We have all been there. The game is about to start and we just wait for that one player who is always late. Everybody is busy checking their Facebook or random videos from YouTube. Some leave for a smoke and maybe one player starts to go through the assorted papers for the game. Then that last player arrives and the game should start.
But it doesn’t.
Maybe it is because of collective tiredness or maybe someone wants to argue about a tv-series. Or maybe the GM has left the dice at home and no-one thought of bringing their own.
While (I trust) this is all too familiar for most playing groups the real problems raise when the GM actually tries to kickstart the game. Desperately calling for attention of the unruly mob of players exchanging news the GM struggles to get the group into the gaming mode. And when it finally happens an hour of gaming time has already been missed.
Ok. I might be generalizing the situation here but this scenario is all too familiar from our games.Last Tuesday was such a catastrophe that Peetu actually called out for making some changes in our habits for the next campaign.
Most (or at least some) “how to roleplay”-theories suggest that you should start your sessions by reviewing what happened during last session. This a small thing but helps to get into the mood. During this campaign I have managed to forget about it most of the times which is quite odd since during the campaign before this we did it – with a twist.
Role-playing theories advice using a background music in games to set the atmosphere but at least to my knowledge none recommend you to come up with a theme song and using it as the background at the beginning of a session.
In our campaign “Wayward Sons” we started each session like a new episode of a tv-series (namely Supernatural) – Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas playing on the background I quickly explained what had happened during the previous sessions. It might sound a bit cheap but I actually think it really helped to tie in all the sessions together and after few sessions really helped us to get into the mood.
Coming up with a theme song might be a hard thing to do. I really did not put my mind into it for our current campaign and thus another song actually rose up to fill in the void. It was more of a joke than an actual mood piece and only now that we are wrapping up the campaign do I notice how much influence a theme can have.
I have already chosen a new song for the next campaign. It is relatively long (over 5min) allowing us to retell the “last episode” and it kind of a background music with a simple chorus. I think it will work out great and raise up as one of the theme songs that will be remembered.
(We are still using the Eldritch Sigils systems that is heavily modified version of Apocalypse World. If you want to check out the latest draft of the set you can get it from Eldritch Sigils Facebook page.)