This afternoon, I got together three of my coworkers and continued our lunchtime Dungeons & Dragons game. We continued playing through "The Lost Mines of Phandelver," the adventure that forms the backbone of the D&D Starter Set. This was our second session. The halfling thief from the last session couldn't make it, but the two warriors returned, and a new player, taking control as the dwarven cleric, joined us.
Progress has been, understandably, pretty slow these two sessions. An hour is not a whole lot of time to work with, and when you chop off minutes for getting food, using the bathroom, and various other sundry office work things before you're ready to sit and play, you've got even less than that. Then there's the issue of timing to consider. I don't want to stop the game right in the middle of a combat or an interesting situation and kill the tempo, so I pretty much need to end the game at the first slow moment we come across. We made it through two more encounters before I called it for this week.
Luckily, the competition for these coworkers' time is not much of an issue. Most of these guys would just sit at their desks and look up shit on the internet anyway, so I've got a pretty low bar to meet each week. The bigger problem for me is my own boredom level. "The Lost Mines of Phandelver," much like many other RPG starter sets out there, can be pretty boring for veteran players to play through (or run, in my case). The early parts of this adventure are basically one fight after another. The new rules play fast and smooth, so this isn't quite as horrific as it sounds, but it still devolves into several rounds of "I swing my sword at the goblin," followed by the clatter of a 20-sided across the conference room table.
I beef it up where I can, of course, but as we push through the adventure, I've begun to think about my own diversions from the Starter Set into more interesting territory. Once I get the Dungeon Master's Guide next week, I look forward to mining it for ideas and stringing together a starter adventure of my own to unleash on a group of gamers when I return to regular GMing next month.
That is, of course, assuming I even stick with D&D. I've been thinking a lot about the great game of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire I ran a couple of weeks ago, and how much I'd love to go back to that...