The RPGrrl's Blog

{October 25, 2010}   Going East

My 4th Edition All-Girl Gaming group met on Saturday for our second session.  (We have gotten together three times, but the time in the middle was all visiting and no gaming due to a series of unfortunate events and the fact that we were missing a player.)  This week we were still missing that player, so I decided not to wait any longer, and presented her as an NPC so we could move forward with the adventure.  Her character was serving as an adventure hook, really, as a way to introduce her to the group, since the other three players were all present for the backstory/RP session I blogged about before.

The players all took to that hook with no trouble, behaving almost exactly as I had hoped they would.  They did engage an NPC in combat that I hadn’t anticipated being a part of combat, but I was able to roll with that, and it was really my fault for not getting him clear of the “scene of the crime” faster.

What I didn’t anticipate, though, was their first and emphatic response to the campaign hook I introduced that night.  None of my girls read my blog, and if they do, I don’t mind them knowing this, anyway.  As I introduced the game, I told them that the Count of the region had announced a contest to collect the most impressive caravan of magical creatures, for him to keep as his personal carnival.  The winners would be granted an enormous island on a massive inland lake in the Count’s lands, as their very own.  I thought, surely, this introduction would make it pretty clear that the intention was for the party to collect their own carnival, too, and compete.

Instead, as their characters stood huddled on the dusty edge of Mommy Fortuna’s ring of cages, they whispered to each other about how wrong this all was, how these creatures (kobolds! a cockatrice! a mummy!) shouldn’t be held captive in these cages and put on display like side-show freaks.  They decided that they should free the monsters that Mommy Fortuna had collected, and then travel to the Count’s castle, destroying any other carnival caravans they may find. I was flabberghasted.

This is only my first time as a GM, so I expected rough patches, but this is what my husband (a veteran GM) refers to as “Going East.”  It’s when the GM invests hours and effort designing a carefully constructed game world, maps and locations and quest givers and the like, all hinging on the party taking the adventure hook and proceeding West, but then the party chooses to go East.

I have to admit that I’m not entirely certain how to recover from this.  I mean, yes… I can certainly trundle a caravan or two down the road every now and them for the ladies to liberate, but the purpose was not to have carnivals cropping up every night!  I am going to have to design another unifying arc for this group, I guess, and in the meantime, come up with some adventures/directions to encourage them to travel in the meantime.

I guess you’ll be hearing about it in the future!


I laughed so hard when she told me, the going east effect has broken me as a DM and was the single most powerful influence to my open world concept gaming. Im so happy it happened to someone else for a change.

Wow! That was an interesting turn around.

You offer your PCs the chance to collect a bunch of critters to “earn” an island and it looks like they took it as some sort of slick attempt at slavery, by the Count. They may have “gone east”, but perhaps that is just a result of them buying into your world more than you hoped they would.

It isn’t exactly “bra burning” but in a way your PCs have launched their own in-character “equal rights” movement. That is kind of a modern way of looking at a fantasy setting environment, but people who are “ahead of their time” pop up in the real world, so maybe this could be made to work.

I’m guessing that, if they want to find the other caravans, they will find more and more of them as they travel towards the Count’s meeting point. If they keep this up, they will come across stronger and stronger bands of NPC adventurers, because sometimes two caravans will be together and sometimes a big band of adventurers will be trying to use their size to grab monsters faster than other bands. Eventually they will come into direct confrontation with the forces of the Count.

Meanwhile the monsters that were “taken out of service – in a non-leathal manner” will be roaming around and attacking the locals. So perhaps you could have some commoner NPCs ask the NPCs for help with capturing a monster that is attacking their village. Perhaps you can “sell” the Count’s seemingly unplesant activity as a way to “clear out some of the local monsters”. Perhaps you could even have him release the non-winning caravan monsters (apart from perhaps totally unnatural critters, like undead) in safe areas (away from his towns and villages).

Perhaps you could give the local area one or two abandoned villages, that were taken over by monsters in the past and have locals warn the PCs to stay away from the areas that “the Count has not made safe yet”.

I’ll be interested to see how far east your players will go…and find out what they intend to do to the Count.

Perhaps your players will turn around and start to capture monsters…or perhaps they will chase the Count and humans out of the area and become leaders of a large band of kobolds!


I, too, am looking forward to seeing where they go now. Having decided to leave the world as-is and let them move in this direction, I’m curious about how far they’ll go, and how they’ll deal with the release of so many monsters not previously in high population density in the area. I guess I’ll keep updating the blog.

I LOL’ed at the idea of them turning the Count out and becoming the “leaders of a large band of kobolds!” Thanks for the giggle 🙂

I’ll look forward to seeing the outcome of your group’s next adventure.

Are any of your party eligible to have “followers”? Perhaps next time they PCs free some kobolds, you could have a teenage girl kobold ask if she can tag along with whoever released her. Muhahaha!

There’s a thought! I hadn’t considered that… let’s see… I have a rogue, warlock, ranger, and cleric.

Every cleric needs worshipers, right? 😉

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