The first part of the session was pretty much "shopping." Ulf needed equipment, and the rest of the party had some loot, so there was a lot of "Hmm ... can I afford that? Or if I get that, can I get that and that?" There was also a lot of people wanting to be secretive about their new character upgrades, either in the form of taking a new multiclass, or inventing new spells. Jaer and Kyriela nearly came to blows when Kyriela wanted to stay in Sareden doing spell research for three days. Finally, the characters returned to their new "home town" of Pellak, where a ton of potential jobs were waiting for them.
The "hub" model of adventure design I talked about before, had some interesting side effects. The characters now have threads going off in all directions throughout Bissel they can persue. Their plan: "Do 'em all, in order of urgency!" Thus, the merchant's kidnapped daughter gets first priority, probably followed by the bees in Appletop, then the "mysterious reports of a gigantic creature" to the northeast ... with a possible foray into the city to the northwest the cultists from a previous session claimed to be from.
The question for me is, do I want them to do them all? What events do I want to keep moving forward in the "lesser urgency" threads, and what do I want to keep static? Are the characters going to end up leveling up faster than the scenario difficulties they're facing, by virtue of taking on every challenge they can find?
I've also noticed that I've got a very plot-focused group -- or perhaps I should say goal-oriented. At the end of the evening, after a decent-sized battle against a batch of would-be ambushers, the characters immediately set out to track the kidnappers to their lair ... without pausing to loot the bodies! In past scenarios, they've gone through major sections of dungeon without stopping to look for loot at all. On the one hand, that's very cool ... in adventure fiction, how often does the hero stop to loot, for instance? On the other, D&D is built on assumptions, one of which is that the characters kill monsters and take their stuff. ;) So as time goes on, it may be harder for the party to acquire the kind of equipment they're expected to have to take on the higher-level monsters.
Maybe I should just set up more situations where the treasure comes from achieving the goal, rather than from looting. The merchant whose daughter has been kidnapped has offered them 5,000 gp worth of gems or the deed to a house for the rescue of his wayward child, for instance, so the mooks they wiped out tonight were pretty low on loot anyway (for the metagame reason of not flooding the adventure with too much cash). So even if they don't stop to loot the bodies, they haven't missed that much.
Anyway, it was fun. :) Hope we can do it again next weekend, but that really depends on how much MFM prep I can get done between now and then.