So it slowly seems we are creating a tradition of playing D&D, though with another group than mentioned in the previous post. It’s a bit different since we are running this game online over VOIP and without cameras, so there is a certain amount of communication lost through that, but still it has been quite fun so far. We have even managed to recruit a new player who decided not to join us on the initial session but coming in for the second on and staying for the third, so new convert, yay!
Preparation is still an aspect that I find highly challenging, since it’s hard to know in which direction the players want to go so I don’t really want to overprepare things that are unlikely to end up happening yet simultaneously I often notice how unsatisified I myself am with things I end up improvising on the fly—not that any of the players seem to have minded at any point so far but still! Also the whole “keeping the world consistent” thing is much easier when I actually have some idea of what’s going on beforehand, though maybe that’s an aspect that I personally focus on more than the players themselves do.
Simultaneously, that all can just be solved by taking good notes while we are playing of the things that I'm coming up with on the spot, and our last session actually ended up being mostly improvisation on my part since while I had accounted for a bit what was going to happen if the players ended up going in the direction they finally headed, it wasn't the "primary" story path—more akin to a sidequest or the like—and consequently the world that they encountered on the way there wasn't overly fleshed out yet from what I can tell the players seemed engaged and interested in the characters they encountered while doing a bit of investigation on a missing person in the village and their suspicions even gave me new ideas for potential further stories if they decide to go that way even if I had previously had nothing planned for these characters. Though maybe I also need to be careful of confirming any suspicions players may have to often since if jumping at every shadow yields something dark the world might feel a bit more bleaker than it is.
This last experience though has significantly calmed my nerves when it comes to actually running the game, since it was an opportunity to see that I can actually manage the situation coming up pretty well of having to think on my feet and just kind of blurt out things that are forming in the moment which while I knew was important going into the whole dungeon mastering thing, was something I felt really shaky about especially hearing the amount of preparation some dungeon masters choose to do before their sessions that I haven't really commited to myself—I mean, I try to prepare as good as I can but it just feels very difficult since I don't know here the next session will go. Still, this does mean I'm not as stressed for our upcoming session and am actually rather looking forward to it, well, moreso than I was before.