Thursday, October 8, 2015

EOW 2015 Recap (with helpful GM notes) Part One

Most of my posts are gaming recaps, and overwhelmingly they get little to no feedback or comments.  This leads me to suspect that most readers are not that interested in reading about how someone else's game went.  That's cool.

But last weekend was the three-day End of the World mini-convention, and one of the few times I get to be a player, not to mention GM a genre I'm not running now, so I thought it might be interesting to look at less of what we did as a gaming session, and more of what worked and didn't work from a GMing perspective.  I'll do this in three parts, just to make it easier to read and digest.

For those who don't know, at each session we use a home-grown generic ruleset based loosely on the old FASA Star Trek system, altered to suit each session's genre.

Session One
Setting: Morrow Project (80's Post-Apocalyptic)
What Went Right: GMing on the fly
What Could Use Work: Fantasy vs. Physics

So the basic concept is that, in this go-round of the "gonna be frozen in the present so we can fight in the unknown post-apoc America" Morrow Project, the guys are going to have exo-skeleton combat suits to fight with, because that's pretty cool.

Except we spend the first "act" of the session playing the research and development guys for Morrow Project, which is kind of weird in and of itself, but made more complicated because of the tension between guys who are sort of "screw realism and let's build Iron Man" and the "Morrow Project is a realistic RPG setting and Physics happens" people.  Here's an example of a typical dialogue from the first part of the session.

Player One: Let's mount double-barreled heavy machine guns on the forearms of the suit!
Player Two: Why?
Player One: What do you mean "why?"  Because it's cool!
Player Two: No, why double barreled?
Player One: Twice as many bullets!
Player Two: There's no point.  Actually, the whole thing is stupid.  A heavy machine gun will use up 600 bullets a second.  Are you going to mount two, much less one ammo drum on the forearm as well?  That'll look ridiculous.
Player One: Fine, then let's mount twin mortars on the back!
Player Two: A mortar?  I was in the army as an artillery personnel.  Do you know how much kickback a mortar causes?  And how do you plan on loading the mortar?  Those are drop-in rounds.
Player Three (Me): Why don't we just have a shoulder mounted railgun and when it fires spikes shoot out of the feet and anchor the suit to the ground.  And then we can call it a Glitterboy.
(Complete silence because most of EOW lives in an RPG Time Capsule and has never heard of Rifts.)

Now what went right happened in Act Two, set 150 years in the future.  The players, now wielding new PC's, wake up on a critically damaged space station over the post-nuke earth.  The GM wanted the players to realize the situation was critical, abandon the station in an escape pod with their suits, land on the Earth, and fight aliens.  Instead, the PC's glommed onto the fact that there were other cryogenically frozen survivors on the station and launched a desperate attempt to keep the station together until everyone could be rescued.  Which was awesome and fun and had lots of cool heroism and science.  But all of it was pulled out of the GM's butt.  Points to him, since we didn't even know this and were thinking what a great job he was doing, especially considering how the first half went.

Ironically, the GM had a sudden affliction of laryngitis at the end of Act Two, and couldn't go on to run the combat in the final act.  So at least it ended on a high note.

Next up, my own session!

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