We finally got another Pathfinder RPG session in! This time we moved the story forward and began actually questing rather than just shopping. I find it much easier to prepare when the characters are actively pursuing their goals, so although I winged it today, I won't have to next time. By the end of today's session they were actually in a dungeon, arguing bitterly over direction, and going their separate ways.
Which works out just fine for me, actually. Part of the problem we've had in recent months is that my two oldest daughters have gymnastics on different and alternating nights, Monday through Thursday. Then they both have gymnastics on Fridays and Saturdays. That leaves Sundays for gaming, but something always seems to come up. By splitting up, they allow me the opportunity to run their separate adventures on the night each individual is home. We'll get in at least one session apiece this week.
We learned a few words tonight: arcane/arcana, keep, motte, and scriptorium, to name a few. We saw some new mechanics we hadn't looked at before, especially how poisons work, and what happens when core abilities like strength are sapped. We finally met an NPC who believed Elerisa's outrageous story about being an elven princess from a civilization that disappeared 500 years in the past. His name was Forg, an elderly sage working in the depths of the archives below the city library. Into his care they entrusted the skull of the ancient scholar Fibon the Wise. He was most pleased to be brought to such a prestigious place of learning and research, but he was unable to thank the adventurers for bringing him there, for no sooner had he been placed down on a table when Norma spied guards in the corridor outside Forg's study coming to apprehend the adventurers.
Why did this happen? Because of a scuffle in a weapons shop the last time we played. Three men they left for dead (they were later revived and healed by priests behind the scenes), and so Elerisa, Fiona, and Bubda the Beatboxing Bard are all wanted for attempted murder. In fact, Elerisa now has a wanted poster she snagged off a wall as a memento. She is being described as a deranged woman who suffers delusions that she is the long lost elven princess of Nimoriél...which of course she really is. She is considered armed and extremely dangerous, as is the small child she travels with (really Fiona, an adult halfling), who is reputed to recklessly summon dangerous elemental beings in public places to do her evil bidding.
Forg showed them a secret passage to a tunnel that runs between the library and the museum. He also gave them a parting nugget of information: somewhere in the labyrinth deep beneath the city is a portal that can take them across the sea to the Sylvesse, the forest that was once the domain of the elven people. Elerisa desires to travel there to find the lost city of Nimoriél, but first she wants to check out the museum, which proudly boasts an exhibit of treasures associated with the lost elven princess.
Norma the dwarf is not quite so motivated. This is a problem for me as the GM. I have devised a grand connection between the disappearance of the elves, the spreading of orcs into the dwarf realms that led to the enslavement of Norma's brother, and a special gathering of the world's druids. In other words, I have something special in mind for all three of my daughters. Unfortunately, only the elf has clear motivation at this time, so it seems like the story is all built around her. I keep promising Norma and Fiona that I'll bring it all together, but talk is cheap.
So we fought some giant spiders tonight, found a healing pool, explored an abandoned scriptorium, and then argued about which direction to go. Since there has consistently been a choice to move "forward" on the map (i.e., the direction they faced when they started, hereafter "north"), Elerisa has been determined to go that way. Norma, by contrast, wants to explore by taking some random turns. She has even started mapping the labyrinth. Normally Fiona sticks with Elerisa, but this time, when Elerisa chose to go straight no matter which way the others went, Fiona stuck with Norma the dwarf.
When next we play, Fiona and Norma will explore a few rooms off to the west of where they left off tonight, while Elerisa strikes out alone on the path heading north.
The pattern has been that predators pick off the stragglers. Elerisa is going to be in for quite the bumpy ride.