Friday, May 22nd:
Went to my buddy’s house for our weekly D&D gaming session. We decided, in honor of the holiday weekend and the fact he was starting a two week vacation and I’m still out of work, to celebrate before the game with the ancient ritual of applying meat to fire. Burgers, Hot Dogs & Brauts for everyone, as well as a ton of junk food to keep everyone stuffed. Started the game late as we all fell into food comas and then a friend outside of the gaming circle dropped by for a spell.
When we finally indulged in some gaming and dice rolling, we wound up RP’ing most of the time. Shel finally let the cat of the bag; err, the Dragon out of the egg, in my campaign plot. We had decided, looking over the new rules of in Arcane Power for familliars, that we could allow the egg to hatch a Dragonling for her wizard. Technically, it was implied the other eggs they handed off in an earlier session to possibly help forge a weapon to kill Tiamat were considered dormant…but since the Wizard kept casting magic and tending to this egg, I figured we could say something came of it to create a familial spirit.
Still, it was funny I when I delivered the message to the other players — in the form of an Animal Messenger — saying “I had the egg, it’s hatched in my room and I don’t know where the Dragon is…..”
When they finally handled the “Dragonling” situation, and the rest of the party was convinced that the creature she had was neither evil and possibly quite beneficial to the party, they finally made way to the keep. They managed to get in the door and kill off the initial goblin guards no problem. At that point though, it was decided to be a stopping point since we were all tired from the food earlier. Bummer.
Saturday, May 23rd
I shouldn’t have eaten all that meat the night before. I think the fact I had a Taco Salad drowning in salsa at lunch prior also didn’t help the case. Sparing gruesome details, I woke up at 5AM with my arse on fire and sat on a pillow for the rest of the day. Damn it! Am I getting old or something? Are we not able to just chow down on greasy, disgusting meat flavor junk food anymore and stay up all night gaming and wake up the next morning ready for more action? Gah, I miss ten years ago.
Here’s my paradox…..I want to find work, but there’s none to be found. I want to game all the time with my friends, but I really should be looking for another job. I’ve thrown my application and resume everywhere across this damn town; a lot of our big places are either on hiring freezes or laying people off. Yet every time I spend a day gaming, I feel like I’m slacking off.
Henry Miller once wrote “I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I’m the happiest man alive.”
I usually stand by that statement, thinking the best times in my life were when I was working crap jobs and getting by. But then I have to remember that was back when I was couch dwelling in a house full of college people, granted some of my bestest friends in the world to this day, but I was able to get away not paying rent as long as I GM’d every night. I think I went out and found work because after a couple months of running Vampire I was out of ideas and needed some time to think up the next plot…..
Sunday, May 24th
The previous night, I stayed up watching Fringe on Hulu and feeling like I was coming down with the flu. I was cold and shaking and aching and generally just miserable. I almost cancelled the gaming session for tonight again because I still felt like shit. But then, I finally got better and all was well. Saw some old friends of mine who dropped in from out of town, and then we got the phone call: My buddy fried up some home made burritos and wanted us to come over.
Despite the pain of the previous day, lo and beholdeth we went for it. Burritos were damn good. But the real fun was the ice cream sundaes we made. Mine was attrocious; apparently Dr. Pepper Cherry flavored syrup toppings with Whoppers flavored Hershey Syrup, when combined, emulates the flavor of a strong molasses. I felt like pouring my desert over a bowl of oatmeal. Instead though, we added a couple shots of Rum, and amazingly it made it bearable.
The game was a hoot. I decided a few things after a couple combat encounters, however:
- As much as I love having a laptop and some PDF’s on hand so I don’t have to lug my books around, I think I actually am not a fan of running published adventures via PDF. I would rather have them in book form, because navigating a PDF and managing combat became cumbersome to me. An easy solution, of course, could be using some kind of software to keep track of combat, but I dunno….it just felt unnecessarily clunky.
- At least for this gaming group, I don’t think we have time to run D&D modules the “hardcore” way. IE, keeping tracks of maps, rolling random encounters every x number of squares, setting up the play grid to scale with the maps provided in the adventure. My weekly group, due to jobs and kids, only has so much time on a weekly basis for us to play D&D. If I run it in standard form, oh my god we hardly get anything accomplished. I’ve decided from henceforth….I’m running in the “series of encounters” method. Instead of mapping out entire dungeons, which is time consuming enough, I’d rather stick with a program like The Masterplan and plot out flow charts and keep everything moving on a narration. No pre-set maps either; I’ll either toss random tile setups or draw something quick on our grid play mat. I’m considering cutting assorted shapes of construction paper to slap down to quickly represent obstacles like walls of the room, elevated/rough terrain etc. Something simple where I’m not going to slow the session down copying the contents of a map.
- I’ve also decided that I enjoy my method of XP rewards. Simply put: I don’t divy the XP up between group members. Yeah, I know, that’s insanity. But again: We’ve gone through a dry spell of gaming that was counted in months and, in some cases, years. We’ve had quite a few weekly sessions and they just now hit level 7; but going into the dungeon they were level 4 and I kept them there (even when so close to leveling going in!) just to maintain the challenge of the crawl. Keep on the Shadowfell was still tough at the end for them, and it was VERY rewarding to my players. It tied in nicely with the plot of my campaign, and when after all the encounter XP plus the quest rewards they found out the session ended with them leveling twice…..it was awesome. It kinda let them know that they’ve come so far from when they started out as small time adventurers. Now they feel like heroes, they’ve earned a reputation in my campaign as such, and now they see Paragon Paths starting to creep up on the horizon. Now, I get to pull out the big guns….
Monday, May 25th:
Fairly quiet day, but awesome. Got my neighbor set up on vent and introduced him to my guild and allies in Guild Wars. The other awesome event was he went out and purchased the Martial Power book for D&D. I guess now that other players than me are investing in the game, we found something new to be playing for a while…..
Tuesday, May 26th:
Ran 4E for some very good, and very close friends of mine. If ya look over at the Blogroll, check out Chewing the Fat. Joey was, actually, the hombre who let me pay rent in his house by running a game every night. This was their first 4E game, and I ran them through the encounters in the D&D Quickstart Kit. I had a blast, Shel loved going over it again with a different character and a new party to see how things played out differently. I’m under the impression they had fun. Again, more awesome grub as well. Melanie, Joey’s wife, has always been one of my favorite people to dine under and the salad she threw together last night was divine. I think I chowed all that stuff down well before the burgers.
It was also interesting after the gaming session wrapped up as we talked about the pros and cons of 4E. Melanie is definitely an old school gamer, in the sense that she’s been playing since Gygaxian editions and generally sticks with her preferred system (which, in this case, has been 3.0) I’m hoping to get her reviews and thoughts of 4E, along with her husband’s, to possibly post up here to offer some variety of opinion so my blog doesn’t just become a “4E fansite” which honestly, I don’t intend it to. Just, this seems to be the game my regular group plays. And now it seems I’m picking up another Tuesday night next week…..