Well, now that the site is back in the land of the living we can talk about how the first game in Privet went. I do apologize for the delay in getting the site up but we should not have that problem again. Due to this the aforementioned Patreon setup may take another week to sort out. Last week (to the day in fact) we had the debut adventure in my world. All the players arrived and had their backgrounds sorted and were prepared for a night of adventuring. I was even prepared to the point where I was confident things would run well. I am very rarely like that in any game.
Purpose of a starting game
Having had the character generation night was a massive plus. It gives a feeling of existence with the characters. Especially in as much as having the backgrounds, not necessarily the stats in place. As a GM I did not do too much with the material that was given as it was raw data the last I saw of it. The players were yet to weave their own take on their characters so trying to railroad something in the story that does not suit is not my style. The point that I wanted to get to was to have a nice neat little sandbox area that the players were able to interact with. An area seeded with material that showed me what they were interested in so I could develop that further.
Of course I did not want the players to all meet in a bar with a shadowy figure offering them work. That is sign of something prepared and set up on a railway track (can only go one way). I want to learn what they do in an action scene – something where they can branch out and take control straight away. An action scene does not necessarily mean a battle either, it just means something dynamic and colorful that allows for interaction. In my first game, the circus came to town.
I had a circus in mind from the very get go of Privet. It serves as a springboard for later developments in the setting. Two of the players are brothers in a travelling troupe as part of their back story and I thought of making them a part of this. Instead it will serve as a good point of contention perhaps to their own story – a point of drama that a larger group are their rival. Introducing the circus involved a parade through town as they made it through the gates just before closing. Of the circus it allowed me to introduce many of the major NPC’s of the circus with a spotlight moment for each.
The players became immediately suspicious. They were seeking aura’s of magic and scanning the crowd for obvious deceptions. It was an interesting start to the game and allowed the players to immerse themselves a little in the color and flavor of a circus. Mystery and intrigue was definitely center stage. This also allowed me to trigger the next phase of the opening scenes which showed Privet’s insular nature.
Several of Privet’s less savory residents were on hand. They were there with reason and soon found a target. A new ranger type had entered town several days before and the two roughest thugs set on him. Several of the players leaped on the scene, though they bought deadly force and the ranger was forced to spend his battle disarming the players who were intent on spilling blood. Due to this he did not fair well among the thugs. The thugs were also not prepared for the violence that the player characters attacked with and it showed their hand.
The lead thug, Mardian (the players confused him with his off-sider Francisco later) let off a whistle. This caused the other members of his gang seeded in the crowd to attack. The circus wagons had a full on melee erupt around them. One figure in the circus, shrouded in a magical aura watched with great interest as he passed. Much happened in the melee. A dark figure sneaked through the gates. The player character druid let off a spell that immediately had him detained (spell casting is practically forbidden in Privet). Another player attacked the stealthy figure only to find he was a traveler. The traveler had agreed to help a caravan of gypsies who had a young woman in a difficult birth. The cries of the young woman were attracting the wrong sort of creatures to the wagon.
With much of the melee over several small spots of gaming closed out the night. In the Inn that houses an automaton bartender the Dwarven Inquisitor got to talking to the ranger type (Nym) that was new to town. The Dwarf had been one of the players that bought an ax to a fist fight and caused the ranger some alarm. They had a brief but interesting conversation before the ranger moved to the next inn, being unnerved by the unnatural automaton.
The druid then had a scene with the watch captain Seyton Scroop. He had a soft spot for the druid and had to make a judgement on if he should be presented to the council on charges of magic. This being done would likely see the druid hung from the tree and so he imparted the story of Scarus Quince. This tale is a large part of the reason why those in Privet are strongly superstitious. The actions of the druid gave me the perfect place to slot this in to the story, something I had been wondering how to do without it appearing forced.
There was a smattering of interest across the board of plot hooks and material that was laid out. The most solid hit though was of the gypsy caravan. The idea of the young gypsy giving birth only (perhaps) to be attacked by wolves is their focus. A swift journey down a portion of the mountain at night is not necessarily the best idea in Winter, but the tree has not yet bloomed. This is the stepping off point for tonight and I am excited to see what the players make of the trials that await.
I will hopefully have a further post up about tonights game in the next few days. This has only taken so long due to the difficulties with the site that were only remedied on the weekend. As I was busy pursuing a resolution to that issue the Patreon development came to a standstill. I am still pushing ahead with that so if you are interested, more detailed information will be available soon! Keep rolling!