We're at second level finally and are actually making progress (3 encounters in one night!). Of course 2 encounters this level are actually "quests" for the players themselves. An image of their characters and a want list of magical items. This is a two-fold trick.
This trick will help them get by leveling a little faster while getting them to help me out a bit running the game. I had been thinking about giving them an increased xp gain, but personally don't like doing this. Plus this way the encounters are out of the game and inbetween sessions. Hopefully in a few weeks I'll have some images of the characters to post here and I can make an item deck to help the players cause some havok.
I'm actually going to have to do some work on the game to get some more encounters ready. We did a trap, a puzzle and a fight this week. Still trying to figure out where to work in some character quests and some social encounters too. I think that's going to wait until after fourth level though, as the first 3 levels I'm treating as an introduction. After that the next seven levels will be the first act and a complete story arc. Followed naturally by a second and third act/story arcs. I might even throw in a few years between the arcs to allow some out of game character progression. Once we hit level 30 the game will take a different swing as the players will have to battle the final boss and probably his second form (or even his shadow!).
Yes, I know, too many JRPGs.
So lots of ideas still coming out and ready to go. Doing treasure parcels is probably my favorite part though. I need a lot more work on the balancing act of combats (though I think tonight was almost perfect). More puzzles, traps and non-combat encounters. Those have always been my weak point.