You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is “Never get involved in a land war in Asia.” But only slightly less well known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line.”
Great drama is at the core of the Gaming Experience. The character’s can’t be fighting the destruction of the world every session (though that can be fun), but there is great fulfilment in the climatic scenes of a campaign or long term adventure. Every climax is not seen in terms of violence (though it is very common). The personal stories of PC’s and NPC’s should also have meaningful expression in adventure climaxes. Yet all Climaxes in a campaign have similarities.
World Packs are the ONLY WAY TO GO!
The PCs come across a wild thicket of luscious looking blackberries. They eat the berries and become drunken fools. Later they find out that the berries were part of a fae garden and were intended for fae wine. In payment for stealing the berries, the mischievious fae make life inconvenient for the PCs. Horses are untied, water skins are drained, spare clothing is drug into the water, etc.