Sometimes, I just sort of lay a turd when it comes to RPG sessions. Sunday’s session might qualify.
As I said earlier, it was a little disjointed: it was the “introductory” session, four players hadn’t made PC’s, and most of the people came an hour late. But Sunday’s session was also sadly uninspired: a dwarf mining consortium hires the PC’s to clean out an old mine. It’s the “Goblin Warren,” and I had just done a not-dissimilar thing with Blue Team in the Sunken Fort. The whole set-up was just stale, and suffered in ways that were distinctly a result of a lack of enthusiasm on my part.
If I had to ask myself why that was the case, I’d have to give some credit to my aforementioned “ugh, another bunch of goblins/kobolds/whatever.” Getting out of the Level 1 encounter range on Blue Team excites me greatly, and having to crank it back down to 1 again was discouraging.
But the other reason is that I’m having to sort of re-train my fantasy GM brain to think of “encounters” as not just “rooms.” The old hackneyed format of Fantasy RPG dungeon crawling is this room-to-room cleanout where monsters just hung around in rooms listening to their neighbors getting slaughtered and thought “well, if they come here, I’ll do something, but otherwise it isn’t my problem.” In short, the fantasy monster version of Connecticut (I keed).
That’s not even really fair, because in good OSG’s monsters could wander into a combat in which you’re already engaged (“bree yark!”). In 4E you are not statting out rooms but creating scenes like in a movie. If monsters from one encounter can move into another, then they probably ought to be included in that encounter in the first place.
As a result of not quite getting that Sunday, I have the players saying things like “this doesn’t look much like a mine” because mines don’t have lots of 40′ by 50′ rooms like your typical 4E encounter, and “hey, why didn’t those goblins come here when they heard the fight?” I ended up having to espouse some theory that goblins worshipped Ayn Rand and figured those guys in room 3 could take care of themselves.