Played on 01.06.21
World in motion! Between sessions I've been keeping up with many factions, NPCs, natural phenomena, etc and how these things change over time. I assign a chance something would happen, in each case, and roll that chance each week between sessions.
Some of these things the players are aware of, some they are not.
|ladies love a man in a robe|
For instance there's at least one NPC Party of Adventurers, called the Happy Dicers, competing with the player's party. The Happy Dicers adventure each week just like the players do. Mostly they'll delve a dungeon or take on a lair the PCs aren't even aware of. But I roll a chance each week the Happy Dicers tackle a hook the Players are aware of. If I roll a 1 on this check, the Happy Dicers died. If I roll that the Happy Dicers tackle one of the Players' hooks then I assign those hooks to a dice (1d6 if there are 6 hooks the PC's are currently juggling) and randomly decide which one they hit. Then I use the ACKS "Abstract Dungeoneering" rules to see how successful the Happy Dicers were.
So far the Happy Dicers only tackled one hook the party was aware of at the time: trying to capture or kill the Bandit King the party had their sights on. All they managed to do, however, was claim much of the Bandits' treasure and push the Bandit King deeper into the dungeon.
This annoyed the players who now didn't know where the Bandits lair was, having just found out its location the previous session. This weeks session 9, however, the party delved and explored enough where they were able to find the Bandits new dungeon lair and tackled it deftly. See below.
This process of keeping the world in motion assures that the Players' don't feel like they are in a video game on pause between sessions. Plans like "hit that location once this session then again next session to assure we have full hit points" might not work if something like this changes between sessions.
Alex Macris, in his fantastic book "Arbiter of Worlds", advises not trying to keep a world in motion by juggling so many things, by not trying to run the entire world as a turn based strategy game. But when one employs the 1 Game Day = 1 Real Life Day rule from AD&D 1e, this becomes perfectly manageable. 1e wins again!
The random events table in TSR's "Oriental Adventures" and Judge's Guild* "Ready Ref Sheets" are great resources for keeping your gaming world in motion if you're uncertain on how you'd tackle this. If you're running a big adventure tome like those WOTC puts out for 5e ("Curse of Strahd", "Ghosts of Saltmarsh", "The Dragon Queen's Time of the Month"), I'd also advise removing the railroad aspects and seeding the various railroad events onto a random events table. I personally find large railroad style adventure books nigh unusable (they don't even lay flat on the table!) but I think the various seeds one would find in them could likely serve well to populate a region in a more sandbox focused game.
I recommend all serious GMs employ the real time approach to gaming and juggling all the factions etc week to week with likelihood of them impacting the players or region the players are in. It's a great deal of fun and keeps things interesting.
*(Judge's Guild, an outstanding producer of gaming supplements going back to the original editions of D&D, were "cancelled" by weirdos about a year back because it's owner did a little rightwing boomerpoasting on f4cebook. As such, their items are no longer in production. The OSR is a pretty small market. Half of them deeming you "problematic" likely eliminates all possible profit motive. There may be other ways for resourceful GMs to acquire their old stuff. haha just kidding... unless...)
I'm not sure if you noticed but the sociopolitics of the usa are getting crazier out there. My players really wanted to chat about it on the voice channel for much longer than they usually would, last week. Don't worry, there was no wrongthink to speak of. Each player clearly disavowed all that our dear leaders said they should disavow and celebrate all those things we're told to celebrate. The process just took such a looooong time. I eventually had to say "5 more minutes, fellas". So, we got a later start than normal.
After this was all said and done the players decided to go back to the Blister of Doom and quickly left Turos Tem to travel into the Viaspen forest. They saw about a dozen beastmen of some sort rustle some leaves off in the distance and attempt to evade them. The party decided not to take chase and leave whatever those creatures were well enough alone.
They stopped at Inthorn's (NPC Brigand Leader) Brigand camp on the way and hired some bowmen to accompany them across the overland trek. Inthorn may have been pretty mad at the party and Jack Filcher (PC Thief Level 1) in particular for sending a green dragon to attack them some weeks back. Luckily for all concerned, however, I rolled a max Reaction Check and Inthorn, the gruff old Auran Legionnaire, found the whole situation quite humorous. "You ol' scamp, Jack! We almost got killed!" The brigands had actually made friends with Ferigno the Dragon and raided a town with him so it seems Inthorn figured no harm no foul.
After spending the night in the camp the party set off and reached the dungeon the next day. The bowmen mercs waited outside.
|failed bandit ambush :(|
The party explored a bit, crossing the Courtyard room they normally face random encounters in, this time with no incident. Deeper into the old Zaharan temple of Chaos than they had ever gone, they sent Jack Filcher to explore a room up ahead while they stayed behind a bit. Some brigands were ready, apparently having heard the party exploring the next room over, and they took some shots at Jack. He ran out and grouped up with the party.
What followed was a running battle with the brigands, or what I attempted to run as such.While the party was spiking a door to keep the brigands off them, some ratbird butterfly creatures attacked them and were able to land a lucky strike on Yllmeeton (PC Shaman L1) I believe. The bandits were attempting to break down the door so the party sent Jack to watch the hallway behind them while the party posted up to keep the bandits at bay at the door once it was broken.
Once the door was broken down the bandits tried to bankshot some arrows off the wall rather than engaging with the party's shield wall of death. To no avail. The party almost yeeted themselves upon trying to chuck a flaming oil into the room at the bandits around a corner. They handed the oil to the Player who always rolls ones, Mandonio (PC Fighter L1) and he rolled a one. He'd have dropped the oil and set himself up on fire and splashed onto Yasema (Fighter L1 Henchmen to Gaius) but Mandonio opted to use his single Fate Point to re-roll the attack. Not a 1. In hindsight I shouldn't have let him see the results of the bad roll before letting him spend the Fate Point. It won't happen again. No rewind! Retconning is bad enough in star wars.
Jack set up a bear trap in the hall leading away from the party but that didn't stop some bandits that had snuck around behind the party from getting some bow shots off on him and knocking him under zero hit points.
The party, having left a big pool of flaming oil on the fire between them and the bandits at the doorway, turned around and took on the bowmen that had snuck up on Jack. Daria (PC Bladedancer L1) pulled Jack's unconscious body into the group to attempt to revive him. One of the bowmen came at the party but stepped on and was killed by Jack's bear trap. So sad. The rest were felled by the party with little fanfare.
After the battle Jack rolled on the Mortal Wounds table and found that he had "taken an arrow to the knee" and would now walk slower and take a hit to his Dexterity based AC. He also needed two weeks bed rest. No more adventuring for Jack tonight. He went back to the party's mercs outside. Soon-after a new Thief arrived name Loki (PC Thief L1) who continued the delve with the group. So convenient!
|jack and loki cross paths|
The party pressed on into the bandits' lair and found them ready for battle. Drusus the bandit king attempted to parley with the party telling them to leave and he'd let them live. The bandits had a nice defensible position set up with barricades and bowmen so the party decided to go. But not before Kagan (PC Dwarven Craftpriest L1) offered to introduce the bandits to Inthorn the Brigand Warlord if they turned on Drusus. They agreed! However Drusus was reading their eyes and he killed three of his men quite handily before they even drew steel on him. The party took the opportunity to press the advantage. Yasema got a good stab on Drusus with Daria the Bladedancer sashaying up for the final blow on the bandit king. One bandit survived and surrender. Daria brought him along and eventually introduced him to Inthorn at the end of the session.
Drusus had a sword and chain mail armor that Yllmeeton confirmed to be magic. Gaius (PC Fighter L2) held on to them. The bandits had basically no treasure since the Happy Dicers had taken in weeks ago and the bandits hadn't gotten organized enough to do any raiding. It's why they were happy to turn on Drusus so easily. What have you done for me lately, amirite? The brigand revealed that Drusus was aware of the section of the dungeon being unoccupied due to the goblins getting eradicated some weeks back. He noted that they had to clear out a bunch of headless goblin corpses just to lay out their bed pallets to rest in this section. "Why did they remove their heads?!" It disturbed him.
The rest of the evening drug on a bit as the party explored all over and mapped a large section of the dungeon. They found a well that Loki was stoked to try and rapel down but Mandonio tut tutted him. So sad because all my favorite gaming sessions are when PC's attach a rope to one of their number for some harebrained scheme. Maybe next time!
They also came to some pretty swole dark orange beastmen that fled from them before there was an engagement. The party took chase across a few rubble strewn rooms but didn't chase all the way to a battle. Instead they opted to skirt around the new section of the dungeon to try and find a side entrance. No luck and the night was dragging on and we all had to work in the morning. Cash out!
Now came the fun part for me. On the trip back to Turos Tem through a dangerous monster crawling forest, would there be a random encounter? Normally there are two chances for it. But alas. Nothing.
The party made it back to safety with no further incident and claimed the 800 GP reward for bringing proof of Drusus's demise. Overall a successful night for the Gang.
Surviving PCs Present
Daria (L1 Bladedancer 0% xp bonus) played by JB. Liquid treasure gained in Session 9 was 125 GP, 6 SP. XP gained was 146. Current Total: 1,251
Jack Filcher (L1 Thief, 5% xp bonus) played by Chant. Liquid treasure gained in Session 9 was 2 SP. XP gained was 13. Current Total: 386
Kagan Booklearner (L1 Dwarven Craftpriest, 5% xp bonus) played by RR. Liquid treasure gained in Session 9 was 125 GP, 6 SP. XP gained was 153. Current Total:798
Gaius (L2 Fighter 10% xp bonus) played by VoC. Liquid treasure gained in Session 9 was 106 GP, 5 SP. (15% to henchman) XP gained was 161. Current Total: 2,677
Loki (L1 Thief, 5% XP bonus) played by Chant. Liquid treasure gained in Session 9 was 125 GP, 6 SP. XP gained was 141. Current Total: 141
Mandonio Terkikos (L1 Fighter 10% xp bonus) played by RM. Liquid treasure gained in Session 9 was 125 GP, 6 SP. XP gained was 161 Current Total:1,831
Yllmeeton (L1 Shaman, 10% XP bonus) played by SS. Liquid treasure gained in Session 9 was 125 GP, 6 SP. XP gained was 161. Current Total:651
Yasema (L1 Fighter Hench to Gaius). XP gained was 73. DM tracking totals secretly.
Broll (L1 Barbarian, 10% XP bonus) played by RR. Current Total: 214. Current Location: Inthorn's Camp "as a spy".
Bucky (L1 Barbarian 5% xp bonus) played by VoC. Current Total: 27. Last session 6. Location: Turos Tem
Puru (L1 Mystic, 5% bonus XP) played by S. Current Total: 685. Location: Turos Tem
Dama (L1 Venturer) played by RR.
Current total xp: 75. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.
Darius LeVay (L1 Assassin) played by JB. Current Total XP:451. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.
Donald the Guardsman (L1 Fighter) played by
MP. Current Total XP:570. DECEASED. Intra-party justice in Session 3.
Felix (L1 Thief) played by Nicholas. Current Total XP:431. DECEASED. Poison gas in Session 3.
Hektor (L1 Paladin) played by Moai. DECEASED. Cause of Death: goblin warg rider throat removal surgery in Session 2
Inquisitor (L1 Cleric) played by RR.Current Total XP:498 DECEASED.
Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken
in Session 6. Body not recovered.
Mard the Mage (L1 Mage) played by Nicholas. DECEASED. Frozen undead blistering cold aura left his skin frostbitten and broken in Session 6. Body not recovered.Alexa this is so sad play "dirty white boy" by foreigner