Reporting on a 2-hour playtest session


First Post
I DMed it to a couple of guys at work (a board game designer addicted to 4th edition and a serious game producer addicted to 3.5th). We improvised on story as we played (thought it actually worked surprisingly well, despite names like "Scroll of Deathly Death" and the dwarves, Humpty and Dumpty).

Half the 2-hour session was RPing (them trying to learn more about the scroll and the supposed ruins inside the abandoned mine), then some short exploring of one of the caves.

RP-wise it reminded me a lot of my time DMing at school, 2 decades back. A good thing, since it was the first time I played with these two guys (who are on their early/mid 20's both and started out on D&D 3.5)

Combat... I'm not so sure. They killed some goblins quite easily (first 3 scouts, then two groups of 3, each coming from one side). Only one NPC taking any damage, and that only on the surprise round. While they rummaged through the loot, the secret door opened up with 2 goblins (easily taken out) followed by the ogre... I was sad for the Ogre.

The wizard would keep casting Ray of Frost on him while the party attacked from a distance. The knight (unable to attack ranged, but to defend those who did). Well, after 6 rounds, the Ogre quit. He dropped the silver bag paid by the goblins and turned around to leave, quite irritated. The party let him go and session closed up.

1) on this version of the playtest, combat was pretty must "I attack, roll, damage" rinse and repeat. It MAY be because combat so far has been too easy to this party (2 PCs and 2 NPCs). It may also be due to the lack of character options

2) Minor spells (at will) seem to powerful. Magic Missile and Ray of Frost owned the day. It MAY be circunstancial, but it happened. It may be that I need to have more goblins atonce and that the Ogre shouldn't be alone. But, apparently, the 'ray of frost the ogre and pepper it from a distance' was used by most playtest parties.

2.5) One of my players commented: "If Ray of Frost drops movement to 0, does a flying creature crash if hit?" Seems like it makes sense.

Well, so far, mixed fillings...

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1) I notice that the old-schoolers seem to like the combat and the 3.5 and 4th Ed fans find it dull. It makes me worry.

2)in our experience, we found that the minor offensive spells could use a little nerfing.

2.5) Since ray of frost only stops movement and not the monsters ability to attack, I'd rule that a flying creature is simply weighed down rather than immobilized, so that it either just loses altitude or lightly crashes to earth with no damage. I'm sure there will be clarifications.


The ray of frost 0 move would be a problem if the spell automatically hit, but since there is a roll, I'm not sure that is such a problem.

Magic missile may be a problem, especially since it scales and hits automatically.


Last week when I ran the Ogre against my group the wizard froze him in place, I had the Ogre pull out a spear from a quiver of spears and drop the wizard in response.


Agreed. Wizards make great Spear-cushions.

And for a party of 4, 3 goblins at a time is going to be extremely easy.
Try 18 rats and 12 kobolds and let us know.
Or 8 Hobgoblin Warriors and 3 Hobgoblin Archers.
I think your opinion will change.


First Post
The big issue with the spears was that the Cleric of Moradin was on the wizard's side defending him. Only one spear hit the wizard for minimal damage.

But, yes, adding more monsters at the same time is apparently a must.

Regarding who likes what, I'm an old schooler and both players were 3rd edition-born and well all found combat dull :(

Again, I think it has to do with the lack of challenge. Living and learning, I will make it worse for them from now on :devil:


Re finding combat dull, were they aware they could 'try almost anything'? I have noticed 4E players inparticular find it hard to escape the idea that it needs to be on your character sheet to attempt it.

Also, did you use the 'take action at any time during your move'? That made fro moble combats in our game.

Also, yes, I think a full party should be able to take down the ogre the way they did. Perhaps it could surrender, break down and cry and curl up in a ball etc. Would they still slaughter it.

I don't have a prob with spells that require a roll to hit ;) But, b/c of MM, we did not see an overuse of Ray of Frost. :(

Lord Zardoz

Re finding combat dull, were they aware they could 'try almost anything'? I have noticed 4E players inparticular find it hard to escape the idea that it needs to be on your character sheet to attempt it.

A 'Try almost anything' attitude has more to do with the DM and the players at the table than it does the formatting of the ruleset. It requires a player who is inclined to improvise in the first place, and it requires a DM who is inclined to say yes even if the improvised action can torpedo many of his expected plans for the game while also being able to implement the improvisation without mechanically breaking his own game. If a given trick works once, you can be sure that your players will try it again.

As a player, I prefer to have as much of the mechanical experience of the game be independent of DM Fiat as possible.



[MENTION=704]Lord Zardoz[/MENTION]

I think you may have taken the tone of my post incorrectly. I was merely trying to offer up suggestions to the OP's play experience better. I was merely commenting on what happened with players in our group. (It sounded similar to the situation in the OP). Not sure what all the agro was over?

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