Roadhouse! With 100% Less Swazye
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we missed three whole sessions prior to this one. We spent some time getting back up to speed on the story, and on how to use Fantasy Grounds, before we were able to start.
The thing I didn’t want to happen was to drag this caravan out like the last one. I’m finding that there’s a limit to the kind of session I can concentrate on: it’s either a straightforward, by the book session where I follow a very specific room by room game plan (like a dungeon crawl), or I have to wing it. I apparently can’t do both, as the previous caravan attested to. Mixing an RP situation with plot advancement seems very difficult for me to get my head around, and I always end up feeling like I did neither as well as either deserved.
While there was a blurb in the module about the chance of encounters along the road, I figured that being between the city and the roadhouse would see enough traffic to make incursions by the regional natives fairly infrequent, so I chose to include just one. I just happened to roll “bandits” on the encounter table, and that made sense to me: humans near human settlements, attempting to prey on a semi-regular caravan on the off chance they got lucky and ambushed an inept column. It’s been a while since the party engaged in some real combat, and while I don’t think that a bunch of Generic Bandits is going to stretch the party’s abilities, I think the event was enjoyed and appreciated. We kind of slipped into tactical mode — which was wholly unintentional — but the encounter went fast enough and we were able to ignore the hexes enough to get the job done without the mechanical aspects weighing us down.
Reaching the roadhouse was just a Good Plan, partly because I didn’t want to drag this trip out, and because I didn’t have another encounter map set up for it.
I did realize that a lot of this session was “DMsplaining” if we want to turn an obnoxious phrase. Mostly it was obvious stuff: describing the crowd outside the warehouse, listening to Bryfrehew and Duclose, and observing the protocol in unloading carts at the roadhouse. There were a few things I kind of rambled on about that probably should have been hidden behind Perception rolls. Nobody volunteered to make the roll, and I don’t want to “DMnag”, so I figured it’d be in the best interest to expedite the scenario and throw in those details just to get back into the swing of things. It’s sometimes a fine line between wanting to tell a story and wanting/expecting/hoping the players will “play” the game and not just keep the monologue rolling.
I also keep forgetting that Jamna is with the party, and Jos the Thayan is with the cultists.
The phrase of the night, in response to someone saying “it’s too quiet”: “Yeah, but it’s a dry quiet”.