Monday, August 7, 2017

Game On… Again

I ran some D&D this weekend.

I've been scratching notes about a homebrew setting, "Illyria", in my travel journal, and patiently waiting for a time when I'd be able to spring D&D back on my crew.  It's been quite a year so far, lots of 50-60 hour weeks, but the work assignment is stabilizing and I've only got a few more months to go before my schedule returns to a sane cadence.  No one's getting younger, so this weekend we kicked off a new game.

Players love the 5E.  About a month ago, I asked the crew if we should pick up an older campaign, play LOTFP, ACKS, or 5E, and the response was universal for 5E.  So I set to work establishing Illyria as a 5E sandbox type setting.

I don't think 5E adventures or encounters are anywhere near as easy to prepare as the beloved old school clones.  The rules on building encounters and planning experience stuff are byzantine, confusing, and too much work, particularly if your group is larger than the 4-5 characters the default rules assume you have at the table.

Luckily, there are plenty of smart people who've been playing 5E with reckless abandon towards player safety, ignoring the obtuse encounter building rules, and maintaining old school sensibilities in their 5E games.  I leveraged many of their ideas in preparing Illyria and will discuss them in the coming weeks.

We had 8 players for the first game night, and several more in the queue, so I'd like to run the game in an episodic manner, to support drop-in / drop-out, or even alternating weeks (and have half the group come each week).  Most of the players are dads and kids, so it's a basic fact that not everyone will make each session.  I've had success running episodic games that were just focused on a megadungeon, since it was easy to start and end every session in the nearby home base.  We'd just assemble a crew the following week based on who showed up on game night.  I'm still considering the best way to do that in a game featuring travel and a hex crawl - if you have experience, I'd love to hear how you did it.

That's enough statement of purpose for today.  In the coming weeks, you'll have the chance to learn about Illyria, meet the cast of characters, and see how I'm doing running 5E with as much old school panache as one can muster.

Oh, and here's a first draft of the Illyria map (I'll be changing it up, but this was good enough to get started):