After the last two sessions of being over-prepared and under-prepared, this week I ended up somewhere in the middle. I had read ahead in the adventure path to get an idea of where things were heading, but my main preparation had been the section immediately ahead, namely, the farms allegedly infested with ‘walking scarecrows’.
Our heroes headed out into the farmlands (on foot, since their horses were stolen on their last adventure…) to find the monsters terrorising the local farmers. The setting for this part was pretty awesome: the affected farm was completely surrounded by a corn field that was taller than all the PCs. This meant they could only see a few feet ahead at a time, paving the way for surprise encounters with the scarecrows and the odd human survivor.
Of course, the sorcerer’s first attempt to get around this was to set the corn fields on fire! As if the poor farmers hadn’t lost enough, what with being turned into ghouls and all… Too bad the wind blew the fire away from the farm house, destroying crops and who knows what else in the opposite direction instead. Sure, this was me as the game master forcing the players to go the way I wanted, but I’ve found that a certain amount of railroading is actually useful in telling a story effectively: I’m not experienced enough to run unplanned encounters, but I am getting the hang of running things I have planned.
The PCs had little trouble dispatching the ghouls that were infesting the farmhouse, and they even saved a couple of farmers from the same fate even though it was well out of their way to do so. Still hot on the trail of the murderer, they made their way to the infamous and haunted Foxglove Manor. We only got part way through the manor because it was late (and because I hadn’t had time to draw all the maps), but I can say that I absolutely loved playing a haunted house. I’ll write more about it when we’ve finished (wouldn’t want to accidentally give away anything to my players), but I can hardly wait for the next session.
This week, naturally, I erred on the side of too much preparation, and ended up not using everything I had prepared. While this is not the end of the world, it does mean I have to remember most of the prepared information for a week or two extra.
Keen as they were to discover who was behind the murders, the party forged ahead, following the leads that they’d dug up the previous week. They headed out of town to the nearby asylum to investigate a witness to the recent murder. They decided to ride their horses as it was a fair walk. Using their letter of introduction obtained from the sheriff, the PCs insisted on being let into the asylum to interrogate the prisoner.
It was clear that everyone was a bit rusty after the long break, as the ranger forgot his faithful animal companion in town, and none of the PCs bothered to tether their horses when they went inside the asylum. This was convenient for the owner of the asylum, however, as he and his accomplices stole the horses when they fled (mistakenly believing that the PCs had arrived to expose the horrible experiments that were being conducted on the asylum patients.)
The set of encounters in the asylum took longer than I had anticipated, so we ended as the PCs returned to town, only to be greeted by a near-mad farmer claiming that there were ‘walking scarecrows’ terrorising the nearby farms.
After another real life interlude of a few weeks, we were back at the table once more. Having finally made time to read up on the next chapter in Rise of the Runelords, I was pretty excited to delve into the story. The first bit of chapter 2 is a murder mystery investigation, and I found it rather thrilling to be the storyteller, laying out the clues which I hope the players will pick up on. Of course, I constantly have to remind myself to let the players find their own way, even though I’m dying to tell them whodunnit.
We used this session to recap what had happened in the previous session so long ago, as well as to award a small bonus to each character for their work in the one off session with my husband as GM. In this case, I gave everyone an extra trait that I thought suited their character.
Next, the characters (and players) needed to catch up on what had happened since the last session, as well as tie up some loose ends from the final battle with Nualia (studying notes she left behind, etc).
Finally, it was time to get down to business. There’s a murderer on the loose in Sandpoint, and the sheriff has enlisted the help of our heroes to get to the bottom of things. After the first investigation of the murder scene, the group was ready to carry on, and I realised that I had not prepared enough material! Needless to say, I called the session to an early close and resolved to prepare more content for next time.
After a long winter break due to illness and real life stuff, our little Pathfinder group finally got back together again. However, the timing didn’t really work out and I was unable to prepare an adventure in time. This is where hubby stepped in to help me with a one shot adventure. In order to not disrupt the campaign we were already busy with, he took the other players’ characters into an alternate/dream world (the characters and players are still not sure what it was!) and gave me a character in this world as well.
Switching from game master to player was a nice change of pace, and I really do wish I could play more often. I did notice I wasn’t too keen to take the lead, something I’ve learnt from being a GM. It’s hard to let your players take control and do what they think is a good idea, even when you know it’s not (or indeed, if you know there’s nothing to be gained by doing said action). In fact, I felt rather like an NPC, which I suppose I was, being an outsider to the group and a native of the place they found themselves in.
That single session was pretty exciting, I must say, as my husband is a much better storyteller than I am. He also has plenty more GM experience, meaning he can respond to character’s actions without all the um-ing and aah-ing I tend to do. I look forward to one day convincing him to run another campaign 🙂
If you’re curious, the world he created was inspired by Sergei Lukyanenko‘s Night Watch books. I also intend to start blogging a bit more regularly again, now that our gaming group is more or less back on track. If you’re interested in Lego stuff, you can catch my weekly Minifig Monday posts over at Geeks Doing Stuff.
Header image taken from http://roleplayingpro.com/8/role-playing-dice/