So the 5th Edition lunch game at work as suffered some major attrition lately and the group is now down to two player characters and myself. For a briefest of moments I had lost confidence and thought the game was going to end in a most undignified manner. But my players have remained resolute in their wanting to continue playing to see where the story goes. That is like gold to a DM!
So a benefit of a microparty is that as a DM it allows you to give the spotlight to the characters with greater duration and frequency. In the last session we had, the party split, by which I mean one character wanted to try to find out information via one route and the other via a different route. And it worked perfectly, giving all involved a chance to role-play out the scenarios to what I would like to think was a mutually enjoyable fashion.
The work campaign is a nice juxtaposition to the home campaign, between using a different edition and now the stark difference in the number of players in each group, but for a DM the tasks are still the same: present a living, thriving world that challenges the players and their characters, provide the characters with challenges and obstacles, and to make sure that everyone gets a chance to shine. In the home campaign, that’s a little more difficult with the varying levels of experience in the players, the different player goals, the different character goals, and just the sheer size of the group and the limited amount of time per session that we have to work with.
DMing is very much like directing a movie at times. You have to keep pacing in mind, you have to know when to yell cut on a scene, and you have to recognize when the actor (player) isn’t at their best and so maybe today’s not the day to shoot their scene. But unlike a movie director, the DM only has a partial script and really that script is more like an improvisational scenario idea. Basically I’m like Clive Anderson or Drew Carey from Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, I throw the scenario at the players and see how their characters react. I get to interact with them via NPCs, but I’m always careful to follow their lead, not try to redirect them to a preconceived ending that I have in mind.
The results for both groups thus far has been engaging and a lot of fun, both for me and the players.