Commentary thread for that “Describe your game in five words” thread.


Expanding on the two post I made "Saved the world from Yog-Sothoth." and "They let Yog-Sothoth be summoned"

Two different RPG parties going through the same scenario, first was my home group, second was running the same scenario at a DevaCon in Chester.

The scenario is A Quest for Power available on DrivthruRPG by Ryan Graham Theobalds.

It is a modern day (2018) Call of Cthulhu scenario that involves a scientific team looking into reports of earth tremors possibly caused by fracking in Lancashire. I made a number of changes to it and the pre-gen characters to help keep in fitting nicely in a four hour time slot, but the scenario itself is pretty interesting. Involving a few real world events and locations.

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(he, him)
I realised that it is a long time since I posted in this thread and its counterpart, and it has been an eventful couple of weeks:
Saturday: Birthday Starfinder didn't last long.
Since most of our gaming has remained online since COVID, we decided to arrange a few face-to-face sessions as extras, and coinciding with people's birthdays seemed to make sense. My friend and fellow GM decided to run Starfinder for his birthday, but unfortunately he invited a bunch of non-roleplayers so the actual session was limited to just the morning (we went for a pub lunch and then played board games in the afternoon).

Obviously, it was his birthday, he can invite who he wants. But it was a bit of a shame because the tiny bit we did play was rather fun!

Sunday: Ship stuck in sargasso. Hordes.

Sunday: Long swim back to ship.
Savage Tide AP. We are on a ship en-route to the Isle of Dread, and it got stuck in a massive clump of floating weeds which resisted all efforts to free it. Killing the gribbly at the heart of the sargasso cause the whole thing to unravel, freeing our ship but dumping us into the ocean ten miles from it. Fortunately both PCs have excellent swim skills (and one has an actual swim speed), so we made it back to the ship without issue.

Thursday: Dead dragon. Chapter end. Argument.
Shattered Star AP. We beat up a dragon, and then had a big argument (both in an out of character) about whether to hand over the fragments of the eponymous artifact to be assembled (despite its being the premise of the campaign).
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B/X Known World
“PCs smoke-out the baddies.”

It’s the little things. I love that having weak PCs forces players to stop charging and start thinking. A band of monsters was holed up in a tower and refused to budge…so the PCs gathered what dry wood they could find and lit a fire and smoked the monsters out. Basic. Simple. Cliche. Effective. And infinitely more fun than “kick in the door and kill ’em all” ad nauseum.

aramis erak

Friday WFRP 1e, two weeks ago:
Turned a fight into performance.
The Ranger was in a fight with a cultist... in broad daylight... had the forethought to toss a hat down for tips and sell it as a staged fight.
Body of dead cultist dumped into the sewers
Friday last:
game canceled, Player quarantined - COVID.
We played last week.
Sun T2K:
Mission aborted due to weather.
They decided fighting in fog was a BAD idea... but the did, this week, manage to steal ANOTHER BTR-70. They also allowed the girl scout troop to joint the fight... cover fire by 12-14yo GS (unskilled) did manage to drive the Russian troops out of the BTR... just after the party's previously "liberated" BTR's big gun jammed.


We should set achievable goals

Prior to this session (and after the last one I posted), the party decided to change their group goal to returning the treasure hoard they found back to town. While Deirdre and Dingo went with Marjorie and her husband down the river and out the other entrance to the dungeon, Tama worked with the others to move the treasure to a staging area near the river in the dungeon. To make sure no one bothered it, they negotiated with the kobolds to guard it for a week at 100 kS. Since they got Complete Success on their Skill Check, no shenanigans were to be had regarding the treasure. The kobolds would do the job honestly. There was an interesting part where the kobolds demanded a full share of the treasure as their payment, and one of the players is like: but it only costs X much to hire guards. Yeah. The kobolds had leverage. Who else is going to guard the treasure for you? 😂

Anyway, this session was the one where the party decided to execute their plan to bring the treasure home. Since they only had canoes, they couldn’t really carry it all the way back. The best they could do was take some of it out, travel through the swamp, then wait for their retainers to go back to town to retrieve their cart to haul the treasure back.

The way into the cave to retrieve the treasure was fun. One of the things that happened last session (after Deirdre and Dingo went down the river) is they returned back to camp via the swamp. When they got back, Dingo made a map, so they could follow the route back without having to roll to navigate again. He got a Mixed Success and accepted the consequence that the map was slightly off and would lead them by trouble. That’s what happened this session: they encountered some giant leaches.

The giant leaches revealed the monster tuning in my homebrew system is a bit busted right now, but it was still a fun encounter. When I equipped “flip the boats” in equip phase, the PCs were like: no, that’s bad. Their boats had their treasure in it. Flipping it into the swamp would have been 👨🏻‍🍳👌🏻. Since I had converted Kitty, I played her in the fight. They were also amused when she equipped her boomstick. There are no crossbows in my setting, but there are firearms, and she has scattergun.

The fight started with Dingo using a ring of plant control to direct some of the trees to grab one of the leaches. That worked to force it to waste its action squirming free. Tama and the retainers stayed back to keep watch. Kitty hopped out of her boat and advanced on the other leach, blasting it good. The other leach then moved up to try to flip Deirdre’s boat, but it couldn’t move fast enough. Deirdre hopped out and tried to use Forceful Blow to knock it back some, but the leach successfully resisted.

For the next round, Kitty equipped her cane instead of her boomstick. It had a nice, pink gem on the end. And she beat the hell out of the leach. I don’t know how you backstab with a cane, but she did it. After that, Deirdre ran over to mess with Dingo by going where he was planning to use Tumbling Attack to pounce on the leach. Dingo ended up having to jump to another side of the leach to execute his attack.

Overall, in spite of the leaches being ineffectual, it was fun.

At this point, they got the treasure, loaded up, and headed back to town. While the PCs waited for their retainers to fetch the cart, Dingo decided to climb up a tree to scout around. This was a Mixed Success. There was a clock for raiders in the area, so I brought that back into play. The PCs had mostly managed to tug that clock back, but they left it at one tick. Well, now it has two ticks. The raiders saw some vuple up in a tree. They’re going to circle back and start searching this area again.

The next few nights finally had some good luck on night event checks. The first night I got 17+, so I added two more ticks to the raider clock. The PCs’ location is not safe. They’re definitely going to get into trouble if they aren’t careful and don’t take steps to hide their tracks. I also got a Mixed Success on the subsequent night, so they found the necromancer in the dungeon had brought in new stock. For the growing population of zombies, I added a clock (2 out of 4 ticks) for their intruding on the treasure hoard.

The session ended with a fight between the PCs and the zombies. The zombies weren’t yet intruding, but I decided to frame a scene on their way out that the zombies were going to have to be something they would need to navigate around. They could also try their luck going the north way, but there’s a nasty turtle up that way. The PCs decided to stop and set the zombies on fire. A couple of the janitor zombies had a plank. They got targeted first. Dingo used some of the flaming arrows he made to set them on fire. Tama got in a few good Smites. Ah, burning zombie.

After that, they headed back to town. They did have to camp, but that ended up being pretty uneventful. They were able to return their treasure and complete their group goal. That was the second one in three sessions they completed. One of the players then remarks they should set achievable goals. Yes, definitely. 😂


(he, him)
Thursday: Artifact assembled. Bad stuff. Surprise!
Having spend the previous five chapters of Shattered Star gathering the pieces of the eponymous artifact, we witnessed its assembly at the start of chapter 6. To the complete surprise of some of the characters but exactly none of the players, its assembly lead to the proverbial hitting the fan.

Thursday's session also marked the last session of our current system of rotation. We have three-four campaigns on the go on a Thursday evening, one or two for each of the two combinations of players. We would alternate between the groups on a fortnightly basis, and by chapter within each group. Two weeks did not really allow a lot of time for us to get back into each campaign before we pivoted again, but it was a necessary compromise to prevent the players who were not involved in some of the campaigns sitting out for too long (we had tried weekly, but that was even worse).

Anyway, one of those players dropped out, so we invited the other join us in the campaigns they were not already playing, allowing us to simplify the rotation. We thought about rotating by chapter, but that is quite a long time before circling back, and some chapters are potentially longer than others.

So what we agreed to do was alternate by character level. Long enough to really get into each campaign, not so long that we've forgotten everything by the time we rotate back. Well, hopefully. We will see how it works out in practice!

Sunday: Short session. Chapter's end. Children.
The GM had warned that there was basically one (fairly elabourate) encounter left to finish the chapter of Savage Tide, and after that we were due to rotate to the other campaign in that slot: Path of Ashardalon. We had talked about rotating in mid session (and in fact got as far as hopping from one Discord server to the other), but one of the players' sons was sitting with him waiting for him to finish so he tapped out at that point. Leaving the session at one hour and fifteen minutes.

So our next mission is to recover the bones from the site of the battle where Aine and Duine were killed.
200 Fay corpses became menhirs.
We were pretty sure which mountain had been the site of the battle. However, it is quite large (about 30x40 kilometres) so we were rather lucky to find the site on the first morning of searching from the air. There is a small stone plateau, with around 200 menhirs on it, ranging from 1 to 4 metres in height. There's a fast mountain stream flowing across the plateau, which has washed some of the menhirs away. We spotted stones with straight edges in the stream, further down, and followed it back to the plateau.

We knew that this had been a large fight, but weren't expecting it to be on this scale. I took a guess, tried Speak with Dead on one of the small menhirs, and made contact! It gave a Fay name and was willing to have its bones moved to a safer place ". . . if you can manage it."

Now, moving several hundred tons of stones down this mountain and several hundred kilometres north, past a war zone, is not impossible, but it's a really big job and impractical to do secretly. The GM is an experienced civil engineer, and knows just how hard it will be. Seven of us, with horses and a flying carpet, can't start it. All we can do is survey the problem and enlist someone who knows how to do it. If the stones are really stones.

I'm suspicious that these are illusions. The Fairie of this world can do some really good, long-lasting illusions, and we've got past several that had lasted more than 3,000 years. Next week, we'll try to see if we can get past these.


B/X Known World
“Shouldn’t be surprised: fire spreads.”

Even when playing old-school games (this time DCC RPG), a lot of players seem utterly surprised that actions have consequences. Yes, if you light on fire, it burns. Yes, if you light something on fire…when it’s near other things that are also flammable…they will also burn. Apparently this was a complete surprise to this group.


(he, him)
Thursday: Scorpion. Oh no, dead halfling!
One of the PCs got poisoned on the very first action of a fight with a big scary scorpion, and spent the whole fight heroically trying to fight off its effects. Despite his an his colleagues' best efforts, he finally succumbed to the venom (on the final round of needing to save), a round after the scorpion went down.

The rest of the party headed back to town to heal up and deal with poor Grimbo's funeral arrangements (and meet the new PC, although obviously the characters do not know that). So it was another fairly short session.

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