|Cannon on display at Fort Pitt Museum|
It has been at least 6 or 7 years since I have played any D&D, although in that time I have purchased a number of old school RPGs. That half-decade hiatus was a very welcome break from modern implementations of D&D. My last experience had been playing in a 3.5 pirates game where it took an entire session to fire a loaded cannon and then reload it to fire again. I left the session after nearly three hours of waiting, when it was clear that second shot was not just going to happen.
But I've been interested to see where 5E would go. Since the summer of 2014, I have purchased the three core books, and the GM screen. About three months ago, a friend proposed an online game through Hangouts, and in the late fall, I created Enkidu, my Half Orc Ranger.
It took a couple of hours to create the character. That's too long in my book, but it was a new PC with a new system. There wasn't as much cruft (such as Feats) to deal with as in 3.5, and the skills list seemed more useful for a roleplaying game than the one in 4E. When my GM reviewed my character he found that I had underselected my proficiencies by one skill. It was only after some rereading and discussions that I also understood how saves and save proficiencies come together.
But we're there now!
Friday night we had our first game session by Hangout. It was an urban/wilderness adventure. Our task was to deliver a shipment to the nearest town. It was winter and the first day after a blizzard, so we made our delivery by sled. Along the way, players made skill checks for various things such as handling the sled and spotting potential hazards. I was surprised that the advantage/disadvantage system didn't get more use, but I think it's likely that players will probably need to be nudged to remind the GM when they are in a situation where advantage might apply to their actions. (And since this is a traditional RPG more or less, GMs will also need to decide about the situations in which disadvantage applies.)
The skills proved very appropriate for the kinds of things we were trying to do.My post-play assessment of the skill list is that it gets things about right. I also thought my character was pretty competent in the skills for which he had proficiency.
There was no combat in the session, so we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Our GM is planning to take a more traditional approach to hit points and healing. I have no idea how that will affect the threat posed by monsters, and the efficacy of certain spells; we will just have to see.
So far, so good on the systems front. But boy did that session end with one hell of a PC-induced and completely preventable mess. The party collective decided to leave the sled and shipment of goods in someone else's hands while we went to dinner. I had advised against this course of action, but other voices prevailed. We returned from dinner to find our sled, shipment, and draft horse had been stolen.
This is no one's fault but our own.