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Showing posts from June, 2020

Caught in Galen's Baby Steps

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The Caught in Galen campaign is officially underway. Last time I updated you all, we were about to partake in an altogether session zero; that went well. We discussed what Caught in Galen should and should not be, established starting variant rules, and built pieces of the world and characters in real time. After that, we played sessions one, two, and three of the campaign. The first session was held online and the next two were played in person. Every session so far has blown away my expectations. These players are phenomenal and are sincerely enjoying the baby steps of Caught in Galen. From socializing with a stern but respectful with a massive blue mohawk, to battling a small horde of varied (human, halfling, elf, dragonborn, genasi) zombies in a tight hallway, everyone has had a stellar time.

Let’s dive into each of the sessions and see if there’s anything interesting to gleam from them. Linked will be the notes for each session I prepared beforehand. Be careful, though, this campa…

The Karlith Straits

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With the Frozen Expanses of Iskryn campaign retrospective now over, it’s time to delve into the next installment of finished campaigns in my grand, old world of Eldar. It is not the third campaign of the setting — the Enoach Desert — which is still ongoing, it is the fourth campaign of the massive realm: the Karlith Straits. This campaign opened up a new world of possibilities to me and my players. It was a weekly campaign with some of the folks from the failed Cursed Jungles of Yatar campaign set in the islands once called the Dead Isles of Altarin, an archipelago named the Karlith Straits. In this campaign, I would learn to become a better Dungeon Master, gather almost every week to play Dungeons & Dragons, and ensure my players had a blast until the campaign’s conclusion.
The Karlith Straits was the first campaign I kept a dedicated campaign compendium for. Here it is: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1JscU_4NDsT9lqIhA6aXZaOkFQp7HB5sgMLgne2PmDrQ/edit?usp=sharing
The compend…

The Five Goals of a D&D Campaign's First Session

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It’s Thursday night. The players are gathered virtually, eagerly awaiting to begin Caught in Galen on Discord. Finally, the campaign begins. One by one, the characters arrive at the gate of a grand tower that rises above the surrounding community. A storm rages above them, the first in weeks, as they speak in the flesh for the first time. Quickly, they unite for a common cause and are blindfolded and guided up the tower, meeting a gruff but kind dwarf with a great blue mohawk. They arrive in a spacious chamber, filled with books and bubbling flasks. There, they hold a conversation with two humans, members of the great house that owns this tower and are enlightened about a foul plot to destroy the family and, perhaps, ruin the community of Vorici’s Rest forever. Each character, for their own reasons, agrees with the two humans that the plot must be eliminated as the tower rumbles and shakes. Blood red fog coils under the door and outside the window, draining blood and breath from every…

Don't Be Afraid of Breaking D&D

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Dungeons and Dragons is a malleable game. There is a broad set of rules, yes, but they can be shaped by the people who use them. A lot of the time, changing the rules will break the game in many ways. Some folks might be against this completely, preferring to play the game “the way it was meant to be played.” Others deeply enjoy twisting and tearing apart the fabric of D&D, leading some people to say “why are you playing D&D?” Most people, though, try to expand D&D or change it in small ways and make their D&D games better. It’s still D&D in their eyes but better. Sometimes, they share their experience with others and are shouted at: “You are breaking D&D! You should play like this…” The people who are supposedly breaking D&D need only ask themselves and their players one question: “Is everyone having fun?” If the answer to that question is yes, keep on going.
D&D was made to be tooled with, especially fifth edition. There are so many elements in the sys…

Galen's Final Session Zero is Near

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Tomorrow, I’ll be running Caught in Galen’s final session zero. It’s an altogether session during which me and the players will establish certain rules about the world and the game, build sections of Galen that are wholly unknown, and flesh out aspects of the campaign they want to see. Between the last Tales of Galen article and now, I finished a year and a half long D&D campaign, the Karlith Straits, and ran multiple session zeros, some one-on-one, one other an experimental session that took place entirely in a dream.
The campaign hasn’t officially started, but I already know it’s going to be great.
The preparation has slowed down as it draws nearer and nearer. I have the opening moments of the first session prepared, as well as a broad layout of the campaign and its villain ready-to-go, but that’s it.
Those three things are incredibly important to have for a campaign’s start: the opening scene, a broad layout, and an idea of the primary villain.
You really want to grab your players …