Though we have finished the 6th session of our campaign, I felt that I was a little off of my DMing game. The pacing of the game, to me anyway, seemed more erratic than usual and though I try to stay loose and improvise as much possible, I also feel that that aspect was off as well. On paper (the recap) it sounds fine, and maybe it actually was, but, in practice, it seemed to me to be a bit rough. As we all know, the game experience is much different for each player as well as for the DM.
Now, am I just being over critical as a DM? Was I seeing boredom in some of the players eyes or was that just paranoia? I felt that I didn't engage all the players as much as I think I may have in past sessions. Room for improvement there? Yes, no doubt.
Upon reflection, a big part of my impressions at the table was that I felt that I, as DM, was moving the story along more so than letting my players command the game. I think that came down to having more of an agenda than in the previous sessions. Dare I say I railroaded the session a bit? I always have some idea of what might happen within a session, but I have tended to let things flow where they may.
Also, once the characters step out of the dungeon and into the city or wilderness the game tends to spread out a bit. PCs head their separate ways to accomplish their own tasks and goals. Sometimes it's a challenge to handle that aspect of the campaign. I think, when I was younger, that was my biggest fear of DMing, loosing control of the game. When you think about it, DMing is all about a controlled chaos, an improvisation at the table where nobody knows what the next turn of the page will hold for the characters.
Now there wasn't as much action or battles in that session, and there were a lot more hooks and pieces of story. Perhaps I overdone that a bit. In my zeal to give a broad-stroke of a larger campaign picture, perhaps I bogged the game down a bit.
Whether this is all true or just in my head, I can at least take what I felt were slow points or errors at the table, examine them and try to improve my skills as a game master to avoid those 'mistakes' in the future.
As I've always said, everyone at the table should be having fun and getting what they want and need out the the gaming experience and that goes for the DM as well. But players and DM should be open to improvements if something misses the mark.