A D&D Weekend

Over the weekend, my wife, brother, and I started a new family game running Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk, the re-written and expanded Lost Mines of Phandelver adventure from the early days of 5th Edition. Since the kids weren't interested in playing this time around, we decided to try the sidekick rules from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything so we could still run a 4-person party.

What we ended up with is my wife playing an elven fighter with a satyr spellcaster sidekick and my brother playing a dragonborn warlock with a kobold inventor expert sidekick. They are having a really good time with the sidekick rules, as am I, except for the fact that for some reason I am really struggling to balance these battles. They've gotten their butts kicked pretty hard in both the first encounter, which they still won, and the second encounter, which they ended up fleeing from – sadly failing to save Sildar Hallwinter – even with me leveling them up beforehand. Granted, there were some bad rolls that contributed to this but it was still much harder for them than I expected.

Regardless, we had a good time and there was a lot of emotion when they returned to the goblin hideout to find Sildar impaled in front of the goblins' cave. I just need to get a better feel for these encounters with the sidekicks.

All-in-all, we played around 10 hours of D&D over two roughly 5-hour sessions on Saturday night then Sunday afternoon and had a ton of fun. I'm even considering modifying the sidekick rules so I can write-up some sidekick versions of the characters in our main campaign, hopefully making it less necessary to cancel when one or two players can't make it. That's a post for another time, though. I'll give it a shot and report back.

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