Spoiler warning: there’s (kinda) a picture of the map for tonight’s D&D Encounters in this. If you’re a player and that kinda thing will ruin your evening, come back tomorrow.
One or two “about me” sentences before I get to the red meat here:
I’m a teacher. Kinda. I just finished up student teaching, and will be taking my final certification test in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’m substituting and looking for a full-time teaching gig for next school year. There, done.
I have a teacher mindset, I guess. Jason’s married to a teacher, so he gets a lil’ of that mindset too – this showed when he suggested a school supply list. I, naturally, jumped right on this idea and bastardized it. So yes – this was his initial idea, and he may reply with “that’s not what I meant at all!”.
Anyway, we run Encounters at our local store. Tonight marks the start of the final chapter (and week 17). As is tradition for the Encounters program – once you’re in the final parts of a season, people start thinking about next season. This kinda screws up the mindset for the end of a long adventure – and that’s a shame this year, as Chris Sims did a helluva job on the Keep on the Borderlands update.
But, we’re human. So allow me to propose a change I’d like to make for next season. Actually, before I do that – let me explain some things.
In Encounters, you earn Renown Points. Get enough of these, and you get a Rewards Card of some type – similar to the ones they had for LFR, but not nearly as broken. You get your first card at 20 RPs. You get points for healing an ally, delivering massive damage, using the latest WotC product (and if there’s one for fortune cards next season, I’m vetoing that nonsense). You also get three points just for showing up. Well, it says “completing an encounter”, but it translates to “just showing up”.
Which is fine, I’m all for encouraging players to show up. I remember when I was trying to get Encounters going at the FLGS, I wanted anyone to sit down and play. I had extra dice, pregens, extra pencils – everything.
We’re at the point now where we have two tables going, and are on the cusp of expanding to three. I think its time to ask for more than “just show up”. New guys, of course, are exempt from this – but after a couple of months, its time to get with the program.
I love our players, I really do. Wednesday nights are fun – the people there are fun. It occurs to me that people that aren’t “with the program” may not actually realize what’s expected of them. It is with this in mind that we present you with the School Supply List. Remember when you were a kid, and the district sent lists to the store so your mom knew what to buy you? Same thing – we’re telling you what you need for season four. Feel free to mutate this to your heart’s content – and if you’re not doing Encounters, I bet you know someone that could use a list like this. If you don’t, bless you.
I can hear it now: “I just wouldn’t let a player like that into our game”. Well, you’re doing it wrong. RPGs are going to die on the vine if we don’t start training players to join us. I realize this list is a bit talking-down to players – but hey: the 4E DMG talks down to DM’s. I’m also writing this to entertain you – and as we all know, humor has to come at someone else’s expense.
For tonight’s session- I printed out six pregens, printed out standees (as I don’t have minis for all the monsters tonight), emailed players for detail-things, read ahead and highlighted tactical things that I’ll need, etc. You know the drill – if you’re reading this, you probably DM yourself. This is after Darkraven on the WotC boards posted the PDFs and Arkayden on the WotC boards posted the standees. I’m swamped right now, and can’t imagine if I had to do the pregens myself – thanks guys. Or if WotC didn’t have prefab maps. Check out what my friend George did:
Anyway, while I didn’t do much compared to Darkraven, Arkayden, or Greek George (he needed a screen name) – it did take time that I didn’t really have much of to prep for tonight. So if a player shows up without a pencil, I’m probably going to lose my mind (up in here, up in here).
My idea is that you get one point for showing up next season, and the additional two based on your ability to come on-time and prepared. It just bugs me that you get three points for showing up, sitting in a chair, talking over the DM… you get the idea. Higher standards. So here’s what I want you to bring to the session. This’ll probably be revised prior to actual implementation – if its implemented at all. Let’s hear what you think. Some of these, of course, are tongue-in-cheek.
- Week One: Arrive On-Time. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to figure out if we have enough players for two tables than when we settle on one – only to have five people walk in ten minutes late.
- Week Two: Pay Attention. Yes, I am in love with the sound of my own voice – but you need to hear this so you know what’s going on. Listen to the descriptions.
- Week Three: Bring a Pencil. That’s easy – you can do that. If you want to run on a laptop, that’s fine too. Just something to record info with.
- Week Four: Bring a character sheet. If you used a pregen that we printed out and provided for you, then the least you can do is bring it back. No, I don’t want to keep it. I want you to take some ownership, AND I want you to familiarize yourself with what’s on that sheet. Oh, AND: if you didn’t bring a character sheet, you’re playing the one I hand you or you’re not playing. I don’t care if it is a female. Preferably, you’re making your own character – or are at least are involved in the creation process of your own character. Not having a DDI subscription is not an excuse. Books are available for purchase (or special order) at the FLGS and are perfectly acceptable (if not preferred). Back in my day, we did everything with paper and pencil and we liked it that way. Now get off my lawn.
- Week Five: Bring Dice. They’re cheap, and they demonstrate an investment on your part. Dice are a good way to support the FLGS. If you do not have dice, we will throw dice at your head and bounce them off your face. Whatever number the die lands on will be your roll (watch those d4’s).
- Week Six: A small pocket folder for many of the listed items. We have a teacher playing in our group who keeps track of all the emails sent out and everything. I’d love it if players followed his example.
- Week Seven: Bring your Rewards Cards. Provided you’ve earned them, of course. Don’t tell me what you’ve earned – if you don’t have it on you, it doesn’t exist this week.
- Week Eight: Bring a mini of your character, if you have one. Yeah, tokens suck. Let’s use those as little as possible.
- Week Nine: Notes – you do know what’s going on in our storyline, right? You’re keeping track of names and places, right? We email that stuff out, ya know.
- Week Ten: Bring $5 at least. Our store requires a $5 purchase to play at the gaming tables. Jason and I joke about this, because we’ve heard the speech A LOT – but the truth is, it’s not a bad policy. It keeps shoplifters from loitering, and you should be supporting the FLGS anyway. Buy some snacks or dice. If you’re stuck on what to buy, buy the DM something. In fact… just bribe the DM.
- Week Eleven: Any rules references to your character and/or its powers/equipment that you may need (a Heroes of… book, rules compendium, etc.)
- Week Twelve: Any magic item references you’ve been handed this season. Magic items can be added to your characters so their bonuses can be automatically listed in your combat workspace.
- Week Thirteen: Bring Kleenex. Hopefully, your character will die in a painful (for you) and amusing (for me) way. Especially this last week. Dry your tears.
There ya go. Thirteen items. And, there’s thirteen weeks in next season! Mind=blown.
To be fair, Jason wrote most of the funny stuff in the list. If you laughed, it was probably his.