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[Roleplaying Games] I Feel a Tingle in my Verse

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  • Dizzy DDizzy D regular NetherlandsRegistered User regular
    Paranoia: Mr. Bubbles recap (part 3 of 3). Cut up into easily spoiled chapters for readability.

    Act 5: R&D Labs, la grande finale.
    With their target clear, now there was the small matter of transport. Nobody had a map of Alpha Complex (knowing the layour of Alpha Complex is treason, citizen!) The reporters ran off in their van having no interest in messing with triggerhappy Blue officers. Meaning also their helicopter was gone. Leaving the blue Police Tank (hint, hint, hint). Sufficiently reassured that it was an emergency each entered through one of the doors or hatches labelled 1-5. Except for Marcia who did not want to steal a blue vehicle and went to report them to the Blue Officers who were drinking coffee at a shop a bit further on.

    GM-note: It was getting late, the whole tank was a bit of improvisation to get the team to the next scene and I couldn’t have a single Troubleshooter rebel at this point, so the Blue Officer just wrote them a permit to use the tank as it was an emergency and he hadn’t finished his coffee yet. With a bit more time, things would have gone very differently.

    The tank had 5 doors or hatches:
    • Position 1: The Driver, an accelerate button, a decelerate button, a steering wheel and some big seatbelts. Bob was wise enough to fasten those first (well, after pushing both buttons and neither did seem to do anything).
    • Position 2: The Navigator, sitting at the top in a small glass canopy, he had a nice view of the surrounding place. Also a keyboard, which Henk quickly figured out was a navigation system. Bits & Bots was entered and a big blue arrow appeared point a little to the left of the tank.
    • Position 3: Communications Officer. Stan got inside and saw 5 buttons, each with a number on it. Only 3 was glowing. 1, 2, 4 and 5 were all dark. Not knowing what to do, he pushed all buttons, turning off 3 and the rest on.
      GM-note: Which was basically what he needed to do (not completely, but close enough). Lit buttons could communicate with each other, so at the moment everybody could speak to each except for Stan, who could neither hear or speak to the rest.
    • Position 4: The Stoker. Randy got in the back and was in a small room with a hatch on one side and a cupboard on the other. The cupboard contained a black facemask, a heavy black apron, a set of tongs and a small red box. Ignoring the rest he opened the box and found a black metal rod. Grabbing the rod (it was warm to the touch), he opened the hatch which revealed a opening exactly the same size as the rod. Inserting the rod, the buttons at position 1 lit up.
    • Position 5: The Recycler, Marcia was in a similar room to 4. She did put on the apron, mask and took the tongs.

    Bob pressed all buttons and the tank launched forward. Only Bob had put on his sidebelts, Randy managed to grab a strap hanging from the sealing. Marcia and Henk were knocked back, but Stan was knocked out. Crushing all red vehicles under their wheels, Henk guided Bob in the right direction. After a short while, the vehicle started to slow down and a red light went up in Marcia’s room. She opened the hatch and took the now glowing-red rod from it with the tongs and threw it out another hatch. Henk could see how the rod melted its way through a nearby building. Randy, still barehanded, took another rod and put it in the hatch.

    GM-note: Kinda lucky that Stan got knocked out, because his position in the tank was probably the least interesting unless you had a player that wanted to mess with his team and control the flow of messages or even change the messages when relaying them to others.

    Around this time they arrived at the right place. An emergency brake and once again everybody but Bob was knocked around, but the shock did wake up Stan. Leaving the tank, all the flesh fell of one of Randy’s arms.

    They were outside R&D Labs Bits&Bots were classical music could be heard and well dressed people were showing invitations to some Infrared bouncers in nice black suits. Randy tried to pull rank on them, but it failed again; their orders came from their boss, a blue rank citizen. Marcia tried to convince him that they were friends of Marco-G. The bouncer called a coworker to check on him, but Marco-G denied having invited anybody. Around this time, Marcia’s player had to go, so I took over her character. I used one of the fake rats she had (her treasonous item) to throw behind the bouncer and pointed out that it was a health hazard. (We only had about half an hour left, so some bits were about to be skipped. Marcia was taking a backseat for the rest of the session.) The bouncer agreed that it was best nobody would see the rat and let them in.

    Pretty soon a well-dressed lady in blue walked to them. This was Angela-B-ORK, the CEO of the company. She wanted them out of there, but as they established they were only there for Marco-G (a weasel of a man that had been annoying her all night), she agreed to let them discreetedly take him outside to question, as long as they didn’t interact with the Violet-class investors.
    GM-note: Once again, time was a factor. Also the way my Troubleshooters approached things heads-on. I had prepared for more stealthy options and options using disguises.

    Bob, the stealthiest prepared to infiltrate the party, keeping to the sides. Marco noticed him and they started talking. Bob now figured out that Marco was not in the business of killing people, just selling them to advertisers. “Completely legal!” (The conclusion of the team that Marco "was one of the good guys", was a bit odd. I'll ask them more about their logic there later). Meanwhile Angela presented Bits&Bots newest Warbots, one with large missiles on its shoulders, the other with large chainguns. The team holds its breath, but the two wardroids just flex a little and power down without incident.

    GM-note: Me being mean with a fakeout, before hitting them with the real endboss. Logic behind it: wardroids are far better protected against hacking than scrubbots and on a different network.

    Angela then presents their latest creation, the Mega-Scrubbot, a huge monstrosity with 8 arms (2 steelbrushes, 2 grabbers, 2 high-pressure sprayers and 2 flamethrowers). This one, obviously, does immediately go berserk and attacks Marco-G (identified by Mr. Bubbles before) and the Troubleshooters (their infected PDCs have been sending spam all evening, even to each other, so they are on the list.)

    GM-note: Marcia’s player already went home, otherwise the Mega-Scrubbot would also have revealed another weapon: a paperbin built inside it which it would use to create a small barrier of paper.

    “Why did we give the Mega-Scrubbot those flamethrowers again?”, wonders Angela aloud. “Fire! The Ultimate Cleanser! Burn all the filth away!”, shouts her chief engineer, a pyromaniac. The Troubleshooters are unable to save Marco-G who is knocked out and then incinerated by the Mega-Scrubbot. They do some damage, but decide to flee right around the time about 30 small scrubbots also enter the hall.

    GM-note: In the original module, escape from the lab is a long process involving a maze of rooms and luck for the players as they try to avoid a large group of small scrubbots who will kill all stragglers.

    The Troubleshooters flee to the tank, everybody takes their former place. One snag: Randy is still missing an arm and can’t load the fuel-rods in the engine with just one arm. Stan switch places with him (and apparently also brains, because he grabs the rod with his bare hands). By the time they start the tank the Mega-Scrubbot has jumped on the roof of the tank. Bob gets the idea to crash tank and Mega-Scrubbot against a Trambot, but an unlucky roll has him not making the corner and crashing the tank into a wall. The shock is enough to damage the tank and warning lights go off inside the engine rooms. Marcia can no longer remove the expended rod from the engine and alarm lights go off on all sides. The whole team evacuates the tank and runs for the nearest Trambot. The tank explodes, taking the Mega-Scrubbot with it. Randy wants to return to scavenge the Mega-Scrubbot, but my comment that he sees a small mushroom-shaped cloud in that direction makes him decide against it.
    The teamleader receives a message from the Computer, ordering them to come immediately to the Debriefing Room.

    Epilogue
    Waiting at the trambot station, the team received their message that the Trambot would be running late again due to a blockage on the tracks. (No hints were needed for them to figure out what exactly the blockage was.) But the Trambot was heavy enough to push through. This time they were taken to the right debriefing room.
    In the original module, this is where the team will meet and confront Mr. Bubbles and so they did. Except they did not know that the gentlemen behind his computer was Mr. Bubbles (even though I made him as suspect a character as any of them could decide). The problem was that Mr. Bubbles outranked them so they were hesitant to investigate him too much and moved on to debriefing.

    The first part of the debriefing was an officer asking the team seemingly random questions about their mission (all questions related to what should have been their mission if they would have taken the right trambot (note: there was no way for them to ever take the right trambot)), but due to my improvisation with the nuclear police-tank, some of those questions were answerable (questions about nuclear material and who received the highest dose of radiation.)

    They were then sent to the Computer who confronted them on their more suspect decisions, but as the clones most guilty of treason had already been killed and replaced by fresh clones and the rest all had some treason points, but not enough to receive punishment, the team survived their first mission (except for their poor Loyalty Officer who went through all his clones, two of them off-screen).

    Overall:
    Everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves and have asked me later questions about certain plotpoints, who had which secret mission and powers, so they all were invested in the story. Somebody sprayed soda from her nose because she was laughing too hard, so that’s a success in my book.

    Points for improvement:
    I think leaving out the Reality Show part was the right decision for this group. Already they had a hard time between secret missions, the main mission, their mutant power and their special skills and items that another twist was unnecessary. For a more experienced group, go with it.

    Stan and Henk’s secret missions were far more complex than the secret missions for the other players and required a lot of luck and keeping notes (Stan’s player did figure out Bob’s power, but could not take a sample for instance.) If I ever run this mission again, I’ll change those two secret missions to something more in line with the others. I do like the idea of the Happiness Officer slipping in other drugs to the team, but I should streamline that a bit.

    I should have added some organic opponents so that Marcia and Stan could have used their special weapons. The team also hardly used their treasonous items and skills except for the one player who had more experience with the game (and his attempts to sneak those items into the backpacks of others failed 3 times before he succeeded.) I should have probably picked some things that were more obvious in their use or given the players some secret hints how to use the items.

    I did not mention above, but I was pretty pleased with the way I handled the dealer on the black market. She had two advanced guardian droids and would call any people that were endangering her trade "Communist", which would immediately trigger the droids to attack their target. This would give me an opportunity later, should anybody refuse Marco's payment (and the malware that came with it) by making Marco wonder whether they were communists and having the guard robots respond to it (not with violence, but enough to make them reconsider). Luckily this was not needed, my players were very eager to get back some money after buying their special weapons, but I did get to use a callback to it in the R&D lab at the end. Marco defends selling their identities to spammers as just capitalism at work and accusing them of being communists, which has one of the warbots turn slightly towards them.

    Steam/Origin: davydizzy
    Kadoken
  • KadokenKadoken see what me tell you, seen Registered User regular
    Imagine a space marine carrying four fully armored warriors. Imagine two of them on the marine's shoulders and the other two under his arms being football carried with their arms and legs outstretched. Imagine then the space marine gracefully jumping over a fast river. The marine's face fully stoic. Two of the warriors smiling. One frowning. One frowning much harder.

    I am going to shoot this mystery with my pistol of deduction -Sherlock Holmes (Scott Benson)
    Mine TTRPG blog http://darkheresychainsofmalice.blogspot.com/
    Rhesus PositiveSteelhawkElvenshae
  • INeedNoSaltINeedNoSalt with blood on my teeth Registered User regular
    edited May 19
    Ardent wrote: »
    Denada wrote: »
    19 skills still feels like a lot to me, considering the types of scenes a Shadowrun character will end up in. I feel like I would struggle to get to 19.
    Ehhh. Thinking on what you do in Shadowrun 19 skills seems reasonable.

    Shooting, CQC, Tactical Nuking, Ducking, Running, Climbing, Hacking, (Drone) Rigging, Driving, Technical Knowing, Trenchcoat Use, Hermetic Magic, Spiritual Magic, Knowing About Magic, Lying, Not Lying, Bullshit Meter.

    That's 17 and I'm sure I'm missing something obvious.

    you can only do one or the other, so couldn't Hermetic Magic and Spirit Magic just be Magic?
    n
    edit: wait you're calling conjuring spirit magic, the not-hermetic magic is shamanic magic, which isn't represented (but could be represented by like 'Spellcasting' to be neutral on the shamanic/hermetic divide.)

    INeedNoSalt on
  • NeadenNeaden regular Registered User regular
    For Shadowrun I just want them to do a second edition of anarchy where they fix the rules and pregens and take out the narrative rules. My understanding is that's pretty much what the German edition of the game is so I'd settle for that getting translated back into English.

  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    Ardent wrote: »
    Denada wrote: »
    19 skills still feels like a lot to me, considering the types of scenes a Shadowrun character will end up in. I feel like I would struggle to get to 19.
    Ehhh. Thinking on what you do in Shadowrun 19 skills seems reasonable.

    Shooting, CQC, Tactical Nuking, Ducking, Running, Climbing, Hacking, (Drone) Rigging, Driving, Technical Knowing, Trenchcoat Use, Hermetic Magic, Spiritual Magic, Knowing About Magic, Lying, Not Lying, Bullshit Meter.

    That's 17 and I'm sure I'm missing something obvious.

    you can only do one or the other, so couldn't Hermetic Magic and Spirit Magic just be Magic?
    n
    edit: wait you're calling conjuring spirit magic, the not-hermetic magic is shamanic magic, which isn't represented (but could be represented by like 'Spellcasting' to be neutral on the shamanic/hermetic divide.)
    It was off-the-cuff and not meant to be exhaustive. Like I said, I probably forgot some things. We were just trying to ballpark 19, which is the number of skills they've said will be in Shadowrun 6.

    Whether you consider that a good thing or a bad thing is entirely down to preference, of course. I don't think there's an ideal number of skills in a game, but I'll note 19 is below the number I consider "too many, probably time to dial it back" (which is 21, for the record). Because as everyone has noted...19 is a lot of skills. More than that is an almost absurd number of skills. Frankly, I favor the more narrative permission representations like Backgrounds these days, but if you've going for skills, 19 seems like a very reasonable number to have.

    Steam ID | Origin ID: ArdentX | Uplay ID: theardent | Battle.net: Ardent#11476
    DevoutlyApatheticitalianranma
  • Edith_Bagot-DixEdith_Bagot-Dix regular Registered User regular
    edited May 20
    Ardent wrote: »
    Denada wrote: »
    19 skills still feels like a lot to me, considering the types of scenes a Shadowrun character will end up in. I feel like I would struggle to get to 19.
    Ehhh. Thinking on what you do in Shadowrun 19 skills seems reasonable.

    Shooting, CQC, Tactical Nuking, Ducking, Running, Climbing, Hacking, (Drone) Rigging, Driving, Technical Knowing, Trenchcoat Use, Hermetic Magic, Spiritual Magic, Knowing About Magic, Lying, Not Lying, Bullshit Meter.

    That's 17 and I'm sure I'm missing something obvious.

    you can only do one or the other, so couldn't Hermetic Magic and Spirit Magic just be Magic?
    n
    edit: wait you're calling conjuring spirit magic, the not-hermetic magic is shamanic magic, which isn't represented (but could be represented by like 'Spellcasting' to be neutral on the shamanic/hermetic divide.)

    The other two would be the obligatory Schmoozing (Etiquette) and Wheedling for Nuyen (Negotiation). That way you cover the face character.

    Edith_Bagot-Dix on


    Also on Steam and PSN: twobadcats
  • KadokenKadoken see what me tell you, seen Registered User regular
    edited May 25
    I've been having a very good time playing and GMing Dark Heresy recently.

    In Playing
    My friend did this very well done investigation as I said before where we infiltrated a smuggler's operation. They found us out because we've been using the name of essentially somewhere between a trade agency and the Pinkerton's that is rumored to be part of the Inquisition. It is. Also because we're a feudal knight, a jungle assassin/survivalist, and a clearly not heretekal tech priest just like doing stuff together. I think that was just because we needed to tell them something off the cuff and I forgot the name we were using before, "The Mummer's Dance". We went through a gang hideout and re-enacted the Bree mcstabbing scene from Fellowship two times, I almost died, I got a ganger to possibly get Jesus the Emperor, and also ruined another inquisitor's operation that we didn't know was using the same people as us. I keep roleplaying that I don't wear my helmet in public and unlike everyone else I use a sword and shield so often when I'm caught off guard I have to take time to put on my helmet, sword, and shield. When I don't have the time I usually just grab the shield since I can bash folk with it. I got shot in the mouth and I didn't have my helmet. I then got slashed in the face and the gut and almost died. When we questioned the last ganger I had a broken leg and blood all over my plate armour so when with the help of a wall I started to stand up again the guy got freaked out and immediately dropped his weapon. I also saved a guy from a warp explosion.

    The other inquisitor sent folks to spy on us and then found me near the end of the venture with tanks of promethium ready to burn down a warehouse that had warp artifacts in it. I slowly backed up the car when I saw her but she forced me out and then I had to explain the whole debacle like a child being caught doing something wrong while calling our handler. Now we're on a moon.

    In GMing
    The Suede Denim Secret Police massacred their way through an ancient bunker complex like smooth operators. The arbitrator player understands the value of stealth as he lost a limb from failing to do it so he's been going ahead with his stummer, a sound dampening device, and scouting out each room. This turned out to go very poorly in the last room of the night, as he fainted when he saw daemons at the end of a long narrow hall. After he scouts, the players have been planning out attacks and using stealth to get surprise rounds. If they didn't execute everyone in a room with the opening surprise attack then they would at least focus on the leaders and toughest guys there. The samurai marine, being an eight foot tall guy in power armor, kept failing but he would often follow up in the next round. The Rook, my terrorist bomber vigilante (?) type inspired by the Punisher, really got to shine with his stealth training from being on Eldar not-Vietnam and I believe got every surprise round. He sprayed a plaguebearer mostly to death in eight shots of his hot-shot volleygun, a hot-shot heavy las machine gun, and kept rolling really well. The jumping incident occurred. I am really loving how the players have been taking point and initiative on this and the space marine and the Rook really are supporting roles and not the main event. Although, they probably would have died in the last fight if they hadn't gotten Katoichi, who lost more than half his wounds. Not from getting hit, although a plaguebearer did hit him but rolled a one, but from slashing at beasts of Nurgle that are toxic and spray out ooze that gets through toughness and armor per the book.

    If the players and their allies get out alive the ending is different from what I originally planned. Rather than the Rook finishing the job that started all of this, he's going to be persuaded by one of the player's words that one man alone cannot make a difference in this day and age. He's going to take the offer of another NPC they've met, an wrongfully exiled ministorum priest that has been trying to take down the corrupt bishop of the planet, to essentially join a group of vigilante types. Although the mark he leaves is associated with clinic and hospital bombings, it's also been associated with the criminal gangs and cults he has been exterminating that were supporting the Nurgle cult he had been hunting. He actually saw someone lay a candle down in front of a mark someone else made and got freaked out about it. He and Katoichi seem to be accidentally have created a cult called the Raven-blessed. The citizens of the hive have seen and mistaken the Rook and Katoichi for each other as dark-garbed figures but know they have been killing cultists and criminals that have been making their lives worse. They believe they are related to saint Corvus Corax, primarch of the Ravenguard, who according to apocrypha worked in the dark to serve the light. The Rook really does not want to create a cult that would possibly do to others what was done to his family. He tried to scare them away by basically being a crazed bastard and firing his gun in the air after menacing the man who laid the candle. This was in front of the SDSP's hideout which was what got one of them tilted (and made me feel bad although that's not their fault).

    However, the symbol is also inspiring the rise of a rash of masked and costumed vigilantes across a city whose enforcers are awful at fighting crime. I feel like I won't go into detail for the players because it would be indulgent, take a while to explain, and unlike the Rook they're probably not going to meet those vigilantes.

    I know I made a big stink about "not liking this character anymore" but I think that was because I was disappointed in how I made this campaign at the time and that I thought I made one of the players upset at me with his actions. It really did need a sizable first act and a better lead-in to this stuff that actually happened later. To make up for this and because I think it would be fun, the next campaign, instead of starting with a giant ambush at their base, is going to begin with them making an investigation to find a Slaaneshi sorceress that placed a daemon upon one of the players to watch them. This is going to be a genuine investigation where they can totally find this lady. Although, they never truly got rid of the daemon, just weakened it when their NPC friend, a psyker bard, heavy metal shrieked it away from forcing the techpriest to stand in an explosion. They're going to be not really in a state to surprise her. Also, she's traveling with her lover, the Sonic Sorcerer Lascivious, a glam-rock-inspired Slaaneshi Space Marine Librarian whose psy focus is implanted in a 1E Rogue Trader edition blast master which is a metal guitar that sends out sonic blasts. He is one of the heads of my big bad villain group. He uses biomancy heavily to change shape and his armour is a unique seemingly invisible variant that shifts with his form. It was created by another one of the heads of the group with help from a being called the Standard Template Child, a surviving man of iron construct hidden in a giant forge complex within a long lost planetoid that has all the known STCs in the universe in its memory including archaeotech ones but has the temperament and selfishness of a child who only gives the villain group what they want if they get it what it wants.

    Kadoken on
    I am going to shoot this mystery with my pistol of deduction -Sherlock Holmes (Scott Benson)
    Mine TTRPG blog http://darkheresychainsofmalice.blogspot.com/
    Dizzy DDarkPrimusAuralynx
  • KadokenKadoken see what me tell you, seen Registered User regular
    edited May 26
    Do y'all feel a big separation between playing and GMing?
    I feel really detached from my players' experience that I'm not super sure how they feel during a session until I ask at the end. We also do all audio sessions over discord as well which is part of the issue since I can't see their body language either. I think it makes misunderstandings. I think that is what fed my earlier problems of kind of approaching a killer GM mindset and it is kind of a revelation to finally be a player in the game I GMed for four years without having a reference for how they really felt. I really changed a lot on how I designed and ran stuff based on finally understanding where they were coming from for things. I definitely feel the separation during combat where they want to survive as personal characters and don't have all the information where I do and I'm going through the motions.

    Combat is definitely where this hits the hardest where as a GM I need music in the background or else I feel oddly lonely and awkward in-between declaring attacks and rolling and stuff. I don't need that during playing, though.

    Kadoken on
    I am going to shoot this mystery with my pistol of deduction -Sherlock Holmes (Scott Benson)
    Mine TTRPG blog http://darkheresychainsofmalice.blogspot.com/
  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Kadoken wrote: »
    Do y'all feel a big separation between playing and GMing?
    I feel really detached from my players' experience that I'm not super sure how they feel during a session until I ask at the end. We also do all audio sessions over discord as well which is part of the issue since I can't see their body language either. I think it makes misunderstandings. I think that is what fed my earlier problems of kind of approaching a killer GM mindset and it is kind of a revelation to finally be a player in the game I GMed for four years without having a reference for how they really felt. I really changed a lot on how I designed and ran stuff based on finally understanding where they were coming from for things. I definitely feel the separation during combat where they want to survive as personal characters and don't have all the information where I do and I'm going through the motions.

    Combat is definitely where this hits the hardest where as a GM I need music in the background or else I feel oddly lonely and awkward in-between declaring attacks and rolling and stuff. I don't need that during playing, though.

    I just finished a session where we had a climactic diplomatic conversation that resulted in (after successful rolls) one of the PCs being exiled from her planet for murder instead of having her clan suffer the consequences, and at the end of it I asked, "was that tense enough?" and everyone looked at me like I was fucking crazy. And we play in person.

    So, yes.

    Elvenshaenever die
  • Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Bad Opinion Haver Registered User regular
    Kadoken wrote: »
    Do y'all feel a big separation between playing and GMing?
    I feel really detached from my players' experience that I'm not super sure how they feel during a session until I ask at the end. We also do all audio sessions over discord as well which is part of the issue since I can't see their body language either. I think it makes misunderstandings. I think that is what fed my earlier problems of kind of approaching a killer GM mindset and it is kind of a revelation to finally be a player in the game I GMed for four years without having a reference for how they really felt. I really changed a lot on how I designed and ran stuff based on finally understanding where they were coming from for things. I definitely feel the separation during combat where they want to survive as personal characters and don't have all the information where I do and I'm going through the motions.

    Combat is definitely where this hits the hardest where as a GM I need music in the background or else I feel oddly lonely and awkward in-between declaring attacks and rolling and stuff. I don't need that during playing, though.

    The most common detachment I feel is in how I perceive their risk in a situation and how the players view it.

    I'll often finish a fight and joke about how I barely scratched them but they'll usually still be tense even with just that minimal threat.

    italianranmaElvenshaeSleepnever die
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents regular Registered User regular
    Kadoken wrote: »
    Do y'all feel a big separation between playing and GMing?
    I feel really detached from my players' experience that I'm not super sure how they feel during a session until I ask at the end. We also do all audio sessions over discord as well which is part of the issue since I can't see their body language either. I think it makes misunderstandings. I think that is what fed my earlier problems of kind of approaching a killer GM mindset and it is kind of a revelation to finally be a player in the game I GMed for four years without having a reference for how they really felt. I really changed a lot on how I designed and ran stuff based on finally understanding where they were coming from for things. I definitely feel the separation during combat where they want to survive as personal characters and don't have all the information where I do and I'm going through the motions.

    Combat is definitely where this hits the hardest where as a GM I need music in the background or else I feel oddly lonely and awkward in-between declaring attacks and rolling and stuff. I don't need that during playing, though.

    The most common detachment I feel is in how I perceive their risk in a situation and how the players view it.

    I'll often finish a fight and joke about how I barely scratched them but they'll usually still be tense even with just that minimal threat.

    Yeah, it’s important to try your best to pick up on their tension. Something I’ve missed before and will again!

    I had one of my players over in Glamjin’s Tower of Glory freeze up when I portrayed a bound genie guard too powerfully. On paper they were just a regular enemy with 20 HP but they didn’t feel they could even attack it! Bit of nudging later and they were throwing flammable dragon blood on it and lighting it on fire etc., but I almost lost the flow there.

    NipsElvenshae
  • NipsNips regular Luxuriating in existential crisis.Registered User regular
    Narrative Tension vs. Mechanical Challenge is probably one of the hardest things to get right, especially if you're not just divulging numbers to the players (and what good GM does? None, I say!). I think the friendly "Hey, this encounter is [vague difficulty descriptor]" is pretty common.

    That all said, I regularly struggle with this in my 5e home game that came from 4e. The party routinely punches waaay above its level, except when they suddenly and spectacularly donk it out of nowhere. So the majority of the time I'll say "this fight's hard" and they'll sleepwalk through it, but the actually-not-even-an-encounter they'll trip all over.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  • KadokenKadoken see what me tell you, seen Registered User regular
    Nips wrote: »
    Narrative Tension vs. Mechanical Challenge is probably one of the hardest things to get right, especially if you're not just divulging numbers to the players (and what good GM does? None, I say!). I think the friendly "Hey, this encounter is [vague difficulty descriptor]" is pretty common.

    That all said, I regularly struggle with this in my 5e home game that came from 4e. The party routinely punches waaay above its level, except when they suddenly and spectacularly donk it out of nowhere. So the majority of the time I'll say "this fight's hard" and they'll sleepwalk through it, but the actually-not-even-an-encounter they'll trip all over.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    I have had times where they would one shot daemons and then get critically damaged by a punk with a revolver in a throw away fight.

    I am going to shoot this mystery with my pistol of deduction -Sherlock Holmes (Scott Benson)
    Mine TTRPG blog http://darkheresychainsofmalice.blogspot.com/
    webguy20Nips
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    I haven't run games in a while but as long as I make it clear to the players that I'm always trying to find that balance where it's a challenge for them but not too difficult, and that balance is actually on the mark for most of the time, the players should hopefully still be having fun even when they get their asses kicked every once in a while.

    Steamrolling stuff can be enjoyable, but not if that's every single fight.

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  • KadokenKadoken see what me tell you, seen Registered User regular
    I stumbled into making the Vergil to the Dante of Katt Dogg, the gnoll bard rapper. Kae’Arh Ess’Wun was the runt of a litter that was spared and sent off to live with a neutral (tribe politics-wise, not alignment) gnoll tribe of skalds along with Katt. Where Katt learned his rhythmic poetry style along with an education from the scalds there he would use to form GWA (and later leave), Kae felt abandoned and useless. She grew resentful towards her mother where Katt had a great relationship and looked forward to her visits. A rift grew between Katt and her. Katt wants to combine his experiences with the scalds along with his experiences in the civilized places to try to earn a place for him and his family while keeping true to his roots including the underpinned influence to his music. Katt’s also something of a Chaotic Good punk who will take no shit from authority and has his own morality when it comes to making decisions. He tries to stick up for the little guy. Kae is an outcast and can only trust herself. From her point of view the world rejected her so she rejects the world at large and acts for her best self interest.

    Kae left the tribe and decided to journey forth as an adolescent. She ended up stumbling nearly to death around a monastery. There she turned her physical weakness and short stature which had been deep seated into her poor emotional state and found power by tapping into places she could have never known existed. She found herself feeling strong for the first time in his life. She wanted this feeling to stay permanently. So she decided to get more power through adventuring.

    Someone else chose bard and I don’t like the party to be beholden to my class choice so I went with my second thing. I wanted a to be a punch person and I kind of stumbled into this. Also continuing my naming characters after hip-hop figures with Katt (Nate) Dogg (also because hyenas are cat-dogs to me) and KRS1.

    I think her arc will be coming down from being a cold and selfish person and thinking that love’s gonna get ya to someone willing to trust people.

    I am going to shoot this mystery with my pistol of deduction -Sherlock Holmes (Scott Benson)
    Mine TTRPG blog http://darkheresychainsofmalice.blogspot.com/
  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    Nips wrote: »
    Narrative Tension vs. Mechanical Challenge is probably one of the hardest things to get right, especially if you're not just divulging numbers to the players (and what good GM does? None, I say!). I think the friendly "Hey, this encounter is [vague difficulty descriptor]" is pretty common.
    Many systems are numerically transparent now. Largely because players get frustrated when they don't have the hard numbers they want. This does remove some of the agency from the GM, of course, as they can't just drop to-hits and health levels on the fly to adjust the encounter. It's generally not a trend I'm a fan of.

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  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents regular Registered User regular
    You know... with a bit of work I wonder if you could run a bunch of systems without dice. I’m not the first to think that, but like... Apocalypse World derived games especially are about taking options when you want to do a thing, and then the world pushes back against you. It might not be the best thing ever, but particularly in Play by Post games I can see it working. Something like:

    When you attack, deal your damage, and choose any number of options.
    - Avoid harm in return, but be forced to fall back.
    - Deal your damage again, and take severe harm for getting so close.
    - Provide someone an opportunity, and be locked in combat with the enemy.
    - Reach an advantageous position, and be separated from the party’s aid.
    - Take something important (shield, item, their morale), and lose something in return.
    - Learn something important, but reveal something about yourself as well.

    You could take every option and wind up being a chandelier swinging swashbuckling daredevil that takes on the whole room, but you still end up stood precariously on a windowsill fighting the guards so your pals can run away.

    Imagine like eight moves for the standard ‘social encounter’, fight, escape, etc with that set up. Do you reckon it’d work?

  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    edited May 27
    Dice are a mechanism by which uncertainty and surprise are injected into the roleplaying game. Without any sort of mechanism by which there is uncertainty, the players are restricted only by themselves and other players. It's structured improv by that point.

    EDIT: To be clear, there's nothing wrong with structured improv! But it is a slightly different beast.

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  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents regular Registered User regular
    Yeah, I agree with that. I don’t think I’d want to get rid of dice in my real-life games. Just a thought I suppose. Thanks for your input.

    What do you think of flat damage versus dice rolled damage, just out of interest? It makes sense usually, and creates its own narrative, but there will always be those ‘1 damage’ rolls on an otherwise perfect to-hit roll that can bum a player out. I’m looking at you @Grog

    For example I’ve considered in the past when using Dungeon World to change it from rolled to flat, as in a Fighter’s 1d8 damage would just be always 4.

    It would take out the cheering from the table when the character deals the full 8, but would remove the sigh when they only deal 1.

  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    edited May 27
    I think flat damage instead of rolled damage dice can work fantastically, if the game is designed to support such a thing.

    I'm sure there could be a PbtA game designed that still has skill checks but has combat constructed to support flat damage based on class and ability use, but I think it would have to be baked into the very foundation of the design of the classes and NPC construction. I'm not saying that it would be impossible to come up with a hack for Dungeon World that could work okay, but I think that it would take a lot of work and trial and error before finding something that worked okay, not fantastically.

    The damage dice is part of the risk/reward and unpredictability in roleplaying. To give a Dungeon World example: our Thief is squishier, so you know that the heavy hits from the Bandit King could drop you to 0, but you also know that if your Backstab rolls well, he could be dead. So do you press your luck, or no? If damage amounts are predetermined, then it turns into a game of damage calculus. There's no unknown risk or unlikely-but-possible triumph as possibilities, only a single known exchange.

    I'm thinking of all the sorts of ways that various roleplaying games have done player interaction where consequences occur without the randomization of damage dice.

    Forged in the Dark games don't have damage rolls, but players take levels of harm and NPCs have clocks that fill to represent how close players are to achieving their goals against them. Considering Blade in the Dark is itself a PbtA hack, I think its method of combat would work well as an (admittedly large) hack for Dungeon World. But I'm also a big Blades fan in general, so

    In Mobile Frame Zero: Firebrands, by contract, player interaction occurs when one player asks another player a question, such as "As we dance together, I pull you closer to whisper something in your ear. Do you lean closer, or pull away?" or "As I lash out, you see an opening in my defense. Do you take advantage and strike me a fatal blow, or let the moment pass?" The excitement comes from players being willing to put narrative trust in each other's hands.

    ...I'm going to cut myself off actually or else I'm just going to spend an hour sitting here typing out all other sorts of games that I think do cool things for player interaction. Listen to actual play podcasts and read lots of smaller indie TTRPGs, inspiration is everywhere!

    I would love to see a Fiasco-esque game where the majority of the player interaction is freeform improv but then scenes are resolved with predetermined outcomes based on what sort of choices each player made. A kind of narrative structure where the outcomes are all visible and players are choosing how to fill in the gaps between them.

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  • MahnmutMahnmut regular Registered User regular
    edited May 27
    Dream Askew might be an interesting example for you, if you haven't been following it? It started out as a diceless hack of Apocalypse World; I think part of the goal there was to make it suitable for one-shots with people who aren't fluent in TTRPG.

    The flow of the game is very loose; "structured improv" might be fair. Everyone gets a playbook with multiple-choice and fill-in customization options, a la PBTA. You also get some NPCs and some "Bonds" out of that. There's a similar worksheet for your Enclave ("hardhold"). Once you've introduced your characters and brainstormed your Enclave, you're invited to discuss OOC ("idle dreaming") until you have an idea for a scene to play out between two or more players; repeat.

    The only thing we'd recognize as a hard mechanic is the token economy. Every playbook has a list of "strong moves," which consume a token and show off your character's strengths, "weak moves," which generate a token and get your character in trouble, and "regular moves," which are token-neutral and always include "Take action, leaving yourself vulnerable." You start with no tokens, so you're incentivized to get messy. You can also get a token by playing into another character's Lure -- for example, the Stitcher's says, "Whenever someone comes to you with something precious that needs fixing, they gain a token."

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  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents regular Registered User regular
    I have read, but never played Dreams Askew! Good pick as a starting point for this idea.

    Yeah, so improv is what I’m thinking about. Thanks guys.

  • MahnmutMahnmut regular Registered User regular
    Yeah same; the book is really lovely.

    Steam/LoL: Jericho89
  • webguy20webguy20 Spends too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    Yeah, I agree with that. I don’t think I’d want to get rid of dice in my real-life games. Just a thought I suppose. Thanks for your input.

    What do you think of flat damage versus dice rolled damage, just out of interest? It makes sense usually, and creates its own narrative, but there will always be those ‘1 damage’ rolls on an otherwise perfect to-hit roll that can bum a player out. I’m looking at you @Grog

    For example I’ve considered in the past when using Dungeon World to change it from rolled to flat, as in a Fighter’s 1d8 damage would just be always 4.

    It would take out the cheering from the table when the character deals the full 8, but would remove the sigh when they only deal 1.

    I think you'd enjoy the Genesys dice system. It adds the uncertainty, but it's mostly a collaborative story between the GM and players.

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  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents regular Registered User regular
    edited May 27
    Yeah, I should look into that one. I haven’t even seen a bit of it.

    Edit: I have played Blades in the Dark and older Apocalypse World games (and 2nd edition of the granddaddy itself), so I’ve played games with and without traditional damage.

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  • webguy20webguy20 Spends too much time on the Internet Registered User regular
    I've been wanting to try Blades in the Dark. I have the book but not the time. It looks so cool.

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  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents regular Registered User regular
    I hope you do! I played a circus ringmaster that had a network of spies (Spider) that conspired with thieves (the rest of the party, who were collectively Shadows) when the people grew tired of her entertainment, and looked to weirder delights. The character died lighting the fuse to the explosives they were smuggling when a gang snitched on them to the law. I did a big “Ladies and Gentlemen, you won’t be-lievveee your eyes!” speech before going out with a bang.

    zekebeauRhesus Positive
  • GlaziusGlazius regular Registered User regular
    You know... with a bit of work I wonder if you could run a bunch of systems without dice. I’m not the first to think that, but like... Apocalypse World derived games especially are about taking options when you want to do a thing, and then the world pushes back against you. It might not be the best thing ever, but particularly in Play by Post games I can see it working. Something like:

    When you attack, deal your damage, and choose any number of options.
    - Avoid harm in return, but be forced to fall back.
    - Deal your damage again, and take severe harm for getting so close.
    - Provide someone an opportunity, and be locked in combat with the enemy.
    - Reach an advantageous position, and be separated from the party’s aid.
    - Take something important (shield, item, their morale), and lose something in return.
    - Learn something important, but reveal something about yourself as well.

    You could take every option and wind up being a chandelier swinging swashbuckling daredevil that takes on the whole room, but you still end up stood precariously on a windowsill fighting the guards so your pals can run away.

    Imagine like eight moves for the standard ‘social encounter’, fight, escape, etc with that set up. Do you reckon it’d work?

    Something that may help you is Godsend, a Worlds of Legacy book, which presents a standard AW-ish framework where moves have you making choices from a list, but instead of rolling, you have point ratings for things and that's the base number of choices you get to make every time you make the associated move.

    MahnmutEndless_Serpents
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents regular Registered User regular
    The plot thickens!

  • GrogGrog My sword is only steel in a useful shape.Registered User regular
    The Day We Leave Our Forests To Die In Beautiful Silence is another diceless pbta. I really like how it's translated some of the standard AW moves into a token economy.

    m3d1jf1cwv8w.png
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  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    Flat damage produces very flat combat, for the record. It's not something I find particularly evocative, but if you're playing with young kids it does help keep the math down. But with adults, you just want to find a sweet spot between "omfg this feels like calculus" and "okay I do 1 damage."

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  • NipsNips regular Luxuriating in existential crisis.Registered User regular
    edited May 27
    One real simple hack to the "Oops rolled a 1" problem would be to turn all the flat dice into curves; you'd still get highs and lows, but most of the time you'll be on the middle of the range.

    1d4 becomes 2d2 (range 2 to 4, most likely 3)
    1d6 becomes 2d3 (range 2 to 6, most likely 4)
    1d8 becomes 2d4 (range 2 to 8, most likely
    5)
    Etc.

    I'll admit, it's not a perfectly satisfying solution, especially at the small-dice end. But you'll definitely never roll a one again!😝

    [Edit] This problem is actually why I house-ruled the crit damage in my 5e game; instead of rolling double damage dice, crits cause maximum damage for the dice it would normally use. So a 3d6 crit does 18 damage, instead of 6d6.

    Getting a crit and rolling bad damage is literally one of the worst feelings I can think of in 5e play, and I hate it, so I changed it.

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  • ArdentArdent extra Registered User regular
    So, the Shadowrun 6e skills are: Assensing, Athletics, Biotech, Close Combat, Con, Conjuring, Cracking, Electronics, Enchanting, Engineering, Firearms, Exotic Weapons, Influence, Outdoors, Perception, Piloting, Sorcery, Stealth, and Tasking.

    You may now panic.

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  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus premium Registered User regular
    edited May 27
    Nips wrote: »
    One real simple hack to the "Oops rolled a 1" problem would be to turn all the flat dice into curves; you'd still get highs and lows, but most of the time you'll be on the middle of the range.

    1d4 becomes 2d2 (range 2 to 4, most likely 3)
    1d6 becomes 2d3 (range 2 to 6, most likely 4)
    1d8 becomes 2d4 (range 2 to 8, most likely
    5)
    Etc.

    I'll admit, it's not a perfectly satisfying solution, especially at the small-dice end. But you'll definitely never roll a one again!😝

    [Edit] This problem is actually why I house-ruled the crit damage in my 5e game; instead of rolling double damage dice, crits cause maximum damage for the dice it would normally use. So a 3d6 crit does 18 damage, instead of 6d6.

    Getting a crit and rolling bad damage is literally one of the worst feelings I can think of in 5e play, and I hate it, so I changed it.

    The way damage works in Genesys is that most ranged weapons have a set damage amount they deal, and then for every additional success above the first, you add 1 additional damage. With melee weapons, they may have a set damage number, or they have a +[X] number, which means you take your Brawn rating and then add [X] to get the base damage number.

    In addition to damage, weapons also have a critical rating, which is how many Advantage you have to activate in order to trigger a critical hit. So this means that one can design weapons that have higher base damage, but are less likely to crit, or deal less damage but can crit more often, etc.

    Don't want to get too into the weeds explaining how critical hits work (it involves modifiers and rolling percentile dice), but the effects of the critical hit are in addition to whatever damage is being dealt, so you never have the problem where you crit and then roll 3 total damage. Of course, the whole mechanic of Advantage triggering critical hits is a benefit that comes from the system being designed from the ground up not just consisting of binary pass/fail results for checks, but also advantage/threat for extra narrative/mechanical intrigue so that there's usually extra layers to anything that's happening with the dice.

    With the set damage numbers for all weapons, that combat takes place in more abstracted range bands than on a grid and the fact that characters tend to just not have as many hit points in comparison to what sort of damage weapons do, combat is a lot snappier than in D&D.

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  • GrogGrog My sword is only steel in a useful shape.Registered User regular
    I find dungeon world's rolled damage doesn't work because in pbta a move should always change the situation (or reveal something new). If I flub the damage roll after getting a 10 then it's unlikely to change anything.

    Now a good dm can compensate for this (@Endless_Serpents made me a goddamn demon prince after I rolled 1 damage), but that's still just papering over a design fault in the system.

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  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents regular Registered User regular
    edited May 27
    @Grog
    If you were to make a Dungeon World 2 (or more likely just your own PBtA fantasy game), do you think it’d make sense to weld hitting the enemy and damage together?

    ‘When you attack, roll+stat.
    On a 10+, you deal your maximum damage, and you gain advantage over the enemy.
    On a 7-9, you deal half damage, and leave yourself open to harm.
    On a 6-, you deal your minimum damage, and the enemy gains advantage over you.
    Regardless of the roll, if you leave yourself open to further harm, add half your damage to the result.’

    Let’s say an Arcane Duelist has:
    Minimum 2, half 4, maximum 8, so the best they can ever deal is 12 damage.

    A lot of situations in Dungeon World grant +1 forward to a roll, but if you throw in a few +1 damage forward things in there you could vary the damage a little.

    But perhaps enemy HP should be removed entirely, and instead you have to pull off a few moves, like Reveal their Weakness, Pull Off a Strategy, Strike the Killing Blow...

    Edit: I’m just thinking about DW as a mental exercise really, I’ve run homebrew stuff that only used conditions, no HP for anything. I bet there are a lot of proper RPGs that use that sort of system too.

    Endless_Serpents on
  • KadokenKadoken see what me tell you, seen Registered User regular
    @Grog
    If you were to make a Dungeon World 2 (or more likely just your own PBtA fantasy game), do you think it’d make sense to weld hitting the enemy and damage together?
    My friend did this as a damage modification for Dark Heresy 2E. I posted it on the blog. I echoes the issues some of you guys have been saying in liking the variance the damage rolls bring but I also like that idea as a streamlining thing.

    I am going to shoot this mystery with my pistol of deduction -Sherlock Holmes (Scott Benson)
    Mine TTRPG blog http://darkheresychainsofmalice.blogspot.com/
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents regular Registered User regular
    Or! And now I’m just getting convoluted so this’ll be my last post on the subject of altering Dungeon World.

    When you attack, roll 2d6+stat (as usual), and keep the results to also be your damage.
    10+, keep both results + advantage/opportunity.
    7-9, keep the best result + get hit.
    6-, keep the worst result + enemy advantage/opportunity.

    This works out because the +3 Strength Fighter still stays dealing the most damage, and gets rid of the need of any dice other than d6s!

    Now you’re always dealing damage (unlike standard DW), and your chance of it being a good amount is up by 50%.

  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Ardent wrote: »
    So, the Shadowrun 6e skills are: Assensing, Athletics, Biotech, Close Combat, Con, Conjuring, Cracking, Electronics, Enchanting, Engineering, Firearms, Exotic Weapons, Influence, Outdoors, Perception, Piloting, Sorcery, Stealth, and Tasking.

    You may now panic.

    I have many questions.

    Nips
  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Con and Influence are honestly the worst names for Persuade/Falsehood Consort/Sway I’ve ever read.

    NipsEndless_Serpents
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