A while back I commented that there seemed to be a real advantage to megadungeon play where it came to front-loading the prep. Well, we brought little Melody back from the hospital today, and looking forward to our first night home, I had been hoping to get in a session after we put my eldest to bed.
No way. To make the session concept I have in mind fun, I need to plan a few things out. Sequence out the events, think about the challenges and ‘puzzles,’ figure out some branched scenarios on what the PCs might do.
I don’t think I’d have needed maps today, but I didn’t want to rely on my improv skills to early in the game.
I wonder if what i need to do is make an “effective” megadungeon in the same way that one would map Zork. I don’t necessarily think that the right way to do this would be a ConsPyramid, from Night’s Black Agents, but I could be wrong about that. Actually, I can see how this would be handy.
Some sort of relationship map, like Charles Bartowski made in Chuck, might be just the ticket here. A few overlapping triangles, a nested Conspiramid/Goals and Objectives map, would allow the players to start dictating the pace of events (like in a megadungeon) instead of ‘no GM worm-on-a-hook, no game’ (which is where we are for episodic play now).
If I can get the game to start (or ideally, end) with “what we need to do next is . . . ” that will allow a whole bunch of agency in the game, as well as feed me plot seeds. I can always break out the locomotive when I need to, but having it be somewhat up to the players, such as “we need to find a frombotzer. Let’s look for a world with the following characteristics and go delve!” will take some of the pressure off.
Still, I do have a fun idea for the next mission. I just need time to flesh it out.