London and I have been playing a lot of D&D 5e. I played 4e a few times and it just never took – everything was too complicated. When it takes an entire session just to level up, that’s too much crap to try to remember. The mechanical simplicity of 5e is a breath of fresh air. We got the starter box and liked it well enough to get the Monster Manual and Player’s Handbook. I’ve flipped through the Dungeon Master’s Guide but haven’t seen anything exciting enough to make me want to pony up the money (yet), although I have heard good things about it.
We’ve been playing through the included adventure from the starter box, “Lost Mines of Phandelver”. There’s a semi-sandboxy middle section where the players have several choices of objectives to pursue, and one of these involves investigating a lost spellbook. I think that will be our hook for further adventuring after we finish Phandelver. And I’m going to put the spellbook on Dinosaur Island (my Forgotten Realms are not going to be canon).
Dinosaur Island is a classic pulp lost world filled with dinosaurs, pterosaurs, giant marine reptiles, prehistoric mammals, and cavemen, and ruled by evil sorcerors. Inspirations are Skull Island from King Kong, tons of Frank Frazetta paintings (especially “Savage World”, at the top of this post), and every black-and-white dinosaurs-and-cavemen movie I saw growing up.
Here are my random monster tables for Dinosaur Island, and here they are in PDF form: Dinosaur Island monster table.