Tuesday, August 09, 2016

RPG a Day - Day 9

Today's topic: Beyond the game, what's involved in an ideal session?

Ah, this can be a frustrating topic. Often times what makes a session ideal is like lightning in a bottle; you can't recreate the conditions if you tried.

I could write a big list of things that you need, but I think the biggest item that is needed, beyond the actual game, is engagement.

Which is to say, you need the players to be on board with the game. They need to be interested in the story, ready to interact with the NPCs, eager to play to their own characters. They need to surprise you with outside the box thinking, finding solutions you didn't anticipate and possibilities within the game that you hadn't considered.

The corollary need from the GM is that you need to be nimble with your plot points, entertaining with your NPCs, flexible with the direction of your story, having a complete command of your established facts and your PCs' backstories.

You can see why I described this as bottled lightning. Lots of room for this to fall apart, if for no other reason than someone having an "off" day. GM didn't get a lot of sleep the night before. One of the players fought with his kids before arriving late. The host is so stressed from getting everything in order before people showed up that he can barely concentrate on the game.

I guess that's why it's an "ideal" session. At least everyone has "that session," the one that went perfectly, the one that everyone in the group talks about for years afterwards, when everything fell into place.

1 comment:

pious agnostic said...

You are 100% correct. The number of "ideal" game sessions I can recall I can count on one hand, and that includes gaming for 35+ years. Those sessions are what keep us coming back, but they are harder and harder to find.