Word of advice to GMs who are also parents: do not schedule back-to-back games following hours of wrangling attention-starved two and four-year-olds. This is especially true if you are sleep-deprived and don't have your adventures totally mapped out ahead of time. Young children can easily suck the creative juices right out of you and therefor make it very difficult to come up with interesting encounters on the fly.
I learned this yesterday while attempting to run my latest Gurps 4e Knights of the Astral Sea session followed by out inaugural of Pirates vs. Vampire online Risus game. It's not that Knights was a bad session. I think we had a good time and there were definitely some memorable moments (including a running joke about owlbears). But I had been running this game for about six months with the express purpose of getting to the events of this session. I just don't think I lived up to my own hype.
A brief digressions...
Knights of the Astral Sea is a steampunk/pulp/dimension-hopping game inspired by such varied sources as the recently re-imagined Battlestar Galactica and Joss Whedon's Firefly. On a alternate 1930s-era earth in which the Great Powers have discovered inter-dimensional travel via specially modified airships, an off-world enemy initiates a cataclysmic ritual that brings about the end of the world. The player characters, lead by a swashbuckling cheese tycoon, manage to escape the devastation and find themselves racing through the Multiverse in attempt to regroup with survivors of their Homeworld empire.
Yesterday, my players finally reached the rallying point for Homeworld's survivors. It was a key moment in the campaign and I can't help but think that I fumbled the ball a little bit. There just wasn't enough tension or conflict. Hopefully, it's not too late to make up for it. Next time we play, the players will be venturing into Faerie to find the Once And Future Queen (who should then unite the people, take the fight to their enemies, and build a glorious new society in exile).
Back to Risus...
Last night's Pirates vs. Vampires game was really about testing the waters. Two other players showed up and we played with full video for the first time. Not much to say about the session as we were mainly trying to relearn how to do play-by-chat. We did have fun, though, and I am definitely looking forward to beginning the game in earnest next week.
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