Tuesday, March 16, 2010, 10:06 AM
I wanted to talk about my little experiment with 4e D&D. I GM a lot, and a lot of different games. I don't run a regular D&D game, but started a pickup game using a few different ideas. Sometimes you need a game at the drop of a hat. A key player can't make it, you don't have enough people to make a game, or no one had planned anything but by chance there's four gamers hanging around wanting something to do. My solution: 4e Dungeons & Dragons.
The biggest key to allow me to do this frankly is the DDI. I'm more of a story and character driven GM than plot or premade adventures. I don't like dungeons, especially long ones, and I'm more likely to fudge a rule than spend time looking it up. The DDI lets me not worry so much about rules and get on with the game. This isn't an ad for DDI, honest, just talking about how I use it.
This happened last Monday, when we didn't have enough for our Aberrant game. I had the PCs whip up some 1st level character on the character generator. I grabbed a piece of paper and sketched some mountains around the edge and put a town in the center. I introduced the game by saying the heroes had come from the civilized kingdoms to the wild frontiers of the Ironspire Valley. They'd heard many rumors and stories about the valley. I passed around the paper and invited each of them to add one or two features to the map and a brief note about what they'd heard.
I stole this idea from Kiznit on Circvs Maximvs, so that's where the credit belongs. It worked wonderfully, giving me a rough map with adventure all over it. One of them were a group of hills called the 'Shadow Hills', where cattle and recently a child had gone missing. They investigate, and after a skill challenge (using the Obsidian mod) they get into the hills and find a band of kobolds. Easy peasy, use the encoutner generator and compendium. They battle them and interrogate a kobold, learning where the lair is and that there's a baby dragon they need to feed. They do this in a ritual under the full moon (tonight of course!) so there's still a chance to save the boy.
They find the lair, battle another band of kobolds and the baby dragon, saving the day.
Nothing spectacular, story-wise, and mostly a combat fest, but we had a fun game for a few hours with zero prep on my part. The players had fun, as did I, and we'll keep this game around for just such an occasion.