Following the last session, in which the Friday Night Roleplayers resolved the core challenge within “The Terror of Anminster” (we’ve been playtesting the forthcoming module), I’ve been shifting my focus back towards the wider campaign setting of Mystamyr.
The home campaign arose from the continuation of our tinkering with the original 1983 Dungeons & Dragons Red Box combined with my experimentation with Mythras Classic Fantasy. Back in August 2016, the group agreed to switch away from Dungeons & Dragons and give Classic Fantasy a try.
Six or so months later, the game is alive and kicking… and going from strength to strength. In fact, we’re back to five players in the group from which usually we manage an average of three in attendance (due to work commitments). Knowing a good campaign when I see it, I’m keen to keep the flame alive… and that means letting the players into the sandbox.
Letting Adventure Happen…
We began the campaign in the village of Woodfell with a couple of forays into Castle Mystamyr, a rescue mission that discovered the Dragon Knight Tomb, and an expedition up into the Thunder Peaks to locate Griffinwatch (known to my players as “Orc Tower“). Then they guys generously agreed to playtest my module, so the party took a journey south to Anminster.
While I think it’s helpful to start the players with some initial short-term goals presented from the setting, such as capturing Bargle the Renegade or investigating the mysterious happenings in Anminster, I also believe that the Games Master needs to hand the reins of decision-making to the players. In other words, their choices should direct the movements of the adventurers; they decide where to go next and what to do each session. It’s about letting their adventure happen.
The Friday Night Roleplayers have a few key objectives that they’ve talked about resolving, such as dealing with the Goblin bandits near Anminster before travelling back north to get revenge on the Orc chieftain, Krezznak, up at Griffinwatch (the latter largely because Glar wants to take the Orc’s glowing two-handed sword off him).
As I see it, my job is to prepare those locations in detail and update them to account for the month of downtime the party invested in at the end of the last session. But that’s not all: it’s also incumbent on me to provide opportunities for the adventurers to achieve the personal goals which some players have noted on their “Four Lists” character sheet – one example, from Jungai, is, “Find a challenge where I might garner honour.”
Finally, I aim to update the setting for the month spent in downtime: what has happened up at Woodfell, for example, and how did the Orcs at Griffinwatch respond to the raid on their home? I want to establish that actions have consequences – natural cause and effect as well as impact on the non-player characters in the setting. Over time, my aim is to create a sense that while the adventurers engage with one problem, there is probably another one they are neglecting that will affect the party later.