My Own Fifth Edition campaign (a.ka. The Sandpoint Campaign)

From "My Own Fifth Edition" campaign blog:

My first time DMing 5E. Two TPKs.

Granted, there was only one player.

I had resolved to use the few adventures I already own, and adapt them to 5E. This way I'd make use of what resources I have, while at the same time learning the 5E rules so that I could incorporate the best parts to someday make "My Own Fifth Edition" rpg. So our first adventure is from the Pathfinder Beginner Box. I just used the DCs and monster stats as-is. That part went smoothly.

I told my player that we're going to run Black Fang Dungeon as-it-is. I was like: "The dungeon is the way it it is. You're welcome to use whatever resources you have as a single player, to somehow get through it. And there's no other locations in the world. Besides the nearby village of Sandpoint, there's nothing else. The dungeon is a surrounded by a mist of fictional blankness."

He was dubious about playing a 4-player adventure as a solo character. It turns out his incredulity was well-founded.


Zolgar the Alchemist, a high elf wizard, answered the call from the mayor of Sandpoint to investigate the disappearance of livestock, before people start disappearing too. Zolgar checked in with the local constabulary who were holding a large, black, two-foot long fang which had been found at the scene. Then Zolgar made the lonely walk to the site a few miles east of town—to an ancient underground fortress which was known to harbor monsters. He investigated the curious stone statue whose features appear to have been melted. Approaching the cave entrance, two melon-headed, toothy goblins leaped out with glee. Zolgar felled one with a barage of magic missiles. The other goblin felled Zolgar. In front of the entrance.

I asked the player to roll up a new character, or use the same stats for another character.

He decided to roll up a Rogue...a mountain dwarf criminal.

I told him he's free to use out-of-character information gleaned from the previous misadventure. (It's just inspiration or destiny guiding the next character.)

The rogue, whose name quite escapes me, successfully snuck up to the entrance and sneak-attacked the goblin with a bow-and-arrow. Then he popped the lock on the treasure chest and got the potion and gold, and looted the body of the wizard. So far so good.

In the next room he encountered a glowing water fountain. Took a taste. He rolled to see what magical effect. He rolled poorly. Cursed with a -2 AC for the next battle.

He heard voices in the next room and snuck to see four goblins arguing around an annoyed goblin king on his throne. The dwarf muttered to himself: "That way lies certain death." So he went the other way.

Into a room with an eerie red gem poised atop an altar. Two statues to either side call out: "Approach with humility and live!"

The dwarf ducks down immediately and crawls to the altar. At that point, horizontal sheets of flame spout from the mouths of the statue, missing the kneeling dwarf. He knocks the ruby off and wraps it up. So far so good.

The next room is covered in webs. The dwarf throws a burning torch into it. Nice move. He hears some skittering and gnashing.
Then goes in to investigate. Surprised by a giant spider. Though the dwarf has darkvision, the spider made its stealth check to hide in its webs. The dwarf already has a lowered armor class from having drank the fountain water.

Bitten. Makes saving throw. Loses initiative. Bitten. Nauseated. Misses. Bitten. Dies.

Player: "You might not realize this, but it's not fun having to make up new characters."


We ended it there having played hardly more than an hour.

I was grateful to become more familiar with how the 5E Wizard and Rogue are put together. And I enjoyed DMing the story (such as it was), and witnessing the player navigating his way, even though it was cut short. But I understand the player's frustration. We'll see if the campaign continues or if it was only a one-shot.

Frustration in Sandpoint.
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After two TPKs, the player gave it another try.

This time, we used the "funnel method" from Dungeon Crawl Classics. He rolled up 20 1st-level peasants and swarmed Black Fang Dungeon as an angry mob. The Sandpoint Uprising.

Seven survived. They even killed the dragon. The black dragon was dispatching two or three PCs every turn, and except for the Dragonbane sword wielded by the caravan guard, the PCs could only hit with a natural 20. Yet that's what they did, time and again, to my surprise.

The seven survivors became 1st level adventurers: fighter, barbarian, cleric, other cleric, rogue, sorcerer, illusionist.

Next, they cleared the Portal Under the Stars (by Goodman Games). We switched to Third Edition, because that's what books we had. The 5e Basic Rules print-off was hard to read and use at the table.

Then they made a pact with the goblins of the Caves of Evil Chaos (from the 5e playtest) and destroyed the cultists.

The player then moved away. The end.

There's a more detailed account here:

Voidrunner's Codex

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