The heroes completed the last mission given to them by their contact Carl, which is the third so far. I designed Carl to be an ambiguous figure. They cannot tell if he is a man or woman (he’s a man, but no one has outright asked him yet), good or evil, or if he even really works for the government. For now they trust him, but there is always a mystery that surrounds him. When they first met Carl, I anticipated the players would follow him, or use abilities or magics to ken his intentions. I didn’t detali his stats because I doubted they would fight him. Instead, I conceptualized his character as a rogue/illusionist and had a few ideas of what he would do if pursued or confronted. However, the players didn’t dig too deep and have accepted his missions for now. That is good because it gives me time to develop Carl with each interaction he has with the players.
Carl’s latest offer was a mission to recover an item being consecrated at an altar to Talos. The item was a ceremonial dagger. They cleverly gained access into the ceremony and found that Targus was accompanied at this ceremony by Unger, a priestess of Umberlee, Bitch Queen of the Sea. Events turned to fistycuffs and they killed Targus, but Unger survived the encounter. The heroes snuck into the ceremony in disguise, but Crusha and Mello fought directly against Unger during the combat and will likely be recognized by her if they cross paths again.
Fruen, the owner of an alehouse near the Trollskull tavern, wants to put the Trollskull out of business. He sent a gang of halfling wererats to appear at the Trollskull during a busy night. This backfired, When a giant rat appeared on the windowsill at the height of a bard’s performance, Marlowe Backstreet quickly illusioned it to appear as a planned act. The rat escaped but was soon caught and compelled to squeal on its employer. Fruen was immediately confronted by the heroes at his own tavern. This encounter sequence was completely improvised and ultimately, the heroes forced Fruen to sell the alehouse to them. Through very clever manipulation by Marlowe, the halfling wererat gang was won over and recruited for an honest paying job performing as a “dancing rat” act at the Trollskull. The name of the act is The Ratrace Choir!
This game session will always be memorable to me and the players. It gave every player something to like; roleplaying and ability checks, NPC interactions, character development moments, resource management, combat, and tangible rewards. It was a dynamic game that didn’t lend itself to game preparation. Scripting NPC actions would only diminish the experience and outcome, so I only imagined what might transpire during a typical evening at Trollskull and what the response of the patrons to the appearance of a giant rat might be. The only prepared in advance was two maps (the Trollskull and Fruen’s place), and the stat blocks for the wererats, Fruen (a bandit captain), and his henchmen (thugs). These kinds of sessions require fast thinking and independent actions by the players, which always serve to empower and motivate them, making an enjoyable game for everyone.