You may have noticed (not likely) that my normal M-W-F schedule of posting has been, well, nonexistent the last week or so. Fear not, for I have returned! I will say it will likely be about another week before I can resume with any regularity. My work and personal lives have eclipsed the personal time I normally use for this blog at the moment.
I have, however, still been gaming regularly. It's kind of amazing that it's taken me 12 years to find a group that plays on a weekly basis. It has definitely been worth the wait. Our last session was a very transitional one. Up until now, the players have kind of been wandering from town to dungeon, through wilderness, more or less sight-seeing in this world. This last session established the major story arc of the campaign and introduced the group's first long-term villain. I purposely made him this frail, unimposing Wizard so that the group would feel overconfident in their ability to deal with him.
I believe I succeeded, as their first battle with him lasted a full hour and was rife with death and near-death experiences.
Afterwards, the group wandered the wastelands in which they found themselves stranded. They slowly came upon slaving villages and began liberating them, culminating in many battles with slavers. They now have an army of about 300 unskilled ex-slaves and are marching back into the Outlands just beyond the empire's reach.
The group has expressed interest in forming their own nation and this feels like the beginning of those motions. Many sessions ago they cleared out a crumbling Keep and are currently en route to it with their middling army. I can hear the drums of war beating from the future.