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).
I’m hoping the players certainly have some questions:
- Why were scours attacking the barrow?
- What the hell is a werebear doing as a Scour at all?
- Are these Scours, Thiredea’s band, connected to those that died at the Iron Tower?
- Will Kentos’ spirit let them take the book now?
- What about the Hob’s & Blakh?
- Is there a Garren revenge warband on the way?
- And where is Fenris (if they even care any more)?
Session 14 will be back to plot and information with a very good chance that the party will make it back to civilization for the first time in nearly three months! I know I’d be lusting after a hot bath, a real bed inside of four walls and a roof, and a fresh baked loaf of bread after that amount of time in the dirty wilds.
However, the party do have the entire Scour group as prisoners: two soldiers, a priest and Thiredea the werebear.
Interesting choices and possibly dilemmas ahead.
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!
One of the premises of this game was that the characters are from the same village, trust each other, are friends, and as GM I will keep the CR’s within the DMG recommended strata. This has all been met, mostly, with some PC’s drifting into distrust of the others out of player-habit, and out of one PC’s actions.
What I’ve noticed is that some of the players just fall into the same character with a new suite of powers (the current build). Do you have players doing this?
For Session 10; the PCs are at the Iron Tower and I hope they continue to explore. The incentives are pretty good since there is nothing about for 50 miles of snowy wastes. 50 miles away is the Black Tower, counterpart to the one they are in, so its not much of an incentive because the PC’s can reasonably expect it to be similar.
The mention of war, the Rhett invading from the south with one of their first reported victories being the PC’s home town has fizzled out (in what is discussed at the table & in-character). However, that is mostly environmental with a little bit of avoiding the RP that could be had. It will really take them returning to civilization for this to come back to focus – they need other people about, and their communication, to find out more about this.
When we get back to the original rhyme, from the Seer-woman in Felk Bay, we are only up to:
“Five swords of bone.”
Yet it seems they may have found them in the walking sarcophagi with their bone-claw attacks… or have they?
Another premise, although recent, is that we’ll escalate towards Epic-ness. That means pushing it out to levels in the teens, where the PC’s will be amongst the most powerful beings in the land. And for that I have a whopper of a subplot that even Erikson might enjoy.
The group has come together to try a new adventure. This time with preparatory talks about how the players have come to trust each other enough to adventure together. The framework will be to drive party continuity; that is, there are game-mechanics in play to prevent PC death. We’ll be using Fate Points (qv. WHFRP) and in-game phylacteries to allow a soul to return to a body that is “repaired” within a time frame and a resuscitation check is succeeded (qv. Rolemaster soul departure).
I pitched to play in Kiltayre. A land that I’ve not visited in-game for many years. Partly, in hindsight, because I’ve set it up as more politically complicated than I knew I was ready to GM for. And partly because it’s not as well fleshed-out as it could be. This is a double-win for me because I, one) get to flesh it out more by GM’ing, and two) get to have a more mature attempt at GM’ing in this politically complicated setting.
Ostensibly it will be a straight-forward quest. The GM style I’ve pitched to the players is far softer than I’d normally run, in terms of combats, but I will be using the environment as a dangerous thing. Kiltayre’s harsh winters will be an enemy that they will be constantly at war with. With that element of survival-gaming introduced I hope to steer the players to a position where they can better appreciate my gaming-preferences, and even just experience the way I like to game a little better, and see if we can get even more firmly concordant in how we prefer to game in the future.
This is the pitch I put to the group:
The lands of Kiltayre are in a pall of hunger and despair. Winters have been coming early and harsh for four years and famine threatens the people. Some say if it weren’t for the Church of Saint Fergus and their charity many more would have starved. And so the villages are emptying as the people leave their frost fields to be nearer the large churches and cathedrals so that their children may be fed.
Autumn this year is already cold and the first frost has just fallen this night past. The seer-woman, grandmother of the headman of your hometown, has claimed a vision of why the winter is coming earlier and earlier. There is an evil afoot in Kiltayre and it must be stopped before it turns the whole island into an icy waste.
Five fingers of stone
Five swords of bone
Many yards of silk
Many of strange ilk
Two bears and three deer
Two trees and a titan’s tear
Her cryptic rhyme’s have not been forthcoming in over twenty years. Not since almost forgotten heroes of your hometown left on their epic quest that led to the discovery of the six swords of Kiltayre. Now you and all the other young unmarried folk stand before her and the town’s elders. They look on to you as the hope for the future of everyone’s children. Will you step forward?