The third session of our Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign actually started to actually follow the book a bit. But first, we had to remove a few players, retcon a few shananigans, and get JJ back into George’s shoes.
Our vacation and family reunion is long gone. We’re all home and back to our regular schedules now, but JJ and Ghoti were still interested in playing more of this campaign. Ghoti still enjoys playing Hero Kids, of course, but he did enjoy the openness of Dungeons and Dragons, and Flash-o the rogue seems to have resonated with him more than a little. So, we found some time on a weekend a little while back to get another couple of sessions in with JJ on Skype, Kim and Ghoti in the living room, and a slightly strange setup with a three-way Skype call: Kim, Ghoti, and me at a table on the Xbox; an external webcam on my laptop aimed at a playmat on the table; and JJ at his house. Like this:
A screenshot of the Skype window as taken from my laptop
Accordingly, the party was a bit smaller than last time. We now have:
- Ghoti as Flash-o, the lightfoot halfling rogue
- Kim as Raelshel, the high elf wizard
- JJ as George, the human fighter folk hero
Before we got started, we had to rewind a bit. JJ understandably wasn’t too keen on picking up where B left off with George’s progress as a good-aligned hero who had been kicked out of their plot hook. (Read about that in part 2, here.) So, I worked out a reason that only required a slight backstep in our story so far; let George keep his money instead of paying a fine; and, most importantly, allowed George to remain in good standing with the local leadership of Phandalin.
In our adventurers’ second foray into the town of Phandalin (you can read about part 1 here), we had some additional heroes, and one with an extremely different personality. The kids enjoyed the time they had to play Dungeons and Dragons, and really wanted to play some more. We had some time at the end of the week where pulling a few more kids aside while preparations were being made for a big family gathering that evening would actually be helpful, so we gathered the kids around the table, set everything back up, and made things much more complicated.
This time, we had the following players:
- Ghoti reprising his role as Flash-o, the halfling rogue
- Kim popping in and out as Raelshel, the high elf wizard, when she wasn’t helping with party prep
- P, still Fred, the noble human fighter
- B (another 6 year old) taking over for George, the human fighter folk hero
- C (about 9 or so, I think) joining the group as a hill dwarf cleric who had a name so secret I’m not sure anyone knew what it was.
Yes, we removed one grown-up (JJ was still at work, so he didn’t get to be George this time), had the other grown-up helping tend to party preparations a bit more than the game, and added two more kids. Absolutely nothing was about to go as planned.
A few weeks ago, we went to Kim’s oldest brother’s house for vacation and a bit of a family reunion. A few of the grown-ups in the family enjoy Dungeons and Dragons as a common interest to various extents: I play every other weekend with some friends; Kim and I both watch Critical Role together; her youngest brother, JJ, plays a few types of tabletop games, including formerly being Dungeon Master for a D&D group. A few of the kids that were at the house were interested in playing for the first time as well. JJ had recently bought the D&D Fifth Edition Starter Set which comes with an adventure, The Lost Mine of Phandelver, which I had just finished playing through with my group, so we figured it would be fun to give some interested family members their first D&D adventure. I volunteered to be the DM for these sessions since I was already somewhat familiar with the content (from a player’s point of view), and because Kim’s brother hadn’t played 5th edition before and was interested in being a player, anyway. We knew we wouldn’t have the chance to run the entire campaign on vacation, so we went into it as a one-off adventure that ended up having a second session as well.
We divvied out the pre-made characters, gave the adults and kids a moment to read over the characters’ abilities and backstories and pick one to play, then we got started. Our first session consisted of:
Ghoti (6 years old) Flash-o, a lightfoot halfling rogue
JJ (I dunno, 20-something) George, a human fighter and folk hero
Kim (A lady never tells) Raelshel, a high elf wizard
P (Like 12 or so) Fred, a human fighter of noble background