Describe your last RPG session in more than 5 words.

overgeeked

B/X Known World
You can’t make them play.
Had one group legit dead-eye stare at me waiting for me to push them into action. Here’s a scene with some NPCs to interact with. Nothing. Here’s a plot hook or two to bite. Nothing. Two minutes of real-world conversation later and wow. Apparently they think it’s the GM’s job to dance around like an organ grinder and entertain them. Hey, players, if you refuse to do anything in the game, the GM can’t run the game. You gotta collaborate. You gotta do something.
 

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Had one group legit dead-eye stare at me waiting for me to push them into action. Here’s a scene with some NPCs to interact with. Nothing. Here’s a plot hook or two to bite. Nothing. Two minutes of real-world conversation later and wow. Apparently they think it’s the GM’s job to dance around like an organ grinder and entertain them. Hey, players, if you refuse to do anything in the game, the GM can’t run the game. You gotta collaborate. You gotta do something.
I’ve ran games with players that don’t respond to things outside of combat. I’m not sure if they’re intimidated by the lack of structure most TTRPGs have outside of combat or if combat is just what interests them.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Session #50: Hunters struggle searching vast ecumenopolis.

So, not a lot of story to report. As usual, my players are struggling when they have breadcrumbs leading in more than one direction. They end up in choice paralysis and they start these BSing sessions where they try to figure out what they don't know and then reason in the basis of their made up plot. This invariably gets them nowhere for long periods and frequently gets them in trouble when they make assumptions about the state of the world that turn out to have no basis in fact. Last night the biggest culprit is one player advanced the theory that their acquisition didn't really exist or that they'd been given a patsy to acquire and not the real criminal. This is not in fact true and doesn't survive scrutiny of facts they already know - like all the factions are pretty desperate the acquisition be turned over to them and not to their rival faction. In fact, the detective they interviewed who wrote the police report flat out told them that everyone was crooked and, on the take, so a moment's reasoning would I think get you to realize that the real problem is everyone was in on it and no one wants the other side to get information from the acquisition about their involvement that when revealed would be politically damaging to them. Like literally everyone is telling them to stay out of the politics and the Guildmaster even told them that if they had to pick a side to side with the Moff because he's the one paying the bounty. Anyway, I digress.

The hunters had just finished meeting in a shady cantina in one of the hundreds of thousands of arcologies on the planet's surface with their gendarme liaison, the young idealistic Sub-Lt. Sanfox, who told them that the APB she had place on the suspect whose genetic code the hunters had found aboard the impounded freighter had been tampered with. The computer was supposed to notify her as soon as the system detected the suspect entering public transportation. Instead, she didn't find out about the automated system being triggered until two hours after the sensors went off. Someone had removed her from the distribution list, readded her afterwards, and sent a delayed faked electronic message to try to hide the fact. Everyone agreed this meant that the suspicious reported death of the suspect was in fact what it appeared to be, evidence of an internal conspiracy to stop the hunters finding the cyberneticist they were hired to acquire. The Sub-Lt. agreed to use her position in records to forge a false hiring record for the PCs slicer to get him into the law enforcement network as a new employee. Since it seemed to be locals doing the conspiracy and they are technically siding with the empire on this job, one of the PC's then casually walked over to the ISB agent they knew to be trailing him and relying on the new "understanding" with the asked if the ISB could see to it that Sanfox arrived safely back to work. The ISB agent seemed to agree, so the level of trust between the organization and the hunters seems to be rising after the nadir of the near shootout the prior day.

After a lot of arguing amongst themselves and creating elaborate fantasies, the hunters decided to spend 500 credits to send a data crystal with an information request to the local authorities of the planets mentioned in the acquisitions criminal record via fast courier up the Hydian Way to make sure the chain code they had been given matched the acquisitions real genetic code. This was cheaper than trying to buy the hyperspace relay bandwidth (for about the same price as buying a small moon) and faster than using subspace relay. Turn around on the message is expected to be three days. Meanwhile, they got a call on their comlink from the tout "Iggy Z, The Igster, Your main man" they had hired the day before who told them that he'd successfully contacted an agent of a respectable information broker and the agent had agreed to meet them. The hunters packed up and agreed to meet the tout in the subway station of the arcology he indicated. They followed the tout into a shady part town, deep into the lower levels of the ecumenopolis where the corridors were narrow enough to feel like corridors rather than streets and the shops spilled out into the corridor and the air was dank, smelled of chemical plants, and had too much carbon dioxide in it. In front of a low rent flophouse that sold living space by the berth and the container by the month and advertised communal bathrooms and low fees for usage of the entertainment ports, they met a Zabrak wearing a bulky long coat not quite concealing the mesh armor beneath. The Zabrak explained that the information broker knew who the PC's were, based on the holonet footage of their standoff with the ISB that had surfaced the day before and that on the basis of their reputation had agree to meet them.

The hunters marveled that they had a reputation now, before being reminded that they had been mentioned in dispatches for their role in the Ondruth affair and had been publicly feted and even awarded medals by the Imperial Prefect after their successful capture of the rogue droid engineer on Cheobis. They discussed the dangers of their newfound fame before both parties agreed to go forward with the meeting.

The Zabrak led them into the depths of the flophouse past urchins, drug addicts, aged residents, and tired dirty workers before coming to an unremarkable door. This opened into a room the size of a large shipping container with peeling paint on the walls and decorated only with a small portable desk and a padded folding chair. In the chair was a broad skulled alien of a species they didn't recognize with bald pate, shaggy red hair and a fondness for thick leather clothing. The information broker without much preamble told them he knew they were the hunters hired by the Moff and knew what they were looking for. He told them that because of the danger of working with Imperial agents, he wanted a 1000cr fee up front to defer risks. They explained they were struggling with the investigation and ended up paying the broker in Paggats from the account they'd opened with the Hutts. The broker explained that he had not yet located the lair of the cyberneticist responsible for creating the deracinated, but that he knew of him and knew that he was under the protection of a petty local criminal gang that dealt in protection rackets, loan sharks, and spice smuggling called the Chivalrous Gentlebeings Association led by a Muun named Neet Cossoth. The main source of income however for the gang was that they largely controlled the illegal pit fighting circuit on the planet and profited from gambling on the events they held. He told the hunters that the CGA profited from having their thugs and fighters modified by "Mr. Chop" and so valued their relationship with him. The hunters agreed to pay a 100cr retainer for the information brokers services and asked if he could find the location of this "Mr. Chop" or failing that, find out when and how the life support pods containing the decraniated had be placed in the sealed containers of vat grown protein. The information broker agreed to meet with the PCs again once he had this information, and also told them there was a bit of their background that remained a mystery to him, one he was enjoying the challenge of solving, but that if he didn't solve it he would offer to pay the PC's for the secret before they left the planet. One PC noted that the broker hadn't given them a name, and the broker affirmed that this wasn't a coincidence.

All of this should have raised massive red flags. They have dealt with information brokers before and this was very much not the way they normally behave. But the hunters are still new to some of the darker ways of the underworld and the eagerness of the broker to work with them was lost on them.

The hunters returned to their ship and got their false credentials for asking the Gendarme's private holonetwork where they proceeded slice their way up to a system administrator privileges and then dig up old case files that largely confirmed what they already knew. The CGA were a well-known criminal group but arrests were confined to busting petty crimes with no organized attempt to go after the leadership, and all investigations into impropriety of their pit fighting exhibitions being summarily dropped without charges being made. Raptis had come in an investigation before about eight years ago but no follow up was made to apprehend him. Their cheap suspect with the logistics company that had arranged the shipment had a shady past with a company that had been busted up as a money laundering scheme, further confirming his probable corrupt behavior. That police report had been reviewed by the Lieutenant who had been charged with investigating the company that had made the life support pods. And the final police report had been edited after it was filed by the very bureaucrat who had first met them when they arrived on planet and advised them to turn the acquisition over to the gendarmes. They did discover an audit trail for who had tampered with the prior alerts, linking it to a Gendarme lieutenant in the civil defenses special forces who was assigned the very Palm Avenue arcology where the decraniated smuggling had taken place. The slicer surreptitiously inserted a new service on the network that would alert them if future alerts had been tampered with, before attempting to pull the email records of the bureaucrat. This proved to be a mistake as the query regarding a member of the command staff triggered some sort of ICE in the system that killed their connection.

Meanwhile the Rodian former police officer dug into the dark parts of the holonet to learn more about pit fighting, discovering a hidden bulletin board system where aficionados discussed the stables who train and create the gladiatorial warriors for the pit fighting circuit and their favorite champions and learning much about this semi-hidden sport.

And that's about it. The hunters are digging themselves deeper and deeper into trouble without making any real progress on their actual job. Towards the end of the session they actually started talking about that and wondering if they were going about this the wrong way. They aren't actually police officers. They are bounty hunters. Maybe they don't need to try to solve the crime and fight corruption in the system. Maybe there are more direct methods for finding this cyberneticist. I can only hope they follow up on that line of thinking.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Session #51 - We talk about fight club

The hunters still remain lost trying to find one person in a city of 201 billion. Maybe they will get their bearings.

With too many leads to follow, the Hunters decided to scout out the pit fighting arena run by the Chivalrous Gentlebeings Association that the too helpful information broker had put them onto.

The hunters arrived at the Citywide Pugilism Social Club in the Strata arcology, a slightly run down area of the city which was clearly less human dominated than most of the areas they had been in. They purchased discounted tickets for the 11 fights slated for that evening, only to have the security beg them to not go inside so heavily armed as it would attract unwanted attention and make security nervous. Surprisingly, the hunters agreed, finding a nearby storage rental where they could deposit their heavier gear, opting for a few concealable more weapons than their usual array of military blaster rifles, portable ion cannons, and grenades. The friendly Bothan security agent was so pleased to have cooperative guests that he waved them back through the waiting lines when they returned - presumably on the theory that it pays to be nice to heavily armed killers that aren't apparently unfriendly. Inside theYuzzemy found a large but slightly shabby establishment that was cutting corners on most things but security. One of the hunters got out their bounty puck and tried to see if the acquisition was nearby, but there was no genetic trace of Dr. Raptis - security did pick up on the act though and apparently was holding a conversation about it.

The hunters checked out the stadium and its layout, trying not to be too conspicuous they sat and watched the first fight of the evening - a combat between two cybernetically enhanced wookies that ended in one ripping the metal arm of the other right off and beating him with it. The hunters agreed that they understood why the six thousand screaming and often intoxicated fans enjoyed the spectacle but couldn't figure out how to make progress. They decided to leave and wander around the outside of the stadium, hoping to find back entrances and figure out how to enter the areas not open to the public. Unfortunately, not being familiar with the layout of eucumenopolises generally and this archology in particular, they soon got lost down back alley residential areas where berths and boxes were rented as living quarters by the month. Their foreign species and wealthier clothing marked them as strangers to this area, and without the bristling heavy weaponry they usually wear local toughs were not warned away from them. A group of five thuggish looking aliens decided to shake down the strangers from upper levels clearly lost and where they weren't supposed to be.

This often goes very badly for local toughs, but the hunters were mostly bemused and with a bit of bargaining and a willingness to part with 50 credits managed to win a certain regard from the local toughs who turned out to be fighters from a small stable nearby, of much lower stature and prestige than the sector champions and contenders whom they'd just witnessed. They also knew the area well enough to describe how fighters were loaded and unloaded into locker rooms behind the fighting pit using two large industrial service turbolifts located behind the stadium. The turbolifts only allowed egress with the cooperation of the commercial leasers adjacent to them and were used as vertical roads to allow deliveries between the lower levels and the docking platforms a kilometer and a half above them. The street toughs and the hunters departed on good terms, with the toughs going off to buy a round of drinks with the credits they had earned.

The hunters then decided to look in on the local stable, the Obsidian Orchid Gymasium, which was owned and managed by an elderly one eyed, one armed Yuzzem who offered to train the Togorian hunter and the Togruta as pit fighters. After acquiring about fees, the hunters made inquiries only to discover that the stable did not train cybernetic fighters owing to the high cost of competing in that class. The old Yuzzem explained that cybernetic fighters usually came from stables with very wealthy patrons, able to afford the sometimes hundreds of thousands of credits of enhancements and years of surgery and healing cycles necessary to compete in that category. They did however learn of a nearby chop shop "Moise's Jacks" where they might learn more.

However, "Moise's Jacks" was closed for the evening, so they returned to the fight club to watch the remainder of the evening's entertainment - a brutal lineup of fights between massive droids, feline aliens with punch knives and other exotic bloodsports. The hunters enjoyed themselves and agree the fighters were of quite high skill, and worried that they would almost certainly have to go through one or more such fighters to try to find their acquisition.

In the morning there was a bit of a lull in the investigation and tired of eating ship's supplies decided to go to a local highly recommended breakfast place that would serve their varied diets. On the way, they were accosted by another tout, "Honest Kal", who after discussing with and talking them up for a while them offered to take them to a place where they could buy illegal military grade cybernetic weaponry. However, just as they were about to close on the deal, something panicked the tout who remembered suddenly had had another appointment and said he would catch them again later, before backpedaling and fleeing in the crowds. The Rodian hunter with his background in law enforcement and knowledge of the criminal classes surmised that another tout had signaled "Honest Kal" that in some way these were poor choices of marks, but looking around quickly couldn't determine who had made the signal or why. The hunters were left puzzled as to what hand gesture the tout might have received, and whether it was likely that in such a large city the touts were so organized as to know they were employing another tout. Something didn't add up, but they couldn't figure out what it was.

Later that morning the hunters interviewed "Old Moise" of Moise's Jacks, a human with a large glowing red cybernetic monocle and a cybernetic surgical arm. "Old Moise" proved very knowledgeable about cybernetics but was not able to provide any information about "Mr. Chop" - though he heard of him and knew that he was a dangerous man to cross. The hunters soon discovered that the canny old man had surmised they were bounty hunters from the moment they had walked in (bristling with weaponry having previously recovered their heavy weapons from the rented storage locker), and that he was sympathetic to their cause as "Mr. Chop" was the vile sort that in his eyes gave the entire industry a bad name. But he explained that in this neighborhood, there just wasn't the money or the demand for high end military grade enhancements and that most of his work was in cyberjacks and replacement limbs for beings that had lost theirs in industrial accidents. The hunters did learn that his knowledge of "Mr. Chop" came from a conversation with a friend of his named "Ed" who ran a chop shop one arcology over on Long Street.

The hunters then moved up to Edvar Deeks shop on "Long Street" who proved to be a Duros with a somewhat larger and more respectable shop, with several employees. Deeks denied everything but was a terrible liar.
 
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aramis erak

Legend
My Savage Worlds Deadlands Reloaded group has taken a trip to Mars...

They've found a crashed Ether Flyer - built by Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin and T. A. Edison, with an Edison Ether Propeller... and retrofit rapidly in Helium to use liftwood - they did, after all, rescue Deja and Woola...

They're searching for John Carter, whom they met in the mountains of Colorado... they first find the green martians who killed its prior pilot - those go running back to check on the greenhouse for their eggs (which it landed near); since the greens didn't shoot at them, the PCs merely flew on.

Then, on diamonds encounter, they were getting into an upland liftwood grove... in seed. They stop to harvest some seeds.

Finally, they're up the white river far enough that no martian afoot has returned from, and they see the trees moving about... they're only 20m above tree-tops - in order to search for John Carter... but the white ape sees the ship as a way out of its annoying bout with John. The Party doesn't see John Carter... but black-fingered, white furred hands - 4 - and hand-like feet (2) grabbing the gondola...

A brief fight ensues, they almost dislodge the ape - then the Warlord of Mars Pops up to the front window and asks to be let in, while the martial artist is doing nastiness to the ape's 'nads... John is brought in, the ape, in great amounts of pain, falls into the bush - it's not dead, but neither is John - mission accomplished... Best speed for Helium, since Carter has a new kid who just hatched...
 

Celebrim

Legend
My Savage Worlds Deadlands Reloaded group has taken a trip to Mars...

They've found a crashed Ether Flyer - built by Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin and T. A. Edison, with an Edison Ether Propeller... and retrofit rapidly in Helium to use liftwood - they did, after all, rescue Deja and Woola...

They're searching for John Carter, whom they met in the mountains of Colorado... they first find the green martians who killed its prior pilot - those go running back to check on the greenhouse for their eggs (which it landed near); since the greens didn't shoot at them, the PCs merely flew on.

Then, on diamonds encounter, they were getting into an upland liftwood grove... in seed. They stop to harvest some seeds.

Finally, they're up the white river far enough that no martian afoot has returned from, and they see the trees moving about... they're only 20m above tree-tops - in order to search for John Carter... but the white ape sees the ship as a way out of its annoying bout with John. The Party doesn't see John Carter... but black-fingered, white furred hands - 4 - and hand-like feet (2) grabbing the gondola...

A brief fight ensues, they almost dislodge the ape - then the Warlord of Mars Pops up to the front window and asks to be let in, while the martial artist is doing nastiness to the ape's 'nads... John is brought in, the ape, in great amounts of pain, falls into the bush - it's not dead, but neither is John - mission accomplished... Best speed for Helium, since Carter has a new kid who just hatched...

I never had any desire to play Savage Worlds or Deadlands until this moment. I do adore this and now I want to play an HG Wells/Edgar Rice Burroughs crossover with influences of League of Extraordinary gentlemen.
 

Voadam

Legend
Big Villain Mistake, Charmed Bard

So at our last 5e Iron Gods game the party was trying to discover if a Varisian fortune teller belly dancer was a technocratice league of void engineers spy. They sent in their kobold bard to get his fortune told by her which would get him an invitation for her dancing show. He went in and they had dueling insight and deception checks and then when he went in for the dance he expected a trick from the dancer and did a perfectly timed counterbeat to her finger cymbals to countersong a potential effect. This gave him advantage on his very poor wisdom save for which he dropped a 2 and took the three, not enough to resist the entrancement and immediate smitten effect.

So this game started off and the spy says she wants to get in to a hidden place blocked by a stone slab door. The kobold says sure I can open a big stone door and goes with her. The kobold bard is part of the church of Acme and pulls out a stick of dynamite.

The spy who is trying to get into a buried trove of technology treasure in an anti-tech religious border city does not recognize TNT for what it is and mistakenly thinks, knock wand. She goes on and on about how clever he is with just the right tools for the job. How knock will create a big chime but they are far enough away for it not to be a problem. They can still sneak into the tech trove and loot it together. The kobold wishing to impress his new flame does not disabuse her as to the nature of his wand.

They get to the slab, the kobold recognizes the religious sigil on the stone over a well as a magic ward and specifically sets his dynamite under the rock without messing with the glyph. Thinking it over as to what will be the most impressive thing he can do he uses his song of creation to create more TNT and digs into his reserves and sets an extra couple of sticks reducing his stock down to 1. He sets a 1 minute fuse (more or less) and high tails it to behind the abandoned farm house nearby to shelter against TNT explosion and rock shrapnel.

The spy asks why the wand is set on fire and the kobold is running. When he takes cover behind the farm house she makes her insight check and gets behind cover too. She says "That is not a wand of knock" The kobold responds "I said I could open the stone door, not that I had a wand of knock, just watch, it will be spectacular."

Just as the fuse burns down she looks horrified and says "What have you done?"

We ended with a big explosion, which alerts the rest of the party who have no idea the bard was charmed and think he is simply distracting her while they investigate her wagon for proof she is a spy.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I never had any desire to play Savage Worlds or Deadlands until this moment. I do adore this and now I want to play an HG Wells/Edgar Rice Burroughs crossover with influences of League of Extraordinary gentlemen.
Compatible genre mixing is one of the few things where "universal" systems have a big advantage. At the same time, I've never seen one that was good at all settings.
Savage Worlds having the Space:1889 setting book made it very easy to warp into proper Barsoom (S:1889 is ERB, HG Wells, and Verne mashed up, and then pasted in a good dose of Victorian Nobless Oblige... plus some Ninja High School and a bunch of early Steampunk.)
So, mixing and mingling it with Barsoom was a natural.
 

Andvari

Hero
PCs convinced a fire giant he was late on his armor production for "the boss." Made him give them the magical full plate armor for them to present to the boss. They then befriended some guards and convinced them they were escorting slaves out of the monsters' stronghold to bring back game. Essentially they found out the monsters were upset about food produced by the Bane clerics and favored real meat, so they pretended to work for the monsters' boss as hunters and delivered food for a while to gain their trust.
 
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