This Friday is the year’s last game session. It also coincides with the last session of the Seed of Sehan campaign arc I adapted from Dungeon Magazine to Ptolus. See here for the whole Campaign so far…
As mentioned before, the game has been prepared for quite some time now and I’ve had time to tweak it beyond recognition… so I’m not going to do anything more on this.
So why do I bother to write an Adventure Prep post then? Well it so happens that one of the things I’d like to do better as a DM is endings and this session is such an ending.
Baring an unfortunate event, we should complete the Dungeon Crawl and the adventure within the first 2 hours of the session. The thing is, much like Stephen King, I have a ton of ideas and I can write up a storm at the drop of a hat. However, much like the Master of Maine terror, I tend to falter with endings.
In fact, if I’m as tired as I usually am and if I don’t actively plan some sort of closing scene to the evening, I know how it’s going to end:
“Well it’s 9h30 PM, you succeeded, good job. Okay who was tallying the loot? Franky? Let’s split that. Here’s the DMG and Magic Item Compendium, buy whatever you want…. Yes Franky I know Cixi can’t use Magic Items, you can go corrupt another young noble to your cause with it later on…”
Not all that cool and pretty Fluffless, huh?.
So what I need to do to make it end with a bang is to go for coolness. I need to build on the player’s growing fondness for Ptolus and put the spotlight on the heroics they just accomplished for the city. However, at the same time time I have to take into accounts that the level of player fatigue will be peaked, that being the last Friday before Christmas, and not create intense Role-Playing encounters if they don’t feel like it.
I also can’t drop the Hook for the next campaign arc… I tend to do that a lot and not let the characters some ‘me’ time…
What I think I need to go for is Tribute Plot Hooks. Prepare 2 or 3 potential scenes where Ptolus NPCs and organizations react favorably to the player’s actions and consecrate them as Bona Fide badasses. By making them hooks instead of scenes, I will give my players the control as to how they get their tributes. But how to choose those scenes?
(I am literally brainstorming as I write these lines, so sorry if it sounds a bit haphazard.. I’ll clean up during post publication edits)
Okay, so who in Ptolus gets affected if they successfully complete the Adventure and how does it affect them?
- Andach the graveyard-squatting druid gets a thorn removed from his side.
- The Keepers of the Veil, who have so much to lose, will save face and should be VERY grateful.
- The City’s Commissar, who sees yet another problem in his city solved
- The Balacazar Crime Syndicate (whom the players don’t really know about yet) saw its main competitors hit the dust in the Warrens. (Oh and since all the players, but Cixi are Good, I wonder how the PCs would react to a gift from the Syndicate… ).
Aside: I don’t know if the other DMs out there have this, but I think my players don’t really like to deal with Grey Zone characters/organizations. Whenever I present them with a villain or a morally ambiguous NPC that wants to deal with them, the best I can get from players is aloof tolerance bordering on incivility… At worse the NPC gets treated like dog turds.
Maybe it’s because the players feel that heroics should be more Black and White or at least have a clearer divide between friends and enemies. Maybe because players expect me to pull the ‘Screw you good guys!’ trope on them? Or maybe I just play them badly and I fail to communicate what it is I seek in such a scene.
Actually I have a question for my players… what would it take for you as a PC to respect an antagonistic NPC… or shouldn’t I ask that and remind myself that adversary NPCs are good for just one thing… Swordfodder!
Anyhoo, I think I’ll write 1 paragraph on how each plans to give recognition to the characters in a flavorful way and let the players seek their own closure to this adventure.
Now to balance this list of potentially cool ‘thank you’ plot hooks, I’ll list those who aren’t all that happy with what happened:
- The Kill Raven Crime syndicate lost a whole district’s worth of activity.
- The Pactlords of the Quann (A non-humanoid league that aims at killing all humanoids) lost a powerful member (the Spriggan Souleater)
- The Knights of the Pale (Fiend hunters) , while happy that Good prevails, sees the opportunity to take over the Keepers of the Veil slip their grasp.
- The Vlaadam Noble house, through no fault of the PCs, failed to recover any Sehan… but Evil always blames others for its failures.
All this shapes the campaign’s backstory for the next part of the campaign… a foray in the Outer Planes!
Tune in next week for a special ‘Campaign Prep’ where I start talking about integrating Planescape in this Mish Mash game that is ours! I’m so looking forward to this… even if it means using an adventure written by my Nemesis!
Cya tomorrow…. (Edit: Woot 1005 comments and counting)