Friday, July 27, 2012

Save vs. Cat Piss

Cat Piss range increment 7 to 10 feet

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.


  1. It doesn't seem to matter where we play, we always have the same kind of problem. Not the cat pis, that'd be weird. No, we always have player attention drift. I think it might be down to gaming with guys and gals I've played with for years and love catching up with. it might also be the beer. But then, if the gaming society is going to meet up in a pub, it's be rude not to.

  2. Yeah, I think the fact that we're all also close friends is really the unavoidable heart of our focus issues. Socializing is definitely an equal priority to actually playing for us. I don't mind when I feel like I'm on top of my game, but when I'm having a hard time getting into the flow, it makes things all the more difficult.

    Also, the cat piss was a totally new experience for me. The fiancee and I were glad it was the neighbor cat and not our own. The worst our cat does is sit in the middle of the battle mat like a kitty tarrasque.

  3. KITTY TARRASQUE!!!!!!!!!! :-D

    I didn't feel like we were terribly distracty during the last session (aside from the cat piss distraction). I don't think we were any more or less chatty than normal. We still got a good amount of progress done :) Quit stressing so much! If we weren't having fun, we wouldn't have 6 people showing up at our house twice a month for over *3 YEARS* ;)


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