And I get so excited, I have to share!
Friday, March 5, 2010, 9:01 AM
And I get so excited, I have to share!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010, 5:15 PM
This Sunday past, my house group played another round of Gamma World. We had another fun, rough-and-tumble romp through the wasteland.
Roll of HeroesMiscreants: The party consisted of the Master (Paul), a nightmare mind-breaker with great mental powers and an enormous way with people; Gregor the Jung-er (Doug), an empath with the ability to pull duplicates of himself from other worldlines; Frigidaire (Mike), a plastic mutant with cryokinetic powers; and Herb (Alan), a zombie ghost.
The players all decided that the Master was, in fact, the master, and all the others had worked for him before they mutated and went exploring: his gardener (Herb), an applaiance repairman (Frigidaire), and his therapist (Gregor). Besides, the Master's social checks were enormous enough to ensure that anyone would generally agree with his whim.
Short story shorter: The small town of Gasstop was being oppressed by mutants who were taking money and "selling" an addictive, mutagenic drug in exchange. The PCs got caught up in the conflict when they tried to get a peaceful drink when the mutants attacked Ol' Stoney's Bar. After being offered free drinks and half-price gasoline for all time, the heroesmiscreants chased the oppressors up the mountain to a blown-up ski-lift.
The Master died, and the game wrapped up before we could explore the ramifications of a team's mental master dying.
Oh, and yes, I ripped up Paul's character sheet.
Monday, March 1, 2010, 9:40 AM
So, I'm reading a bit of the Famine in Far-Go expansion for Gamma World, and I come across the description of a small commune where the inbreeding is the rule, and the neighboring communities tell steamy tales of the commune's women - but breaking that rule gets the interloper strung up and set afire.
It's nice flavor for a post-apoc game, no question. But no PC who knows the rule will ever break it. There's no point to it, nothing to be gained: a hot roll in the hay with a forbidden love earns the PC nothing, while losing out on negotiations with the elders and risking getting pitchforked in the night... that's a lot of pain for no gain.
Which is what runs through my head as I review the text. It's interesting, but won't get anyone in trouble. And it irritates me that none of my players are taking risks, that none of their characters are drawn by their flaws into compromising situations. And then I realize I might be able to fix that.
The idea is to sit down with each player and work out an appropriate, risk-taking flaw for his or her character - and then to turn that flaw into a minor quest of the character's level, which the character can cash in on once each level.
A couple examples:
Krayt is a dragonborn with a strong sense of racial superiority. When Krayt disregards or dismisses a non-dragonborn in a manner that creates conflict or adversity, the party gains experience points equal to a minor quest of their level.
Ayim is a firm adherent of the Raven Queen, and loathe to leave alive someone she has defeated in combat. When Ayim chooses to create conflict or adversity by ending a life she could spare, the party gains experience points equal to a minor quest of their level.
Two important notes about the above. One, the player can only earn the quest xp by deliberate choice to follow the character flaw in a situation where conflict or adversity results. The character can be as biased or murderous as the player chooses, but they only earn credit for it when being biased or murderous is a difficult choice.
Two, the entire party earns xp for one player's indiscretions. I don't want the player to be angling to get ahead and get the entire group in trouble for his own gain. Quite the opposite: I want the entire party to be encouraging Krayt to tell the human king that "You wouldn't be in this situation if you had half the sense given a dragonborn," or for another character with the right flaw to "Go for it, seduce the king's wife!"
This still needs fine tuning. A minor quest's worth xp for a sizable indiscretion might not be enough encouragement, but a major quest would be too much when each player has one. It might be right to size it at a major quest, but the party can only get xp for one character's flaw each level. If I want to make sure the party spreads out the trouble-causing, I can force a cycle: Krayt can't earn from his flaw again until everyone else has earned it once, or at least until two other characters have earned from their flaws.
Friday, February 26, 2010, 1:45 PM
I wrote a little thing about extra traits for magic items. You can see it here.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 9:15 AM
Sunday and Monday each gave me a gaming story that I want to share.
Sunday, my group got back to Upheaval, and visited a dragon's lair to request the majestic creature bestow upon them armaments it has been guarding for a long time. They encountered and captured a thief in its hoard, and... to my surprise, turned the poor halfling woman over to the dragon, who promptly ate her. My players never (okay, rarely) do what I expect - which is a good reason to trim back my expectations.
Monday, in Chris Perkins's Monday Iomandra game, the situation is thus: Through the mysteries of time travel some months ago (in game time; a year or two in real time), our eladrin warlord Andraste has a duplicate self. They have become separate people, one remaining with our party, one going off to accomplish similar goals through other methods.
Then, while mucking about with various heroics, a time prison (whatever that is) malfunctions and propels us all three years into the future. It might be our fault for throwing bad guys into its gears for the extra damage that offered. Our mission is to return to the past, because without us in the world, much evil occurred.
Here's where we meet last night: In pursuit of that goal, we have teamed up with the duplicate Andraste to rescue a member of a time-traveling society, escort him to safety, and get into a fight with a mind flayer and beholder that kills three of us and sends a fourth fleeing. The fifth (Andraste) is away protecting the time traveler. (Her player being away last session, her character escorted the valuable time traveler while we engaged aberrations in combat.) Their position was not as secure as we had hoped: An Imperial gunship - by which I mean, a ship with a giant cannon in the nose - engaged our ship and blew it apart in three shots. (It dealt 102 damage to Andraste (ours), leaving her with 2 hp... and that was the miss damage.)
Andraste just managed to escape with the time traveler, who expended an item he had to step backward about an hour and a half with Andraste, where she could explain what was going on and change the course of time.
So there we all are, on the ship, making plans, when Andraste walks on board to explain to Andraste, Andraste, and the rest of the group what has transpired. For a short time at least, future past Andraste, future future Andraste, and Andraste who is stuck in the future all teamed up to return us to the past present so we can change the present future.
Or something like that.
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