Last time, we left our heroes hearing a shambling in the woods, after a horse had been sacrificed in a dark ritual to Dagon, which only one of the “heroes” knew anything about. Turns out, the shambling was just our friend Jaya the Monk. Jaya had recently been turned into a Saiyan thanks to deciding to be a Sun Soul monk. Previously he shot a bow, and now he throws sun balls. You know, basically the same. He is probably the biggest departure from Pathfinder, as everyone else hewed as close as possible to the original flavor. Still, not like you can blame the guy.
The mystery of the horse remained unsolved, and Dagon’s Disciple rode doubles with Jaya. People suggested he ride with Lance, but it would have made Lance so much less majestic. It either ends up looking like an adult riding with a kid in front of him, or like a giant knight riding with a kid squire behind him. Hard pass, no thank you. Majesty is Lance’s middle name. It’s probably not. It’s probably something like Thrust. It’s all a stage name, anyway. The important thing here is to remember Lance was no less majestic.
The group continued onward, coming across a lone scarecrow. Careful inspection, meaning Alton got up close and then Lance decided to assist once it was clear no one would hit his face, revealed the scarecrow was simply a scarecrow. We inspected the scarecrow as much as possible, hoping to be able to reveal fake scarecrows before they animated and attacked. Turns out, it was a silly concern. The creatures were less “scarecrow” and more “the ol’ zombie dressed up as a scarecrow trick.” It seems like the ghast infected a bunch of farmers with ghoul fever, and we have something of an undead plague on our hands. As a note to future homeowners, if local rumors say your house is built over a devil’s prison, or an ancient site where devils were summoned, you should either A) move somewhere else, or B) get a really good discount. I’m not your life coach.
This was our first combat since switching to 5e. All of the players were impressed with the character sheet integration, and the ease of rolling initiative. Turns were equally quick. With cantrips as an option, I did a lot of “I shoot fire at it.” My compatriots were impressed when my first attack did high teens in damage, but then the rest of my rolls were pretty much shit and they started to adjust to damage in 5e. Unsurprisingly, the battlemaster just wiped the floor damage and utility wise. Blam, tripping and a lot of damage! Blam, reactions thanks to a reach weapon! It was exactly as you expect from a 5th level battlemaster fighter. I am willing to debate with people saying battlemasters are balanced when compared to everything else, but I would have a hard time believing it. The paladin, once again not surprising, did really well, smiting this, that, and the other. The monk probably edged him out in damage in these combats, but the paladin was being pretty conservative. Ki as a short rest resource means he could reasonably spend ki to get four attacks pretty often, which he did. He will want to do stuff later, but if he just sustains, he does pretty well. For my part, I did a fair amount of tossing around neat cleric utility and tossing some damage around.
The game was pretty tame from a story perspective. We spent most of the time catching up our party member who missed the previous session, resolving some paradoxical issues, and then checking out some combats. However, we were treated to John Quixote charging full steam into several real scarecrows, and then him swearing to us it was a valiant battle. Tilting at windmills indeed.
With four people, the combat speed really surprised people who hadn’t played before. We only had to check one or two rules (who uses a horse chopper?!) the entire evening. There is still getting used to the way skills work, as it’s a little tricky for new people to remember the way tools work, and how to categorize things like Strength (Athletics). From a game running standpoint, it’s always a gut feeling as to decide what is going to be appropriate as a main statistic. However, it’s great from a flexibility standpoint. It really helps one situation feel different from another, and can help cement the fiction more strongly.
All in all, the first combat session in 5e seemed to evoke pleasant responses. The speed of resolution was a real strong point to everyone involved. The class changes and options seemed to be winners as well, though we’ll see what everyone things in a few more sessions. As a cleric, the 5e domains are a subject I feel bears some more discussion, but I like the feel of the channel divinity changes quite a bit. This is my second cleric, and even though they share spells, they feel pretty different. Other than guidance being crazy as hell. Seriously, I have to self-limit the spell. It’s nuts. I think it bears some some analysis as well, but it can wait until later.