Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Better Place For A Better Future

As I said in my previous post, we gamed this past weekend. I use that phrase pretty regularly, I guess I like the sound of it. Overall, I really enjoyed the way things turned out. The players were tasked with taking control of a district in the hopes that they would spend the money they stole from their boss' organization on things to improve the city. They went kind of out of bounds with their method of control, I had thought it a possibility when creating the scenario, and there were some bits of info I had peppered the scenario with to prepare for the possibility, but I never thought they would end up doing it.

They basically financed a political campaign to put a government official that had a relationship with them into power. They then proceeded to make the district valuable to the rebellion by recommending a herd (or pod, or gaggle) of accountants to the official that was peppered with rebellion sympathizers so they could cook the books of the district and funnel money back to the rebellion. On paper, that is my favorite scenario ever. I have long pined in the night to do a political based campaign where it is all wheeling and dealing and secret meetings and shady dealings, but I've never remotely had the group for it, and I don't think that type of campaign is something this group would be into. Fred is playing his characters too homicidal for that, and John favors fighting far more than he favors talking.

The talking with Nakmander didn't go as well as I had planned. I wanted to make Nakmander "real" to them and also get some characters talking about their backgrounds via some role-playing. Jeremy and Eric told me bits and pieces of the backgrounds they'd already come up with, but no one else really jumped in with their histories, and they didn't seem to find Nakmander's history terribly interesting. Oh well, the conversation was beneficial to Nakmander at least. Heh.

The Spineplate reveal was kind of botched, and again, I was hoping the players would interact with him and ask him what's up with the digits, but they didn't. Oh well.

Overall, I consider the scenario a success. I tried quite a few different things and I did some struggling, and the players did their share as well. We got through it though and I think I learned a bit about how to make scenarios. This wide open do whatever you want stuff doesn't seem to work with them. The lay low scenario was cited as something they liked, but it was even more open ended and had less direction than this scenario. It was a true sandbox. This one was more: go get this done, but you can get it done however you want. I don't think I need to railroad them, but I do need to provide them with clearer options if I am going to do a scenario with a mission that can be completed multiple ways.

I had all the information they needed to do the multiple routes of completion in the scenario, I just don't think they know how to get the information. There was some confusion about skill use and I'll probably post something about skills and their proper application here in the near future.

I did have to repeat myself about information a few times, and there were points where people were utterly confused about what was going on and why things were a certain way. Listening to the audio files I find myself saying things and being ignored and people later on having questions that would have been answered by paying attention in the first place.

I have this to say: shut up. Seriously. I love the guys and really enjoy goofing around with everyone and trading amusing snarkiness and chit chat, but come on. Lost? Seriously? I cut most of it out of the audio files today, but come on. I put a lot of work into the scenarios and the background material. I understand that it is all fake and no one really cares or thinks it is important. But I do. I'm the one that puts this all together, I don't get to play a character and collect XP at the end of the scenario and level up. My parties usually die by the end of the scenario and I have to come up with another way to entertain everyone and hold their interest between Lost commentary. That goes with the territory of being a GM, but come on, just pay attention to me when I'm talking. Make your jokes about Lost after I'm done telling you pertinent information that will prevent you from looking like an idiot later in the scenario.

All that said, all the distractions and over talk, I still had fun with the scenario and fun with the group. Good game.

Edit After The Fact: Believe me, I am quite aware that I am just as responsible for off topic distractions as everyone else. I was in fact playing Facebook games at one point during the session.

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