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D&D 5E Loving D&D right now


I've had a blast running my game lately. So many times I find myself engaging in "how can we change the rules to make D&D better" discussions, but the last several weeks have hammered home it's not been the rules that ever made the game fun, it's been the unpredictable. PCs are trying to start up a barony (3rd party Paizo rules) in a fey-heavy setting (Kingmaker). In the last real-life month:

  • A PC unilaterally made a deal with a fey to invite a dragon to lay down some law and order in their barony (the fey has an agenda, long story). The dragon rained acid on a freedom-of-speech naysayer (secretly a foreign agent) and some naysayers, and almost killed what has become a beloved NPC in the barony: Stumpy the 3-legged dog (who was being manipulated with animal friendship spells by the agent as part of his act, primarily a joke to start on my end, including anti-ruler graffiti involving the PC Baron and poor Stumpy...) At first, this worked out (cool, a dragon), and several civilians in the barony felt this was justified (you don't disrespect your ruler, ever), and some protested (nearby independent kingdoms have freedom of speech). From there, we've had politics of their sponsor, a king-regent, using the dragon as cause to call upon every duchy in the kingdom to send him an army to defeat the dragon (thus giving him the troops he needs to secure the throne), only for the PCs to spend pretty much every gold piece they had on sending their Wizard to the capital city to bribe (with a stash of alcohol) sages and nobles and librarians to research how to "undeal" a fey deal. Once they discovered how, they called off the dragon, allowing a rising noble to halt the king-regent army while in his lands with news that the dragon was forced away, giving dukes hostile to the idea of the king-regent as king to withdraw their troops. The PC Wizard was able to accomplish his research and subsequent subterfuge thanks to a simple "sending stone" magic item I dropped ages ago, which I had no idea would be used in this way, ever.
  • A PC, warden of the barony, got married to the local goodwife, who happens to be leader of a hag-cult and is secretly seducing him in order to feed the council false information on their enemies, cover up their theft and replacement of babies with changelings, and procreate in order to have a child to sacrifice for greater power.
  • The PCs helped a kobold tribe that had been religiously deceived by an insane gnome who was reincarnated into a kobold body (long story) and had made it his life's purpose to kill off gnomes and kobolds. After being saved by the PCs, the kobolds on their barony borders want independence, and while they agree to a truce, are secretly hatching as many eggs as possible knowing that humans can't be trusted, even if they were cool to you in the past. A gnome exploration caravan recently cited an attack by this clan, and the PCs are having a hard time believing their good pals would turn on them. The kobolds feel emboldened because a super-smart troll is forming a "monster kingdom" to which they're invited. While they know trolls eat kobolds, this allows them to play both sides. Kobolds ain't stupid.
This is just a hint of what we've been up to the last several sessions. We've been sitting on level 4 for a few months now, and while there's been a few dungeons in the wilderness, my gamers seem to be enjoying the social aspect, quite a bit. So yeah, the spirit of D&D is strong right now, and it has nothing to do with combat rules or mechanics of the class.

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