As I mentioned in my summary post, I’m really happy with the way this session went, so let’s just get right into the Cool/Not Cool for Session #2.

Cool

Plans. I am pleased to say that my plans worked out. This is kind of a meta-point, really; I didn’t have any major fuck-ups as I did last time.

Speaking of plans, I’m overflowing with ideas about the next few sessions. This is actually where I really want to be: an exotic location that is as much as a blank slate as I’d like it to be.

I finally have a goddamn freaking party now. I was worried about this, and it turned out to be the single most satisfying result of this session: everyone is together in a way that I don’t feel is ham-fisted or railroading. Seriously. One of my players even commented that it didn’t even feel like I was trying to get them all together the whole time. I hope I can maintain that level of subtlety!

The North Wall. I prepared a “city streets” map and it worked really well. People were maneuvering and using cover. I got to use a pseudo-customized monster that was mostly described differently. I didn’t feel like I was in danger of killing anybody. In fact, I’d say that the fight was a little bit on the easy side, mainly because I reduced monster damage dice and they happened not to hit as often as I expected.

Also, Sighni and Lexa both terrify me. Sighni basically took out two major combatants. Lexa and Alac worked together to reduce my 68 hit point golem to fodder for Rubican’s Burning Hands. And Ratha used a couple of daily or encounter abilities to waste a couple of guys, too.

This party may be down a defender, but they are serious business, and I really enjoy watching them work.

A balanced NPC. The NPC with whom the PCs interacted most in this session was Ansa, the priestess of Moradin, and what amounted to the voice of Er-Eret, even though her leadership role is supposedly informal. Part of it is that she’s the only one willing to put the effort into bringing Alac around to her way of thinking, and part of it is that she’s exceedingly diplomatic and level-headed.

Consequently, I was worried she would come of either as a GMPC, the Plot Bat, Railroading, or any number of other negative associations. If it’s a binary choice, I would rather put a PC in a prominent or experimental role than an NPC.

An informal poll of my players told me that she worked. Excellent! I’ll take that.

Improv. Despite my plans, there were some bits I had to improv. For example, I was concerned about the tavern scene, as I was rather quickly running out of reasons for violence not to erupt. I really, really didn’t think Alac would go quite so far, but it worked out OK, I think.

Level 3. That’s right: they’re level 3 now! I was sorely tempted to begin with, and Bryan brought up the winning point: higher level PCs correlates more interesting encounters as it opens up a range of monsters I can throw at the PCs. I love this, and I’m excited when people level up. I love looking at people’s characters and seeing what they picked.

I don’t think the leveling pace will remain this fast, though. Probably it will slow to once every other session unless something major happens, such as in this session.

Not Cool

Concerns about acrimony. All right, this isn’t quite “Not Cool” in the way you might think. It’s a concern.

Alac and Sighni really, really don’t get along. The shouting match that happened this session was par for the course, and while I am not sure if they would come to blows, I think Sighni really needs an ally here.

Lexa and Alac really don’t get along, either. As before, I’m slightly worried that murder might ensue. It’s possible that there’s some room here for an alliance between Sighni and Lexa, or at least a modicum of friendship. I haven’t figured out how, just yet.

Motivation. Lexa worries me. I am concerned I might not have enough things for her that play specifically to her character. This will take some thought and possibly some work, but I think this new environment offers me some opportunities.

Treasure. I’ve got a small, treasure-related dilemma here, which might be worthy of a separate post at some point. In short, I’m not sure how this party is going to handle splitting treasure. Up until now, there wasn’t much, but Lexa— who searched the corpses that Ratha and Rubican did not— got most of it, having looted the bodies. I’ll have to think about this a bit.

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