Behind the Screen: Dealing with a misfire session…

2008 February 17
by Dante

Face it… as a DM, sometimes you’re on and sometimes you aren’t. Unfortunately, this weekend’s session was one where I was not on.

What happened?

Several things were not aligning during this session for me… first off, I had planned a session to add a little depth to an overarching battle. It was more of a narrative night, which is not something I normally do. We had planned the general progression of events as we normally do, but we didn’t solidify some key details prior to the session so it put me into a bit of a scramble working with my co-DM over chat to iron out those bits.

A few of our players in the group weren’t feeling well that night (the flu is going around our area). They requested a shorter session, which limited some of our more crunchy plot elements from making an appearance that night.

In short, a lot of factors were aligning to result in a less than satisfying session.

Hindsight, engage!

Well, unless I start getting a degree in pharmacology I won’t be able to help the illness issues much, but I should have seen that the players were more in the mood for battle, plot progression, or something that wasn’t a narrative session. I could tell that not everyone detested the session, but it could have been a lot better.

The planning thing is what bothers me the most about the way this one unfolded. Usually I ask myself the five W’s- who, what, when, where, why – before I’m satisfied that we’ve planned something adequately to launch. Then I do a few cycles of “how can they crash this” and after that something is usually deemed ready for launch. Apparently, this time I missed the “where” and failed to connect the whole scenario to the wants of my players.

Next time I’ll be ready to go with something more satisfying for our group. One of the best things that can be done as a DM is to do the post-session autopsy to figure out what went wrong and how it can be prevented in the future. Thanks for joining me while I did just that!

One Response leave one →
  1. Vanir permalink
    February 18, 2008

    Eh, don’t sweat it. I don’t think anything could have been done aside from a couple Cure Disease spells and perhaps a sound thrashing with a shillaleigh to keep everyone on their toes.

    Sudafed not good for making folks pay attention. Myself included. 🙁

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