Today marks the second anniversary of our first D&D 4e campaign, which is still going strong. Three Christmasses ago, I received the D&D 4e box set (PHB, DMG, Monster Manual) and the H1: Keep On the Shadowfell official module. I was a staunch 2.5-ed girl (and an even more loyal GURPS player), but this couldn't have been a cheap gift and I thought I'd give it a whirl. It took me over six months to get around to asking around my regulars to see if anyone was interested, and I got my group. So, on Labour Day weekend 2009, we sat down, made characters, and kicked around some kobolds to get a feel for the system.
I'm usually a very sandbox-type of GM, and I'd actually never run anything from a module before. I was expecting to feel constrained, but thought that a) I already owned the thing; I might as well use it and b) it's probably a good way to introduce myself to the system. And wow, was I ever surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I played extremely fast and loose with the NPCs (adding my own, spinning off sub-plots, etc.) which was great fun. My players also really enjoyed it. When we finished Keep on the Shadowfell, we sat around, chewing the fat, and I mentioned that there were other modules along the same lines. The next one would be H2: Thunderspire Labyrinth. My players were enthusiastic about the idea, and I was surprised at how much fun I'd had, so I said sure, picked up the next module, and we haven't looked back since.
The characters are now 20th level, and about to face the final battle in P3: Attack on Nightwyrm Fortress, achieving Epic level. I can't overstate how much fun I've been having with the whole thing. I've tweaked a lot of the overarching plot and customized it to the characters, so the modules feel less like going through the motions to get to the next level and more like intensely personal battles (for instance, I revealed a couple modules ago that Urishtar, the shadow dragon boss from Nightwyrm Fortress, was in her youth the ruler of a small band of dragons that drove one of the character's clans from its ancestral home -- not only does the character want to stop her evil plans, but he's also very personally invested in seeing the dragon destroyed in revenge for his clan's honour).
And it's Labour Day again -- babysitters have been engaged, responsibilities have been shuffled, and we have A WHOLE DAY FOR KILLING THINGS AND TAKING THEIR STUFF. I haven't done an all-day D&D game in a very long time, and I'm stupidly excited about it. I have a kitchen full of junk food (as well as some fruit and a raw veggie tray, mostly because now that we're no longer teenagers, we find we can't sustain ourselves on pure junk and still feel human at the end of the day). The table is set up, the maps laid out, the miniatures sorted.
Today is going to be awesome. :)