We played on Saturday. I was a little leery as this was the most free form game I had planned for the boys since our first sessions in the pre-made Lost Mines of Phandelver. I set things up this way on purpose, no straight line of battle or designated monsters to fight. And it turned out very well, everyone was very happy with the game, and the boys were definitely disappointed when the game to an end, and that’s how I like it, leave them wanting more.
The characters had all leveled up last game. So we took care of that. And then the players were given the job of going to a location and spend time investigating. And instead of just lining up the monsters in a discernible order I just keyed the map and let the go where they wanted. That was a big departure for me. And I have to say it went very well.
Just as importantly the battles they players fought were dangerous, exciting and fun. And left the players worried and intrigued about what they would face next. That was a big change for all of us. The game is slowly reaching the stage where what is happening around, and where they are fighting, is just as important as the opponent.
If I were to toot my horn, I would say that this session was a clear example that I have leveled up as a GM. The game was not slowed down by rules concerns. Surprise, maneuvering, and movement were all elements in the game. The monsters were clever, but not omnipotent. Those are the elements that make a good session in my opinion. And I think that the boys are slowly getting more into their characters, realizing why they do what they do.
In fact it is not just my GM skills that have leveled up. Some of the players have done so as well. They are ever so slowly improving as players. Looking beyond the dice rolls for things that they can do. I mean they are still fidgety teenagers who do things like play with any toy in the area, or wander off in the middle of a combat. So they are still not what I would call dedicated role players. But they are definitely better.
They have not yet clued in to the little stuff that hints at the secret behind the game. But that is okay, I want that to come later. Best of all though is that we ended on a decent cliffhanger of sorts. Which should make them real curious about what will happen next.
Yeah, it was a good session, one I will remember for a while. And hopefully one that we can all build on as we work together to build this campaign and game. Because a role playing campaign is a world that we all build together. As a GM I have constructed a skeleton to attach things to. And will keep revealing the secrets as we continue. But what they do with this world is up to them.