After a long hiatus over the summer, the campaign is restarting; the regular Saturday session last weekend found Our Heroes in the Borderlands, en route to Gis.
Wolves in the Borderlands is the scenario that persuaded me to buy Beasts & Barbarians in the first place, so it’s special for me. It’s very reminiscent of Conan’s adventures, and in particular Beyond the Black River.
People turned up late, and it took a while for the group to shake down (mostly because the first couple to arrive started playing Trine with me while we were waiting, and we got a bit carried away with it), but we eventually got started, and they pursued a group of Caled kidnappers into the Black Forest. A certain amount of violence ensued, followed by a hasty escape through the rain, and the party are now holed up overnight under a large oak tree. Garstrewt is cautiously sipping the stagnant green water caught in the branches, and The Warforged has declared an intent to chop it to pieces, because he has convinced himself their main enemy for this session is hidden in a cave beneath it. Everyone is covered in mud, and Garstrewt is also covered in decayed human remains from an earlier explosion.
I have given up keeping track of the state of the Holy Handkerchief, which also has those substances smeared on it from a surprisingly successful Greater Healing attempt. Suffice to say that a 40 degree delicate wash is not going to cut it.
Reflections on Campaign Pacing
The rate of progress is somewhat slower than I expected; now that I have a longer baseline, I can see that we’re actually averaging just over two sessions per month rather than the three I expected earlier; they will reach Gis in a couple of months, and I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with them there. Maybe I should just gloss over it and take them straight to Jalizar, which would be a good place to settle them down for a while.
Reflections on Group Makeup
If you haven’t read Lise Mendel’s piece on Designing Your Team the Scooby Way, do so now. I’ll wait.
When I look at the group, I think we have the following:
- Fred: Peter Perfect the Paladin.
- Daphne: Athienne, Nessime.
- Velma: The Warforged (in combat).
- Shaggy: Abishag, Alihulk, Borg, Gutz.
- Scooby: Buster, Garstrewt, The Warforged (most of the time).
The overall team mix varies from session to session, depending on who turns up. The usual core team is Daphne, Shaggy and Velma-Scooby; sometimes we get another Daphne and another Scooby, and less often more Scoobies and a Fred. As you’d expect from that and Lise’s analysis, the group goes so far off-piste in the average session that it’s hard to tell where the piste was originally, which means there isn’t much point me spending a lot of time making them a nice, clean piste.
Most of the last session was taken up with Garstrewt trying to persuade one of the NPCs that he had built The Warforged, and the subsequent argument between their players. For the next campaign, I must make a more forthright statement about the tone I’m aiming for; maybe that will make a difference. I should also deprecate gnomes and warforged in any subsequent fantasy game.
But: It’s just a game. As long as everyone’s having fun, you’re doing it right.