We did a bit of character adjustment for the latest session of Storm Point. One of my players is on an extended hiatus, due to real-life demands that take precedence over gaming. While we thought that he might be able to drop in on an occasional session, we kept his character active, played by one of the other players. This was primarily so that, if he managed to make it out to a game, we wouldn’t strain credulity too much by having his character join the group*.
The downside of this is that there is always one person playing two characters, which can get burdensome.
So, before the party headed off on the latest adventure, the players and I had a talk, and decided that Milo was going to sit this one out. When his player comes back, he’ll rejoin with experience equal to the rest of the party, but this alleviates the two-character burden somewhat.
Anyway, my goal this session was to resolve the storyline with the ambassador, get the party the information they needed to pursue the shadar-kai angle they were looking into, and get them on the road to the site where the various humanoid tribes in the region meet every full moon to conduct some sort of ritual.
So, we opened with them talking about what to do about the ambassador and his latest attack. Taking their story to the authorities narrowly won out over storming the embassy and burning it to the ground.
They really hate the ambassador, it seems.
Not wanting to draw this out interminably, I decided that the ambassador was making enemies in other places, too, as he was a snobbish, arrogant, incompetent aristocrat, which doesn’t go over too well among the rough-and-ready frontier folk of Storm Point. The Captain of the Guard listened to the party’s complaint, told them that the man was on thin ice already with the mayor and council, and that the fact that he used fire magic in his latest attack in the largely wooden town should push things over the tipping point. He took the fragments of the magical device that had summoned the hellhounds and fire bats to the Wizard**, who charged the town a lot of money and then performed the necessary rituals to confirm that the device had indeed been used by the ambassador.
And so the ambassador was declared persona non grata and given 24 hours to leave town. He couldn’t take embassy personnel, and his private guards had been contracted only for local duty, so he was forced to take passage with a caravan heading back in the right direction. Our heroes watched him get the news, and scurry around trying to find a more luxurious way to travel, with big smug smiles on their faces.
They even wanted to hire on as caravan guards with the caravan the ambassador had joined, just to mess with him all the way home.
They really hate the ambassador.
I dissuaded them from doing that, basically by saying, “You want to what? What happened to wanting to find out about the shadar-kai? It’s not like I’ve got anything prepped for a caravan guard adventure!” They relented, rather than make me sulk.
Because when I sulk, I kill PCs.
So, instead of haring off after the ambassador, they went and had tea with his clerk, whom they quite liked. Said clerk delivered to them the information about an eladrin ruin in the Trembling Wood where various tribes of orcs and goblins met every new moon to do something that probably didn’t bode well for Storm Point.
They latched onto this adventure thread, and headed off into the wilds. As it got near evening, they were attacked by a goblin patrol that actually managed to put a bit of a scare into them when the inimitable Thrun the Anvil wound up dazed and prone, surrouned by a bugbear, a hobgoblin commander, and a dire wolf.
Yeah, it was a random encounter, essentially. I did up four or five encounters for along the road, and roll each half-day to see if they run into one. So, sort of mid-way between a set encounter and a random encounter. The encounter itself is set and statted, but the occurrence was random. It’s not a new idea, but I’ve been avoiding random occurrences in the 4E games because it makes it harder to see how many encounters occur before the characters level. For this game, I’m leaning away from that, designing it in the way I used to do, and trusting in the ease of customizing the encounters to level them up if necessary. Also, I’ve divided the level’s treasure into parcels and hand it out as seems appropriate at the time, rather than actually assigning it to an encounter in advance. That way, I can keep things a little more fluid and adaptive.
Anyway, that was Sunday’s game. The next game should see them to the adventure site, and then we’ll see what kinds of answers they get to their shadar-kai questions.
*”Hey, look! Milo somehow made it past the gauntlet of traps and the orc tribe to join us on our adventure!”
**I was stuck for a name, so I decided that this is the only name he uses, in order to protect his true name from enemies and rivals.