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Reuniting the Band: The Beginning

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When I saw a demonstration of Fantasy Grounds at Gencon in 2008, it kindled a fire that had been smouldering for quite a long time.

Back in 1990 I had moved to Indiana, and I had to put my D&D campaign into permanent hiatus. We had been working out an interesting storyline, and I was quite sorry that we had to leave it unresolved. But the call of new real-life adventures had to outweigh the call of fantasy adventures, and off I went to a new city and a new career. Nevertheless, ending the campaign early left me feeling a bit of regret. So much so, in fact, that I kept all the notes, maps, and so forth, in the vague hope that someday we could wrap it up somehow.

When I saw those 3D dice rolling across the screen in the Smite Works booth I immediately thought of that old campaign. Here, at last, was technology that would allow the group to get back together, at least virtually, and play out the storyline, if only I could convince the other players to join in! And if I could somehow manage the time to run it myself...

After the convention I talked it over with my wife, who was also one of my original players. She agreed that we should give it a try, so we downloaded the demo version and played around with it a bit. It seemed to work pretty well, so I called up one of my old players and invited him to try it too. The following weekend we tested it out. It took a little while to figure out the port-forwarding, but once we did that the demo went pretty well, and he too was sold on the idea. It was time to start recruitment in earnest.

I had email addresses for all but one of my old players. Luckily another player had that, so I was able to send out a group email telling them about the software, and my plan to restart the old campaign. Since I sort of expected a bit of attrition, I also invited a couple other people, just in case. Both were part of the same circle of friends, but had not been regular players back in the day. Inviting them turned out to be a good plan, because I never got a response from one player, and another tactfully declined. Somewhat to my surprise, everyone else was willing to give it a try, so now it was time to get serious about putting it all together.

Lessons learned:
1. Having a GM thatís committed to doing this is, obviously, critical. If youíre the GM youíre home free. If not, are you willing to take over the job? Letís face it, the GM has the biggest commitment in terms of time and effort, and running a game will take a lot of their free time. That will probably also impact their family, so their buy-in is very important as well.

2. Think about who to invite. In the case of our old group, there were two couples in my original group of players, and both had split up. One of the splits was reasonably amicable but the other was very much not. We elected to not invite one of that pair to keep the drama confined to the campaign setting.

3. Expect to have some attrition among the players, so invite a few more people than you absolutely need in order to play. But not more than youíd be willing to run if they all said yes.

Next time I'll talk about the joy of scheduling games with grownups.

Thanks for reading!

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Updated March 28th, 2016 at 15:34 by Phystus



  1. Nylanfs's Avatar
    I assume you mean "joy" :-)
  2. Phystus's Avatar
    Yes, exactly. The days of "same time next week" are long gone, and we have to devote about 10 minutes at the end of each game to figure out when we can get back together.
  3. Nylanfs's Avatar
    The best method i have found is to have all the players make a Google Calendar on when they know they can't game. Then the Gm picks a date enters it and invites everyong and the players double check to make sure they were really free or weren't "volunteered" by spouses for something.
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