One of the things I have to do this week is put together the July issue for the fanzine.
One of the things I want to include is an adventure for beginning level characters, which I consider 1st to 3rd level, set in a town.
Being in a town poses some challenges.
- From a hack and slash point of view, the town guard is more likely to a better bet than the characters at dealing with threats.
- There is a more limited selection of beasties to use for hack and slash encounters.
- Using intelligent creatures means they will more likely want a fair trial then be summarily executed by the characters.
From a non-hack and slash perspective we have other problems.
- Characters may not be diversified enough to have the social skills for a social conflict adventure.
- ‘Prime movers’ in social circles are highly likely to be a vastly higher level than the characters.
One of the things I struggle most with for urban adventures is how to create a challenge for the characters that makes sense for the characters to actively take part in. If the challenge is clearly illegal, what is to stop the characters simply calling the guard in to take care of it?
If it isn’t illegal, what is to stop the antagonists just calling in the guard to arrest the characters for the medieval version of harrassment?
In my face to face game, which we played before lockdown and we are due to play again in October or November, so has a chance of happening but no promises, the players are both hunting and hunted by at least one assassin. The actual number of assassins is not known. They could be the same person or different.
The identity of the assassin is also not known.
This is almost on a par with a superhero/villain with a public and secret identity. That is where some of the tension is coming from. The characters don’t know who they can trust. As they are also the hunted as well as the hunters they cannot afford to do nothing.
So over the course of today I will be wandering around the farm thinking of horrible things to do the the characters that are not to difficult for them to resolve, but not to easy either!