Thursday, April 1, 2010

Entschuldigen aber ich konnte leider nicht rechtzeitig kommen, weil ich keine Uhr habe*

I'm really ashamed about my posting rate. But as you will find out today, it's not the only thing I'm ashamed about.

This is the second part of the post promised a week ago.

The last Session Recap might seem like an interesting game, but it was not. And for some time now, I am asking myself the same question. Why?

I know that there are those sessions. The ones that don't work out because many, at first glimpse, insignificant things happen. I had them and I'm sure all of you had them. (Right?!)

In fact, many such "unfavorable occurrences" took place that day. Katja came tired straight from lectures, we ordered Vietnamese food and got stuffed with it before playing (again! quoth the Raven: nevermore!), finally Julia was sleepy throughout the game. Perhaps the air pressure was low? The fuck if I know.

One thing remains sure. All those things shouldn't have prevented us from having much more fun than we actually did. And for that, I blame myself. Cause I am the DM.

It follows from my strong belief that the DM, as the privileged participant of the game, is the Protector of Fun. He's not solely responsible for everyone having fun - that's a collective effort. However, I do feel that the DM is in a way the person who, due to his privilaged position, is able to max out the amount of fun at the table.

I feel that I have neglected this responsibility. That is why over the course of last few weeks I came up with a number of things that I think are lacking/faults of my DMing style:

  • The first issue that came to my mind is the fact, that we are playing in English. Somehow I felt compelled to run the game in English, since I knew it's the first language for both of my players and Julia would feel less vulnerable playing in English. Now I'm having second thoughts. Even though I consider myself to be a fluent speaker (after all I do study Philosophy in English) I feel that my vocabulary might be lacking in terms of providing rich descriptions and creating atmosphere.
  • The second issue are the aforementioned descriptions. I do feel I need to prepare and remember about them. The language barrier is not an excuse. I feel that the lack of detail has made the game 2 dimensional and boring.
  • This might be partially the fault of me being dependent on the materials scavenged from the net (especially the one page dungeons). Instead of using them as a guideline and making them my own or simply plundering for ideas, I just fell back on them. This has led to my initial setting losing flavor and reinforcing the bad D&D tropes. This has happened partially due to the fact that being unfamiliar with retro clones I was unsure of how to balance the game. Luckily this is no longer the case.
  • The last issue is the one which really lies in the heart of this whole clusterfuck. I didn't prepare enough. That's it. There are many reasons for it, but there is no excuse.

So yeah. How do I straighten myself up? Well I came with a number of ideas.

First of all: PREPARE! This also means exercising in the way Zak has described in his comment for this entry.

The second thing is: make up more of my own shit. I do need to get around to writing a good dungeon and generally exercising my creativity more. The pornstars blog is a great example of how you can reconstruct used up stereotypes and create something interesting and fresh.

Thirdly: play more. I had quite a long break from gaming and I do want to play a lot now. That is why I am fiddling around with running a game of Mutant Futures (a thing I wanted to do since I discovered Jeff's sessions) as well as running some solo sessions for Julia.

Well, we'll see how it goes.

*this is the sentence that my German teacher in jr. high made me say every time I came late to the lesson.


  1. I love it. You've identified your three areas of weakness and now have a plan of attack. Very nice!

  2. thanks!

    i like that stuff i write can help you out once in a while.