Monday, May 9, 2016

Not Every Session Can Be A Home Run

I had a good Star Wars session shortly before the time of writing this. If I'm completely honest, it was probably only decent as far as actual play sessions go, but everyone had a good time and that's a win. Normally I'd beat myself up over this. The GMing should be better. I should be more on point. I should be ready and prepared to get things moving and keep them that way. Today though, I don't feel that way.

Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons. For one, through no fault of their own half the players ended up being late today, and I didn't find that out until past when I had enough time to make alternate preparations. Individually each player had perfectly valid reasons for this, but grouped together I found myself with 1/2 the table I thought I'd have, and an adventure with combats prepped with set pieces designed around having at least 4 or 5 of them there.

The bigger reason though is this: you can't always knock it out of the park. Even the best batters only get a hit once every three at bats, and while a GM should have a higher "good session to total session" ratio, it's not going to be perfect. Also, like I said, this was a good session. It just wasn't a great one.

But that's ok. The last several sessions have been better than I could have dreamed. Like, the kind of session where three days later players still randomly message you to be like "man, that was a great game on Sunday" or you can't stop thinking about how frigging epic X character or Y situation was in the heat of the moment.

You don't always get homeruns. Sometimes you strike out. Sometimes you just get a base. Sometimes you make a sacrifice play to get the job done satisfactorily. They're all fine to happen. The important thing is that in culmination your game is a good one.

Don't ruin a great campaign because you're trying to force an epic session. Don't try to knock it out of the park every at bat. Let it flow, and take advantage of your moment when it arrives.


  1. Important and relevant to this is, it's also difficult to hit a home run on the session after an arc climax where the tension has been ratcheted down from the high. On the tension reduction session, rebuilding normal is important.

  2. Also, much like in writing, sometimes you need to let the characters breathe, even while leading up to the arc's climax. Personally, I revised my definition of "good GMing" to include "able to run the sessions the players need, regardless of the outcome."