Saturday, April 03, 2010

Blood Men and Demons and Fires—Oh My!

Have I used that meme in my title before? Yes, I believe I have, oh well.

So we played a rousing game of Deadlands: Reloaded. People will always surprise you, especially when they actually role play what they wrote into their character.

A friend of mine I have known since Jr. High was in town, so he came and brought his daughter, and another player was able to finally come. Adding those three to the regular players brought the posse to seven—a decent sized group.

The first matter of business (which could have been handled better by myself) was to shoehorn the new players into the posse. Which was easy when I thought that I only had one extra player coming. She's planning on being a regular now that certain events on her calendar have cleared, so I already had a story written up for her. I ended up tacking on the other two, but I didn't handle the "meetup" description as well as I thought. On top of that Josh played his character's distrust of new acquaintances and the game started with players shooting at each other—however, later in the game this also meant that he was prepared to defend himself in a situation that most other people would have not handled so irrationally albeit appropriately.

Personally, I'm still torn on how I feel about that (the players gunning for one another). On the one hand, I like that people were playing their characters the way they were written. On the other hand I see that as a violation of the unwritten social contract between players and GM that players will not deliberately try to break the game.

I find that I still don't know how to read the difficulty of Villains vs Players. I read the stat blocks and I think to myself that they're going to get killed; then they take out my monsters one by one. While my monsters barely get any hits in. I also feel like the combat isn't coming across as terribly exciting or tactical. I think I need to concentrate on being more descriptive and trying to make the locations a little more fleshed out, so as to force more tactical combat. (i.e. more stuff in combat areas, so people can duck behind things or use the environment more)

I was prepared for the game, but not the combat—I hadn't prepared a map. I was contemplating trying a map free combat—but I could tell my description of the room they were in was already getting lost in translation. Brandon had his battle mat, so we tossed that down on the table—I sketched what I had in mind for the room. I grabbed my Deadlands: The Battle for Slaughter Gulch board game and tried to give appropriate figures to everyone. Half of them worked really well, the other half just had to pretend, and my wife got a mini figurine we got at Disneyland of Cinderella, because she's playing a southern belle. . . we used Gummy Bears for the Monsters.

Coffin Rock Spoilers Ahead...

After that fight they entered a portal which scattered them all over town. I randomly distributed the figures on the map and then described where people had landed. Unintentionally, I dropped one of the more impulsive players near the location everyone else wanted to be, and he did something impulsive.

There was another fight, and this one actually went fairly well without the battle mat.

Things I feel I need to work on:

1) Keeping track of Details (More than once we had to backtrack a little because I forgot something).
2) Being more descriptive as far as action.
3) Fleshing out locations more fully to encourage creative tactics.
4) Remembering to Give out XP before people have left. (The Answer is 3—You accomplished a lot!)
5) The Fate Chips weren't going out as much this time, consequently they weren't being used as much.

Questions for my players.

1) Was this session fun? Why or why not?
2) What can I do as Game Master to improve the Game?
3) Any other Questions or Comments? . . . Ugly Rumors?


  1. Is it impulsive to burn down the church were an evil sorcerer and his whacked out cultists are lurking, preparing to dish out certain doom to the characters?

    I didn't thing so. You should see my characters do something really impulsive. I thought it was better to smoke them out of their prepared battlefield.

    Impulsive would have been to use TK to drop Josh's character into the blood rock during the fight with the "Mud men". Or down the elevator shaft, I wonder if that could have been why I kept asking about the size of the shaft. Mathias is a un-trusting vindictive soul.

    Besides, Tiffany's Character has been itching to burn the church down from the beginning and had she gotten there first she would have used her detonation wire. BOOM!

    On a much lighter note I had a lot of fun with the game. I just hope the other players don't thing I'm playing too overbearing. I hope the others had fun.

  2. I think "the group" could work a little more at being more "group minded." No one has really tried to get to know each other (except me) and we have some people that either don't think before acting or only think of themselves. ; )
    I know everyone has their own thing, but I like it when we work as a group too instead of complete individuals.
    I had a fun session though. Your GM'ing is getting better and will go smoother the more XP you have.

  3. We might be more inclined to work together as a group if we thought that this was going to be more that a one shot deal. As far as Mathias is concerned he was brought into this by Mr. Big and he doesn't expect to see any of your characters after we report back.

    I know better, Mathias doesn't.

    Besides he really doesn't trust Pat's Character. Pat's character is always lurking in the back of Mathias' mind with a noose just waiting for a chance to put it to use.

    Let's see Aida and GG have made it clear they have no use for and don't like Mathias. Pat's character, as far as Mathias is concerned, is a psychotic killer hiding behind a badge. Josh's character tried to kill him. Mathias doesn't have a read on Nicole's character but she seems to know to much and that makes him suspicious.

    On the whole, when looking at the situation from Mathias' point of view, there is not a lot of incentive to get to know people.

  4. Yes, I do think it's impulsive to burn down a church—regardless of who is inside. Had you taken a moment to asses the situation, you could have avoided releasing the Demon.

    Regarding the other acts you described involving someone else's character—See Will Wheaton's Law (Not Generally My Language When Stating Things, but the Idea fits).

    I don't know about the whole Tiffany itching to use detonation wire, I haven't heard her broach that subject—though you've mentioned it multiple times.

    I don't think Mathias, who claims he's innocent, would want to draw that kind of attention to himself. Also, considering the nature of the letter that blackmailed everyone into joining the group—they're all pretty much under the impression that he's in this for the long haul.

  5. Evidently I'm not vocal enough. I have mentioned at least 3 times each game that I would like to blow up the church with my detonation wire. The GM probably missed the obsession due to more vocal players. I had every intention of blowing up the church. I attempted to get to the church as fast as I could, but due to drawing a low initiative, I was shuffled into the crowd.

    I do have to say that I would have done the same thing as Mathias had the new character's shot been directed at me - including throwing him down a shaft if the situation warranted it. GG doesn't necessarily care for Mathias, otherwise she may have stepped in to assist.

    My character doesn't really trust anyone in the group, nor has she been given any reason to. We all have secrets that we are holding from each other. That puts an automatic wedge between the players. Playing as a "group" is a nice idea, but I don't see that the circumstances have necessarily allowed that thus far.

    It will be interesting to see how things turn out.

    --still itching to blow something up--

  6. I typed this up once at work and then the filter decided to block the page when I clicked submit—I'll type as much from memory as I can

    Good to know GiGi.

    You can't blame me for not knowing that though. Brandon thinks he needs to talk louder than the whole room, can you help me with that (wink)

    Frankly I'm a little worried about the contention/friction that seems to exist between all the characters. When I had everyone create a secret it was not meant as a way to create a rift—it was meant to help people get into character. Perhaps I need to rethink that.

    The whole loner character is a bit of a cliché that I think is overused in role playing games. What I wanted to do is bring a group together of people that excel in their respective field of expertise.

    Just because someone is the best at what they do, doesn't mean that they can't be sociable and likable—I was hoping that everyone's mistrust would be directed at Mr. White, not each other. I was hoping that everyone would be friendly toward their co-workers, and that by solving these supernatural happenings together, they would come to trust one another.

  7. My characters attempts at being chatty and getting to know the group better have all been spurned.
    "Can't we all just get along!"