We started a new campaign this month, and for my sins, I'm back behind the screen. I've taken advantage of my time off to look at how I run the games and decided to make some major changes. Previously I've tried to ensure I had all of the answers to any question my players might ask - down to writing a door generator that told me which side had the hinges. Perhaps my wife is right and I am a bit of a control freak - just a little.
The campaign concept has been influenced by the soloplay I did (much) earlier this year, using the Mythic game system. I liked the directed randomness, an odd term but the best way I have to describe it. I also realized that I never have time to do all the preparation I would like before its time to run the adventure, so I need to use modules in addition to anything I create. Thirdly, I'd like to bring in things from different systems. Many of the bloggers did a post on their gaming bookshelves, showing them overloaded with systems. I'm no different, other than many of mine residing in electronic format rather than paper. And the last constraint is that the group is using Pathfinder, so all the mechanics would need to be D20.
I decided, since I have most of the Warhammer Death on the Reik adventures, I would use the WFRP setting. It's much different from the group's standard fantasy setting, in that it has elements of horror and firearms. I'm using the Mythic Fate Chart and Chaos Factor make the setting more 'alive', instead of my usual pre-scripted effort. And as time goes on I'll bring in monsters and artifacts from other settings.
I'll do a full recap of the initial session and some lessons learned, but here's the short form. I found what may be the most awesome published adventure ever in The Nine Virtues of Magnus the Pious, (WFRP 2?) where the characters start in a city in the middle of being sacked - and the situation goes downhill from there. After taking damage from friendly cannon fire and being chased through town by mutant Mongels, they reached the climactic fight scene on the roof of the City Hall between the thief who had suckered them into helping retrieve the MacGuffin for her and her partner who was double crossing her. All was going well, too well, they had taken out the doublecrosser who ordered the crew of the balloon to leave as he sank back dying. The Dwarven Magus decided those guys weren't going to get away and jumped a Flaming Sphere into the basket of the balloon. Neatly destroying the only way for the party to get out of town.
My initial reaction was to declare a TPK, as I had previously decided that the balloon was filled with hydrogen. However the players convinced me that the Hindenburg would be a better model of the physics of a hydrogen fire than David Weber. They then chased the survivors into a Chaos Zone, eventually into the local Cathedral of Sigfreid (patron deity of the Empire). Now at this point, they were so far off the map and out of the adventure script that I had no idea of what they would find or how I would get them out of the city. Especially as the mutants were starting their final assault on the defenders.
I used the concepts of Mythic and crowd sourced it. I asked the players what they thought they'd find when they opened the door of the Cathedral. They decided that they would find the balloonists stuck right at the door. That was a bit self-serving of them, so I altered the scene to they found the balloonists whirling around and slowly rising out of sight in the middle of the dome.