Big group this time, which is awesome. Six players, plus with the handsmen we had a force of nine. Plenty of beatdown to spread around.
The handsmen are my take on the Monk class for this campaign. The shao lin style kung fu guys they're presented as in the official rules are a fair bit out of place in a medieval european-esque setting. So I changed 'em to secular, Gentleman Jim Corbett/John Sullivan pugilist/brawler types, or like Morris Dancers or the Colles Castellares from Spain (the human tower guys). Much more european in nature than kung fu guys. Their backstory is kind of like Okinawa, Japan, where the authorities forbade weapons so they just learned to fight with their fists. If I was playing in this campaign, I'd probably play a handsman. I like playing mighty thewed brawly types.
One snag was that I've noticed a tendency for it to take a while for the group to get it in gear, so even though they had this mighty army of awesome, we were pushing at the end of the evening and risking me rolling on the dreaded Calamity tables.
I've been mulling over how to fix this. I think it falls to me to clean up my rumor tables and make 'em a little more tantalizing so that players don't have to spend so much time weighing options.
For players, if I may be so bold as to suggest to any who are reading this, maybe thinking over some goals you want to pursue before you get around the table would be a good idea. There's plenty of great chatter on the google group I use to run this thing about rules and such. We need a little more about rumors and potential expeditions. I know it's tough with a very loose and sometimes last minute group composition, but it's just a thought.
Also, I think I'm gonna be a little more strict about the tavern sessions at the start of the game. It's been great byplay, and I don't want to tamp down on any roleplaying, but there's a lot of time used up on introductions and whatnot that could probably be better used getting into trouble out in the field.
Had to do a little adjustment on the fly with the final encounter with the group of worgs and their mysterious, shapeshifting leader. I threw the encounter together as a strong reprisal (not personally, but thinking like a goblin) for torching the Rag Tree, but when I read the leader's monster description, using my whole brain for once, I saw that it had damage reduction, which changed this from a tough encounter into an unwinnable one, so I did some tinkering on the fly, and was glad I had a logical, in character reason to pull the thing out of the fight. Y'gotta come when Granny calls, Pookie...
Which again is why I'm happy with this format. I can turn a DM screwup into more plot hook/info, which is fine by me.
So yeah, I got the impression the group was exhilarated by the fight, and happy to have struck a blow at the little bastards and survive. They got a good dose of XP, even with shares going to the handsmen, and everybody got a little gold in their pocket too.
All good. Lookin' forward to next week already. What thrills and chills does the sandbox have in store? Come back soon and find out.
A Quick Update
2 hours ago