Back on Free RPG Day, I was talking to one of the managers at the FLGS, and he mentioned that they were looking for DMs to run D&D on Wednesdays. I, perhaps foolishly, said I would be interested. We swapped e-mails, and then suddenly it was Wednesday evening... and I'd prepped nothing. This is what I wrote at the time:
Tonight, I’ll be running D&D at my new FLGS. While WotC isn’t officially supporting the Adventure’s League Wednesday night games, the store is still running their Wednesday night D&D games under the same basic rules, but because it’s no longer official, each DM is given a fair amount of leeway in how they run their tables. Given that I haven’t run 5e in a couple of years and I haven’t really kept up on any of the stuff that’s come out in the last 2 years, I’m not sure what I’m eventually going to allow. To start with though, I think I’ll allow whatever they bring to the table.
The only prep I’ve done is to skim though the Players Handbook to refresh my memory of the basics of the system. I haven’t come up with anything adventure-wise, or pulled out a module or anything. I haven’t even cracked the Dungeon Masters Guide… Yet I’m pretty sure that I can do a decent enough job just winging it for this first session as I see who ends up at my table, and what it is they want to play.
And this is what I wrote the next morning.
When I arrived at the store, the manager told me he was glad to see me because he’d arranged a table for me, and it was full. Then he asked how many players I could handle. I told him I can run up to a dozen or so, but really prefer to keep it under 8 if possible. I ended up with 7 players.
I introduced myself, and gave them the 10 second rundown of my DMing experience, that I was a little fuzzy on 5e, but planned on keeping things lite and moving. I then asked their names and RPing experience. Everyone had some, but only one of the seven was really experienced with 5e. I then asked what type of game they were interested in playing in? Dungeon crawl? Wilderness exploration? Pirates? Everyone seemed good with wilderness, so I jumped right in with:
“2 weeks ago in the capital you were all sworn in, deputized troubleshooters, and sent out to the far edges of the kingdom. Today you arrived at your duty post, the little keep on the borderlands, as ruled by Baron Roesone. Unfortunately, as you arrive, he comes to meet you with an issue already. A local farm has been cut off by goblins. No one has heard from anyone at the farm for a while now, and he previous troubleshooters (there were only 3 in the last group) never came back from checking it out.”
They talked with the baron, then stopped in the tavern to grab a bite to eat before heading out to the farm. While in the tavern they talked to a mother nursing her fussy triplets, and a couple of weary guards. The guards told of a monster they’d seen. Man-shaped, covered in a cloak, but who’s entire face (maybe head?)was one giant eyeball.
After eating they headed off to the farm. On the way, they spotted a pair of goblins, washing something at a stream. The goblins try to run. The wildmage fails to get off his attack, and accidentally teleports himself next to the goblins, who fumble in their attempt to attack back. They’re caught and cut down quickly.
The party debates going to the goblin lair, or to the farm, and settle on farm. There they see a couple of goblins working the fields, while a middle aged man with a broken leg sits on the porch of his log cabin watching grumpily. The goblins run. The farmer tells the party that his daughter ran off with the goblin king, and that he got his leg broken trying to pick a fight with him to get his daughter back. The party opts to lure out the king with the promise of a wedding gift, and see if he’s charmed the daughter. The ritual to check takes 10 minutes though, so the bard quickly composes a 13 minute long epic song (complete with a 2 minute long lute solo) while the raven “dances” to cast the spell.
Turns out the daughter isn’t showing any magic, but the goblin king does. Slaying the goblins is out. They negotiate a truce between the baron and the goblins, that includes the promise that the party will help the goblins rid the area of the local hobgoblin force.
Fast forwarding to an ambush the goblins help set up, the party takes on 4 hobgoblins, and aside from a few misses and fumbles, takes them down without taking much, if any, damage in return.
That’s where we ended. I gave everyone enough XP to hit level 2, and gave about half the party bonus inspiration for Role Playing. Everyone seemed to have a good time, and we agreed on playing again next week. I also told them about how I give bonus XP for session reports, and by the time I was getting into bed, I already had one e-mailed to me!
All in all I would call the session a success. Had to double check a few rules, and know I messed up one or two, but everything rolled along pretty smoothly, and now I’ve got a weekly 5e game… crazy!