managing the one-hour game session

As we move towards the fifth session of the library game, I already feel like I’m getting better at managing the one-hour game session.

1. Be physically prepared.  My kit doesn’t fit in a cool retro lunchbox, but it’s all together in my office and ready to go 5 minutes before the session starts: rulebook (which, ideally, I won’t have to open), dice, mat, mat-cleaning towel, minis, Binder of Important Papers (character sheets, ref sheets, maps, adventure notes), and writing-utensil pouch.

2. Be mentally prepared.  In addition to basic adventure prep, consider the time and drop-in nature of the game:

  • How much can I reasonably expect to accomplish this session?
  • If a new player attends, what is the best way to integrate them into the ongoing campaign?
    • provide pre-generated characters

3. “All killer, no filler.”  Emulate the inspirational pulp greats (Howard, Burroughs, Leiber, et al) and keep the action flowing.  Briefly summarize the action up to this point, set up (or re-state) the PCs’ current goal, and get going.  It continues to be something of a challenge to find the sweet spot between the pulp approach (PCs start the session at the adventure location, travel to and from is hand-waved) with the Wilderlands’ default “getting there is half the adventure” hexcrawl style, but I think I’m gradually getting there…

4. Communicate with players out-of-session.  As the players become more seasoned, I really do hope that the Wilderlands will be more of a sandbox where their decisions drive the action.  In no small part, the realization of this goal depends on me providing them with rumors and adventure opportunities.

More on this subject as I continue to gain experience and reflect.

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