Flying Player Characters and Wilderness Encounters: A Gamemaster’s Discussion

At_the_Earths_Core_1922_Illustration
At the Earth’s Core dust jacket (1922) by J. Allen St. John (1872-1957)

So in my last session, which you’ll probably hear more of when the game gets through a satisfying “beat” or “adventure,” I encountered some issues with flying player characters. Much of what I had to handle last session refined some thinking I’ve had — and certainly not my thinking alone, I’m sure — on PCs who are capable of flight, whether the flight is through their own volition or through the possession of flying mounts.

 

Two members of my players’ party are capable of flight — Fonkin, through his own volition as a Syrinx; and Dromar, because of his Dire Bat mount. Luckily Fonkin tends to keep close to the earth, mostly because of the type of player he is, but also because of his earth-bound animal companion allosaurus named Allie (Fonkin is a Goliath Druid). Dromar, however, vacillating between Chaotic Neutral and Chaotic Evil, with an overly developed sense of self-confidence, routinely “scouts” ahead of the party.

During “Winterwall Glacier” this stole some of Rahjin’s thunder when Dromar rushed ahead after that dragon. When he first got into our current region–a jungle underneath Winterwall Glacier inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Pellucidar that I am calling Erucidar or, more affectionately, “Dinoland”–he initially scouted ahead. This time I anticipated him: I prevented a full story spoiler or “solo adventure” by allowing him to sight a number of pteranodons that certainly would have given chase had he got too close. Dromar rose higher, and I obscured the rest of his vision with a pall of black smoke rising from a mountainous landscape–evidence of volcanic activity. Continue reading

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Winterwall Glacier

Procession
“Procession”: Tabiandra the kitsune, Thalinari the liger, and Cshar the snow leopard. http://lacrymosadiesilla.tumblr.com

So, having alienated the Blackravens of Stormspear Keep, the PCs at last departed for the Winterwall Glacier with a resolution to further both Rahjin’s quest to learn more about his “father” and origin and Bo Monro’s search for the elusive and possibly mythical Erastil’s Shot. But not before Dromar decided to wing it over to Summerglen to purchase some magic items. It meant the rest of the party had to wait another day or so. They did.

I’m not sure if last post I mentioned the romantic rivalry between Dromar and Bo Monro for the affections of the dark-featured and strong of stature Irriseni witch Rava. I have conceived of her as having a mite of giant blood. (Incidentally, in a moment of Freudian psychology, one of my players was confusing me until at length I understood that when I had described Rava as “big” he had interpreted the characterization as “big-bosomed.” Sure, I guess this is so, but I also meant wide of hip and shoulders, tall and stout of body.) In time Bo won Rava’s affections, as perhaps shall be related anon.

The party made its way to the Rimeflow River, the source of which flows out of a cleft in the Winterwall Glacier. I had decided that the ruined tower of the Frost Giant who had alchemically created Rahjin was in this deep gorge, overlooking the river. When the PCs reached the river, however, they had to decide what to do about the Irriseni Sentinel Hut on the other side. Continue reading