Game Outline

Trad’s Game

Initial Overview

17 SEPTEMBER 2017 / Draft 1

Brief

Overview

Mechanics

Venue and Scheduling

Setting and Plot

Table Size/Player Count

My Style as a Dungeon Master

Final Thoughts

Brief

  • Baby/toddler/parent friendly game – my [currently] 7 month old will be there. Change tables and dirty diapers expected and accepted. Specifically for parents who want to play together, and not have to take turns, or find a babysitter (If you prefer to leave the kids with someone else, ok, but accept that others might not). Play will probably continue if one child is freaking/in need of a change, but if there’s a communal freak out, expect impromptu breaks. 

  • If someone breastfeeding at the table offends you, this is not the game for you. That being said, if people prefer to go to a different room to feed, there will be space for that.

  • Non parents are welcome – but understand babies will present, and parents who cant play otherwise will be given preference.

  • This will be a long-term group. We might play shorter modules, and change up campaigns or various other playstyles, depending on the group’s preferences, but overall everyone should be aiming to keep playing together for a while. We might do a shorter introduction campaign to see how it works for everyone, but if all goes well the game will continue.

  • Broadly heroic – some moral ambiguity is ok, but generally try to be a hero. Think Han Solo, not Malcolm Reynolds (This vs This – one is shooting first because a bounty hunter is saying he’s going to take him back to be tortured, the other is causing a defeated man pain because it’s satisfying.)

  • Mature content OK – with the understanding that any parent can determine what their kid hears, and can ask to tone it down depending on their kids age/comprehension. Babies don’t know that you’re being filthy, and toddlers don’t understand innuendo, etc. The game is primarily aimed to be an adult activity for parents who want a chance to be adults, NOT a game for young children. 

  • Kids are unpredictable, parents are dictated by kids. If you need to miss or skip a game, it’s all good. Prior warning would be nice, but I understand that’s not always possible. The game will continue if there are 3 more players ready and willing to play that day. Replacing the DM is harder, but not impossible – one shot’s, etc. 

  • Play time and location to be determined, but will be no less than once every two weeks, preferably every week. People should only commit to the game if they think they can usually attend at least three out of four weeks. Things coming up is understood, and ok, but the default should be to attend. (Think of it as a casual team sport – everyone is there to have fun, and real life comes first, but you can’t really play if people don’t show.)

Overview

Mechanics

  • 5E DnD – it’s my preferred system. Rules as written it’s the most comfortable game to play, and easiest to DM (I personally enjoy rules heavy games to play, like pathfinder, but they’re much more effort on the DM’s side).

  • Open to making the game either Adventurer’s League compatible, or open to homebrew rulings. For those who don’t know the difference:

    • AL – the same set of rules, no matter the game you play in, world wide. It’s a cut and dried system, and makes it a lot easier for people to drop in and out as they need to. Also means you can take your characters to other games and play there, then come back as appropriate. Conversely, there is less room for improv and tangents and between adventures activities.

    • Homebrew – Anything goes, as long as the DM says its ok. More character options, more customisability, more opportunities to make the game your own. The world reacts to your characters actions, and you are able to do more things between adventures (Think buying/building your own home/base/wizard’s tower, or taking a longboat you took from an orc raiding party, strapping it to the back of your wagon and making an impromptu amphibious assault vehicle [Yes, that happened, and yes, I figured out the load capacity required when they wanted to make it permanent]).

  • I will be sharing my DnD Beyond account with everyone in the group. I pay a subscription fee, and then anyone in my games can make a free account and share all of my paid-for resources for free.

  • More specifics to be defined once a decision AL vs Homebrew is made. At the moment, I’m split 50/50. Homebrew is more fun, but AL requires less work on my part.

Venue and Scheduling

  • Venue will either be at my house in Jane Brook, at Quenda Games in Midland, or Good Games Morley. I have tried dm’ing long distances from my home before, and it just doesn’t work. I end the game on a performance high, but ten minutes down the road I’m on the verge of collapse and not safe to drive. 

    •  If a store is preferred, would need to talk to them first about them being ok with babies and diapers. Also a play fee might be required.

  • An online play service like Roll20 might be doable. I’ve used it before, and wouldn’t take much effort. Everyone could play from their own homes, with their own baby-accommodations and stuff. However, I would prefer not to do this, because, for me, half the reason to run this game is to have regular, face to face interactions with adults, in an adult setting. If scheduling just isn’t going to work out though, Roll20 is an option.

  • Scheduling will be a negotiation, but once a day is set, that will be the game day. I’m not going to try and make an excel spreadsheet to work out possible game times. That being said, weeknights are preferred, and Tuesdays and Friday evenings are a hard no. Monday, Wednesday or Thursday are the likely options. 

  • Timing is an issue. If the game runs fortnightly, I would like a minimum of 3 hours play. I realize this will mean late nights for toddlers, once travel time is factored in. With this in mind, I think it would be easier for everyone involved if we started slightly earlier, my two preferred options are:

    • Fortnightly, starting at 5pm, going for 3 hours.

    • Weekly, starting at 5:30 or 6, going for 2-2.5 hours.

  • It is a start time, not an arrive time. I will start DM’ing at the agreed start time. I understand if people are running late, but there are bedtimes to keep, and everyone’s time is limited.

  • Holiday breaks are something that can be negotiated – christmas, easter, etc. 

Setting and Plot

  • A lot of this will be determined by AL vs Homebrew, as above, but no matter the rules decision, there will be a few common factors.

  • High Fantasy – Lord of the Rings-esque. Game of Thrones is on the borderline between High and Low Fantasy. In this setting, the world is fantastical, and magic and the gods are real. They might not play a direct role in the everyday life of a country commoner, but that commoner wouldn’t be overly surprised to see them. Fantastical races are relatively common, but some come with cultural baggage.

  • You’re the heroes. You don’t have to be the pinnacle of truth and justice, but you should at least have the potential to be heroic. Wheaton’s law applies – Don’t be a Dick.

  • Your characters should have a reason that they would work together. They don’t have to know each other beforehand, or have a milelong backstory (I actually find this to be a hindrance, especially for newer players), but they need to want to cooperate with the rest of the group. Lone wolf, screw everyone else play holds no interest for me. My last long term campaign ended because the group collectively realized there was no reason that half the party would ever travel or work with the other half.

Table Size/Player Count

I prefer a table of five players, but I’m open to playing with as few as three, or as many as seven. With the nature of this game, I expect most sessions to have one or two players missing. We might end up on the higher side of the player count, under the assumption that having everyone at the one table at the same time would be highly unlikely.

Noise levels will also be a determining factor. Eight adults can keep quiet and focus on what one person is saying. Six adults and three babies is a very different matter.

My Style as a Dungeon Master

I’ve always considered myself to be a, ‘Yes, and…’ style DM. By that I mean, if you come up with something, I’ll always try and roll with it (heh). That doesn’t mean that sometimes I won’t just say, ‘No, that’s impossible.’ It happens, but it’s rare. The way I like to play is, you tell me what you want to do, and I’ll tell you what dice you need to roll, if any, to do it. I don’t really like people saying, ‘Can I roll a skill on that?’ – it might seem like a minor thing, but it helps people stay thinking about what their character would do, not what the game lets them do.

My job as a DM is to help players make their characters heroic – it is NOT to defeat the players. If you want a more adversarial experience, I recommend tactics games like Descent or Kingdom Death. With that in mind, I have always taken the view that something can’t be truly heroic without the risk of failure. Death is a part of any DnD campaign. I try not to kill people in their first game, and will generally pull my punches for the first couple levels, but if your character throws themselves into a life or death situation, there should always be a chance they don’t come out alive. For those of you who haven’t played much DnD before, Character death does not mean the end of the game for that Player. Even if the entire party dies, the game will continue. 

Something that I have had good experiences with before, but that only works in a homebrew campaign, is using instant messaging or emails to do specific one on one interactions between games. Say your character wants to negotiate one on one with an NPC, or wants to do some shopping just for them – these are things we can do between sessions, so that when the entire group is at the table, we’re able to have everyone involved.

I like to try and keep the game moving, especially in combat. I give leeway to inexperienced players, but I generally expect people to know what they are going to do before it is their turn. I understand that the presence of babies and kids makes this difficult, but unless a break is called for the entire table, play will continue. If it comes to your turn, and you either don't know what your character would do, or are busy with a baby, your character will either miss their turn, or continue to act as they were before. In the specific case of spellcasters, I expect anyone who plays one to know it requires more game knowledge before they do so, and the same rules will apply to them.

Final Thoughts

I know this whole document might be slightly intimidating, especially to new players, but when you have young kids free time is extremely limited, and I don’t want there to be any misunderstanding when people actually get to the table. I’ve been burnt before, numerous times, by people having different expectations about a game, and I’ve learnt that it pays to get all of this sort of stuff on the table beforehand. Pretty much every point above is in response to a specific issue one of my previous games has had (Except maybe the breastfeeding one…).

DnD is, for me, about having fun telling stories. The point of this doco is to get all the boring stuff out of the way first, and to limit any potential *drama* at the table, so we can get together and just have some fun.

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