Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Getting Back Into the Dm's Chair

It's been some time since I've DMed a full game of D&D - that is, a game with a full party, rather than just a couple of people. I started DMing not too long after I started playing D&D, way back in the early 90s; I was 12 or 13 years old, and, if my players from back then remember much about our time playing, they probably remember a lot of power fantasies; vorpal swords and hammers of thunderbolts, fighting dragons and demons, in a group known as the Savage Seven. I still have an illustration of the characters of the group sitting with all my gaming books; it's one of the few stray pieces of paper I have kept since those days.

After playing with that group, I moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and slowly, I found a new group, composed of friends from school and Boy Scouts. We played D&D, for a while, as well as games like Marvel Super Heroes and, for a short time, Rifts. My longest-running game then, though, was as the Storyteller for a game of Werewolf: The Apocalypse that spanned several of my high school years. My character in that game still inspires my e-mail address. I wasn't the only DM for the group, but I was the most constant. At least one of my players in my Werewolf game still considers it one of their favorite games ever.

After that, I moved on to college. For a while, I was just a player with the college's gaming group, even attending a few RPGA events. But when the 3rd Edition of D&D came out, I started DMing again, this time with a group composed, mostly, of the few friends I had at college. Lagos the half-elf ranger, Gr'b Ngk the half-orc barbarian, Braghmin the halfling cleric, Rafe the human thief, Varandel the elven monk, and Kaeiri the elven paladin went on a number of adventures during those years; I still have my notes from some of them. I ran a short-lived Werewolf game, too, though D&D was my game of choice; I was still fascinated by the new 3rd Edition.

After that, I spent several years away from gaming, watching 3rd Edition turn into 3.5. I played little in those years, mostly from lack of players and motivation. Then, in 2008, 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons came out, and I became far more interested in finding games to play in. Mostly, I've played in short-lived games with a few friends, and most recently as a player in a game that lasted about 6 months. And now I'm looking to get back into DMing.

I am hoping to recruit most, if not all, of my players from school, and so I imagine I'll get a mix of players with a variety of skill levels; some will have played D&D, some not, and they may or may not know 4th Edition. I've been trying to bone up on my introductory materials, just in case; thankfully, Wizards of the Coast helpfully provides a set of Quick-Start Rules on their website. 4th Edition is a big change from previous editions, but has made some big, and I think much-needed, steps in balancing things out between classes

My game is going to be pretty simple in concept; while I hope for some experienced players, I'm not assuming anyone has any great deal of knowledge (or experience) with 4th Edition. The game I plan to run is going to be based around a series of modules I've picked up, all of which I've enjoyed reading; I'll start with them, and see where players want to go. I like 4th Edition's combat system, but I'm also a fan of getting the players to develop their own stories, so while I have modules ready to use, I'm ready to run right off the rails if that's the direction they decide to go. No fancy house rules, no themes to complicate things; just a group of 1st-level adventurers, of various races and classes, getting together in a town called Fallcrest in the Nentir Vale to go out in search of fame, fortune and adventure.

Should be a good time.

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