Taking a Break

Hi all!  By now regular readers understand that I am a Games Master (GM) through and through because I love the control!  Today’s blog is all about the need to let go and have a break from the pressure of being a GM and playing for a bit.  It gives you a whole new perspective and helps to recharge your batteries and give you inspiration for your games.

Back to playing the game in RotR

Over the past month I have gone back to full time work for the first time in almost a decade.  It is a tiring prospect to be sure and I have found that when it comes around time to leave work and go to my in person game that I am craving a coffee I.V. drip and have need of a little head break to erase the days problems and get into the space of the game I am to deliver.  Add to that the fact that we have been just being able to make it through the fortnight with money as my work has taken a month to get my full time pay sorted I have been a little run down recently.  It was great then that last Tuesday came and it was time to play my Summoner again in the Rise of the Runelords.  I did not need to juggle NPC negotiations, critters, miniatures, screens, secret player notes.  I just had to re-familiarise myself with Coltyn and Grell and try to keep the party moving forward.

Our gaming table

It had been around two months since we had played this campaign so the start was rife with confusion about where we were and what we were doing.  I have a really good memory for things like this but even I could not remember if Grell had been banished or not and if I had fallen unconscious or not.  We were soon underway though and I made a point of standing near the map (we have a big map table we draw on) and making sure the action kept flowing.  I knew that we were nearing the end of the first “chapter” burnt offerings and so I wanted us to stay on task.  It honestly did not take me too long before I had the players chasing me around and sending in Grell as the remote scout everywhere!

+Cam Mcloughlin, the GM for RotR

I had forgotten the joy of being a player and I have to say that after the game I was energised and satisfied.  We had played for around three hours but we had made some decent distance, fought the final enemy and I had seen a bard use an ability that did not just give us a bonus to hit and damage which I applauded!  In short we had a good fun game.  I had not been able to participate much in the final game as Grell had attracted some attacks of opportunity after being badly poisoned and because our fighter was incredibly self-centred and should have taken them first.  So none of the game to me was epic, although I am sure I will remember talking them out of investigating the Temple of Lamashtu (evil god) even though they knew there were magical items up for grabs there.

I was even not the least bit insulted when at the end of the game one of the players (one that did not like playing characters in different campaigns to start with) asked if we could play the Rise of the Runelords for next weeks game.  I had been having trouble keeping up to speed with my Serpent Skull campaign and this gives me the perfect break to take advantage of.  I will be across it all and ready to make the last portion of that adventure path completely mind blowing.  It also gives me time to bed down the Pathfinder adventure path that I am kicking off online next week as well as getting my mind around the Traveller game I have been working on.

The pirate ship for the Skull and Shackles campaign soon
to begin…

So, you can see from this post that although I mention sitting back and taking a break from GMing is a good thing that I actually have just diverted my GMing energy into different avenues.  The thing is that I never really play that often and it was good to play to get the games perspective as the player.  I can see areas that I need to improve to make the game more enjoyable.  I fully expect that in the end section of the Serpent skull path that the enemies will become more vocal.  They will reveal things that will give flavour to the whole adventure.  Even the smallest bits of information can make a player see the game differently.  I have lamented before in many conversations that the GM gets so much information that the players never do and it would help them appreciate it.  So I plan to have little tidbits of information for the players to find and put together what has really happened for them.

So, that is my aha moment after the game this week.  Give up a little more to the players and help them understand the progression and connections for the adventure path that they have been in.  It will help heal the end of campaign depression as we lead into the pirate campaign, even though I intend to run further games for this group of characters as there is lots of loose ends for them to deal with!

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