Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Was I Thinking?

I had a good time Saturday running the Deadlands game. Last session we were running an adventure that had nothing to do with The Flood, but right after I ended the game I figured out how to tie it in.

The Posse spent a lot of time trying to destroy a sort of MacGuffin (Not a true MacGuffin I guess, okay not really a MacGuffin, but I didn't really want to let them destroy it...yet) and I had a lot of fun creatively not allowing them to do so. Normally this is a type of behavior I frown upon, and in hindsight, I should have let them blow it up and then try to use it after the fact—that probably would have been more fun. Ah, Hindsight.

Then they got onto the next section of the plot. They had fun storming the most notorious prison in California. It was really fun for me to spend Bennies on a non-important extra that just happened to be a Wild Card. The only thing I regret is sticking to the map as far as what prisoner was in what cell. They found who they were looking for in the first cell they looked in. I fixed it though when I realized that the people in the cells would notice what was going on in the cell block and could in fact talk.

The mistake I made was having the Magic Dispelling Runes wear off while they were in the boat in the bay. The prisoner that was a Werewolf changed in the light of the Full moon and I didn't want to randomly attack certain extras quite yet (two of them were wounded pretty bad already) so I dealt cards. My wife needed to step away from the game (to feed the new baby), and since her character had been keeping an eye on the werewolf (not trusting him) I let her take her action, and she shook it.

I couldn't get unshaken and the rest of the players tossed him into the drink—and I still couldn't unshake.

I should have waited until they were on the shore.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Support Pakistan Flood Victims
Doctors Without Borders RPG Bundle (and Comic Bundle)

Back in January, Gamers Donated to Help Haiti. Now there is an opportunity to Donate via the same Organization, but this time in support of Pakistan Flood Victims. I must admit, I had not even heard of a Flood in Pakistan, I've really been out of the News Loop since I've been unemployed.

There are Two Bundles available via donation. An RPG bundle $25, and a Comic Bundle $10.

There were several things that Caught my Eye in the bundle, I'll Highlight them for the Curious.

4-Color: Super Teams Super Bases
Accent Your Character: Standard British English
Adventures in OZ: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
Alien Planets
American Artifacts
Age of Volondor: Midlands Map Set
Apocalypse Prevention Incorporated Worldwide: Europe
Avalon Design Elements: Asian Elements Set 5
Behind the Spells: Permanency
Blessed By Poison
Character, Infiltrator
Church & State
d66 Spaceport City Names
Dark Waters
Dhanurvidya & Varman: The Arms and Armor of India (4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons)
Disposable Heroes Cyberpunk Statix 1 (Anime 203X)
Divine Foes
Don't Rest Your Head
Dragon Warriors RPG
Exalted 2nd Edition
Fear Itself
Feudal Characters: Noble
Firepower Pass
Fort Triside
FSpaceRPG Air Grid 1 board maps basic
Gaslight Victorian Fantasy (OGL Version)
HarnMaster: Third Edition
Himmelveil Streets / WorldWorksGames / TerrainlinX
Hot War
House in the Hills
Hyperlite: The Sirius Treaty
Karmic Places: Revelation
Kingdom Builder Generator Pack
Kingdoms of Legend: World Guide
Legacy of Maela: Campaign Setting
Legendary Blades [PFRPG]
MADS: Quickstart Rules
Objective Interim Modern Combat System
Open Game Table: The Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs, Vol. 2
OWG: The Original Witch Girls
Phaethos RPG: Core Rulebook
Pnumadesi Player's Companion
Scaldcrow Generic: Goron'Talteth
Spycraft 2.0 Rulebook - Second Printing
Starblazer Adventures
Sufficiently Advanced
Supplement I: National
The Cursed Chateau
The Pine Ridge Horror (Savage Worlds)
The Sanctuary Ruin (Blackmarch: Module 1)
The Sensitive [PFRPG]
The Ultimate GM Screen 2
The War of the Goblin King
The WatchGuard Sourcebook (Preview Edition)
Time & Temp: Paperless Office Edition
Undiscovered: The Quest for Adventure (Core Rulebook)
Unnamed Heroes #2
Unsung: Deluxe
Wild Talents 2nd Edition
Wrack & Rune
Zombie Death Town
[PFRPG] PaperCraft Legions: Titanic Clash!
[PFRPG] Player's Aid II: Monster Summoning Cards

Total Value $724.46

Then there's the Comic Bundle, which I wouldn't normally be interested in—except for the fact that they included some RPG Goodies in it.

2000 AD: Prog 1610
Alpha Gods OGN
Art of Vampire: The Masquerade
Cadre #1
Cwen's Quest Vol. 1
Dark Champions (Hero System)
Deadlands: One Shot
Descended From Darkness: Apex Magazine Vol. I
Equinox #1
Exalted Comic #1
Fana The Jungle Girl
Grumlahk's Troll Tales
Hawaii Star Manga Project #4
Jon Pay P.I. vs. Machine Gun Kelly
Livin' La Vida Dorka
Memoranda #1
Mouse Guard #1
Mutants & Masterminds, Second Edition
Roll Them Bones Unabridged Audiobook
The Gunfighters of Korv Nikul : Sorcerers and Six-Shooters
The Uniques #2
Wombat Rue - Chapter 1: After Armageddon

Total Value $173.91

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Dungeon Crawl..............and Cheating!—Five Times!!

Saturday's game went very well, with only one casualty (it's not what you think).

When we last saw our intrepid Posse they had been sent by their mysterious benefactor (Mr. White) to a small, nameless, mining town north of Virginia city to investigate the reason there had been no contact with the Silver operation. This was also my way of using an adventure in the Supplement book, Saddle Sore.

What I liked about this particular adventure, was that it had a system in place for generating a "Dungeon." The mine that the Posse is investigating is not mapped out completely, but each section of the mine/cavern system is abstracted; what the Posse encounters is determined by a card drawn from the deck of cards used for initiative.

In essence they were doing a dungeon crawl. Unusual for the setting, which made it a fun and unique experience. When we entered a new section of the Mine\Caverns, I would draw out the section in which the encounter took place, but I tried to make sure that everyone understood that this was just the part of the mine that they actually encountered something, in a half hour to an hour of in-game-time. When we got to the room that became the final encounter of the evening I had one of the players draw the cavern; he drew a bat-o-lantern, which turned out to be a very fun environment to deal with.

I think I need to be a little more mindful of the descriptions. I feel like I need to paint better mental pictures, particularly when it comes to environments. There's a lot to keep track of when being a game master, so I find there's always something I wish I had done a little better.

We started late, about 7:45pm if I recall correctly, and we played until 10:45pm. A three hour session, in which we had a total of four encounters, and about thirty  monsters (Have I mentioned that I love this game?). Speaking of the monsters, I kept doing damage on the monsters incorrectly most of the evening, but when we got to the final cavern, I realized this and tried to rectify the situation—nothing wrong with the monsters in the final room of the night being stronger.

Truth be told, I think I get the math wrong a lot when playing this game. In my haste to keep things rolling, I might gloss over the arithmetic a little, I never really claimed to be strong in math. I think this caused some consternation with one of my players, who gets math the way I get art— instinctualy.

One of the things you do as GM, is try to make sure that there is a sense of danger; some actual challenge. If every encounter involved the posse just mowing over everything with no resistance, that wouldn't be very fun. So, if I feel the party is walking all over the monsters, I do things to ramp up the monsters. Flexibility like that, being able to adjust on the fly, is just one of many GM tools that every GM has to learn. Something that I might do, is roll one of the monsters as if it were a Wild card, instead of an extra. This gives them an extra d6 when rolling skill and attribute rolls (and you pick whichever die rolled highest).

I did that very thing last night, I had been doing the damage wrong all night, giving the Posse an incredible advantage, so it was getting near the end of the evening and I finally figured out I had been doing it wrong (it had been pointed out to me earlier, but it took me some time to put two and two together in my mind—yes sometimes I'm very slow), and started doing it right. I also rolled two of the extras as wild cards. On one of those two occasions, the dice exploded and I got a good damage hit on the character played by my friend that had drawn the environment.

He got up and left the room, mumbled something to my wife, and then left. My wife was playing also, but she is nine months pregnant and has trouble sitting on a kitchen chair with her feet not up for the duration of the game and thus was spending time between her turns on the couch; my wife was also playing Dr. Mario with the wife of the person that left, since she had just arrived, but felt the table was too crowded to join (also, she's not a huge fan of the game).
[Was that confusing enough?]

I overheard the word cheating, and I couldn't resist asking who had left and why. Apparently he had caught me cheating five times, and if I did it again he was going to murder everyone (his exact words) and he wasn't having fun anymore, so he was leaving.

Now, I may be bad at math, and I may forget or misinterpret rules from time to time (remember there are 157 pages of  rules), and I may adjust difficulty on the fly—but one thing I am not, is a cheater. The only thing that is important, is that people are having fun. If I have to sacrifice the fun of a single rules lawyer for the benefit of the crowd, Mr. Math Wizz\Expert at Everything will probably walk out of my game again in the future.

I'm glad he didn't make too much of a scene. My wife wishes he'd taken his stuff with him, so it was a good thing he and his wife arrived in separate vehicles. Yes....yes, we mocked him heartily after he left. Yes, I hope he can come next time and have fun.