This Friday presents an interesting challenge for me. As some of you may know, I switch off GMing every other Friday with a member of our group who was interested in becoming a GM. As such, every few months I get a couple month break from GMing my L5R game so that a Halo game can be run. However, this Friday sees the resumption of my game, and things are in an interesting place. So, let's talk about what those challenges are/may be and how I'm hoping to over-come them.
Challenge The First: Is November
As I mentioned in Monday's post, it is holiday season and that means missed sessions. This game is every other week, and that means that the next session after this one will be Black Friday. In short, I can say that there won't be game that day. For one, people will likely be with family and unavailable to game. For two, I now work retail and will likely be either working when game would happen, or be dead from working when it should be. Either way, game is not going to happen. Which means that I can't do a real cliff hanger this week..which is bad for the current plot line.
Challenge The Second: The Feel Is Lost
The second challenge I have is that a couple month break from game, especially when a new game with a much different feel took over, loses its feel. Before I can get the game rolling again, I need to get people involved with the world and ready to interact with the NPCs again. For me this shouldn't be too hard, L5R is a very popular setting with our group, so the world feel won't be hard but the specific feel of the plotline and events could still be problematic.
Challenge The Third: Unsure Who Is Coming
The third, and final, challenge is that I'm not fully sure who all is going to be there this session. I expect most if not all of my players should be, but some have said they may not be able to. This makes it very hard to plan as even though the game is based on individual character threads, we are at a time when a lot of those threads are converging. Even more important though, if one player doesn't show that is a lot more time everyone else gets on screen. Time that needs content.
The lack of cliff hanger is going to be the hardest part, as three of the PCs were going into a big situation that I'll have to find a way around handling, not rushing, and leaving people in a position where things can pick up again naturally.
The second problem shouldn't be super hard either if I play my cards right. Rokugan is a setting with a very strong feeling, and I can set that with one PC's starting scene and carry it over. If nothing else, the session can be a bit slower, more sedate, and show the setting's transition into the fall months. One of the things that also helps with this is that I always schedule a time break when the game goes on hiatus. That way the feeling of "returning to old friends" is a good one, as a lot of time has passed IC. This session it'd only be a 6 month break, but it is still a break and a lot can happen in 6 months.
The last issue I have no way of knowing. I send out email reminders before game, and those usually catch the people who can't make it. However, things happen at times and nothing can be done about that. For that I'm just going to have to trust my ability to improv and my players' ability to make a lot of action out of very little information.
How about you? How would you solve these problems? What problems would you expect to face?