Friday, February 21, 2014

When a GM Plan Goes to Shit...Have Fun

Last night I finally got around to running a game for our Monday night group on Thursday night.  I'd rolled out the characters and a little of the game system I'm using.  One of these days I'll have to get more of it out of my head and onto paper.  I had three players set up and then a fourth to add, which was easy enough to do.

The plot was simple.  Or so I thought.  Instead of "you all meet in a tavern and glad hand one another", I decided to start them out separately and bring them together in a battle with a common enemy.  Or so I thought.  Here's a little of how it went down.  I'm sure I'm going to miss a few details.

Quick Cast of Characters
+Chris C. as Malcolm, a rogue which in my campaign means he's a tough guy, fighter thief guy.  A member of the Silent Knives thieves guild.
+Ken H as Hythom, a battle mage.  This class was pretty much ripped off from Hackmaster with a few changes.  I'm using a spell point system and Ken volunteered to my guinea pig.
+Rob Conley as Marrick, a ranger.  A local boy to the campaign setting.
+Dan as Arden, a duelist.  This class was inspired by +John Stater's class in Blood & Treasure.  He is a hired sword of the Silent Knives.

Okay, my simple set up was this.  Malcolm was assigned to free a prisoner and then transport him through the tunnel within the inn and trade the prisoner for a scroll.  The guards are paid off, just don't make a big scene and you'll be fine.  So Chris cases the area and then sets a fire to the hay at the lord of the manor's stable.

That did not have the desired effect so he went into the inn to drink.  There he met up with Arden who sorta announced who he was looking for.  He also met up with Hythom, who was inquisitive.  But it worked out and they got together to do this thing.  Or so I thought.

Instead, there was this little guard named Carl, who worked only part time as a guard because he drinks so much and to tell the truth Carl is not good at staying awake.  The party decides, screw taking the prisoner, we'll kidnap Carl, a guard, instead and trade him for the scroll.

They cover Carl in a cloak lead him through the tunnel and at the other end they meet the skimmer pirates.  Rewind a few minutes...........outside the tunnel, Marrick is in the trees resting when he sees a group of skimmer pirates land and take up positions around the entrance of the tunnel.  Marrick finds a good vantage point where he can see the guys in the trees to shoot them out if needed.  And a quick word about the pirates, they are the common enemy everyone had some dealings with in the past, the backgrounds that came with the characters.

The party makes the trade.  The pirates immediately know Carl is not the prisoner they were looking for.


A cool battle ensues.  The party takes some minor hits, but they are able to take the pirates down.  Now this is the event I thought would bring the party together and they would hold hands as one fighting force and sing sea shanty songs as they drank victory ale.


What happened next was battle part two.  Marrick was still unsure of the group.  Said something about needing to turn in the pirates to the lord of the area.  The party didn't want to have anything to do with that.  Marrick insisted.  Hythom put a magic missile in Marrick's ass.  Marrick shot back and ran, Hythom caught him with one more magic missile for good measure.  It was at this time Arden struck Hythom from behind sending him into the after life.

I haven't GMed for a couple of years not.  Within the first hours of the first session I've got two guys running into town, one guy limping through the forest and one guy face first in the dirt.  I laughed and informed them "They blew the shit out of what I had planned."  Onward we go.  We were having a great time.  Dan laughed so hard at one point I think he peed himself although I cannot confirm that.

Arden and Malcolm return, carrying the loot from the pirates. They get an earful from Fenton for deviating from the plan, for setting a fire of the lord's stable, for getting a guard involved and bringing a stranger along.  The players were not interested.

Then they encounter the little higher up guy named Torp, he runs the only store in the village.  Malcolm and Arder dropped off their loot to sell.  Torp pushed a single silver piece across the counter, "I'll offer you one silver for the lot and I guarantee it will best offer you'll get this side of the lake."  Torp told them how it works in the guild.  How they need to work together and need to trust one another or it doesn't work.  And maybe, just maybe, listened to those who've been doing this for years.  He told them to learn from this, and do better next time.

Meanwhile, the wounded ranger, Marrick, went to the guard and reported what happened.  The guard investigated and discovered one of the pirates was one of the wanted captains and there was a price on his head.  100sp.  This brought on cries of outrage and moans of anguish from Chris and Dan.  Marrick collected his reward and got to meet a few of the folks who run the village.

The sudden demise of the mage, Hyroth, was assumed.  Little did the party know that the crazy cleric of Ballor, one of the nine gods of the dead, watched and took the Hyroth to his temple.  The cleric has large pustules that he picks at and doesn't bother to wipe it off.  He marked Hyroth with his god's symbol and gave him a quest to 'close the gate'.  Hyroth agreed to do the quest as long as the cleric stopped touching him.

We ended there.  Four characters in three very different places. 

So my plan worked out well....

We had a blast.


  1. Player's have an instinctive ability to wander off the map.

  2. Some GMs despair that this will happen. Me, I hope it does. I rarely plan much just on the assumption that it will!

  3. We bring our own sand to the sandbox.

  4. Tim, you ran an awesome game. I think the character histories you created, along with the social elements in town went a long way to making that delightful chaos possible. In the end we all had distinct reasons for either bonding or cutting each others' throats. It could have gone either way. I think you handled the chaos quite well. You seemed to just roll with it and it all felt seamless.

  5. I love it when a plan doesn't work out.

  6. I don't think I would have handled it that well. Though, I do like the throwing the characters together and making them fight their way out of whatever hole they wound up in. In my latest game, I actually had it so that the PCs were trapped and bound in a slave cart heading to market. Watching them fight their way out of that one was pretty fun :D