The Big Game
Posted by docryder
I have a special form of insanity, I think. I do crazy shit like this:
Yeah, you’re counting right. There are twelve kids at this table for D&D For Kids, a monthly game I run at my FLGS, Crazy Squirrel Game Store.
Now, until last month, about four of the kids above were regulars. Last month, Free RPG Day coincided with D&D4K weekend, so we made it an event in CSGS’s RPG MiniCon, which they put on for FRPGD. So, one of the other Wednesday night regulars asked if he could bring his kids. “Sure,” says I. Well, he brought his two kids and three others (one of whose mother is pictured above, pitching in). This month? Those kids showed up again (which I expected) and then… Well, here’s a response I left this morning to the “how did it go?” question the store owner’s husband, Scott Martin of Gnome Stew, left on my Facebook after I requested his assistance running:
…The need for a third DM came almost literally at the last minute. One of the dads shot me a message at 10:45PM Friday that he was bringing his kid and 3 others (which at that hour of the morning became 5 in my head). I didn’t notice and read the message until 2AM yesterday. Luckily, one of the other regular kids couldn’t make it.
Otherwise, it went surprisingly well. I had already recruited Rob as a second DM, but I got the wild idea that I would just run a big battle. We had already decided to use an additional encounter seed in the adventure as a “get the new kids more up to speed” scenario and we were going to do two tables until that late notice. When I woke up, I had an idea for expanding that encounter out even more and decided to challenge myself and run the entire thing myself, with all of the kids. It did cross my mind to nix the latecomers kids, but I decided I’d test my chops as a DM and run a mega-game with Rob acting as a floating DM.
Lots of minions were on the field, and I kept them coming in waves. Eventually the older kids got the idea they needed to shut that off at the source (a necromancer send[ing] waves of skeletons at the PCs), did that and ended the game. I had had a completely different vision of how the game would work, but I wasn’t able to execute that. I’d have rather[ed] there be multiple DMs who could have handled chunks of the field and kids, but Rob as a floater worked well, because he could field questions for me and worked well getting the parents to help their kids.
Except for a couple of kids getting bored between turns, they all seemed to have fun. But next month, I know a couple of the kids won’t be back because they were just visiting Fresno, so numbers will be a little easier to divy up. However, I’m going to add a couple of clauses to the email I send out requiring more than 24 hour notice on the RSVP, so things can be planned better.
I think a certain amount of hubris was involved in my decision to run a game this big. I’ve wanted to do a multi-table game for a while, or a big game with multiple GMs. Those ideas are more like a Living (Fill-In-The-Blank) style game, where different tables might have different things going on, but all would contribute to the overall story. However, I am a little anal (no, I’m a lot anal), and once I got the idea for such a big game this weekend, I couldn’t let go of it. Fortunately, the scenario I threw together worked, and I’m glad for that. Also fortunately, I believe the back-up DM I chose, Rob (the other beardy adult in the photo above), doesn’t have the sort of ego to be bruised by not DMing his own table. (Especially as we had our home game later, which he is currently running.)
Again, on the upside, it seems the kids were happy. One of the new kids came around the table to give me a hug, so I guess she liked it. I swear, though: Next month, we will split the table. As well, kids that show up at the last minute may well be turned away, or someone at the store will have to whip out the D&D 5e Starter and run that scenario.
Yeah, I’m a special kind of crazy…