Thursday, September 3, 2009

What do you do?

It's an hour before the game. You check your notes from last game session, but there are none. The idea of keeping close notes as the players adventure through your world is such a great idea, but rarely happens. You've done nothing to prepare for the session. You're tired from working all day and the ideas are not there. You need to figure out something quick. Maybe a canned module? Wing it? Call the session off? Act confused when the players show up and tell them you thought the game was tomorrow?

What do you do?


  1. 1. Make a cup of tea and tell myself to calm the heck down. Drink the tea.

    2. Look through the campaign notes I put together when I pitched the game to find the objectives I put in place and see if it shakes out any ideas for me.

    3. Wonder why I drank all that tequila to make me forget the last gaming session and leave a note not to do it again. Srsly.

    4.Hightail it to the following places:

    Use killer content to spark something. Really, if you can't get something out from that lot, you're not even trying.

  2. Pick up on an existing loose end, attach it to a starting scene for the players leading on from last week and let them lead me where they want to go with it.

  3. Well I not sure what I would do but I know a DM who sent a killer Blue Demon after us. I am sure it was because he could not find his notes.

    Ok I lied I do know what I would do I would run the temple of death X5.

  4. Ass Pull a Solo + Elites Monster encounter guaranteed to turn into a 4 hour combat session!

    Seriously though when I've been short I've done mini games... like black jack for loot and XP. You can't do it too often because they get tired of that pretty quickly - but it works once or twice.

  5. One Stargate Atlantis episode
    One MASH episode
    One Survivorman / Man v. Wild episode

    Place episodes in a bag filled with loose particulate crunch (Falling damage, Poison Saves, Trap Avoidance, Fire or Drowning Hazards, Overland Movement/Evasion, etc,) and shake thoroughly until evenly coated.
    --Remove from bag and place in sandbox.

    Smoke lightly with aromatic herb

    10-15 minutes later, place notes on a single sheet of lined paper, while allowing sketch to cool on graph or hex paper.

    Serve while still warm.

    Serves up to party of 20.

    Enjoy :D

    * Stargate Atlantis, MASH, and Wilderness Survival episodes may be freely exchanged with episodes, chapters, or scenes from any other preferred cut of entertainment.

  6. You let things develop organically. Give the players a couple of bare threads, see what they follow, react, watch them react to your reaction, react to that reaction, and before long, you have a session that surprises both you and the players.

    And they may never know the difference—you can always pretend you’re studying your notes closely. ;)

  7. On a more serious note I have a stack of modules I collected over the years that I consider droppable. I.e. I can just drop it anywhere in my campaign. I look for one that has a premise that fits what the players are doing, alter it to account for current event and setting, and just go.

    I can't tell how many time I used the Secret of the Slaver's Stockade as some bad guy's castle in the middle of nowhere. Different campaigns of course.

  8. Run a canned module that you're familiar with and that matches your character's levels.

  9. If the players are in a town roll on the event table from "Holding Down the Fort" from Dragon #145 or from "City Encounters" from Mythmere Games.

    If they are in the wilderness make two wandering monster rolls and a reaction roll to see how the monsters feel/interact with each other.

    Pull a map from Paratime Design.

    Make a few rolls using Dungeon Bash.


  10. All, great suggestions.

    @satyre Thank you for the links.

    Tyler@ I always like the simple approach. Here's the situation, what do you do?

    Rules M@ Temple of Death, hmmm, I don't t hink I ever went through that one. Oh wait, only about twenty times!

    Stormgaard@ Probably fun for a game session though.

    TimeSHadows@ Ha that's on fricking scary concoction.

    Zack@ Absolutely. I'm a big fan of letting players run the adventure and let them hang themselves. muhaha

    Rob@ lol

    JB@ I haven't run a canned module for so long now. Just been buying and reading and not so much running them. I need to just to flex my DMing skills with someone else's work.

    P Armstrong@ Great suggestions. I'll check those out.

    Thanks everyone for the comments. Very cool.

  11. Pull out the one-page dungeon codex, roll some dice to randomly pick one of the Dungeons.

    Alternatively, break out one of your old boardgames that you havn't played for years, and give it a whirl.

  12. "Ha! That's one fricking scary concoction." -- You

    Me: Thanks! How did it go?

  13. Go Shopping. Not me, get the PCs to do some shopping, make sure they split up and make sure there are a couple of exciting random encounters.

  14. I set up bad weather, I refer to my wandering encounter tables, I roll up a set of weird monsters and then I roll a d6 - 1 to 3, they're a traveling circus and lost, 4 to 6, they're hungry and want to attack the town/base to get fed.