So here's how we got here: stkal, an old friend of Soarcha83's who works as a truck driver, was visiting Soarcha83 and I for a few days, and staying at our house. Being a truck driver, he doesn't get to game much, so Soarcha83 suggested that I run a one-shot for his benefit, after having bragged to him that I was an excellent DM. The idea interested me, as I had not run or played TRPGs in years, having let my previous game die of neglect. So I rummaged through my gaming bookshelf to see what I had, and ran across the D&D Starter Set, which I had honestly forgotten I owned. It took a while to even remember how I got it. For a while I thought that I had bought it for Kid B (as I had done with the 4e Starter Set for Kid A) but that she had never opened it, but then I remembered that I had received it as a birthday present (in a sort of "what do you want from the gaming store, dear?" from my mom) a few months ago.
I've always had an affinity for starter sets, and have bought every one from 3rd Edition D&D onward. They always came with neat tokens and maps, and I just liked having them. Well, this one didn't have any maps or tokens, which was disappointing (half the box is just a filler panel), just a Rulebook and an adventure: "Lost Mine of Phandelver," plus a plastic bag of dice. Well, I figured that a dinky adventure from the starter set would be perfect for a one-shot, and anyway, I'd never played 5th Edition before, so I figured this was as good a chance as any to get familiar with the system, having played everything from 1st Edition through 4th so far. So I spent most of the last day stkal was going to be here reading the first section of the adventure (I realized pretty quickly that we weren't going to get through the whole thing in one session; this adventure was less "dinky" than I'd thought) and getting ready to run it that evening. Two of my kids expressed interest in playing, and I had approached jabrawesome about playing his first game of D&D at our board game night a day or two earlier, so we had a full party.
I want to lay out the situation for you: The DM (me, Calion) had never run that edition of the game before, knew almost nothing about Forgotten Realms (the setting for the adventure), had not played any TRPG in years, and had only read the (abbreviated) rules the same day of the game. Three of the five players had never played D&D before, one was wholly new to tabletop roleplaying, none of the people at the table had ever played 5th Edition before, and two members of the party were children: a spastic, inattentive 11-year-old boy, and a moody, pubescent 12-year-old girl. I rather brilliantly (ahem) decided to try to use some digital tools that I'd never used in play before, using an iPad Mini to show some maps and occasionally actually use physical pogs on the screen, an Apple TV to show maps and images on the television, and a second iPad Mini to keep track of initiative turns, roll dice, and run monsters. Do you think that all this tech worked smoothly? It did not. To top it all off, the players (inevitably) avoided almost all of the first part of the adventure, so I was hurriedly reading (or making things up), and entering new encounters into the iPad tracker app, through most of the session. Oh, and did I mention that everyone was running pre-gens? If you just look at all of this, it sounds like a perfect recipe for disaster.
It. Was. A. Blast.
That's not just my biased opinion. Our houseguest, stkal (who by the way is a longtime gamer, as is Soarcha83, so don't think this is just newbie-love), actually arranged with his employer to extend his vacation for a day just to play a second session, which had not been part of the plan. jabrawesome happily showed up the next night as well. The technology worked surprisingly well, and contributed to the game significantly. The kids never got pissy (not once!), though Kid C did get tired out and go to bed at some point (not surprisingly; the game went into the wee hours). So we played two six-to-eight hour sessions in two days, and arranged to continue the game via a combined local/distance campaign using Roll20.
I really can't take most of the credit for this. I'm a good DM (even if I do say so myself, and I do), but what really made it awesome was the adventure itself. "Lost Mine of Phandelver" is astonishingly good (this isn't just my opinion; there is praise for it all over the Internet, though I didn't know this when I started to run it) for a starter set adventure. Rich Baker really knocked it out of the park. What really makes it work is the included pre-gen characters; each of them has a backstory and goal that ties into the plot in some way, giving each player motivation beyond what's presented in-game. It's genius.
So there's our origin story. Welcome to SyFaeRûn! Feel free to poke around. You might want to start with the Adventure Log, to see the record of our past exploits. Then visit the Wiki the Characters, and the Maps, to find out more about the world and the people in it. Lastly, you might consider contributing to my Patreon; DMing's expensive work!
Oh!—Why SyFaeRûn? Well, it's sort of a joke, really. My last name starts with "Sy," so I sometimes throw that at the beginning of things I don't know what else to name, sort of like how Apple uses "i," as in iMac or iPhone. I have a longstanding (though now on hiatus) Dark Sun campaign called " SyDarkSun." When pondering what to name this campaign, I thought of SyForgottenRealms, but that hardly rolls off the tongue. SyToril (from the name of the planet Forgotten Realms is set on) doesn't sound right either. Faerûn is the name of the continent where most Forgotten Realms adventures (including this one) take place, and with some intercapping, I can mirror SyDarkSun, and it sounds right. It also helps if you mispronounce it "Faerun" instead of "Faerûn" (i.e. "fay-run" rather than "fay-rune"); then it rhymes with DarkSun, and furthers my silly little joke. Honestly, I expect that my party members will come up with a much better name for the campaign at some point, but for now, SyFaeRûn stands.
DMs: Anything in this campaign created by me is available for use in your campaigns provided you don’t make money off of it. Attribution is not required. However, if you use anything, I would appreciate it if you would leave me a note saying so. (If you do want to make money off of these materials, message me.)