Hey folks I need some help.

Hey folks I need some help.

Hey folks I need some help.

On the closing scene of our latest session, one of the player characters (an evil elven mage) tried to murder the town’s mayor (the party discovered his corruption schemes) but she was interrupted by the other PCs, as they knocked her unconscious and let the guards take her away to prison.

The whole group is totally fine with that (including the player that is in jail now), we all laughed and had a great, fun session, but the question is, how am I going to start the next session, considering that one of the characters is going to start separeted from the rest, locked in a dungeon, while the others are free?

I was thinking about the local feudal lord taking the corrupt mayor to jail and putting one of his most trusted captains in place, a person who would rule the town with an iron fist and would not tolerate any kind of criminal, putting the elven mage’s life on some serious risk.

Any suggestions?

15 thoughts on “Hey folks I need some help.”

  1. You could ask the players how they want to handle it. They may decide to fast-forward to them having a change of heart and trying to break her out, or perhaps they end up at her public trial where they can intervene and she can try to escape, etc. This is a perfect time for letting your players do some of the filling-in.

    It sounds like you’re going to try to subtly convince them into deciding to go to her anyways, so maybe they can do it in a way that is fun for the party.

  2. I would start with the elven mage running through a forest being chased by dogs. Ask the other players “how the hell did he escape?” and find out if they had a hand in it. If not, ask what the local mayor is paying them to track their friend.

    That way you don’t have a character who isn’t free to move, and can let the players decide if they want to help or hinder

  3. Ask the players what they want to do. Maybe they want to stage a jail break. Maybe the player of the evil Elven mage wants to play a different character for a bit. Maybe something completely different.

    Point is, instead of worry about how to start the next session, ask thr players how they want to start.

  4. In the same vein of Aaron Griffin​, I would fast-forward the action and then recap as you play by prompting players with questions.

    The first thought that came to mind is to have a third party involved. For example: The orcs are raiding the town, the players and the city watch will have to put their differences aside as any able body need to defend the area if they want to survive this brutal raid. Again you start them in media res fighting Orcs and then you ask questions to find out how the charactet who was in prison escape. Remember to ask loaded questions with hard choices which will prompt you players to made your share fiction better.

  5. Vincent Quigley At first, I read Aaron Griffin’s idea and said to myself, “Yes, that would be great!” until I realized that you are taking the agency of that player. You are deciding that they will escape. Perhaps they would have preferred to do something else in that scenario. Perhaps not. Heck, the players might not even notice and just play along but I wouldn’t feel right about it as a GM.

  6. Damian Jankowski​ I would ask the players first of course. The main idea here is that you are creating a shared narrative. If there’s trust at the table and the GM follows his Principles and Agendas there shouldn’t any problem.

    Of course, individual experience may vary but PbtA games are particularly great at telling this kind of story.

  7. Personally I would have a time out with everyone including player of said Elven player and ask “so do you feel you can still group with this character?”

    Its fun playing an evil character if everyone is on board but if everyone wants to be good eventually it might be fictionally untenable that the characters would still adventure together.

  8. If they need her they will try to save her.

    Isn’t a good/chaotic action to help her out since the mayor is evil?

    Put a pocket emptying bail for her safety, this way it may not be necessary to break her out but still be a possibility

  9. Personally, I’d love this to be a chance for the party to have to run or ruin a trial or a jailbreak. Make sure they fictionally need the rogue party member back, or suggest to the elf that they need to convince the party why they can stay rather than it be a given.

    Definitely ask the party, as well as think about what your party has enjoyed. If it’s mostly fighting, then a jail break or timeskip suits. But if they like roleplaying, fun spontaneous occurrences, then bring in a trial.

    Also a tip to make the elf look less bad, is if you introduce a judge or prosecutor that seems to have ulterior motives or is just more suspect than the elf. If the elf’s a lesser evil, then it can encourage the party to defend them.

  10. Charles Eichman​ Yeah I was thinking about introducing about something like that. Maybe the stories of an elven wizard trying to throw a Fireball at the mayor would attract witch hunters to town, putting some pressure over the other characters.

    Or maybe, like suggested above, I would start with the elven mage on the run, with the locals starting a witch hunt to get her, and then I would ask the other players if they who would they want to help.

  11. Going post escape has the advantage of drama, for sure. But I’d like to see how the players handle it. We had a similar situation in our campaign, where a PC got a little threatening with the Lord in his castle. It wasn’t all that bad, honestly, and the Lord probably would’ve glossed it over, because he’s clueless. HOWEVER…the Lord’s right hand man, the real brains of the outfit, saw where he could use the affront as leverage to get his Lord out of some deals he had made with the party concerning land and future holdings. He basically blackmailed them, offering them a pardon if they gave up their claims on the original land deals. The PC prisoner wasn’t going to go along with it, but the adviser intimated that “things could get very hard for you people in this town” (i.e., the Elves, who are not looked upon favorably by Humans in these parts). The Elf PC gave in for the sake of his people.

    Now, they COULD’VE staged a jail break, or maybe another type of bribe to a guard or who knows what. But they want to maintain their status in the base town so they can plot and scheme to change things from within. In any case, that’s the beauty of leaving it up to them. They might go the direct route. They might not. They might make a great sacrifice for the good of others, thus gaining them cache with their people. You just never know. In the end, there is not correct approach. I just figure the problem of jail is pretty meaty to begin with, and that the players will probably bring something to the table. Starting with the PC already escaped, while perfectly legit and pretty awesome, removes a few preliminary options. Then again, the role of the steading plays a part, as well. If it’s gonna be in their rearview mirror, or better yet, if you WANT it to be in the rear view (and maybe have the mayor hiring assassins later on):-) the “hounds baying” is as good an option as any. Whatever you choose, I’m sure will be right for you and your group.

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