The power of exploration

This is technically a recap of two sessions, but it’s also a lesson in play-style as well as how to react to your players’ desires. The Five have become a bit more than I intended. There is this overarching plot around Lorebooks and Scholars and Proctors. But one of the things that they’ve really enjoyed is exploration. Sure, a few d20s and damage dice once in a while are fun, but tonight’s session was much more about discovering the World of the Everflow.

That’s what they wanted and needed. They boldly went where no player has gone before. They discovered parts of Sheljar long abandoned.

Back on Summer 16 a few of them (Mo, Saffron, Behn and Samul) freed some captives from Parun’s strike on the caravansary. It took a lot of effort and Parun and his two primary henchman escaped.

More importantly a few NPCs which treated The Five well escaped slavery and decided to settle into the no-longer haunted Sheljar. But the tiny island where The Five took over an inn is not large enough for a dozen commoners and nearly a dozen heroes.

Tonight’s session focused on exploring the bog-city. Aamar, Behn and Samul (with Boo) needed to find another relatively safe island in Sheljar for their loyalists. So they explored.

There was only one combat. It was swift. A mulgob fired a huge crossbow at Samul’s head and Behn tossed a fireball their way. The bridge was nearly destroyed, but the gobs (five of them) were all tossed aside like bowling pins.

But that isn’t what the session fun. What made it fun was island hopping and creating a space together. The PCs and DMs worked to build the city. It wasn’t procedural like a video game, or preplanned as store-bought settings are, it was built together.

Together they found an island that looks like it could be a secondary base – defensible and spacious. There is access to the sea, without large ships being able to pull along side.

Sure, there is the small problem of a gobkin encampment nearby, but no DM isn’t going to toss a problem or two (there are also tunneling nightmares on nearby isles) towards their players.

But it was the discovery and fellowship that made the session enjoyable. Not combat, just the pleasure of finding something new.

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