This week my players finally made it to Xen’drik to start work for their patron, Merrix d’Cannith. While the activity they have in the jungle continent and the monsters they encounter there are interesting, this post isn’t about that. One of the major themes of my campaign is the slow march back to war in Khorvaire; this post is about how I’m trying to make sure my players don’t lose sight of that.
I should probably recap a bit at this point. Sharn was destroyed when the players failed to stop a terrorist attack on the city. Mathias, the only survivor from the original group was blamed and sentenced to life in prison instead of death by King Boronel of Breland, a very unpopular decision. The characters all ended up on the same train to the Mror Holds. En route, they were drafted by Merrix d’Cannith to help him build an illegal creation forge (the thing that makes warforged) in the jungles of Xen’drik. Since then, they’ve been away from the intrigues of the Five Nations.
But while they’ve been off, I’ve attempted to make sure these issues would still be in the back of their minds. Things like an overheard conversation about the connection between the terrorist and the queen of Aundair or the news crier in Sharn saying how Boronel has given up his throne are my little ways of saying ‘don’t forget, there are still things going on back in Khorvaire’.
I’ll admit I’m not sure this is working. I know the Boronel giving up his throne one hit them, but that some of the other ‘news from back home’ I’ve feed them has just kind of gone by without notice. I’m worried that instead of returning the Khorvaire and being ready for what’s going to happen, like I want, they’ll get off the ship and wonder how everything went to hell.
The characters are the most important people in the world. The world is for them and would be nothing if they didn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work when they aren’t around. If places were the same as they’d been left by the players, it would feel weak and artificial. The true challenge becomes showing your players that things are happening in the world even when they’re not there to see them.