Still crazy with Dungeons and Dragons, after all these years..


See this little guy?  He’s visually significant.  Someone in the Scrummers suggested we try good old fashioned Dungeons and Dragons for one of our game night choices.  I enthusiastically agreed, as did my son Garrett.  Enthusiastic.. despite D&D not being very “old fashioned” any more.  I haven’t played the game in at least 20 years or more so I know I’m too rusty to weigh in on the virtues of the current version 5.0.  I have been listening perhaps the best and funniest podcast on playing a roleplaying game ever, BRIAN POSEHN’S NERD POKER, on Apple Podcasts for the last 3 years or more– including a long break as they departed Earwolf and set  up shop independently.   Under the DM Dan Telfer (as good of a DM and storyteller as any player could wish for), the players have transitioned from the D&D ver 2 that I pretty much grew up with and used forever to the newest version 5.0 which is far more in depth than the version I got used to (inconsistencies and all).

Before I type another word, go bookmark that podcast link.  Yes, yes, I know.  You’re welcome.  It’s hilarious and engaging, and worth a listen.  Imagine a gang of smart, very funny people with great voice acting talents among them playing D&D with you once a week.  Now imagine they are all professional comedy writers and comedians.  You get my drift?

Meet.. Cloyer Bulse, the Magsman.  I’m going to paint this little guy up to represent my character in the upcoming game.

One element of listening to the players constantly playing version 5.0 is that you get a sense of the mechanics. The THACO-armor class thing is inverted from the old days and now seems sensible.  There’s this idea of passive senses that help you figure out situations (in a non combat sense), like perception, investigation, and insight.  The number of numbers you have to check against seems to have exploded from what I’m hearing.  I get the sense that 5.0 is moving from the freehand, ad hoc storytelling of my youth in the 2.0 days to a more granular approach to storytelling in 5.0 days.  Kind of like this:

  1. “You stand before a wooden door”
  2. “Does it look strong?”
  3. “Roll against perception”
  4. “17”
  5. “that will do it.  The door looks solid with iron hinges and reinforced frame”
  6. “Checking for Traps”
  7. “Roll for Investigation”
  8. “Natural 20”
  9. “Booyah! you discover a little spring fired needle near the handle”
  10. “Disarm”
  11. “I could roll for it but it’s a pretty simple mechanism– let’s just say if you don’t roll a 1 you manage to remove it”
  12. “Done!”
  13. “Can we hear anything at the door?”
  14. “Roll perception”
  15. 12.
  16. “You just barely hear a scratching noise.”

etcetera, etcetera.

This comes off as super-detailed at first.  Yet, I see the wisdom of it.  The old version just seemed to reward people for killing things.  Version 5.0 rewards people for using their minds and playing smart.  I like that.

So in any event, my “classic” character from the old days was a Hobbit thief, sometimes a thief/fighter or ranger.  We have to call them “Rogues” now and they do a lot more than steal stuff.  Here’s my pre-rolled character, Cloyer Bulse the Magsman.  He seems over powered to me at first glance, and that might portend a harrowing dungeon adventure.  We’ll see.  I like this guy and can see how I will play him going forward.. full of curiosity rather than greed, as is the case with most hobbits.  He’s no barbarian but can contribute to a fight with thrown weapons and sneaky ambushes.  I’m looking forward to this.. I’ve had a D&D jones for a while now.  More on this as it develops.  I’m going to paint the figure (arriving today) so it’s personalized for this game.  Young Garrett shrugged when I offered to do the same for him, so he’ll get to use a recycled Frostgrave figure as a toll for his indifference.  Whippersnapper.

More on “Cloyer” below.

Honestly, I don’t know what to think, never having played 5.0 before. Seems like a really useful guy to me.