In early March 2020 gaming at my home, game stores, and the conventions I attend came to a halt. For nearly 15 months I’ve conducted my gaming online. But beginning 1 June, 2021, all the gamers in my home game will be making their triumphant return to my table! Will anything be changing after gaming online for the last 15 months?
Well, first of all, with 15 months of working at home (and a brief period of unemployment), I’ve had time to work on my house. The medieval décor has been enhanced during this time. When my players enter my house they should feel more immersed than before. Also, I gained three players for my home game during the pandemic, so those three players have never been to my house, so this will be their first visit.
When I first switched from Dungeons & Dragons to Castles & Crusades I purchased extra books so that players could reference them at the table and buy them from me if they enjoyed the game and my campaign (some might initially be reluctant to try a game other than D&D or Pathfinder. I’ve now been running C&C for 3 years now and have a steady and loyal group of players dedicated to my game and the C&C system. With the books you see on the table (Codex Germania, Nordica, Slavorum, Classicum, Celtarum, Mystical Companions, and several Players Handbooks) in the above picture, I now have players who’ll be purchasing most of those books off of me, ensuring that they have all the options for available game play for C&C and my campaigns.
You can also see some of the map fragments from Barrowmaze. During the pandemic I made use of Discord screen sharing and later the Owlbear Rodeo VTT to share the Barrowmaze map sections they had discovered. Now, we can return to using old fashioned paper handouts with the players folding and taping them together as they receive them.
As it happens, two of the players over the next few months will find themselves unable to game in person at various points in time, and here all the experience of online gaming will remain relevant. For those unable to attend in person for a session, can still appear via Discord and I will have a map fragment posted on Owlbear Rodeo and the webcam aimed at our gaming with everyone in sight (and we will be able to see them with their webcam).
As for GMing, face-to-face gaming won’t change much for me, since I mostly ran my online gaming using the actual physical books before me (I really don’t like reading digital/PDF material while gaming and only used them for screen sharing or uploading to Owlbear Rodeo). I run games mostly standing up and moving about and that means picking up and reading through physical books when needed, and this is remains true for me whether gaming in person or online.
However, there will be a few minor changes. So, instead of me rolling the critical hit/fumble dice for a player, they can now roll the dice themselves (you can see the dice tower where I will makes some of my occasional public rolls as well as the critical hit/fumble dice in a skeletal hand in the picture of my gaming table two pictures above).
I also like to have ambient music playing in the background of my games, and that didn’t happen during my online games. Now, with people back in my gaming room, I can have music and sounds playing in the background. When you add the subdued lighting, candles, flickering LEDs, etc., the game should be greatly enhanced! It will be nice to finally have everyone back for proper socializing!