This is week 14 of Shop D&D and as I’m still struggling with where we’re headed in the Ballad of the Blue Fox (Totes just came up with that. Is that a good title?) so I had planned to do a secondary thing. But that didn’t go to plan at all.
First: you should always submit time off requests in writing, even if you don’t have to. This doesn’t have anything to do with the game directly, but the guy at work who makes my schedule knew it was either Wednesdays or Thursdays I had requested to have evenings free, but picked the wrong one. So I was an hour late to D&D. Because of this, I had decided to not progress the Blue Fox story and had worked on a small experiment set in another world I had been thinking about. I needed more data on how to run things in it and wanted a small field test. So I prepped an hour of exploration and combat and showed up to the shop at 7, hoping to just grab a player or two. That’s not what happened because…
Second: I underestimate how much people want to game me. I’m not a perfect DM, but I feel confident that I am an awesome DM. The fact that my presence cause another DM to end his game and yield that table to me reinforces it. Mayhap one day I can be a perfect DM and then I’ll have to change this article series. But until then, I’m going to pick out my mistakes and try to improve on them, as you do.
I also spend a bit of time looking up D&D bloggers and reading what they write, and trying to apply what I learn about the game to my table. I think its time well spent, although I have ideas that will never come to fruition.
Anyway, this left me with running for not my envisioned 3, but a sudden 7 players. Which was a lot more than I could do with my little experiment. So that plan went out the window and I needed to improvise.
So I redrew a treasure map. I had used it before in my water campaign (that I ought to write things about and get my thoughts on paper) and felt I could run it differently and pretty well with no lead in.
And it went pretty good. I ought to prep a bunch of treasure maps with varying encounters. Its a different take on the 5 room dungeon. This run was hampered by the fact that 2 of the players had run through it before and I needed to alter every encounter as best I could to make it so their previous knowledge was voided. Fire didn’t kill the plant. The bridge was there this time, although it was indeed a huge mimic that I could have run better. All of my encounter locations were just okay. If I had Prepared the encounters as a backup ahead of time, I think everything would have gone a bit smoother.
Also, I’m getting a bit cheesed off by level 7 characters. That’s a personal prefference, but next season of Shop D&D, I’m not going to level as fast.
Finally, due to time issues, I had to rush through the denouement, which is a word that I spelt horribly but Firefox has my back. AngryGM just wrote an article on that, like, yesterday. I’m not going to link it, but I wish I had more time to internalize the concept and had been able to pull it off.
I did try a concept called Popcorn Initiative. I’ve been wanting to try it for a while. Sadly, my combats suck too much and I have too many PCs for combat to last much longer than a round or two. So I kept the list of people who’ve acted in combat the same and just marked off people in the next combat. I think it worked well for a large group, because people who acted in the first combat weren’t able to just jump into the second combat and do the same wining tactics. I will probably keep working with it and have develop it more, but I feel that was a successful test.
Conclusion: For a seat of my pants session, it went VERY well. I was pleased with my performance and I can feel that my skills as a DM are improving.
See you next week!