Wednesday, October 23, 2013

30 Days of GameMastering--Day 20!

We're 2/3 of the way through Lindevi's "30 Days of GameMastering" challenge--this post rounds out the "At the Table" section.  Starting tomorrow, we'll start talking about the "Meta" topics, which deal more broadly with the hobby in general.  But, for now, let's talk about our last "At the Table" topic:

What was your best session and why?

I've spoken about this session before, but the penultimate session of my "Tear of Ioun" game really stands out as one of my favorite sessions of all time.  A great deal of session prep went into building siege rules for the scenario and the set-pieces of the battle itself were outstanding, taking almost a full session to assemble the giant Morgordal Keep walls.

My players survey the field in
this massive siege!
The battle itself was really neat, as any great set-piece battle should be.  The combat was streamlined (if not exactly quick, with each player controlling their PC, an NPC ally, a siege engine, and a battalion of troops) and constantly engaging.  Even at the late hour of 1:00 am, my players were eager to play out the siege to its finality.

But, what struck me most?  What I enjoyed the most?  The fact that, in the midst of that sea of miniatures and scenery, in among all those dice rolls and gaming that could easily have descended into simple 'accounting' players still were knee-deep in actual role-playing and in-character dialogue.  FridayNightWill's runepriest chanted prayers and maledictions in the name of Kelemvor while smashing aberrations with his warhammer.  Martook's feeble supplications to Moradin before finally turning to Bane in his despair made for a phenomenal moment, particularly when he burst forth from the stomach of a purple worm, radiating power from his infernally-powered armor.

Every GM struggles at some point with the balance between the many desires of his group.  When people can't even agree on pizza toppings, it's up to the GM to try to find a happy medium in terms of game emphasizes.  I'll admit, I was worried that I had erred too far to the side of tactical combat in running this session, but the results spoke for themselves:  my players had a phenomenal session and I was left wondering how I could possibly top that awesome night.

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