DDN Playtest: Return to Blingdenstone, Take Two

I had initially planned to run the playtest using Ruins of Undermountain, but had a hard time finding a good map and we ended up being fairly cramped for space, anyway. I resigned myself to the playtest adventure again, this time with a better head for it after having blundered through a bit of it during the first playtest session. Since everyone also showed up late, we just plowed through barebones character generation as fast as possible (so fast, in fact, that I forgot to give the guy playing the rogue another background).

I gave them the plot's cliffnotes, saying that they were basically trying to help a bunch of deep gnomes clear out their ancestral home, which has been infested with orcs and such, and that they were having a hard time of it. They decided to try and enlist the aid of the pechs, and during the trip there ran into the ruined temple that Kamon went through the first time.

He encouraged everyone to investigate it, which was good for me because it made things easier given that it was familiar territory. Despite having four people, combat started and ended really quickly, and despite the low hit points only Kamon's fighter took a hit. Even the gray ooze was not able to nail anyone despite Kamon knowing about it and it making its Stealth check. They got all the way to the drow wight at the end, which had captured Melissa's character (she was able to play right as they got into the room, so I figured I would drop here there).

Now I think that the battle is supposed to feature the wight and three skeletons, but they were having no trouble hacking their way through. The rogue took a pretty nasty hit, but was able to free the dwarf, allowing her to roll off a healing word and searing light combo (eating up all of her daily spells in the process). Though the spell missed, half of a 3d12 roll is still pretty potent, burning off almost half of the wight's hit points.

In the end I got one hit in before the wight was nailed with a sneak attack and polished off with a magic missile. He only lasted as long as he did because I saw how easy the fight was and had him animate about a dozen corpses on the room's floor (half of which were vaporized by the sorcerer's burning hands before they could even do anything).

The players liked most everything about what they saw--especially the sorcerer, warlock, combat speed, and checks--with the exception of wizard spells (of course), hit points, and armor. Though two of them also play 3rd Edition (as well as 4th), none of them like pseudo-Vancian magic. They also felt that hit points were a bit on the low side. Personally I think that given most monsters have attack bonuses of +0 to +2, that despite a lucky hit having a decent chance of taking someone down they are fine.

As for armor, the fact that the rogue had a better AC than the fighter irked even the rogue player. 500 gp for scale armor is pretty steep (again, silver standard?), and I think that there should be more granularity to armor (like, more shields), as well as a system for resisting damage on the heavier stuff. This would require revamping resistances, which I also think they should do. At the least give the fighter benefits for having it, as well as put other options in the starting price range.

Anyway, with the exception of the wizard we are largely still enjoying the playtest. Here is hoping that we do not have to wait three months for the next packet.


  1. I liked Blingdenstone and the new playtest too. I also put together some cheat-sheets, expanded the reclaiming portion and added a random major events table. You can download them at my blog if you are interested.

  2. Cheat-sheets would have been handy. I kept forgetting where the gnomes were/were not, and thought it was odd that there were orcs, elementals, and pechs in fairly close proximity.

  3. I mostly did the cheat-sheets to help identify the gnome areas and major quest-givers. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to expand them to the other areas, come to think of it.

    It was just a pain that the gnome areas and other area descriptions were all mixed together, and encounter tables were buried way at the back.


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