June 25, 2009

{Quest Log} Let's Get This Party Started

After 3 grueling years wasting away in an oil town that is devoid of any semblance that can remind me of any gaming activity, I'm finally back in my hometown and ready to game again.

Ever since I've been back, some of my group mates are already bugging me to get a campaign going but I've decided to squeeze a one-shot session this coming weekend (saturday or sunday) instead. That's right, after one year, I finally get my first taste of 4E!

But then panic attack strikes. I'm afraid of how the session would turn out to be and it makes my knees jerk. I haven't been DMing for 3 years and 4E is a completely new system for me. Even though I've learned the basic ropes and tricks, I'm not sure if I'm ready to run it yet. Other than my lack of knowledge (and confidence), I'm also ill-equipped. No power cards, no miniatures, no battle grids and other gaming supplies. Speaking of which, where's my dice?

I'm already having nightmares that this first session is going to turn into a complete disaster because of boring grinds and a waste of time due to plenty of book flipping.

I don't even know which adventure do I want to run. It has to be able to fit into a single evening session (4 hours?) so I'm not going for H1 Keep on the Shadowfell this time. I'm thinking of just picking up the level 1 dungeon from Dungeon Delves but I don't want to turn it into a grind fest where my first taste of 4E is simply 3 combat encounters rolled together.

In between being excited that I get to organize a game after so long, reading up on the rules to ensure that I don't make mistakes, selecting and prepping the adventure and looking for impromptu gaming supplies, I'm in a messy situation right now.

Ahh! The perfectionist in me wants to get everything right the first time!

I'll keep you posted on what happens next week (if everything goes well).

What about you? Have you ever felt this way when you are getting back in gaming after a long hiatus?

I don't mind taking suggestions on what I should do too, if you have any good ideas.


kaeosdad... said...

Let's see, first things first d/l character builder. The demo version lets you make lvl 1 characters and if you have access to multiple computers and the internet character creation will go much faster. Try to limit the initial group to 3 or 4 players for now, or recruit players to help teach the game along the way as in help one person run through the process, then they can help another etc. etc...

unless everyone comes with a pc prepared ahead of time you probably won't have much more time left to run an adventure, maybe an encounter or two with some role playing.

To start off you can do some shared worldbuilding and group building with the players. Decide on a simple starting point in the game, do the players know each other? Are they strangers who just happen to meet in the beginning of the game session? The point is make it so that they all at least either know or have engaged one another at the start of the story.

Then work backwards from there, start asking more specific questions, how do you know each other? Why are you all hear? Have them riff off each other to build a group history while encouraging them to get at least an idea of their personal history.

For the first session I would recommend just preparing a simple delve, you can tell them since the group is new to the game we'll do some fast forwarding to get an idea of how the game works. Start the group at the entrance of a dungeon and explain the plot hook or rumor and reasoning that got them together based on everyones collaborations, have the players give more input as well on what their pcs reasons are. Then start the delve!

jamused said...

Have you considered just running something you're familiar with? At least until you're back in the swing of things?

Questing GM said...

Hey kaeosdad,

The character builder sounds like a good idea. I wonder does it have the data for playtest material.

Our games here tend to be less technological. The only person that usually needs to bring a laptop is the DM.

I'm not sure about the worldbuilding and group buidling bit because I'm not looking forward to turn this into a long term campaign. It's more like a test drive of the 4E system and feel.

I think I'm getting a mixed group of old and new players. Some of my group mates already had a couple of 4E sessions during my absence but I think there's a lot more new players that are eager to try it out.

My main problem at the moment is the adventure though. While I want something simple, I'm also looking for something that will bring out the fun of 4E.

Hey jamused,

Thanks for the idea but unfortunately I'm aiming for 4E this time because I really want to try out this new system and also because my players would have no other system. ;)

I am looking forward to playing something more familiar for the long term though (but that might change if I happen to like 4E though).