I’ve always put a lot of effort into my gaming sessions. The actual hours spent at the table are completely freeform but I have an overarching narrative that can grow and change with every action the players take. However, when I have the time, I spend about a half hour writing up a narrative introduction that summarizes the previous session and propels the next session forward with a bit of drive. Because, as all GM/DM’s know, the very start of a game can take awhile to formulate.
I posted the write up I did for my players in the Cliffside campaign a few weeks ago. Here’s the introduction that I wrote for the very first session.
Today, like any other day, started with the call from Voon Kruk at the peak of Cliffside tower. All clear, the night safe, start your morning with your assured safety because of the good work I do.
And so, Cliffside rolls into the first hours of the first day of its eleventh year as a community. Unlike most other days, business has been planned, as pressing matters of varying topics are in need of discussion. This chilly fall morning, with its cloudy skies and frigid wind, is ushered in with the gruff, cantankerous growl of Banyon Krae. The last few months, his incessant complaining about the lack of investment and capitalization of the mines has grown from a disgruntled murmur over a pint too many, to what it has become now.
“We agreed to only harvest the mine as a means to improve our town,” he snarls, slamming his fist on the council table. “We all agreed to that those years ago. And I’m fine with that, but the fact of the matter is that we’re wasting valuable resources by letting the amber mine sit quietly. We have the manpower, let’s increase production.”
“We have only needed the assets in the mine to ensure a steady supply of aide and good relations from Beregost,” Daria Sunbow interjects seconds after. “To increase the output is to invite prying eyes. We’ve managed to avoid drawing attention to the riches of the mines, we’re lucky to have kept our wealth under wraps this long.”
Angry glances are exchanged.
“Do we really have to go through this again?” Hannah Drague says, bored. “I have matters to attend to. If Cristus would be so kind as to go over the annuals, we can end this quicker than last year.”
“What matters could possibly be so urgent?” Banyon cuts in. “The High Priestess of 80 civilians must have quite the queue waiting at the 2 foot tall shrine. We don’t hear you arguing when that amber pays for beautification of Cliffside, but when it comes to actual investment in things that matter, the high cleric of drama has better things to do.”
Soon, the room is filled with shouting, people standing on their toes trying to talk one over the other. It carries on, just like the year before, only this time it’s cut short by the entrance of a herald. A young man, Afiax of Beregost, quietly enters the hall. The room turns to the quiet, unassuming man. He clears his throat.
“An important letter for the Order, sirs and ladies. Urgent delivery, cost paid in full from Beregost. No names given, just the letter.”
Cristus takes the letter in hand and reads it over. A solemn look comes over him.
“Sad news, this day. A letter, from Beregost.”
It is with a sad heart I am the bearer of ill news. Our long time friend and associate, Bastille Joon, has passed away not two weeks past. I have forwarded his possessions and his body to the Temple of Lathander in Beregost that he might be rejoined by those he called friend those many years ago. I pray that he has not been lost in your memory, for even shortly before his death, he shared song and story about his great friends from long ago. I pray to the Lord Torm that Bastille’s soul finds peace, even as we suffer with the weight of our secrets. Let his death remind us that even in the passing, we have duties we’ve long neglected.
Your brother in exile,
Silence falls on the room and it’s Banyon that speaks first. “Gather supplies, we make for Beregost at once.”
There is a general murmuring of agreement and Cristus turns to you. “Bastille was a good friend, we must see to his body together. We will leave you, the eldest of our family lines, to watch over the town in our stead. We should return within a fortnight.”
With that, the meeting closes and quiet once again falls upon town hall.