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Tomb of Annihilation. I'm starting to look at the final encounter and really study the bad guys. I want make sure I don't mess anything up!
So far, the tomb has not been as deadly as I thought it would be. I think part of that is due to me being a bit of a softie.
My other group, the Dungeon Academy, has started playing through the Chris Perkins/Jon Leiheusser Temple of Elemental Evil prequel, the Battle of Emridy Meadows. That group is fantastic! The last episode was really awesome, total chaos.
Mordenkainen's Path of the Planes.
I made a githzerai, basically so I could use all the lore I dug up in my guide to the githzerai.
Being a part of this game has taught me quite a bit about where D&D is at in 2018, and it made me think about whether or not I need to adjust my style.
I run my games in a goofy sort of manner. I keep it moving, I joke around, there's not many in-depth scenes. I keep dialogue short.
As I played this session, it dawned on me that many players on this show and on others are expecting something different. Players are watching Critical Role and Dice, Camera, Action, and it seems like a lot of them are expecting and looking forward to the emotional, dramatic side of the game.
People want to invest in the game in ways that, frankly, I have never been comfortable with. I'm not saying that I can't or won't do it, I'm just saying I've never fully committed to it and that it's new territory for me.
The session we just did in Mordenkainen's Path of the Planes was really awesome. The production on this show is great. Shane, the DM, has background music, he uses roll20, he's got maps and tokens for everything, and we use zoom and discord.
On top of that, he's got all of these twitch gadget things running that keeps the chat engaged. It's amazing to watch the channel grow so quickly and it is very clear to me that the greyhawk channel is going to be huge very soon. All three of the other players he got for this game are awesome.
So as I'm playing, I'm sitting there thinking about which of these things that he's doing might fit into my online games. I'm not a technical guy, but I understand that production values matter. What should I use? What can my computer handle? How simple is too simple when it comes to running an online game?
As the session cam to an end, we had a scene where we'd survived a cataclysmic occurrence and were in the ruins of Mordenkainen's tower. My character is a drunken master monk, and so he went looking for booze.
Since I'm a githzerai, I hate slavers. One of the characters was a reformed slaver, or something to that effect. My character hated her. The other heroes encouraged me to let it go. She made an impassioned plea. So, my character paused for a moment, and then slid her a drink. My character hasn't accepted this person, but he's open enough to see what she does next.
When the session was over, I turned the whole thing over in my head. Should I be making space for these kinds of scenes in my games? We only have two hours per session. They eat up a lot of time.
I'm coming to the conclusion that many.. most.. of my players are looking for this kind of thing, and I probably have not been accommodating them.
Spotlighting Backstory: I've never been good at blending backstories with published adventures. Going over the Dice, Camera, Action summaries, I noticed how the show pretty much revolves around the group's backstories.
- Strix: The Izek, Lady Wachter, and Skizzies.
- Diath: The hanging, Gutter and Lorcatha.
- Evelyn: The Lathander stuff with the constructs and the saints.
- Paultin: The Strahd/Dark lord run and the ring of winter.
One thing I don't like on DCA is how Chris splits the group up a lot. There are plenty of times where a player will sit there for 30 minutes, doing nothing while two other characters are off adventuring.
I don't like that, I don't want players to come to the table and just sit there and watch. If I was going to split them up, I'd try to cut between them every 5 minutes or so.
But, again, nobody seems to mind.
Going Forward: I think what I am going to do is just take little baby steps and see what happens. I'll make some space here and there - probably during rests - and throw in story-type stuff that feeds the feels, so to speak.
I think the point of all entertainment is to make you feel something, right? I've probably not put enough effort into that in my games. In think that gives my games a somewhat shallow quality, sort of like rocks skipping on the surface of a lake.
We'll see. I'll mess around with it and let you know how it goes.
I should be able to talk about my secret project soon. Maybe a few weeks? I hope people like it, I'm really breaking my back over this thing.
I'll be running:
Tomb of Annihilation tomorrow at 6:30 PM EST
Dungeons Academy 7 on Sunday at 6:30 PM EST