"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Northern Marches Reaches Another Milestone

I am pretty excited!

Everyone actually took last week off from the Northern Marches. I was okay with this as we had a great run for a number of weeks getting one or two sessions in each week. I was actually starting to worry that I might get burnt out at the pace we had set.

During the week off two interesting things happened:
1. I emailed a very short (4 questions) multiple choice questionnaire to all of the players which I got some great feedback from, and
2. I was contacted by a couple more players that are interested in joining the campaign.

As for the feedback, it confirmed something that I suspected. I have been stingy with the treasure. I suspect this has been because of 2 reasons. The first, is that I fear and loathe twinkie superheroe PCs and I believe that I have unconsciously kept treasure light to keep the power levels down. In looking at this I see the error of my ways. What can they spend the money on to increase their power? Nothing. Those that can wear platemail already have it - it costs only 60 gp. There are no magic shops to buy a Flaming Sword. It is time to loosen the purse strings.

The second reason I have been stingy with the loot is that I have been using some non-B/X adventures and even some non-D&D adventures. I have also been lazy and not converting the treasure to the proper B/X scale. I will have to ensure that treasure does a better job of keeping up with the system requirements.

But, the thing that has me really excited is that more people are interested in joining the campaign. We are quickly approaching a size where we might be able to get 2 different groups adventuring in the Northern Marches. The idea of having somewhat competing adventuring parties in the campaign is really exciting to me because it has the potential to create a frenzy of activity when players know other players are out there exploring and taking treasure that "they" could be getting. It will also make the sharing of information more important. With two groups of players each individually likely to miss some of the sessions, the sharing of information is vital to ensuring that everyone feels they are part of the same game. I also love the idea of the actions of one group of adventurers having a lasting impact on the campaign world and having that impact noticed by another group of adventurers.


  1. There won't be a frenzy of activity because the treasure will only be a coffer full of copper pieces and no magic!!! :)

    Naw, just giving you a hard time. I often have the same problem (vis a vis magic items), since I unconciously cut in half even randomly rolled treasure because I'm afraid of ring on every finger syndrome or multiple magic weapons adorning the fighters like christmas lights on a tree...

    My solution is to make minor magic (ex potions of healing and extra healing, invisibility, heroism; rings and cloaks of protection +1; +1 daggers and arrows) much more common. Especially stuff like potions, wands and staves with only a handful of charges, or limited use items (dust of disappearance, or a Gem of Seeing that only works once a week) which appear to be pretty darn cool, but in effect can only help in a couple of combats before being used up or ineffective. Also helps some of the money drain, and you aren't giving away the farm. Plus it gives the character just enough of a boost they feel they have made out better than they really did when they find it...A wand of polymorph with, say, 5 charges is pretty cool, but can really only effect maybe 2-3 combats considering the limited use and saves of the target.

    Also I've found that a minor magic item with a unique ability (for example, a +1 dagger that also speaks orcish, or a torch that lights on command for an hour a day, or magic boots that cause the wearer to run faster (+20 movement) is intriguing enough that sometimes characters will hold onto these in lieu of a much better item simply because of the uniqueness! Their minor effects don't unbalance the game, either.

    Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens when more than one group starts messing around there....

  2. I am not even talking about magic items, the party does have a couple of those already, but instead the cold hard coin of the realm. It's the XP from gp that has been lacking.

    I don't have nearly as big an issue with magic items because, as you have described, they can be managed. Either just make sure they have some minor function useful only in fringe situations or that they are consumable (potions, charges, cumulative side-effects, etc).