“Why doesn’t anyone run D&D games at 10am on a Saturday?”
That was the question from some friends of mine, who spend their evenings and weekends gigging in bands like Onion Honey and Northland Rail Service, and don’t have time for trifles like Dungeons & Dragons.
“I never thought anyone would want to play then.”
D&D doesn’t need late nights, off-brand cheezies, Mountain Dew and funny hats. It can have french toast, pyjamas, coffee and mimosas. So I set some goals, and Bruncheons & Dragons was born.
D&D for me is about stories, challenges, and process. How do we get people to invest in action, commit to interesting characters, and create safe and comfortable spaces for them to do so? How do we do it under strict time constraints, in a way that’s both original and familiar, while introducing a bunch of people to a game they’ve maybe played once before? Those are the challenges, and they were exciting.
The Morning Watch
The first step was figuring out the logistics of breakfast and how it’d affect gameplay. Four hours is not a long time to play D&D (lots of sessions run 6-8 hours). With eight of us, we spent almost an hour making french toast and getting situated,
The Morning Watch was a standard D&D adventure. Someone has broken into a vault, and it’s the the job of our heroes to stop the thief before they can escape with the McGuffin, in this case the plans to the secret tunnels of their fortress. They faced down a few fights, had a scene that explored how trauma affects career heroes, and wrapped it up with a parkour chase over the rooftops and through the streets.
Hex and the City
So we could do something straightforward. I gathered a another set of jokers, and set about doing something weird. Rather than a set of straightforward encounters, Hex and the City was structured with procedurally generated vignettes. Each player was an ancient witch in the biggest city in the world, gathered for brunch to reminisce about their exploits.
Every player had a memory that was linked to a social situation. We took turns with their stories, each one came to their party with witchy goal, and encountered a random complication. Each situation constructed a story like “I went to a state funeral to curse that pretty senator, and that’s when my ex showed up.” We’d parse that encounter into a scene that involved everyone at the occasion, and hijinks ensue.
It went incredibly. Wealthy medusas and mobbed up ogresses teamed up with filthy sea hags and devious succubi to great effect, while the players laughed and drank mimosas. The mimosas may have helped. We had a deck of hapless gentlemen and drew from it often.
Brunch is great. Pyjamas are great. Roleplaying games are great. These things combined create a Saturday morning of spectacular wonder and comedy that is possibly better than cartoons.
My next challenge is Run Out the Guns, where we’ll try and do a voyage, as pirates, their hold laden with ill-gotten booty, set sail for home only to face the trials and tribulations you typically find in long Greek poems about sea voyages. Perhaps we’ll learn that the real treasure was the fiends they met along the way.