At Cassandra's request, we had another game, one earlier in the month than normal, and it might be our last for awhile (though on the other hand, I'm tempted to slip in just one more session here in about three weeks. Tempted. Readers: Don't take that as gospel), and overall, I think it went really well. I designed some interesting hooks and played out the consequences for various stories, and some players chose some very interesting solutions, resulting in, among other things, and daylight fight for our heroic cop (which earned him back all of his Willpower. How could it not?)
There were a few flaws, the greatest of which was pacing. Despite me telling the players to be there two hours early, we still started two hours late. My god. Of course, the real problem was a broken computer and a sick player who ended up oversleeping alot. So this wasn't a situation I can or should really blame on someone. It was just a bad roll of the dice. However, I tried to force players to choose between situations "You can do this or you can do that, but not both," and they ended up splitting up and going in all possible directions. Almost no scene included two players together except for the very final scene and the very first scene. As a result, the game involved alot of waiting for everyone. They didn't seem to mind, but I did. The game is more interesting, as Walter loves to point out, when you can interrupt someone else's story and get involved.
So I need some way to encourage the players to remain together. I can just tell them to do so, and they probably will (as they did in the first session), but it might be nice to come up with some reason, like some danger lurking on the streets that grows greater whenever they are alone. The bad guys are coming to know the players' faces. Maybe they could start stalking the players and ambushing them when they find them alone. This makes separating a calculated risk, rather than a mandated "do not do!" from on high.
Byler, Shawn and Roomie had a blast, and no surprise, they had the lions share of the game planning. I don't like it, though. Not that they got to game, but that Dave and Cass hardly did. Part of this comes from their exhaustion. Cass even fell asleep during the game, but eagerly woke to play, suggesting that her sleepiness did not stem from boredom. Even so, I had hardly anything planned for them. Dave tends to play best when he gets to be a killing monster, but he isn't active, he doesn't pursue people unless people first pursue him. I might need to change that, and I have a few ideas how I might (For that matter, I had an element I wanted to hit him with, and forgot).
Cass is a bigger problem. Stray has no background, no details, no personality. Or, rather, she does, but Cass won't tell me about it, presumably because it is "unfinished" yet, and she's nervous about it (and possibly also because it's still in flux). Worse, she hides from the world, which inevitably results in her sitting around petting her pets, which is fun in real life, but crap in a game. She wants to play the outsider looking in, but to do so, she must look in. It's not enough to simply be the hermit on the outskirts of the city, cleaning your nails and picking your nose. If she is falling asleep from boredom, I think I know why.
I need to find a way to drag Stray kicking and screaming into a human society she can't possibly deal with, so she can angst over boys she cannot have, so she can watch people laughing and talking that she cannot be friends with, so she knows which wicked people to stalk, and with desolate people to secretly help. I need to draw her into Fairmount, where she can meet all the interesting people and one cat. I'm just worried if I kick her out of her comfort zone, she'll resent me for it, or that it'll disrupt the background/story she's trying to create.