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30 Days of Gamemastering: Part Nineteen

October 20, 2013

This is part nineteen in the continuing series of posts for the “30 Days of Gamemastering Challenge” from Triple Crit.

What was your worst session and why?

Fortunately, I have not a specific session that stands out in my mind as “the worst”. Sure, some sessions are better than others, but there are no great incidents or blow-ups that have occurred to make a single session stand out in my memory as “The One”.

I do recall a series of sessions that were definitely sub-par and really dragged down the flow of the campaign. I was running a home-brewed sci-fi scenario in which my players were essentially playing secret government agents that were infiltrating this company to see if they were doing anything illegal. The PCs were established as undercover operatives in the “company town” where the corporation was based. I hadn’t really had a lot of experience running an investigation scenario yet, so things were starting to bog down. Sometimes due to bad rolling, sometimes due to the players not “getting” my clues, and sometimes due to the fact that events were going on around them that they had no control over. In other words (especially if you’ve read this previous entry in the series), I did everything wrong. And my players got bored. And, I don’t know about you, but when my players get bored, they start to do anything–anything–to stir things up. So I had one faction form that were willing to do anything just to get somewhere (including mind-rape a bank employee), and another faction who were appalled at their actions. Things started getting genuinely tense at the table. I have to wonder, if they hadn’t have gotten bored, would things have deteriorated? So the blame falls on me as the gamemaster.

Fortunately, I have since learned from that experience. I run those types of scenarios with a lot more skill than I did before and haven’t had any further issues.

What about you? What bad sessions have you learned something from?

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