DMingDad Campaign Diary (part 1)

You asked for this…so you deserve what you get (evil smirk intended). This is not my standard blogging format, more of a stream of memory with occasional interruptions by players and maybe their characters. This is the first installment in a campaign diary that recaps a game we started…


OMG! Has it really been three years? Wow. Okay, let me wrap my head around that…

Our adventure began with Session Zero. All of the characters were to play magic users…Yes, I am a 1st edition player/DM, so I think of 5e as D&D on Easy Mode. I pitched the game like this, “Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a student at Hogwarts?” If you think a single one of the kids thought more than 2 seconds before biting on that adventure hook, you don’t know our kids. I explained that we would be playing a role-playing game called Dungeons & Dragons, where they would pretend to be wizards, warlocks, or sorcerers. Instead of the school being called Hogwarts, it was the Pradler College of Magic. I even had an invitation, which was provided to each new player.

Session Zero

During the multiple zero sessions, I worked with the players, mostly kids, to create characters using OrcPub (rest in peace mighty orcpup, you are missed). We rolled up characters and went over the basic rules. I sent players, or their parents, emails with links to the free rules complete with notes regarding which pages they should look at, just so they weren’t overwhelmed. 

Each player left the session zero with a character sheet, a free set of dice, and a basic understanding of the rules. I left each session with an ever-increasing sense of dread. What had I gotten myself into?

This Aint Your Daddy's D&D

Okay, I was no stranger to playing or DM’ing D&D. I have been at this since the early ’80s. The first one of you that says they have been at this since the ’70s gets a Meteor Shower directly to the bookshelf containing your binder of character sheets that should have been shredded years ago… So, I just needed to digest the latest edition of rules and dumb down thousands of pages of rules to the level of your average 3rd grader. Yup, no problem there… hmmm…where did I put that machete?

  • All the overly sexed mini’s… nope.
  • The terror-inducing artwork… nope.
  • Pantheons of gods… nope. 
  • Expensive rule books… nope.
  • Satanic Panic… Is that still at thing? Nah.

So, a few homebrew rules later and we were on our way.

Wait! Homebrew Rules?

Ya, we had a few, so here they are.

  • Characters get max HP at each level, no rolling needed.
  • Each player automatically gets an inspiration token.
  • Inspiration tokens can be used to:
    • Rerroll the last dice roll (player or DM).
    • Undo the very last PC action.
    • Provide advantage or impose disadvantage on any roll, as long as it is called before the roll.
  • Because they are students at the magic school, they can research and copy any spell into their spellbook.
  • All spell lists/spellbooks are final at the beginning of the game session.
  • Players can drop in or out of the game at any time except combat.
  • No XP, we would use milestone leveling.
  • All treasure & magic items are stored in mom’s, I mean Pure Wonder’s bag of holding. 
  • If you drop out of a game, your equipment goes back to the Pure Wonder’s portable hole and your character goes POOF! back to the school.
  • Yes, you need an Identify spell to identify magic items. No, you can’t just spend an hour fondling a magic item and figure it out.
  • No, detect magic does not have different colors for every school of magic, and different shades for each spell, and no a little grandmother will not come out and tell you what the magic is, where it came from and what shoe size the spell caster wears.

It All Begins...

Lilith Higeth, the Tiefling daughter of a gold dragon and a human  (complicated back story), Rongal the Half-Ord, and Pure Wonder the Tabaxi were the first session characters.

During the first day at magic school, Lilith and Rongal were goaded into exploring the catacombs of the school by older students. The two set off to prove their bravery, not knowing that the catacombs of the school were magically enchanted to randomly transition between its various levels…

To be continued… 

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