On Long Hiatuses and Not Losing the Thread

One of the realities of gaming as an adult (defined for these purposes as a person with kids, career, and many commitments) is that getting your gaming group together to play on a regular basis will be a challenge. I run two groups, both of which attempt to meet every two weeks. Both are of a size where if one player is absent we can play, but if two or more can’t make it, it doesn’t make much sense.

I haven’t done the math, but I suspect that over the course of a year both groups manage to meet closer to once every 3 to 4 weeks than the scheduled two weeks. The reasons for absences and cancelled sessions are varied and uniformly reasonable. Nonetheless, they take their toll on the games. As of this writing it’s been only a week since my Savage Tide campaign last met, but almost six weeks since my World of Darkness crew got together (and it will be at least 8 weeks by the time we meet again).

The struggle, of course, is how to not completely lose the thread of the story. Part of the problem is that I’m not the best note taker in the world. But even with a decent session summary it’s sometimes hard for players (and GM) to fall back into the rhythm of things.

How do the other DM’s reading this handle long hiatuses?

Gygax Contest

Here’s something cool I just became aware of — fellow blogger The Secret DM is running a contest in honor of Gary Gygax’ birthday. Submit an original dungeon crawl (just the rooms and encounters, no back story) that evokes the feel of 1st edition. If your entry is judged the best, you win a complete set of the recently republished 1st edition AD&D core books. And get your submission turned into a professional quality pdf. 

Check it out: http://www.thesecretdm.com/2012/07/contest-time-super-secret-happy.html

(And yes, if you read the fine print you’ll see that by promoting this I’m entered into a drawing for a $75 gift certificate. So sue me.  : )

Recreating non-D&D characters in D&D 3.5

One of the reasons I love being the game master is that I get to (have to) create more than one character per game (well, to be fair, so do most of my players, mwah ha ha). But anyway, character creation is one of my favorite parts of the 3.5 system. I’ll literally pass the time creating characters I have no plans to use.

A few years back I had some fun seeing how close to “right” I could get characters from other genre’s (Tarzan, Superman, etc.) in 3.5.  This past week my lovely wife and favorite player was talking about one of her favorite movie characters, Blade the vampire hunter. So naturally I wanted to see how badass of a Blade I could make as a D&D character.

My initial attempt is attached. I used Eberron, specifically Karnath, as the setting. If you know the setting well, it may mean something if I say I see this version of Blade as King Kaius’ bastard.

Let me know what you think. Feedback is more than welcome.

Have any of you tried to create an iconic non-D&D character in D&D? How did it turn out?

Blade, Vampire Hunter of Karnath

Who is the 40-something gamemaster?

I’m a 40-something (duh) guy who runs (and occasionally) plays table-top role-playing games. My non-gaming life is full (wife, teenage kids, job, gym, etc.), but I’m still currently managing to run two campaigns for two overlapping groups of players. The first is a D&D 3.5 game where I’m running the Savage Tide adventure path from the final print run of Dungeon magazine. The second is a home-brewed World of Darkness game in which the players are members of a government agency that deals with supernatural threats and are currently sorting through a mess that involves changelings, otherworldly drugs, and the Chicago mob. I tend to run/play a lot of D&D 3.5 (what can I say, I love the character options), though I’ve also run/played WoD, Pathfinder, and Mutants & Masterminds.

I plan to use this blog as a place to discuss both the challenges and fun of running table-top games, as well as related topics. If you have an opinion, please chime in!