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The Brotherhood: Session 2 December 10, 2009

Posted by elopingcamel in 4e, DM, Narrative, The Brotherhood.
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Well, for maybe the first time in my brief DMing history, I had the exact same group of people for two weeks in a row. That certainly helps to bring a greater sense of cohesion to the story. I am a fan of that type of gaming set up. Anyway, on to the meat.

Heavy Roleplay

I introduced a heavy amount of non-encounter roleplaying this session. Beginning with the arrival in town and discussion between the party and the gate guard and ending with the characters interacting with the townspeople in the local tavern, the first hour or so of our game session consisted entirely of roleplaying.

I actually had a lot of fun with it at first, but I could tell that it was dragging on for my players before too long. None of us are experienced tabletop RPGers, so I think it was a little uncomfortable for my players. At times they seemed to enjoy the accents and voices that I would do, but at other times they seemed a little put off by the “scene” that I was creating. More than anything else, it just seemed like they had no idea what to do without  map and visuals at which to look.

I think that I need to find a way to ease them into it better. First of all, I will shorten the amount of time that they are required to spend roleplaying. At those times when everyone is just sitting around not knowing what to do, I will have an NPC come and directly engage them in a “leading” conversation. Perhaps for now, roleplaying for this group will basically consist of detective-style roleplaying, where the only times we actually sit down and force the roleplay is when information is needed.

What Was Good

Jed (Carlsberg Torres) seemed to understand immediately that roleplaying can be whatever he wants it to be. He immediately started having fun with his freedom to act out Carlsberg’s personality, ordering some drinks (he wanted to roll to see how many shots his character would do) and then heading to the piano to play some songs. As soon as I mentioned some of the other patrons in the tavern–and that one was a half-elf woman–he decided to go over and get to know her. I must also give credit to Jen (Phillip Rivers) for her wanting there to be a stage (like for karaoke) in the Inn. That was where Carlsberg got the idea to play a song.

Where We Faltered

It wasn’t until Jed started partying that the others began to see the light that there was more to this game than just simply rolling die. However, my other 3 players didn’t ever seem to fully embrace it like Jed did/does.

Even roleplaying in the sense as a plot-driving force for the game did not seem to fully make sense to them. So, I am thinking to re-explain the benefits of roleplaying as a form of detective work; it is the manner of information gathering. At least initially, if they can understand that there is a purpose to roleplaying, then I think they will be open to it (again, as long as it does not take up too much of the game time).

Another thing that made it difficult was that I did not always know how to appropriately convey information. I wanted them to meet the cast of characters so I introduced Eilian, Sylvana, and Ninaran in the tavern. They were all intrigued immediately by Ninaran’s sour demeanor and flocked to talk to her. I had decided to make her character very stand-offish (like the module describes her), but this form of response only intrigued them more. We spent a LONG time roleplaying a situation that was just really not going anywhere. They couldn’t grasp that she was unimportant at that time and that she would not offer anything of value to them (again, at that time). I imagine that this was my fault for not finding a way to make that more clear sooner or changing my approach so that she did suddenly become more engaging, because she realized that she could lead them all on a wild goose hunt or something. I don’t know.

“A Ha!” Moment

In the end, the party found lodging and, despite initial failure in talking Sylvana Wrafton into letting them stay there for free, found that saving Korg’s supplies and horses on the road brought an unexpected reward; Sylvana and Korg are good friends, so when Korg entered the Inn, shouting praises of the heroes exploits, the Innkeeper found plenty of motivation to treat the adventurers differently.

Another Kobold Attack

After gathering enough info and getting a rough map from Eilian (the old drunken codger), the party got a good night’s rest. The next morning they headed off to the Dragon Burial Site to find Douven Staul. A good ways down the road and outside of town, they were once again ambushed by kobolds. These ones seemed pissed and like they wanted revenge for their fallen comrades (the ones that the adventurers had killed on their way to town). The fight went well enough for the PCs, the kobolds never really offering that much of a challenge to the heroes. At one point Periwinkle the Eladrin Swordmage teleported on top of a nearby rock and cut his sword down into the skull of the kobold standing just below him. That seemed to be a highpoint for him on a night when far too many of his rolls just seemed ineffective.

That is all for now. I believe that it will be a little while before we are able to play again, so I may have some bits and tiddles from a different game before the next write-up. Good night.