I freed myself from one technical entanglement (Twitch) only to run into another one (Discord via hotel wi-fi). Travelling for work can occasionally throw a wrench into a game’s smooth operation, but we persevered! And now the party has a dog…
At the conclusion of the prior session, the Fighter and the Paladin intended to head over to The Octopus’s Smile. Their patron, a mysteriously pale woman named Morrigan Rue, had asked them to investigate rumors of cultist activity centered there. Since they were going without the full party (as the Thief and the Bard were, ah, otherwise occupied) they chose just to make a quick reconnaissance run and avoid troubles.
When they arrived, they found a fairly standard tavern run by a retired sailor who liked to tell tall tales. (Side note, ridiculous vocal affects like his are half the reason I like to run games!) They used his affability as an opportunity to move around, talk to folks, and inspect some suspicious peepholes in the wall where they’d noted a discrepancy between the size of the room as it appeared on the outside versus the inside. Oh, hey, a secret hallway! After determining that the locale did in fact merit deeper investigation, they returned back to their home tavern to plot and rest.
The next morning, the Paladin basically needed to sleep it off. Not from drinking, per se, but from having gotten some debilities (weakness and sickness) from Lay On Hands. I need to figure out how to keep the player engaged while this is happening.
Anyway, the rest of the group headed to the “Lucky Tentacle”, as they’ve taken to calling the Octopus’s Smile. As it was fairly early in the AM, the bar was shut down. This isn’t an inn, after all, and doesn’t offer overnight accommodations. The only person they ran into out front was a stray dog that they’ve adopted and named “Buddy” or “Tyrion” (depending on who you ask). They made their way around back, intimidated a nosy neighbor, and let themselves into the kitchen. After investigating the hidden hallway (and finding the tavern keeper’s cash stash), they also discovered a small hatch in the floor. And just as they were opening it, they were surprised by the bartender who’d come in to get the day started.
Now what? Hell if I know! That’s the fun!
I told them that, if they did anything bad to the dog, they’d take -1 forward and also that it’s John Wick’s dog. This was mostly because I feared one of the players getting a little edgy.
But honestly, it’s because the doggo is a tool for shameless manipulation. Later, when they run into an antagonist that isn’t just a shade of grey (like every NPC they’ve met thus far), I need a way to demonstrate their villainy. So far, the world is populated with people who have desires and incentives, and maybe those align with the party’s or maybe they don’t. But it’s not really a world of “good” and “evil”… until it is. When that happens, you can do the math.
Also, I only put minimal thought before this into what lies under the tavern. I have a few ideas, of course, but I mostly wanted to gather in a few more options from their answers to my questions and see what ways I can twist the knife. They’re going to find out tomorrow…