Twas the night before Christmas…

The family and I have travelled home for Christmas to spend the holiday period with our friends and family. For the second year in a row, I’ve organised a big gaming get together with all of my old gaming buddies from back home as part of our holiday. Hopefully we’ll make it a tradition for many Christmas holidays to come!

So the night before the night before Christmas (I write this on 23 December), I am preparing for the game. We will be playing Basic D&D, and the game I will be running will be a kids friendly game, with my kids joining and possibly one or two others. The adventure is one of my devising.

Preparing for a one shot is very different from preparing for a campaign. The format has advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately for this game with old gaming buddies, I have more time than I typically do for a convention game. Rather than a tight four hour slot like at a typical con, we should be playing for at least six hours. I am sure this extra time will evaporate quickly, but I have some thoughts/ambitions about the game and my prep work is largely an exercise in cutting some things out and working on the details of the things which remain.

First, the setting: a desert kingdom ruled by a snake cult, with vast temples erected by slave labour.

The party members are escaped slaves who rebelled and escaped with whatever they could carry to the hills. The snake cult has paid the local tribes of firenewts to round up their escaped slaves to make examples of them to the slaves left to toil in their city, lest they too get ideas of rebellion and freedom. This is a handy way to have the player characters all know each other and share a common enemy and motivation.

So, with those base assumptions, my ambitions for the session:

  • Engaging party with common motivation without pregens – I want to include character generation
  • Let the players level up at least once.
  • Give as much of a sandbox feel as possible (but keep it tight since it is a one shot)
  • Provide several “adventure locales” – the players will not get to them all in the one session but it will give them a sense of there being more about
  • A plot which is engaging and suitable both for adults and for children
  • Give the players the chance to fight some very dangerous foes but with a chance to prevail using the proper strategy
  • Leave them wanting more!

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