I can't point out anything in particular that I dislike about the battle scene; it just feels very uncomfortable to write, like I can't get across the necessary information without the scene feeling static and slow. If it doesn't come across that way, then I guess I've succeeded--just have to convince myself of it.
Originally Posted by Winds
Writing from the PoV of an NPC, I think, could provide some great perspective on the party (like all those demotivators that are captioned "The PCs have Been Here"), and generally be very strong. I actually wish I'd DMed more recently, so I'd have some of the encounters with my more-important NPCs fresh in my mind. Depending on the person telling the story, that kind of situation could lend itself really well to comedy or drama.
Originally Posted by Winds
General news: I've updated the first post; I'm about halfway done with cataloging all the snippets from the first thread, so if you've been avoiding going through the archives because you didn't want to go searching for snippets, your excuse is no longer valid.
And finally, here's a snippet regarding my party's first really serious act of terrorism. I'm also working on a sister snippet from someone in the other half of the party's PoV. My biggest concern with this snippet is whether it's clear enough what happens at the end. Without further ado...
or: The Renaldwatch Massacre, Part I
This isn't the righteous mob protesting the Magocracy we'd hoped for, but at least we have the guards' attention. I move to intercept a young guardsman advancing toward the crowd with his sword drawn. My fist connects with his jaw and he topples; I snatch his sword as he falls and toss it onto a rooftop. Let there be as little permanent damage done tonight as possible.
Filbert appears at my side to let me know that we're coming up on another tavern. I know the place; it used to be a favorite of my father and his war buddies. I give Filbert a nod, and he ducks back into the crowd. I make my way toward the opposite side of the street, to avoid the incoming rioters.
There's a crash, and I see a glint of torchlight on armor where a guardsman has apparently been thrown through the door of the Sweaty Sorceress. Filbert comes rushing out just behind him, followed by a dozen or so angry drunks. It's impossible to hear what they're shouting; no one knows what the riot is about anymore, but we're still making haphazard progress toward the richer districts, where the law will be forced to act in earnest. The moon is low in the sky before us, silhouetting the spired pinnacle of the academic dormitory—the Tower of Scholars.
A real troupe of guards arrives, blocking our path with weapons close to hand, but not drawn. This is the tricky spot; we must convince them we are a danger without risking any real bloodshed. As I push my way to the front of the mob to deal with it, someone behind me yells "Down with the Queen!" and the mass of bodies crushes forward.
I see the Sergeant pull out a glowing talisman, which is all I need to see. Backup is on the way. It'll be pulled from the academic district, giving Charlize and Nim a clear path to the Academy itself. So they can do what they need to do.
I hunt for Filbert in the crowd, which has turned into an all-out street brawl. Some guards have managed to draw weapons; I disarm two that I can get near, but they seem mostly concerned with the few people in the crowd who are also armed. At least they are still as disciplined as I remember.
Filbert finds me first, tapping me on the shoulder as he spars with an off-duty Lieutenant wearing nothing under his breastplate. "More are coming. We're done here," I mutter to him, as quietly as I can make myself heard over the noise.
As if on cue, the hurried pounding of boots double stepping in unison can be heard from ahead. I see the ranks of guards round the corner, and as they spot the melee, the front lines break into a full charge, weapons held high.
Filbert and I force our way through the thinning press of panting, sweating men to the side of the street. I glance at the advancing guards, not slowing their charge, polished blades ready to shed some common blood. Not as disciplined as I'd thought, after all. We turn away and duck into a long alley, making good our escape while there's still time. But I can't tune out the sound as shouts of drunken defiance give way to shrieks of panic and pain. I pray at least it's quiet at the Academy.
Then all other sound becomes lost in an incredible, soul-quaking roar that comes from everywhere and seems to last forever. Filbert and I halt our flight, gritting teeth and grimacing as the ground beneath us shivers like a tent unsheltered from a rainstorm on the open plains. When the tumbling, rolling noise finally quivers to a halt, a silent cloud of soot and dust hangs low in the moonlight over the city.
We sit and watch the sky for several minutes. Without moving, I wonder to the stars, "Did we do the right thing?"
There is no reply.