Monday, August 24, 2009

Ahhhh—Now That's Much Better

Last Session wasn't so great. This session however was a great session.

Every time I plan a session I send out a formal invitation. The invite has a very brief recap of the previous sessions and then the time, place, etc. Generally the only thing that changes is the date. I invite people to come over at 6:00 and the game is supposed to start at 7:00. This actually worked for a couple sessions, but lately it has not. People are showing up between 6 and 7:30. The game is generally started by 8:30, and honestly it's because my daughters are not as good at going to bed at 7:00 as they once were.

So we did get started a little late. P was not here, but my GM friend was—so I just put my GM friend on the map where P was at the end of the last session...sort of; after about ten minutes or so, we realized that we had backed up the time line ever so slightly. But whatever, we moved on.

For this session I had six players, a seventh had come—but she really didn't want to play, and I'm not going to force anyone to play—so she played Dr. Mario on the Wii in the next room.

Because of the cats I knew it would be a good night. I knew that the character that hates cats, would really have a hard time leaving it alone. He jumped right into character and was about to shoot a firearm at the cats that were practically standing in a spill of diesel fuel.

In an effort to make things not seem too linear, while everyone was still worrying about the cats I had a poor unfortunate soul and his daughter run in and ask the group for assistance. His bed ridden wife was stuck in their house and because of some situation last night, the house was surrounded by the undead.

Most of the party went down the street a couple houses and was picking off zombies from the top of the cinder block wall. They were tossing grenades and molotov cocktails over the wall. I was really hoping for a bad toss that would cause problems—but the dice were really on their side. They were taking out zombies left and right.

Those left behind, were there to protect the still re-fueling bus, and the man's young daughter. My sister got this crazy thought in her head that the cats would be a useful weapon against the zombies and set out to capture one.

Meanwhile the house was on fire, the cinder block wall protecting them had fallen down and half the group at the house had wised up and was circling around to the front of the house while the zombies were distracted.

So at one point, this fly dove into the midst of the group of zombies and just stopped. I've been hunting this thing for a week and haven't been able to kill it. I asked, "Did that fly just dive into the zombies and die?" Those close to it indicated that it had indeed. I just had to get a picture of it, but as I was taking said pictures. I noticed it was moving and urged someone close to kill it. I was trying to get a napkin to grab it with and my sister was trying to move it out of the radius of the zombie horde and the thing just flew off. Grrr.

It's still flying around here taunting me.

The fact of the matter is, things were moving pretty fast, there was lots of action, lots of creativity. I'm relatively sure that most everyone was having fun. I was flexible, not tired, and not hung up on who was there and who was not and what parts of my story weren't working out. I've decided that planning less is better, just as long as I have a sketchy idea—Savage Worlds is an easy enough system to make it work. I only had a very rough idea of what I was going to have them do and I felt it turned out pretty great.

Something that I find amusing for me as Game Master is when I throw large crowds of Zombies at them [60 or so in this instance] and they miss their shooting roll. I'm not strictly following the Innocent Bystander rule, I just have it hit other zombies as I feel appropriate. It's fun to describe the bullet going right through the intended target with no effect, but striking the one behind it. Players like it when they get to roll damage on what they thought was a wasted action.

I have one player that likes to argue about what was said, he claims that originally I called the large burst template the area where the fumes from the diesel fuel spill were volatile, and then changed it to the location of the spilled fuel and that two squares away there is still a chance that the fuel will ignite. Come to think of it,I think he's right—but what is really happening is not me changing the story—it's me correcting the story to what I had originally intended; in an effort  to compensate for my poor story telling skills.

I think it's because we're looking to get different things out of the game. He's my munchkin friend, when we play board games, he analyzes everything in seconds and comes up with crazy schemes and tactics that net him the win 95% of the time. Whereas I play those same games for fun and rarely win. When we play role playing games he seems to always want "treasure" and I just want to tell a story.

I felt bad last night because his girlfriend was the one that didn't want to play. He ended up leaving with her early. For a portion of the night he wasn't even in the room. He was just telling us what his dice rolls indicated when his turn came up—I wish I could get him to role play more, instead of roll playing. Three sessions ago when I first ran an interlude session, his portion was great. Though he still can't let go of my Brother's story from that same session because it's unrealistic and that is still bothering him. He's complained about it every session since.

Now that I'm thinking about it. I think part of it is that he is playing his character. He made a thief—I think that perhaps he's trying to play the typical D&D rogue in the wrong setting.

Next session we'll be getting back to the plot points out of the Zombie Run book. I think his specialized skills may be more useful in the next arc of the story.

Things of note in the picture:
Bus on top of a Large Burst Template that represents spilled diesel fuel.
Box of Monster Snaps that Represents a Humvee.
Red Mini Poker Chips in the Background that Represent the location of a fire (This is what happens when you let your players find a convenience store [Bottom Right] that has the lock on the beer locker still intact—can we say Molotov cocktail?)

One more thing I want to talk about here. Back when I got into playing RPGs, I was sitting there playing D&D and having fun, but felt that there had to be more to it—so I picked up someone's Player Handbook and started browsing it in the downtime. My eyes started to open to some of the possibilities, and eventually  ended up finding a used copy to purchase.

Even during the time that I didn't own a copy I found it useful to read that spare when it was floating around the table. Sine Savage Worlds is so cheap—I bought another copy to be the floater at our game table. This has led to a wonderful thing. My wife was sitting there feeling that if she read the book, she'd have a better understanding of how the game works and perhaps be able to have more fun with it; then she was thinking to herself when would I have time to read it? Then it donned on her that she had time when it wasn't her turn during combat. This led to her seeing the illustrations of the cowboys in the book, this led to her wanting to play a western but lamenting the lack of magic. Then we told her about Deadlands:Reloaded being a western setting for Savage Worlds and a setting that includes magic.

I was planning on running Necessary Evil when Zombie Run was over, but perhaps that plan has changed.


  1. I would love to play or run Deadlands reloaded.

  2. I'll play either Necessary Evil or Deadlands, they both sound fun!

  3. Ya know, I have been thinking about that fly. I think it died there among the zombies. The zombies killed it and converted to undeath. Now you have a ZOMBIE FLY.