Back to square one


NB: I started this post on Saturday but couldn’t post it until now as my Internet has been down.

Well, it is Saturday, the day after gaming night and I was expecting a jubilant post about how I managed to get the campaign up and running as well as my own nervousness about the approaching big battle.

That’s not going to happen. Not now, and not probably for a while as I am back down to one player.

One player!

I had three lined up, and last week I was operating under the assumption…no the confirmed fact, that all of them would be turning up at 5.30pm outside the church library which I had gone to not a small trouble to book for us. One I knew was coming, and if she wasn’t she would tell me. The second I spoke to that morning and he reasured me (first after asking if the date could be changed) that he could come. The third I had not had contact with for a little while for simple reason he did not answer his phone and couldn’t call me back. But he was still coming, right? Right?

Cue the day, and I had to run in and get the keys as well as a few materials for the night. 3pm I got a phone message from guy number 2, saying that he couldn’t come as he was going to the movies with some friends instead. Note to self: never invite him again.

At around 5pm I was trying to call player 3, whom I had tried to contact all week to confirm. He then informed me he was about 50ks away and in no way could get to gaming tonight, and did not sound the least bit concerned that I was very pissed off. You know who you are, and you’re going to have to do more than a little convincing to get back on my good side, if you can ever get there again. The fact that we were within a metre of a church did not stop me from using some very choice words that I wouldn’t normally.

We played for as long as we planned, but I couldn’t help feeling a little down and without the interaction between players at the table, the game isn’t what it usually is. In retrospect, keeping to my campaign was probably a bad idea as I has designed it with the entire group in mind, or at least more than one person. However, I have been working on this campaign for quite a while, had had a hiatus of a month and had also gotten some great tips from the guys at roleplayingtips.com for organising big battles. So I was keen, and it ended up being such a downer.

So here I am, back where I began when I started my journey as the Level 1 GM, with but a single player. I told the aforesaid single player that I could not be sure when we were playing again, I have to get recruiting and it’s a bad time of the year for that sort of thing with all the public holidays bumping into each other.

It would also be a nice idea for a certain DM to get out of his bag of holding.

FTR, the game in the Giant in the Playground forums seems to be a non-event, but I have a contingency plan that deserves a post in it’s own right.

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~ by katanageldar on December 11, 2009.

4 Responses to “Back to square one”

  1. Yeah, I hate when that happens. I go out of my way, spend hours and hours of prep time, sometimes re-schedule my entire week to fit in a game, and then four hours before the game a player calls up and tells me he’s not showing up because there is a football game on.

    Sometimes it just seems like gaming is not a priority to anyone else but me . . .

  2. Sorry to hear that happened to you, especially first time around. December is a killer month for scheduling game sessions at the best of times (my own games are on pause until January for just that reason), but to have confirmed players blow out on you is never fun. I feel your pain.

    There’s not a lot you can do beyond what you’ve already done to prevent no-shows. It’s how you handle the players who do turn up that matters. Sometimes, the best solution is to cancel the session and go do something else instead. Sometimes, it’s best to game anyhow, or share the time to do a little collective world-building. This rewards the players who have turned up with a bit more ownership in the campaign setting – which means they’re more likely to turn up for future sessions too 😀

    Ask ’em if they want to help design a nearby city, come up with a legend or artefact or neighbouring country. Heck, do that before the campaign even begins and it stops being your campaign, and becomes their’s too – which again means they’re more likely to show up on the day.

    Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from gaming with a reduced number of players anyhow. That’s easy to do for our superhero games (“You hear the noise of cop cars and an alarm in the distance!”) than it is for D&D where there’s encounter building and all the rest to contend with – but solo gaming gives you a chance to experiment and (if the player is willing) learn the trickier parts of the rules. Whip up a Paragon-level character to see what the next tier is like, or give his existing character a backstory vignette to play through. S’all gaming, and make you a better GM for giving it a go.

    Here’s hoping you have more luck next session!

  3. That sucks! I know what it is like to have people cancel on you and then have an virtually unworkable number of players. It really is a downer, and you’re pretty much right in dropping the people that place the priority of other entertainments above your game. Things like family, accidents, work, or even a hot date I can understand…but seriously, football? Movies? That is super lame, and kind of disrespectful.

    On another note, I too have a campaign set in the Dark Times. I have set up a blog for it and everything!

    Inevitably, everyone wants to be a Jedi, and the pitfall of that is that it becomes a really, really traditional campaign of constantly getting harrassed by well equipped Imperials trying to kill you.

    But I guess that’s not always a bad thing, is it?

  4. […] where we left off? I had one solitary player but a good place to game that was convenient and accessible. Now, I […]

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