Session 0.5 & character creation.

My preferred number of players is six, not because I think six is a good number to have at the table, but because with six players it is likely that each week I will have 4+ players (as people cancel for other life commitments).I allow my players to create a character from any source book, and encourage imaginative backstory or homebrew tweaks. As a player I have always wanted to run a necromancer (shock!) and the 5e source books just arent up to scratch. 3.5e had some really good material, especially in books such as The Libris Mortis, but I’ve had very little luck with DMs allowing me to use it in a 5e game. I think that variety enriches the game and so, after I’ve checked it is balanced, I let my players have free(ish) reign. With their blinkers off, and the wind in their mane, my players created the following motley crew.

The Werk – Warforged – Cleric of the Forge.
A thousand year old construct made by a reclusive gnome hidden away in the jungle of Chult. He heard the voice of Gond, Lord of the Forge, and now travels the land trying to understand life and spread invention wherever he goes.

Felix – Human – Fighter (medic).
A child soldier who grew in to a grizzled war veteran and medic. Capable with a sword and a scalpel, she cuts her enemies down and sews her allies back up again.

Calwen – Half elf – Bard.
A bard with a tragic past. His scars are a constant reminder of the pain those closest to you can cause. With the god of suffering guiding his footsteps, he travels the land helping those who most need it.

Goblin – Gnome – Wizard.
Tired of the countless wars he fought with his trusted retinue, it was not until they were hired by an Empress, and offered a life of comfort and gold, that Goblin decided to leave his friends and find his own way in the world.

Kallista – Tiefling (gnome) – Monk.
A gnome with cursed blood, her pale blue skin and black horns set her apart from her kin. Alone in the world she focused on her monastic studies to master The Way of the Long Death and become a fearsome killer.

Rhys – Half Elf – Wizard.
The bastard son of a powerful lord he uses his wit and good looks to get by. Always looking over his shoulder for the assassin sent by his half-brother, now Lord of the lands he left so many years ago.

5,604 Miles and a New Campaign

I’ve recently moved continents, for a multitude of reasons, which I wont get in to here. The most important point is that before I moved, I checked that there was a gaming community in my new city. Lucky for me, there wasnt just a little community, but a booming group of like-minded nerds, and a selection of gaming cafe and hobby shops to get stuck in to!

As is common in most places there is an abundance of players, and only a small selection of DMs. Although I hoped I would have the chance to play in a game of D&D, I am more than happy to don the paper crown of Dungeon Master and invite people in to the dark recesses of my imagination. I’ll likely be running a few different games while I’m here, but I will mostly be writing about one main game.

We have so far had a session 0.5, and session 1 proper, with five and six players attending. I like to run an enclosed and linear adventure when starting a new campaign, especially with a new group, so that options are limited, and everyone can get used to each other, my style of DMing, and test out their characters.

I stumbled across an adventure called The Mad Manor of Astabar, by David Dudka, which served this need quite well. I have since played through it several times with different groups, and each time I have moulded it and changed it to enrich the story and make it more of a horror theme. It is a fairly typical haunted house setup, and the original can be found here.

I’m not going to refer to the original when describing the adventure and what the players get up to, but I still want to give credit to David for his wonderful work.