I ran a session of the Northern Marches campaign at Revolution Games this afternoon. It marked the participation of the 9th player in the campaign. There has been a "core" group of about five players that have participated in the bulk of the sessions and another, now, four players that have participated in one or two sessions each. Today's session had three players that have been in most of the sessions and a newcomer that saw my posting at the store.
My hope is to get the roster of players up to about 12 to 15 from which to draw for any particular session. I am hoping that, with this number, different groups of characters begin going in different directions.
From the beginning of the campaign I adopted Jeff's Triple Secret Random Dungeon Fate Chart of Very Probable Doom. This is to heavy-handedly encourage characters to get back to civilization by the end of the session so that the roster of all characters is available in the same location at the beginning of the next session. So far, there has not been the opportunity to subject the characters to random fates but it was close today.
Today was a fun session from my perspective. I went to the game store thinking that the party would once again descend into the haunted silver mine that they have spent the last few sessions exploring (last session they found the entrance to the second level). Instead they decided to talk to a few of the important local NPCs and see what rumours/information they could dig up and then decide what to they were going to do. This gave me the opportunity to roll on a couple of tables. I have mentioned numerous times how I enjoy DMing when I get to weave together a number of random elements.
First, I rolled on a table from Dragon issue 145 "Holding Down the Fort" that gave me the result of a disease outbreak.
Second, through the interaction with the local NPCs a couple of reaction rolls resulted in the local ranking cleric (actually not that high level) sending the party to a local midwife.
Third, a good reaction roll with the midwife resulted in her asking for aid from the party.
Fourth, I then rolled on a "Quest Generation" table that I have adapted from a couple of sources. This resulted in "Recover an Object". I just recently read an entry about an abandoned witch's hut in Points of Light, so I decided that the midwife would send them to find an old witch that might have a cure for the disease.
Fifth, where was this witch? A d6 roll to see which direction and another d6 for distance showed that the witch's hut was rumoured to be located 3 days travel north of the village.
To this point most of the dice rolls and development of the adventure hook had been done while the party was talking to NPCs, making plans, etc.
The party decided to go so as the party was traveling north and amid rolls for encounters, I made a few rolls to see if the witch was there. The result was that she was not there but instead the hut was occupied by a Living Crystal Statue. I decided that the Statue was an old servant for the witch that was left to guard the hut while she was gone. The witch had been gone for a few years now and the statue was hoping the characters would find her.
Another roll on the "quest generation" table and a couple more rolls to see why and where the witch had gone resulted in the party finding a notepad/diary where the last entry was about how the witch was going to a seek a "treasure" in a glade in a nearby forest.
A couple of rolls more and I had a ruined temple in the glade with goblins and wyverns. I decided that the wyverns would be very young and thus have only 1 hit die. A tough battle ensued and the young wyvern killed a hireling and nearly killed a Elf PC.
Will the ruined temple contain the answers to the whereabouts of the witch and/or the disease in the village? We'll have to see what I roll next time. Unfortunately, I had a mind blank and forgot to take pictures.