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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Elfs in Copenhagen  (Read 3572 times)
Grex
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« on: September 06, 2002, 05:45:13 AM »

Yesterday some old friends came by my place, and we decided to play a session of Elfs, by Ron E. I had a printed copy, and had read it once the day before. I pitched it to them as a 'simple game of murder and larcency', and told them that they wouldn't have to roleplay if they didn't feel like it -- they could just be themselves, so to speak. They liked that.

Tim is the best roleplayer of the bunch. He is too laid-back to care about rules minutiae, and he genuinely likes to find unusual and humorous solutions to obstacles put in his (characters) way. He played Lytria, an oral, ego-tripping bimbo (S:3, LC: 2, DL:2).

André is the guy who always play guys who skulk in the shadows, always looks out for himself, and never takes one for the team. He played Cassius, a genital sadomasochist (S:1, LC:4, DL:4).

And Tom is the guy who's clinically incapable of agreeing with the GM, always ruleslawyering and looking for a free ride. On the other hand, he seldom min-maxes. He played Sleazy, an anal, unpleasant bum (S:3, LC: 2, DL:2).

As I had virtually no prep, I ran the supplied starting adventure 'Ice & Fire'.

High points from the adventure:

* The team instantly antagonizing half of the tribe by acting just as arrogantly as Tobias.

* Lytria and Cassius double-teaming the chieftains daughter in her quarters.

* Deciding to explore the castle in the middle of the night 'so these losers won't try to follow us and steal OUR treasure!'

* Beating the hell out of three Ice Elfs when attempting to sneak up the stairs, killing one. (Said Ice Elfs wanted to beat *them* up for being a$$#01es)

* Jumping through one of the mirrors that leads to the Fire Creatures and instantly attacking them (well, Sleazy did.)

* Lytria calming the incensed fire creatures by sucking her swordhandle in a most suggestive manner.

* Going back down to retrieve Tobias, they encounter two other Ice Elfs who questions them about their dead and KO'ed buddies. Lytria and Cassius spin a yarn about how they're too weak to drag the massive amounts of treasure down the stairs, and these guys (the KO'ed ones) tried to kill and rob them. 'If you'll help us, we can split the treasure!'

* They then trade the two boneheads in for the pipe, and one spell each. Case closed.

There were a few problems and snags here and there, but most of those arose from my imperfect mastery of the rules. I did note that:

* People tend to underestimate Dumb Luck. I solved that problem by doing two things: 1) Coaching the players i.e. providing concrete examples in play, and 2) being very strict with the use of Low Cunning. That means not giving players the bonus if they use it to perform actions that are even *slightly* repetitive. 1. round: 'I smack him on the left ear, really hard!'. 'OK, sounds like Low cunning.' 2. round: 'This time I smack him hard on the right ear!'. 'Straight Spunk, spud'.

* Once people have learned the basics -- NO takebacks on statements!

* Genital Elfs tend to just hit on their compatriots, and seldom goes long without gettin' some.

* Tom was very disappointed that I wouldn't let Sleazy kill the others, and lamented the lack of rules for PC death. He was also annoyed with the fact that you can't steal from your teammates in the first session. This isn't a real problem, but considering how anti-social Elfs are, perhaps some more explicit dying-rules could be useful.

But overall it was very pleasant. It even brought a few smidgeons of roleplaying out of Tom and André, and that happens only once in a blue moon. Plus, the fights were wonderfully detailed and heroic -- so detailed in fact that more mainstream systems actually seems congested because the plentitude of rules locks you down.

And Elfs is fun. We laughed a lot while playing it, so I would say that it's a success. Even with my friends, which makes it an unqualified success! :^)
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Best regards,
Chris
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2002, 06:04:38 AM »

Hi there,

Oh my ... God. Who wrote this obviously offensive, juvenile, vicious-minded piece of tripe game?

(And who would ask money for it?? At a site like this one?)

Thanks for playing! I have always thought Elfs to be under-appreciated, and I still await the day when people start generating their own scenarios from old D&D and modern D20 modules.

I might be reading something into your prose, but do I detect a slight similarity between the characters and their respective players? Remarkable. Elfs as gut-level wish-fulfilment.

PC death is not impossible in Elfs, I suppose. I'd use "Prince Valiant" or "Castle Falkenstein" logic - if they get waxed entirely in circumstances that pretty much suggest "death," then they die. So if an elf has no Spunk left and fails a roll (ie only using Low Cunning or Dumb Luck), and if the circumstances are pretty fatal (eg a fellow PC is cutting the elf's throat, the elf is falling into a volcano, etc) ... then death ensues. But that would be one of those Social Contract things to discuss beforehand, for sure.

I agree entirely about the combat system. For my money, it's one of the most satisfying combat systems around, and generates a huge amount of detail with very rapid and group-participatory mechanics.

Best,
Ron
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Grex
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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2002, 07:53:11 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

I might be reading something into your prose, but do I detect a slight similarity between the characters and their respective players? Remarkable. Elfs as gut-level wish-fulfilment.
Oh, absolutely. The majority of the friends that I play with treat all games as 'gut-level wish-fulfilment'. When it comes to 'non-roleplaying', I must admit that two of the worst offenders were in this little playtest. But even so, they roleplayed a lot more that usual (Alternatively, their personalities are a lot like Elfs. But I don't like to think about that.)

As for PC death, I think you're right in that it falls under the Social Contract. After having played all of one session, I think that it would be more fun to just arbitrarily say that Elfs -- of the same tribe, that is -- just don't kill each other; it is perhaps their one redeeming feature. This would hopefully incite Elfs to manipulate humans and other unworthies to do the dirty work for them, although it may lead to a lot of accidental deaths, you know, hunting accidents and such...

Or I could just tell my players 'You may never directly harm your kin'. That should do it.
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Best regards,
Chris
greyorm
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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2002, 12:59:26 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Oh my ... God. Who wrote this obviously offensive, juvenile, vicious-minded piece of tripe game?

Ok, ok...I admit to it, it was me! Please send all monies for purchase of said lewd and offensive crap to me.

Quote
and I still await the day when people start generating their own scenarios from old D&D and modern D20 modules.

Wait no more!

Well, actually, yes...wait a little longer.  A particularly impish take on a particularly classic module is about a quarter of the way to completion.

Hrm...amusingly, the original classic was only available as such for many years as well!  Serendipity!
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2002, 03:20:54 PM »

Let me guess. Castle Greyhawk?

That will be amusing, if redundant.
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the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2002, 11:02:01 PM »

Good guess, but no cigar.  No intern, either.

Another hint: it's also a classic that was reprinted/revamped this past year (and that's all you're getting out of me! ;D  ).

I wasn't aware Castle Greyhawk was only available as a section of itself for years?  And BTW, fill me in, why would Castle Greyhawk be redundant? I'm not certain I understand what you mean (you see, I've never seen a copy of that module, so I know diddly squat about it).
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2002, 09:39:07 AM »

I thought you meant a classic that was only available as an impish parody of itself for many years. That would be Castle Greyhawk in a nutshell.
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the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2002, 09:54:00 AM »

Hi Grex,

Seth and Raven seem to be conducting their own brand of "wait wait don't tell me," but while that's going on, I have another question for you: did the players get involved in the plight of Manly Mighty-Spear? I've found my play of that scenario to be sharply divided into two camps, depending on whether they do or don't.

Best,
Ron
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Grex
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« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2002, 10:17:35 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
I have another question for you: did the players get involved in the plight of Manly Mighty-Spear? I've found my play of that scenario to be sharply divided into two camps, depending on whether they do or don't.

No, not really. They learned of his predicament, but they didn't care enough  to actually help him. As soon as they got the pipe, they left; they didn't even bother to expose Tobias.

Incidentally, I have posted a positive review of Elfs at rpg.net under my rpg.net moniker 'Powergamer'. I assume it will be up tomorrow, or thursday at the latest. I think I give Elfs a fair treatment but I am very interested to hear what you think of my take on Elfs.

Best regards,
Grex
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Best regards,
Chris
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