Friday, July 27, 2012
Save vs. Cat Piss
So, Wednesday night was game night for my usual group. I arrived home after worse-than-usual traffic to find a couple of my players lounging out in my front yard. As I was setting things up and people began arriving, my players started urging me to run the game outside. The weather was gorgeous, in the mid 70s and nobody felt like being cooped up inside. I began to weigh the pros and cons of happy players vs. potentially distracted players and decided to give the outdoor game a chance. So, we whipped out picnic blankets, unrolled the battle mat on the front walk, and I settled myself in to run things from the stoop.
Well, just as we were about to get started, one of the neighbor's cats came by to visit our cat Sapphy. The neighbor cat, who we call "Buddy cat" really likes Sapphy, though the feeling is not reciprocated. The point is, we're familiar with him and he's generally well behaved. Tonight, however, as he was sniffing around the game area, he backed up to the camp chair where one of my players was sitting.
(The following activity happens in about 2 seconds.)
Tail begins to rise
Fiancee (sitting across the walk) eyes get big "He's!"
Player in camp chair leaps up, says several naughty words and then looks mortified.
Save vs. cat piss FAIL
Thus I learned just one previously unforeseen example of gaming outside. The game start was delayed as we chased Buddy Cat from the yard and got my player some replacement pants. Though the cat spray episode was certainly the low-point for the evening, my inner debate of happy vs. distracted players continued to play out. People seemed chattier and jokier than normal, which is good from an "everyone is having fun" standpoint, but was also causing focus to drift. Because we quickly entered a combat encounter, the cross-talk, singing of the Chariots of Fire theme and other more joyful distractions forced me to constantly wrestle with my players' drifting focus in order to keep the game moving. This was made doubly difficult by the fact that I was working from a modified setup myself. I found myself searching for stat-blocks, overlooking extra minis errantly placed on the board and generally felt all higgledy-piggledy.
Ultimately, I think everyone had fun... despite cat piss... there were some epic moves and kill shots that happened during the course of the single encounter we managed to pick our way through. Everyone, myself included, definitely enjoyed being outside. Still, whenever I have a fumbling game, I feel like it taints the fun being had... like so much cat piss.