The last session ended with the party's bard on a stage, exchanging insults with an NPC bard. The NPC bard has something the party wants, and the party has something this NPC wants. The party is expecting the next sessions to start with a "rap battle", and I want to give them one. But I am unsure how to deliver it in a satisfying way. Most likely, I will have this NPC formally challenge the players, so I can use the NPC as a vehicle to set the in-universe expectations.
- Let the players fulfill the fantasy of having a substantial performance duel.
- Involve the other players, who are not bards, in some way that is meaningful to the outcome so that they don't feel left out.
- Provide rising and falling tension + pacing, and some meaningful decision making, similar to a real combat encounter. Which means that I can't just have a series of opposed Performance checks and see who's rolls are bigger.
There is a crowd, and I suspect that the crowd's reactions will determine the winner in some way.