Just started my first campaign with my friends tonight. Overall it was quite a success, although at times it was a bit of a brain overload and I probably missed a few rules. Everyone had fun though, which was the most important thing.
My gathering idea was a local contest for heroes of different specialties. The winners of each competition were gathered to meet the newly graduated cleric ( the event was hosted in his honor ) to join him on his adventures.
I introduced a suspicious character who wanted to join their adventures as well. They did not accept.
Fire breaks out in the night, dead gnomes, the church where he studied was raided.
I tried to begin with a bang, throwing them into combat as they raced towards the screams of innocents.
Suspicious character from earlier had been behind the attack; they learn after saving the Thorpe's mayor. Heading down into the catacombs of the church, they confront the evildoer and literally slice him in half. (A level 1 orc getting a x3 critical hit with his GreatAxe ..32 points of damage... ) Find the holy symbol. Restore grace back to the church. Head back to town where they find a tiefling that seems to have been pulling the strings. With the rare holy symbol they are able to gain favor from their deity and cast the evil lady to a different plane.
All in all it took about 4 hours, and I had thought I was well prepared. Under the gun for the first time showed me that the only way to know what is coming is to just do it.