If you’re a Dungeon Master, you’ll recognize this scenario. You’ve carefully prepared the next game session. You have the dungeon mapped out, the monsters and NPCs statted. There’s absolutely no way that things will go wrong. That is until the game starts and your players decide to ignore your carefully laid plans and go in an entirely different direction. Well, welcome to my world and why I tend to DM on the fly. Plans A, B, C, D, and E are going to be tossed to the wayside in favor of plan X, Y or Z…that I didn’t plan for.
Friday night was one of these nights since I decided to be a lazy DM. I went and found an old 3.0 D&D adventure that I’ve had sitting on my PC for some time now. It fit where the PCs were currently in the City of Freeport. Since I’m running Freeport in the Savage Worlds system, all I did to ‘convert’ the adventure is find the equivalent monsters in my various SW resource books and then stat the Big Bad Guy at the end to something that looks like the appropriate toughness for the adventure.
Needless to say, I never got to run that adventure. The PCs stumbled on a body covered in violet worms (I think I needed a big neon sign stating “Plot Hook HERE”) and when the watch came around the corner to investigate the screams they had heard just before the PCs found the body, the PCs WAVED the guards over instead of removing the grate from the church basement and diving through.
Did I mention that one of the 3 PCs is wanted by the City Watch for making a diversion in the prison (I.E. plying her prostitute trade) while the other PCs sprung a prisoner from her jail cell?
Anyways, the 3 got arrested and hauled to the prison. However, before they made it very far from the body, one of the PCs thought it wise to start backtalking the Watch’s Sergeant on duty. Then when the Sergeant (with not so nice ethics when it comes to prisoners…hey, it is Freeport after all) got physical, the mouthy PC decided to choke the Sergeant with his clockwork arm. After the other 9 guards beat him into unconsciousness…as he slumped to the ground the Sergeant’s neck broke due to the vice like grip on his neck.
Now they’re really being arrested for murder…
This is how the entire night went and much hilarity ensued from the situation.
Am I mad that my carefully laid plans were thwarted by my players? Nope. I don’t really like railroading my players and if they want to go off the beaten path, so be it. I fancy myself a good enough DM that I can deal with where ever the players lead me (yea, I’m the follower most of the time). It’s their story after all AND, if the adventure was a major plot device it’s not like it’ll go away. I guarantee their asses will be in that church basement at some point to try to figure out who’s murdering citizens of Freeport. Especially now that they’re part of the City Watch.
Dun dun duuuuuuuuun.