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Adventurers Found - playing 5th edition at the Fringe

C: So earlier this week, we joined Adventurers Wanted for their Banishment campaign. They’re running a 15-hour D&D 5e campaign as a Fringe show here in Edinburgh, with players and player characters swapping every hour and DMs swapping every day. I think the term is “actual play”—as in, the game is being played in real time while the show happens.

A: Yes; it’s live, and also being broadcast on the Dungeons & Dragons and Adventurers Wanted Twitch channels. Everyone on the internet can go watch us play Franz the elf Barbarian and Clementine the human Warlock almost being defeated by a locked door!

C: Yeah! They had this whole livestream setup, which was very cool.

A: They also had BSL interpreters, who were incredible; the two interpreters we saw did an amazing job and deserve a huge shout-out.

C: They fucking crushed it. They were so cool to watch in their own right. Another big part of this was 5e. Like, this was only my second time ever playing 5e and I haven’t played it in years! Am I right in thinking it was your first time playing 5e?

A: It was.

C: What did you think?

A: It was…wow! Different, firstly. 5e definitely lives up to its reputation of being more accessible, for one thing.

C: For sure.

A: Compared to the 1e Pathfinder we normally play, where the idea of a ‘quick build’ is a list of at least five common feat choices—

C: Yeah; ‘quick build’ more or less translates into ‘googling one of the many class guides’, all of which are 40-page PDFs.

A: —While gauging it by personal experience and meta-discussion, as well as weapon choices and feat trees. Whereas in 5e, quick builds are a real thing. We arrived at the Adventurers Wanted venue and they handed us sheets—which were one page, with normal-sized font. Normal-sized font! There wasn’t a part where you thought, ‘Oh god. How many points have I put in Spellcraft?’

C: They made us our 5th-level characters and gave us a binder with everything we needed before our turn onstage came up. So they supplied everything we’d need to play (having asked us to send in a race and class pick earlier, but having made spares for people who wanted to wing it), which was awesome, and very much something that felt even more doable because of 5e’s mechanics.

A: Yep.

C: I have to admit: I was more thrown by the 5th edition rules than I expected to be! Having reviewed the 5e player’s handbook in advance, I thought it would be a pretty straightforward transition from Pathfinder. It was a little more complex than I thought…though honestly, I think that had more to do with jitters than the actual rules. I was super nervous; I’d never played on any sort of recorded medium or streaming thing before.

A: Me neither. And I spent the entire time this time eating, which in retrospect may have been a mistake.

C: It fitted with your character! And everyone there, the GM and the other players and the audience, were really friendly and supportive throughout the whole experience. Emma, who plays in Adventurers Wanted’s Omen campaign down in London, was a lifesaver for me—not just on how 5e Barbarians worked, but also being super encouraging, both within the actual narrative and just conversing at the table during gameplay. That was so helpful.

A: This was a fun foray into 5e, and a super fun campaign to be part of. If you are in Edinburgh, the show’s on through the weekend, so you can catch the final day in person—and if you’re not in Edinburgh you can watch it on Twitch, too.

C: Yeah; it’s on both the Dungeons and Dragons channel and the Adventurers Wanted channel, and the previous recordings are on the Adventurers Wanted channel too. I’ve had it on for a lot of this morning while working and it’s getting very intense. Bridges and staircases continue to be mega-antagonistic.

A: Watching the game’s great; we watched two of our party players earlier on Friday and it was so much fun! One of them played a Fighter called Gerald, whose legend continued into our session, which was hilarious, and we also got to watch our normally-serious Wizard kick back as an out-of-control Sorcerer. A riot of laughter, and a riot of Geralds all round. You don’t need to have watched start to finish for immediate context, either.

C: Every hour is quite self-contained. I don’t know how they managed that, but it was really impressive—the maneuverability of it. Taking notes for my game. Oh, and also, like you said earlier: you played a Warlock!

A: Yes!

C: We don’t even have those in Pathfinder! What did you think?

A: Well, I was a boozy wine mom, so some material I did bring over from our games. Because it was an hour, I never did use Eldritch Blast. It all happened so fast, and I don’t know that I can give a full read on warlocks, but I definitely want to play her again, and to try more with that build.

C: That’s definitely some of the show’s power, too. Before we went in, a group of people from the previous hour were leaving, and one of them was saying to the others that they really wanted to play D&D now, and the others were super stoked and eager to help! That was immediately the best possible kind of review right there. What it’s all about.

A: I really do want to play more. Franz and Clemmie on another adventure.

C: Fighting more staircases.

A: Hoping for some Gerald fanart.

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