After a vicious week at work, it’s finally the weekend. I’ve only begun to unwind, but not before taking the chance to sit down and hammer out the first session of the Hollow Earth Expedition campaign I’ll be starting tomorrow. Normally I tend to be a GM that doesn’t rely heavily on notes, using a lot of the usual cues I’ve picked up from player backstories and profiling my players to come up with something interesting.
But given how stressed I’ve been, I don’t trust my improv brain THAT much right now.
And so I’ve put down the basic set pieces of my game, noted the various locations, and scenes that are most likely to occur, and then I’ll work from there, letting players do what it is they do to ruin my plan, while I hold on to the tattered remains and try to make it look like I had is planned all along. My villains are reasonably dastardly, the scope, larger than life and perhaps it is a great way to start off with good action.
One upside to this approach, I noticed is that I can establish specific beats and be able to review the various different types of challenges I get to present my players. Of course there will always be more than one way to solve a problem, but it also helps to have some form of idea of what kind of conflicts you can be ready to throw at your players and know that you’re not repeating yourself.
Being able to vary the types and intensity of the challenges is important as it gives more realism and rewards different players based on which skills and techniques they focus on in the game. This way I can make sure that I spread things out evenly, without ending up favoring one type of player over another.
Overall this has been a learning experience. I haven’t had a chance to do this in a while so I think I’ve learned something that I forgot long ago. I used to do this a lot, and my old Star Frontiers boxed set still has some old sheets of ruled paper full of my notes scrawled in my 10 year old handwriting.