So... this whole D&D thing was a fiasco. I'm closing it down for now. What? Really? Yup. It's done for now. I may bring it back later, but not for a while.
So... what happened? Well, the primary reason is the group did not get along very well. There was at least one fight every session and me, being greener than Kermit himself, didn't really try to stop them as well as I could have until the most recent sessions... and even then I didn't do it terribly well seeing as people would leave =\
To elaborate, there were 5 real problems that contributed to the main problem. I'm not going to name people and I'm going to use the pronoun "he" in all cases to avoid slipping info I shouldn't.
Problem one: I'm fairly new at this. This is obvious, but it needs to be said. As a newbie, I'm not used to handling a D&D group and as such, I don't know when and where to say "No!" and put my foot down. I was being overly lenient and passive, hoping the players would work something out, which, of course, rarely happened. One of the players would tell me what I was doing wrong (as well as what I did right) after each session in a CC sort of way, so I was learning, but I wasn't learning quickly enough to handle the unruly mob that the players would occasionally transform into.
Problem two: I kind of put forward a somewhat advanced scenario for somewhat new players. Two people had never D&D'd before and only one had ever played anything recent by D&D standards. Yet still I set them in a world with no memory, no money, and no direction. Well, okay, there were a few hints of what to do, but nothing major. This wouldn't have been so bad if I had made the players develop their characters a LITTLE before play, so that they had a basic feel for their (and each other's) characters, but as it was, they had no idea about each other and really had little reason to get along... so they didn't =\ Next time I'll be making sure the players develop their characters at least a little before the game starts.
Problem three: one of the players was fairly silent. As in he rarely talked ever. And usually only when prompted. I started to get around this by prompting him more often, but still he would rarely participate in discussions of what to do next and kind of just let things happen around him. I always meant to mention this to him, but never did. This never actually got to be too harmful... but it could have been in the long run. He was becoming more participatory in the most recent session because combat was about to happen... but it never did. I also PMd him a few tidbits that he never shared with the group because he didn't feel he needed to, but now he knows that just because I was PMing him didn't mean the info wasn't meant strictly for him. This problem was minor enough that it could be fixed later, though, and if it were the only problem, we likely would still be playing.
Problem four: one of the players was a little TOO green. He'd often forget the simplest things between sessions and the other players got sick of needing to pause and help remind him what X meant. A few other players would do this too, so it wasn't a problem exclusive to him, nor would I say it was his fault. He was new and he was learning, he was just doing it at a rate to slow to appease some of the other players. What I would recommend is he learn how to D&D in real life before trying again online, because it is MUCH easier to help people in real life. I think that, given time and experience, he would be a fine addition to a D&D group, but right now online D&D isn't really possible with him.
Problem five: one player tried to take control of the game at every turn, getting to the point where he wouldn't really listen to the other players opinions. For example, he had a plan last night to get combat going that two players just couldn't do as their strength was so low as to make them useless in combat, yet he refused to listen to their reasoning and continued to try and convince everyone that his plan was best. He would refuse to let a plan drop even when everyone else had already dismissed it multiple times. In addition, he never seemed to really get the difference between IC and OOC. Or why people wanted plans discussed IC as opposed to OOC, namely that characters don't know what happens OOC, so even if a plan is made, the character may not know of its existence. He kept trying to dominate everything and wouldn't let things veer off his planned course, which was extremely harmful, and made the rest of the characters, one in particular, quite annoyed with him. This was probably the worst problem.
So basically, the group couldn't function as a group, even though everyone knows each other outside of game. Sometimes, though, just because people are friends doesn't mean they make good D&D partners. I know this from experience before this campaign, as two people in my old D&D group would CONSTANTLY clash, accomplishing nothing and hurting the campaign overall, eventually causing it to end and restart via DM magic. So that's what I'm doing here, ending it and starting over again LATER. When? I don't know. Probably not till summer at the very least as I won't be taking classes this summer for various reasons. I do know that if I do restart, it won't be with this group. Possibly with members of this group, but not the same group. I'll figure that out when the time comes. Maybe Guin and/or Peter would be more interested when the time comes (they expressed an interest back in Cali, which prompted Peter to start planning a campaign and later stop =( ), but who knows?
Anyway, to the players: I'm sorry it didn't work out, I'm sorry I kind of just exploded in a ball of angst and left mid game, I'm sorry that the game wasn't as good as it could have been, I'm sorry that not all of you will be invited back next time, but dem's the breaks and I gotta be realistic about this. This post is not to point fingers and say "YOUR FAULT" but more to explain what went wrong, and why. Hopefully we all learned something from this and maybe prospects will be better next time.