Yeah, it’s still taking me some time to recover from it – and I’m not all the way there yet.
This was one of those sessions where I accidently blindsided the players and ended up blindsiding myself as well. Combine it with players swearing and stomping off into other rooms in snits, to me getting incredibly defensive and barely managing not to essentially do the same (many thanks to my spouse KR who did a great job of de-escalating tensions) and this is the sort of game session that has a DM asking why the hell they even bother to DM (or even RPG in general).
It’s not so much that my ego is bruised, I have had things that I though were great or would be fun go incredibly wrong before and come out the other side basically unscathed. THis time it was just one of those perfect storms of people reacting badly, people reacting badly in certain ways, and then me feeling incredibly frustrated because the “way through” (which I’ve already RetConned out the entire session pretty much out of existence though so that’s kind of a non-issue) was easily just to role-play through the problem (which was that the tax-man showed up) and that is basically what KR did.
Now, a couple of players explained that they felt shut down because of the couple of things that they tried that didn’t work. I get that, and I can see how that was and would be frustrating – but it didn’t mean that there wasn’t a whole host of other things to try (which my spouse certainly came up with). And I can certainly admit that I just didn’t quite realize what the tax burden of a couple of the magical items would be for some of the players – so there was some legitimate sticker shock from that quarter. It was that some of the player reactions seemed so out of scale to the situation that really blindsided me.
But all-in-all I walked out of gaming last session with a very bad taste in my mouth.
I have faith that I can get back the enjoyment and the excitement I’ve been feeling playing 1E again, but I’m kinda “meh” right now with the idea of gaming. I probably need to run some solo stuff with my son (his ranger is running around solo right now) and my spouse (she has a handful of solo characters doing their thing as well) – both of these have the potential to rekindle the flame after the cold bucket of water that was the last session.
And yes, this is my 100th Post here. Yippie…