It is now, officially, the 5th of July, 2008 -- at least, in the Central time zone. I've finished cleaning up the kitchen after making four yogurt-Cool Whip frozen pies; they're in the freezer getting ready for this evening.
So, Tuesday the 1st was D#1H's birthday, and his wish of me this year was to run an "intro to D&D 4e" module known as "Keep on the Shadowfell" over the long holiday weekend. I've not DMed even 2nd Ed in a pretty long time, never really grokked 3rd or three point five, so I spent a lot of June studying the module and writing notes. The characters are pregenerated, and if we really like this adventure, we'll seriously consider converting one of our fantasy campaigns over to Fourth Edition. (Despite, yes, the lack of monkage. Be a fighter with lots of unarmed combat and a roleplay-centric religious conviction; I think 3rd Ed monks are too much like the original writeup of kensai.) On the other hand, if we don't REALLY have a ball, we're not going to lay out another hundred bucks on a new set of reference books for our house or even our whole group. And then on top of that, we need miniatures and reusable maps? Oy.
I also discovered, great joy of joys, that this module requires the DM to hand-draw out quite a number of maps. I'm down to the point where I have just this last one to draw, and my fingers and spine hurt. I need to shave my legs and wash my hair. I can't remember what the heck I was going to wear -- not white, we're cooking burgers! -- but tomorrow is forecast to be rainy and moderately muggy most of the day.
We have a table on the back porch, though tomorrow after lunch we'll need to set up a second, as there'll be seven people in total. The three of us assembled a square "gazebo" (looks more like a pavilion, but the gazebo story is more appropriate so we'll agree with the box!) with some help from a neighbor who'll be PCing tomorrow. We've got a firepit that I bought D#1H last year, and if I can acquire very short firewood, we'll grill the burgers and hot dogs outside the gazebo while getting the adventure started.
This past month, I've written a bunch of index cards with short notes on how the basic rules work. I've picked up some props, and with the guys' repeated help I've got enough miniatures for all the different bad guys. I've used these Klutz building cards
, specifically one basic Castle set and three of the "additional Castle cards" sets, to build the outlines of the town where the PCs will have their home base ... and, hey, they have SPACE SHIP CARDS?! I gotta see if one of the local hobby/gamer stores carries THAT!
I've written out more than twenty of the encounters in terms more useful to me; if we get to the last of the module, by that time I should be able to find the data I need quickly. I'd like to reread it a fourth time first, but we'll see if I can get a spare twenty minutes after coffee.
I set up a meal plan and a "sign up for what you'll bring" list, which of course one gamer totally ignored
, another one can't get online long enough to discuss, a third is bringing something totally not on the original list (but that's okay, as it'll be something everyone likes anyhow), and a fourth is bringing a fruit tray and a veggie tray, thank Smurf for healthy side dishes.
We learned several years ago that we can't afford to feed the whole group. I end up eating plain rice for two weeks of every month, if we try. There is generally nothing
left from $200+ of groceries after one night of regular gaming, much less a party night. Miss Manners would disapprove of our current arrangement strenuously, but our "guests" aren't able to reciprocate and buy all of us a meal even occasionally; this is currently the best we can do.
I found, purchased, and transported home a very decent kitchen table (now a back porch table!) for forty bucks from the local thrift store.
I got the dogs to the boarders, where they're safely obscured from freakout-inducing firework noises. Meghan has the freakout, then Belle gets worried about her sister's freakout and winds up having a seizure. We can't give them Doggy Valium because Belle is on pheno, and Belle's metabolism indicates that Meg will probably develop a tolerance to a strong medication very quickly indeed. And I can't spend every night for a week barely dozing, reassuring the girls at every bang, until the nightly rain discourages the area nitwits.
I've accomplished a good bit toward this party. My Celtic side says I haven't accomplished enough
, and the party will suck
, and it will be my responsibility. I'm going to have to find a way to let that go so I can sleep, though: it's now three in the morning, and I'm getting warning signs that I must sleep now or not 'til noon.
Right after I finish up this last map.