Before we get started, it's time for some product placement! Kickstarting now (and fully funded, and more along the lines of a pre-order) is ENWorld's A Touch of Class
, featuring seven new classes for the fifth edition of the world's original fantasy role-playing game, including one (the Alchemist) designed by your obedient servant. This would be the first time my work has ever been published in a print format*, and I think it'd be worth having for anyone interested in 5E.
June 12, 2009
to August 22, 2009
Lasting two months and some change, this was the campaign's first lengthy adventure. It was divided into three "issues", like I'm fairly sure the previous chapters had been, but only at this point do the issue numbers and names start appearing in the posts, so I can't preserve that numbering and will be largely ignoring it in this commentary.
This adventure was meant to be something of a horror story, or at least a story about scary things. We managed to keep to this theme throughout, so even if the characters weren't scared
very much, they seemed conscious of the dangers that were confronting them. And in the final battle with Blume, I managed to communicate real fear to Donnie and Ray.
We opened up with something that I kind of feel ambivalent about now, essentially using someone's mental illness for comedic effect. While I tried to emphasize the pathos of the witness' situation after the action was over, I'm not sure I really did so effectively or not. Still, it gave Zane the first of his famous rants, and set up ADA Sunderland as someone I wanted to feature as a recurring character. Unfortunately, my one opportunity to do so (by having her, and not some nameless prosecutor, handle Robin's retrial) passed by unremarked. The lesson here is to keep track of your own NPCs and use them
Speaking of recurring characters, this issues saw the introduction of Project Freedom's favorite AEGIS goon, Agent Edward Ritter. While I cast him with the image of Geraint Wyn Davies -- no relation -- these days I think of him as looking more like Clark Gregg, and I could
actually have cast that actor in this role if I'd thought a bit about it. (For those curious, these days ex-Agent (and ex-Director-pro-tem) Ritter is happily retired from AEGIS and spends most of his time having wacky adventures with his nephews and neice on the dime of their eccentric great uncle.)
Charlie and the Raven continue their little dance in this one, allowing me to maneuver Charlie into taking the active role in the interview with Fear-Master II. I think it would have been very different if Zane had done it, and probably resulted in Zane taking some psychological damage. On the other hand, it also basically side-lined him in this scene, and with the way that he had to drop out of the final act, I'm not sure it was the best decision to make. On the other hand, he got to flirt with a sexy vampire and so probably shouldn't complain, even if said vampire took the fact that he never called her back rather amiss.
I also tried to teach Ray a rather direct lesson about excessive force in this one ... sigh. He also managed to usurp Donnie's role as the streetwise character (though that was partially my fault for forgetting that you can't make an untrained Knowledge check). Matters were coming to a head on this front.
What's sort of interesting in retrospect is that despite the theme of the adventure being fear
, and having Fearsome Presence as an advantage, Zalman's scenes in this one are largely about courage
-- delivering the courthouse from the fear gas, facing down the third Fear-Master directly, and of course the bit that he'll never live down, where he's directly acting against fear.
Levitt's final words were intended as an echo of those of the elderly violinist in the Sandman story The Sound of Wings
. I also slipped in some references to the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon stories of Spider Robinson and the honestly execrable Biggles
* Unless you count my credit for providing some ideas for Bob Schroeck's chapter of GURPS Y2K