Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Libri Vidicos Session Review

We had a decent session of Libri Vidicos. I'm trying to figure out what went well and what went less well. The real trick of the session lay in the fact that the players had figured out some of the major plot threads a little earlier than I expected. Since I've structured the campaign into "books" tied to school years, paralleling how Harry Potter works, managing pacing, misdirection and development becomes especially tough. They confronted a major NPC figure with their thoughts right at the beginning of the second semester.

Normally, in HP, the characters either don't tell people what's going on or there's a trust break in the setting. In some cases, the background characters are trying to protect the main character. In other cases, they can't reveal because doing so would let the NPCs (we'll use rpg terms for this) know they were up to something they shouldn't have been. The trick, at least in my case, was managing the NPCs reaction such that he wasn't dismissing them at the same time he slowed things down a little. He has good reasons for slowing things down, but I won't go into that. It does manage to kabosh a couple of scenes I had in mind for later, but I can cut or rework those.

We did the major scene with the NPC, then a couple of minor group things, and then did a "once-around". The once around involves my going around to see if the particular PC has something they want to do or someone they want to talk to. If they don't, I usually throw something at them from a prepared list of ideas I have for each of them. The group enjoys this, and people like watching other player's scenes. However, I felt like I took too long with this last night. I need to watch this and make sure the first players don't get too bored by the end. I also need to have a structured scene at the end of the session or at least after the once-around, to introduce a new element or comment on what they've found. That's a real struggle-- I don't like leaving the table without something interesting happening that gets them thinking about stuff for the next session.

Still working on restructuring the plot for the rest of this year-- I may need to go back and revisit some of my ideas for Year Three+ to see what's going to work there.