So here we are. Everyone has their mandatory one liter of Mountain Dew. Crown royal bags have all been relieved of the dice-hauling duties and you know everyone’s got their mechanical pencil. This can only mean one thing: It’s time for D and D.
Ah, yes, good ol’ D and D. For the DM, the days leading up to a session can be as excruciatingly long as the last days before Christmas are for kids. The anticipation is insufferable. The wait to see the fruits of your labor completely wracks your brain. Will they go into the cavern with the trolls? Will the even find the hidden passage? Did I really spend three days designing an elaborate system of traps that they by blind luck manage to completely bypass? These are my nightmares. These are the questions that keep me up at night. Okay, it’s probably the Mountain Dew that keeps me up at night.
It is natural for the DM to fret over the details. However, it is important to not get too caught up in trying to micro-manage the campaign. No matter how much planning you do, your players will eventually and invariably totally derail your plot. Simply put, you can’t plan for everything. Through sheer brilliance or simply dumb luck, at some point, your players will conjure something that you, the omnipotent DM, didn’t see coming. Before you let your ego get too bruised, just pick yourself up roll with the punches. live22
In previous articles I have advocated the importance in striking the right balance. This situation is no different. It is crucial to aspire to maintain the momentum that was established in the first few sessions of a campaign but not at the cost of character development. The continual progression of a linear story arc is essential to keeping the group focused on the grander scheme, yet each player still needs a sense of freedom.