for the love of the game

dooley's picture

4 months later

So the pandemics still here, summer's come and gone, and I'm operating a few campaigns.

I still miss some of the old crew but here we are. Completely new groups, chemistries and adventures.

The current campaigns are Iron Guard, Black Thumb and Waterdeep Stories.

Iron Guard is a mish mash of dwarven elements comprising Citadel Adbars Iron Guard in Underhome (The Great RIft post apocalypse). It's been a good romp of dungeon crawls, light political drama and a range of combat.

Along the way I operated and concluded the storyline to a campaign I called Hunters that I in fact started just before the pandemic hit; the campaign became the story of the players I recruited from Reddit and it was an incredibly well executed storyline.

The Black Thumb campaign is a new start up that involves a range of players in a campaign that I promised the players would be gonzo dungeon mastering. The adventures have thus far been paced nearly perfectly, with beats being hit near masterfully if I don't say so myself. The theme here is a mish mash of Scheherazades tales and Mad Max: Fury Road meets Taladega Nights.

The Waterdeep Stories are nearing a crescendo with the BBEG of their campaign looming in his fortress that the players are currently invading. This campaign started a year ago and has reached a point

My current schedule seems to be Sunday or Monday for Black Thumb, Thursdays for Iron Guard and the occasional Friday for Waterdeep Stories.

The chemistries of everone involved can't be understated. I've been blessed with some terrific groups as everyone is either friends coming into the game, or work well together in a group environment. Everyone's got their ticks, but at 5-6 players, it tends to drown out extremes.

So game has been going exceptionally well, needless to say. I'm due to be guest DMing another campaign come November and at this time it is not in fact a game to be played in my studio. I'm going to be heading out on the road to provide some fellows a game of D&D. I'm aiming to try my hand at the "Cormyr." storyline again, with some revisions.

What about the pandemic? Well things were good for a while, with events allowing up to 50 people. As of yesterday they're stating we're not allowed to have more than 6 guests which more or less works here given 6 is typically my limit.

Am I worried about the pandemic? No. While I appreciate the care to be taken, I don't know anyone that would be at risk (eg: travelers) and I don't interact closely with anyone that I don't know personally.

So it goes, and here we are; Halloween looming and folks forced to limit their interactions.
It's a sad state of affairs but one we can hope to mitigate and hopefully bring under control by Christmas.

Stay safe folks! May those 20's always land on 20.

dooley's picture

"A good run."

There are many things that will kill a group, and many times have I seen a group slowly dwindle away to nothing.

It's always sad, and a miserable experience as a dungeon master, especially when many times, the individuals who make up your game are your friends.

I decided it was time to can the Monday group and start fresh. A new roster of people who don't have a whole lot of drama and familiarity with me.

Fridays roster is tentatively up to four steady. Time will tell.

It's not hard to find players, but it can be hard to find committed players that fit your schedule.

To add to this, it is hard to find several players that all mesh without any one feeling left out, discluded, ignored or otherwise alienated.

Chemistry at the table is a paramount factor that I am always looking at and have, I swear, become hyper sensitive to, for better or worse.

I know when you're having fun. I know when you're not. I know when you're going to flake on the next session.

I'm like Dungeon Claus, and I'm chock full of presence. Come'on, that was good. Whatever.

dooley's picture

The Cormyrean epic

My Monday game hasn't played in a spell. It's been about a month since we gathered for our two hour sessions.

With such short windows of time for play (7pm to 9pm) I have to be very judicious about what and how I bring to the table as dungeon master. Any loose goose gameplay quickly eats up time and if you let folks meander around the shopping mall, chances are you'll have spent the entire session role playing merchants and describing their inventory.

Tonight the story picks up again, with the party having returned to town where I intend to wrap the events of their previous excursion. A lot of details have been forgotten from last session, so a bit of review is in order.

In short, our party has returned from their excursion, having discovered a strange temple tucked away under ground. They encountered some sort of specialist, whom they sighted dead later on. They are at this point, nestled in Jorgen's tavern, enjoying a mug of mead, cup of tea, etc.

The game story is open at this point and to be honest, I'm at an impasse regarding my next branch.

I had an idea of how the Cormyr. storyline would work in the Cloud Spires storyline, but at this point the CSC story is now the story of Torrileans in Spaaaace while the Covenant of Silver or Silverlight Stories, has come to a temporary close (until next time the CoS rides).

The fact is that at this point, the storyline I had written is moot, and I have a hankering go job board style.
A series of quick two hour adventures with clean wraps and bows to finish off with. Save my daughter from the goblins. Take my cargo to there. Needed, adventurers for magical item retrieval. That sort of thing.

Something emotionally simple and effective is on order today. I like my first idea. Save the farms from the goblins... maybe I'll start doing some empire building with them. If you've never played 'The Horde', it was a game where you built a village that was under attack by a horde of red skinned critters. You'd protect the city during action phases, and reap gold for the resources that survived the attack. You'd spend the gold to beef your village with more profit or protection.I'm getting a sense of deja vu writing this, and I feel like I may have done so before :D

So tonight, we'll say..

We'll start with the players being paid by the chamberlain of whatever house that hired them, and lead into an 'afternoon of relaxation' and rumours abound.

They'll learn that the outlying townships have been suffering increased raids as soldiers have been pulled from back country locations to strengthen front line forces. We'll say a member of one such back water town comes into Jorgens to pin up a help wanted sign looking for mercenaries. They're offering resources in place of gold.

This will be of interest to Jorgen who happens to get his alcohols from that region and they're willing to pay in booze, which is invaluable to his bar.

The others will be offered food, shelter and a few gold pieces if negotiations demand it.

Done. Plot hook fashioned.

I'll attack them on the road for a Willow style combat chase sequence, and then we finish the session as they arrive in a down trodden town of tears stained mud.

If we've got time, I'll have a snake oil sales man there for the players to run out of town <3

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