So the GM’s job is to describe the environment and make judgment calls about what’s a test vs. a good idea. Assume I’ve got that nailed. How do you do that and keep the game well paced?
I’m thinking about how much detail to prepare, both length and depth, as well as how much description and how many choices to offer in play. My last adventure had a detailed environment, with plenty to explore, obstacles and information to discover in play and after tests. But the pace was slow (too slow for some players) and finishing the adventure took a dozen sessions or so.
Part of this is of course familiarity with the systems and players decisions to be decisive or careful. But I want to do what I can to ensure a healthier pace of play when I run Torchbearer again. I’d like to play more Torchbearer but pacing play right is my biggest concern.
Particularly in the beginning of a new campaign, I‘d like players to quickly experience the full cycle of Torchbearer (adventure-camp-town). Ideally completing the adventure in a session or two.
So, how do I keep description forward play, revealing new info and new choices to keep things changing, while not letting play feel bogged down or slow. I’m not sure how to describe the feeling of playing a single adventure over a dozen sessions, but yeah avoiding that experience as best as possible.
Here’s some of my ideas:
- Prep adventures with fewer areas. Less to explore, easier to complete. I’m wondering about adventures with only two areas, like an ambush or scofflaw camp.
- Prep areas to feel larger and more diverse. I wonder if that will help players feel they’re covering more ground and not slogging so slowly. I think the Vagrants Expedition conflict does this trick really well. I’m thinking maybe adventures travelling between civilised settlements.
- Apply more pressure on characters. So players never feel safe, there are less opportunities to rest or fully explore, which pushes them to deal things with or become overrun. I’m not entirely sure how I’d do that, but I suppose it’s about monsters and dangerous environments. I just worry how to speed them on their way without killing them.