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View Full Version : My 2nd job as a GM, tell me what you think.



IvinesK
29 July 2002, 06:46 AM
Okay, I did another practice session last night and I figured why don't I share my story with you guys so you guys can tell me how I did. This is my 2nd setup I've done. The 1st 1 is in a thread called "My 1st job as a GM, Tell me what you think." Feel free to look that one up too, it's got a pretty interesting story, at least I think so. So without further ado, here is my second job as a GM, tell me what you think:

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Star Wars: Practice Session #2 – Cantina Capture

After many a day of searching, you found him. He was in the local cantina. The Rodian you were hired to capture. His name was Zoenoff.

As you stand there in the doorway of the cantina you can see him sitting there drinking at his private table in the corner of the room. You can tell there’s a reason he’s wanted in many systems. Everybody else in the cantina wasn’t even breathing. They lay scattered upon the floor, some in pieces. Multicolored blood is on the walls and it smells terrible. Some tables are turned over, others broken entirely in half or gone. There are seemingly hundreds of blaster holes in the walls.

You see the Rodian stand up with his back facing you. You hear him say in a scraggly voice “So, you’ve come for me then? Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not gonna let that happen so easily. These poor fools were after me too when they saw me and my beautiful portrait on the wall over there. I'm worth a pretty penny don't you think? Is that how much you’re getting paid for me? Oh well. It doesn’t matter, since you won’t live long enough to get paid…” He then drops his drink to the floor and reaches for something out of his pocket. He then continues, “You see this? It’s a thermal detonator. It’ll make this far more interesting…”

The Fight begins…

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Cantina Description: The cantina is about 20 m. x 40 m. There’s a table about every 4 m. At least there was. Some are turned over, with blaster holes blitzed across them. Some are no longer there, probably from an explosion. Across the cantina in the northeastern corner is Zoenoff’s private table. Next to that is the bar that stretches across the rest of the wall. The Players are at the entrance to the cantina in the center of the southern wall; Zoenoff is at his private table, with his back turned to the players with a drink in his hands.

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GM Notes: The tables that are turned over will provide ½ cover for one person, take up 2 m., and have a hardness of 10 and damage reduction 5 before they become unusable. Other tables can be turned over as a move-equivalent action, otherwise they only provide ¼ cover and are otherwise the same. However, some tables have already been shot up pretty bad and may not hold up much longer; they only provide half of the afore-mentioned hardness and damage reduction. The bar offers ¾ cover and has a hardness of 20 and damage reduction 5 for every 2 m. of it.

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Zoenoff, Rodian Male, Soldier (6th lvl):
Init +8; Defense 19; Spd 10 m; VP/WP 45/16; DR 4 (Combat Jumpsuit MC+1) Atk +8/+3 Melee (2d6+2, Vibroblade; 1d3+2, Unarmed), +10/+5 Ranged (3d8/DC 15 stun, Heavy Blaster Pistol; 3d8/DC 15 stun, Light Repeating Blaster, 8d6+6 Thermal Detonator); SQ Species Traits; SV Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +3; SZ M; FP/DSP 6/12; Rep +5 (infamy); Str 15. Dex 18, Con 16, Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 10. Equipment: Combat Jumpsuit (MC +1), Heavy Blaster Pistol, Light Repeating Blaster,Thermal Detonator, & Vibroblade. Skills: Ranks Only – Computer Use +2, Demolitions +3, Intimidate +4, Pilot +2, Profession (Killer) +4, & Treat Injury +3. Feats: Armor Proficiency (light & medium), Dodge, Point Blank Shot, Improved Initiative, Infamy, & Weapon Group Proficiency (blaster pistols, blaster rifles, heavy weapons, simple weapons, & vibro weapons).

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So, using that setup, here's how it went: Zoenoff went first (I cheated initiative to do this), I had him set the timer to the thermal detonator for a full 3 rounds and throw it to the center of the cantina. He then dives behind the bar for cover. In this game we had 2 players: Both 2nd level; 1 Zabrak Jedi Guardian, the other a Kel Dor Soldier. They took their time, firing a few shots and going from table to table trying to get closer to the green rodian. However, with every attack from the villian the tables were eventually destroyed. After 3 rounds the Jedi Guardian had gotten close enought to throw a frag grenade behind the bar. It exploded injuring Zoenoff, but not by much (He passed his saving throw). However, half the bar was destroyed. He'd effectively lost most his cover. It was at this moment that I had the thermal detonator explode. My brother, who was playing the Kel Dor Soldier, got caught in the blast. He successfully passed his saving throw, but not before knocking him down to his wound points. He became fatigued at this point. My friend who was playing the Zabrak Jedi Guardian, was barely 2 m. out of the blast radius. He drew his lightsaber and closed into melee with the Rodian going through the big gaping hole that used to be part of the bar. I had Zoenoff drop his light repeating blaster and pull out his vibroblade. He injured the Jedi on both attacks, getting rid of half his vitality points. The Kel Dor Soldier, still concious, and unfortunately out of ammo (he rolled a 1 on an attack role) then ran at the bar (I later learned he couldn't do this due to the fatigue, but I let it go, because it was my mistake. Don't worry, I'll remember it next time) He got up behind the Rodian but couldn't attack due to his run being a full round action. At this point the Jedi Padawan attacked with his lightsaber and hit. Bypassing the damage reduction he did plenty of damage. Enough to put Zoenoff into his wound points. He passed his fortitude save and remained concious albeit with penalties. At this, the Rodian attacked the Jedi and dropped him into unconciousness. Then my brother, the Kel Dor Soldier, attacked the Rodian with a grapple. He did it successfully and caused damage to the Rodian. The Rodian did the same and failed. The Kel Dor released the grapple and took an attack of opportunity (which missed) to grab the Rodian's dropped light repeating blaster. The Rodian still using his vibroblade, and noticing that his opponent had his blaster, fled for a back door. This provoked an attack of opportunity. The Kel Dor used the blaster and bashed the Rodian on the head. The Rodian made a fortitude check, passed, and fled through the door, closing and locking it behind him, albeit bleeding from the head. This ended the adventure. The players licked their wounds, took the 500 experience I give for practice sessions, and leveled up to 3rd level.

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I for one think this was a very good practice session, for both the players and myself. I can also use it later to implement Zoenoff in a later game. So, tell me what you think...

Lord Diggori
29 July 2002, 09:22 AM
Impressive...most impressive.

I notice that you have a real flair for the flavor text in setting the scene. This is very important to me and over looked by too many an "experienced" GM. 85% of being a good GM is being the PC's five senses IMHO.

The thermal detonator counting down was a nice tension-builder device I thought. I bet you even had 3 lights lit on it and announced each one going out as the rounds passed. B)

I think the bad guy was a little high leveld for two 2nd level PCs but if you wanted his get-away than it works well. I dont know you're take on fudging rolls but I dont do it and would be reluctant myself to put a villain that high against them. Still they must've been rolling pretty good cause they survived.

Yet again i'm impressed.

Ravager_of_worlds
29 July 2002, 09:32 AM
a few errors were made according to rules- IMHO

the largest tactical error was the failed AoO to grab the light repeating weapon. You can only take an AoO if someone goes past or through your threat range if said character (you) are physically armed. First, the Kel Dor soldier can only do an AoO unarmed if he has Martial Arts feat- second, it would just be an attack against the rodian, not substituted to pick up the repeating blaster. The other AoO error is the RCR claims that ranged weapons cannot make AoO. If someone else can quote the book (i don't have it at work) then please say something- this has tempted me as a GM to have my squads of stormtroopers send forth hails of blaster fire when the heroes skedaddle.

however... just as an aesthetic judgement- your encounter lasted what, 1 hour real time? This is not, um, necessarily a fully fleshed scenario, but rather an encounter. Did you tie the story from the 1st sample mission? Or was this just a test of the SW combat system? If they leveled to 3rd, then this would be "truth" in game terms, it actually "happened". Which means- the characters were more or less coerced into the combat situation, let alone coerced by the plot to 'take the job'. Starting "In Media Res" is fine and well for Homer, but if you do it all the time, you're players will feel railroaded.

Each full Scenario does not have to be completed in each game session- sometimes scenarios can run into the 4-10 sessions (but this gets real tough on the characters becuase everyone likes change).

This may sound like I'm "criticizing" you, but I'm trying to "critique" you based on the information.

The Encounter seems well thought out in terms of rules for the most part.

I don't understand why the Thermal D exploded however- did you roll a percentile (like 50%) to see if any other explosives were set off? The Thermal D we see in the film looks pretty sturdy and the only way i know to set one off is pull the trigger or hit the deadman switch.

IvinesK
29 July 2002, 10:20 AM
Lord Diggori, thanks for posting, I really liked the comments you made, specifically the "flair" part. Before I do all my adventures, practice sessions, etc., I write them out 1st to make sure I have it all set up. That's why you guys have the pleasure to see the adventure in it's entirety.

As for you, Ravager of Worlds, I know what you mean by critique and although it did sound a little harsh, I thank you for your advice. However, I will have to say something about the AoO. 1st off, the gun was in the Rodian's square (not to mention the Kel Dor grappled him which would imply that he's in the Rodian's square), which is why he got the AoO. Second, the book says you can make an AoO with a melee attack. That's what he did, I just happened to mention he used the butt of the gun to add more flare (this IMO can be done using it as a club at a -4 penalty). But I can see where you're coming from and that is why your advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

proxima centauri
29 July 2002, 11:20 AM
As previously written by IvinesK
At this, the Rodian attacked the Jedi and dropped him into unconciousness. Then my brother, the Kel Dor Soldier, attacked the Rodian with a grapple. He did it successfully and caused damage to the Rodian. The Rodian did the same and failed. The Kel Dor released the grapple and took an attack of opportunity (which missed) to grab the Rodian's dropped light repeating blaster.


Like previously stated, there was no business using an AoO there. The Rodian was not moving out of the threatened area, nor was he moving through or within a threatened area and he was certainly not performing an action that distracted him from defending himself. Failing a save is not "performing an action". If your PC wanted to grab the blaster, let him do... the next round or as part of an action in the current round... which would actually provoke an AoO in favor of the Rodian because then the PC would be performing an action that distracted him from defending himself. At least, that's what I would rule out, see "Pick up an item" in table 8-2 (p. 152) of RCR.

Again, two words:

Challenge rating.

This I would consider a very extreme encounter and should be used in a climatic scene, which it was, so good for you. But as also previously stated, to make it more believeable to your PC, you should have these kind of encounters only at the end of a session and maybe not every session so that the PC feel the danger rising. Also, it's always nice to have the PCs already worn out and low in vitality when they face the big villain :)

Be carefull with the challenges, a 4th level character would have been more of a fair challenge to them, espescially since they were only 2 2nd level PCs. Of course, if you wanted your villain to be able to survive, the 6th level NPC is defendable.

As for XPs, in my opinion, this is better balanced and more "fair", as compared to the 1st session you had.

All in all, it is a great combat setting, although maybe a bit short for a RPG session, and I also liked your intro, very cinematic!

proxima centauri
29 July 2002, 04:37 PM
Quoted from IvinesK's comment
However, I will have to say something about the AoO. 1st off, the gun was in the Rodian's square (not to mention the Kel Dor grappled him which would imply that he's in the Rodian's square), which is why he got the AoO.

I do not see how this makes the AoO valid. Nowhere in the section about Attacks of Opportunity, p. 152 table 8-2 of the Revised Core Rulebook can I find a rule that justifies the AoO in the described combat situation. This could be that the action you describe is not really what happened or that I don't understand how the combat happened, which is quite possible, or you're using a different set of house rules. In any case,it's fine with me, I just would rule differently in my own game. As always, just keep consistancy in your rules so the players aren't confused. AoO should be used only in very specific course of actions as they are a powerful instrument, granting an extra attack.

And by the way, starting a grapple does provoke an attack of opportunity.

And as for using the AoO for other things than to attack the character that provoked it would nullify the AoO in my opinion.

As always, just my opinion.

Tony J Case, Super Genius
29 July 2002, 04:56 PM
Well, my first observation is that you've got some wuss characters. My players would have been dealing with the Thermal Detonator right off the bat instead of letting go off on them like they did. And your players let the bad guy get away because of a locked door? Man, my crew would have be tearing the door from its hinges and chasing this puppy to the ground.

But that's not an evaluation of your GM style, is it?

I'm not that fit to judge if you got the mechanics of the game right - I dont do D20. So the only thing that caught my eye was the high experience point reward for what amounts to a bit encounter. I know that this is all a shake down 'get to know the game' cruise, but it still seems high.

I only mention this because by doing so, you're shortening the shelf life of your characters. It might be cool to get them bumped up in power at the start, but once they start chewing up every bad guy you throw at them and the game holds no challenge, you'll have regretted it.

IvinesK
29 July 2002, 10:39 PM
Okay, for you Proxima Centauri, as you know, I am a new GM, I'm not afraid to admit that, so here's my explanation: The reason the Rodian got the AoO against the Kel Dor was because the Kel Dor moved into his square to grab the gun. That, I believe, is in the book. It says if you move into or through an enemy's threat range, they get an AoO on you. He wasn't necessarily threatening (IMO) because he was unarmed. That's why the Rodian got the AoO. Also, my brother agreed with me on the AoO, and although he doesn't run a SWRPG like you and me, he has had experience as a GM using d20 rules (i.e. D&D: 3rd Edition, Forgotten Realms Setting comes to mind). Also, your explanation is almost confusing to me (In other words, try not to confuse me in the future). Oh yeah, and I knew about the AoO on an attempted grapple (it failed and was in favor of the Kel Dor).

As for you Mr. Tony J. Case, I don't appreciate you dissing my PCs. They are very respectable PCs, and could beat up your PCs any day of the week (j/k). For your information they did try to deal with the Thermal Detonator. The Zabrak Jedi Guardian got a few meters from it then decided he'd take the real threat (The megalomoniacal Rodian) instead. Heck he even thought about using Move Object to throw it at the Rodian (why he decided not to, I don't know). As for the Kel Dor Soldier, he was trying to get rid of it when it exploded... Poor guy.
Anyways, the reason they didn't rip the door off it's hinges like your Players probably would, is because of me. Yes, that's right, ME. I ended the Practice Session right there for the safety of the NPC for future plans. Also about experience, I always give 500 XP to each PC in a Practice Session. Because in a PS the PCs learn new things and do new things. It's a way I have the players unwind from a game that really counts, etc. and still get XP. Besides, it's what I usually do when the PCs want a game in a hurry (which happens frequently and was what it was in this case).

As usual though, Thanks for the info and opinions! :D

IvinesK
29 July 2002, 10:47 PM
Oh by the way, Proxima Centauri, I believe you're wrong. It's Alpha Centauri that's the closest star to our sun...

proxima centauri
30 July 2002, 09:04 AM
Ah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I finally understood what you meant:



The Kel Dor released the grapple and took an attack of opportunity (which missed) to grab the Rodian's dropped light repeating blaster.


If I understand correctly, the Kel-Dor stopped the grapple, and tried to pick up the blaster, which provoked an AoO. The rodian missed his AoO.

If that is right, then the AoO was appropriate but not because he entered the rodian's square but because he attempted to pick up an object. Remember, a 2-meter step does NOT provoke an AoO.

When I first read your post, I understood that the Kel Dor was the one attacking using an AoO provoked by the Rodian, and this is why I did not understand what was provoking it. All in all a misunderstanding. You were the one confusing me, please don't do it again! :D

Ah, and for your information, proxima centauri is indeed the closest star to our sun. When I say something, it's not out of my head, I verify what I say:

http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/extra/nearest.html

Cheers

Ravager_of_worlds
30 July 2002, 01:42 PM
ah, i take back my AoO critique. i finally too understand what you meant. it is worded strangely.

however, my previous critique stands as an encounter rather than a scenario. if your group likes this kind of campaign of one shots and setups, fine, do what your group likes... but i think you will be losing out on a lot of things possible for a GM with a total, cohesive, over arcing story. best of luck.

Tony J Case, Super Genius
30 July 2002, 11:35 PM
Originally posted by IvinesK
As for you Mr. Tony J. Case, I don't appreciate you dissing my PCs. They are very respectable PCs, and could beat up your PCs any day of the week (j/k).


Oh, you wanna fight me? Fine - it's on like Donkey Kong!

Naw, that just means that I have to convert my characters into teh D20 system. That's far too much work. I'll just be content to taunt you a second time. . . .

(This message subtitled for the humor imparied)

So - do you have plans for a longer and more in-depth story, or are you just going to keep it in the shorter pratice mode for the time being?

IvinesK
31 July 2002, 12:00 PM
Well, I'm glad that's through with. Now, how about the rest the scene?

Oh and as for the Proxima vs. Alpha thing, Okay, so you're right, I think...