Friday, July 02, 2010

I think I Handled the New Player a Little Better This Time. . . Maybe

It's been a month and I finally got to play Savage Worlds again.

We have a neighbor who expressed curiosity in playing with us some time ago, so I've been inviting him since then and Saturday he was able to come to the game. Brandon helped him to create a character (So I could read a One Sheet that he has written to give him some feedback), but I handle character creation differently—so I'm kind of regretting that (just a little bit).

It took longer than anticipated, but I finally got the game going. This was a high box-text part of the adventure, and rather than paraphrase like I normally do, I decided to just read the text, as is, from the book. We're still in the highly railroady part of The Flood. My wife constantly mocked me during the reading portions.

Then Finally, they got to the encounter. The whole thing felt forced and inorganic. When they started fighting the bad guys, I finally remembered something that I've been wanting to do for a long time. The technique is called: yes...but...

I think I heard about this Technique from Sean Patrick Fannon on one or more of the Gaming Podcasts to which I subscribe. I believe he stated that it is an old improvisation exercise. It works like this: If someone asks a question, the answer is yes...but there is some caveat .

I.e.—"Is there a Garbage Can I can Hide Behind?"

—Absolutely, but it's across the street, you could probably make it past the crossfire to take cover. . .

This, added to the fact that this game marked the first use of a Battle Mat owned by myself, made for an interesting encounter. My wife was holding the Wet Erase Marker, and was using the Yes...But... technique to her advantage, drawing in all the fiddly bits.

What I thought would turn into a shootout in the street, ended up with the Posse holing up inside: throwing tables in front of the windows, locking the proprietor of the establishment in a closet, Molotov cocktails. The most creative maneuver by a Player Character of the night, happened because of the Yes...But... technique. He asked if there was a Sign hanging from the Balcony above, that he could shoot the supporting ropes of, and have it fall on the guys below. The answer of course was yes...but it's going to be a difficult shot to do so. Essentially, he had to roll a six on a six sided die to be successful. He rolled, and because of the exploding dice mechanic he got a fifteen on his six sided die, that's a very solid hit, which means that he gets to roll an extra six sided dice for damage.

In this case that meant 3d6 for damage—He rolled a one a one and a two for a grand total of four. Which was the lowest number he could get and be successful in breaking the rope. Then the damage the sign caused didn't even phase one of the guys, but the other guy was out of the fight because of it.

At this point it was late and all they had to do was get out of Lost Angels. I threw one more group of bad guys on the table, just for some dramatic flair—make them feel like they were being chased and there was danger around every corner. They were on the opposite side of the Map, all they had to do was run around a corner and make a stealth check and they were safe—so of course they took cover and proceeded to take them all out.

My conclusions for the evening:
Players never do what you think or hope they will—luckily that's a big part of the fun. I'm starting to enjoy the Behind the Screen part of the game a little better. Molotov cocktails need to be less easy to create. I love it when players are more creative about the encounters, now if I could get them to be more creative with the use of the game mechanics (Taunts, and Ganging Up, and getting the Drop...that sort of thing). I need to use the awesome weapons that my wild cards have, instead of forgetting that they have them until after they are incapacitated—this game was not the first (and probably not the last) example of this happening.

As for the new player thing. I ruined someones enjoyment of RPGs during one of the first sessions I ran. I feel bad, because they still won't play with us and have no desire to do so at all. I completely recognize that I ruined their enjoyment of the game, and their view of role playing games in general. I also recognize that I was so new to the Game Mastering side of the hobby that I had no way of recognizing that I was creating a negative experience.

This time went much better, he had played D&D once before, but I think allowing him to come up with this plan concerning the hanging sign really added to his enjoyment of the game. (I overheard him telling his Dad about it in Church between meetings the following day) Yes...But... is a tool that every Game Master Should be using. It allows people to come up with crazy things, and go away with an amazing cinematic experience.

1 comment:

  1. It was really a lot of fun!
    Sorry I was teasing you so much when you were reading, I was just funning. You did a great job!