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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 69 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Space Rat] Femme Babe karate chop - THWACK!  (Read 2277 times)
Peril Planet
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« on: January 18, 2006, 09:20:38 PM »

Played a series of Space Rat games leading into the silly season (never a more appropriate time to get involved in the hi-jinx of Jack Cosmos!), and everyone involved had a blast.  Before getting into the nitty gritty, I just want to quickly reply to some comments made by Ron Edwards in his actual play post, back in November (yes, I am as slow as that thing that is really slow...)

1. Luck.  Everything Ron said is correct.  100% exact-a-mondo.  My wording was wrong, his was right.  "Spend" luck to get a bonus, and roll over those spent points when testing for luck or suffer the consequences. Regain luck by forcing others to make luck tests, or by making things more difficult for yourself.  As Ron so eloquently put it;

Quote
To summarize, if someone forces a Femme Babe to Test Luck, then the Femme Babe is now guaranteed neither to gain or to lose a Luck zap. But the person calling for the Test will either gain or lose one.

2.
Quote
the in-play recommendation I'd put right up front, for anyone, is some way to summarize and publicly keep track of Attention Star gain and Luck gain. We screwed it up a couple of times, and it's the central currency of play, so that's bad.

I agree totally.  We had exactly the same problem. Every player needs some objects that can easily be seen from across the table to indicate how much luck they have used.  Preferably these markers should be tasteless and gaudy, like coloured card-board tubes, a hat or headband with removable antenna, Barbie dolls, collectable glow-in-the-dark Jack Cosmos action figures, or Golden Globe awards.

3. 
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I understand that Luck can provide a one-time specialty to a skill you have. Is it correct that Gear can provide a specialty (3 dice) for skills you do not have? I think it should.

Gear gives you +1 die to feat checks, as if you had an appropriate skill and specialty.  You do not need to have a skill in order to gain the benefit from an item of gear.

The Games
We played three linked games that took the Femme Babes from Jack's secret lair (easily identified with any "map to the stars") to the Outer Rim of the galaxy (just off Spaceway 66) and a sentient space station ("I'm sorry, I can't let you do that Jack..."), through a narrow escape from space pirates to a climactic battle on a small forrested moon populated by nasty machine hating Gremlins and a cult of robot worshippers (backed up by a contingent of Certain Doom's mercenary Deadon Guard).  I am not going to go into much more detail than this, except to point out certain highlights, and what they taught me about the game.

Part 1 - Investigate space station and find Professor Grim and his very important gizmo.  There were three femme babes; an exotic dancer, swashbuckling gun-bunny and a former secret agent. 

Getting to the space station, the FB's decide the best way to get any attention is to split up and complete the mission themselves!  Besides, you don't want to be around when another player fails a Luck Test and you decide that something blows up!  The players seemed to instantly get into their characters, and it took no time for them to catch on to the spirit of the game.  It also took next to no time for them to learn the rules - I had made new character sheets that have the feat difficulty charts printed at the bottom, which allows the players to instantly determine what they need to roll when I say "that is going to require a Good result".  Everyone made heaps of Luck Tests, and when the game ended with them destroying the sentient space station and Professor Grim fleeing in an escape pod, everyone was begging for more.  The player that managed to find the very important gizmo got an extra attention star, which just tipped the balance and won them the attention of Jack Cosmos.

Part 2 - Find the fleeing Professor, and find out why he ran!  The three original Femme Babes were joined by a saucy wench with an incredible aptitude for building (and destroying) things. 

This adventure involved a space-ship chase, a fight with space pirates who (after capturing the FB's) demanded to be regailed with exciting stories, and an unorthodox interrogation of the Professor.  It was my intention in this adventure to put the FB's in situations where their skills did not immediately apply, and see what they did.  Suffice to say, lots of Luck Tests ensued as they tried to use their skills in unusual ways.  This is important as (a) you have a better chance of success at any action that you might have a skill in (or, better yet, a specialty), even if you're using said skill in an unusual way, and (b) you earn attention stars by getting "what the?" results on skill rolls.  I think it will be important to include situations in Space Rat adventures that will force players to think outside the square, as many of the unusual uses of skills (like flying a ship with the Shooting skill or interrogating the professor with Acrobatics) were hilarious.

Part 3 - Find the robot worshipping cult and stop them - they must be evil, right?  All four Femme Babes participated, and so did Jack Cosmos. 

Jack only appeared briefly at the beginning or end of the previous two adventures, teasing the FB's with his suave sophistication and good looks.  He actually joined them on this escapade as he was certain that great photo op's would present themselves.  Jack's presence changed the whole dynamic, as the competition between Femme Babes went to a whole new level.  As Jack fawned over the winner of the previous two adventures (the same character, the former secret agent), the other FB's went to great lengths to gain his attention, while the secret agent tried to maintain the focus on her.  This required NO extra effort on my part, other than the occasional wink from Jack to one of the FB's.  At one point Jack was knocked unconscious by a flying tea pot (don't ask) and after the initial rush to nurse his injured head, the FB's settled down into the rhythm of the previous games.  When he woke up again, the antics picked up again.  It was great.

At the end of Part 3 this "novel" was over, and the secret agent Femme Babe was clearly the hero of the story.  Jack lavished her with attention, and the other FB's bought bigger guns or more skills and vowed to "show her" next time.  The game was great fun, and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.  As Ron pointed out, regular scene changes are important, both to keep the pace going, and also to let the femme babe's heal!  A frantic pace, with little time to think about their character's actions really hyped up my player's energy levels and made for a great few nights gaming.

The game wasn't perfect as there were problems with some rules.  The healing rules are a little vague, especially on how the medicine skill affects healing; in the end I decided that as well as reviving a KO'd femme babe, a medicine roll can be made once per day/scene (GM's option) to heal an additional injury level.  I also found that Femme Babes that didn't have enough attention points for a new skill or specialty had no choice but to cash in the attention points for GP, and soon had ridiculous weapons.  I restricted everyone to a maximum of three items of gear, but this didn't stop one player from having a huge bonus to damage.  I was worried about this for a while but now that I am thinking about this a few weeks later this didn't really unbalance the game, as there were plenty of situations where shooting (or injuring) things wasn't that helpful, and when they did shoot stuff, their character concept (a hot chick with a BFG!) really came into it's own.

Overall, I am really quite pleased with how things went.  It's time to go plot a few more crazy escapades.  Below are a couple of plot hooks I am considering - why don't you use one and give Space Rat a try, it's available from;

http://www.1km1kt.net/rpg/Space_Rat.php

Hook 1:  Your lucky Femme Babes have won a holo-vid contest to spend a weekend on Jack Cosmos' Galactic Fun Bus, sampling a thousand other-worldly delights and enjoying the company of the galaxy's greatest living hero (if he does say so himself).  But Jack's arch-nemesis Certain Doom has chosen this weekend to have his revenge on the Space Rat, and so begins a magical mystery tour like no other!  Hijacking, crazy ladies selling odd things at spaceway-side stalls, an invasion of bed bugs (the acid-for-blood variety), unusually lethal party games and much more awaits! 

Hook 2:  Impressed with the way his loyal Femme Babes have handled themselves, Jack decides to move the characters to a new luxury villa on the tropical island world of Tantalos.  When the femme babes get to their new home, however, they find Tantalos is actually better known as Planet of the Minotaur, and their villa is actually the hideout for a gang of intergalactic outlaws!  Surely Jack didn't know?  Cue chases, mazes, togas, and a host of Classical Greek cliches!

All the best
Nathan
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Writer; Gamer; Lunatic.  Not necessarily in that order.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2006, 07:44:25 AM »

Wheeee ... Femme Babes are fun as hell. It took me a minute to realize that we've been playing them for years, especially using RPGs like Orbit and InSpectres. The temptation to run a Femme-Babe-inspired Sorcerer game is nigh-overwhelming.

In fact, with Orbit in one hand and Space Rat in the other, there's nothing really left to want. The former game even features a full-page illustration of an imaginable event in the latter! (warning: very crude)

Nathan, what do you think of writing a whole section in your game about GMing Jack? It needn't be very long, but if it's clear and accurate, you'll be doing tons of players a world of good. Remember ... whatever's most intuitive and need-not-be-said to the game author, is the crucial missing instruction in his game text.

Best,
Ron
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Darren Hill
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Posts: 861


« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2006, 07:26:27 PM »

This sounds like a great game. On my first read through, I somehow missed the "Sobbing" injury level.
You mention a new character sheet - any chance of updating the PDF with it, or providing it some other way?
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Peril Planet
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2006, 03:04:46 AM »

Nathan, what do you think of writing a whole section in your game about GMing Jack? It needn't be very long, but if it's clear and accurate, you'll be doing tons of players a world of good. Remember ... whatever's most intuitive and need-not-be-said to the game author, is the crucial missing instruction in his game text.

I just plotted out the key points I need to write for the GM chapter, including a large section on who Jack is, where he came from and his typical reactions in a variety of common situations (all illustrated with "quotes" from the novels!).  Then, what-do-you-know, I find Ron has made just such a suggestion.  What do they say about brilliant minds...?  Anyways, I got to get back to tapping the keyboard. 

Expect more soon, including another actual play (the Femme Babes got themselves into a real mess with the Mob, a dodgy diner and a chimp in a party hat on Friday night!)

Nathan

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