Blogrimage 2014 Day 30: What Happens in the Mine Stays in the Mine
I had planned to wrap up the blogrimage with a happy post about our characters finishing a fairly simple adventure and being promoted to second level. Instead, nobody had fun and everyone died.
I exercised GM's perogative, of course. Today's session never happened. It was all a collective bad dream. There were no prospectors to be rescued from an abandoned mine.
But I don't ever want to play a session like that again.
First of all, we should have stopped the session before we got started. When we first sat down to play, nobody was really focused or in the right mood. It took ten minutes to get through the first minute of introducing the adventure because of all the unrelated side conversations. Then there was a fight about which direction to explore first in the mine that had two players arguing at every turn for the rest of the session. The players ended up heading straight into the boss battle, and half the party was down and dying in two rounds. Meanwhile, we're trying to figure out options we've never tried before, and searching in iBooks slowed to all but useless, leaving me to watch a spinner for minutes on end while the game was going down in flames around me. It was awful. Nobody was having fun, and as the GM, it was my fault.
This should not have been an unwinnable battle. We were playing a level 1 scenario directly from Paizo's downloadable Beginner Box GM Kit. The boss encounter was just way too hard. The monster had almost guaranteed hits on all characters and enough damage to take down every character in a single blow, and the layout of the encounter left no plausible way to have the monster decide he'd done enough damage and just walk away. I suppose there are ways we could have played it out and tried to make the characters survive; the rogue could have run away and come back with NPC reinforcements, but with most (but not all) of us in sour moods, it was time to just stop the encounter and rule it null and void.
I was pretty upset about the way things went. I even had that moment where I wanted to just give up and never even try again. I think I just had too high of expectations about how this would cap off the blogrimage, and was pretty disappointed when it all blew up. But hey, it's just a game, there's no law that says we can't just reset back to the beginning of the session and say none of it happened, so chalk it up as a learning experience and move on.
Final thoughts on this experiment turned blogrimage turned hobby? Yes, I enjoyed it. Yes, I'm still a newbie and have a lot to learn, but it's a fun game, provides (mostly) fun family entertainment time, and is a chance to express my creative side. I'm sure I'll ease up on it a bit now that I won't be writing about it every day, but we'll definitely continue play now that the blogrimage is over.