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Reuniting the Band: It's About Time!

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My initial email blast to my old players and select friends generated quite a bit of response. One person declined (and one never replied), but everyone else seemed enthused. Most of them had been getting even less gaming than my wife and I, and they were pretty excited to have a chance to game and socialize with old friends in faraway places.

But the next question was invariably “When do you want to play?” And that’s where the trouble started.

One guy lived on the west coast, so he was on Pacific time, while we were in the Eastern time zone. That pretty much meant that we had to play on weekends, since on weekdays he didn’t get home from work until it was almost bedtime for me. The other players were on Central time. One fellow had a lot of family commitments, with a son in the Boy Scouts, so finding weekends he was available was tricky. Another facilitated a support group that met on alternate Saturdays. My wife and I like to go backpacking, so we wanted to reserve some weekends for that. And several of us had jobs that sometimes required us to be on-call over the weekend, or running system maintenance in the wee hours of Sunday morning, which pretty well messes up the entire weekend.

We eventually found a Saturday that worked for everyone about a month after the initial email. But that long lag actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. You see, that campaign I was running in 1990 was using 1st edition AD&D. There’s no ruleset in Fantasy Grounds for 1st edition (and at the time there wasn’t even a 2nd edition ruleset as far as I knew). So how was I going to pull this off? Do I try to convert the entire campaign, or do I try to do something about a 1st edition ruleset?

I was working in IT, so my first thought was to take a look at building a ruleset. However, it didn’t take long for me to see that was a bad idea. I was still learning to use the product, so I really didn’t feel comfortable customizing it. Plus, the idea of coming home and coding after work sounded utterly unappealing. It would be like asking a postman to take a nice long walk after delivering the mail all day. And I would still need to put together adventures too. I just didn’t have time for all of that.

That left me no choice but to convert the campaign to D&D 3.5 (the current version at the time). My wife and I knew 3.5 pretty well, and I had even GM’ed it once, but none of the other players had ever played it. So that meant we also needed to teach them how to play. And convert the characters, at least for the players that were continuing. And create characters for the new recruits. And convert the NPC’s, or at least the important ones. And, duh, maybe get an adventure together? Suddenly I was pretty happy that we wouldn’t start for a month!

So once again, we made progress, but we learned a few things the hard way too.
1. It’s a lot harder to find times to meet than it was back when we were all single and many of us were students.

2. It can take a lot of prep time, and I had a lot less time than I used to as well.

3. It pays to pick a game system that has a ruleset already built.

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