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Reuniting: Can I Check Your References?

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When my group started playing D&D via Fantasy Grounds, several of my players were keen to resume the old campaign rather than starting a new one. That campaign had featured several long-term storylines, and the party had gotten fairly involved in one of them. This had apparently left quite an impression on the players, and they were eager to see that story to its conclusion. I was more than happy to acquiesce to their desire, since I had always been curious about how the storyline would be resolved as well.

Fortunately for me, I had written fairly detailed notes about the plot, and I had kept a journal of the adventures, where I recorded all the important details of what transpired each game session. These resources, plus my own memories of what I had intended allowed me to pick up where we left off.

But eighteen years had passed since we had played. Campaign time was frozen, but real life had gone on at its usual pace. My players remembered that there was a big storyline, and they remembered some disconnected bits of it, but they didnít remember all the details, nor how the details related to one another. Their characters, however, still held the details fresh in their minds. So the challenge was bridging the gap between the memories of the players and the memories of their characters.

I also needed to create some basic campaign references for the players. This included basic campaign setting information like the calendar, the climate, and general maps of the area, along with information on the pantheon of deities unique to the setting. Since I observed a few house rules about allowable classes, training, and multiclass characters I needed a place to have them written down for everyone to consult as well.

Finally, I needed to have rule references available in-game. This, at least, was covered: the ruleset included the reference material from the 3.5 SRD. As I looked over these reference modules I realized that this format would be perfect for my campaign information and house rules as well. I did some reading on the FG forum, and learned the basics of renaming, unzipping, and editing modules, and set to work.

There were a number of false starts and headaches, since at the time there werenít any instructions on how to create a reference module. I must give a huge ĎThank YouĒ to Griogre and Xorn from the FG forums for helping me out when I got stuck. Eventually, I succeeded, and I had a nice reference available for my players (and myself).

Next, I had to tackle the issue of character knowledge. Once again I created a reference module for the information. I had two sections: the first section detailed events and plot threads, and the second detailed NPCís the characters knew (or knew of). This module also turned out well, and the players found it to be extremely helpful in bringing themselves back up to speed on the events of the campaign to date. We called it "The Little Black Book", and the players consulted it often.

Iím not going to go into any detail on the nuts and bolts of how I created these references. There is now a terrific manual here which explains the process in detail. My only additional advice would be to try to find an existing reference module that is similar to what you want, and use it as the basis for your own module.

Even if you donít run an entirely homebrew campaign some reference modules can be handy. Most GMís end up using a few house rules at least, and having them written down can save a lot of argument. You may also, as I did, end up making a reference module of spells that various characters had researched during the course of play, and which, of course, donít show up in any reference. Finally, you may want to have stats available for monsters not included in the SRD (Iím looking at you, Mind Flayer!), and itís handy to have them in a reference module so you can re-use them later.

I hope you found this information helpful. As always, if you have questions or observations please donít hesitate to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

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  1. LordEntrails's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing. Maybe we can get a couple of screen grabs of what you ended up creating?

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