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Made in us
Loyal Necron Lychguard





Virginia

 Earth127 wrote:
That's completely opposite of how I like playing dnd. But if you and yopur players are having fun...

3 things I'd like to give as feedback:

1) 14 kobolds at lvl 1 is extremely hard for 4 lvl 1 chars let alone
using all those special rules.

2) I'd probably give a catch up system for xp in case a person gets killed at "higher" lvl's because constantly laggiong behind isn't really fun.

3) I'm pretty certain that rate of character loss stops being fun very quickly.


Thanks for the feedback!

1. You are absolutely right. However, I randomly generated it and rolled really high for the number of enemies, plus I figured the fact that they can funnel them through the hallway with two ranged picking them off, and the fact that they take one hit and die, would compensate.

2. Perhaps. The idea I'm going for is that everything you achieve is supposed to feel like an accomplishment, and characters that survive the odds end up giving you more to be excited about.

3. Yeah, probably. We shall see. But if someone gets to a higher level they can essentially carry the party to a degree, so it gets easier to level up.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/06/13 16:35:21


40k:
8th Edtion: 9405 pts - Varantekh Dynasty  
   
Made in us
Bonkers Buggy Driver with Rockets






Some people enjoy character loss, some people despise it. It’s up to individual taste. As for some sort of catchup system, maybe just allocate more XP to underleveled players or something, because while surviving is an accomplishment, not surviving could mean that your next character is dead weight to the party, and no one wants to be useless.

I overuse ellipses constantly in my posts. Apologies in advance, unless you already read my post. In that case regular apologies instead.
 
   
Made in us
Loyal Necron Lychguard





Virginia

 gnome_idea_what wrote:
Some people enjoy character loss, some people despise it. It’s up to individual taste. As for some sort of catchup system, maybe just allocate more XP to underleveled players or something, because while surviving is an accomplishment, not surviving could mean that your next character is dead weight to the party, and no one wants to be useless.


The saving grace there is that, unless the party is actively fighting near-max level stuff, due to bounded accuracy, even level 1 characters can still contribute to combat to some degree. Yes, it makes it more difficult because it's easier for them to die, but it adds to the challenge. Imagine how Frodo was when the troll was attacking them inside the dwarven tomb place. Legolas and Aragorn are easily level 10+, but Frodo was no more than level 2 or 3. It creates scenes like that, which I believe adds to the tension.

I'm hoping that by the time they get to level 2-3, people won't die as much, because they'll have more of a buffer of abilities and health.

40k:
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Made in gb
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Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

In case anyone's interested, there's currently a Humble Bundle for a bunch of 5e third party adventures/resources. Might be of use to some of you:
Link

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/06/13 21:13:09


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Stabbin' Skarboy





USA

That's awesome Paradigm, I'm going to check it out. Thanks!

   
Made in de
Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

I enjoyed reading about your campaign, krodarklorr.

It reminds me of the campaign I ran a couple of years ago, I didn't go as hard on my players as you did, but they were pretty used to a low death rate and a fair amount of plot armour. They also used to get a "rounds grace" between when they failed their last death save or died, and when they were actually dead. So in the early games, the death rate was quite high.

This resulted in 2 things: People began to enjoy making new characters and seeing what would happen. And players got a lot more careful. Early on people would wander into rooms or charge into dangerous combats. As time went on, they developed systems for dealing with room entry, they became canny and tactical about taking on groups. They did things like blocking doors in the dungeon to prevent attacks from behind.

It resulted in very satisfying dungeon based play.

One thing I did do that I think worked well was if someone in the party was 2 levels below the highest level character, they got 33% bonus XP. This helped them "catch up", and it usually made sense because they were often dealing with things well above their "pay grade", and some players actually roleplayed the older characters mentoring the rookies.

It also made high level characters very valued for the way they helped lower level characters and prevented resentment - they became the old warhorses of the adventuring guild and people really looked up to them and liked having them along on adventures.

People also learned to enjoy just surviving high level encounters as a low level player, and adapting their playstyle to just contribute however they were able to, often in creative ways.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/06/16 13:54:57


   
Made in us
Stabbin' Skarboy





USA

@Paradigm: Thanks again for sharing about those D&D ebooks, after mulling it over for a few days, I decided to get all of the ebooks offered in the bundle. I doubt I'll even ever use 1/3 of them, but it's a great price and should be a fun read.

@Da Boss: Those are some really good ideas for helping a party play smoothly with different levels of characters, I'll have to remember those suggestions.

   
Made in us
Loyal Necron Lychguard





Virginia

 Da Boss wrote:
I enjoyed reading about your campaign, krodarklorr.

It reminds me of the campaign I ran a couple of years ago, I didn't go as hard on my players as you did, but they were pretty used to a low death rate and a fair amount of plot armour. They also used to get a "rounds grace" between when they failed their last death save or died, and when they were actually dead. So in the early games, the death rate was quite high.

This resulted in 2 things: People began to enjoy making new characters and seeing what would happen. And players got a lot more careful. Early on people would wander into rooms or charge into dangerous combats. As time went on, they developed systems for dealing with room entry, they became canny and tactical about taking on groups. They did things like blocking doors in the dungeon to prevent attacks from behind.

It resulted in very satisfying dungeon based play.

One thing I did do that I think worked well was if someone in the party was 2 levels below the highest level character, they got 33% bonus XP. This helped them "catch up", and it usually made sense because they were often dealing with things well above their "pay grade", and some players actually roleplayed the older characters mentoring the rookies.

It also made high level characters very valued for the way they helped lower level characters and prevented resentment - they became the old warhorses of the adventuring guild and people really looked up to them and liked having them along on adventures.

People also learned to enjoy just surviving high level encounters as a low level player, and adapting their playstyle to just contribute however they were able to, often in creative ways.


Sounds like that was a good group you had there. Ideally I'm hoping this group evolves their strategy and learns from their mistakes. I already hinted at some things they could've done to help in the battle against the kobolds. Today is our 3rd session, and everyone is still very excited to play, which is a good sign. Though, I will admit, I expect a few more of them to die today if they don't be careful. One of the players is trying to be a Githyanki Wizard wielding a Longsword...with 8 hit points.

As far as the catch-up mechanic. If it ever becomes a problem, I'll have to look into it. But realistically, at least how I see it, if the party is level 5 and they're fighting creatures of the appropriate level, then the 1st-level character will receive the same amount of experience, but it will easily be enough to level them up immediately. That's what I figured would be the built-in catch-up mechanic, is simply them requiring less experience to level up. But, we don't even have a level 2 PC yet, so we'll have to wait and see.

I'll be continuing the saga tomorrow once I see what happens tonight. Thanks all for those who read it.

40k:
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Nuremberg

Aye, I don't think the 33% catch up XP is needed and it created some problems itself anyway. I think 5th is much more easy on low level players (I was running in Pathfinder).

I think the risk of death generally motivates more careful play, but tthen I also have had some players that seem to have a deathwish at times!

   
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Loyal Necron Lychguard





Virginia

 Da Boss wrote:
Aye, I don't think the 33% catch up XP is needed and it created some problems itself anyway. I think 5th is much more easy on low level players (I was running in Pathfinder).

I think the risk of death generally motivates more careful play, but tthen I also have had some players that seem to have a deathwish at times!


Oh, haha. Yeah in 5e, unless you're fighting CR26 creatures and one PC is level 1, typically it won't be an issue. Bounded accuracy makes even higher level creatures still easy enough to hit by a level 1, and so on.

I must say, the risk of death has made the game a lot more interesting in my opinion. The players are adapting, and it creates a sense of urgency with potentially running away from combat or, you know, not being dumb and rushing into dungeon chambers.

40k:
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Made in de
Battlefield Tourist






Nuremberg

Yep. They switch on more and take in the surroundings a lot more carefully. If no risk of death is present they can be on autopilot sometimes.

   
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Loyal Necron Lychguard





Virginia

Yeah. One of my players, god bless him, is terrible at games. He normally spends time on his phone and relies on everyone else to help him with character creation and explaining where and how to find information he needs. Or just relies on me to know it for him. He's been playing for over a year. In this game, he's died twice. More than everyone else. And he's going to keep dying if he doesn't pay attention and think tactically.

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Nuremberg

Hmph. Phone use at the table is a real bugbear of mine. Fine if it is important, but mindless browsing is a no-no. You can do that at home on your own.

   
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Loyal Necron Lychguard





Virginia

Agreed. This player is a good friend of mine but dang he gets on my nerves with it. I keep trying to tell him to put it down, but hey. I'll just let him keep dying until he learns his lesson.

40k:
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Protoculturist






RVA

 Red Harvest wrote:
Just roll up the character and let its background/history develop as you play the character, not before you play the character.
Yep, 100% agree. So many bad experiences come from expecting a character to be like one thing and him or her being something different in play. Plus, it is so much fun just to see how the character emerges.

   
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Loyal Necron Lychguard





Virginia

just another update for my Monday night Critical Mode game. There are reports for sessions 3 and 4, so if anyone is interested in how my party is handling these rules, have at it.

https://ss.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/8tzcbx/5e_critical_mode_chapter_4_sweet_sweet_progress/

40k:
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Nuremberg

Oh man, that one poor player! Hahaha. The game gods are cruel to those who do not respect the phone taboo.

I am taking a break from GMing to play. My first character, a Dwarven Cleric, got ganked in the first game facing down 8 Bullywugs (I lasted longer than I expected! Hurrah for the Dodge action).

My new character is a Bard called Caolawn, and I rolled the best stats I have ever managed, so he is a sort of prince charming style wunderkind, annoyingly good natured and chipper.
(I ended up with Str 17, Dex 16, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 9 and Cha 18!!!)
Piles of fun so far, and I am really looking forward to getting the War College abilities and busting out my greatsword.

   
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USA

Wow, those are really great stats Da Boss, I hope you have a lot of fun playing him.

   
Made in gb
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Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Those are some very good stats.What race are you playing?


I was going to say I was surprised you lost a character in the first session, but then I remembered that in the new campaign I kicked off on Wednesday, one of my PCs was one save from death in the first Medium Difficulty fight... Technically, he should've had to make another Death save, but I let another PC get an extra 5ft of movement with a hard Athletics check which got him in range to Cure Wounds (though he was one pip away from failing the check!)

While combat is still taking a back seat in my games, I have found that my sessions across both campaigns have got a lot more rewarding since I started ramping up the difficulty/complexity of fights over the last few weeks. I think there was probably a bit of a learning curve there, but at this point I think I've got a good handle on how to make things interestingly challenging rather than just hard (ie. enemy variety/positioning/tactics is more important than the number or threat of individual enemies).

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Monstrous Master Moulder






Man, a last stand against Bullywugs is a perfectly dignified death.

I wonder how you’re going to act out the high charisma with those Int and Wis scores. Whatever it is, looks like you’re all set for bard work!

Faithful... Enlightened... Ambitious... Brethren... WE NEED A NEW DRIVER! THIS ONE IS DEAD!  
   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

Bullywugs are one of those enemies that I really want to find an excuse to use at some point. I think I've mentioned before that I love the fun you can have with the low-level stuff like Goblins and Kobolds, and Bullywugs fit into that as well. At face value, they're kind of comical and hardly 'worthy opponents' to proper adventurers, but to a low-level party they can be properly threatening.

Especially after starting off this new campaign, I'm beginning to think levels 2 through 5 are probably the most fun for me. Lots of 'bread and butter' enemy types can be genuinely dangerous (especially in the setting I'm currently running, CR1/8 guards are pretty nasty when a good number of them have firearms! ), combat is fast and often fairly brutal, and you don't need to have a 'save the region/nation/world' imperative like you kind of need at higher levels.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/06/29 21:04:57


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Krazed Killa Kan




Monarchy of TBD

A great way to boost the Bullywugs fearsomeness is to play into their frog nature. Have them set up an ambush as the party is crossing a slippery log in a swamp between islands. The Bullywugs erupt form the muck, or jump out of the low bushes. It's even more fun to capture one or more members of the party, and hold them for a really, really lousy ransom, like a shiny flask, or some colored beads or the feathers of a particular marsh bird.

The tension as the Bullywug king led my group of players on a grand tour of his village was outstanding. They didn't know whether to laugh at his mud shacks, or try to blast through the tribe.

Klawz-Ramming is a subset of citrus fruit?
Gwar- "And everyone wants a bigger Spleen!"
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Orkeosaurus, on homophobia, the nature of homosexuality, and the greatness of George Takei.
English doesn't borrow from other languages. It follows them down dark alleyways and mugs them for loose grammar.

 
   
Made in de
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Nuremberg

@Paradigm: I'm a human. I've lost a fair few level one characters in 5e, but I think that is just the way it works. We do secret death saving throws, so people sometimes underestimate how close someone is to death when they roll a 1!

@Skavenlord:As for low int-wis, well, I play him as a bit oblivious to other people and lacking in common sense - he is always ready to rush heroically and recklessly into any situation, confidently believing he can find a way through. As for dignity, I thought it was hilarious. The Bullywugs were trying to take us prisoner, and I resisted, and found myself surrounded by 8 of them. Even with high AC and the dodge action, I only managed to last three rounds til one of them critted me.

As to Bullywugs as enemies, I love them! I bought a bunch of Privateer Press Croaks to use as them and can't wait to use them in my own game when I get back to DMing.

   
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USA

As far as I can remember, I haven't encountered Bullywugs as a player, nor have I used them as a DM. I haven't seen them in any of the pre-made quests I've been reading either. I think I'll need to change that. I'll add Bullywugs to the list of things I want to make for D&D.

Along similar lines, I've been reading a lot about monster minis that different people feel are most important for a starting DM to have (if they play with minis). They mostly became top ten lists, of minis that would be most useful to a DM starting out.
Going from memory, there was mostly a consensus to focus on a spread of the CR 1/8 and similar commonly encountered monsters: goblins, orcs, kobolds, hobgoblins, knolls, bandits, cultists, zombies, skeletons, etc. There was also mostly consensus one a few wilderness encounter animals, like wolves, owlbears, etc.
And finally that beginning DMs should have two large creatures to use as final bosses: they mostly agreed on a juvenile dragon and some kind of demon. (A few wanted beholders, but the rest felt they were far too dangerous).
This of course is very variable based on campaign setting, and where the adventures will take place, But I thought I would put together a top ten list based on my own thoughts and limited experience.

1.Goblins (at least 4 of them. They seem to be the bread and butter of very first encounters from what I've read and show up more than anything.)
2.Bandits (at least 4. Good to have humanoid PC stand in enemies, and they appear a lot in what I have read too)
3. Bugbear (stronger version of the above 2 entries, good at ambushing, and can bolster the forces of goblins or bandits)
4. Zombies (preferably a lot maybe 8-10. Good for straight forward horde encounter, and are more mystical than the living enemies above)
5. Orcs (Mostly because I love orks from the warhammer universe, so I can play these with more personality than most monsters, but also for variety of straight forward attacking monster)
6. Wolves (good for wilderness encounter, can be teamed up with goblins, and is something that helps with suspension of disbelief since they are real and people of scared of them)
7.A second wild animal group, I'll say bears (but it can be wild boars, big cats, an owl bear, etc)
8. Some weak abberation, abomination, unusual beast (Some unusual monster, either unique to D&D or mythology to shake things up. Like a pudding, spectator, or medusa0
9. Evil wizard (can be scaled up and down to match heroes, and reused no matter what level they are. Good to know that not all final bosses are big monsters)
10. A final boss that is a big monster, maybe an ogre or troll (I'd prefer not to over use young dragons, but most feel they are good for this. It is in the name of the game I suppose)

I would love to read your own lists and why you choose them, if any of you would like to share.

   
Made in gb
[DCM]
Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

I share your feelings on Young Dragons. The PCs in my first campaign are probably at the point they could take a Young Dragon (especially if they face it off the back of a Long Rest) but I kind of feel throwing the weakest possible Dragon at them at a lower level devalues them a bit; when Dragons show up in my game, I want it to be a big, dramatic moment of terror rather than 'here's a baby one, bash its head in and have some treasure for your troubles'.

I can see using them to foreshadow a larger dragon down the line, or even as more of an ally/questgiver in need of some assistance, but I'd certainly hesitate to use them as a big final boss. Though I do admittedly like using things like Wyverns or Drakes* to get the feeling of a dragon battle without toning down actual Dragons.

*There's a few varieties of Drake in Kobold Press' Tome of Beasts supplement, which I highly recommend if you want more variety than MM/Volo's/MTOF, there's a lot of folklorey types in there as well as some genuinely weird stuff.


I don't use minis myself, but if I did, I'd largely agree with your list above. Maybe go for more generic humanoids instead of specifically bandits, if you have half a dozen with various armaments you've got everything from Bandits/Guards at CR1/8 to Archers/Veterans/Knights at CR3, and they can double as allies or enemies. I generally prefer Skeletons to Zombies, but that's just because I'm not a massive fan of overly tanky enemies early on, it drags combat out while not being much more dangerous in the long run. Ogres are always a good shout, most factions can find an excuse to use them and with Mordenkainen's there's some decent alternative profiles as well.

All that said, I reckon (if they're still available) the D&D boardgames are a good place to start. Wrath of Ashardalon, Temple of Elemental Evil, Castle Ravenloft ect. Not only are they fun games in their own right but they all have a good range of enemies ranging in level and type significantly. Likewise, something like Mantic's Dwarf King's Quest makes a good start, you've got Undead, Orcs, a few more unique pieces. Add in a sprue of Frostgrave soldiers for Guards/Bandits and you're sorted. Not to mention these things tend to come with a bunch of board tiles as well that are always useful.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/07/02 13:35:09


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Nuremberg

Agreed on Dragons as well. I have written into my game world that drakes are dumb, unintelligent dragons that behave like beasts.
Every so often, a drake bonds with an area of land, making a lair their. The Drake gradually increases in intelligence and gains magical abilities, becoming a true dragon, or wyrm.

Flora and fauna in the area around a wyrms lair is effected over generations, creating the various "drake" form animals like Rage Drakes etc, which are called "wyrmbeasts" or "wyrmtainted".
Goblins and Halflings in the area gradually begin to take on a draconic aspect over generations, eventually becoming Kobolds. Humans, Hobgoblins and Orcs etc undergo the same process becoming Dragonborn. This is partially looted from Robin Hobb's Liveship traders.

As for beginner minis, that list is a pretty good start. I like to have a variety of Undead, because they are a pretty common low level bad guy and can show up as minions or "environmental" bad guys, and nearly always need to be fought.

The core of my collection is Castle Ravenloft + Wrath of Ashardalon for the basics, with Dwarf Kings Quest + Expansions filling out the roster with more Undead, Trolls, Orcs and Demons.
If I had to pick one Dungeons and Dragons Board Game to buy, I would definitely go with Wrath of Ashardalon. You get a small orc clan, some Kobolds, Duregar, Demons, some weird abberations like Grell, Gibbering Mouthers and a Gauth, and a kick ass Dragon, as well as some Bears and Snakes. Combine it with Castle Ravenloft and you get wolves and rat swarms, a collection of undead including ghosts and all the major corporeal types, and some classic villains like Hags, a Dracolich and of course a Vampire.

I recently picked up legend of drizzt on the cheap, and while I am not as fond of it as the others, it has a bunch of drow, goblins galore, a mind flayer, a drider, another Dragon, and a big arsed demon.

I really need to get around to photographing all the stuff I have painted over the last while.

   
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Legendary Master of the Chapter





UK

I like that concept of Dragons 'evolving' from Drakes over their lifespan. In my setting, I have a similar starting point, but basically where Drakes (like Wyverns) are simply non-magical creatures, while Dragons are inherently magical. In other words, the Drakes of my world have more in common with Lizardfolk or dinosaurs than actual Dragons, which are few and far between to the point of being almost mythical to many cultures.

I also change up the way Dragonborn work, essentially using them how other settings typically use Elves; the civilisation that has already fallen from the height of its power, reduced to a few thousand by some calamity. I also set DB lifespans at several centuries (possibly millennia in some cases, as they are functionally immortal unless killed) with children incredibly rare so they are slowly dying out and each new generation is more precious than the last. So far none of my players have gone for a DB character, but I'm hoping someone does at some point so I have an excuse to delve into this culture a little more thoroughly and show it off in-game.

It never sat right with me that the 'standard' lifespan for a Dragonborn was less than 100 years, as I tend to see them as the most majestic and innately magical of the usual races. If Dragons themselves can exist for millennia, why are their 'descendants' so short-lived by comparison (I'm sure there is a reason, but I don't care for it )


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Oh, and further to the Bullywug discussion, I came across this the other day, part of this package is an extended Bestiary that adds in (amongst around 100 monsters) a couple more profiles for them, including chiefs and (tortoise-mounted) cavalry! Might be of interest, and you can get it for free.
http://www.dmsguild.com/product/202858/Nerzugals-Game-Master-Toolkit

There's also some good trap/puzzles in there as well that are worth a look if you need a non-combat challenge in a hurry.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2018/07/02 21:56:27


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Stabbin' Skarboy





USA

Thanks for you quick responses about starter minis. Thank you both for suggesting the D&D board games, I've been considering buying them for some time, so this is helping push me toward getting them. Wrath of Asharadon is the one that caught my eye most, but I may have to look into Castle Ravenloft too. What do the two of you think of Temple of Elemental Evil, I'm most interested in that after Asharadon.

@ Da Boss: Those evolving drakes are an interesting game mechanic. I like how they have a little bit of the same feel as a beholder, with altering the world in an area around their lair. It's a cool origin for kobolds and dragon born as well.

@Paradigm: Thanks for the advice about a mix of generic character races to use as bad guys, rather than only bandits. Also I'm glad I'm not the only one bothered by the short life span of dragonborn, it doesn't make sense to me either. I like the direction you're taking it. Very interesting

   
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Combat Jumping Ragik






Beyond the Beltway

Syro_, Wrath of Ashardalon is the best of the 3 which had the WotC made minis. Drizzt was, predictably, the least interesting. Ravenloft is brutal, and I think not as well play-tested. A few of the scenarios are really randumb lulz not fun. The rest are fun.

ToEE has the WizKids minis, which are noticeably different in scale, at least for the PCs. The minis are a bit nicer ( a few painted ones are in my gallery, or on my blog, BTW) than the WotC minis, but they are still *game piece* quality. ToEE has a nice campaign mechanic. It is worth playing.

I have yet to get the most recent game, Tomb of Annihilation. My group, we've been busy and really have only had time for regular D&D for the past 9 months or so.

 
   
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USA

Thanks Red Harvest, I appreciate the mini reviews on the game, Wrath of Ashardalon will definitely be top of my list.

   
 
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