Before we started this weeks session, I got some feedback from the players that had missed the previous two feed back sessions for various reasons those feedback sessions were in many ways unplanned either because there were too many cancellations to late to call off the session or after a previous player’s unexpected dropping of the game. So we ended up spending a little bit of time at the start with my taking notes about some of their concerns. It worked out to be mostly a couple of related issues.
1. I need to work on pacing of the session and not let the players flounder around as much. There were a couple of suggestions on how to do this. One was to call the end of the scene and move things on. The other was to set up an NPC that could help provide them with information and or jobs when they get stuck to get them moving. I am not sure how I feel about the NPC idea, but I tried call for the end of the scene a bit more in tonight session and asking leading questions about what they want to do after the session.
2. The other suggestion was to spend a bit more time planing arcs that cover more than a case or two. Almost season length arcs if this was a TV show. Which to be fair in many ways goes back to the pacing issues being brought up in the first point.
I have a couple of things in mind that fit the concept of the longer story arch type events, and I just need to work them in with the unrelated cases. The limiting of the player’s feeling of floundering though will be harder. And I am not sure what would be the best way for me to manage that, and to do that I am going to revisit some of the ideas that I have written about such as using the Urban Shadows City Threats rules in Savage Worlds.
I also need to make a more concerted effort to make sure that these sessions happen when everyone is there, not just when something disruptive has happened or when we unexpectedly fail to meet quorum for a session. The easiest way to do that is to at the start of each session or two ask if there are any issues that need to be discussed.
The last thing that came up was one of the players wants to occasionally run “one-shot” sessions instead of our normal Deadlands Noir game for everyone. I am fine with that, though we probably need to work out a schedule instead of just discussing during the lead-up to the session or at the end of the previous session especially since one of the “one-shots” that is being proposed sounds like it is a longer game.
And hey, I must be making some kind of progress because the lack of bennies being distributed was not brought up as an issue. Not that I think that the issue has been solved, just that I seem to have found a way that works for me to get them distributed out during the session. My solution that seemed to work for me was to have a stack of bennies out that are explicitly meant to be distributed to the players for their actions.
Later today I will write-up the notes on the session that happened after this discussion, and hopefully get that posted for tomorrow.