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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 163 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Grey Ranks] A little thing called War  (Read 9791 times)
Travis Farber
Member

Posts: 29


« on: June 17, 2007, 06:35:31 AM »

So, I have had the great opportunity to read through and play Grey Ranks.  This is the first of three sessions.

To give a little background to the preperation part of the game, I read through the book completely 2 times and then went back and reread a couple of sections that I did not feel fully confident with.  At 7:30 PM we sat down and started character creation.  I was the only person in the group that had read the rules.  I was able to explain the book, we were able to create characters, and we were able to finish the first three chapters by 10:00 PM.

We have 4 players,
Marek Darda(Zodiak) - Played by Rob
Age: 15
District: City Center
Thing they hold dear: City - Symbol: Family House
Reputation 1: Immature - Experienced
Reputation 2: Careless - Careful

Jeremi Malento(Lot) - Played by Chris
Age: 15
District: Old Town
Thing they hold dear: Family - Symbol:  Father
Reputation 1: Unlucky - Lucky
Reputation 2: Timid - Tough

Adam Kunicki(Rust) - Played by Travis
Age: 17
District: Old Town
Thing they hold dear: First Love - Symbol:  Aleksandra
Reputation 1: Clumsy - Graceful
Reputation 2: Selfish - Resourceful

Zenon Chmurzanka(Skaut)
Age: 16
District: Wola
Thing they hold dear: Friends - Symbol:  Garnat
Reputation 1: Excitable - Calm
Reputation 2: Weak - Strong

For the sake of having time to type this up I'm going to focus in on two character, Rust and Lot.

In Chapter one we decided since I was the one who had read through the book I would take the role of Mission Leader.  Since Rust was also the only 17 year old we had him lead the group as well.  The mission was to get a series of German positioning notes outside of the city to a member of the Home Army.One player had chosen the Situation Element steamy kiss.  As a group we thought it would make for a fantastic scene for Rust.  So while Rust so supposed to be giving out information to the rest of the group his mind was elsewhere thinking about his love Aleksandra.

Lot was in charge of getting the notes through Old Town, where his family lives.  While trying to avoid the German soldiers he was actually spotted by his own step mother.  Lot's father is a soldier who was wounded in battle.  His stepmother,Eugenia, is a German Sympathizer.  Eugenia tries to get Lot to come home and spend time with his father.  Trying not to let his stepmother see the notes he argues with her and runs off into the night.

In the end we are able to get the notes off to the Home Army.

In Chapter 2 the mission leader took the various situation elements to create a mission involving starvation.  We had to steal food from a German Field Hospital in order to feed the starving Polish.  The mission began with the group of us approaching the Field Hospital.  There was a personal scene for Rust almost immediately.  We flashed back to the beginning of the German invasion.  The city was panicked, the people were scared.  Everyone was rushing to their families and safety.  Aleksandra's family was calling to her as whe was racing across the streets home.  Out of nowhere Adam(Rust) tackles her to the ground, and we hear an explosion.  When we look up the building she was racing to is in ruins her family gone.  We have the conflict right here, success being she races off to safety with Adam(Rust) failure being she tries to head to the rubble and pushes Adam away.  The role was successful.  Moving back to the mission, Rust sees Aleksandra up ahead and thinks she is in trouble.  He calls out to her trying to warn her, and instead of warning her he alerts the German troops.

Lot was the last person to handle a  mission scene.  He was able to set up a diversion for the German's and while doing it the rest of us were able to raid the hospital and retrieve the food.  Jeremi's(Lot) personal scene came up when we flashed back to just after his father had been wounded by the Nazi's.  After arguing with his stepmother he walks into the room where his father laid unconscious in bed.  The conflict was if successful he would think of his father as a hero, as a brave man.  If he was failure he would believe his father weak and a failure.  He was successful, and he then vowed to try to be as brave as his father.

In chapter 3 we had to sneak flamable materials near a German officers house in Old Town.  Since Rust was from Old Town he was able to maneuver the group through back alleys and basements and get to the building with German's not noticing.  In Rusts personal scene we flashed back to the anniversary of Aleksandra's family being killed.  Adam(Rust) and Aleksandra went back to the building and placed flowers there.  The conflict was failure and  she would push him away to be there by herself and success would be a tender scene in which she gave him their first kiss.  The roll was a success.

For Lot his scene was placing the flamable materials.  Hiding in one of the alleys in a very dark corner, a drunken german officer came out and starting urinating in the corner on Lot's leg.  The officer then notices him and after a small one sided fight the officer arrests Lot.

We then had the conclusion of the mission with the officer's building lighting on fire as the rest of the crew sits on top of a local building watching the fire as the sun rises over the horizon.

We still had Lot's personal scene to go and we had it take place at the jail.  We flash back to him stealing paper's from his step mother and now producing those papers to the German's.  We have a conflict, success being he is able to talk his way out of the jail with the papers.  Failure is he is able to talk his way out but the German's take him back to his mother.  He was successful.

A few things to note
In the first session there was a lot of success.  Out of 8 rolls there was only one failure and none of us had to exhaust any of our Reputation's.  Also, Lot started in B4.  At the end of chapter three, he went from A5 to E5.  Only three chapters in, he is dangerously close to writing out his character.

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Jason Morningstar
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Posts: 1428


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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2007, 09:11:01 AM »

Travis,

Thanks very much for the detailed write-up! 

In the first session there was a lot of success.  Out of 8 rolls there was only one failure and none of us had to exhaust any of our Reputation's. 

That's how it should be.  I hope everybody was celebrating and rocking out at how tough and cool and grown-up they were.  If you look at the numbers, the good times are about to come crashing down in your second session, and will be completely gone in your third.  Trust me, you'll be glad you have those reputation dice later on (you do need to use them, though, because a d6 is useless if you hoard it until Chapter Nine). 

Also, Lot started in B4.  At the end of chapter three, he went from A5 to E5.  Only three chapters in, he is dangerously close to writing out his character.

OK, I'm guessing you moved your guys after Chapter One, which you aren't supposed to.  Let me know if I'm right.  The earliest you should be able to write a character out is Chapter Six:

After 1:  B4, no movement
After 2:  B5
After 3:  A5 (corner)
After 4:  E5 (corner), or back to B5, or whatever
After 5:  A5 again, and out
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Travis Farber
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2007, 12:14:54 PM »

We did not move after chapter one.  The one character started at B4.  He was also the one picked on by the mission leader at the end of Chapter two.  Since he won his personal scene and the mission was successful He went up twice.  Since you can't go up from A4, he went to the Right one space putting him on A5 going into chapter three.  He was then Successful in both again and went up from A5 to E5.

Did we do this incorrectly?
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Jason Morningstar
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Posts: 1428


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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2007, 04:29:47 PM »

Oh right, he got singled out, that makes sense then.  Sort of a perfect storm - it couldn't possibly go worse for him.  That's OK, then!  I'm interested in how the player interpeted the dramatic shift from nervous breakdown to suicidal depression (and, hopefully, not back again!)

I do say in there that singling out can be for any reason whatever, including metagame reasons, so if it wouldn't be fun for Lot to get written out so early, just don't let it happen.  Maybe that's good incentive for other people to strive heroically to be noticed by the mission leader!
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BlackTerror
Member

Posts: 7


« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2007, 07:28:38 PM »

This is Chris - I played Lot in the game. We played the last session on Saturday, after playing the second session on Wednesday.

I didn't really use the grid much as far as informing my play; that was part of the problem. After that I was more careful about where I was and where I'd move.

Travis, I thought Chapters 2 and 3 were reversed from what you have? Maybe not, they kind of blend together.

This was a really great game. I'll leave describing the details to Travis, but I think this might be my favorite system we've played so far. A great combination of setting and system. I especially liked my character's epilogue; I started out my chapter 10 narration with little idea of where Lot was going to end up, then with a few comments from the other players, I got to a place I was really happy with.
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Chris
Travis Farber
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2007, 10:45:58 AM »

In four days we played the second and third session of Grey Ranks bringing it to its conclusion.  In the second session we managed to get through chapters 4,5,6,7 and then in the last session we did session 8, 9, 10.  Here are a few of the highlights.  Over the course of the game we had one character die, and 2 things that people hold dear got destroyed.  Three of the biggest highlights were the death of an enemy, the death of a friend, and the death of a loved one.

The death of an enemy scene happened in a personal scene after the mission had already been successfully completed.  Our mission was to take out the local teacher who was a German sympathizer.  The mission was successful and we had taken the woman to a place of solitude.  It was Zenon's personal scene and he was close to the deranged corner.  As a group the characters argued about what should be done with the woman with one side wanting to kill her immediately and the other to send her off to prison.  The stakes for his personal scene were that as a group we would agree with him that the right thing to do is kill her(all the players agreed to this) and if he lost that he would pull out a gun and shoot her on the spot.  He failed.

The death of a friend scene involved the death of Marek aka Zodiak.  This scene was especially fun because both Zodiak and Rust were in the Martyrdom corner.  This was Rust's first time to the corner.  When we got to the end of the mission we had failed.  Both Zodiak and Rust argued about who should try to run the ammo across the dangerous zone.  Rust won the arguement but just as he started to run off with the ammo Alexandra came to Rust and took his attention just long enough that Zodiak ran off with the ammo and got gunned down by German's.  As the German's came to grab the ammo, Zodiak used his last breath to pull the pin in the grenade and blow himself up.

The death of the loved one scene came at the end of Chapter 9.  At this point Rust was in the situation to be the last player with a mission scene.  His personal scene was successful and he was sitting at B1.  As a player I thought a great scene would be for the mission to be successful and then I would end up in A1(killing Rust).  I thought it would be a great scene so when the roll failed I decided to destroy Alexandra.  I had a great scene in my head of the two of them being gunned down together in this scene.  The dice were rolled, and it was still a failure.  The scene was then described of her being shot by German's right in front of him and him being able to do nothing about it.

Unfortunately, I waited a bit too long to write this post and have forgotten a lot of the other little scenes.

Overall opinions, I thought the game played very well.  I knew when the game was over two of the four players were talking about how they would love to do another setting with this system.  This was definitely one of the most successful games that I've played with this group.
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Jason Morningstar
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Posts: 1428


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« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2007, 04:04:14 AM »

Thanks for the comments, Travis.

There have been discussions about other settings for Grey Ranks - did your friends have specific times and places in mind?  I'm curious. 
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Travis Farber
Member

Posts: 29


« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2007, 05:45:33 PM »

The big other one that I can remember is the Spanish Conquistadors invasion of the Aztecs. 
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Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2007, 04:10:31 AM »

That would actually work very well, I think.  It'd take a ton of research but it could be done.  Other settings that have been suggested:  Berlin, 1945 (almost a direct port) and Brazil in the eighties, during student protests. 
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ironick
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2007, 02:56:57 PM »

Hi, Jason, I'm Nick.  I'm playing in Trav's other game of Grey Ranks over Skype.  I won't make any comments regarding that game here, but I had a couple ideas for other settings for the game.

I have no idea if there was any sort of organized resistance in this case, but the conquistador suggestion made me wonder if the English subordination of the Aborigines might be interesting to try.

The other time/setting I thought about would be after the Meiji restoration in Japan, when the samurai class was abolished and hunted down.  Basically the time period portrayed in The Last Samurai, but, y'know, without Tom Cruise to stink up the joint. Smiley

Nick
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BlackTerror
Member

Posts: 7


« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2007, 12:04:00 PM »

That would actually work very well, I think.  It'd take a ton of research but it could be done.  Other settings that have been suggested:  Berlin, 1945 (almost a direct port) and Brazil in the eighties, during student protests. 

Basically, we decided that the system would work for any sort of resistance, most easily in WWII -- my thought was Scandinavia vs invasion during the war.

Hmm, England in the Norman invasion of 1066 would be pretty cool, with all the history of past invaders and their minor British feifs playing a role...
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Chris
Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2007, 12:14:02 PM »

Hey guys,

I'm really glad that after playing Grey Ranks you are seeing other possibilities!   I always cringe when I hear people talking about tweaking, say, Dogs in the Vineyard for Jedi before ever playing the game straight.  If, having played, you guys want to work up alternate settings, I'll be thrilled and can probably give you some practical tips for approaching such a project. 

The game I imagined isn't going to work at all unless you've got a situation where children and young adults are being pressed into service as soldiers for a cause that is bigger than they are.  I'd start from there, which is why Berlin '45 works for me but the Meiji restoration might not.
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