by Ramanan Sivaranjan on June 17, 2013
As a follow-up to my previous post of getting back into D&D, I thought I would look back at the logistics of playing D&D as an adult. When you’re young you have all the time in the world and no real responsibilities. As adults my friends and I had a much smaller window of time to waste on D&D. Whether my friends and I used that sliver of time as wisely as we could have remains to be seen, but we certainly had a lot of fun.
Getting six adults together to play D&D proved more than a little difficult. Initially we were playing about twice a month. That pace slowed down after half a year of gaming, presumably after some of the novelty wore off. Eventually we started playing once every month or so. The time between games slowly crept up and up till the campaign came to a halt, about a year ago. Our D&D campaign ran from about November 2009 through to August 2012. During that time there were a couple of longer breaks due to weddings and babies.
We used Doodle almost exclusively to schedule games. People would fill out when they were free for the coming month or two and we’d try and find a few days that worked each month. Doodle is fantastic. I don’t think we’d have played anywhere near he number of games we played without it. If you are still trading emails like a chump to organize any event you are doing it wrong.
Meeting up in person got trickier when Dave and Sarah moved out to suburbs. (Dave and I both don’t drive, for starters.) We switched to playing online via video chats almost exclusively for the last few sessions we ran, meeting up occasionally when someone had access to a car and we could car pool. We used Roll20 as a virtual table-top, which works quite well for 4th Edition D&D. Playing D&D online is a pretty good substitute for meeting up in person.
We also used Google Wave (seriously) to takes notes about what had happened during a session in case someone couldn’t make it out, and just so we could keep track of things as the game progressed. It actually worked fairly well for that purpose. If it wasn’t insanely slow and confusing Wave might have fared better. We switched to using Google Docs once Wave shut down. Google+ also has lots of cool services that lend themselves to running a campaign: hangouts, communities, and events being the most notable. I am going to assume there are a bunch of D&D nerds at Google working on tools to help them play D&D using their computers.
The inability of my friends and I to settle on a regular time to meet up and play is what ultimately led to our campaign coming to an end. The amount of effort it would take to schedule a game eventually proved too great. I’ve probably played more sessions of the Vaults of Pahvelorn game I play online over the last year than my friends and I managed to play over three years. Having a consistent schedule for the games has meant we rarely miss a session.
I think a big part of the fun we had playing D&D was probably just getting together to eat greasy take-out food. Our DM Dave lived next to one of the best fish and chips shops in the city for a good chunk of the time we were playing together. That was both fantastic and dangerous.
Playing D&D is always a good excuse to meet up.
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