This past weekend I participated in my first official, organized D&D event: Player’s Handbook 3 Worldwide D&D Game Day. The adventure started with our choice of 5 out of 6 pregenerated characters based on PHB 3 races and classes. The dungeon contained two levels with 5 combat and one 1 skill challenge encounters, based on the PHB3 flavor. As for the group, all the players at the table had 4e experience and the DM was experienced with all sorts of RPG and had run game days before. Because we all played before, the group came together pretty quickly as a party and synergized to really stick it to the bad guys.
I picked up the Minotaur Runepriest, Foostus, my first leader character. The Runepriest’s abilites combine buffing allies or debuffing bad guys to either increase damage dealt, or increase resistance to enemy attacks. It’s not as heal-y as some of the other leaders, and while I enjoyed the character I think I’d rather play a Bard or Cleric if when I lead again. What I did enjoy about the character however was the Minotaur race. The minotaur has a nice flavor with charge attacks. I think if I made a minotaur for a future game, I’d take more feats to really play up the charges. It works very well when the enemies wear red capes.
There were a few pieces I really enjoyed about the delve/adventure. The skill challenge had all the players go through scenes of abstract madness that had a very cinematic feel to them. For instance my character was confronted with a cloud of charged energy, and a room of total darkness. I liked that the effects were different for each character and came from a random table, something I haven’t seen yet in a 4e Wizards’ module. The other encounter I really enjoyed was a scene with a white dragon that we could either help through skill challenge or fight it. Somehow my character with his 8 Charisma was the diplomacy guy there, but we made it through unscathed and got some PHB3 treasure for our troubles.
Since PHB3 focuses on Psionics, the main bad guys this time come the Far Realm, a place of madness and aberrations (instead of the Feywild or Shadowfell from previous PHBs). To fit in with this theme, we fought some pretty gross monsters capable of causing madness and flinging their own body parts. The sheer flavor of them made it really easy to immerse oneself into the delve world.
I only have good things to say about the whole experience. Since the FLGS isn’t as local as I’d like, I got to game with @SarahDarkmagic (as a fellow player) and four fellows I never met before, but had a good time with. Everyone was friendly and we got along great, so the whole thing went smoothly and quickly. It’s been the first time gaming in middle of the day for me in a long time, and I think I prefer it to my normal evening game as I wasn’t ready for bed by the time it was over. I am also surprised at how much we had gotten done — about 6 encounters in under 4 hours, which beats my group’s average of 1.5 encounters in 3. I think Wizards must have playtested it ahead of time because it felt really well paced. And I have to give props for that to our GM who did a fantastic job both in adjucating and in preparation. The picture below is our party’s tokens which he prepared since the store didn’t get the official Gameday kits. I had so much fun gaming with strangers that it’s really got me psyched for PAX East.
Here’s a link to my flickr pictures from this day. Anyone else attend this or other game days? What did you think (feel free post to links to your own blogs if you have a writeup)? Anyone out here DM a game day? How much prep does Wizards give? Are they fun to run?