Coffee Break – A Pause in the Play

What a difference an hour makes.

And another rip out of the hand blog post.

When you’re trying to play an RPG, you can sometimes lose touch with what you went in for… sometimes you need a break, other times you need to make sure things are as planned.

Something that sometimes require not playing.

Let me bring you up to speed… although we managed to get back on track with Call of Cthulhu, there was something about the story-line that just wasn’t right… it was dependent on us being at a specific point at the end for each chapter AND for the world to be in a certain state… and for that to occur… it just wasn’t going to be fun.

Unfortunately we couldn’t do little else that week either; the GM forgot to send a message that we we meeting up and… well I normally get there on Thursdays anyway and he arrived so we just ended up around a square table.

This may seem like a written off session under normal circumstances however it took a different route.

We started talking about the campaign that had passed, then moved on to the characters I played, then moved on to the characters other people played, then onto future RPGs we were going back to or new ones we are going to do… we managed to talk for about an hour and a half in this way.

To me what was originally going to be dead space had turned into an hour of what I genuinely now believe can sometimes be missing from a game… a break.

I’m not just talking about a week off; I mean actually spend about 1-2 hours as a group talking out of character in front of each other.


… firstly there can be a rush sometimes to get back into a good story, a good GM can make an adventure you want to come back to time and time again; this means you want to get in very quickly and forget what needs to be done.

As such it sometimes can be necessary to pause to make sure that everyone is enjoying the story and making sure that the tone is right.

The best example I can offer was the campaign’s format itself; it suffered from a very strict requirement for everything to follow a specific path… a BAD case of RAILROADING and the GM actually did very well to hide this for a while.

However during that hour he was able admit that the campaign wasn’t working due to that very thing and he wasn’t having fun either.

… secondly things going wrong can break a session; as I’ve already mentioned before a single issue broke a session and (what I didn’t mention) caused a player to walk away.

You need a little time as a player and GM to set the expectations of the players and warn the players if there is the potential for things to go wrong but at the same time act as a post-mortem if things go wrong.

The whole campaign was on a hidden timer that only became obvious when a certain event happened and it caused chaos with one of the characters.  

The problem was, due to the nature of the story, it was required that we all remained together, found the clues fast and finish the chapter… however it didn’t feel like this was the case due to the length of the scenario… this was something we did discuss.

… thirdly it can be used to improve the current campaign; a campaign is more than just the story the GM brings and sometimes it can be difficult to explain why a character does something and at points slows the session down.

Having an hour or two is actually useful to do two things; firstly it allows the GM to drill into the characters in an low pressure environment while at the same time learn something about the player.

The strangest point someone ever made was that my characters were risk adverse… and when I looked at the way my characters were acting…

Well it seemed that way however I also mentioned that it would be luck in some cases that I was going in the wrong direction AND also I create characters that were all about preparation then acting when given the chance.

The point I’m trying to make in this case (although badly) is that communication outside of the session is just as important as communicating inside a session.  This incident was accidental however I will be asking in the future to include “cooldown” sessions within the RPGs sessions in the future.

R.P.G. Werewolf on Twitter —  RPG Werewolf on Facebook

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