This was honestly my biggest failure, and yet I am torn on it. Our Friday group is a serious group but we're also not kids anymore. The youngest of us is in his late twenties, one of us is married, three of us own our own homes, and one of us has a kid on the way. Believe it or not we're adults and with that comes facets of adult life and part of that is social time is also a time to catch up on our lives. Because of this I tend to let the pre-game conversation go a bit long at times, perhaps too long.
In the end we had a few false starts before we got going. I think part of the problem is that several players like to talk and the rest of us don't want to interrupt. Going forward I think I may employ the "loud book close" technique as a way of getting attention and starting game a bit faster. We'll see going forward.
That said, once we got going it worked. I narrated a quick intro to set the scene and get people into what is going on. From there we transitioned into play and gave people some small simple tasks to help them get into their characters.
On Friday I said you want to hook people into the game and maybe end on a cliff hanger. I didn't quite manage to do that. RP went a bit long (never a problem) and so game ended earlier story wise than I expected. That said, the ending was good and there are still questions.
When the game ended the group had just arrived at their new base of operations, met some people, and went to sleep that first night. Going forward they have to meet their new "basemates" and see how they fit in with the group as well as what is going on with the area.
A Bit of Combat
For the combat I attacked the group with an Oni. Now, this is L5R so Oni are big deal, but I custom built this oni to be more of a "fun, dangerous, but beatable combat." I'd say it worked well with the exception that one player was grappled for much of the fight. That said, that player is one of the players who is good with mechanics so I'm not too worried about it, and he did get to play with some new ways of using his character in a fight. Which is awesome.
Something I (re)Learned...
I learned something this session as well. Or, perhaps, it is better to say that I relearned something. That thing is how powerful and important description can be in fights and it is something I am hoping to play up more.
There was a moment in the Oni fight where the Hare Samurai was defending the Matsu Samurai. Despite the increased difficulty, the Oni managed to grapple them both. I explained, when we were discussing the mechanics later, that I had envisioned it and meant to describe it as:
Vines reach out from the ground for Tenma(hare) and Yoko(Matsu). Tenma cuts the vines away from Yoko, almost freeing her, but a vine catches his wrists and holds his blade. A moment later the vines swarm over both grabbing wrists and legs and holding you fast.
The problem was in the moment I didn't do that. It changed his view from "Tenma was useful during the fight until this thing happened" to "I did nothing, because the dice just kinda sucked for me." That is very important and something I am hoping doesn't leave me. Giving a moment to describe things, especially when a player's action gets beaten, is important and I hope to use description moving forward to give minor moments of awesome even when the situation isn't going great for the player in question.
Something To Prep...
In the end the session went well but the game is only (re)beginning. I have a lot of prep to do for next session, including finding a way to introduce 12 NPCs to 6 PCs without stealing the whole show, keeping things fun, and not just shotgunning useless data at folks. We'll see how that goes.
How was your weekend?