Everyone Takes a Chapter

Our Thursday night D&D group just finished the official D&D 5e campaign, Ghost of Saltmarsh. See my previous post on how we ran it and why we did it that way.

Overall, this experiment was a great success. We all had a lot of fun and even snuck in some extra stuff in there over the odd summer schedule. We had several nights of off module side quests and even got in some Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics when everyone couldn’t be there for Saltmarsh.

It was wonderful getting to play a character (actually a couple of them as my first one died in the 3rd chapter/module). It was also great seeing my other gamers run their own game their own way. Of the player turned DM:

  • One would get in twice as many combats in our limited 3 hour sessions than I could when I ran the game.
  • One ran a combat with 25 combatants that I never would have attempted … and it was fun!
  • One killed a PC (cool except it was mine) and the party had to reconcile a character death.
  • One dealt masterfully with a major party split. Even so much that half the group played one Thursday night and the other half played the other Thursday night before we were brought together.
  • One gave us the most nerve racking and near TPK battle I’ve ever been in. We heroically pulled it off but I thought for sure we were all going to die.
  • One took us on a great adventure of his character’s back story and gave us a good helping of skill challenges. It was all very flavorful.

I ended up playing two characters who I enjoyed making and running.

There were some bumps in the road.

  • We had switched from Zoom to Discord. Where the Discord side chat voice channels were nice, the overall quality and stability didn’t match Zoom. We are sticking with Discord because it supports a wide range of devices and no one has to use their corporate account to host our games.
  • Roll20 is awesome but from the DM point of view, it takes time to learn it. I mean lots of directed, purposeful energies into two areas. The player turned DMs fumbled some with Roll20:
    • How do I do this?
    • How does this work?
  • Encounter (Battle) Balance: This is both math and a talent to do this right.

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