Friday, 5 November 2021

The Consolidation Session

I don't believe that the players rolled a single dice-roll "in anger" during today's session. I made a couple. It was what I think of as a consolidation session.

A consolidation session is one serving two functions: tying up loose ends and taking care of housekeeping and logistics; and psychological downtime. It will generally only become necessary in a long-term, open-ended campaign, but in such a campaign it is vital. 

Stuff happens in such a session. Treasure needs to be sold, magical items identified, rumours investigated, hirelings hired and equipped, mid-long term plans discussed, and construction projects commenced. Time is often accelerated - we covered about 9 days' worth of events in the space of two hours today.

At the same time, in a long-term campaign stuff sometimes needs not to happen. If there have been week after week of high-octane excitement and danger, the players and DM benefit from a low-intensity breather. This might seem strange to say, given that there is a gap of a week between each session, but a D&D campaign has its own rhythm - its own, parallel reality - and just as the PCs would need a bit of a holiday after a dangerous journey or dungeon delve, so sometimes do the players. 

The benefits of the consolidated session are felt in future weeks. Next time, the players will be ready to embark on what will feel like a new chapter, refreshed and reinvigorated. The PCs will be full of hit points, armed to the teeth, and with a new crew of underlings to replace their dead. It is the equivalent of the feeling an audience and actors share as the theatre darkens and the curtain raises after the interval in a play or musical. We've had our half-time ice cream, beer and toilet break, and now we're ready for action with renewed purpose. 

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