Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Show Reel

This is some of the work I have done in animation. I decided to try uploading to YouTube for the first time since it launched in 2005.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Low Key—Instead of High Adventure

Episodes like our Session of Deadlands: Reloaded last night, remind me that I am not terribly great at improvisation. I don't look forward to the sessions that rely a little too much on what the party might decide to do with information that you (as game master) have given them in a previous session.

Every time I tried to prepare myself for this session, I didn't know what to prepare. Once the session started, I realized that it should have been a pretty easy choice. For some reason though, some of the obvious things just weren't standing out in my mind's eye. I think because, I was mentally staring at the Big Picture, instead of the most immediately available information. I was using my mental telescope, instead of my mental microscope.

This led to a session that was very unfocused—because I was lacking mental clarity. The posse used information that they had at hand to make a decision on where to go next. I rolled for an encounter and sent a Giant Salt Water Crocodile after them, which they defeated handily. (The previous session's monster—a giant squid—took an very appropriate number of combat rounds to dispatch; I thought the Crocodile, being so much tougher would be very difficult for them to resolve. . . it sadly was not)

I realized, after they got headed in this direction that there were two things I should have done for the session prep.. Two things that I can do for every session of this game and be successful. One: Look at the direction they most likely will travel, and taking into account method of travel, devise a number of encounters (and check if there are any Plot Point related Adventures geographically on the way). Two: figure out what their contacts will want them to do. (i.e. Mr. White or the Explorer's Society, etc.)

I felt I was really off my game—I even forgot about shaken status, momentarily, when calculating damage from a monster. Next session should be better. I always worry that people aren't having fun, and try to keep the game the focus of the evening, but I was having focus problems myself, so I didn't succeed in keeping the game the focus of the evening. I don't think I've had a game with that much Out of Character Chatter, since the time I had Nine people show up for a session.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Three Posts in One

I've had three sessions of Deadlands since I posted last, so I'll be writing about all of them.

The posse had a severed finger that had given them directions that pointed them in a south easterly direction. I had no plans for what would occur between their current location and the location the finger was leading them toward. I decided to try out the tables in the book designed for creating adventures on the fly.

I have to admit that it was very fun rolling that big, over-sized, D20 over and over again—while my players watched on in horror. I didn't tell them what I was up to and they seemed to grow more nervous each time the die rolled.

What's fun about tables, is that they give you very basic and specific information, but really it's not enough to go on. I ended up having them rowing their canoes, running into a Tugboat (that may or may not be haunted—which was fun to run). They then spent some time lost in the maze, following a mystical compass and then had to travel across land to get to their location.

The next session was a fairly straight forward following of the information in the book. By straightforward, I mean that they solve all the problems in completely different ways than what the writers of the book seem to intend. They broke into the facility in a round about way, they took out a number of guards in an unintentional way, using something that was intended to be an obstacle to the players, but ended up not being an obstacle to them. (Thank You Bad GM Die Roll—I chose to roll the dice to determine that outcome, so I had to go with it.)

Then the next gaming session was the reverse trip through the maze, to complete the mission that they were running. This time, I did all the dice rolling ahead of time. (During a break at a 4E Dungeons and Dragons game earlier that day) They were to encounter a Mexican Ship that was sinking, being fought over by two other Mexican Ships (the reason this was happening was there for back-story but it never came up in game)—there was to be a Giant Octopus, and a Whirlpool.

P's character ended up jumping in the water to take on the cephalopod (No Swimming skill, but he aced the roll) and ended up taking it out almost singlehandedly. I'm sure there were some rules about running that particular encounter, that I missed, but it sure made for an exciting time had by all so it doesn't matter—I'm the sheriff and that's how I run my game.

There was a lot of box text that I just read straight out of the book at the end of the session, it made for a rather dramatic end to the evening, and I think a good time was had by all.