GM Commentary: Banestorm, 3×02

Second session in the tank and I’m about 75 to 80% happy with it. Recap here.

I intended to do a bit more with Brum and Thorn at the beginning, but didn’t quite think that through properly. In fact, a lot of the stuff that took place at the ruins of the lost city were a bit more half-assed in terms of planning than I would like which I can only blame on myself. As a result, we hurried to the arrival of the other PCs plus Gestlin.

Ismir’s player wrong-footed me with his aggressive anti-Gestlin stance, but he’s relatively new to the group and I’m still getting accustomed to his gaming style. We got around that, though, only for me to realize that I didn’t actually work out a more persuasive argument for going to Zat al-Dawahi beyond “that’s where the adventure wants you to go” which is definitely a fail on my part.

I also ran into an issue with Aramis’ enemy, who is a yuan-ti he half-blinded when he was first introduced during the previous GM’s run as he has a frequency of appearance of 9 or less and I rolled … a 9. So I had the crossbow sniper shot and am keeping the dude in reserve with the plan of taking another shot from ambush during a fight … like the fight they’re currently involved in.

Kind of failed giving the accompanying NPCs proper personalities apart from Gestlin, which is something I’m going to be working on. I’m intentionally adding stuff in my notes with regards to how Ammerah or Zyanra will act / react as stuff transpires. Ismir’s player, quite properly, I think, established that his character is being super protective of Lady Ammerah (considering they’re Islamic), but I’m going to have her push back against this as it kind of irritates her. The fact that he has Callous doesn’t help since she’s kind of his exact opposite due to have Empathy and Charitable and Selfless. So I’m going to play with that … presuming I remember.

Travel montage didn’t quite work out as well as I would like. Too much of it was basically me telling everyone what was happening while they sat there, quiet. I completely failed to handle the Heat issue properly – supposed to be a daily roll and I completely forgot about that until after the session. Again, making notes and trying to highlight them.

I didn’t quite think through all of the weirdness stuff – the dragon thing wasn’t as interesting as it could have been, but I’m hopeful that I’ll manage to get back on track as we continue to progress. I’ve got a couple of “weird” events coming up that will hopefully get the point across with more show rather than tell.

We ended the session mid-fight because two of the players – Aramis’ and Haruki’s – lost their internet connection completely. Ironically, I’d already screwed up by actually kicking off that fight to begin with. I originally wanted to end the session with the PCs observing the skirmish kicking off, then start session 3 with them getting involved (presuming they did.) I messed that up because I skimmed over one of the “weird” bits instead of doing what I’d originally intended; I skimmed over it because I was concerned that some of the players were getting bored … but I shouldn’t have.

The session this week is going to consist of:

  • Finishing up the tactical combat
  • Dealing with the aftermath – funny bit there: I ripped off elements from Caravan to Ein Arris with one of the Named NPCs in charge. To speed up the above-mentioned tac combat, I rolled out the next round with the NPCs that the PCs couldn’t get to and oof. Named NPC got critically hit (max damage result) in the vitals with a spear that inflicted 30 points of damage; he then rolled a 17 on the death check. So depending on the next couple of actions taken, there might not be any of the caravan guards still alive!
  • Deal with a “Manastorm” (which is basically just a sandstorm (again, using rules from Caravan to Ein Arris), but with odd magical side effects on everyone – I’m looking forward to these) Originally, this was just going to be a semi-natural occurrence, but I’m now leaning toward it being Gestlin’s fault as, while in goat form, he tries to use his spell-rod … and it backfires spectacularly. Everyone will be affected, but his responsibility might remain a secret…
  • Determine whether they’re going to deviate slightly and take the injured and the caravan goods to Dulihiban, a relatively nearby oasis city-state not ruled by a djinn (and totally stolen from the adventure in GURPS 3e: Arabian Nights.) If they opt to head toward Dulihiban, I’m going to shoot for ending the session just as they arrive…