Well, it’s done, or at least will be after this Sunday. I finally anted up and started another RPG campaign. And yes, despite my ongoing interest and enthuiasm in retro-clones, I’m going with Fourth Edition.
It may seem like a poor reason, but the primary factor in this choice was my gaming group. Given the options, and they are not unfamiliar with the earlier editions, they preferred 4E over C&C. Most actually preferred Star Wars over 4E, but I put my foot down and said we were doing fantasy, not sci-fi.
I have my own reasons for that as well. For one thing, my pool of potential players grew in the Lent/Easter hiatus to a whalloping seventeen. I repeat: seventeen players. Not that includes the people who say they might play and never do and the ones who don’t ever play but someone end up hanging out a gaming session now and then. A more realistic number is nine or ten, which is still far, far too many to run any RPG of any genre.
Having so many players means that I will split the group, but run them in the same “universe.” That means controlling how far afield the PC’s can travel, and that means ditching Star Wars with their “pull the lever and travel across the galaxy” technology. 4E also has the added benefit of being able to have some degree of control over keeping the groups at roughly the same level. My plan is to allow players to move back and forth between groups at intervals, so that people don’t miss out on the chance to hang out with friends.
I’m going ahead with the Sandbox campaign: a city surrounded by many different “dungeons” that the PC’s can explore. I’ll allow some overlap: one group can start the dungeon, another can finish it if they want. I have an image in my head of a group of adventurers coming across four dead orcs with their pockets turned out.
Sunday is the kickoff, with all players meeting together for the basic plot hook. Naturally I’ve already got two who say they can’t make it, but they’ll be there hopefully for the next session.
I still want to do essentially wandering monster encounter tables, especially out in the wilderness. There’s enough “wild” creatures out there in the low levels to put together a few “wolf pack” sort of encounters, plus perhaps the odd solo monster (like the owlbear). I’m less concerned about “balance” than 4E probably wants me to be–I still like the OSG idea of running away sometimes instead of figuring that all encounters are “doable.”
After Sunday, I’ll post the recap and let you know how it went.
Good luck with the campaign, my 4e attempt crashed and burned due to 4e not being intended to flex like OSG style (that and Im a zero prep gm too). So I’ll be curious about what works and doesnt for you.