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Session 40 Reflections

I've really enjoyed running the Infinity Tower game. The players have been great and learning to share a game online has been an awesome experience that has made me grow as a DM. I've made decisions about what really matters to me in a game, what I want to support in play and why I run or play games.

There have been so many great moments in this game that I've been pleased to share with people. I value those and feel honored to have played with the people I have for so long. There were tremendous sacrifices of time and energy by all involved in making this game happen for almost a year. In about 48 weeks we ran 40 sessions. That is by far the best average I've ever had for a game I've run. For all of that, I am very thankful.

After running a long series I think that there are some things I've learned about myself and the style of play I prefer. I would have liked an ending to the game that was satisfying to all players. I didn't plan this game in a way that…

Session 39: Into the Dark

Another great session with a great group of players! I came into this session with my loosest recap ever. I barely remembered where the game was the week before, which is totally my fault. I had the events, just not a concrete order of things. Something for me to work on.

Once the group set out, they went to Taul'Khazad, the Dwarven city above the Kings' Crypt that they would be exploring. There was a brief interaction, during which I said to myself, 'You know what? 3 of 4 characters here speak Dwarfish. I need to solve this problem for right now.' With that, I threw in a Dwarven bard character to quickly cast Comprehend Languages. The wizard asked if he was a wizard (undoubtedly spellbook grinding). I gave a bard-ish explanation of the character's magic. The Dwarf-obsessed character's player asks if he is a bard, I say yes, she unloads a Bag of Holding full of ancient Dwarven texts.

This is a ruined Dwarven city. They have only oral records of their people. Th…

The More Things Change - Session 38 Reflections

Introducing a new character into a game is a gradual process. Whatever else might be going on, it's important to give some time for the new character to be fully integrated into the group and feel like they have a stake in the narrative.

We had a confluence of events this week where we reintroduced a character that had been missing for a couple of weeks and simultaneously introduced a new character. The result was that we had a very role-playing heavy session, which I was looking forward to and prepared for, to make sure the situation had some energy and depth.

We set a few plot opportunities up, including the necromancer/wizard trying to find a place to put his animated corpses. There was also an upcoming festival that celebrated the cleric's god (Pelor) and the end of the harvest season moving into fall. The result was a really laid-back session where everyone got better acquainted and built better connections with one another. I think it's a great place to be before the…

Necromancer Doesn't Mean Evil - Session 37 Reflections

The Infinity Tower crew grew in a really interesting way this week! We've had a recent cast change with one player stopping their time with us, but we've also had a new player agree to join our table for a while. It's been exciting waiting to see what they'll do. Now we know: our new player is playing a (CG) Necromancer.

It's a really interesting character idea and set of motivations that I'm trying not to spoil or take ownership of, but I'm looking forward to seeing things develop.

Additionally, spells. Arg. The downfall of every DM creature! I don't get to play D&D often, but when I do, I play a wizard. It doesn't mean I know the spells or expect certain things. We had a fight at the end of the session that I expected to be pretty brutal but instead turned out to just be a slog, going slowly through the hit points of a stone golem. There wasn't a lot of damage done per round but the creature couldn't damage the party.

The culprit: Web.…

The Beer Run - Session 36 Reflections

Some sessions are just for fun. A lot of times as a DM, I find myself with more details and ideas I want to share than I get to use. It was actually really surprising that in prepping for this session I went back 30 sessions to look at old notes, where I found LOTS of things I hadn't used! This fun, laid-back episode was a chance for two players that like role-play to have fun and take care of some business. With life circumstances coming up, we expected to have a smaller crew, so I prepped a few small scenes to give players something to do. It was almost all character and situation development for existing NPCs and circumstances. We had a big change for our group because one of our players is going to discontinue the game. We've really enjoyed her contributions but she has other things she wants to do and ways that she needs to use her time. I am SO impressed by the group in general- their attendance and energy has been stellar! 36 sessions out of (I think) 40 weeks since we…

A Sinking Ship: Session 35 Reflections

The best part of D&D is being creative and having fun with friends. We had a whole week off and I really missed seeing everyone and playing D&D!!! The fun part of streaming is being able to see what you make and review how things go. A highlights reel of the best times playing a game with friends is an amazing asset, especially when you need a little boost.
This session was the conclusion of an arc for us. It was designed as a fight on top of a sinking boat with a group of undead. I never saw this as a fatal, deadly fight for the PCs. Frankly, during the last few sessions I've become aware that clerics are awesome at dealing with undead and that the PCs in general are very powerful- and I love it!
I'm also really glad that our group is creative, supportive and ready to improvise. We had the expectation there would be a session that Kat, who plays Aurora, would be out. In the end, every player but Sean was unable to make the game last week, so everyone sat one out. Kat …

The Whale: Session 34 Reflections

So there was a whale. An undead whale being ridden by a horde of other undead.

That was the whole concept I had rolling around in my head preparing for the session. I may have mentioned this before, but some sessions I just focus on a conflict and let the ideas develop around it, like ripples spreading out from a stone striking the surface of a pond... or like a branching thought diagram. This is why I love RPGs. Always go with your fun ideas. Just let them be awesome!

There was going to be a fight with an undead whale. Things I learned last session: elemental monk powers are pretty good at creating icebergs. Fire spells blow up ships. Little enemies are easily mowed down at a distance despite what CR calculations say. So I wanted a big challenge, something that would be interesting, and something cool to build.

I love whales. I'm not particularly knowledgeable about them, but I think they are wonderful. I wanted to have a whale. Plus, the Big Bad of this arc is an undead, so Unde…