Rust on the Sandbox

May 18, 2011
Mark
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Power running Grasslands at Convergence demonstrated how rusty I am at off-the-cuff game mastering. I did some preparation for the game but was planning on 4 players. Instead the player count was 2 at the start and 3 later in the day. Since the player count was low, I had the two original folks make two characters each. Grasslands is generally deadly so I figured at least half the characters would die over the course of the session. Instead, only one PC died: Yop* from the later arriving member. Many others came very close but managed to escape death.

In the past, I’ve used random monster tables frequently based on terrain type. I’d extend the terrain type for transition zones since the grasslands are a singular type. However, the hard bound Monstrous Compendium from 2nd Edition doesn’t contain random monster tables. So much for that. Flipping through the book is slow and tedious; not to mention boring for the players. So I’d scramble during breaks to ponder a few different creatures as I went along. The original monster supplements in the loose-leaf, 3 ring binder format had the tables. Randall asked if he should bring them. I said no need. Go figure.

After a few hours of struggling along, I finally got back into the groove. The pace picked up but was no where near my heydays in the role of chief chaos creator. Still, the majority of the party was having a good time in their chosen roles. I also wasn’t well prepared for in-town stuff. I hadn’t really given it much thought. Luckily, Randall did what he always does and started the ball rolling. Player driven stuff is easier to handle for me. I can generally determine rough slices of interest based upon the character actions. From there, I just drop in filler.

Overall, I spent over 12 hours in the DM seat. The rust wasn’t gone but at least it was flaking away by the end of the night. It was quite fun to bring back a setting from 20 years ago even if the start was slow. I was pleased and got compliments from a couple of players. If they had a good time and I had a good time, who can ask for more?

* Yep, its Yop. My bad.

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