Well we finally managed to get to it. Several months later than intended my group and I managed to start our campaign of the Watch.
Our first session was a Defend the Fort Ironbriar. It flowed as designed with players still a little unsure about everything. Roles were made and narration happened. Everyone seemed to get into their characters well (rarely a challenge for my group thankfully). One character had Mila, an NPC get captured as a consequence.
Corporal Maegara the Raven decided that they would immediately move into a rescue mission for Mila. Lyeda the Fox performed a ritual, and her spirit guide showed her where Mila had been taken in the aftermath and confusion to the battle.
This ended up being a small “mini-mission” and ran smoothly. They were able to rescue Mila before the sorceress was able to perform some dark ritual that will corrupt the surrounding lands and Mila seems to have suffered no lasting effects.
They went back to fort Ironbriar and had their downtime.
The squad is now followed by large black birds, about the size of American Ravens but with serrated beaks and barbed talons. The squad does not seem to really care though. Ravens are a common site after a battle and they are near the front where all manner of creatures are warped. (Thank you Bryanna for the Raven inspiration from your own game at BigBadCon)
Downtime went well. There were some touching moments and some moments of strain as nightmares plagued Kylara the Wolf’s sleep. The NPC Deshi checked in on her and though Kylara felt more weary than before her sleep, she seemed to appreciate Deshi’s concern.
This ended our game on Friday the 6th.
The second session started with the mission to Guard a Supply Caravan. The town of Tickle Creek (thank my player Mike for that name lol) is suffering a debilitating illness. The squad is sent with medical supplies and a mandate to conscript any likely candidates for the Watch.
It’s a three day ride to Tickle Creek and on the second day the squad sees smoke to one side, at least a few hours out. The smoke is strangely colored and the squad faces a choice. They end up splitting the squad. Two of the most competent NPCs Tyla and Mousic continue with the Thason caravan. The remainder of the squad go to investigate the smoke.
Lyeda the Fox is scouting ahead with their NPC scouting partner Dalu. They report a caravan has evidently been taken and the wagons are what is causing the smoke. 6 Hollowed warriors are in the area and the squad quickly handled the situation. During the battle Lyeda realizes that her scouting had failed partially and there were several sentries joining the battle from their flank. Lyeda and Dalu rush to cover the flank and in the ensuing fight, Dalu is wounded.
Lyeda feels ashamed and guilty for the failing and the shadow takes hold of them. In the aftermath of the short skirmish Lyeda rounds on Dalu and dresses her down for Lyeda’s own failure. Dalu is hurt and the rest of the squad is shocked. Then it’s discovered that another half dozen Hollowed left this location and moved towards the town.
Their own caravan is now in danger.
We had gone really long on the initial part of the mission. So the next portion was really brief and the other force was taken care of and they were able to rejoin their caravan.
At this point a couple of our players were getting very tired so we decided to do Downtime at the beginning of the next session.
So one thing that has come up is that I have 5 players, so two people are always on “Watch their Backs”. Because some of my players tend towards “optimal” performance, it’s unlikely that they will change up the mission roles going forward until there are some compelling reasons. Add to this that the characters filling the other three roles have actually been rolling superbly, the two players on WTB have felt a little removed. They’ve only really been able to make a difference on one occasion.
I am thinking that one thing I can do is that after the main roles have all narrated the battle and the scene is set, I can let the WTB players have a few moments to narrate their own characters roles in the fight.
Are there any other things you can recommend to help those players feel more engaged throughout the mission?
Overall the game is going well. I have abandoned much of my prep work on the shadow and I am just letting what the players seem to find uncomfortable guide me in what to showcase.
One thing that seems to be a challenge is that the players really want to nail down a specific attack strategy and specific actions during a mission like you would in a more traditional RPG. We had a conversation at the end of the last game and I think they are starting to understand we need to let go of these assumptions and just let the narration stand without trying to nail down all the details before they narrate their scenes.
Do you see that a lot?
Hope you are all well.