I apologize for the time between posts, work and life in general have been riding me. That said,
Total. Party. Wipe.
This past Sunday saw the party-minus-the-cleric swept back into Ravenloft. The last adventure in RL seem a little too trite for me, so I decided to opt for a side quest that was a bit mysterious, with a nice big battle in it towards the end.
The heavily armed party managed to scare some townfolk, then go to the shadiest bar in town, and when asked to leave, get in a fight with and murder both the bouncers and proprietor. After some more asking around, they got right into the business of the Big Battle at the End. They faced eight armored clerics, who were pretty stout, and two unarmored tenth-level fighters.
The party stood their ground and were beaten to death, one by one.
This leaves me in kind of a sticky situation. I try not ever to advance the main plot of the quest unless all the main characters are present. With all put the absent character reduced to a pulpy mass on the Demiplane of Dread, I really hope the cleric is there for Sunday's game.
I noticed something that never fails to disappoint me during Sunday's game. It seems that in non-combat situations, if there is not some obvious and specific way to over come something, my players get frustrated and unmotivated.
If an NPC seems distrustful of them, or is not immediately forthcoming with information or aide, the standard response seems to be "Fuck that guy, let's burn his house down!"
I think this sentiment comes from, strange as it seems, noble aspirations. In the minds of the players, they are the heroes, the good guys. This should be present in the minds of everyone they meet, they reason. Every NPC should be immediately trusting and forthcoming with all aide and information to them. And why not? They're the good guys, after all. Anyone who doesn't aide them must obviously be some kind of villain. In the player's eyes, they are the highest moral authority and woe to those who would condemn their actions.
The truth is, they're a heavily armed group of seasoned mercenaries. Though they may be truly good people who fight for what's right, it's only natural for the small farmer to treat them with fear and distrust when they show up unannounced on his doorstep.
After all, if a squad of special ops soldiers bristling with arms and armor showed up on your doorstep and started asking questions, odds are, you'd be just a tiny bit wary around them.
In my philosophy of gaming, player characters are just people. The only thing that separates them from the farmer is a little training and a lot of experience.
*insert ham-fisted segue*
Immediately previous to my introduction to the hobby, a dude by the name of Uncle Figgy wrote several guides about being a player and/or dungeonmaster/gamemaster. Three of these guides can be read here. A quick google search will get you the pdf's for downloading.
As burgeoning roleplayers, my first group and I took these as gospel. Giving these a quick look-over may give you a peek into my psyche and the core of my gaming philosophy.