Thursday, October 8, 2009

Crimson Throne: Investigations and Journeys

Over on RPGcentric Tony Law gives some pretty solid reasons why Adventure Path's don't work for his group. No gaming group is the same, but at least in my case the players have really taken to the idea of the adventure path, at least in one case more than I think is necessary.

The Crimson Throne Adventure Path is not all that linear, I find. Certainly less so than the Rise of the Runelords. I've taken the information from the first 3 modules and used it to create an image of Korvosa, aided of course by the Guide to Korvosa. I find that it makes a much more believeable game to foreshadow future events, and especially important that NPCs that will play a part later be introduced in some small, but memorable way. There are several pages of events which should occur at some point in the campaign, but aren't tied to a specific timeline, and the adventure assumes that the players will get to them at some point, rather than forcing a specific path. The only failing in this adventure path is that it is not written with my style of gaming group in mind, and it is almost necessary to have read most of the path in advance. Luckily I am about 2 years behind in terms of publication time compared to when I am running it.

We've been running Crimson Throne now for a couple of months, and technically they have only managed to complete the first module the Edge of Anarchy. Whether through my own immeasurable skill or blind luck I've managed to get the players so interested in the plot that they are investigating the unsolved mystery of Neolandus Kapeolis all on their own. The unfortunate part of that is that the adventures really do not expect the players to care about these details and assume that all will be revealed in due course, when the modules present the players with the information. My player's weren't satisfied with that.

At the end of Edge of Anarchy it is stated that there is approximately 60 days before the first events of Seven Days to the Grave. I planned to do a couple of small stories to bridge the gap between the players, create bonds, and build characterization. I expected once these events passed I would allow time to pass and begin the next adventure. Instead they started asking questions. Using connections, real and fake, to gain access to investigations. I could have simply let them get to dead ends, but they asked the right questions, pursued lines of investigation that really made sense. I used the information presented in latter adventures and rolled with it. Now they have hints of what happened, some leads that are simply beyond their reach and enough rope to hang themselves with.

Just where I want them.

Queen Ileosa has offered them a chance to serve Korvosa, gain lands and title and it just happens to get them out of the city. They accepted. So I will be interjecting a version of Conquest of the Bloodsworn Vale into the campaign. It should be fun.

I think I have done a decent job of building a sense of the city and the characters within it. They seem to have a detached fondness for Sabina Merrin, even guessing that Sabina is essentially decent but caught up in the Queen's wake. One of them has begun a relationship with Vencarlo Orisini. They are still very much three seperate people that happen to have some goals in mind, but I like it. I think that it makes for a different sort of game than we have experienced in this group in a while.

I'm looking forward to some simple adventuring before darkness descends. Give them a chance to be Big Damn Heroes before they have to face the hard stuff.

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