ways does not inflict any hit point damage.

Compared to other 5E feats it's actually fairly weak, but I couldn't really think of anything to add that wasn't superfluous. I thought about adding some kind of language about using the whip as a rope or a grapnel, a la Indiana Jones, but I don't actually think that's necessary. 5E is loose enough to allow that sort of thing as a Dexterity check, allowing her proficiency bonus.

Also, 5E has a much lower baseline of magical items, and 5E Obsidian would be lit up like a Christmas tree if she was carrying all the stuff Pathfinder Obsidian is carrying. So I discarded everything but the pearl of power and the bracers of defense, giving her "a handful of potions and scrolls" to have wiggle room.

It's interesting to see a more complex 5E character than the ones I've been dealing with, and PCs are deliberately more detailed than NPCs and monsters, but even at 5th level she's still quite manageable in terms of the size and complexity of her stat block.

As for actually playing this version, that's up to jamesbarrett, who right now is not committing himself either way until he's had more time to play with the new system. Given that sirfox's character is a gunslinger, which is a Pathfinder-specific class, it might be well to wait for the Dungeon Master's Guide before attempting to convert that anyhow.

-The Gneech

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