Because if you never do anything before a session, guess what. You’re screwing with the Pink Floyd I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon shirt your players take to come and play at your table. That 10 minutes you need to go get the goblins and position them on the battlefield could have been taken during the 7 days preceeding the weekly session, but you took it not only from your session, but from your players too. On a final note, OP here says this : Keep in mind we had waited months between these sessions. The 4 sessions took basically an entire half of a year to finish. For fuck sake. At this point, either you take the 1 or 2 hours to plan the skeleton of your fucking table amongst the weeks of time you have, or you never pretend to be a DM competent enough to ask people to give you time and attention. You are a crook if you consider yourself a DM without the prerequisits to make that time taken valuable enough for your players. That’s called respecting your group. If a DM could kick himself out of his own table, this is it.
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You should always give some feedback to good faith engagement. If the players aren’t looking in the exact right Pink Floyd I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon shirt of the map you need them to in order to pick up on your masterstroke story, then remember that it isn’t a fucking videogame and you can just move things or improvise. If the party is totally off track but making an effort to find the track, drop hints! Improvise different things they can do! When you asked if anyone recognized the Scarecrow, he should have just said “None of you do, but you could ask around town.” Then you could have someone in the village recognize it as belonging to that farmer from session 1, then give the players a recap on what happened there. It’s not that hard to be a little flexible.