TfC: Out Sized

Chris, Phil, and Bob break down and get inside game mastering, playing games, and game design in an effort to entertain and inform you.
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chrismmp
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TfC: Out Sized

Post by chrismmp »

This weeks topic for chatter is tell me a story about when you were outsized by your opposition and how you dealt with it as a player or a GM and how the game dealt with it if at all. You can also tell me if you liked or disliked how it was handled, what about it made you feel that way, and any other thing you can think of.

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Emmett
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Re: TfC: Out Sized

Post by Emmett »

I usually GM but my buddy took the reigns for a while in our weekly game. My character was a bit green compared to some of the other characters. I had GMed the group in a Sci-Fi game for several years at this point and had gathered a lot of hardware but they freely shared. They had an anti-grav cargo hauler, a tank with a missile launcher and a small mech (5 meters tall).

We ran into an armored car like vehicle traveling through an industrial wasteland. It was being escorted by what I could only describe as the equivalent of a flying naval destroyer.

Obviously we would go after the treasure right? Nope, my character (or me but the character was a thinker so I didn't feel bad) made up a plan and shot the armored car with a missile. (Little did we know it but we almost TPKed the party right there, the armored car was carrying some really nasty chemical weapons. The GM rolled to see if the canisters broke open and they didn't.)

The flying destroyer naturally moved to engage the tank that just shot down it's charge. As it went after the tank, we used some structures in the area to hide the mech on the cargo hauler. As it passed the mech jumped onto it and point blank fired it's weapons into the hull. Although it did little damage to the vehicle as a whole, the rules said that the damage opened up about a 1 meter hole in it. We popped the mech's hatch and two of us jumped towards the hole.

The GM put the destroyer into a barrel roll as they knew the mech was on top and they didn't have a way of handling it up there. (The guns were on the bottom.) My character went into the hole we made and then fell back out. The other PC grabbed my hand at the last moment and I was able to climb back in. The mech impacted the ground below.

Although there was a decent sized crew (28) we were able to storm the bridge and take the ship. Some of the crew was convinced to stay on with us and we picked up more crew shortly after. It served us well until it was traded for an alien space ship which was eventually surprise nuked.

And we got the chemical weapons too.

That was a big jump in scale for the players.

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Jared Rascher
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Re: TfC: Out Sized

Post by Jared Rascher »

I'm thinking of this on two levels; being outnumbered, and fighting something immensely oversized.

As far as running a whole bunch of things outnumbering the heroes, the most mechanically satisfying systems for this have been Fate and Cortex for the way I play. In my Iron Edda game, I had my handful of heroes taking on huge legions of mercenaries and Petruvian legionnaires by combining smaller groups and bumping the bonuses I gave them.

In my Marvel Heroic game, where I had my players, as the Avengers, fighting the 12 members of Zodiac, I used the rules for a mob, but gave the mob special powers based on the different members of Zodiac, so I wasn't trying to run 12 supervillains at the same time. I did a more reasonable version of the idea on my blog, statting up the Sinister Six as a mob instead of the individual members of Spidey's rogues' gallery.

As far as size, my favorite system has been FFG's Star Wars. Using normal stats, things like walkers and Star Destroyers are nightmares that PCs usually can't touch. But there is a "Luck" mechanic in the game where a character can attempt to do something wildly difficult to pull off something unorthodox when they flip light side points and roll against an "impossible" difficulty. It's actually a great way to explain moments that shouldn't happen regularly, like Luke taking out an AT-AT by himself, Admiral Holdo shredding the First Order Fleet, or Han hyperspace jumping past Starkiller Base's shields.

The PCs in one of my games, specifically, used this mechanism to fire up the barrel of the grenade launcher of an AT-ST to cause the interior of the cockpit to erupt in flames and take out the pilots.

The fun thing about these rolls is that, because it's luck, you can always say they can't try that same trick again, although they can come up with a different crazy plan to do something similar.

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GMGERRYMANDER
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Re: TfC: Out Sized

Post by GMGERRYMANDER »

A couple of instances come to mind.

TL:dr Teamwork and Planning

Back during DD3.5, one of my players decided to try his hand at GMing. It was a fun campaign, but the 8 players were not only in my campaign, but all of them also played Warhammer, Ragnarok, Mordheim, Warp World (WH40K using Mordheim rules for small unit skirmishes), and Mage Knight.

So, our team ends up in another dimension and we decide to ignore the plot and instead decide to try and stop the invading Magebred army attacking a small town. Eight 6th level PCs, 3 NPCs, vs an army of soldiers and their coven of 13 Wizards. We were told several times to retreat and abandon the town to forces of evil (which was supposed to lead to a plot down the line where we rescued the town) but instead, we decided to end it here.

We scouted the battlefield and set up a few blinds and traps and marked off distances so our spellcasters knew where to optimize attacks.

First round of combat, the army avoids our traps and does some serious damage to all of the markers we set up.

Our fighter turns to me (the wizard) and says, "Ok then, plan B."

The GM (and one of the other players, our cleric) ask "Plan B?"

The fighter smiles and looks at me and the other wargamers. "We always have a Plan B in combat. And a Plan C. I mean, Plan D is always throw James at them and run. And after that, we probably have a Plan E." We did. None of it was officially written down. But after dozens, if not hundreds of wargames, we knew how to change plans with a few words and nods to adapt to a bad situation. And the GM realized something that all of us learn when running games. It's not easy to out-tactic your one mind against 8 other minds working together. But we all had a good time. (And our GM kept bringing it up as one of his favorite plot changes.

It was all about teamwork and knowing your team. Sometimes, a player forgets something they can do, but the other players will remember. (And having a table with multiple, cooperative rainmakers is a joy to watch from either side of the "screen".)

#2: Seduction and Gumption

Our 50 Fathoms plot point campaign was full of zany seabourne adventures. Being Savage Worlds, there are the Adventure Cards that allow players to mess with the narrative. On multiple occasions, we used roleplaying and the "seduction" card to romance our way out of untenable situations. (Getting caught by the guards, outnumbered by landbourne opposition, and in one case, a multiple-session game where we helped a vengeful ghost find peace through adventure, exploration, magic, song, and love. What was written as a violent, BBEG muti-game battle became a roleplaying session without combat.)

We were a focused team with cooperative skills. There was another adventure where we were supposed to spend weeks helping a beleaguered town shore up its defences before the pirate ships returned to pillage again. Instead, we built "defences" that insured that once the pirates entered the bay, they would be trapped there. They out numbered us and had more ships, at least to begin with. But guerrilla tactics, divide and conquer, sending our stealth-murder-dolphin to stalk their crew and take them out one at a time Predator style all helped to demoralize the invaders and keep them from organizing an effective plan. (Making an opponent go from offense to defense is always fun.)

#3: Love beats Hate

This was a game I was GMing. I ran a mashup of 3.5 with some adventure hooks from Al Quadim, Ironclaw, and MTG tossed in. One of the adventures involved the heroes following the ghost of a dog into a forgotten tomb city to stop looting Ghuls and restore the tomb of the dog's master. While there, instead of looting, my players decided to spend time repairing all of the damage tombs. It took several weeks of in-game time (and two nights of actual roleplaying) as the heroes rousted out the monsters, talked with the spirits, and even met the cursed high priestess of the city - doomed to stay there as a Lamia until the curse is lifted. The heroes eventually impressed her and one of them started a burgeoning romance with her, but when they tried to leave, the Local Gods of the City forbade them, saying that she must remain behind. The Gods were out the character's league, and were meant to force a tough choice. (The gods would have also enacted some mild vengance if the heroes had looted the tombs, but they didn't...)

The heroes stood their ground and told the gods that the curse was unfair, that the Priestess had served her penance for her past sins, that she had changed, and that the group sorcerer was in love with her. And then the party drew their weapons and the Druidess stepped forward.

"And if you think you have anything more powerful than love, bring it on!"

You have to reward a moment of awesomeness like that. The Gods lifted the curse and let them, and the Priestess, pass. (She did eventually marry the Sorcerer in our Endgame when he became a half dragon king, her own unnaturally long lifespan and half-reptilian nature complementing his own.)

Sometimes, you can roleplay your way out of a bad situation. Pithy quotes help.

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