Last time, our heroes found several of the bandits they had been paid to get rid of by a merchant of Aberford. They returned to town to report their success and deliver their prisoners, then immediately set on the trail of the bandits again. Tirin, however, stayed behind to attend the Aldermen's meeting, where the most powerful citizens of the town will decide on the fate of our heroes' guild...
Read the first part of this campaign log here.
After some last-minute advice by Secretary Frederick and some last-minute clothes shopping, Tirin is ready to partake in the Aldermen’s meeting to hear what the governing council has to say of the Silver Street Guild, and if it should be given permanent residency in Aberford.
After a long wait in the Town Hall’s antechamber, Tirin is brought to the splendidly decorated Aldermen's Chamber where the six members of the council are holding their session at a large, six-sided oak table. Secretary Frederick takes notes from behind a smaller desk. Tirin is seated on a bench next to the secretary.
Lord Mayor Nathanael Silvercreek--the slender Elven man our heroes saw earlier in the Temple--announces he wishes to move on to the next item on the Aldermen’s agenda: to come to a decision regarding the establishment of a new Adventuring and Mercenary Guild for the benefit of the good people of Aberford. Guildmaester Silvana objects to this motion: she clearly recalls that the Aldermen had decided in an earlier session that Lord Nathanael should specifically request the services of the Copper Street Exploration and Mercenary Guild of Penhaven. These men, she says, are not of that guild, and their coming is not what the council agreed upon.
Secretary Frederick interrupts her: he reads out the minutes of the meeting Silvana refers to. They leave ambiguous the final decision of the Aldermen on the exact affiliation of the guild that Aberford should attract, citing only a preference for the Copper Street Exploration and Mercenary Guild. Lord Nathanael intercedes--for all outward appearances for Silvana: Frederick should not interrupt the council with such bureaucratic technicalities; everybody perfectly understands Silvana’s objection. However, since the Silver Street Guild has distinguished itself in its short time in Aberford; it is only fair that the Aldermen now provide clarity and decide on its fate.
At this point, Tirin takes the floor and asks permission to present the Guild's case. Although he receives some minor needling for his bold action, the Lord Mayor allows it. Unfortunately, as with his earlier attempt to please Silvana, Tirin's player gets a poor result on his Speechcraft (persuade) skill check: Tirin, perhaps taken aback by the formal situation, does not manage to make a very clear case before he is asked to sit down again.
The time for the Aldermen to decide is come. Nathanael and Silvana abstain from voting. Captain Bartholomeus, Priest Trefusis, and Maester Derek sing the guild's praises. Farmer Jonas follows suit and the decision is final: The Silver Street Guild is entered into the Charter of Aberford-upon-Silvercreek!
After the meeting, Tirin loans a horse from the city guard and speeds to the Oakswald to deliver the good news to the other party members.
In the afternoon of the following day, Tirin finds his fellow guildmembers. After a short celebration of their success with the Aldermen, Guy sets on the bandits' trail. He discovers that the bodies of the fallen have been buried near the road and that two sets of footprints lead north, deeper into the Oakswald. A little farther down the trail, he finds a second, older set of tracks of a larger group going in the opposite direction: most likely the ambush party. However, following the several-days-old tracks in the dense forest is difficult, and progress is slow. After hours of trudging through the woods, the group grows tired and decides to set up camp to continue to give chase on the morrow...
I am very happy that we managed to finish the first main narrative thread of the campaign: the players have successfully established themselves in Aberford.
The battle at the beginning of the session was designed to be difficult. The bandits were quite resilient, mainly due to a high Body level and having all acquired the Resilience power (see Core Rulebook, page 115). Furthermore, they had skilled archers and a very effective ambush advantage. However, the players have by now figured out effective ways to drain Action Points from attackers, but I also feel they acted 'in character' (i.e. not having their characters go for the most effective solution where game mechanics are concerned, but partially determining their actions by character preferences).
My only regret of the battle is the way I handled the leader of the gang. Perhaps partially due to the various ways in which characters on the Stage may defend against attacks and the associated AP and Stamina cost, I was a bit confused with AP registration during the rounds, resulting in some illogical decisions by the enemy leader. I expect this to improve with more (and more regular) experience with the game mechanics.
I had already drafted the flow chart for the Aldermen’s voting behavior a year ago, before the first session of this campaign. I will not share it here, as it may be used in a module for a Stage sourcebook later, but suffice to say that I am pleased that it held up without the need for improvisation after many sessions and many possible player choices.
Thanks again to Thomas for his thorough notes on this session. I had a good time and was very happy to see our guild and its work recognized in the city. I also enjoyed playing Cesper: he is come to a place in his career as a mage where his spells gain strength. Some of these spells are satisfying to use, and I can honestly say that--while it still needs some work--the magic system on the Stage is coming together quite nicely; it’s a far cry from the earlier, clumsier rules in the Supernatural Rulebook.
I agree with Thomas’s comment on AP registration. Certainly in the beginning it can be a bit overwhelming to have to register several types of resources, some of which reset at the end of a character’s turn (such as Action Points), and some of which carry over for the remainder of an encounter (such as Stamina). It does get easier, although I still struggle with large-scale encounters. A combat matrix may help in such cases.