Well, this past Friday’s game was another GM-ing failure from my perspective. I am really having difficulty getting the CSIO to come alive like it did about eight years ago when I ran it for another group. Somehow, I’m just not able to get on my feet and get running with it.
Here’s a quick write-up: the group started in Tonto’s (the thief) hovel. Heading out first thing in the morning, the group is struck by how quiet it is in the street. Looking around, the short street is deserted with only the body of a human about 2/3 of a block away lying in the street in a pool of blood. The elven mage/fighter fires an arrow into the body to determine if he’s alive…while the rest of the group is moving up to check on the guy. The Mycretian cleric immediately is checking for vital signs and trying to stop any bleeding, even the newer bleeding from elven arrows. Tonto and the Altanian fighter begins rifling through the guys clothes, looking for identification and valuables. He’s cleaned out. And then arrows start to rain down upon the group. On the rooftops are five guys in leather with short bows obviously aiming at the group. A short fight ensues which includes the thief and the cleric running up the stairs of one of the tenement buildings in an attempt to get to the roof. The ambushers are quickly reduced down to one, who then turns tail and runs…straight into the cleric and thief. They subdue him and question him. Now, this took almost 30 minutes because there was constant interruptions and lots of side punning, sexual innuendos, and rock song lyrics sung. (Don’t ask.)
The group then takes the guy to meet his contact and (in an absolute failure of intelligence on my part) sit there while I talk to myself to present the argument between the contact and the ambusher. In disgust at myself for what I have slipped to, I hand over two direct bits of information and hire the group to find a missing box (a third box because working things in three’s allows for interesting situations…usually). From this, the group decides to set up the Valonian sorcerer and this wizard (the contact) to meet in such a way that things will reduce to chaos. It does. I then determine to have some of the magic items each wizard had on him to fail/interfere in such as to teleport the bystanders into the Plain of Cairns, almost 100 miles away.
And I feel like a failure because I lost it as a GM and essentially did a “rocks fall, everyone dies” stunt but without killing the characters. So, I’m going to sit down and work on my dungeon that I had planned for a little later in this campaign and present it in the next session. I’m also going to try to spend some time brainstorming through all the situations I had planned and see if I can salvage anything. While my pride wants to blame others, I know….I KNOW….this is entirely my fault because I was not prepared as I should have been and I had not done my job of making the city come alive.
I think I’ll close the comments on this one. While I appreciate my friends trying to convince me that I’m too hard on myself, I still believe that it is the duty of the GM to set the tone of the game and I failed to do that.