When I decided to get back into dnd, I set a date for our first game. That date was February 20th, 2010. That gave me two months to learn 4th edition, create a campaign from scratch, develop whatever house rules I wanted, gather together materials and otherwise prepare for the game.
I am pleased to say that I achieved far more than I anticipated! Look over the last few posts and you will see that I have created a fairly detailed map that met the objectives I had set forth. I created an ample back-story and a detailed character history for the group including many adventure hooks and groundwork for additional hooks to come.
Beyond that, I created a number of databases for monsters, spells, equipment, magical items, treasure tables, etc including interfaces to access each of them. And since I hate losing valuable time to creating characters, I designed an online character creation/leveling program.
I also created an entire, password-protected, wordpress site with the entirety of the rules online and available to players. Since I like to use extensive house rules, I think it is important to document these rules so that players aren’t having to guess as to how things work. Plus this gives me the ability to double check rules decisions I’ve made previously without having to rely on my memory. Since I am basing my campaign on 4th edition rules, I thought it was prudent to password-protect the site and restrict access to myself and my players.
I recovered my folding tables and chairs from storage, restored my damaged gaming mat, borrowed some miniatures (sadly I lost mine), and created a number of dungeon tiles and other gaming accessories. Due to a local bookstore and a local gaming store both going out of business recently, I was able to acquire a great many 4th edition books, more dice and some miniatures of my own. Miniatures are so expensive now, they will be the hardest part of my previous collection for me to replace.
A week before the game was to take place, I was informed that one of our players (the new husband of one of our core group who had never played before) had to work that day. No one had put together previously that our game fell on a Saturday and he works on Saturdays. It was such short notice by then that he was unable to get the day off but after a few phone calls we got everyone to commit to Sunday instead.
One couple though couldn’t make it on either day. A few months ago he had some medical issues and the recovery was more involved than expected so neither of them would be able to attend.
That still left the six of us which made a good sized group. I had already announced that we would be starting with 5th level characters. I expanded that, allowing each person to run two characters if they wished, to make sure that we had adequate coverage of all the roles.
I’m in Corvallis. One of our group is in Albany (15 miles away) and offered to host the game at his house. We hadn’t played there before so I took over the tables and chairs days in advance to ensure that everything fit and that we would have plenty of room. He also has a huge big screen TV and we had talked about using Map Tools with a second notebook hooked up to the TV so I could display portions of the map (as they were discovered) on the big screen TV). As it turned out I didn’t have enough time to prepare enough maps to warrant setting this up but we probably will do so before we get together next.
In addition to offering up his house, the player in Albany was going to supply food while I supplied drinks. So many little things to arrange now. It was all so much easier when we were all 20. :)
The remaining four players were driving down together. The new husband thought (perhaps foolishly) that he would be able to get the girls in the car and on the road by nine. If so we were looking at a nice early start!
Sadly, I got a call Friday night that our host wasn’t feeling well. He had been sick all week and didn’t expect to be over it by Sunday.
I sent out an email to everyone letting them know that this weekend was cancelled. Two of us each have plans for the next weekend and I’ve spent so much time getting ready for the game that I had put off other things that now needed attention.
Therefore our first game is postponed indefinitely.
I did, however, achieve my goal of preparing the game by the deadline and, in fact, far exceeded my goals by additionally creating a support website, databases with custom interfaces, a character generation and leveling program, and many gaming aids. The campaign itself is more detailed than I had expected it to be at this point and my familiarity with v4 is far more than I would have imagined it would be.
Although I am ready to run a game now on fairly short notice, there are a number of things that I’ve identified in the process that I want to revamp. Since we haven’t actually played yet under the system I have now, I can change things more easily since I don’t have to worry about the impact of the changes on an ongoing game.
I’m looking forward to writing about those changes as well as other articles that I’ve been wanting to write but have had to postpone due to preparing for a game.