November 17th, 2004


(no subject)

So, my last D&D session ended with my PCs knowing that they were going to have a fight on the next game day, with salamander opponents that are able and willing to talk beforehand.

The result of having time to prepare and opponents that can be talked with is that my players have generated quite a lot of e-mail discussing battle plans and ancient history.

I like it. It shows that the players are engaged.

D&D: Sending the campaign pear-shaped

So with Saturday's game session, I have two major opportunities to send the game on a big twist... and possibly make things go horribly awry.

One opportunity is the enhancement of Turok's sword Kotara-nar that they've come for. This is a big deal and has been an ongoing theme of the campaign, so I am planning to lay on all the trimmings and make it a really super-nifty sword.

The opportunity for suck here is the potential loss of game balance. In terms of the gp values for items, Kotara-Nar will be much more valuable than the guidelines for a character of the party's level. I don't want to spoil fun for other people by making Kotara-Nar the answer to all problems--or even just the answer to all problems requiring violence.

The other opportunity for leading things astray is that I am expecting the PCs to meet up with an Oracle. Now, often oracles are vague and cryptic, and I've certainly had a number of cryptic oracularities already. But I'd like to avoid that this time; I'd like to make this Oracle both able and willing to provide a lot of information.

The opportunity for suck there is that I might dilute the suspense of the game by spelling out all the remaining plot. (Spelling out the plot isn't necessarily bad, but making the game less fun is the great badness.)

I do have some ideas about this.
- I could limit the Oracle to the divinations listed in the monster entry, which do not include things like discern location. That would make her much less potent, but also much less able to quash the mystery.
- bruceb made the excellent suggestion of covering lots of backstory and having the predictions of the future be one clear and portentous scene without detailing how to get there. I like this idea a lot--but I worry that it might run counter to my goal of having the Oracle be relatively straightforward and clear.

The biggest positive factor that lets me consider taking this risk at all is that all my players are of good will, and all are willing to attempt these risky things with me and help make them come out well. (This is part of why I'm talking about it publicly on LJ; I'm particularly interested in their opinions about how to do this well.)