As the long winter nights close in there's nothing like huddling around a fire in a shelter or the local tavern to hear glorious adventure tales of the past. The War of Everlasting Darkness though currently taking place, promises to go down in history as one of those tales, recited by ancient warriors claiming to have been there. Whilst some will scoff at the tales and disbelieve them as old men's ramblings, others will be in awe to hear how a band of brave adventurers fared against the coming Darkness and if they survived....
So, throw another log on to the fire, grab your third or fourth tankard of ale, get comfy and let me tell you the first part of my exciting adventure to save the Forgotten Realms from Darkness.
Firstly, the game has become more role playing, allowing players to get into the mind sets of their characters. There's a chance to question anyone and everything, which wasn't really present before, and chances to have longer/deeper conversations in with the group. The DMs play there part too, acting out a whole range of characters and getting involved in longer discussions. We are also having a different way of tables too. This involved us getting into groups of 5/6 during the character builder session and we have a different DM every week. (Instead of being in a different random generated group each week). So far the two DMs I've had have been really good; role playing the different characters/monsters and supporting us as we get to grips with the new style of play.
Secondly, there's a lot more story-telling involved and a lot more listening to be done. I don't mind that because it's interesting to learn about what's going on and pick up important /useful information. The players have a lot more say in this and whilst before the story was very linear with 'a you have to do this and then you do this and have to fight these monster before moving on to this,' style of play, we get to actually decided on what to do and who to fight nearly all the time. And I do like that! I've never been big on the fighting and now I can choose in most cases if to attack or not. Also I like that the players have more control over how the story goes and every game is now becoming unique.
Thirdly, the changes to healing surges and levelling up. I was shocked and unhappy to hear about the changes to healing. In the last session I just had this habit of getting wounded all the time, mostly due to the fact I was still learning to play and some bad dice rolls. Granted I never died, but I do rely heavily on my healing surges to see me through. Now you can only use a healing surge when granted by another player during the game. Using them in between game plays at what would be seen as rest stages isn't allowed. However, because of how this game works and being spanned across two years, every week the characters level up and gain all their health, plus the added hit points from levelling up, so no heal surges are actually needed outside of game play really. By the end of the season all characters will be level 8s, which I think is pretty good because we only got to like levels 2 and 3 last time.
And that's all they've really done to the game. I do actually like this and in away prefer it because you get to do a lot more and it's not just a case of turning up, fighting some monsters, taking the treasure and going home again. Though that's still at the heart of D&D and always will be. There's so much more to it now and being an active member allows you to put much more in and receive a lot more out of it. You feel like you are doing more and actually being a serious a part of something, which I do think that last season didn't do as well, by the time the ending arrived. And I'm still disappointed by that, but granted this is a trilogy campaign and it was my first real experience of D&D. I hope that D&D Next does become more popular and players start to see the benefits of it.
Until the next chapter. x