Sometimes the journey home from the dungeon is not that interesting, and sometimes one could just skip it, and sometimes it can be done like this.
Back at the Inn
After defeating the final villain and dealing with the spoils, the PC’s prepare to go home. You might have planned to roll up a few wandering monsters, and you now that the PCs most like will defeat them without much trouble. Instead we skip to the local inn 48 hours later, where they are telling stories and enjoying their return.
They are telling stories about their adventure, and everybody plays local villagers asking leading questions as to what happened and how they got home. This is also the time to introduce new characters.
Playing a villager – any player or GM can introduce a villager or townsperson asking questions about what happened.
Ask leading questions – on how they solved various problems, how did you cross the river on your way home? What did you do with the cursed statue? Did you defeat the rabid wolves on the way back?
This method was used in the Night’s Dark Terror-campaign. The heroes had discovered a hidden valley deep in the mountains, they had crossed deep canyons, outrun a gnoll tribe and getting home would be an adventure in itself, but it was not an adventure, that we were interested in playing. Instead we skipped a few weeks forward to the town of Threshold, where they were sitting in their favorite inn telling tall tales. I started by at first explaining the situation and then asking questions about certain challenges on the way home – the aforementioned gnoll tribe, the hills with undeads, the fallen bridges etc.
Then the other players – who had lost their characters in the hidden valley – got to do the same with either townsperson-NPCs or with their new characters, whose curiosity was awakened as these experienced adventurers told about their exploits.
The point being that we handled the home journey from the ‘dungeon’ through retelling the events, and added entertaining anecdotes as the listeners posed new questions wanting to know how they had outrun the gnolls or travelled down the gorge.
Now that we have finished playing B10 Night’s Dark Terror, we’ll begin playing B1-9 In Search of Adventure. After the abovementioned sequence, we started with Clearing Castle Caldwell. Once that is done, we will be exploring alternate ways of using hooks for the various adventures.