Tomorrow I begin running D&D Encounters - Scourge of the Sword Coast. I paid $18 for this thing. That bothers me.
On the first page, they say: "Playing in the store is fun and a great way to enhance the experience. Here are some of the benefits of playing in stores.
✦ Participants receive a twenty-sided die designed especially for this season.
✦ Players receive a color map of the Daggerford region.
✦ Dungeon Masters receive a poster map of Daggerford as well as its surrounding region.
✦ Dungeon Masters receive six nonplayer-character cards that they can use as a play aid.
✦ It’s a really great way to support your friendly local game store!"
Poster map... dice... kewl. Now obviously we're about to enter the SPOILER ZONE so.. fairly warned be thee says I!
|My hair distracts from my weird collar|
Our heroes come in on a caravan, park by a farm, maybe have an encounter with goblins, then get to Daggerford. I have decided to throw in an encounter previous to this. This group likes fighting, So I want to throw a fight at them right away to capture their interest and get things rolling. I'm going to have some goblins riding wolves ride in and attack. Maybe they'll shoot flaming arrows at the caravan, that might be cool.
So anyway, once our heroes kill the fire arrow wolf-riders, and then deal with the farmhouse vandalizers, then they arrive at Daggerford. Outside are a bunch of refugees who want to get in. Sherlen, a town guard who is "sturdily-built"... hahah. Really, that's what it says. How can they not include a picture?!
|Behold! The Mystic Urinal|
The Fugees want in, but someone stole the duke's magic-rock-thing and he blames the outsiders. He won't let them in. A riot brews, a guard has a twitchy finger and is freaking out, and we have a fun encounter that can go many ways. A problem here is that some of my players might just want to kill the guards, but I guess we'll just see what happens.
There's a bunch of different ways for the heroes to gain access to Daggerford. Once in, the module really wants the PCs to hang out with a halfling named Curran, who really wants to show them around town. Then things bog down as the heroes can explore the town, learn rumors, blah blah blah. My players won't like this so I will streamline it.
It's funny. Some players like to be railroaded. Especially in encounters, They don't want to wander willy-nilly, partly because the players don't know each other that well and butt heads when it comes to this kind of decision-making. It seems like everyone is more comfortable when they are on a set path.
A lot of times in Encounters, you'll get a few players who "don't play well with others". Maybe that's why they're at encounters, because no home group will have them? I don't know. I'm not trying to badmouth my group, they're all pretty cool, but there's definitely some turbulence and a little bit of anti-social behavior that I need to monitor at my table.
All I know is my internal alarm bell is going off at this point in the adventure. I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow.