Monday, August 19, 2013
Three Missions - One Stone
Maybe you folks are smarter than I am, but as a GM, I almost always send the party out after one goal. Now the best I have done is when I set up what would be the world’s largest adventure, if I could ever get around to finishing it. (The interior portions were a palace a half mile in diameter, five stories tall, plus the 15 mile by 8 mile valley wedged between three volcanos and chasing ogre bandits amidst a massive buffalo migration over 150 miles of wilderness. - Sorry for the departure from the topic.) OK - So the post was supposed to be about sending folks out on more than one mission at a time. How to make it work? Well, there’s the easy way. The party gets a mission to travel to the capital city, report for duty, and go fight in a major war. Well, before they leave, they talk to the merchant’s guild - any one need a message delivered to the capital city. Maybe someone else is travelling there and would like to be protected by the party. Maybe a weapon shipment needs to get there too. Maybe the place they are about to attack holds some really cool treasure and while they are following orders and attacking the city, they might be directed (by a third party) to divert just long enough to recover it. Maybe a unit of their army is concerned that their orders are going to get them all killed, so they want to team up. Thus the party would still being doing what they were supposed to, but would have more tweaks and twists in their seemingly straight forward orders. Maybe the enemy is using hellhounds, and an alchemist lets them know that he’ll pay 10sc for each tongue and 1sc for each tooth recovered from the beasts. Maybe the enemy’s weapons are more valuable to a certain fence then to others. Maybe the enemy’s provisions are kind of disgusting (at least to the party’s culture), but are finely preserved delicacies to some other culture. So some sutler is willing to trade actual fresh food in exchange for the captured provisions. So what does this turn into? Well the party first off makes extra cash just getting to the next adventure, and then while they are out in the field fighting, they are stopping to take hell hound teeth and enemy provisions, possibly when they should be fighting or advancing. It means more is going on than simply the main adventure. Maybe that other stuff isn’t important and doesn’t affect the action itself, but it might, and it will serve as “more”. I think the best way to handle something like this is to change the way I handle the Adventurers’ Guild. Instead of effectively being the introducer of missions (effectively the bounty billboard), it could turn into an Adventurers’ Manager. By managing their careers, the guild can work to make everything they do more profitable, for all concerned. Managers can be helpful, motherly, or just plain evil (maybe not evil, but really greedy). I don’t think it takes that much more planning on the GM’s part, well, inconsequentially more. This might also be a way to make adventuring more of a business and less of a gamble for loot. (Check out a previous post on just that here.) When someone offers a bounty for someone, it is very likely that the bad guy pissed off someone else too. Will the party of bounty hunters need to decide who to collect from or will they be able to “double-dip”? What if one bounty demands he be captured alive, while another demands he be brought in dead? With a skilled manager, the party doesn’t even need to do the research; they can just make the decisions during combat.