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

Friday, June 26, 2009

Northern Marches Session

I sat down with three players last night for a session of Northern Marches. It was the first time I had pulled out my Northern Marches binder in about 6 weeks. Of three players, one (K-Slacker) is an old-school gamer in very much the same mold as myself. Players two and three were the previously mentioned Former Northern Marches Players. That is right - they actually came back!

The session itself was fairly basic but it was in its basic-ness that showed me that my previous conversations with them had an impact. The first couple of hours were spent talking to a local sage, tracking down the "Old-Timer" that loved to spin stories of his exploits when deep in his cups, talking to off-duty guardsmen about the goblin menace, and seeking out tougher retainers than the drunk misfits they had hired up to this point.

After that, they stole a small rowboat to head across the river as the ferry service has stopped due to lack of demand and the threat of goblins on the other side of the river. They then proceeded to explore the wooded mountains of the far side trying to scout for these goblins. They smartly avoided a couple of encounters with giant animals and quickly dispatched a lone Ogre. The session ended after they overcame an encamped hobgoblin patrol. My favorite part was when one of the players said, "wouldn't it be cool if they had a damsel to rescue?"

Well guess what - I made sure there was a damsel. She turned out to be a cleric. One of the most basic DMing skills there is.

It was actually a fairly mundane session. It had been a few weeks since we played last and I wasn't sure what they wanted to do so I treated it as if it were the first session. It worked well as it gave them a chance to try out their new "old school" skills. I had alot of fun!

As an aside, Konrad the Fighter is the only PC to remain from the first Northern Marches session. He is K-Slacker's character and is a foppish, vain fighter who the other players love to see get wet, dirty and otherwise covered in filth.


  1. They also bought spears - a good tactical move.

  2. "It was actually a fairly mundane session."

    Sounds like a good time to me. A session doesn't have to have Michael Bay explosions to be a good session.

  3. Out of curiosity, what happens when a player's character dies and the player creates a new character? Does he create a 1st level character, or one of similar level to the dead one? Is there a wide spread/variety of levels in your group? Since you are developing "multiple parties" are the parties grouped by level?

  4. JB,
    Up until recently when a character dies either a new 1st level character was rolled up or a retainer was promoted to PC status. This is just another reason why retainers are so important. But honestly most of the PCs never really took the time or spent the money to find any decent retainers so in nearly all cases a new character was created.
    Recently I implemented a house rule that they could keep 50% of the previous PC experience.

    The level disparity has not crept in yet. Everyone is still very low level. This has been caused by 2 things: 1) me being too stingy with treasure - which I am trying to rectify (even though little treasure was found last session); and 2) a really, really high mortality rate among PCs. I am anticipating this to alleviate itself as the players continue to sharpen their "old-school" skills.

    As the campaign continues I am anticipating that adventuring parties do some grouping by character level. Most people will have more fun if their PCs adventure with others of roughly the same power level. But I am also never really anticipating that levels get too divergent.