Back From The Dead

So its been four years since last we talked.  So much has happened.

I went with Pathfinder, got so involved in it that I was an officer in their Organized Play.  Then things got political, and I quit my position.  I really enjoyed my time with Pathfinder Society, but I’m not fond of the new season’s theme (hate all things Lovecraftian) and since I’m not feeling obligated to play it anyway as I’m no longer an officer, I’m taking at least this year off.

The game stores I mentioned in the last blog entry: the game store that never had games on their shelf unsurprisingly closed their doors.  The other one, inexplicably, remains open.  Some guys I used to play with opened a store in the area, and over time they evolved to where they forsake all other games in favor of minis and card gaming – they’ll disagree with that assessment if you ask them, but that’s how I see it.

Well, with no ties to any organized gaming, its time to pursue things I’ve kept on the back burner.  I’ve had an idea for a campaign setting for a while, with a story I’ve wanted to tell.  So, let’s see if we can do that.  What system?

Well, Pathfinder won Edition War I – but clearly 5th edition is the popular kid in the playground now.  I avoided it as long as I could, but I held my nose and sent WotC some money and picked up the core books.  I’m forcing myself to learn the system.  So, not that you care – but here’s my look at 5e after running one entire session.

There are things I missed in Pathfinder that are copyrighted under WotC, like Beholders and Yuan-Ti, because “eye tyrants” and “serpentfolk” just aren’t the same.  I missed kobolds, too – Pathfinder has them, sure, but they’re underused in adventures because goblins are the go-to first-level bad guys.  Mind you, I love what Paizo did to goblins – but it meant we didn’t see kobolds or orcs as much.

I also miss some of the monster flavor from 4e: like kobold’s being shifty.  I know, they have pack tactics for advantage – but an extra d20 seems very broken to me.

Rules-wise, I don’t know that I care too much for 5e.  I miss Pathfinder’s Combat Maneuver system.  But maybe I’m the only one.  The encounter building seems unnecessarily complicated, and the Unearthed Arcana article to streamline things just seems to complicated things further for me.

I still think Pathfinder rules > 5e rules, but 5e’s the new kid that everybody loves.  Shockingly, it flew off the shelves – as though gamers checked out 4e and said “meh, I’ll wait til next edition”, and gleefully opened their wallets when it came out.  Given that problem #1 with RPG gaming is finding players, there’s great value in playing what’s popular.

Getting back in the swing of things was nice.  I had a week to prepare (one of my players had a surprise birthday party, and my job was to keep him busy for the day while wifey set up the house) – and I got very little notice on it.  It was nice being creative and telling my story instead of someone else’s – not that the players were interested.  They conspired to have their own agenda.

…which was awesome.  Threw me for a loop, but yeah – we can weave their story into the overall campaign.  Like old times, friends got together, ate snacks and played games.  Told stupid jokes, told more stupid jokes, trolled the DM, and had a good time.  I’m happy to report that everyone’s coming back for round two.

(which isn’t entirely a good thing – I want to keep the table size down to five players.  Bae didn’t play in the first game, as she was helping my buddy’s wife set up the aforementioned party.  I told her she can come in as soon as someone can’t make it.  I need a player to succumb to the typical player flakiness so I don’t get in trouble.)

Oh! Bae!  Yeah, I’m getting married in June.  Fun fact: before we met, she was a commenter on this blog.  Cool, right?

Anyway, the best part… I got to introduce people from separate play groups to each other.  People I knew would get along great.  And Jason’s playing!

So now that I’m in, I’m in… looking for podcasts that aren’t the official podcast.  There’s a lot of things that I didn’t realize I missed – writing stories, building encounters, sitting on the can and flipping through rulebooks while pushing one out, and I really missed geeking out with Jason (yes homo).

Maybe I’ll talk more about the campaign, maybe not.  I dunno.  I’m not sure if I’m going to blog here again, do my own blog, or nothing.  It just felt like this page didn’t have a conclusion, so I figured I’d post an update.  Thanks for checking in.

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About Matt Savage

Matt Savage once had a torrid affair with a gelatinous cube.
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