D&D 5E Campaign Update – Enter the Owl Bear

Our initial hope for a regular biweekly routine was quickly abandoned so this was the first time we had played in about a month, due to various circumstances. We’re at a part now where we’re completing a few side quests and exploring the surrounding world, and the main thing we were doing this session was taking on some Orcs.

But there was something different about this session, it didn’t have the same spark as usual, and people didn’t seem as excited. I’m not sure why exactly, maybe it was just the moods of people on the day; one of my friends recently went through a break-up and is going through a bit of an emotional tornado so he was drinking (which is technically in character as he’s playing a sailor), but it meant he was distracted and he ended up toying with a guitar for most of the session. Another player was on his phone constantly, and a third had his tablet out and was watching the football.

Given this I wasn’t feeling particularly ‘into’ it and I was getting frustrated with some things the other players were doing in-game as well. The DM was suffering from a bit of a cold, but he still did a good job but overall it felt like we were going through the motions. The encounter with the Owl Bear was fun and something we didn’t expect, and it actually dealt quite a bit of damage, but when we onto the Orcs, that battle fell flat. Only one of us was in danger, the rest only took 3 hit points between us. By this point the DM was getting annoyed and wasn’t putting as much flavour into the battle, so it became a case of, “I move here, I hit him for x,” “Okay, he’s looking worse for wear now,” until the battle was over. This was the first one that we really steamrolled, as usually in combat a few of us go down.

So maybe it was too easy? I’m not sure. Part of the problem I think is that usually the combat is broken up by some role-playing, but there wasn’t much opportunity so we had three combats in total, and by the end it felt a little repetitive. That’s not to knock the DM because I think he’s doing a great job, and I think if the other players had all been into it the combat would have been more fun. I’m anticipating some much harder encounters in the future (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).

All in all the session wasn’t quite what I had hoped, and I’m hoping it was just a blip. But I am wondering if anyone else out there has experienced something similar and if so what did you do to rectify it?

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