The game session started were we left off, outside the goblin caves. After a brief stint into the caves, we yet again returned to the inn to rest, replenish supplies, and refresh spells. While there we ran into another group of adventurers, who did their very best to pump us on information on worthwhile adventuring locations. We gave them the low-down on some of the places we’d already been to, but (for obvious reasons) we didn’t mention the goblin caves at all. I conned them into buying a cursed ring which had come into my possession during the wild man of the faerie wood -incident, which was great fun, earned me some extra xp (for the gp), and had some interesting repercussions later on, as it turned out the men weren’t just random encounter adventurers. I won’t go into details so I won’t spoil it for prospective players of the scenario. Suffice to say, the incident was a great reminder of the existence of a living game world, in which things happen whether or not the player characters interact with them.
After that, we headed back into the caves. The star-shaped cavern just beyond the entrance had multiple exits, which we started exploring counter-clockwise. After a few hours of gameplay, we got our first brush with the actual inhabitants of the cave system, the goblins. Short work was made of them. Still deeper in the caves, we came across some treasure, a bunch of dead adventurers, and an encounter which very nearly made corpses of us as well. Incorporeal creatures are a pain in the ass to deal with at this level. Drained, tired, and again out of spells, we retreated out of the caves, heavily burdened by our hard-fought loot.
Back to the inn, and again, back to the goblin caves. This time we ran into a goblin patrol outside the cave system. Sleep and Hold Person spells made short work of the whole lot of them. Around this time the characters started formulating plans on how to deal with the goblin menace obviously responsible for the troubles along the trade routes.
Or rather, I made a conscious decision to start building a proper narrative, instead of “Lets explore, kill some monsters and take their stuff.”, which had been our primary character agenda so far. Building a good story is, in my opinion, the main building block of any good roleplaying game, and as such it really should be a co-operative effort. I know the immersionists/simulationists and gamists out there cringe at this approach, as neither of these types of players make conscious choices (as players) to create stories. The former are concerned mainly with staying in character and experiencing the game world with their characters as mediums, and the latter are concentrating on defeating the challenges presented by the game master. I’m not saying the narrativist approach is the be all end all, as many other types of gaming styles also manage to create co-operative stories, although the gamist type of story is really only a by-product of things happening as a result of players beating a series of challenges.
Anyways, the exploration of the goblin caves, and our characters’ plans regarding said menace, was starting to come together quite nicely. Four sessions into the module, and we still hadn’t laid eyes on the actual Insect Shrine. It was getting rather late, so we decided to call it a day. Jim told us that it was possible we’d be able to finish the module in maybe one or two sessions more, so session five (which is today) might very well be the last one. Or the next to last. We’ll see.