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Barwickian
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 31

Old February 20th, 2015, 02:30 PM
Had the first session of my new Rise of the Runelords game today, run using Realm Works and Hero Lab.

I had 6 players, which is many for Runelords, so beefed up the opposition a bit.

I've spent the last 3 weeks getting Sandpoint background and the Swallowtail scenes into Realm Works, using a mix of story and world topics, storyboard and mechanics. The cloud enabled my to input data on my desktop, which I much prefer, but run from the laptop, without faffing around creatig Dropbox folders for my notes.

With up to 8 players for any given session, management both in game and outside it is a big issue.

Today, I basically ended up running the game from my laptop. I picked up a rulebook once, only once, to check a rule on a combat manouevre. Aside from that, even though I had a stack of rulebooks (and the adventure path) within arms reach, I didn't need any of them.

Although I could have linked the laptop to the TV to display player view, I elected not to. I had enough tech to learn. I did reveal info as the players found it, so they'll get it after they sync.

We spent a lot of time at the Swallowtail Festival. I'd pre-written speeches for the dignitaries, and designed half a dozen festival games for PCs to try, each designed to introduce them to some of Sandpoint's citizens as opponents or bystanders. Not everything went as planned, due to PC interaction, which is great.

On the whole, it was an amazing experience. I don't think I've had a game go as smoothly for a long, long time. Usually, after a long session, I'm exhausted. Today I wasn't.

The integration with Hero Lab worked brilliantly. It's the first time I've used HL as a combat manager as well, and I was impressed. The ability to keep the PCs portfolio open, load opponents from Realm Works and keep track of the tiniest details with relatively little effort as a joy.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant experience. I hadn't expected to use Realm Works quite so heavily in-game. I had expected it would be useful for players to keep up to date on what they'd found between games.

But the ease of use of hyperlinked articles and opening new tabs meant I could find information quickly, rather than hunting for the right page.

Add to that the ease of having Hero Lab automatically roll initiative for upwards of a dozen combatants, keeping track of statuses and the like, and yeah.

Added bonus: getting in all the information about Sandpoint NPCs really made me think about how to put their stories on the table.

Two downsides.

(1) It took a lot of prep time to get everything in. I don't normally do as much prep as this. It paid dividends at the table though.

(2) One of my players can't get Realm Works running under Wine on his Mac. Once the web aspect of RW is operational, that won't matter so much, but it means he doesn't get the between game updates (yes, it might work on a different emulator, but he doesn't want to install a new one just for this, and I can't say I blame him).

Overall, this was a 5-star experience. I'm thrilled with the way it worked.
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