So we played a bit of 5e again – picking up with the party just outside Cragmaw Hideout but down one player (who wasn’t feeling well) so the party went in with Gwyneth the High Elf Sorcerer, Fonkin the Gnomish Warlock, and the Rhys the Half-Elven Rogue (an NPC) – Ilda the Dwarven Bard “stayed to guard the wagon”.
All in all it went extremely well. The players are pretty tactically adept, but they also all rolled consistently good Initiatives and generally as good Stealth checks – as a result they did the ninja thing through the whole complex. Having the two spell-casters really helped, as did the “brazen stealth” thing – which allowed a great many Sneak Attacks on the part of the Rogue (twin thrown daggers for the win!). The big boss fight with the Black Goblin (aka Bugbear) was somewhat anticlimactic, the two Goblin’s Boggarts were put to Sleep by the Warlock, and then the Black Goblin was dropped in a single round by a solid hit with a Chromatic Orb from the Sorcerer and twin Sneak Attacks with said thrown daggers. They rescued Sildar in the final battle without even allowing the Goblin leader to drag him over to the edge or push him off and no character took any damage the entire evening. We’ll pick up the next session with the whole group and Sildar can do his infodump and they can interrogate the two Goblins they Slept – and then make their way to Phandelver!
- Cantrips really do free up the spell-casters to be spell-casters rather than one-shot glass cannons. And even the Warlock, who is kitted out as a non-combat spellcaster, was able to acquit themselves quite respectably.
- Spectral Hand is nasty, Eldritch Blast almost as much. I’m kind of dreading (from a DM perspective) finding out what the “real” combat spells look like – but as players all end up discovering, what goes around, comes around!
- Stealth and Sneak Attacks are impressive, but mostly for the Advantage. Yes, the +1d6 damage was a game-changer against the Goblins (with 7HP), but I think this will be much less of a factor against more higher HP monsters – even at higher levels with increased Sneak Attack damage.
- Now we have three 2nd level characters! The Sorcerer gets Font of Magic, the Warlock gets Eldritch Invocations, and the NPC is now a multiclassed Rogue/Fighter (to continue out his backstory for a 1E Ftr/MU/Thief)