Ok, my third question – how shall I best run the first session for this follow-on arc?

Ok, my third question – how shall I best run the first session for this follow-on arc?

Ok, my third question – how shall I best run the first session for this follow-on arc?

The previous arc was ~six sessions run from the Blackmoore dungeon starter. The PC save the city from the necromancer, and deposed the (human purity fascist) head of the Paladin’s order. In the process, however, the Paladin fell out with the goddess (who turned out to be a bit of an Old-Testament dick). Near the end, the Paladin agreed to reform the church (a bargain with death from a 7-9 Last Breath). This arc starts with the Paladin wandering into the desert, harassed by the goddess and in search of something. It doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s about the Paladin wandering – it could go many ways (and the Paladin might die).

This arc, we’ll have two of the original players, plus one or two more. Probably the second old player will have a new character. I’ve joined games in progress before, and sometimes felt quite disengaged from the game because the history means nothing to me.

So, I’m looking for ways to tailor my first-session questions and materials to best support the new players while giving the existing players some new chances to contribute (i.e. to set the tone and goals for the arc).

Ideas (in order):

1) Make a dungeon starter ahead of time for the desert environment (building in some player ideas from discussions we’ve already had)

2) Give everybody a 300-400 word precis of what happened in the last arc and where that leaves the Paladin now. Distribute in advance, but read out at the start of the first session too.

3) Start the questions with “Luchia [the Paladin], what are you looking for in the desert”? (i.e. lead her towards a search, but leave the object of the search open)

4) Create new characters, and ask each character why they’ve fallen in with Luchia, and what they hope to get out of it. If a player doesn’t come in with something that connects Luchia’s quest, I’ll ask them directly to come up with something that does. Similarly, if a PC has no apparent motivations beyond the quest, I’ll ask for what those might be.

5) I’ll ask each PC what they think about the events from the previous arc (bearing in mind that the new PCs will only know of them second hand).

Any thoughts? Any more ideas?

2 thoughts on “Ok, my third question – how shall I best run the first session for this follow-on arc?”

  1. I think I’d go with #1 to start as a general GM aid, but not as the whole thing.

    The paladin thing is worth pursuing. If the goddess is persecuting the paladin make up a campaign front for her. Maybe she sends a monster to punish him… that’s a danger, with a doom and some portents. She may torment him indirectly, say by targeting something he cares about.

    Being in the outs with a god is pretty significant.

    – what does she want?

    – can the paladin be reconciled? (Maybe it’s a misunderstanding)

    – who will get hurt before this is all over?

    – can the goddess be persuaded?

    – item #3 is a great question

    – is this even about the paladin, or something else, maybe something bigger?

    – why is this a pivotal turning point in history?

    – what does the goddess fear?

    I think I’d start there. Make it BIG. A front/danger kicks things into action and starts a countdown. As it escalates now dangers will be added. Let them snowball until until the situation is ridiculously and impossibly complex. Then let the players untangle it and make sense of it and bring about a happy ending.

  2. I would start in the middle of some action of some kind — put the preexisting PCs in jeopardy and have the new characters come to the rescue.

    Then, when they have some breathing room, ask them questions starting with your “Luchia, what are you searching for here in the desert?” And following on with one question for each of the other characters, asking them why they chose to follow or agree to being hired by the paladin.

    I would avoid having them have to read something, and having something read to them is slightly better, but the ideal for me would be to have the backstory come out through interaction between the PCs, with a leading question interjected here and there to ensure important information gets communicated.

    In my experience, it’s always better to get the players to explain/describe as much as reasonably possible, and build from that. Also, the way they recall and narrate their past experience may differ in important and telling ways from the way you might choose to sum it up in several hundred words.

    In any case, I would not belabor or even draw undue attention to the shared history of the preexisting PCs. Let it come out naturally during play, or ask questions of the new players that tie them into that history.

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