We started our new 5th Edition D&D campaign at our last session. For this campaign, we are using a modified version of The Lonely Coast campaign setting published by Raging Swan Press. The published material is, essentially, the raw material from which I’ve constructed something that is pretty much our own…I’ve always found that’s what published settings are best for and this one is quite good for it. Unlike our Side Quest campaign, we did not limit classes and races to those in the free Basic D&D pdf. Pretty much any class or race was open for selection this time around with one main caveat…alignment must rhyme with wood. This campaign is one in which the player characters are expected to be the good guys.
We’re also using a few house rules in this campaign. We are not using Inspiration. Instead, at the start of each session, each player gets one “Benny” that can be used to give Advantage to any other player’s character as long as the Advantage is granted before the roll is made and as long as the receiving player receiving the benefit has not asked for it. We also are not using the Personality Traits, Ideals, etc. Those can be roleplayed and, as you’ll see in a moment, we have something of an alternative. We’ll also be using the Slow Natural Healing option and the More Difficult Identification variant for identifying magic items, both from the DMG.
Most of our first session was taken up with character creation. This wasn’t because character creation takes so long in 5e; rather, it was because we borrowed a page (or two) from FATE for creating characters. We borrowed the idea of high concept, trouble, phases, and aspects to flesh out the characters in terms of, well, characters rather than just mechanics. In a sense, this took the place of the traits, bonds, ideals, etc. of core 5e. High concept, essentially, sums up the character. Trouble is something that complicates the character’s life. The three phases and aspects provide three additional elements of the character’s personality AND (just as importantly) provides the PCs a couple of chances to have crossed paths before the campaign actually begins.
We ended up with the following characters.
- Bay (played by RJ): A half-elf Warlock and ex-sailor. He is a reluctant servant to his patron, a Fey Lady, and often defies her especially if it means he does the right thing. Given the predicament he is in as a result of his pact, he is unwilling to go into debt to anyone and see it as a loser’s game. Despite that, his chivalrous nature often gets the better of him and he looks to aid women even if they neither want nor need his assistance.
- Isenthorne (played by Rachel): A half-elf ranger who has spent much time traveling the wilds with her elven father, Isenthorne finds it very difficult to stay in one place for a long time. Both her wanderlust and curiosity more often than not gets the better of her and puts her in a tough position. Regardless, she is an independent woman who makes her own luck, thinks it is important to take responsibility for one’s actions, and defends and protects the common people.
- Magnus (played by Miles): The only non half-elf in the party, Magnus is a devoted follower of Fyra, the Thaeden goddess of fire, hearth, and flames and has spent much of his time traveling the world spreading the gospel. His dreams, however, are plagued by what he considers visions sent by Fyra and he believes that he needs to understand and act upon them. A do gooder by nature, he looks to help and protect those in need.
- Osric (played by Muse): A half-elf fighter, Osric is heroic and gallantly comes to the aid of those in need. He is, however, more than just a little naïve and trusting (even of those whose motives are not quite pure) and is quite susceptible to fanciful tales of the mythical and magical. No matter how bad things get, a good home cooked meal–especially one with his mother’s mashed potato recipe–will help.
- Thalimor (played by Thomas): A half-elf bard from a noble family, Thalimor is a whimsical satirist who has a bit of a problem with doing as he is told. He has a bounty on his head as a result of a run in with a corrupt trade consortium. Thalimor has a tendency to help out those who are a bit down on their luck but often finds that his art, even when it is intende to help, is misinterpreted by those around him.
Each of the PCs had crossed paths with one or more of the others prior to our actually starting the first session but I’ll save some of that for a latter post so we can get to what actually happened in the first session. To sum it up, the following already knew (or knew of) the others.
- Bay: Osric & Isenthorne
- Isenthorne: Thalimor & Bay
- Magnus: Bay & Thalimor
- Osric: Isenthorne & Magnus
- Thalimor: Magnus, Osric & Isenthorne
That’s enough for now. I’ll post the actual play of the session later. Hopefully some of the details of the prior meetings will come out more organically during play and end up in a future journal.