Sometimes Preparation Just Needs to be Thrown out the Window

I have run three games this week and with it a lot of preparation has been involved.  For the two Pathfinder Adventure Path’s that I run specifically there was a lot involved.  The Traveller game I ran was a lot less as it was finishing a one off that I had done all the work for a fortnight before.  The three games were quite a different experience though!

Sometimes designing can go to waste

The first game was my on-line Reign of Winter game.  In most cases what I do in my preparation is start the on-line hangout and then I work on putting my blog up and advertising it via twitter and Google+ while I listen out for my players though my head set.  It was about ten minutes after I sent the invite and I had not heard anyone arrive so when I shifted back to the hangout I found them all there but I could not hear them at all.  They could hear me fine apparently and were having a good laugh.  I had to reboot and start in a different system but by that stage they were all having a raucous time that the game was a difficult thing.

I am not complaining at all, after all it is a social game and so having fun is all part of it but I had prepared for a lot of the day (I am on holidays currently) and was ready to kick that game into overdrive!  Instead, we were lucky to make it through maybe three small scale encounters before the game was over.  Funny thing is one of the players sent me an apology through the week when in reality no apology is needed.  Sometimes as the GM you just have to give the game over to such shenanigans because they are fun and it really tends to get the group to know one another (especially on-line gamers).

The underwater caverns of Mancatcher Cove

The second game was my in-person game and I had a fair bit of work to do in preparation for this one.  The group are getting very close to the end of the second module “Raider’s of the Fever Sea” and so I want to make sure that this goes off pretty well.  Especially as it is really the first all underwater dungeon I have ever run!  I did this while working at the service station and that made things difficult because we were busy.  The preparation of random encounters and the basic read-through noting pertinent details was fine but when I had to build a creature up from templates it became frustrating.

Building a creatures stat block again from the use of one or two templates requires concentration and that was what I was short of.  Every time I would sit down and get an idea of where I was with everything I would have to get up again and serve someone new.  There were two creatures that required that treatment and it was lucky they both needed the same templates!  I only just got it done on time.

The party had levelled up last game and when we got under way we realised that they were not all finished doing their levels so we spent about half an hour surrounding that material.  It was also the case that the group had to rest up for a week on ship due to the strength drain they had suffered at the vines of the Canopy Creeper from the week before.  One of the players wanted to build up a real role playing feel to that week but the other three (one of the players were out due to a flu) were not really in the mood and in reality the group would have been resting for most of that period anyway!

Once we got into it though they made good use of their time once they actually found where they were going and they made it through a good number of encounters before the night came to a close.  I was glad to have prepared as much as I did.

I love Traveller

The third game this week was my own home grown campaign and thus I did not have to deal too much with preparation.  I am also not really going to say much about this game apart from the fact that it was over in around an hour and a half which is precisely what I had planned.  I am not mentioning much about it because I will write a separate blog about that episode tomorrow as I was unable to record it for some reason.  The hangout never gave me the option to record despite it being a hangout on-line.

So, moral to my above three games, sometimes preparation gets thrown out the window.  I tell you now that I do not mind that in some circumstances and Monday nights game was one of those circumstances where it was much more valuable to ride the wave and allow the group to bond.  Especially as we now seem to have a stable crew for the game.  Keep rolling!

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