Today was the first session of the long awaited "Castles & Crusades With Librarians, Mormons, and Army Sergeants" game. Armed with my handy quick guides to C&C, a converted copy of Dyson's Delve, and a boatload of snacks, we jumped into it.
I'd been informed that most of the players were rank newbies, but only one had never played a TRPG before. I decided to short-cut things at the beginning, establishing them as a fledgling adventuring company who'd stopped in a nowhere farming town on the road to somewhere much more important. While refreshing themselves, they were approached by the local headman, who asked their assistance in finding a missing shepherd boy, who he feared had been taken by goblins.
And with that, they were off. Giant rats and ferrets were slain. A ghoul was confronted. Eventually, they learned the poor lad's fate and even managed to find the goblins, who trapped them in a crypt full of undead. Thanks a rather clever ploy by the one human in the group, they even managed to get back out alive.
While I normally run a more story-driven game, I decided that this one, if not a sandbox, would largely be run without pre-planning on my part. While I'm always surprised by the courses my games take once the PCs get involved, it was nice to just sit back and react to what they were doing.
(And a fine crew of PCs it is: Leaf, an Elven Fighter; Lux, a Gnome Monk; Vultrude, a Half-Elf Cleric; Bhaaahb, a Halfling Bard with a 3 STR, and Candles, a Human <strike>Arsonist</strike> Rogue, who also seems to be the conscience of the party.)
In the end, I measure my success at the table very simply: did everyone have a good time, and do we want to play again? The answer to both questions was yes, so today was full of win.