Sunday, February 17, 2008

The First Adventure

Well, I finally sat down for the first session with my new group. In a nutshell - it went well.

With the chargen guidelines sent to them, I really left it up to the players to make what they wanted, knowing that I would worry about the details later. To my surprise, they came up with a group that was somewhat coherent.

We had:
  • Human Monk
  • Human Fighter
  • Dwarf Fighter
  • Dwarf Fighter #2
  • Dwarf Wizard
  • Dwarf Wizard #2
Not the most balanced party to be sure, but yet, it did have balance in the sense of having a predominance of dwarves - something I could work with for later. As I've said before, all the players were pretty much new, in the sense they had not played in a couple of years. There was some experience there, but one of the players, James, was brand new to the game.

Rather than bore you with the details of what happened on the adventure, I'll comment on the experience in general. I've never gamed with a new group like this. All my non-con gaming was pretty much with the same group I'd had for 20+ years (with some people adding/subtracting over time), so to sit down with a bunch of strangers was interesting, but strangely, not intimidating.

Once the characters had been set up and we were ready to go, I told the group that all I was really looking for was for all of us to have some fun. I wanted to basically "roll dice and kill things." Character and campaign development could come later. I really just wanted everyone to get re-familiarized with the rules.

Over the roughly five hours of the session, things went well. Rules were indeed grasped, some character personalities started to come out, and some player personalities as well. I have a player who likes to dominate (though I wonder if that was more from lack of experience on the other player's part), I have another player that just likes to "be there" and not say a whole heck of a lot.

I felt it was a success in that some definite "bonding" occurred amongst the players over their characters and each other (I should mention that all of the players know each other in some capacity). Even when one of the PCs died (after valiant efforts to save him), there was some good humor about it all.

If there was one area I think things fell a little flat, it was Pacing. It took too long to get to the meat of the adventure. It was something I wanted to avoid, but I think some old habits of mine kicked in, and I (unintentionally) slowed things down, most likely in an effort to squeeze some role-playing out of them (not much came out in this first session). I was able to move some elements along, but it's something I need to look out for in the future.

In the end, we did not finish the adventure. The PCs actually are being forced to leave the dungeon and head back to town to heal up. This is good because it will allow James to get a new PC in the group, and also force us to get back together (in 2 weeks). Once done, we'll be able to take a closer look at how we want to proceed as a group from that point.

Feels good to roll the dice and stand behind the screen once again though.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Saturday Looms Closer

An update on my upcoming gaming. It's going to be a Saturday Morning-Afternoon affair. Also, it looks as if the size of the group has expanded to 5-6 players.

I honestly don't know what to expect. As I work through my 25th year of gaming, I've never really walked blindly into a group like this outside of a convention setting. It sounds like most, if not all of the players have not gamed in some time, or at all. What I'm really hoping for is some players who want the fun, but also are looking for a little depth beyond just "kill monsters, get loot."

So knowing the little that I do, I've decided to sort of merge my two previous concerns about Campaign vs One-Shot. I have sent my contact, Kevin, the brief character creation guidelines I came up with. That will help set the framework if this does develop into a campaign, rather than telling one of the players that his gnome illusionist can no longer exist (no gnomes in my game). The adventure I'm starting them off with is a pretty simple scenario, but one designed to best ease everyone into the mechanics. If I discover some role-players in the group, I can work with that easy enough.

So, chargen guidelines, huh? This would mean I should post them. I will, when they are in a presentable format, rather than the e-mail I shot off.

Time permitting when the session winds down, I want to try and talk a bit to everyone about what they are looking for, what we have time for, and what type of schedule we could have, if any.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

And Just Like That

I'm going gaming again. I called the guy I met about gaming and he is interested. He, along with his two sons, and possibly one of their friends might be sitting down around a table possibly next weekend.

I'll be running things, which puts me in kind of a bind, because now I have to strike that balance between doing something that could be a one-shot adventure, and something that could lead to a longer campaign. We both expressed a desire to do a longer campaign, and I think it could develop into that, but I need to be careful. You never know what you get with new players.

My initial thought is to just find a simple adventure that has no major impact on things. They haven't played in a while, so the rules will be their biggest concern, as will mine for that matter. Beyond that, I want to set aside some time to find out what they are really looking for in a campaign and in adventures. I found a questionnaire that may help to solve this dilemma.

I am thinking about Dahara though. I'll need to really think about and quickly compile together character creation guidelines for them.

Most of all though, I'm excited. It has struck me as odd to be writing a gaming blog when I'm not even doing what I'm writing about. That, hopefully will now change.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'd Forgotten How Much I've Missed It

On Saturday, we were picking up our daughter from a birthday party at a local bowling alley. This alley is across the street from the FLGS (Friendly Local Gaming Store, for those who don't know). We had some extra time, and it'd been a few weeks since I'd been in the store, so I thought I'd pop in.

There were a number of other guys in the store, and they were all gathered around the tables were the store hosts a variety of games each night. That night it looked as if a local group was getting ready to play some D&D. All the components were there: Game books, soda, backpacks, conversations about characters, adventures and past exploits. Yes, even the sadly requisite body odor was there. As I looked over the books in the store, I eavesdropped on their conversation. It seemed that there was someone new in the group and he was going to be falling on the "cleric grenade." It sounded as if the whole things was all a bunch of first level characters. Ahhh, the smell of fresh adventure! Between the the books on the shelves and their words, I suddenly found myself feeling some unexpected sadness.

See, it's been almost two years since I've sat down with some friends to play RPGs. I don't count my kids in this, because while enjoyable, the sessions I've had with them have been more of an instructional nature. But sitting with other adults and really getting down to some rolling and role-ing... it's been far too long.

And I'd forgotten how much I missed it. And how much it is a part of me. I really felt like something inside was missing as I stood there in the store, feeling like I was on the outside looking in. I longed to be at the table, behind the screen, laying out the open road to adventure in front of my players.

I need to get that back. I can't make the gaming nights at the FLGS, but I do have another option that I've talked about before. It's time to pursue that.