When I was first reading this section of the module, I thought, “Seriously? There’s a passage leading directly to the chieftain and the shard? And it’s not even hidden?” I considered changing the map, but in the end I left it the way it is because its main effect is letting the PCs bypass a bunch of giants who aren’t much of a threat to them anyway. Well, there’s a secondary effect of forcing me to be prepared for a fight on either the first or second level of the dungeon. Typically I’ll skim the whole adventure before the PCs get to it, and then before each session I’ll read through the level they’re about to enter in more detail, thinking about what strategies the creatures there will use and how each group reacts to light, noise, etc. I haven’t always done this, and sometimes real life intervenes so I can’t, but I find planning things out a level in advance massively improves the quality of the session, particularly as we get into the higher levels and creature abilities become more and more complex. More than one level just takes too much time, and I’ll probably forget most of it by the time the party reaches that level anyway. As is typical for an adult gamer with a job, you need to find a good balance between preparation and available time, and I think this is the right mix for me. Yes, I know Gary Gygax used to recommend reading the whole adventure in detail before you even began, but no, Mr. G, just no.
Session Forty-Seven: GM Commentary
Posted in GM Commentary