RPG a Day 2016: Parts greater than the whole – Day 9

Continuing the second week of the #RPGaDay 2016 challenge, let’s tackle today’s topic, which to me seemed very similar to the topic for day 22 last year, the perfect environment.

August 9: What things are a part of your ideal session, other than the actual game?

If you go back and read my entry for day 22 of RPG a Day 2015 I talked about the physical aspects of the space where we game and finished by saying that the most important element was a place where I get to spend time with my friends. So that last part is definitely the most integral part of any session other than the actual game, the camaraderie and the quality time I get to spend with dear friends. For today I’d like to think about OTHER elements of a session that are important. Let’s give it a try!

An ideal session is exciting, and excitement can take different forms. Solving a puzzle, achieving a goal for a character, a challenging combat encounter, role playing opportunities, that and more can bring excitement to a session. A session should be fun, and fun can range from laughing at a joke a fellow player made, the humorous outcome of a fumble, to a comical NPC interacting with the players. An ideal session should be meaningful, an objective, no matter how small should be achieved, from discovering a secret, to saving a princess, to acquiring treasure. All of the above is very subjective and depends a lot on player motivations and character goals, but those three things, excitement, fun and meaning sound like three goals to keep in mind in every session.

As a GM I’m guilty of not always hitting all three for everyone, especially attaining goals, I tend to run long campaigns where these goals are often long term and I am keenly aware that for some players my adventures can seem bleak and depressing. I try to keep it in mind, but I admit it is one of those things I fall back to because I feel there is time to develop all these plotlines.

As player can help foster all of those elements I mention above, by participating actively in the game, reacting to events, sharing ideas with the GM, feeding plotlines and hooks to the GM and fellow players, getting involved in other player’s plotlines. As a habitual GM that is perhaps what I like the most, engaged players who are attentive to what I and other players are saying are really a pleasure at the table. Not everybody is on their A-Game every session, we’re human, not even me as the GM, but you know what? We are friends, and getting together is the most important part of the session no matter what!

Teamwork d20

What parts are the ideal components of a session for you? Is your response all philosophical like me, or do you have more concrete ideas? I’d love to know…

Besides posting, tweeting, vlogging and sharing your entries for RPG a Day 2016 in the myriad ways you are doing it, I’d like to remind everyone that there is a Facebook Group dedicated to the event. Be sure to drop by and leave a link to what you create there.