Saturday, August 12, 2017

Oakhurst: DMing Session 12

I'm going to try something new. I'm going to give insight into how I DM. Let me know what you think.

After closing the saga of Angelika the Hag, two weeks have passed (while that is my primary storyline, I want this to be player driven and a sandbox, so I always have 2 to 3 plotlines available. They are rough ideas, not really scripted).

As the session opens, the players have learned that Spartansberg, a town to the west is now under the rule of Gargok Trou, an orc. Meanwhile, the Paladin is researching Tomoachan and wants to head there because of the prophecy that the Blood War is about to reignite and the horn they need to stop it. Finally, the Wizard wants to fulfill the dead Sorcerer's promise to a spirit to find it's heir.

The group decides on Spartansberg (what I have worked up is that the coup was bloodless, that's it).

It takes several days to get there and the trip is smooth (I rolled each day for random encounters and nada. In my head I was prepared for a pure roleplaying session, so I didn't ignore the die rolls. When rolling for random encounters I decide what number or lower it occurs on a d10, ususually a 1 or a 2).

On the road, the group, an official expedition from the Mayor of Oakhurst with additional men for support, notices several supply wagons heading back and forth to Spartansberg. Each group contains a wagon driven by humans and escorted by warg riding orcs.

The group sees that there is no one working the fields and that there are plenty of people in and around the fortified keep that is Spartansberg. Orcs and humans appear to be working and training together (I took a few minutes to describe the scene and work up details, in my head I decided that the Lord Mayor had of Spartansberg was corrupt and had sold off most of the food to other cities and owed 2 mercenary companies money for foolish missions. He was lynched by the towns people while the orcs watched).

The Players move up to the closest farm house to spy, but find several women, human and orc, getting supplies from inside. The Thief knocks on the door, while the rest hide. An orc woman questions him and worries he's a brigand and uses magic to send up a flare. Quickly, several orc and human riders close in (I emphasized that there was cooperation amongst both races whenever I could).

The Thief revealed himself as an envoy of Oakhurst and the lead orc relayed Gargok Trou's mission to raise orcs from savages and throw off the yolk of Gruumsh. He was keen to set up a meeting with the Players (here, I emphasized how the orcs were clean, well spoken, regimented and worshipped a different god that none of them recognized).

The meeting was the following morning and the night was uneventful. All of the Players went into the keep where they saw that tents had been set up, as well as foodlines and training areas. Their liason, Rork, mentioned that families had been given priorities on real homes and that they were working on new agricultural techniques to grow food quicker and that Gargok was trying to negotiate with the 2 mercenary companies, but they were preparing for any eventualities (the players kept looking for "evil" and just couldn't find it).

They met Trou in a meager tent where he met and planned with his staff. Magic revealed his throne, staff, and chainsword to be enchanted. Gargok explained that he was a scro from the stars and that he wanted to bring a better life to the orcs of this world. They questioned him about getting the chainsword from Anglika, and he admitted that he wasn't as physically powerful as most orcs and needed an edge. They asked about the boon she refused and he admitted that he turned to the necromancer Zeos for it (I was suprised my players didn't press this more and didn't ask what he got from Zeos).

He explained that felt good that he would be able to put off the mercenary companies, that the grain that the Lord Mayor made contracts for wouldn't be honored (one of those was to Oakhurst) and that he didn't seek war, but wanted his people ready to defend themselves.

The Player's mentioned meeting zombie orcs and he admitted that his regiment was built from the best of seven orc tribes and that many were given to Zeos as payment for his services. They asked how to contact Zeos and were shocked that he used a pub in Oakhurst, the Laughing Corpse, run by Meegan, who they knew of (I had been looking for a way to bring Zeos back into the story and this worked really well).

The Wizard also asked about any McClintocks in the town and Troug found Brennan McClintock for them. The Wizard tried a ritual to put the ghost of Brennan's Aunt to rest, but they found out that she had a daughter, Evie, who owned a pub near Northrun (remember, I wanted them to head that way, but this gives them more reasons to choose that later. Additionally, when Brennan encountered his Aunts things, I emphasized how supportive and happy everyone seemed to be, this was further emphasized by the fact that anyone could receive any training they wanted, they were not locked into a class or profession any longer).

The group asked for several townspeople to return with them to Oakhurst to give testimonials about the new regime (the players, worried about enchantments felt this would give it time to wear off).

Oakhurst's Mayor Leng was stupefied at the news and asked the townsfolk from Spartansberg to stay for 3 days (the Mayor was frustrated at the news about the grain contract, but relied on the player's opinion that things seemed to be on the up and up, as frustrating as that was).

After several combat intense sessions, I wanted time to breath, roleplay and worlbuild. We got that. I created several leads based on player actions and helped get a better view of what was happening. Next session they intend to lead with investigating Meegan's connection to Zeos.

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