July 31, 2009

{Quest Log} Pre-Campaign Blues

After going through the disastrous TPK during our one-shot session, the group has decided that they like to move on to a long term campaign.

I proposed to the group that we should go through all the published modules from Wizards and so we are picking up H1 Keep on the Shadowfell this coming weekend. From there, I intend to move along through each module and tie them together as an episodic campaign.

It's been a while since I've run a campaign so I've been a little rusty in trying to get things organize and remember what should you prepare during the pre-campaign.

I've wanted to run a pre-campaign session where I could get the players together and discuss a little about how are we going to tie their characters into the setting. Unfortunately, work called up and I had to cancel the pre-campaign met.

So we had to do most of the char gen and discussion over a local forum where most of my players are members of (it even has a sub-board for D&D so it was appropriate to have them there anyway) and would go straight for the session this Saturday. While I would have much prefered a face-to-face meetup because then ideas could be bounced back and forth between the players and the DM on the spot but through the forum, we managed to most of the character generation process, questions and answers done.

Despite the hassles that we had with the character builder, our group once again decided to give it a second-shot and it was important that I lay down some houserules of how should the character generation process be done.

On the day of work, I managed to bump into one of my old players and he mentioned that he was interested in trying some 4E. That's quite a nice blessing in disguise as our group had only 4 players and an addition would make it an ideal 5-man party.

Eventually, I asked the other group members and they were ok with the new player (which most of them happen to know the guy IRL). I passed him my char gen houserules and a link to the free version of the character builder. Hopefully, there won't be any mishaps again this time.

While the Character Builder really does make generating a character a really quick process, I don't think that it really reduces the amount of time spend on creating a character in a campaign. What the Builder does is that it gives players more time to spend on deciding their character backgrounds (which is probably where all the time should be spent anyway).

Since this was going to be a campaign with episodic links, I figured that it would still be best if the players could come up with background information for their characters so that I could tie them into the Nentir Vale.

I think my biggest mistake at this point is that I forgot to give them any information about the setting that they would be play in but I expect that they would be able to come up with some generic ones and I can work the details in with them after that.

Although they have already chosen their backgrounds from PHB 2, so far only 2 out of my 5 players have fully fleshed out their character background and I'm only wondering do the remaining players need a little information to help them with their decision. What I can do to rectify this problem at the moment is post up some little information about the setting that they playing in on the forum and hopefully we can flesh out the details on the session itself.

I'm starting to feel my way into running and organizing a campaign but it feels like I'm back to square one and have lots to do at the moment.

Do you think that I should have done the pre-campaign face-to-face meetup or should have posted up the information much earlier to help with their character background process?

Let me know as I enjoy the feedback.


David said...

You should check out The Alexandrian's suggestions for running KotSF - It's full of really useful suggestions.

Have fun!

Kameron said...

My group just started our campaign set in the Nentir Vale. Our first session was character building and discussion of the the setting and campaign format. It made integrating PCs into the setting very easy, and also allowed the group to come up with character concepts that worked well from both a mechanics and story perspective.

I read through some online material about stringing together the 9 WotC modules. They don't all fit together nicely as is, but I'm not going to put a lot of effort into it because my players weren't interested in following an adventure path. They wanted the freedom to explore around.