Dungeoneering Environments 2

A key part of maintaining your play environment is keeping track of time. I write about this because I totally failed at that last night. We started late, which is not exactly uncommon among my group. Most of my players are old friends who don’t see eachother as often as they’d like. Two of them travel at least half an hour to get here. And we had been on Christmas Break hiatus for 4 or so weeks. Then apparently my computer locked up at 10:58. Now my computer is running Ubuntu and I’ve discovered some interesting things that never happened with my windows computers. When a program in Ubuntu locks the screen refresh, it tends to leave my mouse and the laptop’s powersaving mode untouched. So I can move the mouse, or hit the keyboard, the screen pops on. I’ll look and the mouse pointer is moving around, and I generally figure all is well until I try to use a program. This time I was just checking the clock. And the way I was doing it was sort of like:
Check Time
Is Time Before Midnight?
If Yes, oh good, keep playing
If No, End Game
Clear Memory.

I wasn’t paying attention to the number, just that it was constantly before midnight. I should have noticed as several of my players started flagging, but some folks came in tonight already a bit tired. One of the dangers of a Friday Night game. When we finally wrapped up, it was 2:30am. by the clock in the other room. My failure was one of attention, which is very easy to do as a DM. While I was checking the time regularly, I was not paying any real attention to the time I was checking.
Manageing your time use in game is important. It is a key part of maintaining player interest and energy and in my case where my players travel a considerable distance to play, safety.