So we got a little more Hero Kids in over the weekend. This raven that has been following them around asking for help for his master finally got his way. They set off on their journey, and really avoided most of the pitfalls along the way. Erin was trying to get lunch ready for the kids (in real life), so I had her get possessed during their journey in the meantime. Apparently the Frogling Warriors know some kind of mind control spells because they were camping near the marsh when this occurred. Her eyes went pale white, her faced turned red and angry and she started attacking them.
I wondered if the use of a map and figures was keying them in to “you should talk your way out of this” vs. “you should fight your way out of this” so I made sure that they were using a map when this occurred. I was very impressed that they refused to attack her, dodging her arrows and running away. After a few times, I pointed out that they were probably going to need to figure out how to solve the problem with Mommy, rather than just keep dodging her attacks. Kai said he would try to cast a magic spell on her. This threw me a little bit because he’s basically only ever used his magic powers to zap bad guys and there’s really no rules for that. I said “do you know a Magic spell that will help?” And he pointed out that he has the Lore skill and he would make a check to look through his book of knowledge. Alright fine, he succeeded easily, but the spell he learned only made Mommy drop her weapons. The danger was over, but they still had a problem. They tried to figure out what was causing the problem and guessed that it was the froglings they had heard about, so I had a couple froglings come out and try to carry her away. They fought them off and as the last frogling crumpled to the ground in a sludge, she recovered and was able to rejoin the party (after serving fruits, veggies, and sandwiches OOC).
So they made it to the base of the Wizards Tower, I read the description and they decided to climb the tower. Had they simply walked up to the front door I described, it would have opened for them and we would have had two more floors of combat and puzzles. But they chose to try to skip all the way to the end. Again, this kind of had me scrambling. The adventure mentions that this is possible, but it basically just says to have them make a check to do it and doesn’t really say how to deal with the consequences of this choice. In any event, they remembered the magic acorns and grew a tree all the way up, climbing it easily (though Kai fell once and took a damage, mages not being particularly strong nor dexterous). So we just started with floor three, which is the boss. They missed a lot of the narrative, sort of discovering HOW all the objects came to life by skipping ahead like that, so the Wizard had to give a bit of exposition after his rescue. The best part came at the end though when I had him ask how they had climbed into the window. When they mentioned the magic acorns, the wizard got a very worried look on his face. He looked through his shelves and found an ancient tome which he muttered while leafing through. Then he said “You haven’t been having any trouble with pirates have you?” Kira exclaimed “Yes! The Ghost Pirate Flynn!” and I had the Wizard proceed to tell them how the acorns were cursed and the Ghost Pirate Flynn needed them to break the spell. Erin, being the one technically in possession of the acorns, murmured “well, he’s not getting them”. What a setup for another pirate conflict!
All in all, it felt a bit uneven to me, not nearly as smooth as some of the rest have gone and they really kind of threw me with some of their choices. Much as the powerful ability of the acorns provided the opportunity to really derail the story, I fear that Kai’s made-up “weapon drop” spell, as well as the ability to make a check to essentially learn how to do ANYTHING could be a little rough in the future. But he’s not wrong about the way I described his knowledge of lore. And I’m really trying not to say “that doesn’t work” to anything. But having the story tie in together was really good and it seemed to me that it gave them a really cool moment of realization at the end, kind of an open-mouthed wonder that this is all connected.
I plan to recycle some of the traps and tests they missed by skipping ahead. There’s also a really cool encounter with water beasts they missed if I can get them to sail again. The next few adventures are a werewolf attacking the farms outside the village, rescuing some trapped miners, and heading into the ghostly tomb to find treasure. I’m thinking perhaps an encounter with Ghost Pirate Flynn is in order again, some exposition explaining why he needs the acorns as well as “something else” to break his curse. Perhaps he can even send them on their next adventure, if they agree to trust him that is. Still trying to get it all worked out in my head.