It’s August 31st, day 31 of #RPGaDay2019, and the Last day, following Connection yesterday and a whole month of posts. And the inspiration today, appropriately enough, is Last.
This seems like an appropriate time to have a retrospective on the season.
But first, I claim the triumph of completing it, and not only completing it, completing it on time! Last year I didn’t come across it until half-way through, and by the end of September managed posts for half the questions. This year I started slightly ahead of schedule and managed to stay ahead of schedule for a bit. I then slipped behind for a while, but I’ve managed to catch up again. Go me!
Here’s the whole series collected together:
- Day 1: First – my first experiences of D&D
- Day 2: Unique, and my love affair with the unique setting of Mystara
- Day 3: Engage – what engages players?
- Day 4: Share, and my joy sharing D&D with my son
- Day 5: Space, and how the space affects combat
- Day 6: Ancient, and a comparison between BECMI D&D and D&D 5e
- Day 7: Familiar, and how important familiarity with the setting and NPCs is to me in running a good session
- Day 8: Obscure, and how I find all the myriad of options in 5e obscures the fundamentals of the game; and which of the different types of player it does actually suit
- Day 9: Critical – a tour through the history and usage of Critical Hits
- Day 10: Focus – keeping the focus on the players and the game
- Day 11: Examine – I wish the players would take a more active role in examining their surroundings, rather than relying on skills checks
- Day 12: Friendship, and the overlap (or not) between D&D friends and other friends
- Day 13: Mystery, and my mixed experiences trying to create Mystery adventures
- Day 14: Guide and Guides, and coping with tag-along NPCs
- Day 15: Door, the enigma which drives curiosity
- Day 16: Dream – help me to my dream!
- Day 17: One, and the d20 mechanism
- Day 18: Plenty, and the paradoxical downside to things being plentiful, with specific reference to high-magic vs low-magic
- Day 19: Scary – please help me make my sessions more scary!
- Day 20: Noble and nobles, something which has (probably deservedly) reduced in prominence since BECMI days
- Day 21: Vast, the vastness of the world of Mystara, and how it has tempted me to forget about the players’ needs for character roots
- Day 22: Lost – can getting lost actually lead to enjoyable session?
- Day 23: Surprise – how much surprise is just right?
- Days 24 & 25: Triumph and Calamity, how these are flip sides of the same coin, and how without them you have no story
- Day 26: Idea, and where my ideas come from
- Day 27: Suspense – the crucial role of the roll of the dice in making D&D interesting, engaging and, yes, addictive
- Day 28: Love – many reasons why I love D&D
- Day 29: Evolve, and how my playing style and tastes have evolved
- Day 30: Connection – is back story really all it’s cracked up to be?
- Day 31: Last – this, the last post of RPGaDay2019, trying to sum it all up
What have I learned during this process?
It has certainly made me take a step back, and got me thinking about my gaming again, reminding me of things which have worked which might be worth bringing back, and shining a light on things which aren’t currently working which might be worth tweaking.
I’ve liked the less-directed format this year of a single trigger word. It allows me more flexibility in the subjects I want to talk about, while still giving me a prod to talk about things I might not otherwise have considered.
Things to work on:
- be better at preparing. I run my sessions best when I know the setting and characters and can riff off them. Also, my descriptions are best when I’ve pre-written them.
- prepare a sheet with my key house rules (and possibly basic setting information) and have it available during the sessions
- as part of this, make it clear that there are no critical failures, and only critical hits, not general critical successes
- also the reduced set of options I actually accept for PCs, to avoid me getting overloaded with all the fancy additions in the newer books
- help the characters grow roots and develop a richer home base. They can then go wandering from there, but always with reference to the home.
- forget about wilderness wandering and getting lost unless I’m really sure it will add to the session
- try to be a bit more sensitive to how little the players actually know, and put less effort into surprising them (they’ll get surprised and confused enough without my help…)
And above all – keep on with blogging, sharing and publishing, and create my vision of a tool which makes mapping as easy as pencil and paper. I hope you’ll continue to follow me on this journey.
Watch out for Ragnar’s Keep in association with Heroic Maps on DriveThruRPG very soon!
And that’s all from me from RPGaDay2019. Do check out the other posts on their Facebook page. But I hope to continue to be active on this blog going forwards, so please subscribe and continue to follow me. You can also follow me on my Facebook page Melestrua’s Musings, and on Twitter @Melestrua.
And if you’ve enjoyed this series and would like more, please drop a tip in my Ko-Fi jar and/or become a patron.