The players have encountered the “diversion”: a sword demon. A feararkh blade from the Pale of War. It has been giving them a serious smack down. All the foreshadowing of its power was ignored by one player and the rest stuck with them anyway to try and keep Felghanis alive.
Fate Points were burned! No-one has more than two left after starting with four each.
I think they can salvage it without spending more and technically they can’t spend more since the Fate Point wasn’t intended to ignore a blow and stay in the fight. It was intended to keep the PC alive after the blow and use the narrative to explain why they didn’t die. Good example is Kellor after being struck by Thiridea’s poleaxe. It certainly looked like the dwarf had his head smashed in but when they checked him Kellor was alive, unconscious and missing his ear along with a swath of skin off the side of his head – making the mess they thought was his skull’s contents.
Unfortunately I was caught up in the excitement and fear of the confrontation with the Feararkh and allowed, if not encouraged, the use of the Fate Points in that way. And to top off the bad GM’ing brought in Fenris as a TPK preventer (god mode Sue?). I reneged on that and ret-con’d it after the session ended. It was fairly pointed out to my face that was what I had done and although it cut a bit it felt good to “undo” it.
Given the party are in a bad tactical situation I have to think of some narratives to save the day.
1) The fate points already spent will still do what they were meant to. OOC explanation will be made up front to clarify how FP are intended to work and what the IC ramifications are going to be. That is PC’s will be “saved” by the FP already spent but still go down and look dead. In future that is all that FP will be able to do.
2) Intervention: there is a caster within the keep, Lady Murelle, who could intervene and possibly save the party.
3) Aftermath: FP based survival has the characters “wake up” to the aftermath.
I don’t know what’ll happen, and I have a few more ideas that I won’t list, but I’m hoping to get it back in the good zone after my GM stuff-ups.
They’ve made it to the first town since Dwarftown, where they were pretty much imprisoned straight away. Vrim is filled with side-plots and has the added complication of Thiridea’s Scours being based there. What the players will do in regards to that I am not sure.
Coming up is a bit of rest & recovery. I’m anticipating that they’ll want to try to locate the other book, not the one in the capital, and recover it. That is fine and planned for. However, I’m hoping that the rich background and potential side-quests are a good lure, too. Unloading loot is coming up and there’s hooks for other quests in that, as well. Basically Vrim is like the major town in a video RPG with hooks on every corner. I may have overdone it.
Swathes of information are on the table now, after session 14. It’d be hard for the players to struggle come up with an agenda. I think that they’ll be swamped with choices and struggle to make a choice about what they ought to do next.
It really will be game-altering which direction they choose. Vrim or Stonecrest. The latter is nearly 300miles away. If they choose Stonecrest it’ll refocus the game on travel and survival for a time. Covering that kind of distance in the harshest winter in living memory will be tough. It also raises the question, what if the winter doesn’t end? The prophecy that Herath brought from the shaman Old Mountain seems to think it will not end unless the return is stopped.
It’s clear that the players have some antagonists. Thiridea and possibly her Scours. The potential threat of Jonas who Frellan insists would not have died in the Iron Tower. Fenris as an enemy if they end up on his trail again. The Prelate of Dwarftown and his “secrets”.
I know if I was playing that I’d be heading for a town. At the very least a hot bath and a fresh loaf of bread before going elsewhere. Vrim is close enough that it’s worth doing and heading back through the Greywynd Woods, and the vengeful Garren, might be a suicide-mission. With all this going on it’s still 2 weekends until we play again (May 6th).
Session 11 really put the rudder on the party, I felt. The books of Fimbulwinter show the means of what is happening. It’s the motive and whom that remain unanswered. This is a good thing because can’t have it all revealed in the middle; it ruins the climax of the tale.
What’s coming? The players are likely to head to Kentos’ Barrow. Greywynd River, and its surrounding woods, is the territory of Garren. They’ll risk encountering the Wood Wraiths and all that entails.
My feeling, as GM, is that we’ve regained some cohesion with the main plot and put the direction back into the group (in-game). It’s looking good for the next few sessions.
Well, the big hook in the Iron Tower still hasn’t got enough bait on it to get the players to bite. They are giving me the impression that intentions are for exploring the whole tower. After encountering the boneclaw-sarcophagi they are rightfully cautious.
We may have a new player joining us in a fortnight which would be great. The dynamic will shift a bit with that player able to bring a lot of energy and characterization to the table. Still too early to say, though.
Other plans are for some more revelations on the big plot which they’ll likely be able to piece together most all of what is going on. But that will present them with the “what the hell can we do about that” conundrum. And that is where the fun begins!
Session 8 is looming close and with the party in gaol they may be hitting a motivational crisis. As players, and as the characters, dealing with imprisonment is difficult. The emotions rise and people become desperate to get out. Bribery, violence, promises, imploring for empathy, all the tools of someone who thinks they may be hurt and does not have the ability to adequately defend themselves. It really is a horrible place to be and, in essence, is a kind of emotional abuse. Thankfully it’s only a game and all of this is a kind of “program” being run in the sub-routines of the players brains.
This is the kind of magic of RPG’s. We can use our experiences and knowledge to place ourselves in the situation of the characters. A kind of mental simulation of the experience. How intense this can become depends on the investment and capacity for imagination of the player. Frankly, if it’s enjoyable for everyone at the table it’s working as it should.
What’s in store for them?
Quite a bit is lined up. What I think they’ll do is plea their case as if it’s a court. The unfortunate part of this is it is a religious court and all the mockeries of justice that go with that will be in play. What I expect will happen shall be quite a surprise for them. Especially when I drop the news that a war has started whilst they were traipsing about the wilderness for 50 days.
We’ll see what happens because they certainly will have the opportunity to hang themselves by saying too much. But that’s okay. We’re playing with Fate Points (save your ass points) and it will mean some strange occurrence will save them all.