I made the decision to make sure that both of the role-playing groups in Game Club have a great experience. That means I started GMing the other group in our last Club meeting and we started the adventure off with a bang!
I’m all about efficiency as a GM. As such, I’m running two separate groups through the same two “worlds”, but with very different skins over those worlds. My original Game Club Group is currently exploring a dead husk of Castle Snowspire. My new group in Game Club is engaged with the same castle, only it is alive and well and populated with people.
I started this game by levelling them all rapidly to level three to give them some more abilities to play around with. I got the impression that they were running on base attacks and skills for most of the year, which is not what the progression aspect of role-playing is about. I also laid down my ground rules.
I started the session with the PCs on top of the Scholar’s Tower as the Queen of Snowspire directed the defense of the castle. I love in medias res and I find it my duty to introduce students to literary devices as they play. Many are familiar with it, of course, but some aren’t. So, English teachers out there, I got you.
In front of the castle, a massive army, legions of foes, stretches out, bombarding the castle. A shield erected by the castle mages is the only thing keeping it at bay.
The Queen has a conversation with her lieutenant of her guard, who brings dire news. She says that their scout commander has betrayed them and is moving against a very important monument that serves as the power for the palace mages. The Monument functions as a conduit of their power. If it were damaged, the psychic shock of that offense would sure make the defense untenable.
The Queen gives the players two missions: 1) send a party through the secret tunnel below Snowspire to protect the Monument from the rogue cavalry leader, and 2) Bolster the mages defending the castle in any way that they could.
The PCs divided themselves up into these two groups. Kat and Heaven stayed to protect the mages. The way I ran it is that every round there was a chance that the 20 mages defending the castle could faint or be killed from the strain of the shield. They varied in check modifier from +0 to +4. I awarded the ladies added bonuses to checks when they rolled well to defend or heal a mage. I let the tension build, but not too quickly. By the end of this session, they were down to the minimum number of mages needed (including themselves) to bolster the shield. In addition, as his last selfless act, the Arch Deacon of the Mage School sacrificed himself to bolster all of their check modifiers. They did a great job, felt the tension, but also got a good sense of accomplishment.
The rest of the group (Ryan, Ryan, Ali and ?) took the tunnel under Snowspire towards the Monument. I explained that being a chief officer of the Castle, the Rogue Cavalry Lieutenant would know about the secret passage too. Sure enough, as they walked down the tunnel, two giant Ogres had been set loose towards them. The Ogres started by hurling javelins at the party. Ali the Barbarian and one of the Ryans worked to close to melee distance while the other Ryan and another player (rats, can’t think of her name) hurled arrows or crossbow bolts at the Ogres.
When within striking range, the party took quite a beating from the Ogres, but they dished out plenty of damage as well. They killed the Ogres but were left in sad shape to take on the Lieutenant and his hammer wielding thugs, but time is of the essence! We ended the adventure with them spreading out to defend the Monument.