Hexcrawl High: Lost a friend but kept his memory

Well its been three weeks or so since my last post and we’ve managed to run two more sessions during that time. As it turned out I didn’t really need to worry about the kingdom building rules as the players have yet to properly engage with them. That should hopefully take place during this weeks session which barring misfortune will be on Thursday night.

The last two sessions were fairly slow, in one we had no combat whatsoever and in the second we had only a bit. I don’t mind as I’m happy with no combat as long as it’s interesting which only one of those sessions was. But I suppose that’s the risk when you’re running a more sandboxy campaign, sometimes there just wont be anything interesting going on. Last weeks session was much better, again little action but a lot of roleplaying and exposition, all PC driven which was great. The PC’s have started to get themselves involved in the next “tier” of activity. They’ve also set the foundations and begun the initial construction of their new settlement. As kingdom building actions take place on a monthly scale there’s still a week or two (in game time) before the PC’s take their first kingdom action. I intend to write out a simplified version/summary/modification of Pathfinder’s kingdom building rules, well, intended would be more accurate. Xanathar’s Guide to Everything has rules for purchasing and making magical items which I might try to Frankenstein in.

Speaking of Xanathar’s Guide or Everything, it makes me really wish I’d a chance to play in a D&D campaign (or campaigns) as there are a lot of character concepts I’d like to try out. But in terms of this campaign I’ve moved over to using the encounter tables from it instead of my own. What I want to do is to combine my tables with the ones in XGE but just haven’t got around to it yet. Last session I used both and went with the result that seemed most interesting. Or sometimes I just ignored the result. Two weeks ago a result came up that was clearly a cakewalk for the PC’s so I just narrated their victory. But I’m unsure if that was really satisfactory for anyone. I think I might just run the combat the next time but have the NPC’s go down like mooks. I fear PC’s get antsy when they haven’t rolled dice in a while.

As the PC’s move into the next tier in terms of mechanics its nice to see that they’re “moving on up” in the campaigns fictional hierarchy as well. Where they were previously dealing with fairly localised issues they’re now moving on to dealing with things and individuals that affect the entire reason. Founding their own settlement is certainly part of it. I suppose one problem is that I should probably have paid more attention to the idea of tiers of play when populating the area as the power levels of the NPC’s are sort of all over the place and I should probably have thought more about how the NPC’s would get involved with the players. I’ve had to change some of the NPC’s around in terms of statistics, raising and lowering power levels here and there. All behind the curtain and none of it really affected the PC’s so far. I’m also a little worried that I should be more forthcoming on some regional events but I think the PC’s have had enough chances to realise somethings wrong and I’m looking forward to seeing the consequences play out.

Well, that’s assuming the group stays together long enough for that to happen. While I’d no real plan in mind for how long the campaign would be I did populate the area with NPC’s and plot threads that would scale all the way to twenty. The idea being we’d keep playing as long as people were having fun. But unfortunately one of the players has got a new job in Dublin and will be moving in a month so I’m not sure what that means for the campaign. While I’ve run games with less players in the past these days three is honestly the minimum I’d consider viable. Partially because a lot of games rely on three to five PC’s for balance and partially because with less players you simply move through the content much much faster which means a lot more work for the GM with honestly no real return in terms of reward. So while I didn’t have a solid end in mind for the campaign I’m wondering if I should try to shoe horn in some kind of capstone event as a “send off.” The fact the players have established a settlement actually makes the campaign easier to return to as you can just move forward a year, run that in settlement (i.e. month long) turns, throw in a bit of downtime and bobs your uncle (who left you his fortune if you can last one night in the dungeon he created.)

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