Oh, I missed a couple of days! Sorry about that!
9: Beyond the game, what makes an ideal session?
Everyone shows up, preferably on time, and everyone contributes to the social part of the session, whether it’s bringing food/drink, setting up, cleaning up, or whatever. If it’s held at a local shop, everyone makes a modest purchase to support the store owner, and throws away their trash.
10: Largest in-game Surprise?
I ran an evil campaign during D&D Encounters (Web of the Spider Queen) in which, in the penultimate session, two of the PCs, who had been plotting together through the whole season, murdered a few of the other PCs, trapping the maguffin in the Abyss. The maguffin was supposed to be recovered and used to stop Lolth in the final session. It was a close, bloody fight complicated by the fact that things from the Abyss were trying to kill the PCs while the party member betrayed them. One of the PCs, dying, picked up the maguffin and threw it towards the closing Abyss portal, but rolled poorly and missed.
The player who had orchestrated this betrayal (with my blessing!) could see in my eyes that I had no idea what to do if they succeeded in trapping the maguffin. They were pretty far off the plot rails for Encounters anyway.
Finally, I shrugged and said “nah, you know what? Good job, team Drow. I’ll figure something out for next week. The amulet bounces off the portal and clinks to the floor just as the portal closes.”
11: Which gamer most affected how you play?
The cheater. We had a player in organized play who cheated. He’s notorious for it locally. I had multiple phone calls to Wizards of the Coast, who did nothing. He found out he was about to be kicked out of the group (the latest in a long string of games he would be booted from), and stopped coming.
12: What game is your group likely to play next, and why?
My weekly online group is likely to play Fall of Magic on Roll20 for a few weeks. We have a lot of schedule and personal stuff going on, so a system with a bit more flexibility seems like it’ll be a good fit for a while.