Regardless of how often I tell myself that I need to prepare for sessions well in advance, I still find myself finalizing session details seconds before I drive my car to run the game. I’ve written how procrastination has fueled my campaign in the past and led to some dynamic moments, but it also creates a cycle of anxiety that repeats itself once every two weeks. The cycle goes something like this . . .
Finish a session and have every intention of waking up the next morning to write out some notes and plan the next possible steps in the campaign. Get distracted by other activities and put off said planning until “later.” Delay final preparations and increase my anxiety about the next gaming session. Stuff two weeks of planning into a few hours the night before (and day of) the next session. Run the session in an adrenaline-and-anxiety fused state and forget exactly how I pulled it off without the game totally collapsing on itself.
I have been working to change this routine, and one way I’m challenging myself is to feel more comfortable improvising during a session. While I still relied on some final-minute planning and organization before the last session, I attempted to scale back on my preparation of specific events and allow for a greater amount of improvisation. I discuss the results of those efforts below, including a breakdown of observations from one of my long-time players about the improv-heavy session.