January 02, 2012

Back From a Break

Sorry I was absent for a bit. Life's little responsibilities have a way of intruding, and between career and family duties, gaming (and game blogging) must sometimes unavoidably take a backseat.

I recall reading E. Gary Gygax's "excuse" for not finishing the Temple of Elemental Evil, something along the lines of "running the mundane matters of the company [TSR] doesn't always allow a lot of time for the fun chores of module [substitute adventure there, youngsters] writing," or some such. My reaction: "Bah! Get back into your office and finish that sucker!" And we all know how long we waited for T1-4 to arrive. (So I guess I'm gulty in similar fashion, though this is not to say this blog is something folks wait for with similarly baited breath!)

In 2012 I'll be restarting, or warming back to life, a 4e campaign I was running some months ago. Our group rotates DMs, so things run for a limited time to allow the next guy a chance. Now it been quite a few months, so I'm eager to light a fire under the players (and their characters, figuratively at least). I've taken the opportunity to allow them to make a few tweaks to their powers and such.

So how do you handle such campaign breaks? Do things (re)start exactly where you left off? You you provide an informational recap or leave your players to go it alone?

As time moves on, I've mellowed about these things. My goal is to have fun and for my players to have a great ride. If recapping things or reminding them of past clues helps keep the group on track, I personally see nothing wrong with that. I've also gone soft on new character introduction. If a PC dies, I try to allow the replacement character to appear fairly quickly—perhaps not mid-dungeon, but soon—none of that journey to the next city and meet them in a tavern business. I'm getting older, and my players are in their 30s and 40s and 50s, and most barely can fit in a monthly session. We really don't have the time to waste half a session on the obligatory and predictable introductions. I'd rather just say let them meet the new character on the road (perhaps during a battle, such as a classic goblins attack the caravan set piece) and let the players decide the connections. For me, it works better and saves precious play time, but I realize for many DMs this would be heresy. How do you treat such matters of new character introduction?

In any case, it's good to be back. I hope all are enjoying the holidays, and I'll try to post more often going into 2012! Thanks for sticking with me.

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