Session 4: The Deep Wood

This is a recap of a session from my “Goldcrest” 5th Edition D&D Campaign. The artwork for the main image is from Andreas Rocha.

The Deep Wood

Session Date: December 17th, 2017

Session Recap:

Kerr moved to the bar to sit next to the players. There was a lot of talk between sessions about what they might do to him. I had a strong feeling that what he was about to say to them, while not a threat at all, wouldn’t really matter… there has been blood in their eyes and I was just not sure everyone would leave this place alive.

As it turned out, Kerr spoke to them saying that things were hard enough in this city behind what he is (a Bugbear) and that their actions at the dinner (last session) were sure to cause him a big headache. He said they were upset with him for not explaining what he went back to the twins cabin to retrieve – to that he said, “Too bad. Either let it go, or go have someone arrest me”.

They left what ended up being his (Kerr’s) bar and decided it was time to head to “The Fortress” in the Deep Wood to the South West. The deed they were given (as a reward last session) had to be stamped for approval by a Goblin officer there and they wanted to check the place out. They left Goldcrest after an encounter with someone who was paid to follow them. He was a young man named Bayne who said Kerr’s men had paid him – that he was to follow them as long as they remained in Goldcrest.

From Goldcrest, they traveled with a caravan of masons headed there on one of their regular delivery runs of stonework. Halfway to The Fortress, the group decided to investigate the woods a bit when the Barbarian (after communicating with a deer) discovered there was a recent threat in the woods. It turned out to be Ogres who then attacked the caravan.

The Ogres were defeated leaving the group wondering what they were doing here and a decision needed to be made. Some of them wanted to follow the Ogre’s path and get to the bottom of why they were here. The others didn’t have a preference, so off they went, deeper into the Deep Wood.

NEXT STEPS: The players follow the Ogre trail back to where it came from in an attempt to discover what they were doing in this area

Notes About the Session

This was my worst session of the campaign so far. I felt a little less prepared, which I am typically okay with (I like to improv) but I think it was mostly just a lack of a real goal/draw for them. They had this very light hook for The Fortress but that was about it so the session felt like it had no direction a few times. It was an important lesson/reminder for me to make options 1) more clear and 2) make sure those options have some appealing elements/draws to them.

Additionally, to this point I had been considering Kerr to be complicated in the sense that he has done some good and some bad – so depending on who you ask, it will vary whether someone likes or hates him. However, the players definitely hate him but more importantly they have made it clear that “even if he turns out to be a super good guy… we just hate him”. This is the reason I like to let NPC’s get fleshed out as we go, versus me locking in on what I may WANT them to be. Right now I have the flexibility to change it up and so he will certainly now be much more villain than good guy. I like the idea of him being a bit more split, but if that is not going to change anything with the players, I also don’t want to become frustrated by that.

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Next Session: Entering the Feywild