Borderlands Session 24

My last session ended with the Swashbuckler declaring he was going to go through Faerie to report to his liege lord regarding the status of the Soulmonger (i.e. their success in the Tomb of Annihilation). While I still had two or three scenes planned for their town, these would have to wait as I go where the party wants.

Into the (Fey)Wilds

I love the Feywild. It’s one of the best addition 4th Edition made to the cosmology. I’m sad less has been done with it, but it’s a lovely addition to the core cosmology. I have my own ideas for how it works and the tone, but I pull a lot of inspiration from 4e.

The session needs a quick little Faerie encounter as part of the travel montage. Maybe a small roleplaying encounter and maybe a fight. There’s an evil tree in Curse of Strahd so I can throw together a blight encounter easily enough. Then onto the River King of the Eladrin and back home. 

I’ve always wanted to do *something* with the fomorians. They’re creepy and cool but I’ve never used them, and I love the idea of them being the dark lords of a Faerie Underdark. But they’re a little too high for a dungeon. Just one is a fair challenge for my party (especially if it has a mook or two) and a “boss” fomorian should rip them a new one.

But I can foreshadow that conflict. Set it up for a couple levels down the line. I’ll give it an in-world a time deadline (a year-and-a-day feels appropriately mythic), so the party can either decide to return and help or let whatever happens happen as they’re busy with personal matters.

Because the Swashbuckler spent some time in the Feywild before, I’ll write-up a description of how travel in Faerie works and let them read it once, and them let them initially plan the journey. I’ll also take it away after, so they have to rely on imperfect memory (which feels very appropriate for the non-studious Swashbuckler).

From there it’s probably back to what I had planned for two sessions ago.

Kinda.

Maybe.

I’m playing this game “straight” and letting random chance and the player’s actions guide the story and have an impact. So I’ll be rolling the time dilation effects of the Feywild. Or maybe even letting a player roll. So they could be in Faerie for minutes. Or months. Or, if fate hates me, years. They could emerge ten years later and everyone might have assumed they were dead. Would would be interesting but certain require a LOT more improvisation on my part: when you do a decade long time jump, things HAVE to have changed.

Post-Game Report

This game was a harsh reminder of how a couple players at my table think.

The Swashbuckler’s player still expects obvious plot hooks at every destination. For the story to go from one quest to another. Things definitely slowed at the court as they kept waiting for me to launch into some obvious new mission. “Hey, good timing. Despite being a king with a literal army at my beck and call, I need you to clear some rats out of my cellar.”

But I suppose I could have found something…

The Feywild section did go a little slower than expected. In my Faerie, you move based on your destination. You go wherever you plan on going, as the world is not a static landscape. And the ADHD klepto Frogperson rogue just happened to be the strongest willed among the party. This gave me an opportunity to have a small fomorian encounter to show what they are. Foreshadowing.

Following that, the Swashbuckler was very clear that they needed to get to the Court and go home, but the battle hungry paladin ended up guiding them towards some enemies. So I filled a cavern with a half-dozen fomorians when they knew that one had been a challenge. I feel no obligation to make every encounter a “fair” fight. If they wanted to charge in they could. Or they could view it as a stealth mission. Or they could do something cunning.

On the plus side, because I didn’t give them a giant obvious quest hook they decided to make their own. And that makes me pretty happy. And because it requires a LOT of travelling that basically gives me an outline for the next leg of the campaign as the adventurers cross the continent doing heroic deeds.

However, I’m uncertain how to plan for the next session as I’m not entirely sure which route they will take: northerly or southerly. Which is going to make that heavily improvisational.

 

 

Shameless Plugs

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