This was, in fact, the first day of the first game that I ran online. It was quite an education for me ~ the players and their approach took me completely by surprise, so much that eventually I was to lose patience with them.
I had run with a wide number of groups between 1979 and 1985 ... but after that, most of my experience was with a very steady group with which I played for another ten years. Following the break-up of that group in mid '94, which occurred because of job opportunities, marriage and other issues, my gaming became sporadic. I would get in a running now and then, but probably less than six times a year ... and by 1998, even that stopped. I would not find a group until 2004 ... which happened because my daughter wanted me to run her and her friends. I still run that game, even though they are now almost all in their 30s.
During this long separation from the mainstream of the D&D Community, in which I had retained a lot of my original beliefs about the game, the WOTC shifted the rule system in a very different direction. This created a different kind of player. What, I am sorry to say, was a very lazy character. I hope to explain how.
|An actual tavern at Rothenburg, only 198 km north by|
northwest of Dachau. So, fairly accurate.
At the time, I had no idea how cliched this idea was; I had not spent twenty years reading hundreds of game modules that included the motif ... and at any rate, I had no plans whatsoever to follow any parts of the cliche except the presence of the tavern itself.
The inn I had in mind was not far from the one pictured, but I did not possess this picture in 2009. Primarily, I wanted to give the players a home base; a place to sleep, rest, be recognized by the proprietor, who might save them a room while they adventured in the area. I called the tavern & inn simply "The Pig" and the bartender Helmunt. I started them sitting in the open air, looking at the square, explaining,
DM: You’re bored. This has been the routine for nearly two months now. You four, Tiberius, Josef, Delfig and Anshelm, met on a cold morning in mid-spring (for the region), finding yourselves all strangers, fairly compatible with one another and equally of the opinion that many of the vicissitudes of life are unappreciated by most. At the moment, however, you could stand a few more changes than there have been.
To my mind, this was to suggest they get off their feet and do something. If they had sat there for two months and no adventure had presented itself to them, then it should be clear that it was time to make an adventure happen.
This is not how the players read it. In fact, they made nothing of what I had said about the routine dragging on. I did not know at the time, see, that D&D players were very used to having everything handed to them on a silver platter. I had been blogging only nine months. I had not played in a group with strangers in more than ten years ~ and then only briefly. So I was unprepared for the response, as I'm sure thousands of DMs are, who think to themselves, "I'm going to run a sandbox adventure."
continued elsewhere ...
This is the second of two such posts I have written in the month of April for the Tao's Master Class blog, where the rest of this post can be found. Examples on the Tao of D&D blog can be found here and here.
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