I finished outlining issue 4 of Silverline, so far consisting of:
- A lot of team moves (triumphant celebration and vulnerability)
- Some investigation (for which there was no rolling - the team should succeed here)
- A 5-on-3 combat between the hero team and some villains
I made a big mistake, which was to handle the combat before I determined the outcome of the team moves (which chronologically happen first). Most of them involve shifting labels, or swapping Influence in a way that would lead to label shifts, and that would affect the rolls I made during the fight. This time, I'm okay fudging it - I did a quick pass to see if anything was really invalidated - but next time, I will be mindful to do it in the proper order.
The 5-on-3 combat was more interesting than I was afraid it would be. A lighthouse got destroyed, an important NPC got teleported to Astralis' ship, and the villains ran - but not before inflicting some solid conditions on the PCs. Final tally was Astralis 3, Ghost 1, Pelagos 1, Sabine 0, Sprout 3. For all that, the team inflicted maybe a total of 4-5 conditions total. Even with a series of good rolls, and plenty of Team to spend, things were tough.
The stakes in the combat were more than "beat up the bad guys". The villains had an agenda (which was not articulated), but from the outside it looked like "stop the PCs from talking to this dude", and the PCs duly protected him. Pelagos finally had a ready supply of his element (the lighthouse was right next to the water), and the team cooperated pretty well.
This villain team will definitely return. Their big weakness right now is lack of ranged attacks or flyers, so their mysterious patron will probably add a blaster or something to the roster, once things get serious - it took a lucky break for them to be able to grab the NPC they were after, given that Sabine and Astralis can both fly.
I'm happy with the direction the story is going. I feel like we're balancing PC spotlight - Sprout, Pelagos, Astralis, Sabine, and Ghost all have more overlapping interactions, for example. Astralis' nemesis needs to be tied more firmly back to Ghost's story, which will happen next session. We'll see what happens then!