Considering Bees

4 Sep, 2020, updated 8 Sep, 2020 5e aaw games

I wanted to try a 5e game but with OSR rules for dungeoneering. For that, I used Considering Bees from AAW which I had in print with VTT assets from their Kickstarter in 2019. This is a level 2 adventure, and pits the players vs, well, bees. 🐝 🐝 🐝

This took two sessions of about 2.5 hours each, and had two PCs each running a single character. We played in roll20. I tried to set up proper dynamic lighting (the new style) but cocked it up reasonably-well so defaulted back to the old version (was showing the whole map to the players). Perhaps next time I’d just buy it on roll20?

One problem I have with roll20 is seeing a player’s view - I can “rejoin as player” but that’s not something I want to try mid-game when someone’s having a problem - it’s literally quicker for them to share their view on Discord.

The plot of Considering Bees is that Meixiu used to tend her hives until she spurned the Emperor and look just go in this cave and kill bees alright? Said bees are “Swarm of Insects (Wasps)” and “Giant Wasp” from 5e.

The players did this, stumbling around the caves as their lightsources in roll20 meant they could only see the actual 40ft around them and very little else. This did add some authentic “which way was it back again?” but I’m not sure it was Actually Fun. Fighting the swarms were good as they’re resistant to standard melee attacks but have few hitpoints, particularly as the adventure stats some of them as half-sized anyway (which also reduces their attack damage from 4d4 to 2d4).

I also tried to have bees flee when seriously wounded, which meant there was the option for chasing or gaining respite, which I think was novel for me. This balanced the wandering monsters (MORE BEES) that also appeared.

The players finally made it to Meixiu who (shock) is the boss of this little dungeon and stats as a Cult Fanatic who can turn into a Swarm of Insects as a reaction.

They died.

Hard.

Oops. 😬

Lessons

A player in a dark cave, not able to see much

My players' view

  1. Cult Fanatics are lvl 4 spellcasters, I don’t know what I was confusing them with but the first round of combat was me going “hmm oo, what’s inflict wounds do?” and then killing the tank. It went downhill from there, although they did get Meixiu down to 14hp.
  2. This dungeon had no traps and I was using the exploring rules of exploring takes time because you’re always searching for traps. My players actively didn’t like this and prefer basically guessing which rooms to search.
  3. I need to pay attention when an adventure says it’s for four adventurers - the monsters in this were easy but wiped the spell slots from the Sorceror so he couldn’t kill Meixiu.
  4. Fukken learn to roll20 better if I’m going to start playing with all the features.

If I was running this again, the dungeon needs a bit more flavour, particularly if it’s being run at OSR pace. So:

For a normal 5e game it would have been fine I think, and run a lot quicker.

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