A new party, a new campaign

The boss monster...or is he?

Back in May a local denominational-affiliated campus ministry group asked me, a pastor, if I would be willing to run a Dungeons & Dragons game for their members.  I'll admit I was flattered, intrigued, and most importantly excited because of the entire group, only one person (my son, Mac) had played D&D before.  Many of them had heard about the game, researched it online and watched videos and listened to podcasts, and a couple had even gone so far as to buy the Player's Guide, but that was it.
So I began to put together a campaign with the intent of "converting" people to becoming gamers.  My goal?  In one or two sessions to get them hooked, not to mention up to speed on the game's rules.  In addition, I wanted to try to instill my own ethos about what good roleplaying and group culture looked like.
And that was why I was excited.  And last night, we finally had our first session, and it was a blast.

I used "The Shunned Valley of the Three Tombs" by Raging Swan Press as the backbone of the first adventure.  The mini-module comes with a completely built village and small adventure area (the eponymous valley) with contains several clearly-defined areas each of which highlights a particular aspect of gameplay: roleplaying, exploration, trap detection, the undead, and "boss monster" fighting.  The valley and nearby village are also located on a larger region, a duchy, with several other communities and adventure locales, some of which are fleshed out by Raging Swan Press, so the campaign has the basic infrastructure for a hex-crawl/sandbox style of play.

What I realized about this group immediately was that I had no less than three "class clowns" in the mix (one of which was Mac, who I already knew about).  It made me reflect on gamers as a whole, and I've often found that the constantly joking, loud bon vivant is a frequent social "mask" gamers put on, especially when confronted with strangers in the nerd/geek tribe.  At first as a GM I was a little peeved as the constant raucousness, but then realized that not only was this group (who had one outsider in the mix, a college-aged player who was not in the campus ministry community and one of the three clowns) trying to get to know each other, but they were having fun.  And ultimately that's what they, and I, were all here for.

So we will see how it goes.  Stay tuned.

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