Finally got to do another adventure. Actually it was a longer one and we ended up splitting it over Saturday and then Wednesday evening. The kids had to help an injured unicorn who was attacked by goblins. Kai briefly considered staying by himself to guard her as the other two set off to find the healing spring and the cursed spear. I was very clear that he could do this and mentally started planning for him to be attacked by some forest denizens if he did. But the others convinced him to come along since he was better at the skill checks that they needed to guide them through the forest. And indeed, over the course of the adventure, he made three successful checks avoiding an encounter with a pack of wolves. I had them hear the howling of wolves in the forest as he expertly guided them down hidden paths. Of course since he didn’t stay, nothing attacked the unicorn. There’s probably a name for that. It’s like an anti-quantum-ogre or something. I feel like that was a good choice though.
Anyway, first they raided the ruined keep where the goblins were hiding to recover the cursed spear, which involved several rooms of combat. As they entered the final room, the dungeon, they saw a goblin scamper into the corner and pull a lever which slammed all the cell doors shut. Later during combat, I also explained one of the goblins seemed to be guarding the lever. The goblins fired arrows through the bars, but even once they had dispatched them, they couldn’t get to the spear which was locked inside. And they couldn’t really seem to figure out that they needed to pull the lever until I really hand-held them to it. They tried “jumping over the bars”, which didn’t really make sense since they went to the ceiling. They seemed really stuck and I felt like maybe I hadn’t given them enough information, but in actuality, I think they just weren’t paying enough attention. I felt like it should have been very clear. But they didn’t seem to be able to come up with any reasonable alternative either, so I kind of “reminded” them of some things I said. With adults, I would have just let them squirm, but I didn’t feel the need to be so vindictive with kids. Really, this made me kind of realize the issue with such a railroady puzzle. There’s no creativity to be had here. There’s just a lever to pull and if you don’t pull it, the bars won’t open. I suppose they could have tried prying open the bars or something, but they didn’t think about it, and that seems… implausible anyway.
After recovering the spear, they headed to the hidden spring, where there is a roleplaying moment of trying to convince the water spirit to let them get to the spring. Of course Kira really took the lead here again. She got stuck and asked to make a talking skill check, which she passed, and I had the nymph give her some more information about the spring. I asked her to prove she wasn’t a goblin and she thought to show me the spear she took from them, which was really good. I then asked them to prove to me that they really knew the unicorn and asked for her name. Kai immediately blurted it out correctly and Erin laughed and said “wow, I didn’t remember that”. So a nice team effort. They healed the unicorn and saved the day.
I added a little tag onto the end of this where as they got back into town they saw shadowy figures sneaking around the town hall. They determined they were the ghost pirates and tried to sneak by. Only Erin succeeded, and was able to head through the side door of the town hall (Yay for the map board giving them the idea. I didn’t even notice there WAS a back door.) while Kira and Kai were forced to battle the skeletons. Inside, Erin found the Ghost Captain Flynn who had lured her into a trap, but just then a bolt of fire shot down from the rafters at him and he fled through the wall. It was their old friend Bree, who Erin cut down from the rafters. She joined the fight (my first time really controlling an NPC figure) and helped them quickly dispatch the last of the ghost pirates. Bree explained she was living in a hut outside the city, but if they ever needed her, they could ask for her help. Ghost Pirate Flynn still clearly wants his Magic acorns back and they may need to address this problem sometime soon.
I tried to wrap up here with the characters going to bed after a long night but Kira said “Okay, now it’s morning again and we are sitting in the tavern eating breakfast. Then I want to go to Aeon Mageblood’s store.” Really stepping on my role as GM here, but also on my role as a dad trying to get them into bed for real. Anyway, I let them buy some stuff real quick and then we called it a night.
As I was cleaning up, Kira really wanted to look at some of the un-chosen characters. She basically asked if she could switch and I said, well, not really, you guys still have to defeat Captain Flynn, but maybe we can start a whole new campaign sometime. She’s pretty taken with that idea, which I sort of understand. She’s been a fighter this whole time, maybe she wants to try a healer or an archer or a mage, you know? I even explained that they could create their own characters as well, which really captured her imagination. I think I need to come up with a big finale for these guys in particular and then start fresh. There’s a sense in which this system doesn’t allow for tons of leveling anyway, now that they each already have an equipment (limit 1) and a decent amount of gold and items.