Took a couple of weeks to get this episode done, due to some last-minute illnesses among the group but here we are, episode 8 of the ongoing Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition Campaign on my world of Telia.
On this episode of This Is How We Role, the party performs their task for the Almun authorities, investigating some issues with the infrastructure of the city, which means a trip to the sewers with a care package for the sewer administrator, Bob, whom Lieutenant Ashton and the Headmaster believe is responsible for the continued issues, as a way of getting their attention and some free stuff. But if the party has learned anything is that things are never simple nor easy.
On the behind the scenes factor, this is the most heavily prepared and scripted sessions I’ve had so far. By the time we sat down and kicked off the session, I had a document with the sessions details that was over 3000 words long. I had descriptions, conversations, key points to bring up and some character introductions, plus the usual backup plans for the backup plans, in case the party chose something out of the box. Adaptation is important for Dungeons Masters.
On this episode one of the characters in the party urges the rest to escape, to leave combat behind and just go away, and even though some people might not like the idea that the party faced a much more powerful opponent, the truth is that the world is full of powerful people, those who’ve shaped history, both in the limelight and in the shadows. A campaign setting is a living world, with people of all walks of life and levels of power. Sometimes characters meet people who are way out of their league, at least during a first meeting and it helps to quickly teach players that sometimes, escape is the smartest choice.
I’ve found that players usually have their notion that the dungeon master, the storyteller, will never put something in front of them that they can’t defeat, and I always strive to cure them of this delusion as swiftly as possible. It also makes them think more strategically. In this occasion they had gone through some dangerous situations in their planar hopping. They weren’t at their best and still decided that direct confrontation was the best choice. I hope they have learned their lesson now, it’s technically the second time they’ve confronted a possible enemy while having their resources partially depleted.
The downside of how things played out is that the one boss creature I had in mind to use for this session got left out. But who knows, maybe some other time. And on that note, my greater focus on this episode was to present elemental challenges and obstacles as pure skill tests, without using combat as a crutch. I did have a boss planned but only because I like a boss at the end of the dungeon, Legend of Zelda-style.
For now, enjoy!