Sorry I’m a bit late with the post tonight; we did our weekly game on an off day. Tonight I got to try out some of the techniques I have been talking about the past few weeks and it worked out well. For example, the DM set up an interesting encounter for the party to guard some VIPs in a carriage that was beset on all sides by an angry mob. Through some quick thinking, quicker talking, and some fancy acrobatics, the party was actually able to talk down the mob and avoid the fight altogether… I still hope we get the XP.
One thing that allowed us to play out this scenario is that the players were on the same page about proceeding without combat. The overwhelmingly large mob was made of misguided farmers, and we didn’t want to risk our allies, so we decided to defuse the situation instead. We were able to coordinate our actions through in-game diplomacy and intimidation checks and some meta-game discussion. We made our case to the DM why a particular skill should be used, and eeked out a skill challenge where a combat was supposed to be.
In the role-playing part of the night, I decided to get my character more involved in the story, since he hasn’t really had a personal reason to be in the plot. I did this at two points. First, I blurted out a piece of his sorted past to the rest of the party while they were all sitting around. I didn’t pull this off well since I wasn’t in the mood to explain it further; I think it hung uncomfortably with the other players.
The second place I got my character involved in the plot was in the investigation of the mysterious and malevolent force controlling the king. To get closer to the suspicious adviser, I pulled out a story about my character’s former service to a different king to get into the new guy’s service.
My point of this ramble is that I took a small opening in several places to assert my character to get involved in the story. Good advice for any player, I think. That and when players get together they can prevent or cause combats with a willing GM.