Tell Me About Your Awesome Gaming!

edited May 2007 in Story Games
I've had some super-awesome games in the last two weeks. I played a PTA game with a bunch of people who had never played an RPG before, and followed it up the next week with some TSOY. These are people from my improv troupe, and it's really fun watching them rock out, and struggle with stakes setting, and all that other good stuff.

Best Moment: We're coming out of the dungeon (having just rescued Robin Hood) and Jason says, "The Sheriff of Nottingham recognizes you and is coming towards you with his men!" and M., one of the new players, says, as if shocked, "He can't do that! We're dancing!" Total goat-throw.

Then there was all of Camp Nerdly, which was a cornucopeia of great games.

And last night Jason, Clinton, and I finished up our Twilight 2000 game, and it was totally rad! I'm talking a low-speed chase through the slums of Krakow, a shoot-out in an abandoned factory, and a tank vs. 10 goons in a discotheque. I'm talking a jammed shell in the cannon, with a roll to see if it explodes every time we run into something. Multiple headshot deaths. Gun porn. We don't go to the Gonzo Action Place very often, but it's totally satisfying when we do. I really enjoy the gaming I do now, but last night was like a primal reconnection with the first good RPGs I ever played, and it was completely awesome.

Have you had moments like this recently that make you glad to be a gamer? Tell me about it!
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Comments

  • edited May 2007
    All of what Remi said, plus:

    Right before Nerdly, in my Civil War Supers TSOY game, my character (The Great Atalanta, a stage magician who can make illusions) gets in a conflict against John Brown, in his jail cell in Harper's Ferry, on the eve of his execution (some guy named John W. Booth snuck him in). The Great Atalanta is pretending to be an archangel to persuade John Brown to give up the goods on some crazy secret he knows. The Great Atalanta is a charlatan and barely Christian, and Brown sees through his lies. And our intentions change half-way through - Atalanta doesn't like Brown or his tactics, and he wants him to feel shame and regret, and John Brown, well - he wants Atalanta to become an abolitionist. And Pain is Brought Down. And it's a blow-out battle, and in the end I lose, and give, and The Great Atalanta throws away his promising career to fight against slavery. And because I lose, we end up getting the insano secret anyway, and John Brown dies a happy martyr.
  • Hey Jason (and anyone else who cares to respond), could you go into a little detail about what made these moments awesome, as well?

    Example: One of the thing that made T:2k really sing was the constant rolling of handfuls of dice, and letting them fall where they may! We went to the system ALL THE TIME, and it ended up being richly rewarding, seat-of-the-pants play. It was like relearning an old skill, how to make one-sided conflicts fun, and it resulted in much different play from our usual stakes-setting mode. The contrast was really interesting and fun.
  • Posted By: Remia tank vs. 10 goons in a discotheque
    Remi's guy is this grizzled, 57-year-old Special Forces death machine, and I'm his clueless son, a tanker who stole an impounded German Leopard I. And I'm using it to demolish the headquarters/nightclub (!!!!?!) of the evil crime lord of Krakow, load-bearing column by load-bearing column. And Dad's sticking out of the cupola as we crash through the disco, firing full auto, the sexy barkeep in the loader's station handing him AK after AK.

    Remi was rolling 25 dice at a go, looking for sixes. I felt like we were all 13 again.
  • edited May 2007
    Re: The John Brown thing, it was a perfect storm scene for me, because it combined everything I love:

    1. Riveting conflict with nary a glaive-guisarme in sight, that was going to be monumentally cool regardless of outcome
    2. Real people and awesome history!
    3. A system that supported what we were after
    4. Friends around the table who were cheering me on and supporting me as much as TSOY was

    It made me so fucking happy.
  • There was one game where I just had a super-cool, if somewhat weird moment that had my whole table rolling.

    It was several years ago in a Star Wars d6 campaign. I was playing your usual scoundrel, with good skills at bluffing and dealing with NPCs. We were tasked with getting a package from Point A to Point B, and at one point we were up against a very intimidating gentleman who wanted to stop us.

    My character looked him in the eye and said, "If you continue, I will be forced to use the contents of this package on you. I really, really don't want to do that to you."

    The guy looked at me for several seconds, and backed down. He couldn't face whatever was in that package.

    The punchline? We were delivering a sweater. I knew it, the party knew it, but Mr. Intimidating NPC DIDN'T know it. :) And I was utterly sincere in my statment, because if we gave him the sweater, we'd fail in our mission.
  • Posted By: RemiTotal goat-throw.
    Total what?

    I don't know what a goat-throw is.
  • edited May 2007
    Let me think: In my two regular groups we're between games currently, so we've been playing board games and the like (next game starts up in two weeks in both groups: Tenra (again) in one, Savage Worlds in another.

    The Tenra game at Nerdly rocked. It was Kit and Anna (Kreider), Andrew Morris and... Damn, I forgot the other gentleman's name (Dan?). Kit did something in the game which I had heard about in actual play reports in Japanese, but have never had a chance to see with my own eyes (but really wanted to):

    ---quick rules summary---
    In that game you basically get Fanmail when you do "cool things", say cool lines, etc. Kit was going so gonzo with narration, such cool in-character lines, that he ended up getting this huge PILE of fanmail.

    in the game, you can basically convert this fanmail to "Focus" ("Kiai"). Focus lets you do things, like spend one point to roll another die. Spend 3 points to temporarily increase your skill level. Spend one point to make another attack. Spend 3 points to gain a last-minute success, etc.

    Focus is great. You can amass as much as you want. However, when you spend it, it becomes Karma. Gain too much karma, and don't burn it off, and you basically go al Dark Jedi: Become an NPC evil character, go insane, etc.
    ---summary over---

    Kit's Kugutsu sword-geisha is going head-to-head with Anna's Armour-rider Princess's samurai brother. The big boss. Meanwhile Andrew M's wormy, nasty (and awesome) peasant annelid user is facing off with the other player's samurai.

    Kit had been saving up a wicked-sick pile of Focus. He starts to make his attack roll.

    "I'm spending 50 Focus to roll 50 extra dice". With the character's innate skill, that was something like 57 dice total (rolled in a series, and resolved way faster than I thought it would). Normally you're rolling 4-9. IIRC, the baddie was boosted to 17.

    Evil samurai explodes into chunks.

    What normally happens next is that the player has to change the character's personality, relationships and goals in an effort to mechanically lower that Karma rating, otherwise you go all Dark Jedi. It produces really cool story effects, like how a character can complete an adventure with totally different goals, relationships, or motives than at the beginning (like "giving up the sword", "suddenly joining a monastery", " 'like' becoming 'love' ", etc). But instead, the Kugutsu, knowing what was coming next, sacrificed herself on her own sword rather than give up or change her love for the Armour-rider princess.

    It was like an explosive rock-opera kabuki play. I only wish there were more time to ease into the story, because I really loved each player's take on their own character, and their relationships to each other.

    -Andy
  • Jeff,
    That's a great moment! At the table, at that moment, was the fun in the GM playing the "I know the secret, but my character doesn't" game? Was this all role-played, or did you go to the dice? Was it a really ugly sweater?
  • Posted By: Kynn
    I don't know what a goat-throw is.
    Kynn, I'm going to ask you to whisper to folks about vocabulary confusion from here on out. This thread is for awesome play examples, please share!

    Throwing a goat is what Jesus is doing in the second panel of this comic.
  • Posted By: RemiJeff,
    That's a great moment! At the table, at that moment, was the fun in the GM playing the "I know the secret, but my character doesn't" game? Was this all role-played, or did you go to the dice? Was it a really ugly sweater?
    Now that I think of it, I believe it was a really ugly sweater. Totally would have clashed on Mr. Intimidating NPC. :)

    It was mostly role-played, though I think the GM did make one roll fo the dice for the NPC, with a hefty penalty. It was really one of those moments that was just too good to NOT let happen.

    I can't take total credit for the scenario, as I adapted it from Terry Pratchett's Men at Arms. In that, Cpt. Carrot asks some questions of the Assassins' Guild. When they balk, Carrot said something to the effect that if they continued to not answer his questions, he and his heavily armed men would be forced to follow the orders he had been given before he entered the Guild. Of course, the order was to leave the Assassins alone if they wouldn't answer the questions, but Carrot was awfully sincere in his phrasing. :)
  • edited May 2007
    So, we're playing the Infected, right? It's the first time I'm playing the thing since doing a crapload of re-writes to try to correct some of the problems with the game. It's me, Steve and Chiv, and the game's clicking along alright. Steve's playing a midwesterner come to California to find his long lost sister. Chiv's playing a down and out two-bit hood who'd trying to get away from oranized crime.

    It's early sometime in the second reel, and the PCs are both aware that there are werewolves on the police force and something wacky is going down in LA. But Chiv's character's boss pulls him aside for an assanation job. It was a little ham-fisted of me, but I was going for a conflict that was totally about keeping the hood in the orginization. Chiv's character (the Hood from now on) is trying to convince the driver who's taking him to the job to, you know, just not take him there. Steve's character (Hayseed from now on) is 'helping' by trying to drive fast enough to intercept the driver and collide with him a few blocks before they get to the job.

    They fail the first roll. The Hayseed is distracted by Crazy Homeless Vet Guy (a recurring character) and doesn't make it to the right intersection in time. Chiv decides that the Hood is desperate to get a reroll. So, the Hood convinces the driver to take a shortcut down 39th street, knowing that the entire street is owned by a pretty violent gang. He's hoping that the gang will jack the car, or maybe at least fuck with the timing of the job. The Hayseed gathers up Crazy Homeless Vet Guy, getting the dude to give him his knowlege of the layout of the city so he can still try to catch up.

    They fail the second roll. Now, Chiv had declared the 39th street gang to be a central character. So, when he failed, they got marked as "infected". No big deal yet. I could have just taken their dice for my side of the conflict because of it, but decided that I didn't want to.

    So, Chiv goes for the third roll. Now the Hood is crazed, and he's yelling at the gang members, trying to get them to come fuck with him and the driver. Success! But wait! That means that the 39th Street Gang are now monsters. We're all like "Oh shit! The entire gang are werewolves!"

    So, the driver gets violently pulled out the driver's side window, screaming and being torn apart for daring invade their territory, while the Hood goes sprinting for cover in a nearby crackhouse. Eventually the Hayseed shows up with Crazy Homeless Vet Dude in the muscle car they stole from the high priced hooker in the first reel, and they speed away from the lupine gangmembers in a short, but oh-so action movie "jump from the window of the house into the waiting car before the monsters can get me"-scene.

    Awesome.

    The cherry on top was later on that reel. Chiv calls on the 39th Street Gang to show up at the pier where they are trying to rescue Hayseed's sister. Chiv turns to me and says something about how he really digs that he, as a player, can call on these gone-monster NPCs to help out in the conflict. And, quietly, inside my brain, I'm pumping my fist and screaming "Yes!", because I had only just changed that rule in the most recent incarnation.

    Later on that evening I played a second game of the Infected with five other folks at Nerdly. And that time it was awesome because it totally fell flat. And even broke down at one point. Awesome because the contrast between the success of the first game and the failure of the second showed me exactly where the weak points were at. Which totally makes it easier to write fixes for.

    Super big thanks to everyone who played with me.
  • edited May 2007
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarPosted By: Remia tank vs. 10 goons in a discotheque

    Remi was rolling 25 dice at a go, looking for sixes. I felt like we were all 13 again.

    I'm playing in a D&D game DM'd by my brother Bill in which the other players includes a couple of father-son duos. The boys are probably right around 13 years old and it's really cool having them in the game. Great enthusiasm, creativity..it's a lot of fun, and I'm hoping that they're experiencing the same sense of 'wow' I did at that age. And I'm still playing! Anyway, one of the cool moments from the last session occured after a fight aboard ship with us and our crew against sahaugin raiders. Many of the crew were knocked out in the fight, and it took the efforts of the PCs--spearheaded by the boys' (Cory and Lucas) characters--to save the day. After the fight, as we're contemplating our courses of action, one suggestion is to chase after the bad guys and rescue a kidnapped NPC. At that point Cory says, in pure deadpan innocence, 'then we're gonna need a better crew.' It was a great moment in an overall great game.
    Mel
  • Over the last couple of years, our group has been evolving this crazy pulp action vibe through TSOY and now into SotC. It's not that any particular scenes come to mind, rather it's more that we're riffing off each other like a jazz band that's been playing together for years. Some of the scenes we've seen recently:

    A scene where John's grizzled pilot simultaneously tries to propose to his long time adventuring partner while the evil clone of his partner plays him for a romantic fool at a gala museum opening.

    When I beat the undying badass sorcerer in a social conflict to discover the aspect closest to his heart... and get "I was a shrunken head".

    Landing on an uncharted island and finding out it was a huge resort for super villains.
  • Andy, Jeff, Jason, and Eric:
    One common thread I'm noticing amongst all your stories is the strong level of buy-in about what is 'appropriate' for the game setting, and how that magnified the fun. Were all the players on the same page from the beginning, or did the game encourage them to learn this level of appropriateness through play? Were different players invested in the setting in different (but still appropriate) ways? Are there specific ways that you haven't mentioned that the system was focused and magnified by the setting expectations?
  • I love the suitcase + sweater thing. It reminds me of another great moment we had years ago playing Mage. But that would be a really long story for a really short joke.
  • Remi,

    Good question. I'm guessing that Steve, Chiv, and I were all on the same vibe about what we were expecting from each other in terms of fiction right from the get-go. Although it may have been facilitated by all three of us putting our cards on the table in the opening scene. That is, the Hayseed was showing around pictures of his sister, the Hood was trying to win a big round of craps to get himself the stake he needed to get out of crime, and two suspicious cops showed up chasing a guy with a briefcase.

    At the same time it's, you know, monster movies. Who hasn't watched a handful of monster movies? They all have some common elements that help them hang together, and I suspect that when all the players bring their collective memories of watching those movies together... Well, I imagine that the experience can't hurt the collective buy-in.

    But yeah, I think the buy-in was probably 80% pre-game and 20% while-playing. That may shift a little more towards balance once I tweak the rules a bit more.
  • Posted By: RemiAndy, Jeff, Jason, and Eric:
    One common thread I'm noticing amongst all your stories is the strong level of buy-in about what is 'appropriate' for the game setting, and how that magnified the fun. Were all the players on the same page from the beginning, or did the game encourage them to learn this level of appropriateness through play? Were different players invested in the setting in different (but still appropriate) ways? Are there specific ways that you haven't mentioned that the system was focused and magnified by the setting expectations?
    I'm not sure about the games encouraging a "level of appropriateness." Usually the really over-the-top stuff happens late in the gaming session, when everyone is a little punch-drunk (and caffeine-drunk :)

    However, I've been working on making my D&D game more collaborative, and I could tell the first time that the players "got it." I encouraged them to come up with some of their own answers about what things look like, or what treasure they find, or how a tribe of orc barbarians might set up their camp... and it was like the floodgates opened.

    It was like I had said, "Guys, this is your game, too... you don't have to just listen to me the whole time." By the end of the session, we were all tossing around ideas for where things could go next. So I think that it is a very important idea for the GM to tell his players, either directly or through example, how much they can interact with the game.
  • edited May 2007
    Jeff,
    In your case this is the sentence that set off my spider-sense:
    Posted By: jhosmer1It was really one of those moments that was just too good to NOT let happen.
    Where did that feeling of 'rightness' come from? My guess is that it came from your shared reading of Terry Pratchett, but I can't be sure.

    Also, I'm really excited to see how your experiment integrating new techniques into your D&D game goes. You are on exciting ground!

    Tony: My heart is full of jealousy! How often do these great turns happen? Is the anticipation of them one of the joys of the game?

    Mel: More awesome kid roleplayer stories, please. I have nothing to add.
  • edited May 2007
    Posted By: Remi
    One common thread I'm noticing amongst all your stories is the strong level of buy-in about what is 'appropriate' for the game setting, and how that magnified the fun. Were all the players on the same page from the beginning, or did the game encourage them to learn this level of appropriateness through play?
    Hmmm. In the above, it was a one-shot, and when I wrote the description I basically mentioned how it was a gonzo extreme high-action high-drama Feudal Japan Meets Rifts. And everyone was on, ON, from their first scenes. However, it makes me think about how to best summarize, explain and demonstrate the game to people who know nothing more than the title of the game.

    Oh, looks like we're including events from gaming past. Well, here's a cool one. I call it, "How I fell in love with The Shadow of Yesterday":

    Mind you, this was the first edition of the game, with 2d6, success levels, and that Soak skill.

    So Ben (who was living with me at the time) and I had been poking over the rules for TSOY. My friend Alan came over for an evening, and we decided to throw down some fat TSOY action, for the first time ever.

    We really did struggle at first: We took a minute to decide on the setting. I wanted to do Conan, but Alan had too much brain tied up in Conan (as in, it's very hard for him to play Conan as he loves it yet has a very specific mindset when it comes to Conan that it's distracting to him) that we had to choose something else, so we settled on a generic mayan-european hybrid world that we'd make up on the go.
    Then, we had a struggle during character generation, as frex it's not clear how something like Dueling is different than Spear Fighting, and both me and Alan are mixed on "open skills" (you write in your own skills).
    But within about 20-30 minutes I was ready as GM, Alan had a preacher of a Western God out to preach, convert, and possibly do political stuff. Ben was his travelling companion, a loafing freeloader artist. I forgot the character's names, so we'll call them ALAN and BEN. Neither ALAN nor BEN had any real combat skills of note.

    They rolled into town, a Mayan-analogue trading city in a basin, the center of trade in the area. The first bringing down the pain (BDTP) happened at a banquet. Alan had ALAN stand up and give a speech, which ended up being a conversion attempt to the duke of the town. After some bad bruises and the like, the ruler was finally moved by the words and vowed to "consider the matter fully" (but, in 'reality', converted right then and there). We had the dice rolling going on a bit, but every blow of BDTP was me (as GM, playing the Ruler) and Alan (as ALAN) basically speaking back and forth. When we had made a "point", we rolled the dice and determined the reaction based on the damage done.

    I was pretty much sold on the game there, as I always wanted a fantasy game where social, political stuff had die mechanics, could be as fun as a "combat" in a generic fantasy game, and also encouraged actual roleplaying.

    What sold me fullscore on the game was the eventual NEXT BDTP. Where Ben's freeloading artist (who wasn't all that great as an artist, but great with freeloading) got in an Art Duel... To The Death! Basically, he was vying for the attention of the beautiful ruler's daughter, whom was set to be engaged to another nobleman. The method was a set of three art trials (using die rolls for each in an extended BDTP) against the nobleman in a giant "art-off", where it was clear that the stakes were:
    1) The winner gets to do anything he wants to the loser.
    2) If the noble wins, as is custom in their culture, he will have BEN executed.

    BEN ended up winning. He ended up forking in his social and awareness skills to basically:
    1) Determine what the judges of the contest like art-wise, and appeal to them.
    2) Determine the cultural icons and symbols of the city, and make gratuitous use of those.
    3) Sneakingly find out what the nobleman was painting, and do something in his own art to counter the effect of the other's work.

    It was a fun time, everyone was on the ball, and the BDTP was exciting and really enhanced the role-play rather than get in the way of it.

    -Andy
  • In our Burning THAC0 game (a Burning Wheel game celebrating oD&D and AD&D 1st, set in the Grand Duchy of Karameikos), our characters are dirt fucking poor.

    A few weeks ago we had just gained a Reputation as Bandit Slayers after defeating a band of bandits that had been plaguing the trade of Threshold. We were living the high life as honored vassals of the Steward of Threshold (Lady Alderhart, niece of the Duke of Threshold) after killing the bandits. We accompanied her to a summit between the Duke of Threshold, the Althing of the elves of Alfheim and a prince of the dwarves. By the end of the evening, our cleric of St. Cuthbert (we know Mystara doesn't have St. Cuthbert, but we wanted Cuthbert and Vecna!) had announced to the Duke that his lands were infested with Vecna cultists before the entire delegation (we'd discovered the bandits were cultists), enraging the Duke because it caused a stir as he was negotiating his trade agreement. Pete's character, Merrick the Cleric, has the Provincial trait and failed his etiquette test to boot. The Duke refused to consider the possibility that Vecna's cults were returning to his lands, though the Althing seemed more concerned.

    Then the Althing's adjutant was murdered. The elves left the summit in disgust and horror.

    We caught the assassin (the last of the five bandit chiefs), but caused some serious problems when we refused to turn the assassin over to the Duke (our lord's lord). See, Luke's character Fletcher Flynn is an elven exile (Fletcher is an alias; he hasn't used his real name since he was exiled). He was exiled for his role in a misunderstanding that led to him killing several dwarves, who happened to be the last surviving clansmen of our companion (Rich's character, Dvalinn). Rich knows this, but Dvalinn does not.

    Fletcher has few social skills, but Luke fought a blistering Duel of Wits with the Duke over whether we were legally within our rights as vassals of Lady Alderhart (and by extension, the Duke) to defy the Duke and take the assassin to the elves. Luke ended the Duel victoriously with a Dismiss, throwing back the hood of his cloak, brow shining with light, and declaring: "It is true that Fletcher Flynn is your vassal, but I am Varda Lightborn, First Born Under the Stars and Ranger of Alfheim! And Varda has sworn no such oath!"

    It was an awesome moment. We'd been building toward it in play for months of real time. Luke's character has the Instinct, "Never speak about my past." He's been working on his Belief about atoning for his crimes by serving Rich's character, to the point of giving away just about everything he owned (including his sword) in order to help Dvalinn out. There'd been little hints about his past here and there, but we'd always contrive something to prevent us from following the thread to its conclusion. And here was the big reveal. And we all knew that just ahead was a confrontation with the elven Althing to ask for Varda's redemption. The Althing would be a monster in the Duel of Wits.

    So we refused to turn the assassin over to the Duke and with his men closing in on us took off in Lady Alderhart's carriage to catch up with the elves, knowing full well that we would probably be declared outlaws, and maybe Lady Alderhart would be hurt in the process.

    The Duel of Wits with the Duke was topped by the Duel of Wits with the Althing, as Varda sought redemption. This Duel was grand fun as the Althing made points like, "Does Prince Dvalinn know what you did? Perhaps you should tell him." To which Rich would have the unwitting Dvalinn give Varda helping dice with lines like, "Varda is my friend and I have sworn to stand beside him. He need tell me nothing!"

    It was a very powerful moment as the companions came together to support their own, and a really satisfying phase of the story arc. The Althing won, but Luke squeezed out a major compromise. He swore to help Dvalinn win back his kingdom under the mountain (lost to an ancient black dragon), and was kitted out with elven arms and armor and an elven cloak! When the deed is done, Varda's exile will be lifted. The rest of us immediately swore to help see it done. It was a poignant moment!

    We returned to Threshold clandestinely with Lady Alderhart's carriage, only to learn that Lady Alderhart had never returned from the Duke's palace. There was something we had to set right.

    But first, Merrick had to stop in the Temple of St. Cuthbert. See, he'd been having visions (sent by St. Cuthbert) that spoke of dogs and wolves, and St. Cuthbert's dissatisfaction with priests who spent their time spreading his word rather than devoting themselves to emulating his actions. In Merrick's visions, St. Cuthbert had ordered Merrick to smite the dogs so the wolves could thrive.

    This, too, has been months in coming. In a previous adventure, we had sneaked our way into the Hall of Chronicles in the ancient and lost Hall of the Allfathers (the first, lost dwarven kingdom, hidden in the Lost Valley of Hutaaka). We had been seeking important information. We found the Hall overrun with Great Spiders and had spent more than a month holed up in the Hall of Chronicles, living on tinned dwarven cram, while my wizard, Petronax, performed his research. On the way out, Dvalinn and Petronax thought to make their way to the Great Armory to equip themselves with dwarven gear and magic, but Merrick argued that it was too dangerous and it was too important that we escape with our hard-won information. Merrick prevailed in the Duel of Wits, but in his anger Dvalinn laid a curse on Merrick by reading his fortune with his dwarven Rune Casting magic.

    The way that works is that Rich had to offer up a destiny, which was something along the lines of: "You will betray your faith and your god!" Both Pete and Rich had to write a new Belief related to that fortune. If Pete had Merrick fulfill the curse, he would earn a Deeds point of Artha and Dvalinn would earn a Persona point. If either changed the Belief before it was fulfilled, the fortune would not come to pass. It seemed like fun, so I gave Petronax a Belief about saving Merrick from his dire fate. Rich and I would spend the next few months having our characters egg Merrick on to ever-greater feats of Faith in the hopes of getting Merrick to begin questioning his faith.

    So after we returned to Threshold, we followed Merrick to the temple, where Merrick smote down the acolyte who opened the door and strode in to confront the head priest. There was some tense role-play from all sides (our characters were horrified by Merrick's actions), and Pete went to have Merrick strike the priest down. Anthony (the GM) had the priest call upon his Faith to stop the blow and succeeded! The moment of truth was here at last!

    In the moment that Merrick hesitated, I had my character, Petronax the wizard, cover the priest with his body. Petronax has the Instinct, "Leap to the defense of the innocent" in addition to his "I will save Merrick from his dire fate" Belief. I was half convinced that Pete would have Merrick brain Petronax with his mace. Instead, after some agonized role-play, "St. Cuthbert, why have you forsaken me?!" Pete had Merrick throw down his mace and stalk out.

    Rich and I each earned Persona points for our Beliefs and Merrick's Faith, and Pete earned a Deeds point!

    That's where the session ended. At the beginning of the next session, we held a Trait vote in which we awarded Merrick the Lost Faith trait. That makes Merrick's Faith inaccessible until he redeems his Faith Belief, at which point he gets his Faith back and earns another Deeds point.
  • In the next session, Merrick would fight a Trial by Combat with the Duke of Threshold as champion of Lady Alderhart (who had been imprisoned for treason)! After beating the Duke nearly to death, Lady Alderhart was freed and we decided it was time to leave Threshold while things cooled down. We would subsequently fail our Lifestyle Maintenance Resources tests for the season (Petronax is still hobbled by debt from the loan he took from a loan shark in order to finance an expedition to the Isle of Dread to retrieve an artifact). Our true poverty was about to begin. A week after being feted by the Duke, Merrick and Dvalinn would be digging ditches to clear an open sewer in order to pay for repairs to some straps on their armor, and Petronax would have a violent case of food poisoning after downing some poisonous berries he found while foraging in the woods.

    I'll stop there because I've gone on way too long already.
  • I'm jealous of you Thor. I want to play in that game so much it hurts. But since I can't I will just gnash my teeth at you.
  • I would just like to encourage everyone who has added a story to this thread to ask follow-up questions concerning other people's stories.

    Also, old stories are fair territory, but I would really like to hear about current games!
  • We're now halfway through the second season of our PTA game Conservancy of Gears: basically a Georgian-England Clockpunk thing. There is just as much family, politics, and religion as there ever is clockworks, and society and culture play strongly (it's AWESOME). I'm playing Nicholas Brinkirk-Camwright, the young scion of a family eyeball-deep in clockwork manufacture, who is himself a notorious rake.

    There's this cult that the main characters are dealing with, and we finally corner one cultist and get her to spill the goals and intents of the cult. Jesse, who is producing, goes on this long monologue about how the cult will take away guilt: that all the torrid affairs and opium dens and gambling and drinking and so on that everybody does but keeps secret and feels guilty about they will bring out into the open in some glorious expiation of hypocritical morals. Everyone will be able to do what they've always done but they won't have to keep it secret any more.

    To which Nicholas responds, and with one line destroys her build-to-climax with: "Yes, but where's the fun in that?"
  • edited May 2007

    My awesomest game — and, coincidentally, the most recent one — was the one Remi's talking about, above. Remi, I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on that game. I'd really love to hear from Tony, Nick, and Krista. If you guys are here, hit that thread!

    It was science fiction about sex and politics. It's like it was custom made for me.

  • My Unknown Armies games have giving me some of the most awesome gaming experiences, but one of my favorites was when these scene happened at the end of my UA/CoC mash-up where Azathoth was descending onto the world.

    I had set up a game where, as part of character creation, everyone defined what would happen if they turned on their boss (for those who know UA, this was a TNI group, so it was about what Axel Abel would do to them and/or their families if they betrayed them). I set that up not to prevent characters turning on one another, but to make it feel like there was a real consequence.

    Two of the characters did in the third session, when they took possession of the Necronomicon. The original one. One because, as a Bibliomancer, he got some seriously heavy (and seriously corrupt) mojo from possessing the book. Another because Abel let it slip that the book might possess secrets that could help restore his mother's sanity -- his mother, who was locked away in Arkham.

    They proceeded to steal the book out from everyone else's noses and provide them with ways to contact him, if they wanted to join his rogue op. When I realized that meant a very huge campaign derailment, as I was about to have two groups of PCs chasing one another, I took the two rogues out of the room. They started apologizing, albeit with grinning faces, about derailing my campaign. I brush it aside and asked, "Would you like to play two characters?"

    And that's how one of my favorite campaigns started -- with the PCs playing the "good" and "bad" guys. The players of the bad guys took on new good guy characters, replacements brought in specifically to target mages with major power. The bad guy PCs had occasional cameos where they were completely insane, as the Bibliomancer cast a spell to immediately understand everything the book had to say.

    That game had some brutal scenes in it, very rated R stuff for sex & extreme violence. The moment I mentioned at the beginning of this post happened in the last session of the campaign, when the players were trapped in an Otherspace as Azathoth was decending down upon them. When all hope was lost, one character took his gun, looked at another character he had been having meaningless sex with over the last few sessions, and saw in her eyes her pleading him to end her life. He decided to shoot her before turning the gun on himself, and the player later said that was his character finally expressing true love.

    Also, one of my corrupt PCs ended up spouting prophecy during one cameo, talking about a star in the east and an angel of the lord. I later double-checked every detail he said, because I was going to make his prophecy come true. Really, I could go on and on about this game, because it was just one of those totally amazing games that makes me glad I'm in this hobby.

    That's some of the Awesome Gaming I've had.
  • Posted By: RemiJeff,
    In your case this is the sentence that set off my spider-sense:

    Posted By: jhosmer1It was really one of those moments that was just too good to NOT let happen.
    Where did that feeling of 'rightness' come from? My guess is that it came from your shared reading of Terry Pratchett, but I can't be sure.
    Ah, well, I think it was just a "That's so cool, it's got to work!" moment for our group. :)
    Also, I'm really excited to see how your experiment integrating new techniques into your D&D game goes. You are on exciting ground!
    So far, so good.... people can look over at "Help me make my game more collaborative" thread for more info on that. I play my second campaign this weekend with new players, so we'll see how it goes with that group.
  • Posted By: Ryan MacklinAnd that's how one of my favorite campaigns started -- with the PCs playing the "good" and "bad" guys.
    Did they ever meet? How did you handle character ownership? Did the bad guys more or less go mad and become NPCs?
  • Posted By: Jason Morningstar

    Remi's guy is this grizzled, 57-year-old Special Forces death machine, and I'm his clueless son, a tanker who stole an impounded German Leopard I. And I'm using it to demolish the headquarters/nightclub (!!!!?!) of the evil crime lord of Krakow, load-bearing column by load-bearing column. And Dad's sticking out of the cupola as we crash through the disco, firing full auto, the sexy barkeep in the loader's station handing him AK after AK.

    Remi was rolling 25 dice at a go, looking for sixes. I felt like we were all 13 again.
    I have never wanted to play T2K...until now. Need to add this to my list of Go Play games for Seattle.

    My recent moment of gaming awesome was when we were playing Cat last weekend. I've been trying to get my friends interested in some of these hippie games, mostly to no avail. I'm not the greatest DM, so I took the shotgun approach and bought all my friends games from IPR for Christmas last year in the hopes that someone would see a game they'd like to run. The person I got Cat for decided to try running it.

    I think I was the first player in the session to call for some advantage dice, and before you knew it everyone was embellishing their roleplaying to get those extra dice. It helped that the DM was a good sport about it too. Style points started to flow shortly afterwards, with people using them for mechanical effect and to increase the impact of their successes.

    I know that it's a small thing, but after my frustrating attempts at running Burning Wheel and PTA, it was awesome for me to enjoy one of these games as a player together with my friends and have everyone excited about the next session.
  • edited May 2007
    Thor: Holy crap. That sounds completely out of this world. Like a KOTD strip come to life, but without the idiocy. I'm not even going to ask if y'alls shared background in old-school D&D helped bring this alive, because it's obvious. I find myself wanting an epic game.

    JACN: I will reply more on that thread!

    JBR: Could you talk a little more about the character interactions and the effect of Georgian social mores on your gameplay? I love that pithy one-liner, and it makes me want to know more about the game! Was that line the end of the session? Was what happened afterwards just as awesome?

    Ryan: That's fantastic, and my question is the same as Jason's. I want to know more about how the two sets of characters interacted! Did the other players get evil guys to play? What were all these characters like? Did you get some good/evil reflection going on?

    Colin: That is a wonderful story, man. Give us some specifics on how this went about! What was the best use of Style points? Was there an in-game occurence that really made everyone light up?

    More! More! This thread has been filling me with joy all day. Every time someone posts it's like a tiny lightning bolt in my brain, pushing me to desire more games, in more different ways, than ever before.
  • Tony speaks great truth.

    The scene with my PC, Nick, trying to propose to (real) Claire after (clone) Claire seduced him -- so good! I relished every second of that. What made it awesome? I threw out some flags -- in SotC, Aspects fit the bill -- and Brandon (the GM) nailed them. He compelled Nick's "Lovable Fool" and "Claire Needs Me!" to get the seduction going, and then I embraced it and ran with gusto. The improv mantra of "saying yes" to the moment was ringing in my ears.

    From the same SotC game last week:
    Everyone splits up to do their thang at the swanky supervillain resort. Nick ends up disguised as the bartender. I need to do some investigating, but I totally suck at that, so I spend a few scenes making drinks for minions and chatting them up. System-wise, this lets me do maneuvers to declare aspects that I can tag later to help my Investigation roll.

    Brandon took this opportunity to introduce two down-on-their luck minions, bending my ear about their woes while I poured shots.
    "These rubber 'snake man' suits are just hot and sticky. And do I look scary to you? I need a vacation."
    "Tell me about it. We have to actually live on Doctor Squid's Submarine of Terror. I'm just happy to be getting my sense of smell back."

    Brandon wants me to take "Friend to Minions" as one of my aspects from the maneuver, but I can't do it. "I'm going to be punching these guys in the face before the day is out. It wouldn't be right."

    Our little jazz band has really started to riff well. You're right, Remi: Anticipation of these fun moments (that we get so regularly now) is definitely a big motivator for play.
  • Posted By: RemiJBR: Could you talk a little more about the character interactions and the effect of Georgian social mores on your gameplay? I love that pithy one-liner, and it makes me want to know more about the game! Was that line the end of the session? Was what happened afterwards just as awesome?
    We have: Nicholas, the young scion and new patriarch of the Brinkirk-Camwrights a maybe-reforming rake, his sisters Violet, the genius inventor who isn't allowed recognition because she's a woman, and her twin Iris, the female priest who has only recently left the church, and their half-brother William Foster who was a foundling raised by the church, himself a priest, who has only recently discovered that his mother is the Brinkirk-Camwright dowager. So just in the character list, we have this awesome, inescapable mesh of family+clockworks+religion+mores that has proven totally inescapable.

    Our "Georgian social mores" are kind of slippery, I'll be the first to admit; we in fact started the game out in a "pseudo-London" parallel that has since just become London. The time period is sort of Georgian, but tends to bleed towards Victorian. It's sort of like Nero Wolfe: the time period is whatever is convenient for us this episode. In any case, social mores serve mostly as things for Nicholas to disregard (and have everyone be aghast and chiding but not actually stop him), for Violet to be constrained by (and ultimately find her own way to work through/past/around), and for both Iris and William to articulate, defend, and selectively denounce. So for instance, Violet is usually jealous of Nicholas' freedom to break out of his expected social role, something that he keeps prodding her to do, herself. At the same time, Iris and William try to explain to the both of them how some of the mores are actually useful, that Nicholas really should think about settling down and finding a good wife, and Violet could do with a good man who understands that she's not a doll.

    I believe the pithy one-liner was the end of a scene, but not a session. The rest of the session entailed filling our giant clockwork mansion with more antagonists and pseudo-antagonists than we could keep track of, all visiting or breaking in or being held captive... oh, and the addition of Nicholas' current potential love interest. It was like a Marlowe play; I was vastly entertained.
  • Posted By: RemiThor: Holy crap. That sounds completely out of this world. Like a KOTD strip come to life, but without the idiocy. I'm not even going to ask if y'alls shared background in old-school D&D helped bring this alive, because it's obvious. I find myself wanting an epic game.
    It's absolutely true. Part of the joy is using the system to bring in little bits that are pure celebratory goodness, like the Isle of Dread, or Petronax's archnemesis, Bargle (brought in with a failed Circles roll). Some of it is an attempt to push some of the stuff that you always wanted to work in D&D but never seemed to come out right, like a Paladin displeasing his god, losing his faith and then seeking redemption and finding it. Although in recent sessions, Pete has had Merrick seek out a priest of St. Cuthbert, invite him to dinner, and then murder him in cold blood by beating him to death with his fists. He's been keeping it secret from the other characters, of course. It's been extremely disturbing. It's possible he'll become an anti-paladin rather than rejoining St. Cuthbert's temple!

    One interesting bit that's kind of fun to share: Rich (Dvalinn's player) doesn't come from a D&D background at all. Most of his formative role-playing experience came from MERP. This leads to funny little hiccups sometimes. For instance, he introduced a black dragon that captured his clan's mountain. In MERP, a black dragon is just a descriptor. But in D&D it means a very specific type of dragon.

    Rich was imagining raiding the Armory of the Hall of the Allfathers for a dwarven Forge Mask and shield (together they make the wearer immune to fire -- even dragonfire!). But of course, now we've got to hunt for magics that can protect us against acid streams!

    So far, all the little hiccups have been fun and haven't hurt anyone's fun.
  • edited May 2007
    I'm GMing this game called Exodus-II.

    We built the premise with PTA-like pitching. Exodus-II is an interstellar generation ship built by the liberal Catholic church of the future. Five years precampaign, when Ex-II was about 75% complete, a brief and terrible war called the Big Screwup destroyed most of Earthly civilization. Currently, Ex-II dominates Earth's space diaspora, and its residents and command staff must decide whether they should remain in place and aid Earth's recovery, or whether they should finish construction and launch their mission to colonize a distant planet.

    The game uses the simple tests of HeroQuest with lots of player narration powers. Players get hero point rewards if they narrate stuff that complicate another character's life; the targeted player also gets a hero point for rolling with the complication. It's intended to make for edgy Lost-ish ensemble play. It isn't fully baked yet but it has made for some good times. We've had players pop each other into disaster scenes. We've had players inflict dangerous infections on each other. We've had one guy narrate a gun directly into his opponent's hand. We've had players narrate fugitives onto other player's ships, and deadman switches into their own heads. This is probably old hat to story gamers, but I'm really digging not having to be the Antagonizer-in-Chief. I can just sit back and let it ride and be virtuously lazy.

    My favorite part of the game, though, didn't come from the antagonization rules. There was a scene where our Best Courier Pilot In The System's runabout spaceship got dusted with a nasty-bad mycotoxin that would've spelled doom for Exodus-II. Another player had previously narrated into existence a huge solar smelter, a big mirror array that the belter miners use to process asteroids. So, the ship-sterilization fix was obvious; they fly through the solar smelter's focus enough to sterilize the ship but not enough to melt it. Unfortunately, someone who doesn't like them is in control of the smelter's focus -- and they turn it on the PCs ship while the PCs still have people out doing EVA for unrelated reasons.

    The action scene that resulted was pretty awesome; zero-gee rescues, heat shields burning off, the ship dodging into the shadows of asteroids tossed by belter ships (before the asteroids got boiled into vapor), desperate clinging to the hull of a spaceship under full burn... It wasn't heavy on drama, but I'd pay first-run prices to see Jerry Bruckheimer put it onscreen.

    This style of play is really floating my boat right now. Whatever we do, whatever crazy shit gets narrated, it never feels like we're stymied, or at a loss.
  • edited May 2007
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarDid they ever meet? How did you handle character ownership? Did the bad guys more or less go mad and become NPCs?
    Here's a rough sketch of the details:

    Six PCs formed a TNI team (think corporate-funded occult ops) that were sent down to "negotiate" the estate sale of an extremely powerful (until his recent demise) Bibliomancer (a book-mage). Let's give them names, to make this part clear. Also, I'll ditch the UA terminology to keep this more accessible.
    * Owen, a history mage & ex-marine -- his mother was locked up in Arkham Asylum
    * Scott, a book mage & total book nerd
    * Zach, a chaos mage & X-games junkie
    * Nobody, a theft mage & vagabond
    * Kojiro, a mystically-tattooed former Yakuza enforcer
    * Jessie, murderous sociopath & firearm master

    These six went to San Francisco and over the course of three sessions, worked together to take the estate (including the Necronomicon, which they were largely ignorant about), dealt with really horrible things happening to them, and found themselves in Hawaii when they were on a plane to Chicago. At that point, Owen and Scott went AWOL when Owen realized that (a) Scott wasn't going to give up the book while he's alive and (b) the book might hold secrets to regain his mother's sanity.

    Zach, Nobody, Kojiro & Jessie returned to Chicago empty handed. The players playing Zach & Jessie wanted to play different characters -- Zach's because he had this other burning idea for a UA character and didn't think Zach could turn on Owen (as Owen saved Zach's life and sanity in a previous session). Jessie's because he wasn't feeling playing a sociopath. (And you know what? I'm comfortable with that.) Zach stayed in lockdown, and Jessie was sent on a separate mission.

    So, the new additions to the team:
    * Spider (same player as Owen), a flesh mage & mage hunter (and secretly a double-agent for a group that works to keep magic hidden)
    * Will (same player as Scott), an anti-mage & mage hunter, partner with Spider
    * Dresden (same player as Zach), an anger mage
    * Billy (same player as Jessie), a chaos mage & person who is channeling the essential spirit of The Fool
    Plus Nobody & Kojiro, who have their own reasons for hunting down Owen & Scott, makes six. We'll call them The Team.

    There was one session where Owen/Spider & Scott/Will were played at the same time, but that made for some incoherent play. The scenes were necessary, as Owen was trying to rescue his mother while The Team had orders to "contain" her. Their boss was not specific as to what condition she needed to be in upon arriving in Chicago. In the end, Owen & Scott failed to save his mom but also eluded capture. But they didn't actually meet face to face that session.

    That being done, the two rogue PC-players & I also had a conversation about how to handle their involvement. We decided that I would handle the behind-the-scenes, but they would have regular cameos. So, they got a head start on their way to Iraq and the game turned into The Team chasing the Rogues. I think the next session, Zach decided to escape and join up with the Rogues. At that point, Jessie has his last scene of the game, being ordered to kill Zach's family.

    The next few sessions involved The Team hunting down the (now) three Rogues in the Middle East, but by the time they touched down, the Rogues were insane. I took them aside and talked to them about what had gone on, what plans they generally had, and how they were just completely batshit-bonkers. Owen had a cameo where he possessed their radios an taunted them when they were driving (where he spouted the prophecy I mentioned). Scott later actually appeared before them and embraced Kojiro with some unearthly energies. Another time, Zach appeared in a dream they all shared, warning them that Owen was completely mad and Scott was not at all himself, though he did it in a really creepy way. (Actually, now that I think about it, Zach's cameo was first, as at the end Zach was completely twisted.)

    At the end of the game, there was a lot of back-and-forth between both sides where the Rogues were trying to get one of the Team PCs to switch sides (and ultimately succeeded, because the rest of the Team was really mean to him). During that session, I handed the Rogue PCs a piece of paper telling them how to end the world, and that it would take more than the three of them to pull it off. Then I just sat back and narrated the unearthly things happening in this dream-like realm as they fought against one another.

    The Rogues succeeded in getting two Team PCs to do what they needed them to do. When the dream-realm started coming apart and the end of the world was nigh, that's where Spider shot Dresden before he turned the gun on himself. His suicide was, for reasons that would make this post way too long, the key to stopping this ritual from happening.

    The campaign ended with a naked Spider & naked Kojiro in the middle of the Iraqi desert. Spider swore to kill their boss, Axel Abel, for coveting such power. Kojiro refused, still utterly loyal to Axel Abel for giving him a new life. They parted ways, and that was that.

    Hopefully that answers you questions and isn't too long. That's my attempt at abbreviating eight or nine sessions of some really intense play.
  • edited May 2007
    Oh, a couple points.

    Iraq was planned from the beginning after reading Dubious Shards, but Owen's player worked in a back-story of trying to find the Garden of Eden while stationed in Iraq, which is how he got dishonorably discharged for deserting his post. So, instead of being completely out of left field for the group, it fit in with the characters.

    I also took Owen/Spider's player aside a session before we ended and asked him which character he wanted to play in the final showdown, since playing both at once wasn't something he enjoyed doing. I didn't give the same option to Scott/Will's player, as he was a core evil guy (after using magic to become one with the Necronomicon) and the Team's greatest hope for survival (as he could, if charged up, stop other people using magic). As it turned out, Scott/Will's player missed the last session anyway, so I killed off Scott with a stray bullet (which freaked out the characters & players, creeping them out that after facing off horrible entities that they could still be taken out by chance), NPCed Will as a mostly-silent force of evil, and later NPC's Scott's ghost when the barriers between worlds started breaking down.

    I handled character ownership of the Rogues primarily by having them off-camera during the Iraq segment of the adventure, and prepping them when what they had been doing in brief while also encouraging them to fill in as much detail as possible. Then at the end, I had them fully playing the characters, each side with completely different motivations, but never did two characters played by the same player ever meet face-to-face. Even when Will manifested, Scott mysteriously fell unconscious (later attributed to his anti-magic powers). That was the problem those players had when we tried it earlier, so I took steps to keep them from being face-to-face to help ease their play.

    Owen/Spider's player commented that it was one of the most fun he had in a game because he hadn't had that much power & flexibility in a game world before (at least as a player).
  • Ryan,

    All of your recounting of Unknown Armies reminds me of one of my own favorite moments: when my own band of TNI PCs scared the shit out of me.

    For more than a year we'd been playing this same group of characters, and they were pretty ill-suited to the job. They squeaked by on a lot of things, and I managed to keep them up to their armpits pretty much continually. Having a chaos mage who was more than willing to summon demons helped, as did the twisty consequences of some bonds. This is a gang of misfits on a long leash, jumping at shadows. They were like Guy Ritchie film, only with magic. This is a group that had to be disciplined by traumatic amputation. That's how I thought of them, and I congratulated myself on keeping them so jumpy for so long.

    And then they needed an artifact from the True Order of Saint Germaine. I was running that one scenario with the nightmare pillows, so they were trying to recover the pillow from a hole in the wall, hate-lit publishing house in an industrial park in Florida. And I was sort of expecting blood-spattered hijinks, just like usual.

    So, they case the joint. They build a cell-scrambler. They put the ex-Stasi on a telephone pole with the scrambler and a high powered rifle. They break in the night before and plant serin gas in the central air for the office. They make sure everyone shows up, they cut off the phones, and then they murdered the whole staff. Everyone had a role to play, and they carried it out with chilling efficiency. And as I poked at their well-constructed scheme, all I could think was "what have I done?"

    Because it was like this one instant where the whole gang went from being loveable, violent misfits to a ruthlessly efficient engine of death. When the pillow wasn't in the office, and they walked into a multiple goon ambush shortly thereafter, they tore through them like cord wood, with only a couple of scratches, and I started to feel like I wasn't going to be able to stop them.

    And it was sort of beautiful.
  • Posted By: Judson LesterBecause it was like this one instant where the whole gang went from being loveable, violent misfits to a ruthlessly efficient engine of death.
    Dude, that is very beautiful.
    Having a chaos mage who was more than willing to summon demons helped
    It's handy with the players provide stuff like that. In the game I mentioned, Billy decided at the last session that it would be a good idea to summon Owen's now-dead mother, since he guessed (correctly) that an insane cultist whose been locked away for years would probably end up a demon. Wacky hijinks ensued.

    Even with all the new story games I play and read now, Unknown Armies still remains my favorite RPG. I think it's also my group's favorite RPG for me to run.
  • It's late, so these might not be my most coherent comments. I'd still really like to hear some more stories from folks, and if you see something that's interesting or you'd like to hear more about, just jump in with a question!

    Judson: Awesome story! I want to hear more! Did they continue to be lovable after that, or was it ruthless killing for the duration of that game? Either way, what was the rest of the game like? How did the players manipulate the system to achieve this (I remember UA being brutally whiffy)?

    I'd really like to hear more about situations where the entire feel or conception of a character or characters changes. if you have one of those stories, please share!

    John: Oh man, that sounds like a really sweet SotC game. I know you just switched systems, how has that effected the tone of the game? I'm not necessarily asking for better/worse stuff, but I'd love to some compare/contrast between the systems you've played this game in.

    Joshua/Thor/Ryan: All of you have games where you're dealing with a ton of characters, all interacting, sometimes over many sessions. What techniques have you developed for keeping track of all this stuff? How do you deal with the inevitable perceptual miscues? How do you keep the bookkeeping from overwhelming the fun (or, conversely, how do you make the bookkeeping fun)?

    John: It sounds like you're developing a really interesting system. Could you give a solid scene that was improved because of the antagonization rules? I'd really like to be able to hear the happy groans of your players. How often were you going to the system when you went Bruckheimer? During our Twilight:2000 game we were rolling like mad, and I'm interested to hear how your experience stacks up.
  • LARP. My game.

    The Prizefighter and his wife set up an "at home scene". They visit with some friends there. It's calm, free of conflict, and basically dull. I'm trying to figure out if I should sent something at it, but these are really amazing players, so I wait.

    They walk out into the night air (that is, they walk fifteen feet from their prepared scene to the "main street" scene on the playing floor). They chat with others a litle more, and the Prizefighter gets into a conversation with the Tomboy about a car. His wife slips off into the Goodfella's bar scene (again, not twenty feet away). At the same time, the Prizefighter and the Tomboy set up a garage scene and look at a car for a while.

    I lose track of them in other scenes I'm checking up on, seeing where I can drop useful bits into the mix, if anyone has a question on rules.

    Twenty minutes later, the Prizefighter is back at home, reading the newspaper and looking generally grouchy. Half an hour later, the two have a screaming row over her drinking habits in their house. This isn't resolved; it's building for next session - and their opening bit was just "groundwork".

    I had sixteen players that night. Every last one of them had something this cool.
  • Did character creation for Wild Talents recently. The setting is basically Top Ten and Planetary run smack into Powers.

    So, my guy's cool and all -- Tom "Switchboard" Switch, machine-controlling boy wonder from a few decades back, now in his late 40's and getting headaches all the time because modern technology is too fast for him to interface with -- but the moment of awesome came when I looked across the table at one of the other players, who was creating a member of our unit that was a bound demon from back in the day, the product of a master villain or somesuch bringing him into our world, and heard him saying that he wanted to be able to supernaturally track a single target, given something to focus on.

    I blinked a couple times and said, "Dude. Do you need to be humanoid?"

    And thus our department's canine unit was born. Dude's a teleporting hellhound, a one-"man" canine unit that none of the other departments wanted, what with all of the brimstone and suspect-melting he's wont to do.

    Choice.
  • So a few weeks back we played 1001 nights with my Vinland/Buffy/Amber group, as an in-between one-shot as we're preparing to start a new campaign. We had five players: me, Bill, Cynthia, Lee, and Liz. (We were missing Bob, Madeline, and Heather.)

    I was playing Hadeel, the conniving mother of the prince Ahmed, who was played by Bill. Lee played Zuli, a woman who worked as an assassin for the sultan. Cynthia played the court perfumer Samira, and Liz played the painter of miniatures Suleiman.

    I can't at this point reproduce the stories we told. I was horrible as Hadeel -- my envy of Ahmed was that I envied him my aid, and my story ("Omar and the Magic Donkey") was full of parental lessons for Ahmed to be more ambitious. Lee's story was the bittersweet story of the baby stolen by an evil djinn who eventually found her parents again. (It figures that the assassin had the most romantic story.) Ahmed's story was about a simple merchant in the court of China where he got into trouble because of the magical nightengale. Samira's story was a twisted version of Cinderella, which the rest of us messed with in various ways.

    Great fun!
  • Caveat: This is a "let me tell you about my character" posting in part, so please skip or bear with me.

    Way back in my formative gaming years, playing an epic fantasy campaign, the most awesome gaming for me developed from needing a break. I talked over things with the GM, and he found a perfect way to get my character out of the loop for a time.

    Our problem: We had a demonic/undead crossover spawn the size of a tank platoon rolling directly onto a town we were determined to save. Only there was no humanly possible way to do so.

    See, in this world you can strike deals with demons, but it draws you deeper and deeper into the circles of damnation. This town had an academy of magics where my pc found a book of demonic knowledge (which I knew but my character didn't). Reading the book was a trap (you cut your fingers turning the pages, and the cuts are healed instantly by hidden magics, so you don't know you're sacrificing blood for a summoning ritual; after turning the 66th page, a demon appears to answer you six questions truthfully. Oh, and that also puts you into the first circle of damnation).

    The awesomest gaming came from my character turning himself in after that: Going to the head of the academy and talking to him about his lack of precaution against demonic influence; informing the church of the sun god of his involvement with the forces of evil, and being led away in shackles and an anti-magic cage by religious zealots without meeting his friends anymore.

    The important lesson for me from this was that player knowledge of game world secrets can indeed improve the gaming experience.

    This was amended beautifully by three solo sessions that prepared me for returning to the group. Getting back their trust wasn't too easy, as well, especially with the ex-soldier-ex-alcoholic-fighter, who had been best friend. They'd never be as close again as before.

    That same fighter character was crucial to the awesomeness of the end of the campaign where he had to kill another PC to stop him from destroying the world, but only after he got to the villain of the piece.
  • Posted By: RemiAll of you have games where you're dealing with a ton of characters, all interacting, sometimes over many sessions. What techniques have you developed for keeping track of all this stuff? How do you deal with the inevitable perceptual miscues? How do you keep the bookkeeping from overwhelming the fun (or, conversely, how do you make the bookkeeping fun)?
    The main trick I used, after the first session we tried it, was to keep each player to one character per scene. They players playing only one character has problems tracking who was playing who, and the players playing more than one character in a scene got a little confused with the way scenes were playing out, so after that we talked about it and decided that the Rogues would only have cameos. That wasn't a GM decision from on-high, but one from talking with the group.

    I didn't really do a lot of bookkeeping. I wrote up reports on my LiveJournal partly out of excitement, partly to document them. The way I pace games, I think, helped everyone stay aware of the interpersonal relationships. With eight or nine sessions in total happening roughly every two weeks, the first four sessions took place over roughly 36 hours of game time, and the rest took place over roughly 48 hours. So, there was always something that had just gone on, and there was a lot less of "what did we do last session?" in this game compared to others -- I kept the pressure up and the PCs spinning and hitting each other. They formed the interpersonal relationships on their own, I just created the pressure cooker. Owen saved Zach's life, Scott owed Nobody a major debt for the book, Dresden & Spider became lovers, Nobody and Kijiro tried to kill one another in a power struggle -- all this was what the players did. If there was any in-game bookkeeping, it was in the form of asking my players what happened recently at the beginning of every session, and pulling from what they said to find out what interpersonal connections were important in the last game.

    So, I guess my techniques were "push your players together until they collide, like atoms in a bomb" and "get the players to want to do the work for you."
  • Hi Remi:
    John: Could you give a solid scene that was improved because of the antagonization rules? I'd really like to be able to hear the happy groans of your players.
    I'll see if I can round up some players to come talk here about it, but here's my take.

    After two sessions, one player, a guy named Ed, was worrying about the group splintering a bit. Ed is a bit of a game shepherd, I think; he really seems to cares about other people's fun and safety and spotlight time. So Ed = awesome. Thing is, I was totally cool with people splintering into little factions and going all long knives on each other, but I didn't want to press that issue too hard. Telling people they're playing the game wrong is the mjolnir of funkillers. And I'm glad I didn't, because it all went great.

    Ed is running the Inquisitor who has overall command of Ex-II after the Pope is knocked into a coma by a terrorist bomb. His character is naturally a bit isolated from the others. He decides, between sessions, that he wants everyone to become closer together. In our game forum, he narrates that the courier pilot (who was on a secret mission to Earth with his belter girlfriend) have been dosed with a hideous mycotoxin that will kill the belter but leave the pilot intact, as he has an alien biology that'll see him through. Only Exodus-II's medical facilities will be able to deal with the situation, so the pilot and his girlfriend will be forced to deal with Ed's guy.

    I think this was a flawless victory. Ed drove play towards the way he wants to play. Ed's targets, the courier pilot and his girlfriend, get hero points so they can drive the play later. And we got a bouquet of complications that led to last session's cliffhanger, where Ed stared down a hardline Cardinal by threatening to open the seals on his (presumably contaminated) vaccsuit.
    How often were you going to the system when you went Bruckheimer? During our Twilight:2000 game we were rolling like mad, and I'm interested to hear how your experience stacks up.
    The Bruckheimer bits were set up as Chained Conflicts from Mythic Russia, between the smelter's monstrous Fry Stuff ability and whatever abilities the players could cobble together to oppose it, plus their accumulated hero points. The stakes were the survival of the spacecraft (but not the survival of its passengers) as I explicitly told people that I didn't want anyone to die unless the player was wildly in favor of it. I don't think anyone was really into that. This conflict went okay for the PCs, with the ship being damaged but intact by the time it finally managed to escape the focus of the smelter.

    There was also a subordinate conflict in there, with the EVAing people being recovered. I searched for a feedback mechanism whereby botched attempts within the primary conflict could really complicate the secondary conflict, and finally settled on saying that the die roll in the primary conflict would serve as the difficulty in the secondary conflict, so a high roll there would represent a lack of finesse on the pilot's part.

    (I hope people won't mind a tiny bit of diagnostics in this Here's My Awesome thread)

    This subordinate conflict was kinda wobbly to me, though; with character death off the table, I had no idea what the stakes could be for it, and failed to solicit concrete ones from the players. And the game was moving smartly, and I was worried that an extended kibbutz about the little conflict would reveal that it wasn't going anywhere and distract from the primary conflict. There was some interesting stuff narrated into it but as a die-rolling session it was half-baked, more of a podrace than a really good Bruckheimer scene.

    So yeah, we were hitting the dice pretty hard there--but maybe not hard enough for my taste. I jacked the difficulties for this encounter way up to try to push the players to collaborate in interesting ways. But pushing the diffs up that high just meant that hero point spends were mandatory for each roll, and all the die rolls did was modify the mandatory hero point spend by +/- 2. (we can spend multi hero-points on a single roll in this game, which I don't think is the case in vanilla HQ)

    I think that hero points are much less interesting than dice, so I want to look at mechanics that award extra dice to roll rather than just boring success bumps. I also need to figure out how to set difficulties better (or come up with a difficulty budgeting rule or something like that. Geezus, I'm reinventing PTA.)
  • This thread makes me so happy. This is why I am here.
  • Last week my Githyanki investigator went on a disastrous date with a Drow from Xendrick but he was too much an Outsider from another dimension to even notice that it didn't go well.

    And I dragged a smarmy wizard into our interrogation room and smacked him in the face with my Magic Missle pistol, gained in an adventure in the Iron Liche's Steam Dungeon.

    Did he talk? Yeah, he sang like a Slaad.

    Rock.
  • Posted By: JuddLast week my Githyanki investigator went on a disastrous date with a Drow from Xendrick but he was too much an Outsider from another dimension to even notice that it didn't go well.

    And I dragged a smarmy wizard into our interrogation room and smacked him in the face with my Magic Missle pistol, gained in an adventure in the Iron Liche's Steam Dungeon.

    Did he talk? Yeah, he sang like a Slaad.
    *weeps he-tears of man-joy*
  • From a recently-wrapped Burning Empires game:

    I had this bad guy NPC who was in love with a PC. He proposed to her. She wanted to get out from under his thumb, so this pissed her off, but she doesn't say no; she asks for time to think it over. We play a few more sessions and she's betraying the bad guy in minor ways, but he doesn't realize it. He sticks up for her, helps her out when she needs it, etc.

    Then she has her PC sell her engagement ring. She takes the money to the NPC and he uses it to smuggle in a gun.

    There's a big battle on the streets and afterwards where they fight side-by-side. When it's over, the NPC takes her to his hideout where he reveals everything to her. He strips off his armour at her request and says something like, "This is who I am. I have no secrets from you."

    So then she shoots him with the gun she bought with the money from selling the engagement ring.

    The NPC survives, captures her, tortures her; but she gets away, and eventually she corners him in a spaceship dogfight and rams his ship. The NPC is barely clinging to life; she finds his broken body and the worm inside. She keeps the worm for later to put into a toy poodle or something similarly emasculating.

    *

    Last night I began a D&D campaign: The Red Hand of DOOM. The first encounter had us fighting hobgoblins. Our fighter kicked ass with his spiked chain + cleave + a haste spell from the wizard. He really rocked.

    Then he was eaten by a tenrdilicous.
  • Then he was eaten by a tenrdilicous.
    A noble and heroic death. Hu-ah!
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