Jun 30, 2024


This week I read:

Roleplaying Games

The Halls of Arden Vul

Mysteries were revealed this week, as the players returned to two issues that have been bugging them for a while: firstly, a bunch of their magic items had been lost when the party was attacked by several ghouls; secondly, the spaceship, with its alien mysteries, beckoned now that the party has a magic-user who can cast Comprehend Languages.

Since the players had told me they wanted to pursue those two things at the end of the previous session, I was able to actually prepare (a rarity for Arden Vul), and the session went pretty much how I expected it to as a result. A lot of fun, though.

Firstly, the ghouls. They were led by an intelligent ghoul who I knew would be willing to negotiate if the party showed their strength; and boy, did they. They actually came out of the situation with a bad deal, I felt: they got their magic items back in exchange for raising a portcullis and letting the ghouls out of where they were trapped. But now there’s a bunch of undead roaming around, whereas the players could have obliterated them and taken their other treasure too. I’ll need to think about how this dungeon level changes in response.

Secondly, the spaceship. I knew this could go one of two ways: the players might try to wake up one of the ancient aliens, or they might go see what’s through the iris door and get sucked into exploration. I figured they would probably go for the exploration (and they did), but I prepared for both just in case. Actually, I was able to re-use my prep from when they first discovered the spaceship, as there was a chance they tried to wake someone up then, too.

I guess all this goes to say, is that running Arden Vul doesn’t actually take much prep any more. It’s a huge dungeon, yes, but there’s prep I did the better part of a year ago that’s still valid, simply because every step the players take opens up new branches: but from a GM perspective, I can get away with only explicitly preparing the big things, for everything else just skimming through some room descriptions before the session, and thinking about whether anything the players did will have any knock-on effects after the session, is enough.