GM Commentary: Banestorm, 3×07 and 3×08

Finally back into the groove of things. Episode 3×07 was intentionally just a long fight to try and ease everyone back into their characters after a month and a half without a game, but with 3×08, we’re finally back on track with the campaign proper.

With 3×07, I also considered that the “start” of a new adventure arc with regards to my mini-campaign run here, so I rolled for Aramis’ Enemy … and it came up. Since they left the snake dude blind in both eyes and grievously injured as the manastorm kicked in & Aramis’ player hadn’t bought off the disad, I decided to make the yuan-ti a vampire. Interestingly, an encounter was already scheduled there due to the PCs pre-rolling some of that, so I simply juggled some stuff around and brought back the gnolls & minotaur from the previous run. Their master is going to be an issue down the road as well.

With 3×08, we finally started advancing toward the goal again, though with mixed results. For one thing, I thoroughly botched Zyanra’s “data dump.” Instead of just having her vomit forth information, I should have had her ask Thorn what he needed to / wanted to know and then had her answer that way. It was an unforced error on my part. I then followed this up by springing the montage thing stolen from 13th Age on the players who were ill prepared for it … and it showed. I should have included a better example for that or explained it better. Keeping that in mind for the future.

I also messed up the transition to the arena fight. Originally, I had a plan for how that would happen … and then, I changed my mind a couple of days ago but didn’t completely fix my notes. Honestly, I should have just straight up ripped off Return of the Jedi and had Farouk Half-Born just “Boska!” them and let them fall down a crazy slick tunnel thing to end up being dumped into an arena. As to the fight, we ended after round 3 because of time, but will pick up on round 4 with Zat al-Dawahi and her forces having arrived in the city. I’m planning on interspersing the tactical combat with an “overview” of what is happening elsewhere in the city. I would also like to find a way to ensure that the results of the tactical fight play out with the djinn fight. I’ve thought about implementing something like “Victory Points” where every 5 HP of actual injury = 1 VP, then rolling 1d+VP at the end to sort of judge who had the more easy go of it … but that almost seems too unnecessary. This isn’t quite a mass combat, but at the same time, it kind of is … I suppose I could plugin some numbers, then sort of try and figure everything out …

Anyway, that’s what in store. I expect the rest of the fight to take up most of 3.09, perhaps with a bit at the end where I can recap the taking and sacking of the City of Ten Thousand Delights by Zat al-Dawahi’s forces, then in 3.10, we can pick up some days later, back at her capital…