Thursday, June 19, 2014

GenCon Mod: Big League Chew

Okay, so I didn't post during my vacation.

Cut me some slack.  i was totally burned out from work and had quite a bit to get done on my vacation.  Relaxing stuff.  Game-prep stuff.  Costuming stuff.

...okay, I spent most of it playing video games, but I did get a lot done for my GenCon Module, including got a first attempted run through.  It was educational.  It was enlightening.

It was far too long for a Convention Module.

But that's okay, because I learned a lot in my first run through of the module.  I learned where some fat could be trimmed, and what was important and what wasn't.  I learned that there were some potential plot threads that I could tie together to make the story more cohesive, and what plot threads needed to be cut for fear of the adventure going horrifically off the rails.  I learned that the encounters I had made for the less-combative characters were token encounters; there to make them feel useful instead of actually contributing to the progression of the story.

And I learned that my signature encounter, the centerpiece for my module, is a giant clunky beast that takes a while to run.

I set aside 5 hours to run the module; from 1 to 6pm last Saturday.  We started at about 20 past; not too bad, but then we hit my first of many bogs.  You know; places where the story bogs down?  The intro "speeches" were way too long, and I realize after the fact that I gave away too much at the beginning.  Moving some of the discovery to the middle or even the very end of the module would work out much better, I think.

The investigation part of the module needs to be more than just an excuse for folks to use Streetwise, Social checks, and Knowledge skills.  It didn't really do a good job of moving the plot line along.  It either needs to contribute to the advancement of the story, or it needs to be gone.  Some plot elements got fleshed out better, a couple got dropped.

The showcase encounter got rolling at...3:30?  And we got through 5 rounds of combat before 6pm hit and we lost a player.  That's a lot longer than I want it to be, especially considering what comes after. 

I'm wondering if some of the slow down is the interface; Roll20.  There are some pretty involved changes to the map that take some time to complete, and they occur every round.  Maybe at the table things will go a little smoother.

This simply means I need to get the map for the encounter printed out, and start testing live and in person.  That could be tricky based on the inability to nail down 5 people locally long enough to play the damn game.


Maybe I'll keep running it online and just get more familiar with the module, and practice and improved familiarity with the flow of the module will reduce the delays.

As a final note; airfare has been purchased.  Now it's more official, I'll be at GenCon 2014.

And there will be much fun to be had.


  1. I've been giving this some thought since the playtest. Other that what we spoke about after we wrapped up. I walked away thinking the encounter belonged more in Saga than EotE.

    I think the showcase encounter per round changes may be unnecessary. With the narrative, not strategic, focus of the system, the only time the hazards really came into effect were either to limit action (not going through the hazard) or to do damage due to a negative result on the dice. Focus on this latter part.

    Use the terrain and hazards for an excuse for setback dice for various skills, or even to require a roll to try to circumvent the hazard. As happened in the game, Despair, or your opponents Triumph, means you fell into a hazard.

    You're working too hard. Let the dice do that for you. :)

    1. Actually that's not too bad an idea...

      If I do that, do you think the damage for the hazards should stay the same, or decrease? Or even increase (I'll need some pretty compeling arguments for that one...)


    2. I'm also going to playtest turning a pass into an Assisted check rather than a Competative check. Might work better just to speed up the rolls. I may also say the pass is in the air between player turns if the pass is done at Medium range (or even Long range...its possible ;D ).

    3. I'm uncertain what the damage/effect was, so it's hard for me to say.

      That said, it would certainly be reasonable to blame all kinds of bad dice effects on the hazards "damage". Upgrading difficulties, or setback dice until condition is removed is certainly reasonable.

    4. Flame Jets deal 5 Fire damage (Breach 1, Burn 5). Acid pools deal 3 Acid (Breach 1, lasts for 3 rounds unless brushed off). Falling from the upper catwalks deals damage based on how far the person falls.

      I'm now trying to think mechanically how the flame jets can go off. If I reserve them for "Despair/Triumph" uses only, the unfortunate person will need to be somewhat near the jets for it to be a plausible setback. Unless we rule that the result is someone else on that team near a jet takes a hit too.

      If someone is just carrying the ball through the catwalks, there's no mechanizm for the jets to fire and impede their process. Sure, the jets are a hazard, but they're a form of crowd control too. Setting them to auto removes that to a major degree.