I’m getting together with a few friends to game during the week. We meet at a Starbuck’s in Manhattan, so Kevin can get back to Jersey at a decent hour and the rest of us can ride back to Queens on the train together.
We started by playing Torchbearer’s intro adventure, 3 Squires and it went alright. I fumbled us through the town phase and felt the grind of having the PDF but not the book. I learn better from print but enjoy referring to the text in play through my iPad.
Then it was time to make up my own dungeon. It sucked. I have never been good at making dungeons. As a kid, city adventures or sprawling, ridiculous political adventures made sense to me but making dungeons work never came naturally. The truth is, I need to make my dungeons like I do my cities and my political situations.
My dungeon had monsters that all wanted the same simple thing (to protect this area or that area), so there was not conflict occurring, nothing dynamic happening. When the players interacted with it, nothing about the ecology of the place was action packed or interesting. The hell hound, crypt thing and golem were just fellas who did their job and didn’t have much to say to one another.
I remain intrigued by Torchbearer and want another shot at running the Wizard’s Tower over the Chaos Knight’s Tomb, a shot to spice it up and make it work but I will wait until the book arrives and I can give it another read-over.
It was even more frustrating because I was GMing for folks I hadn’t GMed for, so there was definitely the sting to my GM’s pride. It is stupid, I know but this is something I have done and done successfully since I was a kid and having a series of sessions go poorly was a bummer, a definite blow to my ego.
I wanted to write about a session that went lukewarm, didn’t want anyone to think that my gaming life was all backflips and high-fives. Sometimes I look over at Bret, John and Kevin and say, “Next time we get together to play, I’d like to play a dungeon that didn’t suck. This dungeon sucked.”
And that is okay, that is part of the deal sometimes.