Well, there was this one time when the party was getting up around Paragon and at that point IIRC another player joined and there was a Warden and a Bard, but anyway, they pissed off this dragon that was using them to collect stuff for him, just because he liked to collect stuff. So its a Mercury Dragon, which in Draconomicon2 is your basic spy type guy. That got quite mixed up in the Rogue's stuff! Then the dragon dropped them through a portal to the Feywild, so that got them tangled up in the Wizard's stuff, and so on and so forth.Wow!! These all sound awesome.
I want to understand a bit more about how you as a GM managed the spotlight for all these storylines from a prep/procedure standpoint? Can you tell us a bit more about how many of these individual plots advanced within the same session? Was it that each session one of these threads got most of the spotlight, or did you jump around more freely? How closely did you follow the notion of "the party stays together"?
Ah! This is the dream.
That story arc was an oddball though, because I stole the description of Mithrendain, the Eladrin city, from a Dungeon adventure, and it had a bit of plot goo stuck to it involving traitors and fomorians and whatnot. So I fed them the first 2 encounters from that storyline. First was a straight up fight where the PCs drop out of a portal on top of an assassination attempt. No problem, I think I just used it as-is. The party beat up on the nasty looking assassin dudes, all is well! There was, however this horrible SC that was supposed to involve them going to a party and it was all pretty much pointless, no matter what happens they move on to whatever came after that. So I just ignored most of the blather of that and spent a half hour remaking it into a setup where they could end up allied to any of 4 different factions. It was an odd one, because you can't really 'lose', so I think I kept the "if you lose the good guy leader gets poisoned" loss condition, and basically let the PCs rack up successes against 4 different success tracks to see which faction they ended up in.
As it happens my recollection is they ended up part of the "we just want business as usual" party. Oh, and I threw in that this was actually a machination of the Wizard's family! Then the warlock wanted to find a hag because he got a clue the hag could help find his mother (but this was really the player wanting to get a 2nd pact, and he thought hags would be a cool option). So the PCs next landed at a hag lair, which was fairly tense as one of their allies got served for a snack! The warlock ended up with the hag pact, and a weird rod that had a hag eyeball fused to the end of it (I forget which item it was, a rod of something obnoxious).
I think after that they pretty much went into the "mess with the fomorians" part of the original adventure, and one of the PCs ended up plunging into the chasm in the final encounter and being swept into the Feydark by the torrent. That was the bard IIRC, and we never did discover what happened to that character. IIRC the player moved to Colorado or something and dropped out. Anyway, those last couple combat encounters I think all I did was add a few touches to the monsters, since they were older stat blocks.
But then after that adventure they went to find a vampire. Oh, no, they wanted to go vist an ancient ruined necromancer's tower, but they failed the Skill Challenge on the way there, and ended up trapped in the vampire's castle instead. That was all just made up on the spot, though the tower and existence of the vampire and some associated lore was already established in my setting. In the end they made their way to the castle basement, after the cleric got to have lots of fun blasting undead, and learned that there was an entire other nuther castle in the Shadowfell that they needed to visit, in order to get the final piece of the artifact set that the cleric needed to fulfill the prophecy. That was a whole other skill challenge to get THAT gate to work, another 'made up on the spot' thing, but it was entertaining, the players decided they needed various particular objects that had to be found in the castle to open the gate.
I think there was also a thing with the Rogue that we invented about getting some info for her family about some nefarious thing the vampires did to them way back when. Like they wanted to try to get that family kicked out of Court or something. Oh, and the wizard got inducted into the Order of the Spiral Tower IIRC and there was a whole thing about her needing to find a certain sword implement. By that point prep was pretty dead, except for making some battle maps.
So, basically, any given week's story, or month's story arc usually isn't going to engage everyone directly in their 'big things', but the warlock is always getting the creepy feeling he's being watched, and then he gets gifted with an actual eyeball, hahaha, that was funny. But his internal character was always touching his play. Can he trust anyone? He's friends with the rogue, but then someone says the wrong thing and he's back to not trusting her.