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.


  1. I had a lot of fun on Saturday! We had a fun group that was on the bigger side, but manageable.
    I always feel bad if someone isn't having fun and wish he would just help you instead of getting upset. Hopefully he'll come again and be able to enjoy it.
    The reason I play is to have a good time. I don't care so much about the #'s and really have no clue what goes on behind the GM screen, but you're doing a great job!

  2. He should have said something. Because if I know anything... you're are not a cheater. Hope he comes back another time too. Oh-well. I'm glad everyone had fun with the game.

  3. Making the monsters harder if the players are blowing thought them is cheating? If that's the case I've been cheating for years. ;-)

    From the description of the chaos, it sounds like it was a good that Tiffany and I didn't come. We didn't have a baby sitter for Trajen.