Sunday, 6 March 2011

Trossley Campaign: Politics, Economics and ... Puppets?

After a long hiatus due to our travels and various other infirmities, the campaign got back rolling Friday evening. Reaction and morale rolls ensured that the remaining hostile kobolds of the Am'rash tribe would stand down for now, so the first half was spent cleaning up remaining pockets of resistance and engaging in humanoid politics. While Boniface the militant came away with a sword of virtuous steel formerly wielded by the Am'rash chieftain, the coin and other effects fell to the Yurog kobold allies. They had offered to "play a game" back at their lair to determine the division of these spoils, a generous offer the party unaccountably declined. Proceeding were interrupted as a group of five orcs chased a Yurog scout back up from a lower level (the result of a "does this cool thing happen" roll). After a joint show of strength, the orcs backed off, and with this increasing the pressure, the party decided to make their apologies, though with some grumbling from the Yurog.

Back in town, more politics ensued, the party being summoned to the Lord Mayor Felmere to give a briefing on the reappeared castle to the local Earl, Grangor of Pendry, and his daughter, the celebrated beauty Ellimer.  Both the Earl and the Mayor grew interested in any treasure flow from the castle. Grangor left with a poor impression of the Castle's worth - the coinless adventuring proving to be, perhaps, somewhat fortunate this time. Felmere, a former adventuring henchman, had other suspicions about the prosperity of the restocked dungeons. Spurred on by news of the arrival of another, somewhat raffish rival adventuring party in town (another "cool thing" roll) he floated a proposal for an adventurer-friendly "tax" on recovered treasure in the form of a compulsory payment toward the purchase of one of the town's abandoned properties.

The main play issue this session brings up is the difficulty I had in creating a conversation between NPCs with the party as audience. I felt like a puppetteer, switching voices not altogether successfully. Maybe some handy finger puppets - or at least miniatures for the figures involved that I could pick up and wave around - would help keep things straight as to who was talking. If that's not, you know, too weird.

I think most DMs try to avoid such NPC-on-NPC scenes for good reason, but the more intrigue one throws into the stew, the more they become inevitable. Any tips for handling them, of course, would be very welcome.


  1. I was never very good with silly voices either ; -)

  2. With my group we all just ended up talking like pirates.
    So now what we try to do is speak in a more narrative voice,
    the emphasis on intention a specific talking points. Stuff likeJozen explains what just happened at the dark tower to the king, specifically highlighting the danger the heroes were in, he leaves out the discovery of the magic staff however.