Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend in the Realms

I hosted a game for Weekend in the Realms at a local games shop, a couple of weekends ago. A good time, but lower attended than other "Weekend in..." RPGA sanctioned games I've run in a long time. Could have been a bunch of factors.

How was the game? A good time. Josh, Martin, Mouton and Susana from the usual crowd at Time Warp Comics showed up to play. We ran the recommended "The Icy Queen's Crossing" adventure that the RPGA sent to shops with some cool glossy color character sheets. All told, the adventure was neat, but I have two qualms with it, similar to issues I saw with larger release Living Greyhawk games over the years.

1) Tying in the marketing of other products is fine, and something I think the RPGA should do to help grow the hobby, but maybe tying these events to a date a couple of weeks after the release might help with making the brand new products more usable for the game itself, rather than just a direct tie in. I recall this happening with the Bright Sands arc for Living Greyhawk tying into the Sandstorm book and nobody having really had enough time to get the book and get used to it before the games started. (That may just be misperception, but that's the way I recall it.) In this case, "The Icy Queen's Crossing" was a tie in to The Fall of Highwatch a new Forgotten Realms novel by Mark Sehestedt, which came out only days before the Weekend in the Realms. If the adventure was a prequel, that would have been fine, but according to the intro the adventure actually took place after the events of the novel. Haven't read it yet, but I've got to wonder about the spoilers or if waiting a few weeks would have been a better tie in. Read the book? You'll love the game!

2) Part of why I think the Living campaigns over the years had such legs was that they afforded players the opportunity to have organized play, and the actions of those games were reported back to a central repository and in some cases that affected the course of future campaign arcs. This was done very effectively with Living Greyhawk, for one. I do, however, have some disappointment that due to the Region system for RPGA over the years and due to wanting to hold back what I assume must by WotC's intellectual property for more formal releases that few of the Core adventures ever let you really play in the sandbox with your favorite characters from the books. Would it be so terrible if Drizz't or Elminster from the Forgotten Realms books made an appearance in a special Core adventure? I think it'd be a great touchstone, and perhaps ramp up some interest. Maybe there's even an NPC or two in this adventure that played a large part in the Highwatch novel - when I get a chance to read it, I'll find out. But adding in some of the power players from the novels as window dressing would be a nice touch.

All told, the adventure itself was a good solid 4E afternoon game - a new monster, a cool villain, and a couple of twists to roleplay through. If you didn't get to play it at the Weekend event, try to find a DM or store who got a copy. Despite my philosophical flaws about release dates, etc., above, it was still a hella fun game.

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