Tag Archives: D&D

Stepping Out of the Dungeon

2 Dec

I’ve been running a D&D game for two years. This has not stopped due to COVID, we just went online. The players have not remained the same, but the game continues. However, I’m beginning to worry–how do I get them off the screen and back at my table?

This is where “Your Mileage May Vary.” Not everyone’s at the same comfort level with social interaction as I am, and that’s true in my group as well as my life. I’m thinking about this now, even though my current campaign won’t run out for another couple months, because I’m getting REAL tired of playing online. My work is online, my games are online… I want to actually interact with people, not an image of them.

First off, it costs me–playing on Roll20 requires a monthly subscription ($5) and then the platform’s adventure cost an additional $25 each time I start a new campaign (every three months or so). When we were at Desert Sky Games, I actually got paid for running the game. Each of the players paid $5 per week, got $2 back in store credit, and I got $2.50 in store credit. It let the store get their money, players got credit, I got credit–it worked beautifully! I got all my D&D stuff for “free,” it was great. Now I have to ask my players to contribute and they do… somewhat.

Second, we no longer have a game store to come back to. The owners are on the extreme end of COVID scared, and after months of wondering, they decided to close their original shop and get into a smaller location–without a gaming area. Apparently, they got enough business to justify staying open, although they had to take a hit from not having people arrive. Magic cards was the biggest part of their business, and without people actually meeting in person to play…? Selling cards still pays the bills, I guess, although I can’t see how.

Third, as I said, we’ve changed some players. We have seven in our circle, which frankly, is amazing for any game. One is NOT in the Phoenix metro area, which I thought I could afford to lose, but now another is moving out in another month. That still leaves five core players, but one couple is taking care of their elderly father, so I’m not sure how hot they will be to meet in person again. So that leaves three I might get in person.

I’m thinking of a blended campaign–with half the group away, half in person–but my own experience with someone calling into a game has not been great. I can offer my dining room table and a friend has offered his house in the past, but that Zoom delay… it’s a killer. If everyone is on their computers, but half of them together, that might work… but then, what’s the point of meeting?

I’m torn. Have you run into this problem before? Do you have a solution? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Mad at the Mad Mage

1 Jul

Published adventures can be wonderful things – they give the DM great ideas, and make the whole gaming experience a treat. Most of the time, traditional DM’s use bits of what they read and then use it in their own homegrown campaigns.

I am not like most dungeon masters.

First off, I’m lazy I run a weekly D&D campaign at my local gaming shop on Roll20, and up until this whole pandemic, we offered D&D Adventurers League. For those of you unfamiliar, it allows players to take their same characters from one game to the next, without having to have the same weekly schedule, and allows DM’s the opportunity to pull in new players without having to go through the arduous process of finding them. After a year and a half, I have a solid group of six players who come every week. Some have left, some have joined, but solidly six… which is amazing.

So my son buys Dungeon of the Mad Mage and tries it out… but after running it with his players, gives up after one session. But it is the ultimate dungeon crawl – 20 levels of dungeons, massive monster lists, great challenges – I had to try this out!

Yes, it is beautifully written, amazing art, and great scenarios. There’s just one major flaw… it has no plot! To be fair, it has several plot ideas, but these are pretty flimsy and they will last for several levels, and then you’re stuck. Travelling between the levels is fun the first time, but then dull as hell going back, because you have to then return to Waterdeep (Level 0) to collect on the mission. So my players finish the first, then third, then the fifth mission, but then I have just start making up goals.

To be fair to WotC, their more recent adventure books have been great, but man, has it been difficult to make the campaign fun for my players. We should wrap it up pretty soon… then I’ve gotta figure out what to do next. Do you think I can convince my D&D Diehards to play Albedo? How do you handle a campaign that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere? Write your comments below!

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