A gnome, a dwarf, and a wood elf walk into a bar…
What sounds like the beginning of a common, and possibly crude joke thrown around the halls and courts of any given kingdom in the Forgotten Realms, is actually the humble beginnings of my new Saturday night Dungeons and Dragons campaign. After leaving the indestructible player ridden, battle burdened realms of Dungeons and Dragons 4e (due to schedule conflicts and an unresolved complete party TPK) and taking a quick jaunt through the often confusing and over-encumbered rule system of Shadowrun; my table top group and I decided it was time to see what Fifth Edition was all about. And I plan on chronicling our sessions, from the baby steps of goblin hordes to the big baddies of the Underdark, and everything in between.
For this campaign I once again take my seat behind the DM screen (though I have the balls to roll in front of my players and rarely use one), building the dungeons, landscapes, and cities, as well as proliferating them with a plethora of beasts, baddies, treasures, and valuable, if not than at least interesting, NPCS to add the flesh around the DnD 5e rule system bones; but, like weary players trying to find a new gaming group in the age of online gaming and, well, the burdens and responsibility that come with adulthood, I didn’t want to just dive head first into a new gaming engine, pouring countless hours building a fantasy world just to realize that the rules system was donk, broken, or heavy handed in one aspect of another (like how fourth edition was almost a literal forced breeding between Magic the Gathering and Warhammer, with a dash of Dungeons and Dragons – but that’s a whole other topic for a later date). So to start our campaign we’re going with the basics, the white bread and butter breakfast: The Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition Starter set and its module, the Lost Mine of Phandelver. Also, besides the aforementioned reason of choosing to start with the floor model of the DnD nextgen showcase, as a DM who
loves is addicted to world-building, it’s nice to sit back and see how “the professionals” do things. Though with that being said, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to follow the Stater Set module to the linear T, dice rolls do shake the fabric of every in-game reality and all.
My over all agenda for this blog, aside from keeping a relatively neat record of the ins and outs of my players adventures, is to keep weekly tabs on the campaign world as I flesh it out around the players actions. Though my gaming group generally meets only twice a month (due to adulthood, again), I’ll break up each session into several posts, giving me enough time to go over events and actions in detail while avoiding having the players stumble onto this blog and spoil any surprises or story arcs I have in store for them. Also, this will give me time to reveal the glamours of life behind the DM screen, from the challenges in creating well balanced/fun events to dealing with player conflicts, rule disputes, improvisation techniques and outcomes, and any (not as occasionally as I’d prefer) follies, troubles, and glistening chunks of oversight on my part; the whole while giving any would-be DM every trick, tip, and anecdote I have learned through this experience that will help him (or her) become that “I have a great DM” kind of Dungeon Master.
Check back in a few days, where I will introduce the players, their characters, and discuss the campaign setting with a heaping hunk of fantasy fiction exposition!