I’ve been putting extra work in to describe the scenes and events occurring in both D&D games recently and it seems to be lifting people’s expectations and engagement very nicely. This is particularly important when I’m running material that many in one of the group may feel a familiarity with as it is increasingly allowing me to play with their anxieties as well as their comfort zones.
The Sunday group is playing a reasonably straight conversion of the venerable Temple of Elemental Evil campaign from 1st Edition to 3.5 Edition in the Eberron campaign setting. I’ve adapted, rewritten and mangled the back story to fit the chaos of the Last War and dumped them straight into the action after they took shelter from storms in an old ruin.
The Monday group are playing in the same setting, but roughly twenty years later, and have been sent to meet a contact at an old ruin. On arrival they found hints of another group digging clandestinely, that may be connected with hooded, possibly otherworldly cultists previously encountered. They are playing a much more loosely adapted version of Return To The Temple of Elemental Evil which I am dovetailing with the Mindflayers of Thoon and the political fallout from their previous adventures.
Part of the metagaming fun is that both player groups are aware that the other is playing in a different timezone, and one person plays in both, so the Sunday group have started leaving graffiti for the Monday group. As the later group is having a much more Lovecraft-influenced adventure, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that causality and spacetime may get a little non-Euclidian, in which case interaction with the past may also take place.
With gruesome descriptions, leading phrases and deliberately surreal or unexplained events increasingly occurring around them, I’m noticing a lot more caution in evidence, and as an Evil and Hostile GM, this pleases me. Players are a cowardly and superstitious lot, and both groups are now very afraid of bats…