Like Greg, I have been enjoying our D&D sessions so much that, I recently forked out and purchased the 5th ed players handbook. I can’t say I have gotten too far into it at present but from the brief look, I do like all the quotes from the old forgotten realms and Dragonlance books I read many years ago. Definitely is taking me back on a nostalgia trip!
Like many companies, You can download the basic rules from their website (I say basic, it’s the complete rule book and be prepared to print a lot of pages!). What the players handbook offers you is a lot more choice in the classes you can select, it also opens up an increased number of specialisations within the classes that were available on the free download. To put this into context, I will talk about the new path I am taking Knoffles down.
At level 3 a fighter can choose a Martial Archetype to specialise in. In the basic rules you have 1 option, that of a champion, which at level 3 means you crit on a 19-20 rather than a standard 20 (more options open at later levels). This was the route I had taken as it was the only one we had. The handbook offers two other paths and our DM, Steve, has agreed that myself and Greg can change our paths as we are only level 3 at present.
Battlemaster. This specialisation allows you to pick 3 bonus skills from a list of about 10. It includes things such as riposte, which allows you to counter attack an enemy. It is definitely intriguing and if I were more combat orientated rather than defensive I may give this ago. However I wanted a bit more versatility in my character and choose to instead go with the final option:
Eldritch Knight. This route opens up limited spell casting with access granted to two of the eight schools of magic (Evocation and Abjuration or Damage and Protection). You also have the ability to bind up to two weapons so you can never be disarmed and can summon one of the bound weapons (good for if you need to change from say bludgeoning to slashing.
At the basic level you can pick any 2 cantrips from the Wizard selection (going up to 3 at level 10) and you can learn 3 spells (going up to a max of 13 at level 20), two of which must be from the Evo/Abj school. It’s worth noting that although you know 3 spells, at lvl 3 you can only memorise 2 of them at one time.
With a wizard already in the party, specialising in fire damage I wanted to avoid picking anything he already had. I also wanted to pick items that complemented my class or that I felt we were missing as a group. So with that said, all that was left was to pick the spells.
Ray of Frost (Evo).
A damage attack that not only deals the polar opposite of fire but also slows an attacker to prevent them getting into melee with the group’s ranged characters
True Strike (Div).
A buff that will give me advantage in my first melee attack.
I need to check this, as it is in the divination school but my reading is that any cantrip can be selected but it is the spells that in the main need to be from Evo/Abj.
Learn languages (writing this on the train so the name might be incorrect, I’ll come back and edit it if so)
A ritual that lasts 1 hour and allows me to understand/read any language. This is one for the team and something that should help out as we have been caught out on several occasions. This is my selection for the non Evo/Abj spell allowed at lvl 3. You can select another at around lvl 7/8.
When hit, this spell adds +5 AC to the Character it was cast on. If used on myself it would push me up to 27 and make me an Unstoppable force! (Or meat shield).
Casts a 15ft wall that shoots forward and causes lightning damage to all enemies it moves over and pushes the enemy back 10ft. If the enemy pass their saving throw, they aren’t pushed back and take reduced damage. Again I picked this as I wasn’t sure if the others had this type of damage, so gives us more versatility and the push back helps keep the ranged members of the party safe. The drawback to this spell is that it creates a massive thunderclap when cast. Can anyone say, “announce your location?”
A final decision will need to be made on which 2 spells to be taken in the quest but i am happy that the spell and cantrip selection add a good versatility to the group and my character whilst maintaining the protectionist role Knoffles fulfills in the group dynamic.