I mean, why even bother?
I'm sitting on a Discord server one day, looking for DM's who are wanting players to scratch my DnD itch.
I found someone looking for players to go through a story for the DM, they make it seem like they have run a group through this before, some homebrew elements apply.
I get accepted, first person in, join a voice chat with the DM and start going over character creation.
Starting with class, I 'want' to play Warlock, so I ask.
"What Warlock subclasses am I NOT allowed to use?"
"I don't want any Hexblades." The DM says.
"Okay, Genie is okay then?"
We have a back and forth for a while, I find out that they've banned all of the Tasha's book, and only let me do Archfey or Fiend with the pretext I may have to change if they deem it 'too powerful'. (I will later choose Fiend, but for now.)
"What about Artificers?"
"I have removed all Int casters."
"So... No Wizard? Arti, Eldritch knight, Arcane Trickster?"
"No, none of them exist."
"Alright so how do Patrons work for Warlock?"
"You basically worship them."
"So, Warlocks are basically Clerics?"
Alright...It's at this point I go Fiend Warlock.
Next up is Race, I have a few ideas flowing at this point. Ask for Yuan-ti. Get shot down, no monster races, no exotic races, base races only. Keep in mind that the DM changes their mind 10 minutes later and allows another player who also joined voice chat to play Aarakocra.
I decide to go Tiefling, but before we continue we have to go on a very important tangent.
No spell slots, no spell points, you have mana. Certain level spells cost a certain amount of mana.
The amount of it you have is based on your Wisdom or Charisma. For anonymity's sake at the moment let's say my character ends up with a lot of mana for reasons we will discuss later.
Casters know all their spells. Yes. You heard me correctly. All of them. The only limit is if you have enough mana to cast the spell, meaning my character can currently cast one seventh level spell with all their mana. At level 1. Let that fun fact sink in for a second.
And before you ask, yes, cantrips cost mana, enough that my character is limited to 20 cantrips by their mana pool, even with the large amount discussed earlier.
As far as I am aware, Warlock gets no bonuses to mana regen probably because all of the casters work on the same system.
Back to where we were.
"So what Tieflings can I be?"
"Base, no sub-races."
"Ooookay, so, how does casting Tiefling feature spells work on the mana system?"
"What are the spells you get?"
"Well, Thaumaturgy, which you have banned, and then Hellish Rebuke."
Yes.... there is a banned spell list, we will get to it later.
"I'm not giving you Hellish Rebuke."
"Are you... banning it or?"
"No, you just don't get it as Tiefling."
"Okay that leaves Darkness at level 5, oh, and are you going to replace these spells you're telling me I can't have?"
"No, and we'll discuss Darkness when you hit 5."
"Oh.... Very well."
Moving on to stats, we start with a point buy, all stats at 8 and we get 45 to spend.
Putting points to get 14 or greater does not cost 2 instead of 1 like point buy normally does.
We can cap stats at 25
Max for all stats is 30
HP is your Con stat, not the modifier, multiplied by 10 (200 for me, tanky Warlock is go)
Mana is your Wisdom or Charisma multiplied by 15 (Meaning 300 mana)
I even out my other stats, I don't want to go full into 25's and have low others because I have no clue what I'll be facing.
All of us start with the Noble background plus one background we wish, benefits of both, however our only equipment is 50 gold and clothes. Later it seems he did not tell this to the others because in session 1 the other characters had equipment and I don't even have a spell focus. But, honestly that is the least of my worries for what we are about to get into.
With all that out of the way, I can get to the part where I don't rail on the situation, and instead rail on previous decisions by the DM.
To name a few, this is by no means all the banned spells.
Thaumaturgy, Spare the dying, Legend lore, Counterspell, Heat metal, Guidance, Revivify, Divination, (Not specific that's just what the list says) Find familiar, Unseen Servant.
To add to this, it's apparent that the DM has some precious NPC's that they don't want the players to mess with because also on the ban list is. Mind control, feeblemind, and both forms of polymorph.
At the moment that's all I have, I haven't asked about druids, clerics, or Sorcerers yet, and since we've done session 1 nothing major has come up, i'll keep you all posted.
The DM has created an edgy Frost elf DMPC to play, who has another player as their companion, though they don't seem to want to work with the party. I know. Shocker.
This DMPC and the player accompanying them are in a relationship in character, and any further details would make this extremely not safe for work.
Another exotic race has been added, the beast-kin, which is pumped up shifter, and a player was allowed to be Tabaxi, probably because that player is brand new to DnD, and a girl.
The DM apparently has 3 years of DMing experience, or so they say, having run 17 games and this mana caster system 2, this makes 3 times.
The two of us who aren't new don't believe this for a second.
I am now only in this, as is a friend of mine, to see how this becomes more of a train wreck.
We arrive back at the castle, cue stuck up noble noises, to an event that none of us as players understand, apparently the gods are choosing a few people of each race to do trials for them, i'm the ONLY Tiefling there so I auto qualify.
Obviously the other players qualify too for story reasons.
This is where we learn the 'humanoid' races are racist against Tieflings, Tabaxi, Beast-kin, and Dragonborn, no explanation why.
This list means everyone currently in the party.
After being chosen we are asked if we have equipment.
Remember when I made my character and wasn’t given any equipment? Weird.
My new Tabaxi friend quickly gives me some basic equipment because she thinks i'll get in trouble if I say I have none.
All the people who didn't bring anything are taken to an arena.
Cue Hunger Games theme song as it plays out exactly like the movies start except no fighting other people. you all are to survive a horde of undead and whoever lives gets to keep what they grabbed in the cornucopia. We find out that stuff in there was REALLY good equipment.
No PCs are required to enter because we all have equipment.
The DM was probably trying to throw me in there because they told me to not start with equipment.
In comes 200 undead tentacle monsters, all blind, but have extremely good hearing.
I realize why Thaumaturgy is banned now, and make an off hand comment about how the spell silence would make this super easy. The DM proceeds to add Silence to the Ban list.
Any NPC that gets caught proceeds to be maimed in vivid detail by the DM in ways that make DOOM Eternal look like its PG13.
The Druid Tabaxi and I want to see if we can help, and since I have my full spell list due to the mana rules, I have Major illusion. I attempt to make a banging suit of armor on the other side of the viewing window in order to draw some undead away from the people inside.
"Your spell fails."
"The glass is soundproof, the sound does not get through."
"I can see the other side of the glass. I cast it on the other side."
"It fails, the glass has an antimagic field over it, no magic in or out."
In the most preschool smug tone he can muster, I don't think they realized they sounded like that either.
After a bit, Tabaxi wants to vomit, and goes outside to scream.
"Roll a Dex save."
All of us: "Why?"
"You might damage your vocal chords screaming."
"Wouldn't that be a Con save?"
"Whatever Dex or Con your pick."
Mild throat ache for Tabaxi, rip.
After a few in game hours, the survivors make it outside, the edgelord DMPC survives and comes out emanating EDGE, at this point I've had enough of him.
We three go back to the inn and regroup, I try to get drunk because what I saw warrants it.
I assume to get drunk. And I roll a 7.
"You vomit your drink and meal back up.”
Proceed to spend 45 mana to cast prestidigitation 3 times.
Now we discuss a plan, we are to be given or make teams, obviously we all form a team the three of us, and will be sent into dungeons as our trials, any loot you find is yours to keep.
I then make an off hand comment in character.
"Alright, so all we have to do is stay alive, and hope the final trial isn't fighting each other."
The DM goes silent on me saying that, for quite a while.
I feel bad for this Tabaxi because this is her first experience with DnD, I'm going to warn her.
We were called in after our Tabaxi asked when the next session was, and was told "In one hour."
Some new information I have obtained because I asked about other classes under the pretext of 'I want to make a backup character'.
Barbarian: Rage only last 2 rounds..... yes..... the round you use it, and one round after.
Bard: I was told "Oh yeah I haven't started on it but I have to revise the whole thing."
Rogue: Limited number of sneak attacks per long rest equal to your Int modifier.
Druid: Was told it's the same but he went silent trying to explain wild shape.
The DM is using multiple different Discord servers to advertise this exact campaign, and has posted calls 5 times on one server according to our Dragonborn, yet we are the only 3 players.
Anyway back to our non-regularly scheduled BS.
We all arrive back at the castle, are asked to make teams. Obviously our group of 3 teams up. A large orb is summoned and we are told to enter to arrive at our first trial, we all step through and find we are in a large forest.
Our Tabaxi climbs a tree to get a better view, finding a fortress, a large snake corpse (Like, Jormungandr level size), and our DMPC friend all in different directions from us.
We decide to investigate the fortress first, and find a group of bat-like creatures in our way, we decide to deal with them since they look hostile, and since we may have to deal with them later if we don't.
Cast Invisibility at 4th level since I have the mana so we can get an ambush set up. Minus 35 mana.
My friends get them in range of each other with some noises and one of them breaks a twig on the ground while invisible.
"How far can I get from the group of creatures?" I asked.
"At max? 25ft and still be able to see them."
"Okay, at a point within 150ft of me that I can see, probably somewhere in the sky, I cast Circle of Death, making the bloom from it hit the creatures and not any of us."
"Okay what does Circle of Death do?"
I then go to explain the spell and how much damage it does, they all roll Con saves, 3 fail 2 pass.
"Okay since you're upping health values does the spell damage increase as well?" I asked.
"Yeah it goes up to uhhhhhhhhh, 8d10"
45 damage minus 60 mana, and we start our surprise round. I get first in initiative.
"I walk up 25ft and cast Thunderwave so it will hit both the remaining creatures, I need Con saves again from both of them, what is the damage on Thunderwave being upped to?"
Both fail, 31 damage, -20 mana.
"Okay one is dead, the last one is still up."
All of us: ask "How? Does one have more health total than the others? They both took 10 over what the first 3 got."
It's at this point that he explains that the creatures utilize a group health pool, and there was still enough for the last one to be standing. We go through a round of everyone trying to hit and doing very little damage, back to me.
"Alright do your stuff." DM said to me.
"I cast Eldritch blast since it shouldn't be that high on health."
"Oh..... I forgot to tell you I changed that."
“Okay? Tell me the change this may affect my decision."
"Uhhhhh, tell me what Eldritch Blast does again I might be thinking of another spell."
Explain Eldritch blast and how it scales damage with beams instead of dice like other cantrips.
"Okay, the only change is that you cast it as a level 1 spell instead of as a cantrip."
All of us again. "Does this affect Eldritch blast or all damaging cantrips?"
"All damaging cantrips."
We go to explain the spell again, realizing he misunderstood what I said, and thought EB did 4d10 instead of 1d10, very well.
"Okay, what damage does Eldritch Blast do since it's only 1d10?" I asked.
"That one stays the same."
Go another round, I decide to cast Witch bolt so I don't waste a bunch more mana not knowing when this will go down. Note that each of these creatures has 2 hit multi-attack, with +7s to hit, and 2d6+5+3d4 damage on hit, I have 200 HP but this still burns bad and we're all technically level 1, good thing we wiped all but one of them.
Needless to say Witch bolt also did not get a damage increase, after I had to explain that one to him too.
"You guys do know these creatures are endangered right?" The DM said out of nowhere.
"No? Why would we know that?"
It's at this point that we all realize he has no clue what half the spells do that we cast. We end up walking on top of an earth elemental intelligent enough to speak common, say sorry for stepping on him, finger guns, and proceed to continue our journey.
Luckily for the Tabaxi their internet shuts off, causing myself and the Dragonborn to go on a ways without her acting like she's still with us. We find the fortress, it looks like it's been broken into a while ago, go inside and find a dead end hallway with three statues, a simple circle of life puzzle and we open another way forward.
The Dragonborn and I are fairly certain the DM lacks all knowledge of DnD and how it works, and is from another system trying to make this like that.
We end the session with the DM telling us we'll try for another session tomorrow.
Unfortunately there were no more sessions after this. The DM discovered that I was sharing my eye opening experience of his “game system” with the world. The DM sent me a message which more or less said 'If you don't like my system just f-ing leave, there are no problems with it you just like base 5E too much." So I dipped and told them to never contact me again.
Oh a positive note, yes, I have saved the Tabaxi and she is now a happy member of my own sessions.
And now for the entire list of banned spells. Brace yourselves.
Here is his full ban list so far.
Teleportation spells and spells that involve fast travel
Spare the dying