Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Evil Eye: Actual Play 3

Session three. One of the players was absent, and we got a new novice to join. We mostly finished chapter 3, skipped 4, and are halfway through 5. So the pacing seems about fine that the game can end after chapter 6 or perhaps with a custom 6.5 in the next two sessions.

This session was totally investigation again. Perhaps a flaw with the adventure (depending on your point of view). I was resigned to keep it a little slow because we had a new player who had never played before, but she caught on pretty quickly. I also wish I had not told players we'd advance in level. Curse of Strahd was designed for 3-9 basically, and this isn't really designed to level up midway through. I had them hit level 4 now, and they'll hit 5 at the beginning of the final session I think.

I feel like I've done a bit better at NPC voices, but I find I need to give them explicit labels. The voice isn't a description (like deep voice, British accent) but a stereotype (1920s gangster). That's helped me give the characters a bit of personality.

I had to do a bit of improvisation with the House of Mists, just because repeating the encounter seemed ridiculously boring at the time. So I drew random cards and tried to deliver some NPC hints based on the card.

I also did some improvisation by deciding to use theme/mood encounters in addition to random interactive encounters. This means I'd totally want to revise my random encounter tables, but it also means I can have them spot an NPC in the crowd or find a body in a dark alley, encounter the darklord's spies, or whatnot. Basically a lot of the old Ravenloft material suggests no random encounters, and I understand that. They generally give railroady set-piece encounters. But you can deliver some of those here and there, and curate your randomness. Basically, I want to revise the tables I made so the generic encounters that can happen anywhere are mostly theme/mood encounters rather than possible combats. Or perhaps so that there's a separate chance for theme/mood builders than possible combats and strong clues or whatnot.

I've also noticed that I wish the text were re-organized a bit more to be encounter-specific. The encounters with Malocchio, Matton, and Gabrielle plus the House of Mists in Karina are really the heart of chapters 3-5, so it was really good that I re-read it today and organize things in my mind if not in my notes. I need to re-organize my notes if I want to put some notes on the DM's guild.

I realize these posts are pretty details-light, I should do something more plot-oriented at the end.

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