I love tabletop RPG’s. They are, of everything that I do, probably my favorite hobby. It’s really not a surprise, though. I get to practice character voices, I get to be creative, and I get to tell collaborative stories with my friends and my family. Man, I feel like a lucky guy! But then I decided to go and do it for a podcast, and boy is it a ton of fun! It’s also way more work than I ever imagined, and I’d like to talk about my experience.
And So It Begins
So it’s 2019 and I’m working the midnight shift at my previous job. I had just gone to my local Books-A-Million and found a book series that seemed super interesting called “The Nevernight Series” by Jay Kristoff (click the name if you’d like to check them out.) The writing style in those books is super interesting, and it inspired me to start working on the campaign that would eventually become “Another D&D Party”. Specifically, I emulated his writing style in the dream sequence that started out the campaign.
Building the World
Then started, no joke, a couple hundred hours of world building. I personally love homebrew worlds, and for a long time I used a different “world” for every campaign that I ran. I say “world” since it was just…whatever I decided to create next. Thankfully, I was able to draw on a lot of those “worlds” to combine them into the singular world that I created for this campaign. The world that will be the setting for my campaigns for the foreseeable future. I even ended up writing a lore book which explains the history of the world up to the point of the campaign. That way, some of my players can be caught up on the history of the world for roleplay opportunities.
After all of that, I talked to my friends and family to curate my players. This became one of my first hurdles in all of this, but we’ll get to that later in Part 2. Of everything I had done to this point, this was my favorite part. I also believe that character creation is one of the most important parts of the whole process. However, it’s probably for a different reason than you think.
Sure, figuring out what everyone’s going to play is super fun. For me as a Dungeon Master (DM), I take character creation, specifically backstory, very seriously. I have always allowed my players’ backstories to affect and alter the world that I build. This game is no different. Sure, you can have your fighter, rogue, cleric, barbarian, and wizard, but that doesn’t explain WHY they’re there. I’m lucky enough to have players that want to further the story, and the best way to make their characters fit organically is to let them build their character’s “world” within the campaign setting. There’s a great resource out there for building better backstories which you can check out HERE. This channel is run by my sister who plays Naia on the podcast.
Putting it together
Next comes putting all of that hard work together. So between myself and all of my players with their character creation, backstories, and us working together to see where their ideas fit in the world, we’re well into 300+ hours of pregame work. I initially started out with 5 players, but eventually added an extra one since I wanted this to be a very high powered campaign. The last thing that I put together was the soundtrack for it using royalty free music from Epidemic Sound. That was another 80 or so hours of fielding hundreds of music tracks to find just the right songs to really gel everything together. Then, the session 0’s to get everyone into the character’s headspace and establish their lives in the world.
As I said at the beginning, I started work on the campaign in 2019. I had just put the final pieces in place so we could start…just before March of 2020. We suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a pandemic. Our first few sessions, which should have been in person like the session 0’s for each character, had to be had online. I ended up dragging out everything for as long as I could in hopes that we could get back together soon. We had a handful of sessions online and were finally able to meet in person again in July. But, it wasn’t to be. Come October of 2020, we had a bad Covid scare, and it was decided that the whole thing would be postponed. I ended up running an offshoot campaign on Roll20 that took place hundreds of years before this one. And finally, in July of 2021, we felt it was safe enough to get back together.
Alright, I hadn’t intended this to be two parts, but I think this is a good spot to end. Come back next week for part 2!