Player’s Handbook Musings and Battletech Setup

Last night we still needed to finish building up units for our Battletech game, so we had a construction night and did a variety of things.

With the early release of the Player’s Handbook (I picked it up at the early release at our FLGS), we had to chat about it.  We like what we saw.  I haven’t role-played with this group of guys, but they definitely put character and story above all else.  Andrew flipped through the book as we worked on a variety of game related tasks and we chatted about what he saw.

Significant attention was paid to the return of Wild Magic, last done well in Second edition.  I’ve always liked the concept of having magic not be perfectly tameable and having variation in its effects, sometimes extreme.  Dungeon Crawl Classics does it this way.  The rulebook is so incredibly thick in DCC because all magic is essentially wild magic. Each spell has a huge stat block with a variety of random effects.  DND isn’t quite as extreme, but just having the rules there opens it up to all sorts of cool house ruling by GMs.

We talked about the differences between the three casting classes and feats.  I really like how feats have been done in this system.  Feats are actually feats in this iteration of the game.  Third and Fourth took a lot of deserved flack in that the feats would often boil down to “+2 to these two skills” feats that no one in their right mind would select, unless they were purposely trying to handicap their character.  In Fifth, Feats are only taken in replacement of ability score increases.  When you take a feat, it allows you the ability to do three to five things that you couldn’t before, around a theme.  Flipping through the chapter, Andrew commented that there wasn’t a single feat that he saw that wouldn’t be a useful addition to some character.

Finally, the combat chapter is about six or seven pages long, total, as it should be.  Combat should not drive role-playing.  Stories should.  I am looking for a return in the hobby to character- and story-driven role-playing.  Its been here the whole time, but when a major game like DND has that focus, it has the potential to shift the hobby culture and to bring up new players properly.

While discussing this, we also finalized and printed our units for our Battletech skirmish.  Here is a very rough breakdown:

Daniel:  Three melee-focused Mediums

Josh: Two big tanks with water crossing capability

Andrew: One giant 3000 BV behemoth of a Mech

Zach: A submarine, a hovercraft, and a helicopter

Me: A Medium Striker, a Light Runner, and a helicopter

While doing all of this, Zach and I chatted about classical music.  Zach plays the Bassoon.  I played the violin for ten years before crippling tendinitis in my left wrist forced me to stop.  I sold my violin earlier this year.  I’ve always liked the reed-based instruments, especially the Oboe and Bassoon and Zach showed me a couple of contemporary pieces on YouTube that feature the Bassoon.  We talked about versions of Rhapsody in Blue that we like.

All in all it was a pretty relaxed evening.  We finished out by rolling for starting locations for the BT game and set up our figs.  We now have a lot of reading of rules to do to make sure we are prepared for the game to start.

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