I'm running a fairly lengthy multi-part campaign at the moment, and though I've been pretty slack about it of late, I'm making a half-hearted attempt to keep a campaign journal at mojobob.com/roleplay/campaign/index.html
The other night, the team finally got to the lair of this stage's Big Bad Boss Guy (a Dioctopus from Malevolent and Benign), where they were supposed to get their hands on the McGuffin that would lead them on to the next McGuffin, and so on to ultimate victory and they'd save the world and so on and so forth.
For reasons I can't quite fathom, they sent just one member of the party in to do a job which was sure to challenge the whole lot of them, and she took with her the Vital Thingummy, without which their chances of finding the other Vital Thingummies is vanishingly small. Unsurprisingly, the BBBG pretty much just squashed her like a bug, and the Vital Thingummy is now in its guts, along with her slowly dissolving remains.
Now I'm at a bit of a loss. I genuinely don't know how I can rearrange things so that they have any chance of success, and maybe I shouldn't. Failure is always an option, I suppose, and if the surface world is going to remain a frozen, dark, dead wasteland instead of being saved, then them's just the breaks. It's not like we couldn't have a viable campaign in which the surface world is a frozen, dark, dead wasteland.
What exactly was vital thingummy supposed to do and how?
That is something the party themselves don't know; they're just the McGuffin Retrieval Squad, working for a Big Wizard called Eyeless (because he has no eyes).
It's one section of the Rod of Seven Parts, each component of which will point them to the next, like a lodestone. However, having now lost one part, they've broken the chain and have no way of pinpointing the location of the next bit.
I think you're right that failure is always an option, and you don't really need to rearrange things for the PCs. But sooner or later the BBG is going to have to take a dump, right? Guess who gets sent back to retrieve the McGuffin again.
It's easy to make the mistake of centring your campaign on the PCs doing ONE SPECIFIC THING (in this case, not losing the macguffin) and then feeling thwarted when things didn't go as they were supposed to. Especially if it's a tacit railroad like a fetch quest for the 7 bits of macguffin that make the big macguffin.
I'd just let it go. Sometimes the apocalypse happens and nobody can stop it because there are no heroes. That's life. Maybe get the Eyeless dude to tell them how much they fucked up, then it's their choice whether they go back to kill the big monster and get their stuff back.
If the close-range purpose of the thing was to point to the next thing, then you have the option to give them a different pointer to next thing.
What was the completed rod supposed to do and how? I assume you know, even if the players don't.
That helps define the exact way that they failed, which allows you to set the parameters for succeeding. Maybe this supposed apocalypse is actually just an interesting setup and can be partially offset, or worked with. Maybe a partial rod can do a partial job of whatever it is.
It sounds like that boss just got a pretty serious upgrade. Why not switch the focus stopping the newly, even more powerful Dioctopus from trashing someplace that the PC's love. Turning up the heat may spark some creativity in their approach.
Ooh, it should now also speak with the voice of the slain party member.
Post by TorrentialRains on Oct 10, 2018 15:03:57 GMT -5
They made a really big mistake, that must have consequences. First, do not save them from their failure. If you can't fail, your successes have no meaning. Second, the Eyeless should fire them and find someone else to retrieve the part. (and this other party should die trying) Then the dioctopus should mutate, and I like the idea of Skullboy of having it talk with the slain party member's voice. Let them try again, harder, and if they fail again, then the world is doomed.