New players, new adventure, how exciting! The goal for this session was to bring the new party together and I think it went swimmingly!
The adventure they are heading into was already planned before the unfortunate loss of two of the original players but I couldn’t just drop the new party in this new adventure. Ando and Venadikt might have ties to Rynar Fleren, the NPC who would seek their help but the new players and their characters wouldn’t have any reason to give a damn about this adventure. So, instead, during their Session 0 I put them on the path to the location of the adventure and left them trapped there, taken by the haunted mists that now surround Wardtrace Estate (which happens to be right on the borders of the Almun region) and made sure they crossed paths with the party, to get some introductions out of the way and due to the nature of their predicament, they would easily agree to follow Rynar to the estate.
But once there, I still had a problem: the party had no reason to work together. True, being trapped and needing to solve the haunting to continue on their individual journeys is motivation enough but it doesn’t establish trust or even the beginning of it, so I took it one step further and brought in some suitable incentive. By this point, through their backstories, sesion 0s and simple adventuring, everyone in the party has some experience dealing with the First Born and their Onyx Knights and know the danger they pose. Kalani, the Eladrin, has direct ties to them from his backstory, and what better way to garner some sympathy for him, advance his own arc and make the party bond than by bringing in a champion of this dread organisation, one looking for the Eladrin specifically, to drag him back to his masters.
I expected a little back & forth, some threats, some monologues, a little role-playing but it took mention of his allegiance for the Druid–who was at critical health after failing a save against a Banshee aka Aunt Maria–to jump the warrior and start combat and boy did they not expect him to be as powerful as he was. The group had to fight together, join their efforts, which I loved and inevitably forced the champion to retreat.
As things wound down, some form of camaraderie was already taking place and they were far more receptive to the haunting adventure, and that’s all I wanted. Now they’re where they should be, they have the beginnings of trust among them and have motivations to solve the mystery before them. Sometimes, you need just the right villain at the right time to bring a party together and I’m keeping that champion for later use, because not only is he powerful but he’s now a foe they’ll recognise, which is always good in a game. Why bring in new enemies when old foes and strong rivalries are much more satisfying?
But that’s enough behind the scenes, time for you to enjoy Episode 12: