Exploring DnD 5e: Churches, Orcs, and a Heist Gone Wrong

Mason and Thomas survived their quests, but with a few hiccups due to Dungeons and Dragons 5e mechanics. The issues I faced as DM and the problems they ran into both mechanically and in game are talked about in this blog.

Although 5th edition of dungeons and dragons has been running smoothly for the first part, I as a DM have encountered some aspects that do not sit well with me. In the past few weeks I ran quests for my friend Mason, whom is a human bard like character working on multi-classing, and Thomas, a hermaphrodite Paladin who fears nothing more than being discovered.

Thomas had previously played with his Paladin, and due to some terrible circumstances his hermaphrodism was discovered by one of his elvish companion whom he ran away from. This brought him to a far off fiefdom where he was commissioned to investigate a town that that had recently been rampaged by orcs. Being a paladin, and rather low on cash, he took up this quest but as the story progressed found much more to be going on.

A town nearby had recently built a church, but what Thomas’s character found was that the priest did not know anything about the religion he was preaching. In the rampaged town down the road, he found that all of the young males in the city had been stolen before the town was rampaged. One of the issues that arose in Thomas’s campaign were the lack of variety in skills.

I am use to running Pathfinder, where Knowledge Local is exactly what it sounds like. In 5e they cut down and combined many of the skills to make it easier, but this may have made it more difficult than believed. The small list of skills does not cover the full range of things that can be done, making it very difficult when someone wants to do something but there is no skill to match. Such as, Thomas wished to know about the town with the newly built church, any background information he may have picked up on his way there. But because there is no Knowledge Local, we had to use another skill, yet there was no skill that really encompassed the Knowledge ability.

So instead we ended up having to use a variety of skills to get the one piece of information I needed to give him…He used Religion to determine that the town was not religious before, he had to use Investigation to determine that the town is fairly poor, and then Persuasion to talk people in town into telling him that the church was funded by the fiancé to the majors daughter. This took an extraneous amount of time for information that could have previously been determined by Knowledge Local, or maybe even a good Diplomacy check. Some may see this as better because it causes a lot more RPGing, but in this case it ended up taking another half an hour for a piece of information that could have previously been gotten in a min.

Other than the skills problem me and Thomas kept running into, the quest went well. Thomas found the fiancé of the major’s daughter to be the cause of the kidnapped boys and the rampaging orcs, but he escaped before Thomas could deal justice. During Mason’s campaign, he also had to deal with some orcs, and a rather obnoxious foreign diplomat.

Mason’s quest involved him joining a bandit group for a heist, but accidentally attacked a foreign diplomat putting themselves in a dangerous pickle. If they released him, they probably would all be found as traitors but if they killed him then the peace treaty he was going to sign would have been nulled and war would have started. After much deliberation, Mason found that they had been set up false by their informants, later discovering that the King would have killed the foreign diplomat starting a war with the other country. So instead Mason led the foreign diplomat back to the safety of his country where he could warn his kingdom that war was at hand.

Not many game mechanics got in the way of Mason’s quest, but afterwards Mason did have some dislike of leveling up. Mason decided to multi-class, but finds the multi-classing rules less favorable than those of Pathfinder. Although I myself have yet to look over them, Mason assures me that it is less of a fusion of the two classes, and more like you barely dabble into the arts of the other class. To be reminded, multi-classing in pathfinder was essentially being in two classes at once, such as you would be a level 1 Barbarian and a level 1 Fighter, essentially taking all the abilities of both. The cost of this was that you would never reach the full potential of either of the classes, meaning you chose diversity over specification.

As Mason explained it, 5e is more like you have one main classes that you still get all the specification with, but you add a few abilities of the other class, but not all of them. Mason in particular was disappointed by this as he enjoys being a character that is a jack of all trades. I plan to further investigate into multi-classing so I might understand what benefits and costs it gives, and garner my own opinion of it.

Next blog will talk about the herring adventures of Lucy and Matt. Lucy, is/was, the elf companion of Thomas’s character. In her search for Thomas, she stumbles into a tournament that has dome dark magic mojo going on. Matt is a rather selfish gnome that has agreed to go undercover as a servant in a Lords household in order to trail his son who may be hatching treasonous plans.