Example of play

Page 17 of HotFL has an “Example of Play”: pretty much the same one in the 4e PHB, except that there are mysterious differences.

The names have been changed: The DM is now named Chris and not Dave, and the other player and character names have changed as well. There are a few additions, too. I’ll quote it (keeping the old names) and bold the new text.

Dave (DM): Old stone steps climb up about 30 feet or so into the mountainside, alongside a cold stream splashing through the cave. The steps end at a landing in front of a big stone door carved with the image of a bearded dwarf face. The door stands open about a foot or so. There’s a bronze gong hanging from a bracket in the wall nearby. What do you do?
Cam (Isidro): I’ll creep up and peek through the opening.
Daneen (Serissa): I want to take a closer look at the gong.
Toby (Ammar): I’m going to hang back and keep watch, in case Isidro gets into trouble.
Cam (Isidro): Not a chance, I’m a professional.
Dave (DM): Okay, first Serissa: It’s a battered old bronze gong. There’s a small hammer hanging beside it.
Toby (Ammar): Don’t touch it!
Daneen (Serissa): I wasn’t going to! It looks like the doorbell to me. No sense telling the monsters we’re here.
Dave (DM): Okay. Now for Isidro: Since you’re trying to be sneaky, Cam, make a Stealth check.
Cam (rolls a Stealth check for Isidro): I got a 22.
Dave (DM): Isidro is pretty stealthy. (Dave compares Isidro’s Stealth check result to the Perception check result of the monsters he knows are in the next room. Cam’s
roll beats the Perception check, so the monsters don’t know the halfling is there.)
Daneen (Serissa): So what does he see ‘s in there?
Dave (DM): You’re by the gong, remember? Isidro, you peek in the door’s opening, and you see a large stone hall with several thick pillars. There’s a large fire pit in the center of the room filled with dimming embers. You see four beastlike humanoids with hyena faces crouching around the fire pit, and a big animal—like a real hyena, but much bigger—dozing on the floor nearby. The hyenamen are armed with spears and axes.
Toby (Ammar): Gnolls! I hate those guys.
Daneen (Serissa): Looks like we’ll have to fight our way in. Can we take them?
Cam (Isidro): No problem, we’ve got the drop on ’em.
Dave (DM): So are you going through the door? (The players all agree that they are.) Show me where your characters are standing right before you go in. (The players arrange their characters’ miniatures on the Dungeon Tiles that Dave has prepared for the encounter. They’re now on the landing just outside the room with the gnolls.)
Toby (Ammar): All right, on the count of three.
Cam (Isidro): Is that on three or right after three?
Daneen (Serissa): Isidro!
Cam (Isidro): What? I’m just asking for clarification!
Toby (Ammar):
One . . . two . . . three!
Dave (DM): You’ve surprised the gnolls! Everybody roll initiative, and we’ll see if you can take these guys or not.

The notable difference, besides a few minor edits and the much-needed clarification of what a “pro” is, is the addition of the hilarious “count of three” gag at the end. Who came up with that? That’s good stuff.

It’s not surprising that there are some differences between the texts: it’s said that there is no surviving original script of the “Example of Play.” The PHB and Heroes of the Fallen Lands versions are different reconstructions based on the memories of “Example of Play” actors and audience members from the original performances in Elizabethan England.

And that’s why you read Blog of Holding: for excessively close readings that you just can’t get in the other D&D product reviews.

More Essentials thoughts…


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