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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 165 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Rifts] Two and a half sessions at Odyssee Con, Berlin  (Read 15573 times)
Callan S.
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« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2006, 07:21:34 PM »

Awesome ending! And not at all controlled or contrieved, just the raw results of action! Was there shock and awe when the line walker killed the chimp? What were the responces when the city rat and burster got fusion blocked?

Quote
By that I mean an excited GM makes a more exciting game, even if what he's excited about isn't coming into play too much. What do you think?

Adventure Gaming is all about being excited. You can't prepare a decent session if you have no vision, nothing that gets your juices flowing. Ther must be a reason for taken all the workload.
But:plausabilities must be served first. If something doesn't come upt even though I want it, it won't come up. There is no value in things I like to happen that I actually let happen anyway. This would be circular self-fulfillment in a bad way. At least for me.

For the themes and motifs that I wanted to introduce:

I can only say that players were confronted with that. Everyone could and should react in his own way. It was there, I portrayed it, but wether anybody actually cared I can`t say. I surely had the possibility to introduce racism and politics into the session, exploration was also done.
Actually, I'd like to ask you for some advice. Years back when I started up with a new group, I ran a game that quite a theme in it (Rifts australia game, actually). There were two fueding families, with a rival in each for the love of one woman. One made himself a monster (to get power/revenge? Or punish himself?) after losing her and in his bent passion, raping her. The story was set after, where the son (the rape made her pregnant!) became a sorcerer and not knowing the monster was his father, was using the monster to attack the other family. Into this bunch of issues, the PC enter. The details don't matter to what I'm going to say, except that I felt for this storyline.

Okay, I felt this stuff and was excited about it (it probably showed in my presentation of the story). But the players approached it...well, you know your players that enjoyed acting cool and calm and professional, no matter who they were talking to (including ancient dragons). Well, that's how these players approached this game - everything was an obstacle to take down. And I think what made the obstacles worth taking down, was my excitement. But I wasn't giving this stuff for that way of playing.

So, I personally shifted to trying to cater to what they found fun - which was beating obstacles. And my games became incredibly dull, because I thought (at the time) they'd get all excited again and be the center of the games excitement. While they were really relying on me to get excited, to make their obstacle beating exciting for them.

But I couldn't get excited - I started trying to run obstacle beating game, because the rival lovers and other stuff - well, that wasn't where the players excitement was at.

Am I making sense? Please moderate me if I'm stuffing up your thread and I'll start a new thread or PM (I thought my post would end up shorter than this, sorry). My questions are: I think I needed the players to be excited about the same thing as me, otherwise I'd just naturally shift over to feeling what they were getting excited about*. Why haven't you felt the urge to shift over to what they find exciting (and fall into the same problem as me)?

Sorry for this post, it's probably one of my suckier ones.


* Which didn't work out, since their excitement was a reflection of my own. I couldn't reflect of their excitement when theirs was a reflection of my own. When two mirrors reflect each other, all you get is black.
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Philosopher Gamer
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Settembrini
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2006, 11:13:17 PM »

First, I'd say your theme was way to personal, so muchthat I think would have also either felt uncomfortable or viewed professionally. People like to make choices. You have to allow them to care, not force them to care. Everybody likes to pick something which he cares about, and many people like it, if they see something valuable in something everybody else does not.

For making people care about themes, you can do two things:

Play a Thematic Roleplay Game, like they can be found here at the forge. Choices are made by the players, so they are bound to care.

Present a believable large and colourful emulated world. with believable motivations and lots of different factions and moral standpoints to chose from. The players will surprise you and will be motivated like you have never seen it before. They'll be drawing maps, writing in-game letters and all things like that. Sure at first it's problem solving-obstacle-overcoming. But once the players found something they want their character sto like, it will rock more than anything else!

Either way, the adventure gaming way or the thematic way, leaves the players choice. and that is the most important thing. Freedom of choice. Trust the players, they want to care about something. but not neccessarily what you care about. A good example could be Star Wars: Many people love Bounty Hunters/Boba Fett, others love Jedi. Others love the Empire, all love the movies. The heavy force-fed [pun intended] Jedi slant in the new movies was that basically screwed them for me. There wasn't any choice. Only force.
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MSch
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2006, 01:21:10 AM »

Awesome ending! And not at all controlled or contrieved, just the raw results of action! Was there shock and awe when the line walker killed the chimp?

Actually it was the City Rat that suggested, that we have to kill the monkey before we all go down in flames. And when the City Rat was dead, his player was playing devils advocate with my Ley Line Walkers conscience. Finally it had to be done. So this was not all running around in silly armor, blasting around, there was a moral decision to make ... in a Rifts-Game! Who would have thought of that?

Well ... being one of those 'german hardcore narrativists' (as Vincent Baker called us, after he and Ron were in Berlin for the Spione-Event) I took this challenge and did what had to be done. The chimp would have been dead anyway, because the SAMAS fired his Railgun blindly into the lower deck after the Ley Line Walker had glued him (the only flyer) to the deck too (Carpet of Adhesion is nasty and totally unbalanced).

Quote
What were the responces when the city rat and burster got fusion blocked?

The city rat aplayer ccepted it and had fun watching the rest of the drama. The player of the Burster was just a substitute and he was not very fond of the rules and I told him most things his Burster could do. This, the late hour, the poor rules (or at least the ridiculous organisation of those rules) and some oversight by GM and Players led to some frustration.

I know why I usually don't play mages: too many choices  ;-)  (and then two feature monsters, this was heavy burden)

In retrospective the Burster would only have taken 1/10th the damage of the fusion block (player oversight ... mine) and would have survived. I could have handled the Ley Line Walker different (e.g. turn invisible and continue fighting) but those are just minor quibbles

But those Coalition Soldiers, that were magically glued to their ship, standing in several meter high pyrokinetic Mega Damage flames that were rapidly melting their armor away, their hovercraft rushing into fight and then away from us straight onto a cliff, those soldiers kept shooting at us without the slightest modifier to their actions, even when they hit the cliff or had to fire at someone at the back. This should have been handled different by the GM.

But this is my only grief from (for me) one and a half action packed Rifts sessions.

In conclusion I think even though the Lazlo team seemed far underpowered (at least without the Juicer) their diversity led to more tactical choices and with some clever plan could have annihilated the Coalition party with much less own fatalities. But two o clock in the night is not the time for clever plans   ;-)


Ciao,

Martin
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Settembrini
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2006, 01:54:05 AM »

Carpet of adhesion is already powerful. Giving penalties would have taken the other group totally out of play, as they already had to hit a 12.
No saving throw, no ranged attack needed, and no way to escape is already unbalanced. Especially in a PvP situation. But the solution is easy:

"Carpeted" get the "entangled" tag from the SRD, BUT they get a Saving throw for totally avoiding being entangled. Thus all Carpet matters are resolved.

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MSch
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2006, 04:10:33 AM »

Carpet of adhesion is already powerful. Giving penalties would have taken the other group totally out of play, as they already had to hit a 12.
No saving throw, no ranged attack needed, and no way to escape is already unbalanced. Especially in a PvP situation. But the solution is easy:

"Carpeted" get the "entangled" tag from the SRD, BUT they get a Saving throw for totally avoiding being entangled. Thus all Carpet matters are resolved.

You are not going to change the Rifts rules into something, that makes sense, actually balanced? This would so totally _not_ be Rifts that it would suck all the fun out of the game  ;-)

I made my complaint during the session, you acknowledged it and ruled that there will be no other modifier and I accepted it. So don't sweat it, I enyoed it nonetheless.


Ciao,

Martin
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niddhogg
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Posts: 2


« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2006, 05:59:35 AM »

But those Coalition Soldiers, that were magically glued to their ship, standing in several meter high pyrokinetic Mega Damage flames that were rapidly melting their armor away, their hovercraft rushing into fight and then away from us straight onto a cliff, those soldiers kept shooting at us without the slightest modifier to their actions, even when they hit the cliff or had to fire at someone at the back. This should have been handled different by the GM.

The problem was the Coalition soldiers had no options to act differently. They were glued to their ship, standing in this Mega Damage fire. There was no way to flee because after failing their "saving throw" and without heavier armor than the "dead boy" armor all of them were doomed to die. No discussion, no options. None of them could survive the 6d6 MD damage per round for more than 4 rounds (in expectation). Why not continue shooting at the enemies and supporting the SAMAS who wasn't glued and the only way to accomplish the mission?

By the way i think the Coalition party's mission was more difficult because their orders were to get this ape alive. We were told explicitly rather to let the ape in enemy hands than killing it. Hence we hesitated to request heavier weapons because we feared the ape could be injured, in particular the Lt. did so. The ley line walker killed the ape ruthlessly. In the end Laszo won because the formula to wipe out the non-humans was lost.


But it was very fun to play. The Coalition party had to be fast because the Lazlo guys had been even faster. It was exciting all the time, even during the final showdown when one party was doomed to die since the first combat round. Settembrini used a lot of pictures / hand-outs to get into the Rifts world and we weren't restricted in our actions. Even following the first party wasn't boring because we were free to decide how to catch up with the Lazlo party. On balance it was very funny and exciting. The final showdown was over at 3 am. But all players stayed at the con for a while, talking about the game, the system and this good gamemastering.
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MSch
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2006, 07:03:30 AM »

But those Coalition Soldiers, that were magically glued to their ship, standing in several meter high pyrokinetic Mega Damage flames that were rapidly melting their armor away, their hovercraft rushing into fight and then away from us straight onto a cliff, those soldiers kept shooting at us without the slightest modifier to their actions, even when they hit the cliff or had to fire at someone at the back. This should have been handled different by the GM.

The problem was the Coalition soldiers had no options to act differently. They were glued to their ship, standing in this Mega Damage fire. There was no way to flee because after failing their "saving throw" and without heavier armor than the "dead boy" armor all of them were doomed to die. No discussion, no options.

Yeah ... and deservedly so  ;-)

Running headlong into combat with no other plan than "shoot the mage first" was ... foolish. They had more firepower, the moment of surprise and a SAMAS, the only flying character.

And what did they do? They came rushing in, side by side, blasting away like there was no tomorrow and with sheer luck the SAMAS became airborne before the Carpet of Adhesion came down ... not clever.

They knew that they went up against magic wielding, D-Bee-loving, mutant scum from Lazlo with some dirty tricks up their unwashed sleeves who even stalled a Splugorth Slaver and his Barge. Reconnaissance, spreading out, ambush from the cliffs, combined with air support from the SAMAS and naval attack from the ship would have been the way to go ... more effective, more Coalition-like and we would have been toast by the second melee round.

But I am just mocking around, I had plenty of fun too.

Quote
Settembrini used a lot of pictures / hand-outs to get into the Rifts world and we weren't restricted in our actions.

Yes, I liked that very much, even though I knew Rifts quite well. You "got the picture"  ;-)


Ciao,

Martin (next time I'm the lieutenant)
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niddhogg
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« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2006, 11:04:47 AM »

Running headlong into combat with no other plan than "shoot the mage first" was ... foolish. They had more firepower, the moment of surprise and a SAMAS, the only flying character.

And what did they do? They came rushing in, side by side, blasting away like there was no tomorrow and with sheer luck the SAMAS became airborne before the Carpet of Adhesion came down ... not clever.

You're right. We ended our regular session just in the moment our characters found out the whereabout of the Lazlo guys. Then our Lt. player became quiet and left the table quickly. Only the players of the Psi stalker and the SAMAS and me (btw, i played the tech sgt) promised to continue for final-showdown session. Our dog boy player had to participate in another round (as Settembrini told some posts before) and our Coaltion Grunt player .. emm .. i don't remember. So there were only three players and two of them left the convention promising to return for the final showdown. Next time i saw these players was just before we started the final session. Hence there was no arrangement/tactics apart from the "efforts" of the Lt. to emphase non-lethal weapons etc. to avoid harming the ape. Well, it was a mistake and a fatal one.

Two last things:
Firstly, i think this glue-and-flame combo was very deadly and none of us anticipated its deadly efficiency. Our characters didn't have such a party doomsday machinery. Hence we should have more concentrate of getting as deadly hardware as possible.
Secondly, there was a situation Settembrini didn't described: When our Lt. tried to sell the very precious alien technology (weapons from that octopus-bounty-hunter),
the SAMAS flight officier was so frustrated resp. horrified about the Lt.'s doings (the previous ones and the current attemp to sale) that the mentioned to suspend the Lt. and take over command by himself.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2006, 12:47:04 PM »

For making people care about themes, you can do two things:
That's the divide there. I didn't set out to make them care about my fun - I pursued their type of fun instead. But I could only really reflect their fun - I couldn't emit obstacle beating excitement, only reflect it from others.

What's bizarre is that they could take my moral theme excitement and go off on a obstacle beating/gamist tangent. How can excitement carry over like that - it's kind of stupid? Perhaps they just felt the motivation but could only do what they'd done before. Never mind, I'm taking too much time in your thread. Oh, and I assure you, there was no force, even though those issues were personal - you might consider whether your holding off on issues that deeply interest you, because you'll get too passionate about them and apply force to the players. It's a very real problem in RP design.
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Philosopher Gamer
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Settembrini
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Posts: 31


« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2006, 01:25:15 PM »

Quote
It's a very real problem in RP design.

No, it's a GM problem. Give people many choices, and they will gladly pick their favorites. they might not care for the rape victim, but they might care about the village nearby, where they met a nice female teacher or the nunhouse, where they treat orphans, or they hook up with the local ultra-kewl bounty hunters and want desperately to join that guild themselves. Everyone has different needs. Either you gather their needs beforehand (many thematic games do that, and even drop your need for prepation), or you give them enough options. Adventure Gaming is all about options. You left them only the option to feel about one story involving only very few characters. Don't limit your scope to personal stories, give 'em freewheeling large adventorous and lavish settings, where they feel free and sense opportunity around every corner. Your special effects and cast budget is unlimited, so don't bore people with a handful of NPCs when you can have the cast of a thousand!
This can even be done in a depressing manner, if you care for a darker mood. But if there is any single advice I have for any Adventure Rolplayer GM it is:

Give the players options, give the players options, give the players options.

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Callan S.
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« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2006, 05:18:05 PM »

I should have emphasized in my account, they were very happy with that first game (leaning forward in chair, paying close attention, etc). They became unhapppy when I tried to give them what they wanted (obstacle beating). One even said as much, saying the first games were the best. This has happened in two groups, actually, the first being GM for the first time with my friends (again, really fun first game, dullness afterwards).

I think I must have switched because I wanted to, shock horror, be in on the fun event that was happening. The GM is just another player, of course.

I think I tried stuff like the cast of thousands and other option techniques, when perhaps players simply home in on what you find exciting (and then deal with that in a way they find exciting). They ignore 999 NPC's for the one NPC that your thrilled about. When I switched to their way, I starting homing in on them at the same time. I'm interested in how you didn't switch that way. I think it's to do with the cast of thousands - not homing in, but scattering outward. You've perhaps kept to your moral issue style of fun (rather than switching to obstacle beating like me) because...I dunno. Perhaps because amongst those thousands of NPC's, the players would every so often approach them at a moral issue level (like the female nunhouse teacher, or the desperation to join a guild/be part of something). The cast of thousands doesn't help the players, it helps you. Helps you meet your moral issue agenda, while I gave up, switched over and everything went wrong. Just a hypothesis, of course.
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Philosopher Gamer
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Settembrini
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Posts: 31


« Reply #26 on: September 03, 2006, 03:11:16 AM »

Quote
The GM is just another player, of course.

Is that really so? I don't think so. It's quite a contrafactual and game-damaging viewpoint. GM is every-thing. He decides on style, challenge, mood and whathevu. It's responsibility, either you are up to it, or you are not. That's why you need passion. And in the first session you had passion (but expected to empassionate the players also, which also leads to nowwhere, see above).
Let go of the idea of the GM being equal, that's really a concept that leads to nowhere in the context of games like Rifts. There might be other games, like PtA!, where this couldbe true, though. You stated it as a truth, so I assume you firmly believe in it. Dis-learn, and have fun again.
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Glendower
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Posts: 182

My name is Jon.


« Reply #27 on: September 03, 2006, 06:33:10 AM »

Quote
The GM is just another player, of course.

Is that really so? I don't think so. It's quite a contrafactual and game-damaging viewpoint. GM is every-thing. He decides on style, challenge, mood and whathevu. It's responsibility, either you are up to it, or you are not. That's why you need passion. And in the first session you had passion (but expected to empassionate the players also, which also leads to nowwhere, see above).
Let go of the idea of the GM being equal, that's really a concept that leads to nowhere in the context of games like Rifts. There might be other games, like PtA!, where this couldbe true, though. You stated it as a truth, so I assume you firmly believe in it. Dis-learn, and have fun again.

Putting the GM on some sort of throne helps nothing.  It destroys any kind of open communication about the game.  I agree that a player who is GMing has responsibilities, but so do the rest of the table.  It's a collaborative effort to have a good time.

It's a better idea to have everyone equal, but with slightly different jobs.  Then you can have shared ownership of what's happening in game, which has, in my experience, made for a very fun time.  And I believe that applies with all game systems.
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Hi, my name is Jon.
Settembrini
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #28 on: September 03, 2006, 06:47:43 AM »

Quote
Putting the GM on some sort of throne helps nothing.  It destroys any kind of open communication about the game.  I agree that a player who is GMing has responsibilities, but so do the rest of the table.  It's a collaborative effort to have a good time.

It's a better idea to have everyone equal, but with slightly different jobs.  Then you can have shared ownership of what's happening in game, which has, in my experience, made for a very fun time.  And I believe that applies with all game systems.

Shared ownership? The players own their characters, and nothing else. That's why it's fun. That's why they care, that's why they can experience suspense.
A GM is like someone having friends for dinner: He is responsible for cooking, the others for eating, and more importantly creating a nice evening through the stuff they talk about. Nobody can take away the chores of cooking from the cook.
A player might bring along a salad, or help with the dishes. But the cook is the cook, the GM is the GM.

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Precious Villain
Member

Posts: 64


« Reply #29 on: September 03, 2006, 08:56:44 AM »

To be fair, Rifts is an old design and was probably written on the premise that the GM is all powerful.  Playing it another way is a form of Rules drift, even if the rules aren't actually stated explicitly anywhere in the book.  Not that Rifts couldn't benefit from changes, of course.  But while that sentiment may apply narrowly (to Rifts, AD&D, etc.) I don't believe it is a universal truth in role playing.

-Rob

ps:  still looking for that "story engine" thingy :) 
pps:  and is it common to ignore the -10 modifier on Dodge rolls when the attack is ranged, i.e. laser, bullet, arrow, etc. ?  The combat example in the book seems to ignore it (or those characters have ridiculously good stats).
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My real name is Robert.
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