Good evening, all! My regular players are trudging through W2: River into Darkness and we're almost past the boat ride and are getting to the second part of the adventure, where the players help guard Nightfall Station during the siege. I was curious on other peoples' experiences in running this part of the adventure, as it's noticeably non-linear compared to the boat ride upriver (and, as a novice at dungeon mastering, it'll be the most non-linear game that I've run once we get to it). How have those who've DMed W2 handled the players' work at the station, the various events going on and the time frame?
My own plan is to make a nice weekly schedule for the PCs' guard and patrol duties, and figure out how to sprinkle the events at the station during the weeks that they're there. My players are new at tabletop roleplaying and they haven't grasped yet how much freedom they have to do their own things in the game world, so I fear they might not pursue or even realize the secrets at the Station. So I'm thinking of additional events that would clue in on things being afoot there - most likely a friendly NPC noticing something and passing it on to the players, since those have been the best hooks for us so far ("Hey, have you noticed anything funny about the barracks?", and so forth). While there's nothing wrong with simply weathering the siege as an adventure conclusion, I'd like my players to at least be aware that the plot's not as black-and-white as they think.
I'm most worried about the actual time frame of the siege. If all that the players do is guard against the siege then I fear they'd get bored if it would last for more than two or three weeks. But if they manage to get hooked with all the intrigue at the station I imagine I could stretch it out further. I suppose I should run the siege for a couple of weeks, see how my players are faring and then decide if I should move on to the climactic battle.
But yes, how's this part of the game been handled by other people who've played or are playing River into Darkness? I realize it's ultimately up to me to figure out what works for my crew, but I would really like to know how this game's gone for others!
|Greg A. Vaughan Pathfinder Lead Developer, Frog God Games|
Just a quick suggestion, but it always seems to pique PC curiosity is they happen to notice some NPC sneaking around for some reason. It's fairly heavy handed but is a nice ace-in-the-hole if they simply aren't picking up on the other clues.
Oh yes, that's a very feasible plan of course. Event 6 especially counts on this to drive the point home if the players haven't figured out about Petrune yet.
The main problem with this method is if I try to introduce the secret operation going on at the Station with it (there's of course quite enough clues hidden in the adventure as is, including Event 4, but I'm still worried my players might first need clues to come to them to start them off). Virtually all of the Consortium people are in on the scheme so there isn't really any need for them to "sneak about" among each other, and acting natural would be the logical thing for the Consortium men to do to dissuade PC suspicion.
I think a similar thing to do is to maybe run Wisdom checks after a weeks' work to notice some discrepancies in Gorse and the mercenaries' routines at the Station, if they haven't struck out for clues independently by that time. If that doesn't work, I suppose I'll just let them work for the Consortium blissfully unaware (or I could have one of the non-Consortium NPCs discover something and pass it along, but admittedly that would be even more heavy-handed).
It would be very interesting if the PC's never figured it out. If the survive the last raid it would be interesting if they then found out the Elves were right all along.
I'm prep this game, and was dreading the endgame, though the more I think about it the more it might be the most dynamic part of the game. It's almost like a mini sandbox.