Cancellations. Dead air. Holiday Plans.
We’ve all been there. Game night and Sarah gets strep. The GM’s is with his cat at the vet. Family BBQ ate the fighter. Any number of roads can lead to dusty holy symbols and bat guano that dried too soon. You are ready to game and there is no game to be found.
Making Use of Hang Time in a Campaign
Yes, when unexpected “outages” occur in a campaign it is easy to scrap it and grab your favorite alternative card game or board game or synch up to a virtual world of adventure. Or maybe you could sink some time back into the game you were looking forward to and make the NEXT time you game that much better.
Here are some ideas for using the unexpected free time to support the game:
- Buy Lists – This simple exercise can save HOURS of table game that could be better spent on story or action. Take some time and think about magic items your character might actively be looking for to aid them. If your game doesn’t rely to much on gear then plan out logistics, supplies and role-playing spends (time, money, etc.).
- Map Your Next Level – Even if you haven’t actually leveled yet, running through your next level (up to leveling up a new sheet) can be a life saver. So many times people come to the table without a ready character after weeks of frustrating cancels that this small investment would have made effortless. If you have to time, get it ready, next week it might be you rushing in with a minute to spare.
- Flesh Out Your Background – Spend some time in your characters shoes. Think about what new things her party does she likes or who he has been missing while adventuring. Where have they been during recent downtime. Any questions you need to ask your GM or fellow party members? What questions have you asked and answered about your character? Play with a random generator to fill in holes?
- Accessorize – Simple props like name cards, initiative trackers or conditions markers. You can shop your LGS for these quirky aides, hunt down something specific from an online retailer or even DIY it. Simple gifts of class appropriate or GM specific aides can go a long way to sooth stress from varied play styles. Most important they will speed and facilitate game-play and help the next game run better.
- Research – Hesitating here–don’t do this to “be right”–but, if an issue has been problematic at the table take the time to look into it. Particularly if an issue isn’t relevant to you but seemed to cause the group issues. If you find a clear rule supporting the situation make it known to your GM so they can get your assist.
Hang time can still really make a difference for a game, take some of it and re-invest into your game and group, it will almost never disappoint. However, if you find yourself with more hang time then playtime, it might be time to add or replace a game.