[Danger Patrol]: Titanic Trouble!

edited July 2009 in Story Games
Introducing the New Dullness. The form of this AP is in part a response to some recent threads. If anyone other than the designer actually reads it they will in no way get the impression that I, the other players, or indeed the game itself are in any way awesome.

EPISODE 40: TITANIC TROUBLE!

Environment: noisy game shop with both Larpers and Magic tournament players nearby.

GM: Me, not the designer; played once before; first time running.

Player 1: David, S-G veteran; have played almost 20 games with him.

Player2: Alex, an experienced roleplayer; exposure to games like this prior mostly only Fudge.

Player 3: Ben; no rpgs for 25 years but did a couple years of improv theatre in the late 90s.

Rules explanation, character creation, set-up: 6:30-7:00. Play time: 7:00-10:00

Previously Ons: David opens with capture by Vampire Catwomen of Saturn. Ben and Alex use good improv instincts and mostly just add to this theme, though “The Sanguine Shadow” supervillain is also born. I have a little trouble creating new Threat ideas on the spot in part due to the overlap. Perhaps textual advice emphasizing “Yes, AND” or suggestions that the three scenes be different in tone and location?

Action Scene 1: Three Normal Threats (Red Cyclist Duo), One Major Threat with Countdown 3 and Resistance 2 (Princess Naalil’s Being Abducted!), One Major Threat with Countdown 2 (Mayor Woodhull’s Been Shot!).

Terrible rolling especially by one of the players sees the introduction of two new Major Threats due to Disaster mitigation and one new Minor Threat. I make the choice repeatedly to do Reduced Hits and Escalate Threats rather than introduce new Threats.

We use the “add a die which may or may not be more Danger” tweak rather than the RAW alpha for Theat 1,” and like this option, although there were a couple times where it was not clear whether the Danger dice just rolled were one of those that was on a card. Though if the “just add Danger” tweak was used, you might need a new “bit” which seems like it would be overly fiddly.

The terrible rolling meant all the players had every one of their Bashed boxes filled and characters got Stunned a couple times. The scene also seemed to go on a bit long for what should have been a quick introduction. Characters end the scene with Danger meters at something like 7, 9, and 11. The Countdown 2 Threat comes true and Mayor Woodhull is transformed into a Thrall of The Sanguine Shadow and makes her escape by skybike.

Comments

  • edited July 2009
    Interludes: First scene picks up right after the opening action scene. There’s a little hesitation moment because it seems natural to go into interrogation/investigation of one of the captured goons, but I want to save that for Scene 2. There’s the same issue where the Robot Professor wants to go right to investigating the vampiric neuro toxins exuded by the catwomen but we want to save that too. Maybe I didn’t explain the interludes well, but I went pretty much straight from the text. The final interlude has the Detective questioning the head of Rocket City security, a cool scene but we don’t learn much more about the DP characters or their relationship to one another. Maybe just one of those things.

    Action Scene 2: Three different locations for the three characters.

    Dr. R, Dr. R’s Lab: 1 Normal Threat (Carus Oberon’s Worries); 1 Normal Threat (Vampire Toxin Analysis)

    Nick Noir, The Secuity Grid: 1 Normal Threat (Matrix Overload/Suspicious Technician)

    Rascal Jack, Outside Princess Naalil’s Chambers: 1 Major Threat, Clio Meow, Saturnian Spy); 1 Normal Threat (Fear of Capture).

    Characters in three separate locations and putting too much on Rascal Jack, maybe a lesson learned. Wanted the Security Grid and Lab analysis to be more of the suggested slower-paced investigative scenes catered to Detective and Professor Roles, but putting Rascal Jack in over his head meant having to cut those scenes short. After Nick found a saboteur and repaired the Security Grid and Dr. R overcame Mouseman Carus’ worries and completed his analysis of the toxin, I allowed both characters to join Jack with a single action point fueled Move.

    Time considerations turned Action Scene 2 into the final conflict and 1 Normal Threat (Mind-Controlled Mayor Woodhull) and 1 Master Threat (The Sanguine Shadow) eventually joined the running battle. One additional Normal Theat (Princess Naalil at Risk!) was spawned.

    Dr. R rolled 8 Danger and spawned a Disaster/New Major Threat for the third time in the session. I don’t think any of the d12s in this session ever rolled above a 3. I had a little cognitive dissonance here and there with the heroic genre as played out by such poor rolling. Their Bashed boxes all filled from the first action sequence, characters were continually Stunned which made further successes even more difficult. A bit of a death spiral was present that I suspect was not as present in a lot of the other sessions I’ve read about.

    Dr. R was KO’d but brought back by Nick Noir. The final round of conflict was very long with Robot Energy Transfer-fueled Actions by Nick and Jack. Though the board was filled with Threats, none of them got to make end-of-round Threat moves themselves, all the Danger coming from the PCs’rolls (while Stunned or Injured).

    All characters ended the session at or near the end of the Danger track. Vaporization was risked at least three times but did not occur.
  • Rules and procedures Questions/Observations:

    Lay of the Land: This provide bonus dice to all subsequent actions they take in that round that they can relate to the Explorer’s narration?

    First Aid: I ruled they only needed 1 Success to bring back KO’d Dr. R. Sound about right? They barely got it because they were Stunned.

    Robot Energy Transfer, as noted elsewhere, needs to not provide the Power token at a minimum, especially as they can then use that Power token (combined with another one) to take further actions. I think three characters took eight or nine actions in one round.

    It was sometimes difficult to track whether the Stunned box on a character had been checked in the previous round or prior. I think we mostly got it right.

    I need more guidance on the correct Role for certain “Talky Scenes.” It’s obvious how to attack certain Threats in a Streetwise or Interrogation mode, but other forms of persuasion are more difficult to assign to a Role. How do you overcome a Mouseman’s racial reticence to experimentation in the service of finding an antidote to Catwomen neuro-toxins?

    The Professor and Explorer Role and The Two-Fisted Style have no problem continually coming up with justification for bonus dice. The Detective has a really hard time getting bonus dice in a action scene. Cutting the investigation scene short (I think necessarily as it turned out, but maybe just poor pacing on my part) hurt the Detective’s feeling of potency in this session. I strongly agree with crossposts that call for more Interlude powers and the Detective should be able to get lots of bonus dice from his research and investigation in subsequent Action scenes after the Interlude. (like Batman)

    Fortunately for anyone still reading, another page of notes and comments have been supplanted by others. Ben and Jarvis have great observations which I second.

    Overall impression: we lost a little energy towards the end; the noisy environment was a little taxing, but it seemed like everyone had a pretty good time. Not the GPNW homerun, but a solid double.
  • edited July 2009
    A couple pics:

    IMG_2218[1]

    IMG_2221[1]
  • Looks Like Dr. Bradbury took off his glasses in shock and then forgot them on the table.
  • Thanks for the feedback, Matthew. This is very helpful.

    The powers are changing, so I won't try to work out all the answers right now. But here are a few things:

    First Aid: Yes, I think 1 hit is enough in that case.

    "Talky" Scenes: I default to Agent for most social stuff and especially manipulating people, persuasion or making an impression.
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: nemomemeHow do you overcome a Mouseman’s racial reticence to experimentation in the service of finding an antidote to Catwomen neuro-toxins?
    Explorer! (deal with alien cultures)

    We had a lot of talk in scene two of For Neptune! For Freedom!, and I just outlined some of the different ways we used it over there.
  • Cool. A "Catchall for persuading others" bullet point under the Agent's Heroic Actions will help.
  • Rascal Jack here.

    I like the flavor of the game, and the way the mechanics are put together.

    I don't like the hard-coded scene structure (Action - Interlude - Action etc.). I prefer a more flowing free-form scene structure, punctuated by action scenes when they logically should appear. Perhaps, during free-form roleplay, Threats could be identified (though Investigation or whatever) that stay dormant until triggered buy some narrative event.
  • I can see your point, David. The text is pretty specific on the suggested Interlude and 2nd Action scene structure; I might be inclined to be more flexible in a not-the-first session. I can do that decently in the spirit of Danger Patrol, but some textual guidance and permission might be warranted.

    One of the players enjoyed the game enough to run it for some friends. I provided him with a list of "different from the current Alpha" items, including a lot of Ben R's suggestions. Looking forward to hearing how it went. Hoping I can run it again soon, but scheduling in the summer is not easy right now...
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