Last Friday my neighbor group began to work through the problems left over after the Howlmark story ended. Expanding that story was a fun exercise, which was spurred on by my Monday night murder hobo group committing to tracking down one of the main NPC’s in act one and ending him 1.
Committing to an “after story” necessitated creating some random encounters to make the forest seem more like a living space, which hadn’t been part of my Howlmark planning since it was meant to be on rails 2. I got to create some smaller encounter maps, and think up reasons for the different creatures and NPC’s to be wandering the forest.
I thought some of these encounters would be a way for the party to get some information about what was really going on in the forest. If they role-played in a few different ways, that is. During the random encounter we played last Friday, however, one of the tanks in the group tried to go with intimidation to force their way through. This would have allowed them to pass without combat, but his intimidation check was a miserable failure. This agitated the creatures so much they started acting like a bunch of insecure macho-men trying to save face in front of their girlfriends. This, in turn agitated the party members.
I was about to just let them pass, since the creatures really weren’t there to fight, and their flare up of toxic masculinity had salved their egos to my satisfaction, but then my wife decided to chime in.
“I am so over this. Can I just shoot them with my crossbow?”
I looked at the line of sight and said, “Yah, sure, go ahead if that’s what you want to do.”
So her character raised her crossbow and fired.
It was a spectacular miss 3. Her bolt wizzed past the creature’s head and flew off into some bushes. This enraged the creatures who were blocking the path. Whereas before they were annoyed, now they were ready to fight.
But before I could say, “OK, roll initiative” my wife tried to bluff their way out of the fight through role-playing. “I’m sorry sir, I wasn’t aiming for you, there was something in the bushes I saw moving and I wanted to shoot at that.”
She rolled persuasion, and failed again 4. And then fighting happened. It was a good time.
When I shared this story with the more experienced players from the murder hobo group 5 my wife was declared to have “graduated to a seasoned D&D player.”
DM’ing is a lot of fun.
- Darn players. ↩
- Remember, it was a movie. ↩
- Looking back, I should have given her advantage on the roll, as it was a surprise, but I like the way it panned out better without it. ↩
- I kinda wish she had succeeded, the role-play would have been amazing. ↩
- They really aren’t murder hobos, I just designated them that for jumping off the rails. ↩