Very recently, I decided to get into the LFR (and RPGA) possibilities as a DM. I have been DMing almost 30 years, but haven’t really hosted anything set in Toril since the 80s so thought it would be refreshing to get back into it and bring along some friends.
So to facilitate this, I set up a couple of gaming nights, private “campaigns”, and am adding people into the mix for them. As my friends didn’t make out a complete roster for either night, I did a little advertising to get the numbers up to about 6 for each night (figuring it would allow for 1 or 2 people to miss occasional nights and still allow a session to proceed).
That said, someone who isn’t actually joining my campaigns brought up some interesting rules issues that I would like to have clarified.
Again, keep in mind that this is a private campaign.. and by campaign I mean that I hope to have continuity from session to session, backgrounds for characters, and, yes, even roleplaying. ;) I would like to do more than say… “last time you ran through that… now you are here doing this… and go…” I’d like to fill in the gaps and create an atmosphere of real involvement in the world and some more depth of detail without breaking from the spirit and intent of the LFR.
The issues the outside person brought up:
1) A DM cannot change any rules (which I don’t) or reject any player options that are listed as legal in the character creation guide (which I do, sort of). In other words, I am working with the players to flesh out backgrounds, work together to create interesting & viable reasons for them all to be together, and to create an “Adventuring Company” that is set in Toril. I did put some restrictions on character creation. Some are a part of the RPGA I believe (no evil characters or worship of evil gods), but I encouraged everyone to play races that would mesh well together and make sense in the campaign. While I didn’t specifically say “you can’t play a minotaur”, I said that playing anything exotic would need to be approved by me. I wanted to see what roleplay and background they would come up with first to explain their presence and inclusion with the group. Is it okay for me to create a more in-depth, more restrictive private LFR campaign?
2) I know the PRGA Character Creation Guide is pretty specific about what’s legal, as a DM, in its rules. I just want to make sure I have the right of it. If I decide one encounter is too hard so I drop a skirmisher while another needs a little boost so I add an extra brute, am I right in reading that those changes will not change the XP earned for that encounter? Same way with tactics… if, instead, I tweak the tactics a bit to either increase or decrease the challenge, I am still legitimately playing a LFR campaign? It also looks like there’s no leeway involved in treasure. So, even though a +1 Orb of Inevitable Continuance is the same value (and item slot, intent) as a Thunder Wand +1, if I were to change the Treasure Rewards as such I would be invalidating the campaign and ruining the official nature of the characters?
3) Related to (2), I also noticed that the two modules I initially intend to send the groups into seem to be using the old table suggestions for DCs for various traps, skill checks, etc. I intend to adjust them to be more in line with the new DC tables from the Official Errata, but was told that any altering of the material would invalidate the game as LFR.
4) He suggested that I just call this campaign something else and to stay away from using LFR because I would be misleading my players to think they are a part of the LFR because I am not using everything to the letter. He could be right, for all I know.
It could very well be that my intention to try to pull some friends (new and old) into the Forgotten Realms through the Living Forgotten Realms material is ill conceived. Perhaps my private campaigns are better off as being listed as Other: D&D Campaign (Forgotten Realms) and stay away from the LFR stuff.
Honestly, I was simply hoping to see what interesting creations and direction the Forgotten Realms was going in and using the Living Forgotten Realms material as a conduit to that ends. It could be that I am better suited just doing homebrew campaigns set in FR where I can add more roleplay and adventuring cohesion to the campaigns.
Still, would love to hear others’ take on the subject and what does and can work for FR campaigns.
Thanks in advance!
PS: Sorry for the wall of text! Didn't realize how much I wanted to ask about. :P