Hello everyone and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today, I’m excited to return to the adventures of Vox Machina, who most recently joined Grog in destroying the Storm Herd and splitting an uncle’s Vestige-clad mountain in half in the process. The battle against Kevdak sees our heroes united for the first time in half a season, flexing their powers as Grog tackles both the lingering backstory and emotional journey your emotions. It’s a clear demonstration of how DnD’s mechanical and narrative elements can be exploited to serve the player’s character arcs—of course, such cooperation requires a player interested in overcoming sketches a character arc, which brings us to the current conundrum of our irreverent Scanlan.
Scanlan was repeatedly called upon to develop a greater sense of responsibility as a character, and repeatedly turned down offers to become anything other than an irreverent prankster. It’s a good approach for DnD in a campaign where players are treated as static reactors to external conflict, but Vox Machina’s campaign is clearly designed around the player’s avatar. overcome their fatal flaws, whether it’s Percy’s obsession with revenge, Grog’s heedless pursuit of power, or Vex’s lingering regrets about her father. While most players were enthusiastic about the process, Scanlan was repeatedly turned away by brightly lit signs reading “character development this way,” leading to the eventual introduction of Kaylie as a girl figure representing the consequences of his actions.
Meanwhile, I’m happy to report that my campaign is running smoothly again, with my Cloud-based players recently victorious in the final battle against their Sephiroth-like enemies . While my initial thoughts revolved around “how can I integrate the player’s desires into the story I have planned,” our campaign process revealed a The truth is quite obvious: the player’s wishes will always result in the most enthusiastic and effective collaboration, so they should be built as centrally into the structure of the campaign as possible. With our next session taking place this afternoon, my mind is busy with further plans to satisfy the players’ wishes, but this introduction has dragged on too long. Now, let’s return to Vox Machina’s journey!
“I came up here to sleep with your Daughter.””I didn’t know you existed!”Not a great defense, Scanlan
“I will never forget meeting her.” Scanlan being forced to relive precious memories at knifepoint really feels like the only way to get serious out of him. I really wonder how much of this was intentionally planned between Mercer and Scanlan’s players, and how much was just a natural consequence of a player being perfectly happy being a hybrid agent static in a campaign dedicated to developing character stories reminiscent of long-form stories.-fantasy novels. Other players were prompted, but they were also self-starters; Grog’s player certainly enjoys chaos, but he also gets serious when it comes to the characters Grog cares about and the experiences that shaped him. In contrast, Scanlan consistently ignores the “gentle reminders” of characters making gentle gestures about who he wants to be and only becomes serious when the sphinxes essentially demand seriousness. sufficiency or death. He adds a lot to the story from a comedy perspective and the overall flavor of the party, but his refusal to develop beyond a static clown certainly makes him feel increasingly out of place. general development of the story
“Every moment with her shows me a new way to be happy. I spent my whole life looking for joy – I never thought I would find romance.” Oh, this is good stuff. Played right, this backstory could retroactively explain all his previous refusals to commit to things, as a reflection of his fear of commitment and getting hurt. he. It’s harder to lose things when you don’t value anything
“I never got over Lea.” “That’s not my mother.” Damn it, Scanlan. The moment I give you the benefit of the doubt!
Apparently her mother’s name is actually Sybil. You know, this actually works better for Scanlan—he can’t give up on his noble dream of eternal love, this girl’s mother is just one of his conquests. endless that he abandoned. This shows how his careless actions had far more effective consequences
And so Kaylie decided not to kill him, instead letting him sit through the entirety of his mistake for once.
Meanwhile, Vax is being led away in pursuit of a spookier crow. In general, I’ve tried to avoid such overly character-specific drama in my own campaigns, sequences where all but one of the players just have to wait for that player’s personal story to play out . Our first campaign had a number of one-on-one duels that left the rest of the group stranded and bored, so I went in a different direction that was probably the wrong one and generally left everyone alone. the group maintains some level of involvement in each character’s personal drama
“Please take us to the other side!” So it seems like Vax is being called upon to become a psychopath
“You don’t get to choose your part in the play, but a real performer is committed anyway.” An extremely Scanlan phrase about this realization, about understanding that you cannot simply run away from everything that scares you. And a good beat to unite him and Vax in this shared moment of extreme uncertainty. We are doing it!
A lovely composition with depth awaits us the next morning, as the various allies gather to plan their dragon battle. The color and color design does a great job of integrating the characters into their backgrounds, aside from the general lack of key lines. The scene succeeds brilliantly in its purpose of creating a sense of community and intimacy, important goals when you are trying to make the audience feel like they are collaborating in this part of the planning.
“Let’s say you just found out you got a puppy and you tried to… sleep with the puppy.” Also, the excellent diction works for Pike’s reaction to this terrible metaphor
And now some adorable new wallpapers as Vax continues his mopy crow vigil. This is truly a product with a generous image
“I will go with you. I put you in this place. Well, technically I say Percy did it, but who’s counting
Great match between Keyleth and Vex, as Keyleth’s acknowledgment that Vax’s new circumstances may be far more important than her own romantic feelings assures Vex that Keyleth will put his brother’s needs first her above her own desires. This is one of the things that watching Vox Machina made me most eager to help propagate in my own campaign: why team members care about each other, not just the events that are happening to them. This obviously largely comes from the players’ willingness to play together without narrative prompts, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find a way to make it easier for them, by including Create prompts that can naturally spark conversations, debates, or intimate moments in the middle of a party. Things like forcing the party to choose between paths that different party members might naturally prefer can hopefully motivate players to articulate and contrast their character’s goals or make choices because of their collective friendship
Vax will continue Scanlan’s advice drowns him in an endless lake of blood. You made it through the tough times, man
“You must protect that beautiful moment when the soul shifts to a new purpose.” Correct. There are some nicer designs here for Mother Crow, and considerable effort goes into making this shapeless space feel massive rather than simply flat
“There are many scary things, but not death. Because it gives meaning to life.” To be honest, this pitch never really sold me. Personally, it’s easier for me to accept the fact that things shouldn’t last forever, because that path leads to stagnation and never leaving room for new things to grow. I will take turns being the center of attention, knowing that I am not important enough to deny someone else their moment
Even so, Vax seemed considerably relieved to be clear about his fate, the last thing being the most important thing. Whatever path leads us to a healthy relationship with mortality is the right path; Appreciating what we have instead of obsessing about what we will lose is the only way to live fully
Grog acquires Kevdak’s “blood ax” and wisely checks to see if it has any strong opinions about blood or murder before accepting it
The show smartly skipped all the actual planning of their dragon trap, reducing it to a Percy joke while we focused on the emotional journey. Planning for a big fight is really one of the signature pleasures of DnD, and I try to maintain a certain density throughout my campaign, but overall it doesn’t make for a thrilling drama. to outside observers
Percy’s trap holds the dragon for about a cycle, which is actually quite good! Nice try, Percy
It’s a difficult thing to balance battles with all these additional allies. The appeal of a war where you’re part of a grand war effort is worth pursuing, but there’s a surprisingly narrow gap between “your NPC allies do nothing” and “your allies you are stealing the group’s glory”
This war is definitely trending towards a “your allies can do nothing” outcome. Sorry, Storm Herd
Scanlan had devised a plan to get inside the dragon and leave an immobile stick, er, sword there. Clever but disgusting, the perfect Scanlan plan
And it’s done
Yeah, fighting an old dragon is a bad thing. Despite having two heroes stuck in its belly and one struggling behind it, I can say that the first round of the party went as well as could be expected. And in the meantime, we finally get to the emotional development for Scanlan that he’s been frantically avoiding, with the introduction of Keylie providing a source of responsibility and regret that he can’t simply simply run away. This is absolutely an excellent entry to characterize the group, with both major beats like Vax and Scanlan and minor beats like Keyleth and Vex coming together to build a more emotionally unified Vox Machina . Building Scanlan into a fully realized character without giving up his inherent Scanlan personality and a terrifying dragon battle – a very generous episode!
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