The story had been set and the game was moving forward at an increasingly fast pace. Words were exchanged between the Dungeon Master and players like gun fire, with very little connecting on either side. We were in a temple to a god none of us asked about or even cared to offend. Our wizardly gnomes were doing their best impressions of the Stooges while the Master Planner and I raced about like chickens with our heads cut off each trying to kill more enemies then anyone else.
To say we were having fun was an understatement.
Then a curious thing happened. Just as we were about to rescue our target another npc showed up and rescued him for us. Neverwas didn't give anyone much of a chance to focus on this as he had the npcs running out the temple and vile cultists closing in on us in all directions, but I noticed it.
We were running down a side path that we were told was the exit, as our npcs cleared the path for us all, when I leaned over to Poot. Am I wrong, or are we even needed here?
"Don't focus on it right now," Poot whispered back, "we're in the thick of it and you might miss something."
Sound advice under most circumstances but on this occasion I had the impression that it might not be warranted. The npcs were dealing with anything more powerful than a nat while we were left to deal with the dregs. Don't get me wrong, I'll take experience points most any way that I can get them - over the years I've developed a reputation for getting the party leveled by the end of the first night - but there was something wrong with this.
The game wrapped up at midnight and everyone made their way out as Poot, the Master Planner, and I set about cleaning up.
Did it seem odd to you that we didn't matter tonight?
"What do you mean," Poot asked. "Without you and the Master Planner I doubt we would have made it to our target."
"That's just it," chimed in the Master Planner, "the way that things turned out it's like we didn't even have to be there. We didn't rescue the target, one of Neverwas' npcs did. If they could have done that at any time why were we fucking there?"
"I don't think that's what happened," Poot countered. "From what I saw we were the only reason why the party made it out. Yeah, the npcs helped, but we were the focus."
I'm not so sure.
I let the matter drop there as I could hear the bed calling my name. Laying down I went over the night trying to see whether I had it wrong or if there really was something amiss. Perhaps, I decided at last, the problem is that this is my first real shot at a campaign and I'm just wanting everything to be perfect. Am I putting to much on this?
The answers didn't come that night, but over the course of the next few weeks my unease would be increased as the Master Planner, Kid Icarus, and I started coalescing into a formidable offensive force that rarely had anything to fight.