Funny the types of folks D&D brings out, isn’t it? Some people you know to like high fantasy and games, but have no interest in playing a TTRPG. Some are super into fiction as a genre, but have no interest in taking an active role in storytelling. And some folks are super into D&D and should probably be avoided at all other times. What I’m saying is, you never know who might be interested in sitting at the table. Even more shocking might be the persona they choose to take on!
A very good friend of mine from high school, in fact my only local friend, surprised me a few weeks ago when she jumped at the chance to play with us. I was telling her about the first episode of the “Daleland Ashes,” and she took off once she learned D&D is a real thing and people play it. I laugh because I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone not to know at least the gist of D&D. It was/is a huge cultural phenomenon – it’s like someone saying, “Why, no, I don’t know who Superman is.” It’s baffling at a certain age, isn’t it?
Iza and I spent nearly three hours talking about her PC, his backstory, how I could manipulate a situation in order to introduce her character to the current party. Wild stuff. Exciting stuff. I think she’s gotten just as involved in the campaign as I am, to be honest.
Of course, my two other players were excited to have a full table. Iza joined the campaign the second session – the first session held in my new apartment.
To be absolutely brutal: the session was a bust. Although I enjoy grinding away to make characters and set the scene, etc., etc., it was just awkward. All of us are awkward. It can be difficult to suspend reality and take on a persona when we’re still trying to figure out our individual/collective play style. Not to mention one player was literally falling asleep as the table mid-play. The set up I currently have is also extremely cramped and it did not allow for quick access to materials – huge obstacle I’m going to have to sort out for future sessions.
After a few one-on-one talks with my players, we’ve all decided to scrap everything and start the campaign fresh. They were a little surprised I suggested it, but all of them responded positively to the idea. “It’s our game, we have the power to go back in time whenever we want. We just all have to agree to it.” Since they’ve all agreed, I am much more looking forward to future sessions. We have some play under our belt and have an idea of how we need to interact with each other in order to drive the story (I still need to figure out how to lay an environment well enough to encourage them to interact with it, but I think that will come in time).
They’ve gotten a sneak-peak at the first few plot points, nbd. This time, however, Aslan (Iza’s PC) will be there. That’s going to be a huge change in the overall tone and how they’ll respond to the world. I’ve altered a few things as well: for example, I loved both my own and the players’ brilliance in dealing with “The Silent Partner” mechanic, but they’ve cracked that code. What I’ve got planned this time will definitely shake things up and force them to think critically.
It’s been a few weeks, though. It’s depressing how difficult it is to get four adults in the same room for a few hours. I still have faith, though. The story’s too good not to see it through in some form or another. Although I’d like to see it played out, I might just write up the campaign to share for others to play it. In the end, I’ll still have some sort of satisfaction.