Ok, I’ve got some stuff in the works, not for the next full session, but for a couple of side-sessions, if you will. First of all, I’m going to run my friend Mike (playing Shava) through a little solo adventure, since he missed the first session (and thus, his character was not present). Not only will this help to get him up to par as far as XP and treasure goes, but it’ll also help to explain what he’s doing in Winterhaven and why he’s joining up with the party without just hand-waving it all. Now, Shava’s a ranger who focuses on ranged combat, so I’m going to have to be a little careful with encounter design, I think. Her defenses aren’t that high, and she doesn’t have a defender’s hit points, so I’m going to try to stick with little enemies that go down quickly and enemies that fight from a distance, like Shava. I’m also going to rely heavily on skill challenges, since Shava has a few skills to bring to bear.
The other side-session is going to come about largely because Chris (playing Chance) will be out of the country for a while starting at the end of the month. I don’t want to wait too long without anything campaign-related going on, and some of my players have echoed that desire. And, since Chance is already present in the party and I don’t want to hand-wave his presence, or have someone else play him, I think that what I’m going to do is run a one-shot in which the players play some pregens in a discrete story line that folds into the main story line. In the first session, the PCs took down the crime lord Kalder Red-Eye, but Kalder’s lieutenant, Baris, got away. I’m thinking that Baris is going to gather some guys and try to free Kalder before he gets hanged, to set up a recurring villain. Here’s the thing: my players are going to play Baris and his cronies doing the freeing. That way, I get my recurring villain, my players get to see exactly how he got away, and we all get to do some more gaming. Everybody wins!
[Edit: tags and crap.]