Back in my 2018 Life Update post, I mentioned starting a new Adventurers League1 Tomb of Annihilation campaign. At DragonCon, David and I, with some close friends, spent all Friday playing Dungeons and Dragons. We had a great time and David commented about wanting to play more. We’ve grown up a lot since our last time playing and knowing that Babels had a firm schedule made it easier to try.
The quality of individual modules in Adventurers League can vary, so I opted for pitching a hardcover. I narrowed the choices. Other GMs had run or were running Out of the Abyss and Tales from the Yawning Portal. I love the Elemental Evil stuff but I wanted to save Princes of the Apocalypse for another time. Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat had received mixed reviews.
That whittled the options down to Curse of Strahd, Storm King’s Thunder and the newest adventure, Tomb of Annihilation. Friends had suggested they had strong interests in running the other two in the future. Tomb is the current storyline season and GMs running the current season receive boosted rewards.
My experience with the past few campaigns I have participated in as a GM or a player, I wanted a more frequent game. Life happens and those interruptions can harm a campaign. If the campaign is only meeting once a month, if you miss a session, you could go 10 weeks without playing. Also, managing plot threads and themes is more difficult as the impact of the previous session fades over time. So, I planned to run weekly, with the expectation that any individual would take part in about 75% of the sessions.
Now it was time to see if I could find enough players to give that kind of commitment. Adventurers League limits table size to three to seven players per table. Given that and the attendance policy, I was hoping to find about five players. Amber was in. I was willing to commit hours of time and money to run a campaign, but my best friend, Marc, is in the midst of graduate school. But he is someone who will show up if he commits to it. Once he was on board, I reached out to my brother, David. He works 12 hour shifts, but since we’re starting the game after Babels goes to bed, he was in. I contacted the other friend, Alex, who played at DragonCon with us. And then finally, I contacted one of my former players who hadn’t been able to play since we lived in the same city.
With firm commitments in hand, I bought the module on Roll20 to help reduce the amount of time I’d need to prepare for each session. It was pricey, same cost as the hardcover book, and while reusable, platform locked. But it has saved me tons of time. Plus, if I want to run Tomb of Annihilation again, I can press a few buttons, and I’m ready to go.
We’ve been playing since October, skipping only a handful of weeks for holidays and GM family emergencies. Otherwise, we’ve been able to play and it has been very rewarding. It’s something I look forward to every week. A few hours of Dungeons and Dragons fun with my family and friends.
On a quest to locate and destroy the Soulmonger, a necromantic artifact of unspeakable power, the party continues their foray into the jungles of Chult.