This was the first session in which I really tried to randomize things and play things a bit more sandbox style. I’ve never been very comfortable with doing things that way, but felt like I needed to stretch myself and see where things went.
I created a few different tables, all rolled on 1d6. The tables were (or are, since I’m still using them)…
- Potential landing sites
- Animal encounters
- Alien nemesis encounters
- Planetary features of interest
I had the players roll to determine which possible landing sites they found, and I used the others to create the story. Pretty much the way one would use some of the tables in the Little Black Books, but I’m not fast enough with those and it would take too long.
One benefit of doing things this way (for me) is that I feel less like I’m railroading the players. It also tests my ability to think on my feet, which I’m not super happy with. I need practice. I made a few mistakes I’m going to correct in the next session. Yet another benefit of short sessions — this one was two hours. Beside fixing things I’ve messed up, since this was a short session the actions of the players and the way things developed have given me some ideas for the next game. So cool.
Challenges . In this case, the party decided that several player characters would stay at the ship while the rest went off exploring. This is fine, but it isn’t easy to engage players that are simply at the ship doing Jump drive maintenance. So I had to come up with some things to get them engaged. Not easy. However, I think the exploration party is in a big enough mess now that the characters at the ship are going to need to help out.
I don’t know what the PCs are going to do in the next session. They could do anything. But in this game their actions helped me figure out a few things about this planet, so I think I can have plenty of ways to react no matter what they decide. What I need to do is plan a couple of jumps ahead. For all I know they may decide to take off and risk a no-maintenance jump just to get out of this system. So I need to be prepared.