21 January 2008

Kapcon/Games on demand - Red Box Hack

This choice came up after someone - Aaron, I think - requested 'the game with the least emotional depth'. The winnowing of choices left it up, so four brave adventurers headed off to the fire caves.

My dungeon had a sketchy plot about two rival groups of imps in the caves with a delicate alliance, which the adventurers totally ignored. Instead they charged in and murdered basically everything. Once again, the quirky character types and combat system were well-received and we had a great time.

I used more arenas and maneuvering this game, which added a lot to the tactical side of things. We did have a general tendency on the players' part to hold their characters back using show off and assist moves for too long... this meant that some of the fights became a waiting game until one side went for it, with many one-hit kills (both PCs and monsters) as a side effect. Note for Eric: do you intend that there is no real way to boost up your defense to get away from a really mean attack? The players were concerned (mainly when I one-shotted their warrior who was sitting on 15 or so awesome tokens, I think) that they had no defensive option in that case. There's something in that, but I had a feeling that this might be intentional on your part... can you let me know which it is?

Their first fight - a giant wolverine - was a walkover, partly because I forgot to include the 10 mook wolverines I had written in... too bad, I suppose. Then they charged right in to the lava imp area and began showing off and assisting while the imps did some quick attacks and so forth. The party were quite cocky about the lava imp shaman and his 10 minions until the third round, when a bunch of reinforcements turned up. The imps played it cautious as the party charged and began fighting, so they were really in the thick of it when the second wave of reinforcements came in. The warrior and bear got knocked out, and the magus was preparing for a final stand, when the mystic used 'commanding voice' to make the imp chief sound the retreat. As the imps pulled back, they ran back to town with the wounded. The bear failed both survival rolls, and died, to be replaced by a longrunner. Two of the monster lava imps remained.

On returning to the cave, they explored the other entrance, and fairly annihilated the village of the steam imps. They found a necromancer (NPC) who had managed to get in, to get one of the treasures himself, and the mystic used commanding voice to make him unsummon his 'giant thing made of imp bones'. Then they killed him, only realising their mistake when I pointed out that they never defeated the bone thing and thus missed out on 40xp. Haha!

There wasn't much time left, but they quickly went back to the lava imp village and finished off the rest of them, just in time for the round to end.

Other notes for Eric:
- I think some more limitations on cross-class talents are in order... in this game, the player of the longrunner urged everyone to take 'Do two things at once (if one is running)', which made them an unstoppable parade of destruction. Maybe like niche protection: you can't have a cross-class talent if someone in the party already has it?
- Maybe add another combat action: 'Cunning plan: use your gear, the terrain, etc to gain some advantage in the combat. E.g. "I use my specialist equipment: bombs to turn the terrain into hazardous!"' Really, I just want a placeholder (and suggested mechanic maybe) for 'something else not directly about damage/movement/awesome tokens'. At the moment, there can be a temptation to just stick to the listed combat actions, because they are listed as 'the things you can do'. Adding one that encourages creative crazy tactics (as seen in both my games so far) would be cool.
- I don't think you need all that stuff about connections between arenas, beyond a little paragraph about how they might be one-way or ranged only or require a roll or something. Categorizing them as you have doesn't seem to add much.
- Some of the talents are way, way more effective than others. Is that a choice or are you still balancing them. Of particular note: the longrunner's two things at once if one is running (do anything then move) compared to warrior's charger (move then get an attack).


aoc said...

Thanks Mike for guiding us through the game. I was playing the bear (deceased) and the long runner. One positive aspect of the game is that even starting new I did not feel majorly disadvantaged compared to the other players. Coming back I had a better feel for the game and abused it to some degree - quick show-off fast kill and spreading the most over-powered specialities possible around. As I consider this an excellent beer (or wine) and pretzels game this could have been counter-acted by getting the players mildly drunk - not an option at Kapcon but something to be explored at another occasion.

The Gamester At Large said...

Well, if you check out the thread on Story Games, the author (Eric Provost) quickly provided ways to counteract the general uptake of that move and act talent (Check it out here)

To be honest, I don't think that was abusive... maybe sacrificing a bit of fun for combat effectiveness, though.

Also, I think that the general feel of the group was enthusiastic enough that not having anything to drink did not hold us back.