Thursday, October 17, 2013

End of the World 2013, Day Two

Continuing my coverage of the 2013 End of the World gaming weekend...

The second scenario also took place in the ongoing campaign's “Traveller” universe, but in a very different way. In this game, the king of a Tech 1 world of medieval culture is brought into the Empire of Man. The king arranges to have eight of his elderly and loyal royal knights retrofitted as cyborgs, a process taking about 18 months. When the knights return, having been restored to youthful vigor, they discover the king dead, his son imprisoned, and usurper aspiring to the throne. This, obviously, can not stand.

One of the big factors in the system that is used at EOW is first that it is heavily geared towards shooting combat (mostly firearms) rather than melee combat, and second that the game is so lethal.  You can die in one hit.  Not only that but if you are shot, you're likely to die or at least be no longer able to fight.  That's the "realism" of the system, and it has a big factor on how quick people are to pull a gun in a bar fight or kick a door in and start shooting everything in sight.

This game removed both of those qualities.  It used the melee system I helped introduce a couple of years ago, and the PC's cyborg bodies could be rendered inert as easily as a non-cyborg PC, but the caveat was they could come back in a couple of hours.  Since the PC's were on a tight timetable to rescue the prince before the evil Duke could claim the throne, sitting out a scene or two of play was a palpable hit.

The judge also went all out on props: miniatures, detailed maps of a castle and its keep, interesting PC backgrounds, etc.  What's more impressive is he pulled it all together in a matter of weeks, since the judge who was supposed to be running the second day's session bailed at the last minute.  The game was full of cinematic swashbuckling and loads of flashing blades, all of which was unusual for this system and setting.

Final note: in the end, the group failed, so to speak.  After killing the major bad guy (who was only the usurper's lieutenant) and freeing the prince, the prince was killed by a minor flunkie while the group struggled to lower the drawbridge and allow the loyalist troops to make their way into the castle.  The good guys won, but the prince is now dead as well, and the usurper is still poised to claim the throne.  Stopping him and finding someone else to rule could have made for a great campaign.

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