Dungeons & Dragons Online

AMA – Just ended my first, 42 session campaign with a TPK (Player Level 10)

We started in late May 2020 and played almost weekly every friday for 4-6 hours. It was my first time DMing and I started as a complete noob when it came to the rules. I knew you had to roll a d20 for skill checks, that was literally it. I started session 1 when I had no idea how to run combat, I learned everything as I went along. System was 5e.

I had three players (oathbreaker pala/warlock, moon druid, scout rogue) who also had little to no playing experience, or even general DnD experience, so we all learned the game as we went along. I was lucky to pick a great bunch of players/friends so there was little to no conflict, only the occasional squabble over rules. (I learned here that every time I say I'm 100% right about how a rule works, I'm usually not)

The setting was completely homebrew set in a medieval, post-apocalyptic, sort-of steam/cyberpunk fantasy world. I really tried to cramp everything in there, it was my first campaign after all.

The overall plot was an epic conflict involving countries, gods and eldritch horrors from the beyond. A lot of tradition vs progress, magic vs antimagic, belief vs nonbelief stuff happened and it ended thusly: My three players, their nightmare steed, their hellhound sidekick and a level 5 retainer (using the Matt Colville retainer system) of theirs faced off against two of the Horseriders of the Apocalypse for the fate of the world, and that of their recently deceased friend.

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The players had previously, through a seriously unfortunate series of events set the end of the world in motion.

They only had to take on one (War) to stop the apocalypse but a second rider (Death) offered to bring back their friend if they defeated him too. They agreed to face both. It didn't go well.

In the end, everyone was super chill about it. They died fighting for the life of their friend, they all agreed to do this, even though it was obvious to them it would be an uphill battle. This was the beginning of the session too, so we just sat around for a few hours after that discussing the campaign, they got to ask all the fun lore questions they never uncovered and we threw around ideas for new characters and campaigns.

It was amazing seeing my players grow from no ones who cared about little but themselves putting down everything they had to save their friend (and the world too, of course)

My number 1 advice is to not break out the demons in session 7, its hard to get back down from there once you've gone up lol. There was a lot of cosmic and political conflict in this campaign and my players and I both agreed to put that on the backburner next campaign lol.

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My number 2 advice is to really get the players invested in the world around them early. You're gonna have a hard time if the characters decide to just dodge every instance of conflict. Make clear to them that if they want to play out a quiet life, maybe D&D isn't the way to go LOL

Source: reddit.com

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