Curse of the White Mine is designed as a 5E, non-linear, single session adventure. Major campaign disruptions are kept to a minimum so as not to intrude on your master plan or current quests in progress. This adventure is not arranged in a ‘railroad’ fashion. Players are not required to push through encounters in any particular order.
This one-off adventure will finalize in the 20-24 page range. It will be printed in Full premium color all the way through from cover to cover.
Writing & editing is completely finalized. 95% of illustration and layout is currently finished (One illustration remains) and should be complete before the Kickstarter is over.
Get in on this one RIGHT NOW!
The print version will be just $10!! the .pdf only $5!
Bundle the two together for $13!!
The city of Hohm (Hōm) When the first settlers, who were fishermen and tradesmen, landed on the east cost, they would always refer to making their way “Home”. The township in the founding days was refered to so frequently as “Home” that it began to adopt the name. The modern nomenclature was adopted when the halflings began adding the settlement to their maps and conversations and confusion arose around the phrase “Returning Home”. The clever shire map-makers began writing the city name as the phonetic “Hohm” in order to make clear their own home as the place to hang one tankard.
Since the founding days, Hohm grew quickly. Fishermen and tradesmen found the safe harbor an ideal place to trade goods, services and bind business agreements.
In it’s modern state, Hohm is a very large city divided into wards. Each ward votes in a representative to office to present their issues, and praise, to the royal ruling family that remains in the royal ward on the elevated western side of the the city.
The wharf district is the most frequented by adventurers, sellswords, and travelers. It’s where ships dock and depart to the world, and adventure begins for many. It is also the home of Oliviah’s Inn and Tavern.
There are guilds of all sorts spread throughout the city of 350,000 souls. Some hidden, some displayed depending on their purpose. One every even numbered year representatives run for office of ward representative. This can inspire all sorts of honest and questionable activities to achieve the desired results.
DEATH! As I start to wrap up my journey through 5E Players handbook (PHB) I can say that I have one LEAST favorite part about 5E that I will certainly be house-ruling in my games.
This post continues my journey to learn and adopt 5E into my work and life. My first impressions are here. My journey part 2 is here. It is my hope that my friends from the OSR will be able to take in my account of what happens when an old BECMI/1E fart takes on 5E. Here lay my challenges and enjoyment of it, what I like and what I don’t.
Death in 5E is something that is EXTREMELY soft in my humble opinion, unless you are a monster. Monsters get no breaks, at zero hit points they are dead. 5E makes character death something akin to a cartoon for me, and will require house ruling for my personal tastes. In the 1E days you might go to -10 to be dead. anything below zero, you trickle downward every round until you are stabilized.
For 5e death, it takes a lot of work to file that character sheet away. Characters can go to negative their maximum HP! So if Balfor the rugged has 110 HP, he will need to be at -110 to die. But really the negative number allowed is secondary. Every round below zero a character makes a death save. A death save doesn’t mean death, you have to fail three death saves in order to die. Death saves are like rungs on a ladder. successful saves means a step up, fail means a step down. A natural 20 gets you to 1 HP, and there is debate around whether you can get up and run at that 1 hp in the same round.
I have watched this scenario played out in various youtube videos and skyped into a game at this point. Watching the death process happen is a little painful when compared to the rest of the streamlining of the 5e system. I have already begun penning my own house-ruled death for PC’s section.
In my games, to sum up; A character is dead at negative their maximum first level HP (Max single HD + con bonus). One death save to stabilize below zero or die.
I enjoy death being a risk of dangerous activities in gaming. Having gamed with a few of the old school writers of BECMI and AD&D, I have always enjoyed the need to be cautious and thoughtful. Knowing that I might die on the spot adds a tangible element to the risk of dungeon delving.
Knowing that I might enter into an never-ending series of saving throws and a dozen “One more chance” scenarios removes a LOT of risk factors for me.
If this is the one section requiring a house-rule from me for the game, that is a damn good over-all score. Folks are telling me there are some alternate suggestions in the DMG (I have yet to read fully).
Many of the OSR folks are not too excited about a character healing up to full after an 8 hour rest. There is an alternate version of this in the DMG that makes a “long rest” a week. I am still considering how this will play out, and I have decided to stay my house-rules hand on it until I have gamed through it more. A Leomund’s hut could certainly be troublesome for DMs who want to challenge parties over a series of encounters (Saw this in action when I skyped in).
I do recall a number of old school games where I secretly wished, as the DM, that the party could heal up or finagled an ill-fitting way to get some healing into the game. Pumping in copious numbers of healing potions can pull from the story line or world setting as well.
“Magic in this setting is rare!…. ok here’s 15 healing potions, let’s go!”
In my first 5e writings, I am entering text that explicitly states “Long rests are not possible in this area due to X” and “Long rest here is possible”.
Moving on – Who first?
90% of the mechanics (Just a loose number I’m tossing out) are contained in the PHB . The Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) contains a mountain of information on writing worlds, creating adventures, balancing encounters and what not. I like this a GREAT deal and I am very eager to pile into it. I am ALWAYS eager to learn more about how people approach adventure writing and creation. It feels like it might be the dessert after dinner.
Initiative seems to have been streamlined and turned into strictly “Who goes first” rule. In previous editions simultaneous initiative happened all the time. 1E used a d6, 2E a d10. It was to determine at what point your damage was dealt more than turn order.
5E goes straight for turn order, I think this might end the possibility of two opponents killing each other at the same time, but I also think I like it a little better. In 1E it could get confusing. Players roll for monsters, monsters roll for players.
5E initiative is a Dex check with modifiers. Players each roll their own (alt house rule: Larger groups do party initiative). Monsters roll by type. So if there are goblins and ogres in the same battle, they roll for their own number. DM decides order if monsters tie, players decide order if players tie, DM decides or high/low D20 roll for monster and player tie.
Monsters and Treasure
Looking through the Monster Manual (MM) I noticed something was missing: The Treasure Type entry.
Let’s be honest, not many of us really memorized the treasure type table. (A, C, X, V) didn’t really tell us much about what was in the treasure until we got to the random % tables. The treasure tables for 5e are contained in the DMG and they are listed by monster Challenge rating. I really like this upgrade, it makes treasure assignment to encounters smarter and easier to sort out.
What I think is really missing from the MM is the # appearing entry. It would be nice if there were an ‘at a glance’ typical number for lair/tribe/flock and typical wandering encounter. I suppose the Challenge rating might suffice, but I am not overly keen on only presenting encounters my party can win. I always saw this number as a population range to form a lair, tribe etc. It was a societal or organizational guidepost that told me something about the creatures.
I have noticed also that there are far fewer entries in the monster descriptions on organization and societal behavior. For instance, in the Goblin entry, there is very little in the way of what a goblin chieftain is or does. No mention of guards, or other social operation.
I rather enjoyed the guidelines for lairs suggesting how many sub-chiefs and shaman per numbers of population. There is a 6d6 monster for a ‘goblin boss’, but not as refined as the old description of goblin chief that just added (4 HD).
I am still giving 5e a very good rating, and I am eager to use it. I feel I am reasonably versed in the system (For a new comer) and will be diving into the DMG with commentary from that book for my next post / entry into this journey. I still bumble through character creation a little bit. I get lost on the order of entries, but I am sure it will wring itself out. (Video in part 2 helped a LOT)
I have started penning my first 5e adventure. I am starting small and simple to get the ball rolling. Just a short side-quest covering a handful of pages.
Using the DC and stat saves for things is lovely, I keep running back to some of the skills to remember the terms. For the most part, I believe creating adventures in 5e will be pretty slick.
One last note –
Book binding and layout.
The quality of the binding is… weird. I have been a little afraid to open the books right up. Feeling like the glue will pop off or something. The paper in all three books tends to get ‘wavy’ like it was wet, but it isn’t or hasn’t been. Some googling around shows that I am not the first to notice this. If you get a drop of liquid, any liquid on the paper and wipe it off quickly, it will smear. (I had a soup noodle slurping incident). Old school bindings in some cases had their issues as well. WOTC will apparently replace your copy if the binding fails you. You will be required to contact them and ship your copy to them if it happens.
Layout. The color pages throughout is rather nice. It is illustration heavy. As an illustrator, I’m ok with that, but sometimes I wish there were one or two less pictures (or novel quotes) in the book and some bigger text. I mentioned before the text was one point small for me.
I have come to like the colored, texture background with a watercolor wash feel. Makes me sure that they were reading Pathfinder books :)
More to come
This continues my journey to learn and adopt 5E into my work and life. My first impressions are here. It is my hope that my friends from the OSR will be able to take in my account of what happens when an old 1E fart takes on 5E. Here lay my challenges and enjoyment of it, what I like and what I don’t.
After reading a bit more into the free PDF from WOTC, where they reference the Player’s Handbook (PHB) pages in the text more frequently, it occurred to me that what I was missing the point that the PHB and Dungeons Master’s guide (DMG) aren’t really intended to be read from front to back so much as danced around when a new term comes into play. This technique of flipping to the Table of Contents to find the explanation of the terms really expedited the learning curve and saved me from getting lost in not understanding the terms or the mechanics behind them at first mention.
So, now I was getting through mechanics and moving along, really getting warmed up to see it in action. I found a short video online with a fella who walks you through the basic character creation process. It really helps to watch this video after you have done some of the reading in the PHB to hear the terms and see a little bit of the mechanics. This has now made about 75% of the game suddenly come into focus. I am confident that I could sit in at a table right now and game with ease, and perhaps even run a game as a GM.
Many of connections are made when you see someone create a character. I.E. Ah, that section after this one, oh THAT’s how I use that skills column etc.
Today some more delving will happen into the PHB and I will be moving on to the DMG before long. My Monster Manual is in the mail from Amazon as I type this, and things will be in full speed to getting to a 5E mod, and possibly even a Kickstarter with Minis!
Things I have come to enjoy:
I still have reservations about death, and the prolonged process of rolls that happens when ending the life of a character. I haven’t delved too deeply into the section yet, so perhaps I am not fully understanding it. I have a sneaking suspicion that I may house rule it out, and keep to the short negative number rule.
Also – Still don’t like halflings with little tiny feet.
Stay tuned for my journey to learn 5E part 3.
I couldn’t hold out any longer, everyone is playing and liking Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition. Module producers are selling more copies, and it was time to try it out.
Against my budget’s better judgement I freed up $65 bucks or so and ordered the Players Handbook and the Dungeon Master Guide. I decided to wait on the Monster Manual until I got through reading these first two.
I thought the logical progression would be to read the PLayer handbook (PHB) then the Dungeon Master Guide (DMG) in order. Throughout Dungeons and Dragon’s history this has been the progression to learn the game, it’s mechanics and intent.
I dove straight into the PHB eager to learn the new rules with an open mind. As I blasted through the first couple of chapters I quickly started becoming a fan. The system was streamlined, it grabbed on to some of the most common house rules and applied them (I.E. Maximum HP at first level and others). I was getting more eager than a beaver on woodcutter’s day!
I got to the section on classes and everything started to fall apart. As you go through the details of classes many game mechanics get referenced that have not been explained. Skills, skill checks and other mysterious abilities not completely covered are talked about as if they are ‘old hat’.
I quickly unraveled and was no longer able to follow the text by the time I got the the cleric class. The spell caster class has a number of abilities and game mechanic essentials that is discussed, but has not been explained prior to the entry.
It got confusing, and I put the book down for a few hours to re-group. I know I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but this is a problem with editing and organization of the product. If it lost me, a BECMI/1E/2E convert eager to get on board and familiar with other systems, what is happening to younger readers new to the hobby?
I believe WOTC’s (Wizards of the Coast) mistake in these books is that everyone has gone through the starter set completely. Not a wise assumption. Prior to the classes section the writing is presented as if you might be new to the game.
I thought perhaps my mistake was not going through the DMG first. perhaps game mechanics are made more clear there, perhaps that should have been my first reading. No, in the beginning of the DMG is instructs you to not read through until you are familiar with the game mechanics.
At this point, I am not sure where to go to find the game mechanics. They were grazed early in the PHB, but nor explained thoroughly. I kept hoping to see charts that summed up the functions, but they aren’t there. Perhaps charts aren’t required, but the sections of the mechanics, do need a brief summary of what it does, or a reference to the page where it is discussed in detail.
In frustration I have set the books down, and will go back to read through their free PDF starter rules. Which, I don’t think should be required when you buy the books to learn the system.
I will expand more on my thoughts on the system as I read through and figure things out. Right now – I am sure that I will be a big fan of this system. I do REALLY like the mechanics that I have read so far. Stat +/- are the same for all stats, the DC thing for DM’s will be much easier, character sheets seem simple and more.
I AM looking sternly at the editing and layout team though for discussing mechanics in the text without explaining those mechanics first or referencing their explanation in the text.
I am now off to peruse the basic instructions more, which I suspect may be just the first couple of chapters in the PHB and not clarify all the mechanics.
I believe OSR and 1E gamers could enjoy the system though, as mentioned it does things we have been home-ruling for ages. Cleric spells are not really ‘memorized’ and more.
**** EDIT**** addition
It would seem the way to use the book is what may be missing. The PHB seems to read better if you use the *Contents* section while reading to bounce around and clarify things.
While this DOES help get through it all, I have to say, I am still a fane of Frank Mentzer’s beginning text in the red box that begins, “Start here.”
Tomorrow my shipment of Last Call Oliviah modules will show up from the printers. (So says UPS). These Kickstarted 74 Pg mods / intro to Lands of Lunacy were a LOT of work!
As many folks know, I am not a good collector (And always need to pay the rent since I went full-time artist), and I have all these original pen and inks done to produce the book.
I would like to bundle them all with the #1 module off the press.
Many of the folks have made sure my career in RPGs continues to grow, so I have my ears open if this is a collection that anyone would like to put an offer on.
All together it’s 24 pieces of original art all used in the printing. (Some have 2 illustrations on one piece, and a couple are just the divider art for interior pages)
If you would like to make an offer email me. If nothing gets worked out, I may consider ebay, or other venues.