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Author Topic: Inspectres: First play  (Read 1341 times)
spamtramp
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Posts: 7


« on: August 26, 2009, 11:51:04 AM »

After confronting the players with the idea of Inspectres they decided it will not fly the way it is written. They decided some minor changes right away. I completely went with the changes, I wanted to see where do they get with them.

1) It is not Modern, it is in a force&sorcery type of world
2) It is not Inspectres, the characters are new recruits for the Knights of the Black Rose, and their first mission is to establish an area of influence by setting up a new Fraternity Safe-house.
3) It is not Academics, it is Lore
4) It is not Athletics, it is Psy or Psionics. Think Jedi. If you are strong in body you can go to a beauty contest it will not help you here, on this world everyone fights using psionic attacks and shadow bolts.
5) It is not Technology, it is Spellcraft, it is not gadgets, it is artifacts, and there are simplified Ars Magica kind of spells that can be used as Rituals, and there are quick and raw magic attacks, and what else, yeah, they have totems (I think this got here from Shadow Run) and they can summon weak spirits...
6) It is not Contact, it is Charisma.
7) It is not Job Dice, it is Quest Dice.

There were similar changes with the Franchise too, which is obviously Fraternity Safe-house, or Frat-house for short. Instead of cards, there are actual rooms in the franchise, and they have a total of 5 dice divided between them. These are the Library, the War Room and the Lab.
The heart of the place is a Chapel (instead of Franchise dice they have Chapel dice)
And instead of Bank, get this, they have "Recreation Chambers". I don't even want to know what that is.
Anyway, rolling 6 with a Rec Room dice means something like "That was fun, lets do it again!"
When they are out of Recreation chambers dice, they have to hire from their Quest dice extreme entertainers to fill them with high spirits...
Well, that led to some strange situations too.

OK, they almost started to figure out what the Franchise, I mean Fraternity house looks like, when they realized, they have no idea about the city they live in, so they set up this scenario:

The clouds on this world are made of a solid material. They look like clouds, but they are like soft earth. You can build on them.
The human cities are on these clouds. Everyone with Psy score at least 1 can levitate himself, so moving around is not dangerous at all.
They made the map of the city they live in, it is a complex of clouds connected with bridges.

On the ground the city-state has some settlements. This is the Army Barracks, and the Prison Camps. The prisoners usually farm or mine something that can not be taken care of on the clouds, the Army patrols the area to keep out monsters. There things on the ground that humans was not meant to be known by humans. Really scary things. so they demanded Sanity score, others were against it, we ended having Valor, starting at 10 point, and it works like Sanity, but it is also the honor of a knight. People in negative Valor are chaotic, or evil or insane or all at the same time.

I forgot to mention the characters: it is because they were very plain things. For example a fired bouncer talented mainly in intimidation, a rat catcher, an architect (magical engineering of sub terrain storage areas), each of them heated their jobs, one day they went out drinking together, they get really drunk, and next day they have realized they got more than a hangover from the day before. It started as a dare, and ended all of them getting signed up for 5 years of service at the Knights of the Black Rose.
Their first quest is (the usual for any freshly recruited group) to set up their place and enforce the law in the area.

There is an area in their city that has a huge park, with lots of rather large monuments on it. There appeared lately orcish gang graffities on those monuments. So that is where they set up their Frat House, inside a hollow monument. They wanted to stop the graffiti painting activity. Thats how the story started.

If you consider all this normal, from this point on it went very-very abnormal.
The story went from a walk in the park to an absolute nightmare, the only thing that saved everyone's collective ass was that one of the characters who had the Talent in Muto spells at the rather hopeless end used all dice possible for a big spell, ended out with at least 6 sixes, so with the spell system we agreed on he could make the hill (where the undead had their lair) turn into air for about 5 minutes at noon, and then it turned back to rocks (except that the air did not keep the shape of the mountain, so it rained rocks for a bit). The sunshine and the rocks did the trick to end the conflict. I am not telling the entire story it is long and complicated.

Only one of the knights ended the game on lifesupport. His character got zeroed out because of a prank: they found at a point a gigantic egg, and some diary about a Ritual how it can be hatched and before hatching how can the hatchling be imprinted to someone. So one of them decided without knowing what the heck is in that 3 feet tall egg to imprint it to the ex-bouncer. It turned out to be a baby Byakhee, a servant of Hastur, later it might be a good mount that can cross interstellar space, but as it is the only person who could control it is the ex-bouncer, because the Byakhee is imprinted to it. Unfortunatelly the only thing he could do before he completely flipped out was to command the Byakhee not to drink more than 1 pint blood from the same person, and make the Byakhee permanently invisible.

So now they have a rogue invisible blood sucker at their hand somewhere in the city. Or not. It can fly. (wishful thinking)
But this is only one of the unfinished threads they want to follow up in the next game.
There are several unfinished threads even with the main opponent of the day gone.

For example someone in the city was selling magic weapons to the orcs living on the ground. This is strictly forbidden and probably this will be the main issue at the next game. The orcs were under the mental control of the undead headhoncho they have finished off by that lucky spell at the end. Now there are fighting orc warbands down there.
I wish I knew more about this chain of events, but the players didn't want to get into more details about it just yet. I think they are busy preparing for the next session on Saturday.
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2009, 12:10:23 PM »

This is a very spirited hack of InSpectres.

Do you have questions or issues, or are you just sharing?

Did you drift the system any, or did you play it mechanically the same, just with different color attached?
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
spamtramp
Member

Posts: 7


« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2009, 12:49:26 PM »

This is a very spirited hack of InSpectres.

Do you have questions or issues, or are you just sharing?

Did you drift the system any, or did you play it mechanically the same, just with different color attached?

The game was great, but I think I personally failed my sanity check at the end, I'm just using this place to recover.

The system was basically the same, at first, except for the spells they used, there it is not enough to roll a 6, a good poker hand is needed too to pull off anything substantial.

Then at a point we started to use Cool dice differently:
instead of disregarding the small rolls, Cool is used to roll again unwanted results.
For example you have 2 Cool dice means you can roll again 2 of your dice, but you always have to accept the second roll,
so if you have more cool dice than your actual dice pool, still you can reroll each dice only once.
This idea seemed like a minor change at the time, it turned out to be a major one.

Does anyone have any experience with this kind of changes?
It actually worked out more against the characters than in their favor.

It was interesting how different players started to play in the spirit of the game system they like most (Ars Magica, Shadow Run, Call of Cthulhu, D20, etc...) and then how they kind of negotiated a common playing mood and stile.
They were very enthusiastic at the end about playing again, so chances are this is just the humble beginnings.
I bet after a dozen session nobody will recognize the original Inspectres rules any longer.

Oh, at the end we actually extended the original spell rolls to other rolls too.
This is because there were often conflicts of interest:
One player did something and an other too and both of them rolled a 6, so we compared who has the best hand.
We also used it to see the magnitude of cinematic events.
you have a full house means very cinematic, in case of a royal poker you can have all the bells and whistles you want.
If you have only a pair, it means the changes were very much in your favor but you have to tell the story using subtle balance shifts in your favor resulting in a major step forward in the story line.

I realized a very important part of the game only now: even if the player rolls very well, it is absolutely useless if he has no idea yet where the story is going to go.
At the beginning of the game they used their critical successes to improve their situations in ways that were meaningless at the endgame.
Actually their failed rolls later made them turn the story away from what they expected to happen. Obviously a dragon attack would be not a disaster on them when they have every means to defeat such an attack. So as soon as they had to make up something really bad they started to hit the party's vulnerable spots.

All in all I was very-very positively surprised how entertaining, balanced and fast this game turned out to be. 

The confessionals worked well, actually players tried to turn every occasion into confessionals. I think I will have to control that part better next time. Or just have DM confessionals (rollplaying for the world around them).
 
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2009, 05:06:12 AM »

Hiya,

That was a very thought-provoking post. For one thing, clearly you're engaged in informal game design, and that's a great thing. I hope you write down how you're playing for future reference, even beyond what you've posted here.

For another, this passage makes me happy to read it:

Quote
It was interesting how different players started to play in the spirit of the game system they like most (Ars Magica, Shadow Run, Call of Cthulhu, D20, etc...) and then how they kind of negotiated a common playing mood and stile.


That is entirely cool. Out of curiosity, can you describe that common playing mood? Was it flat-out comedic to the point of slapstick, eery and quirky, dramatic as well as action-packed, or what? How did it fit with, or (hopefully) reinforce the fun of the setting?

Finally, and sort of back to InSpectres, your point about rolling 6's is very, very important. I've observed people to be quite good at dealing with failure narrations in playing the game, as well as integrating it with Confessionals when they get the hang of it. But I've had to be very clear that successes are what allow you to say what is happening, and therefore in many ways, define how cool and excellent your characters are because of what they (obviously) are defeating. When I've failed to make that clear to the players, then play itself falls back to the same-old "sooner or later the GM tells us what is happening," and becomes way less fun.

Best, Ron

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spamtramp
Member

Posts: 7


« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2009, 09:34:09 AM »


That is entirely cool. Out of curiosity, can you describe that common playing mood? Was it flat-out comedic to the point of slapstick, eery and quirky, dramatic as well as action-packed, or what? How did it fit with, or (hopefully) reinforce the fun of the setting?


That would be difficult to say. It is nothing I have experienced before. We don't even know what the universe is like where we are playing, the details come out as we proceed. There were a lot of action, and the humor part was like, hmm, I could tell the entire story in details without anyone realizing how comic it was. It could be a horror or adventure story, but it actually played out as a comedy.

One frequent exclamation from the game is: "Oh my God, what have you done!" Mostly it came from someone who tried to fix a minor issue. It is like someone makes a minor mistake, and then someone else has to fix it, he has only one relevant die and, oh my, he rolls a 2, he uses his cool to fix it, rerolls and rolls a one...

There is a Terry Pratchett fan among us, and an other player at a point started to include the Mage-Tower in the city, how it is an institute for young mages (not specifying yet if it is a kind of academy or is it a mental institute), and how the leader of it is on a hunting trip since a decade, sending back only his trophies, apparently killing along the Monsters' Manual in alphabetical order... They were kind of playing under each other's favorite cliches.

It turned out to be an important part of the game, that whatever is NOT specified can be specified later.
One character (of a power player who does not need no stinking Charisma for his character) who did not have yet character body description got it really bad later in the game, when during a confessional the other character said something like this: "I looked in his little swine eyes, patted his fat and hairy shoulders, and for good luck I put my lucky hat on his bald and dandruffy head, while I tried to keep in a safe distance from his really bad breath and body odors.". Well, as soon as it is specified, at least the way we played it, things are the way it was specified. You want a gorgeous character? Don't forget to tell us how gorgeous she is. An other character included in his story how the unicorns died on this world. Well, I guess we are not going to have any unicorns in the game.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2009, 10:16:54 AM »

It's snowing in Hell. You "Elfs"-ed Inspectres. That sounds like a hell of a fun game, and I hope you keep playing it and maybe think about writing it up as rules when you're done.

Best, Ron
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spamtramp
Member

Posts: 7


« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2009, 01:20:14 PM »

It's snowing in Hell. You "Elfs"-ed Inspectres. That sounds like a hell of a fun game, and I hope you keep playing it and maybe think about writing it up as rules when you're done.

Best, Ron
I will write it up as soon as the rules will be a clear. Right now the players seem to have a better concept about what is going on than me. Probably we will have a good long game or maybe two this weekend. I will write up some rules then.
This "the players know better" were a real problem in other games we played.
They always wanted something. Setting up a philatelist association and going to quests collecting rare stamps is just something they would do to me in the middle of any campaign.
The greatest danger in any dungeon they were to each other. There was one particular AD&D (2nd ed) game where most of the party was dead before the character creation part was over.
So I think this game just serves them right. They enjoyed the first taste to it a lot.
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