Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Expect the unexpected
Second session of my improvised D&D campaign went rather well. As I stated previously, I had written an entire encounter last week, based on a simple premise and some vague ideas. It came together nicely.
The party started out on the road after outwitting a magic (cursed?) item, and avoiding having to wade through a hundred skeletons last session. It was later in the day, so they found a good camp spot and set their watch. I decided that this was too easy, so I had a crafty ogre invade their camp. They fought it off and killed it, but not without taking some lumps and shitting their pants. An added benefit was that afterwards they were REALLY looking forward to reaching the town of Slovane several miles up the road.
They entered the town on horseback, and it was very stereotypical. As they rode in, they got suspicious and fearful looks, and almost no conversation from the locals. Pretty soon they were immersed in a mystery involving disappearing persons, a shadowy figure only briefly glimpsed by one of them, and a midnight sneak-thief who circumvented all of their paranoia-inspired preparations.
Interestingly, I hadn’t counted on the preparations, so I had to come up with something on the fly in order to do what I wanted to do. And this actually turned out to be a really cool bit of world-building as I improvised the NPC reactions. In the end, I managed to get the party to WANT to follow my railroad, which is really the goal of every DM. I mean, let’s face it, every adventure is a “railroad” to a certain extent. Otherwise, why would we write anything past the initial setup?
Anyways, they went to my abandoned temple and did all of the things I was hoping they would do. And even though I had written a few elements in that I completely forgot about at the table, it all worked out well. The next session will start with the battered party ambushing a wagon that travels a long tunnel to get to the cave complex. Not sure how I’m going to work with what they plan to do after that, but I’m sure I will come up with something. I already have a couple of ideas.
As a funny side-note, my 7-year old son exhibited the sense of humor that he has inherited from both his mom and me. The party had just killed a carrion crawler, with only two of the party falling victim to the paralyzing poison. After it was dead, I described that the mound of rotting carcasses and trash was actually its nest, and in it were several eggs.
Without missing a beat, my son’s barbarian licks his lips dramatically and says “Mmmm…scrambled eggs…”
I about fell out of my chair.
Anyways, I think I have some surprises for the party in store. I know what they are expecting, so this should be fun!