The campaign continues

Well, the second episode of my first ever online D&D campaign was completed last week. It has been ages since I have created a campaign and I must admit it is very nice to have that creative outlet again as I think of encounters which interact with numerous plot lines. I’m determined to keep the episodes recorded and available, although I must admit to having done some editing this week since the intro didn’t have its sound on the LIVE session plus, there were times at the beginning when there was a lot of waiting around for people to arrive. I must also say that I even started to edit together a video of the strange activities and comments which occur but this is taking a little longer than what I initially expected. Anyway – without further ado! Here is episode two of the campaign – Brigadoon…

Well done if you have found this little section. I wanted to waffle about my experiences of being a DM (Dungeon Master) but not make it the main focus of the waffle.

  • Creating Encounters – Whenever you create a campaign or a series of adventures I think that you quite foolishly, have a ‘vision’ of how it is going to play out. This is important I think in order to identify the possible actions and outcomes of the encounter. However, I think it is often the case that the players think of completely different aspects or actions to interact with which can, as a starting DM, make things a little bit difficult. Coupled with this is the challenge aspect of the encounters. Although I have read how to create challenges within the DM Guide, I still find it difficult to gauge how easy or hard the players are going to find things. I’m currently keeping my dice rolls off the stream so I can be ‘creative’ with them if needed – I’m not planning on killing all the characters with one rampaging goblin!

  • Rules and role play – Everyone has their own playing style and I think it is important that people adapt to how the campaign and other players play. For me, the rules are there to allow things to happen within the campaign rather than the rules being there to allow the players to manipulate the story line. For example – I much prefer players to tell me what they want to do and then for me to say which skills they will use and what dice to roll, rather than people stating which skills they want to use – it is the difference between this – which I prefer – I want to grab the goblin from behind and try to slip my dagger into its back cupping its mouth to silent it – and this – I will use stealth to creep up on the goblin, remember I have advantage, and then I’ve rolled my to hit and it was a natural 20 so I have probably killed it with one shot and it probably didn’t make a sound. There was an incidence within this episode when a player asks to make a nature roll to ascertain how many hit points the mob still had left. For me, I would always concentrate on the actual campaign and encounter rather than using the rules and game mechanics. As a new DM I guess I sometimes just have to say – no. I’m lucky that my memory, despite my age, is still quite good and so after every adventure I am identifying areas which I need to investigate further and then ensuring that I have considered the existing rules, made my own decision about these and then informed my players. I was listening to a dungeon masters’ workshop on EncounterRolePlay and found it really helpful – especially when they were discussing the relationship between the DM and the players. I definitely want to be a DM who facilitates the players journey through the campaign rather than creating a ‘me against you’ environment.

  • And finally for this DM waffle –

  • New players – I’ve started to get people asking to join the campaign and although this is quite exciting it is also quite scary. Group dynamics are very important to me and I always think that it is important that new players understand how the other players play and how I DM. New people can join – that’s exciting! but only if their playing style fits into the existing group’s and campaign. I don’t want them to change in order to play but, at the same time, the campaign will not change for them. As someone in my Twitch chat said last week – sometimes the DM is required to stand his ground and, after encouraging a certain playing style, engage those acts of divine intervention which promotes conforming. Lightning bolts at the ready!

  • It’s really good to reflect on adventures and sessions and I must admit, writing this has definitely helped me to put my thoughts in order. If you have actually found this and listen/read it and know of any helpful hints, webpages or resources then please let me know in the comments below.

    You can keep up to date with my content by following me on Twitch, Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in joining or playing Minecraft, then you can join the server and website here. Of course any subscribers to my YouTube channel are always appreciated.

    Have fun and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, consider yourself waffled!

    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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