(Disclaimer, if you are player in the campaign, this'll spoil what campaign we are playing)
So, during a drunken babble, the topic of RPGs, and especially, the lack of such, came up with a buddy of mine.
The conclusion was, that in older people's life there was really not enough of role playing. Not if you exclude the stuff you do with your missus.. you know..
So, in conclusion following happened. We both promised to ask our likeminded friends if they would like to participate a campaign of heroism and glory. As I elected myself as the dungeon master, I got to pick the ruleset.
I have been following the RPG world with one eye, and thought that D&D 5e would suit casual and somewhat older players better for it's relaxed take on rules, and as such, easier approach instead of Pathfinder.
It took only 3 days to gather 4 likeminded senior players to participate, so the demand for this seemed to be really high.
I went on, and bought DM guide, and planned on to run the “Hoard of the Dragon Queen” campaign, as it was the first that was published for 5e.
After reading the reviews, it became clear that it was not very well received as such, and required some tweaking to actually work.
As work does not rhyme with pastime, I turned my evil DM gaze towards Princes of the Apocalypse, the second campaign, that was better appreciated by the community. It seemed to be written better, and with more “free to roam” type than the HotDG, so I went on, and got it.
So the plan now is to run the starter box “Mines of Phaladrwhatever” first, and then move on to PotA.
I also have, and read the the DM guide. Before anything, I just have to say that the quality is superb in all Wizards of the Coast material. Books are bound well, the pictures are beautiful, index actually works etc. etc. These might actually warrant a buy even if you are not playing the game..
As for DM guide, it is not really meant for new DM’s. It covers making one’s own worlds, encounters, villains and stuff. It covers also optional rules that one might want to incorporate to the campaigns.
As a person that last played (and DM :ed) RPG in 1980’s, I found the optional rules part to be the most beneficial.
If you are a new DM, the free WotC manuals will get you through well enough. But, if you want quality product, and time tested advices, get this.
The rules of D&D themselves are.. well complete. Especially with DM guide to fill the gaps. It seems that the system is meant to be open for modifications, but the rules still cover nearly everything.
With DM guide, you don´t really have to invent the wheel again, just skip to the page that deals with a player trying to stuff a pigeon down the throat of walrus, check the modifier, and roll that damn D20.
I like the idea that players are not really aware of what is going on behind the DM screen, and are free to play their hearts content like they want. In situations that requires so, rules also frees the DM to surrender to gods of rules and dice when the going gets tough.
WotC has published 3 campaigns for 5th edition. The first was something about dragons, first book being "Hoard of the Dragon Queen".
It seemed a bit meh, and internet told that it was not really a good one.
The second was about elementals called "Princes of the Apocalypse" and third was something about demons.
From the two last, the PotA seemed better suited for beginners, and it got a good reception, so that was the one I chose for the main campaign. As the whole group is beginning the RPG genre anew, we will start with starter box adventure "Mines of Phlfaosufhgoua".
The last thing that convinced me to use PotA as the main campaign was that it had hooks ready for characters that had player the starter adventure.
Now, here is the first negative thing about WotC and the campaigns I have to say.
First of all, they are all written to very carefully not to offend anyone, and some parts remind me of MMORPG's.
The content is reeeeaally polished, up to a point where you can read the book as a bedtime story for your 5 year old.
So no one is raped, and no young people are killed for example. So no matter if you are a chaotic evil mastermind and planning an to end the world in a fiery apocalypse, you will not touch certain subjects. Ever.
The MMORPG part is not that big of a issue, but "this person offers you this quest from which you get this amount of XP" is kind of a old deal.
This is obviously a thing that the DM has to address, but I expected a slightly less adolescent approach from WotC.
The campaigns also throw the whole creature circus to the players. I mean that the starter covers levels 1-5, and has a goblins, dragon, orcs, undead, rogues, banshees, you name it.. Maybe someone could write a story that actually builds up to stuff instead of throwing it to your face.
In conclusion, the quality and offering for D&D is exceptional, albeit GW like style not to piss anyone off. The game system is solid, and what I heard tuned down to attract new players from previous editions.
The campaigns are pretty solid and well written, and the guides for both players and DMs tap into the long history they have in the industry.
As for this group, we just have to see.
If nothing else, this was a great excuse to buy a 2 books, DM screen, kobolds, bugbear, animals and 6XD20. And sculpt 2 cultists..