Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Campaign - New DM System

Introducing the toddler to the joys of dice.

Last November I started up a new D&D campaign with an almost entirely new group after the old familiar cocktail of schedule conflicts, long drive distances, and unresponded emails caused my previous game to unravel. The new group is smaller (just four players), and includes my wife, and three friends I made through grad school. Though I really loved my previous long-running group, it's really neat to explore a new dynamic with new players.

Our November session was also the first time that I played with a fully armed and operational toddler station running around our house. What's more, our particular toddler is incredibly fascinated by anything and everything electronic... and remember how he's fully armed? well those arms can now reach the top of the dining room table where we play. As such, I had to adjust my DMing a bit on the fly during the last game by putting away the Surface tablet mid session and switching to scratch paper and note cards.

Over the holiday break, I did some thinking about how to adjust my DM toolkit to better deter toddler interference. I'm currently prepping for our second session happening this weekend, and thought now would be a good time to share some of the adjustments I made.

The short of it is that I am switching to a digital/analog hybrid.

I am keeping Microsoft OneNote as my main record-keeping system. I contemplated switching back to an old-school quad-rule notebook, but I just like OneNote's search and reorganizational capabilities too much. However, I am ditching the Surface as a game table interface. The kid was just too drawn to it, and besides, we still have our 1st gen RT. It's upgraded 8.1 operating system takes up nearly the entire hard drive, though I shifted pretty much the entire file storage system onto a sim card, It still gets really bogged down the longer its on and becomes nigh unusable really fast.

Instead, I plan to shift to printed copies of my OneNote pages at the table. This worked really well for me during a one-off I ran for some of my previous players last summer. It just means that I need to remember to print the sheets.

In addition to the printed OneNote pages for encounters, I am going to try out 3x5 cards for my NPCs, and I did pick up a quad rule Moleskine for rough planning notes and adventure mapping.

I suspect the biggest change the notecards and printed pages will have on my style is to force me toward brevity... and therefore wit, right?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Great Craft Room Makeover

If you have been reading this blog for awhile, you likely know that crafting is an important part of my family's character. Whether you are talking about epic group Halloween costumes that take months to pull together, elaborate mixed-media dungeon sets, hand drawn maps, or simply mini-painting, the Sporkchop household are big fans of homemade creativity. This past summer, the Wife and I decided to finally construct a dedicated space for all of these crafting endeavors. With that in mind, we embarked on the great craft room makeover.

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