Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Experimental Update

I don't know if I'm going to attempt this one again, but after Hanged Fool mentioned making the Experimental Simplified Tactical Map  (or EXSITAM, for short, because it was begging for a pointless acronym) more of a circle or a ring, I got this idea:

Yup, I've officially spent way too much time on something that is probably never going to amount to much, but it's one of those dumb GM things you just have to get out of your system.  Also, at this size, it works a lot better with beads or tokens than with actual miniatures.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What Experiement? Oh, Yeah, That One.

The main reason I'm posting what the actual experiment was that I conducted during the Pathfinder one shot is that I was surprised that it seems to be a bit of a theme that I stumbled upon without realizing it.

One of the things that bugs me with Pathfinder is that it seems like exact positioning, counting squares, five foot steps and the like are some of the things that shift the game from being a game that revolves around using statistics to tell a story to making it a tactical game that has a story attached to it.

I'm not saying that this always happens, but it does enough that it can kind of yank me out of whatever the overall story of the adventure is suppose to be.  I totally won't claim that my experiment is an original idea.  The seed of this idea comes from basically two sources:  The One Ring RPG and it's stances and the Savage Worlds "games without miniatures" rules from the Deluxe Edition.

The idea has been percolating in my brain for a while.  I wanted a system that wasn't entirely free form.  I think that works for games like Mutants and Masterminds, where you are pretty sure most characters can get near enough to the bad guys to start a ruckuss, but games that rely on at least some tactical decisions should have some kind of movement cost, skill checks, and mechanics involved.

Then I noticed recently that over at Tenkar's Tavern Erik posted an abstract tactical map from an OSR style game.  The map was a little less detailed than I figured it should be, but it was enough to galvanize my thoughts on the matter.  I drew up a fairly simple map that was a little more specific than the one posted, and started writing some rules to go along with it.

I'll try to do this quickly.  Essentially, if you have a ranged weapon ready, and your range is better than any opponents, you get the first shot, on top of any surprise round.  After that initial calculation, things move to an encounter zone that has a far, near, melee, and stealth section to it.  Moving from one zone to another costs X amount of movement rate, and the map sets up relative to the first person to act.

I personally think it was a good way to keep track of everyone's relative positions, and if a given character needs to spend movement or if they can full attack.  One player said he thought it was a confusing "in between" using a full battle map or just keeping track in our heads.  I get what he is saying, but at the same time, I know there are times that keeping track "in your head" misses what people actually did the last time around.

I think the combat rounds went fairly smoothly, and one player actually did like it.  On the other hand, most of the party seemed to just kind of not notice or care.  Not sure it's worth pursuing, but for some reason, I like the concept.

Problems:  Without having something like Savage Worlds "this template equals 1d4 opponents" rules, I had to make more judgement calls that I would have liked.  Overall, I did figure that if the whole encounter zone was smaller than the area of a spell, everyone got hit, and if the spell took up as much or more space than it took to transition from one zone to another, it effected everything in that zone.

Even with that assumption, some spells just don't conform well to this standard.  I don't want to have to do a lot of pushing and shoving or this rule equals X in this system work for this, so it's an issue.  Also an issue?  One of the pregens was an alchemist, so suddenly splash damage in melee could have become an issue.  My gut says that everyone in the melee zone would be effected by the splash, but I'd have to think on it some more.

I also thing (rightly) that players don't want to read my stupid sub-system rules for the sake of my ego, which means I'm having to explain things as they happen, and I do a fairly lackluster job of explaining my long winded theoretically fun rules.

What Did I Like?  I don't think anyone was especially yanked out of the game by the system, so even if they didn't think it added anything, the fact that I didn't kill any fun is a plus.  Also, I do think my idea about hazards in zones worked, even if it worked against the PCs.

Part of my "system" was that if there is a hazard anywhere in a given zone, if you can move an opponent against their will in some significant direction, you can move them into the hazard.  In the case of our adventurers, this was a wall covered with green slime.

I think in a hard battle map, people tend to just avoid environmental factors rather than interacting with them, but if it's just a feature of the area, it might get used more often.  Who knows?

But I thought you were just going to drop this?  Originally I wasn't going to even post about what amounted to an experiment that seemed to be a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, and signifying nothing.  However, the reason I revisited this topic is that I read the overall design ideas for the upcoming 13th Age Roleplaying Game  (by Jonathan Tween and Rob Heinsoo).

Apparently that game is going to use a system similar to what I described above.  Now, they had this written up and in their playtest a while ago, but the reason this is significant is that apparently these "movement matters, but tactical maps don't" approach is a concept that has some legs with modern RPGs.

For some reason that appeals to me.  And for the record, I'm kind of interested in 13th Age now, since it sounds like a hybrid of 3rd and 4th edition sensibilities with the added variables of getting rid of tactical maps and adding in mechanics that start making combat move faster the longer combat lasts, so that it doesn't bog down eternally.

What, It's Been How Long? Game Night--Pathfinder One Shot (May 20th, 2012)

There was not DC Adventures this week due to my wife's birthday.  Because my wife is a wonderful person, she actually told me to run my game, but since I like to attempt to be a good husband, I didn't take her up on the offer, and took her out instead.  Thus it was a whole week (gasp!) between games.

This week our Thursday game was one of our series of Pathfinder one shots leading into the campaign that we finally settle into in June.  I backed out of running Way of the Wicked because I know how much effort it takes me to run Pathfinder, no matter how much I want to run the actual adventures, and I'm already running my DC Adventures game and Rogue Trader.

Thus, it's looking like we're going with the all cleric party undead post-apocalyptic world game that Hanged Fool has percolating in his head.

I ran this adventure with two concepts in mind.

1.  I wanted to get some use out of the Tome of Horrors Complete  (Pathfinder Edition) and

2.  I wanted to try out a more abstract battle map system and see if it would work for Pathfinder

I may or may not discuss the experimental abstract map, because it was met with a rousing meh, except one player that liked it and one that thought it was pointless and confusing.  So either it's a bad idea, or I'm really bad at presenting viable optional rules, but either way, eh . . .

The party was going to investigate a deserted town that had fallen behind the demonic lines in the Worldwound in the Golarion setting.  When the demonic line was pushed back by the crusaders, the town was deserted and completely stripped of almost anything.  The crusaders hired the adventurers to look into the matter.

The first creature I ambushed the players with were Fear Guards.  These things only do wisdom damage, so I didn't think it would be that bad.  Except that at 0 wisdom they convert you to a fear guard, and they managed to sneak into camp, get a surprise round, and critted one of the PCs.

Thus fell the first adventurer.  Next pregen was handed out, and we moved on  (hey, it's a one shot, no time for mourning).

The group made it into town, and explored for evidence.  Ironically, the group that was using detect magic headed in the direction of the building that was trapped with the non-magical trap, while the other set of adventurers found the energy drain trap.

Under the magical trap, there was an oddly worked tunnel, and a stone pudding.  Stone puddings split when hit with fire damage.  Our fire oracle hit it with fire damage.  The party fought two stone puddings.  If I recall correctly, three PCs were turned to stone in the encounter, and one of them was actually crushed by the pudding's constrict ability.

Essentially, it was one official death, but three effective deaths.  Three more pre-gens handed out, and the party keeps rolling.  At this point, the group starts wondering what happens when we run out of pre-gens.

Oddly enough, when the party finally meets up with a demon that can be sneak attacked, the ninja and the rogue finally go to town, and the most powerful encounter actually didn't kill anyone off.  Go figure.

Overall, the night felt very old-school, without me even really trying.  I blame Frog God Games.  Not for anything bad.  I blame them for giving me some monsters that were horribly deadly and fun to kill PCs with.

Also, the pre-gens that I downloaded from the Lone Wolf forums accidentally listed Merisiel of the Pathfinder Iconic characters as a male, which led one of the players to run Merisiel as a confused elf that was trying to raise enough gold to help "her" become what she knew she was suppose to be.

That, and our samurai was listed as "Unnamed Hero," so his player ran him as "The Unnamed Hero."

We had lots of fun, despite my fairly lame experiment.  In two weeks we should be having another one shot, but this one will be a sort of epilogue to the Shackled City game, so that should be fun.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Testing . . . one . . . two

I've had some one shots I've wanted to run lately, and I've had some games that I wanted to try my hand at running, to see if my initial opinions on them is on or if I'm full of it.  Unfortunately my really awesome FLGS, Armored Gopher, tends to be full up when it comes to scheduling one shots these days.

On top of this, I've got some sessions I'd like to run next year for Winter War  (Champaign-Urbana's awesome local con), and I'd love to run them to see what works, what doesn't, and how much time they take.

All of this has me thinking of how to get a chance to run these games.  I don't have room at my house for gaming, so this pushes me into virtual space.  With all of the talk from the D&D Next team and playtesting on Google+, I'm thinking of setting up some hangouts in the future for just such a purpose.

That having been said, I'm a little nervous at the prospect.  I've never run a game online, other than a few failed play by post games. The face to face aspect of Google+ makes it perfect for actually getting a feel for how long a session might run at a con, but it feels a bit weird to just jump into something cold, potentially with players I've never met, but honestly, is that any different than running a game at a con?

More musings as I get a better idea of what I want to do, but if anyone out there on the interwebs that reads this  (you both know who you are) has any thoughts on Google+ hangout gaming or related topics, I'm all eyes  (because . . . you know, I wouldn't be all ears . . . because I'm reading comments . . . you know what I mean).

Game Night: Rogue Trader--If It Weren't For the Nova Cannon (May 13th, 2012)

Our intrepid Rogue Trader crew started off the night in Footfall, a hive of scum and villainy, or something like that.  They have several options on the table, but the most compelling option to follow up on, and the one that was emphasized by the patriarch of the family, is the warp collapsing artifact that was lost to pirates.

On top of the endeavour that the group was going to finish up, they also have a couple of favors to call in whenever they might choose to do one.  They have a marker to call in with the Imperial Carrier Shoulders of the Emperor, as well as one with the Storm Wardens chapter of Space Marines.

Finally, the crew found out that not only is the artifact being held by former pirates that have become corrupted by Chaos, but that said former pirates now worship Khorne and have managed to down one of the Black Ships, with a load of psykers from the outlying new colonies in the Koronus Expanse.

Given that particular news, the group decided to spend a few days sending messages back and forth to the Shoulders of the Emperor, which also happened to send them a message warning the crew that the Shoulders of the Emperor had picked up a stow away from Lance Minor, that may or may not be important.

Before they could leave Footfall, they group received a package from the previously assumed dead Olorous Vastenhull, that package being a crate full of Battle Servitors armed with Hellguns and Chain axes.

In the end, the encounter wasn't particularly fatal for the crew.  The Explorator failed to take one over and reprogram it, the Arch Militant threw lots of grenades into the crate before all of the servitors could free themselves, and the ork charged over Pat the Ogryn to slaughter the servitors that survived the initial grenade assault.

Then Pat dumped the crate on the unsuspecting ships birthed on the level below the Lux Invictus, since he has a tendency to take orders a bit literally.

On the way to Hander's Gamble, the group called in the Shoulders of the Emperor, but while the Lux Invictus had a record uneventful trip through the Warp, the Shoulders of the Emperor got a bit . . . lost on the way.

As a GM, this brings up a few meta questions.  I know in Deathwatch it's pretty much assumed that Space Marine ships get where they are planning on going with minimal mishaps in the Warp.  Is this because Space Marine ships are that much better at navigating the Warp?  Or is it that the narrative just always assumes that Warp transit issues aren't the story you are telling?  If Space Marines have better Warp safety, does this translate to other Imperial ships?  Since a lot of Rogue Trader ships are retrofitted Imperial Navy, I'm assuming this isn't actually the case.

So I arrive at my own assumptions:

1.  Space Marines do have at least somewhat more reliable means of navigating the Warp without incident than anyone else in the Imperium.

2.  Other Imperial ships aren't on that much better footing than most Rogue Traders when it comes to navigating the Warp.

If I run into something that contradicts these assumptions, I shall adapt.

Arriving in system, and the NPC helmsman blew the check to initiate silent running and avoid detection.  This marks the fifth pilot that has been sent to the servitor labs.  Poor guy.

Anyway, this initiated a fight with two Infidel Class Chaos Raiders.  I wanted to get more used to ship to ship combat.  Interpersonal stuff in the system makes perfect sense to me and I don't have too many issues navigating it  (barring still trying to remember the ins and outs of psyker powers and navigator powers).

I reread the section on ship to ship combat between game sessions.  I still made a fairly slow, slogging mess of it.  When I read through ship to ship combat, nothing jumps out as problematic, and it seems fun.  When I run it, I always seem to run into stuff that I don't remember being in those rules.  I'm not sure if this is something I'm going to get better at, or if this is something that my brain just isn't quite fully digesting, but I hate having the game grind to a halt when I have to look something up.

Now, normally I'm the type of GM that would roll with something and make a ruling and look it up later, but ship to ship combat is enough of a different animal that I just don't feel comfortable making huge leaps of logic.  I'll keep reading and rereading, and hopefully eventually I'll be able to either remember or reasonably wing it soon, to the point to where ship to ship combat doesn't feel like a sudden break in the pacing of the game.

Overall, I think it was still fun, just a little too much down time looking stuff up.

On planet, the group deployed their multiple force fielded, heavy bolter armed buggy, and set out for the place on the planet where the artifact seems to be housed.  Chaos cultist ambush ensues, and between the astropath, the navigator, and the Arch Militant, both lines of ambushers were stunned and cut to ribbons, and before that last of them were wiped out, the Ork kicked up enough of a dust cloud that the bad guys never had a chance at targeting the buggy.

From the GM perspective, I need to get get used to looking at other 40K RPG profiles for inspiration.  I've played Deathwatch and run Rogue Trader, so without getting used to looking at some of the other RPG resources, that means my Chaos cultists tend to be either "base level chaos cultist canon fodder" or "Chaos Space Marines and Sorcerers that will probably kill your Rogue Trader PCs."

All the while, the Rogue Trader sat in his "Popemobile" bubble drinking tea and giving out minor suggestions.

By the end of the session, the group has found the fortress where the Khornites are holed up with the artifact.

Next session . . . Blood for the Blood God!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

You Ever Have One of Those Things That You Can't Put Your Finger On? (Kickstarter Burnout)

A few year ago, when I first saw a gaming project funded by Kickstarted, I thought it was a cool idea.  The game in question looked slick and professional, but was being made by one guy, so it seemed like it would be hard for him to get off the ground on his own.  It all made perfect sense, and seemed like a cool way to get the game development underway.

Now, a few years later, I can't put my finger on it, but Kickstarter gaming projects annoy me.  I don't blame anyone for using the resource.  It's not entirely rational on my part.  It is just that every time I see a new gaming project on Kickstart, it's just static.  It's white noise now.

I know there are good games on Kickstarter.  I know that are several that I'll likely check out when and if they get published.  But right now, it just seems like it's hard to sort out the "I'm serious, and I've got some good ideas and a good foundation, and I just need to know I have the funding," from "I woke up and thought this would be a good idea, money would be cool to have."

Please don't take this as any kind of jab at anyone using Kickstarter.  It's just the mental static that the word engenders in my brain now.  I can't even put in the effort to check out something on Kickstarter now because EVERYTHING is on Kickstarter.

It reminds me of the height of OGL games.  Some products were really cool and interesting, but eventually, too much used the exact same system, and too much stuff that used that system were  underwhelming, and it meant that anything that was OGL was a little tainted by the potential for generic crappiness.

This is probably the wave of the future.  I probably need to get over it.  But for now I don't think I'm going to do much in the way of backing anything, until I can back it by purchasing a completed product.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Nerd Rage, Counter Nerd Rage, and Zen Nerd Rage

Reading a lot of posts around the internet lately between RPGs and comics and pop culture nerdity have caused me to come to several conclusions.

1.  If you are going to every increasing lengths to bag on something you supposedly gave up on months or even years ago, perhaps you need to reconsider how valid your commentary is in the grand scheme of things.  It's got to be better focusing on stuff you like rather than stuff you gave up on months or years ago.

Now, all bets are off if someone asks your opinion.  It's still yours, and if someone asks for it, they are, indeed, asking for it.  But sharing it unbidden when you have nothing new to add to your previous reservoir of vitriol?  Not seeing the point.

2.  If you disagree with someone else's opinion on something, and they seem as if they might be willing to give said hobby up due to the hobby changing from their expectations, try not to tell them what they will or will not do.

Saying that someone "will be back" because they "ragequit" probably doesn't help much.  Telling a complete stranger on the internet that you know them better than themselves is pretty dismissive, and pretty inflammatory.  Sometimes a person that is very emotional about their hobby might say things they regret, but telling them their own mind is only likely to make them emphatically restate the same things.

They may change their mind, they may calm down, or they may not.  The only thing you really do know about them is that you aren't them and they aren't you.

3.  If you don't like something, but you were really passionate about it, don't be afraid to find something similar to fill that void.  I got pretty bummed about changes I disliked about DC Comics.  I swore off of comics, but then realized that some of Marvel's current stuff is actually pretty readable.

4.  If your real hobby is complaining about stuff, that's cool too.  Just don't get bent out of shape if someone actually points this out to you.

5.  Look at all of your posts and commentary in the "public" arena.  If you have about 50 comments that look almost exactly the same, perhaps it's time to realize that the world is not going to change by reiterating a similar comment yet one more time.

Game Night: Pathfinder One Shot (May 5th, 2012)

So, with the Thursday night Pathfinder game waiting to take its more final form going forward, May is One Shot Month.  Months ago I was going to make a One Shot based on the Northlands Saga adventures from Frog God Games, but I decided to tinker with some things instead and made something a big more "mine."

We used the 15th level pregens of the Pathfinder Iconics that appear in Hero Lab, so the group we had were 15th level versions of Amiri  (Barbarian), Ezren  (Wizard), Harsk  (Ranger), Kyra  (Cleric), and Valeros  (Fighter).

Basically we haven't gotten up to the lofty heights of power in Pathfinder for, well, ever, so the one shot was a chance to test drive some high level characters and see what shakes loose.  Using the pre-gens also allowed me to conduct a bit of an experiment, as the pre-gens have their equipment . . . i.e. no meta-thought about "hm, Viking themed adventure, what should we have for equipment?"

Since we had pre-gens, we had a lot of over the top, vaguely two dimensional role playing based on the background information on the sheets, which was actually quite amusing.  I think Harsk's player explained his hatred of giants and his desire for revenge for his brother as often as Psylocke explained what her psychic knife was in the 90s.  Also, Amiri does not conform to gender expectations . . . EVER!

The first encounter had to do with one of my favorite monsters from the Bestiary 3, the Akhlut, which is a killer whale dire wolf hybrid monster thing that likes to grow legs as it charges beaches.  Thus, the creature charged the beach, in a surprise round, almost killing  (as in past -con) the wizard in one charge, and seriously injuring the group.  It was a fun fight, basically ended by sniper ranger Harsk being able to ignore armor when he targets his shots.

Ezren learned to not stand near the edge of the boat.  Felt like a CR 14 encounter, so that was nice.

Inland, the party ran into a group of sneaky frost giants that the ranger saw coming rather easily  (cold environment + favored enemy giant), and I promptly forgot that you only get one action in the surprise round, but that's okay, because I forgot it for both sides.

While six advanced frost giants were suppose to be a CR 15 encounter, it didn't really feel much like the last encounter in overall challenge.  Perhaps due to the fact that the spellcasters had area effect spells and the like to disable or set on fire half the group.  Perhaps if I had ignored the fact that the giants would put themselves out instead of attacking, but I have a hard time picturing a frost giant not trying to put itself out if it's on fire.

Some bumps and bruises to some of the characters, but I will admit it burned some fairly powerful spells.

The cursed barrow mound was up next.  The massive CR 14 lightning room trap did not do quite as much as I would have expected, but traps are tricky.  They have the same CR of a monster, but you can't really do the same thing as you can with a monster of that CR.  It's been a quirky thing since traps were given a CR to put them in the old standardization matrix.

The next part of the barrow had a strange curse on it, which reacts badly with Pathfinder rules.  One area gets you lost if the lead person doesn't make their checks, then everyone wanders and takes wisdom damage from the looming shadows and endless passage ways.  However, what kind of magic is it, can it be dispelled, etc?

No matter how much time you spend making a dungeon seem interesting and unique, the more you stray from the standard pattern, the more you either have to hope your players don't use stuff like dispel or detect magic and just roll with "this is an accursed place," or you have to wing it when they do  (which makes it look like, no matter how much time you put into the place, you weren't prepared), or you have to spend even more time looking for similar effects in order to translate the picture into your head into the language of the game.

In fact, it's one of the thing that does get frustrating to me in Pathfinder  (and D&D of various types).  Once you have rules for 98% of all things that will happen in the game world, when you come up with something that falls in that 2%, the expectation  (not surprisingly) is that whatever happens in that 2% grey area also has the same kind of structured rules that govern what happens there and how it interacts with the game rules.

Anyway, let us be off.  Another "dread room," this time a room of restless spirits that aren't quite expressed as undead, that just whisper to the PCs to run and that the place isn't quite right, causing them to want to either not go forward, or be shaken and loose a level from the dread weight of the dead.  See above for frustration between atmospheric description and interaction with game rules.

The group, a bit creeped out and sans some Wisdom, comes face to face with the massive cairn linnorm that corrupts the barrow mound.

I will totally admit something here.  I really like linnorms.  I like them much better than "true" dragons these days.  Don't get me wrong.  Smaug is great and all.  However, there is something creepy and primal about Norse dragons that makes them less "color coded encounters" and more story elements.  It could just be me, or the general phase I'm in in my own head regarding fantasy.  Take my preference with a grain of salt.

The linnorm is a CR 18 encounter, epic for 15th level characters  (or at least for a party of four of them . . . the group has an extra).  Overall, it did seem pretty epic.  The barbarian went down (dead), the wizard appeared to go down  (negatives), and if the fight had gone one more round, at least three out of five of the PCs would have been toast from the creepy acid/negative energy breath weapon of the cairn linnorm.

By the way . . . how have I gone this long and never noticed that Earthquake  (the spell) seems to have a huge hole in it, in that it doesn't tell you how hard it is to get out of the rubble created?  Now, go back to the above  (98% of the game world rules detailed . . . yadda yadda).  I ruled that a creature with constant Freedom of Movement and gargantuan size could shrug it's way out pretty easily, but at the same time, I almost felt like I was being an arbitrary GM when I made the ruling.  I guess I need to reread the whole Earthquake thing and see if I was missing something.

The session was fun.  It wasn't quite as slow and plodding as I was afraid a 15th level one shot would be.  I know on the GM side of the screen I sped things up using an app on the tablet that let me throw all of those 12d8 rolls together pretty fast, so if you aren't using short cuts like this, perhaps things wouldn't be quite as fast, but it still seemed a bit quicker than other high level escapades I've been involved with in the past.

Quick summary:  fun night, high level more efficient than I thought, still running into quirky rules anal retentiveness in Pathfinder that makes an otherwise completely enjoyable session slightly less so, but only slightly  (in this case).

Game Night: DC Adventures, Warworld Wedding Reception (May 5th, 2012)

When last we left our intrepid heroes, Necromancer was dead, Marathon was married to Mongal, and the rest of the team was trying to figure out which character got the worse end of the dead.

Because I know it would be very easy to have Necromancer reenter the game without much of a thought about the fact that he was dead and now he isn't, I wanted to make sure and highlight the fact that he died last session.  Thus, we began with a special scene.

Necromancer was in a completely empty place, with the exception of the company of Death from the Endless.  She tells him that he risked his life pretty recklessly, and that people didn't see him as negatively has he thought they did, at least as Necromancer.  She then showed him what his friends were doing and thinking after he died.

I went around the table and asked each player what they were thinking and doing in the wake of Necromancer's death, so that he could see how his friends reacted to their demise.

Fahrenheit was surprised and wondering if he could claim Necromancer's stuff.

Myrmidon was devastated at his cousin's sacrifice.  He also wondered why Necromancer hadn't gone intangible  (ahem . . . since Necromancer was rebuilt after the origin altering mission without his intangibility).

Beorn was still at home watching Netflix because the rest of the team had forgotten to pick him up at the end of the last session.

Paradox and Marathon both felt partially responsible for Necromancer's passing, for varying reasons, but mainly boiling down to not laying down a specific plan on who was going to risk themselves and how they were going to survive.

Death then warned Necromancer that if he used his powers to return to "life" as an undead creature, he'd be more alone than he had ever been.  Necromancer acknowledged this, but returned anyway, and there was much being creeped out, with the group asking him if he was alright and that he looked a little . . . ragged?

Still, there was business to attend to, and Beorn was pried away from Netflix in order to have his fight with Mongul for control of Warworld.  Mongal confided in Marathon that the yellow lantern corps would not relinquish their goals just because Mongul was deposed, and that their best bet was to shut down the Subspace Interference Generator that was preventing FTL travel into Earth's solar system.

Marathon came up with a plan.  He and Beorn would attend the challenge  (obviously), and he would use his subtle TK abilities to aid Beorn in the fight from the stands.  Necromancer and Myrmidon would head to the generator in an obvious manner, causing a ruckus, while Fahrenheit and Paradox took the back way into the facility.  Amazingly, the group all followed the plan, and Fahrenheit added to it by asking if Mongal could demand an honor guard, thus drawing back even more yellow lanterns from the generator.

Team Distraction  (Necromancer and Myrmidon) ran into Romat Ru, and Myrmidon's stubborn refusal to be injured much started to make Romat Ru question his ability to cause great fear and to master his own.

Team Infiltration made it to the generator.  Fahrenheit masked their heat signatures and Paradox started evaluating the generator.  In the generator room, Lyssa Drak and Arkillo were standing guard, but Myrmidon made such a ruckus a few levels up that they left to investigate, and Fahrenheit welded the door shut to give Paradox more time to figure out how to shut down the generator.

Team Distraction did their job well, but Necromancer was ground down to paste . . . twice.  Rebuilt as an undead creature, he can resurrect almost immediately . . . but he actually has to die.  Both time he was crushed by Arkillo's giant spiked mace, he was only incapacitated.  Thankfully, eventually something would happen and Arkillo would further grind him to paste and let him resurrect.  Still, it was pretty amusing when he realized that if he was just incapacitated, he looked like a lifeless corpse all over again that can't do anything, even figure out how to die so he can resurrect.

Up top, Beorn and Marathon's subtle team attack on Mongul eventually wears him down  (Mongul just cannot seem to break hugs), and the challenge is complete, causing the yellow lanterns to get restless about who would be in charge of what.  One of them starts to confront Marathon over keeping to the plan of invading Earth, and he wallops them.

Eventually Team Infiltration gets the generator shut down, and arrives in time to see Myrmidon fall dying as well, and then Necromancer comes back to life, then brings Myrmidon back to life, then Necromancer dies again, and then comes back  (his ability to raise the dead now causing him to die, until he resurrects).

Up topside, before a full blow fight with a score of yellow lanterns can break out between Mongal, Marathon, and Beorn, LEGION shows up, having been hired by some concerned Green Lanterns that have not heard from the Lanterns of Sector 2814, and being warned off by the Guardians.  Lobo starts to mop up the lanterns, and Vril Dox strikes a deal with Marathon to secure the area for the cost of a yellow lantern ring.

The whole team catches Romat Ru  (who Myrmidon has shaken so badly that he loses his ability to use his ring), Arkillo, and Lyssa Drak in the middle, and Lyssa surrenders, putting herself at Paradox's mercy.  Before he can arrest her and turn her over to Earth authorities, LEGION takes possession of the yellow lantern prisoners so that they can charge Oa for the bounties on all of them.

Shortly after the LEGION mop up, Green Lantern corps members arrive and ask to discuss the entire situation, including the big hole in reality near Jupiter's moons where the JLA  (and the GLs) fell, and what to do next.

Before that, however, Mongal says goodbye to Marathon.  Marathon is taken aback, as he was already planning on trying to figure out how the marriage was going to work.  Mongal explains that she simply needs an heir, and that eventually she will bring the progeny back to see it's sire, and perhaps they will need more heirs, but until then, she will take Warworld elsewhere.  Marathon is more despondent that he initially thought he would be over this development, and Mongal tells him that he should also refrain from spawning any other heirs, as they might need to be eliminated.

Game Night--Rogue Trader (May 5th, 2012) or Wow, Am I Behind

My character profiles by request last weekend put me behind a bit in my blogging, and it's been a busy week, so I'm going to try and stick to the highlights to get back on track.  That having been said, those profiles were a lot of fun to write, and gave me some things to discuss with the players in my game, so it was completely worth the time and effort.  Hope the .3499 people that read this besides people in my games enjoyed them . . . ;)

Into the Void

The group started off flying into the narrow passage through the warp that leads to Footfall, a rather seedy little planet that is usually the main stop off point in the Koronus Expanse.  Not a nice place, almost a hive of scum and villainy, from a certain point of view.

There is also a big Adpetus Mechanicus station in the system to study the system's star, and that was the first point of interest for the group.  Our intrepid Rogue Trader talked to the Adeptus Mechanicus about refitting the raider hulk that the group pulled out of the warp, and the Magos wanted to view the Lux Invictus, it being a Reliquary of Mars and all.

This led to our Explorator having to give a report of how the ship is being kept up, and the Explorator trying to keep the visitors from noticing any of the signs of Ork habitation.  He also had to explain the comments made by his ladder climbing underling, Engineseer Galt.  In order to file his report, he basically stole Galt's notes and switched the proper names involved in the report.

On Footfall itself, the party spread out, trying to find some stuff to buy, and set up a meeting with their Stryxis contact through a rogue psyker that acts as a networking service for the less savory elements on Footfall.  While waiting, an Imperial Warship and a Rak'gol ship crashed into one of the planetoids lashed together in Footfall's structure.

The group, in order to maintain goodwill, sprung into action evacuation civilians, blowing up bridges to keep the Rak'gol from spreading from their ship, and securing the area.  This was done using the system in the Rogue Trader book that measures successes on longer term efforts.  This works fine.

Then the group decided to help out the Storm Warden Space Marines fighting the Rak'gols, because, hey, who doesn't want a Space Marine chapter to owe you a solid?

I had already decided to use the "simple" version of mass combat in the rules, which resolves a lot like the extended tasks system  (in other words, finishing the objective requires X number of successes, and your number of successes on a relevant check counts towards this, except in mass combat, you take wounds if you were unsuccessful).

Needless to say, our crew could justify a lot of good skills for the fight, and not a single member of the crew was injured in mass combat with a ship full of some of the most feared Xenos in the Koronus Expanse.  I need to review to make sure I didn't miss something, but this just didn't sit right with me.  I'm perfectly happy with how everything unfolded from the standpoint of the story, as the point wasn't to try and kill anyone on the crew, but a few bumps and bruises, or a least some way to model the Rak'gol's fear rating would have been nice.

At first blush it almost reminds me of Savage Worlds Deluxe's mass combat, except in that system, you have to score a really impressive success before you don't take any wounds in a "round" of combat.  In other words, you get your successes to count, but unless you succeed spectacularly, you are still going to be injured.

At any rate, the Space Marines were aided, the Rak'gol's were mopped up, and the meeting with the Stryxis went off.  The Stryxis tells the group that he was sure they would turn on the Eldar, and that he was amazed that they didn't try to double cross them, then laughed that his duplicity against the Eldar still caused the Eldar demise, and reiterated his hatred of Eldar.

He then dropped the rumor that the planet with the artifact that they are looking for, with the Chaos worshiping raiders, might also have a downed Black Ship that was visiting a far colonial settlement in the Koronus Expanse.

Oh, and I almost forgot . . . our Arch Militant stole Sacris Claymores off a few dead Space Marines so that the Ogryn and the Ork could have really big swords.  Made worse only by the fact that the Ork promptly chopped the claymore up to add more spikes to his claw.

There are a metric ton of leads for the group to follow up on, and they have some ongoing endeavours running in the background, so it should be fun to see where this goes from here.