The most important unit of gameplay for you as a GM is the session. A session is one meeting of your game group, generally running about 4 hours, in which you tell one short, self-contained story with the characters that pulls them from their previous position and lets them take a new direction. A session might be best conceived of as one "episode" of the ongoing campaign, and it is the sessions that you will need to deliver on, as a GM, to keep the players engaged and the campaign flowing.

Success and Failure in Sessions

Keep track of the number of Total Party Failures in a session (that is, times in which the entire party is defeated). In each session, these should not have much of an effect, but over the course of an entire adventure, these will be significant — if the party fails more than 3 times in an adventure, they will fail the adventure.

If the party achieves any great success, either due to a difficult encounter, or from rolling particularly well, they should get an immediate award of some sort, such as an earlier award they missed, or a special item or piece of equipment, or extra gil or XP.

Generally, the standard awards of gil, XP, and equipment will be given if the party succeeds in the adventure as a whole, rather than being accounted for in each individual encounter.

Sessions and Narrative Structure

Each session should contain a central conflict, solved in about 3-4 stages by the PC's.

Act 1 should introduce the major NPC's and threats in the session. These can touch on things from previous sessions, and on things for future sessions.

Act 2 should focus on the PC's trying to solve the central conflict, such as by dismantling the conflict construct. In a plot-focused session, the PC's might be lead along by some threat. In a character-focused session, the PC's might select from a menu of ways to destroy the problem standing in their way. Most of the challenges for the session will be in Act 2, getting progressively more difficult until…

Act 3 should finally resolve the issues in the central conflict construct of the session. After getting to and engaging with the final challenge (which is frequently a combat), the PC's see the consequences of their success or failure, and are pulled on to the next session by the elements that link into the overall arc that they are in.

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