Last week, I played the role of dungeon master for three middle school students in my Dungeons and Dragons club at school. I got the idea to play through the Curse of Strahd module with them because…Halloween. Later in the week, I then worried that they might get bored with the adventure because it is mostly story and, being middle school age, they’d want to beat stuff up. I need not have worried as they enjoyed it so much, they wanted to play again on Friday. Alas, I told them to wait until this week for Curse of Strahd Part 2.
Well, cut to this week. Because, well, middle school, many of them never showed up for the club this week. In my group alone, two of the three ended up as no shows. To his credit, the one who came still tried to convince me to let him play the adventure by himself. Granted, I probably could have pulled it off, but that’s bad D&D etiquette to play without your group.
Hack and Slash One Shot
Looking through the resource books I brought to school, I stumbled on a map for a goblonoid war camp. I quickly came up with the idea to allow the player to hack and slash his way through some goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears in a one off adventure. I know this doesn’t have a Halloween theme, and halfway through the adventure, I could have added Halloween and made it funny by making the hobgoblins throw pumpkins like the comic character. But, I kept it straight.
The player appreciated my efforts and played along with the bare bones story that I told to keep the narrative going. I even got two other players to join us briefly. I told one he couldn’t play because his character was too high level. The other played a level 1 character but ended up meeting his ultimate fate at the hands of two bugbears. These kids are too young to watch “Stranger Things”, so I should have given them the advice. You never split up the party!
We were both bummed that the other kids didn’t show up. But, thinking quickly, I made the best of it and enjoyed my experience being a DM with limited preparation. I need to take in some of my other resource books, though, so I have more ideas for when these things inevitably happen again.
I can also write down ideas as I get them and flesh them out over time to make them more entertaining and engaging. Sure, I got away with it this time, but I might not be so lucky next time. So, with all of this being said, hope for Curse of Strahd Part 2 next week.