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Old 05-18-2020, 10:20 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Saint Paul, MN
Default Front Porch GMing

I ran a DFRPG game this weekend for a neighborhood family that wanted to learn how to play. My eight- and ten-year-old sat with me on the front porch while the other family (two adults and two kids) sat in their living room. We spoke through the screen windows; I had a big whiteboard so that I could sketch maps and whatnot that everyone could see.

The group was eclectic: a gnome bard, elf druid, human scout, cat-folk martial artist, human knight, and faerie dragon wizard. (All except the last followed standard DFRPG templates.) Once I saw that they had a druid, scout, and faerie dragon, I thought a wilderness adventure would be more appropriate than a dungeon. I loosely used a D&D 4e Chaos Scar adventure, “Elves of the Valley," from Dungeon 178 (May 2010). I had to adjust the adventure on the fly to make it fit within our allotted time, but every character had a few moments to shine and the players were eager for another session.

A highlight was when the druid attempted to summon a bear ally but critically failed her casting, and then rolled a five on the critical failure table ("Spell cast on one of caster’s companions (if harmful) or random nearby foe (if beneficial)"). I improvised and said that the spirit of the bear inhabited the faerie dragon. My daughter embraced the moment, foregoing her usual caution to let out a bear-like roar and swoop into melee combat with her ineffectual teeth. This was one of those failed rolls that dovetailed perfectly with the themes of the adventure since the demonic "Voice in the Darkness" at the heart of the wood was causing all sorts of bizarre magical anomalies. It seemed perfectly fitting that the druid's magic would be twisted like this.

Running a game from the front porch was better than VTT, especially with new players, but not nearly as good as being together around a table. (And the lawnmower across the street was maddening!)
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