A while back I talked about how tough it is to run a campaign these days - everyone is just too busy and coordination is a pain. I mentioned West Marches as a possible remedy - where there are 10-20 players but only 3-5 play on any given night. I’ve decided to pair some of the West Marches aspects with a highly reviewed campaign book: Princes of the Apocalypse (PotA).

BoingBoing called PotA the “killer app” for 5th Edition D&D and so far I agree. It’s an epic campaign that takes players from level 1 to 15, spans a pretty large region and gives the players a lot of discretion in how they want to progress. There are also lots of interesting NPCs and encounters. It’s a natural fit for my experiment. Traditional West Marches doesn’t have any pre-written adventure but I like worlds that have active NPCs and enemy factions that adapt to the players’ actions.

I’ve enlisted about 15 friends to play the PotA campaign and today we ran our first session. It went really well, though so far it’s no different than the first session of any campaign - we’ll see how the next session goes, once new players start swapping in.

The players generally did a great job, though some tactical blunders and some awful luck led to two of them dying. I felt pretty bad for them but it made for some great drama. Hopefully the players will be a bit more lucky next time. One player had his life drained away while unconscious - a necromancer sapped him to restore some health.

I’m off to Asia for a few weeks but regular sessions should start mid-January. I’ll be posting updates here!