I love this game
This is a bit long, but I just wanted to get some of this down while it was all in my head.
People in my game, on the off chance you are reading this, this won’t have spoilers but it’s kind of “man behind the curtain”, so read at your own risk.
My players had a pretty long and sudden hiatus; about 4 months long. We have three players + me (GM), and one had to take a break for outside reasons, so we paused. I thought this was basically the end of the game, but lo and behold, the band got back together this week! (This was very exciting to me – not only do they like my game enough to play each week, they didn’t take the easy out of “situations have changed and we can’t play now”.)
We have a Druid (Ivy), Paladin (Solus) and a Bard (Stark, who plays a lute). Goblins have been attacking the Druid’s forest, and they are trying to figure out why. The last session we had, they had just fought a troll and camped while en route to a nearby druid encampment, where they hoped to find answers from the leader there, Aurbrey.
I had not prepared really anything, for all of my time I had away from the table. I had some general ideas about things that were coming, but I had those from before. I do wish I had been more prepared, but once things started going, it really went. Hopefully the players felt the same way!
I knew we needed something to get things moving so I picked a fight with Ivyt the Druid. You see, the players were escorting a group of NPCs from a different encampment to this new one. The leader of the first encampment is named Lem. I explained that half of the clan was suddenly missing this morning, and Lem started berating the Druid about it. Lem had been sitting by the fire all night drinking, and it soon became clear that he blamed these newcomers for the problems they were having. (Something I had apparently not considered: how was it he was sitting here all night, and didn’t see the people leave? Maybe that’s part of the mystery though…)
Lem stormed off to his tent.
Solus the Paladin decided he would attempt lay on hands, to try to sober Lem up. After some discussion he was able to convince Lem to allow the prayer, and he rolled 10+ and sobered him right up. It was a great start to the session – the NPC was now totally ready to head out and saw the newcomers with more favor.
They started wandering through the woods, so I had them roll “undertake a perilous journey”. I kind of dislike this move because it often falls flat for me, but I knew that the only way to figure it out was to keep trying. The Paladin was trailblazer and rolled 6-. What does being slowed down look like? The Druid was Scout and rolled 10+, so slowing them down with bad guys wasn’t really going to work. And then I knew.
They found themselves suddenly in a creepy, dense forest. It had become basically night in the middle of the day, the trees were so thick and dark, and they noticed the branches were gnarled and twisted. Some trees seemed to be leaking blood instead of sap.
Stark the Bard, having bardic lore in Grand Histories of the Known World, asked me something about what he knew of the place from legends. I told them this place was Rhym, a legendary forest, known for magic (usually evil), where failed wizards and cultists often wound up. It was also something like the Bermuda triangle. There are few if any first hand accounts of entering and leaving, and most that tried have gone mad or been changed drastically. Or at least that was the legend.
The Bard then atempted to heal the trees with Arcane Art. I looked over the move, and it’s not really meant to be used on something like a tree (it says “choose an ally”), but I figured it would be fun to see what happened from trying – it was basically just going to be RP. He missed the roll, and so I said that as he sang the song he could hear an echo of it being sung over him, off-tune and very creepy.
The Paladin started trying to get his bearings, trying to figure out where they came from, and where they should go. He rolled discern realities – and also missed. I said that as he was looking around, he heard what sounded like great flapping wings over the treetops – the trees bent and swayed under the powerful force of the wind from the wings. They couldn’t see the creature as it flew over, but only hear it and feel the shaking trees. The Paladin then started freaking out over the prospect of a dragon.
As an aside, this was one of my favorite moves I made. I had no intention of throwing a dragon at them (and technically it is still a ways off), but it was great to “show signs of an approaching threat”. Everyone knows there is a dragon, but they have no idea when it might strike. I am so proud of thinking of this, as simple as it is.
The Druid changed into a bird to take a peek at the dragon, that was now circling around the distant mountain that they were traveling towards (they have a treasure map, and it’s on the way to the druid camp).
They eventually looked around enough to figure out that to the right was what seemed to be cultists, and to the left was maybe the path to leave. They took the left path, leaving these cultists behind (and leaving me with new fronts).
Once they arrived at the druid camp, they found it half-destroyed, with the people there fixing up their homes and stores, and building a large fence to try to prepare for further attacks. Lem said he would travel ahead with Ivy to find Aubrey, but Stark, who is obsessed with Solus, attempted to convince Lem to take Solus with them. He played some song, and I can’t even remember what I made him rol – I think there was a roll. At any rate, they all end up traveling into the center of town.
They find a townsperson and ask them if they know where Aubrey is. He says he can go find her, but it will probably be about an hour. So they start talking to the other people around, and Solus starts helping build the giant wall they were constructing.
Eventually, they come to find out that there seems to be some sort of enchantment on the townspeople here; Stark plays his lute to break them free, and succeeds.
Next time they are going to meet Aubrey – who they are not sure now if she will be an ally or foe.
The game felt like it really fired for me, and I think the players liked it too. This weekend I might try to think up some more stuff for Tuesday; I definitely need to write down the info about cultists and whatever the hell front they’ve got going on.