James's One-Shot

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James's One-Shot

Postby Maugh » Mon Feb 14, 2011 6:40 pm

All right, nothing has been posted on this game as of yet, so I thought I'd fill the niche.

First off, I really enjoyed this game, so many thanks to James for dming, and to everybody who came and participated. It was a great night. We got to see a couple of great mechanics that hadn't previously been used.

First off, my favorite part of this particular session was the use of the bear-back riding, (hah!) and the use of the mounted combat techniques. It didn't see a whole lot of play, but what was there was fun. The charging Lance is a great image, especially on teh back of the bear. I told Aubrey about this, and she was quite pleased that people were using the monster manual for animal training, which is a big part of what it was built for, and is relatively under-used. I think it played well. Rock.

Second, Reed's pyromancer was fun. He had a hard time getting spells off, which was a little concerning, but he did well enough, and he had a good time. I'm glad it worked out that way.

Third, Matt's Tank. Matt's Tank was the epitome of slow. He did, however, get the job done. This made me wonder what would happen with some really solid teamwork, involving the use of displacement effects or "tophing" characters around. Matt really needed to get where he wanted to be. It would have been wonderful if he had an effect or a team-mate with an effect that would put him there at the right time. The armor mechanic works, and I have no interest in changing it, having used it myself on several occasions, but maybe Athletics could be a little bit more effective in countering those penalties. Deciding whether to make a move action faster than normal versus having armor is a much more comfortable question than deciding whether to move rediculously slowly or moving normally. Athletics as it is makes armor easier to use, but it takes until very high level to really see that effect. Or, it could be fine the way it is.

Fourth, Chris's Soul Thief. This didn't get enough play, I think. He didn't use the ability, but I don't think he really intended to. Chris wanted to play social skills, I think, but it wasn't really a social activity, and the Succubus we met was not about to allow for that kind of play anyway.

Last. My Tinek. OKay, I went a little gung-ho with this, and maybe a little overboard. I apologize if I was prima-donna-ing with this character, and I probably took too much screen time, contributing to limited activity by the Soul Thief and the Druid. I'll try to watch that a little better. Mechanically, the Tinek played well. Too well. The spine mechanic needs to more closely mimic the weapon-techs, and I need to come up with another mechanic to add to it. I am, however, very hesitant to add a "roll in a ball and spin around," sonic mechanic. I'll take a closer look at this and see what I can do with it. Apart from that, I loved the quill throw and explosion. It was neat, and I was able to use it without hurting the party.

James's Torture Demons: Okay. James had a character here too, several in fact, and while the image is wicked, (really, very wicked,) I am not sure on the practicality of so severely maiming a PC. As a player, I don't mind getting killed or injured, but let's take stock: Tim Lost 1 eye, 2 hamstrings, 2 arm tendons and a back nerve cluster, and could have lost more that I'm just not remembering. I know the mechanic was laid out to be wicked, but honestly, it felt much more like a DM vendetta than it did a game mechanic, and there is a reason we count arbitrary "damage," rather than specific injuries.

At that level of permanent incapacitation, If I weren't retiring the character anyway for the one-shot, I would have had to stop playing this character altogether. Having people need Medic checks is one thing, and a single serious injury might actually be interesting, but when I have a long list of specific, crippling injuries and no way to reverse them, that might be a little different.

Anyway, just food for thought. Thanks for playing folks, We'll see you next time.
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Re: James's One-Shot

Postby ben » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:40 pm

It was a very fun game. I am always amazed at James and his imagination and description. I think it was also good experience for me. Making a few of my own decisions and participating a little more in my own character creation was good for me I think. I don't have any thoughts on the game mechanics or specific injuries, other than I love the images. Please don't misunderstand me even if this is the 2nd time I have made a sadistic comment. I just like details. Thanks,
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Re: James's One-Shot

Postby James » Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:13 pm

I had a lot of fun. Glad to hear that a couple of you also liked it. It did not have the depth that I often have for adventures, but that is kinda the point for one shots. There was a lot thrown out there for you guys to choose what to pursue. The hook for the Bounty Hunter, the Citadel with the temple connection, and the wasteland of the demon adventure were all viable choices to become entangled with.

A couple of you guys got the reference for the floating island from whence the demons had come in their might. I love that place. The name for it shifted from the lame old one to adopt the name of something I used to have in the Tenpat setting a long time ago called Vishantyet. More on that later, but I think it a good place to stage much of the Tactical Combat mini-adventures.

There were some great characters here. Ben, I was so glad to see you build your own from the ground up. It takes a while when you are still learning your options, but I think you made a very solid character there. Connected to that creation is a rule on training animals that we ad-hoc’ed for the sake of speed at the end: Ben used the brown bear in the Critter Compendium, but because the skill cap for the bear is 9, I allowed him to used points he had saved to level up his bear’s skills as if it were a character (no techs of abilities, just skills).

Rob, glad you played the TInek. We saw it as severely underpowered compared to the other Totems, but the fact that the Quills can amp unlike the shuriken techs with multiple attacks was the thing we did not consider. Very, very lethal. Think that rolling around is silly because it is just an obvious homage to Sonic, but just curling into a ball for defense and staying there or moving with a -4 speed would be something that is natural and realistic.

I am sorry if it came across as a Storyteller vendetta. It is simply not true and a valuable niche is filled with this demon. Marlin can attest to my plans on using the demon and it was not a targeted attack on Rob. If someone feels uncomfortable with me using such vile monsters with equally repugnant descriptions, let me know, and I won't do that when you are there. I was going for a feeling and I think I hit it.

Let use examine the Tormentor: A Tormentor demon is a being of destruction like we want the demons to be. Its entire existence revolves around systematically reducing things to nothing be it object or living thing. It does so in a very evil manner that rightfully scared the players a little. I could write a thousand demons that smash and break, but they need some precision in their ranks as well as more monsters that can function as NPCs in a demonlands setting. They are highly sentient, evil, destructive, and creepy as all get out.

As for “…and there is a reason we count arbitrary "damage," rather than specific injuries.” I know that. I have often sided with Rob against called shots in Mayhem for regular combat because I know the chaos and problems that arise. However this is basically physical DETRIMENT MAGIC. Yes, in a more sinister tone, but it has the same effect. Having a Tormentor in a small band of demons enhances the abilities of the others and lowers the party just like when we had the Arcane still accessible. The reason that Tim got so mutilated was because he was alone with three of them after having tried to talk to a powerful succubus WITHOUT ANY AUTONOMY. That is what we call a natural consequence. It needs to be permanent to be scary for a party. It requires the party to perhaps seek out a village medic or hermit with the talent if they did not get it themselves. We have skills for a reason. The Difficulty for Medic would not be high if it were used in conjunction with a healing spell.

Also, for this specific adventure, their role is crucial. Vishantyet, as a couple remember, captures and enslaved adventurer types to better train them in the art before selling them in Drailur. The demons do not want to kill people they find that can be worth a good price; rather, they disable, knock-out, etc. so that they can bring them back to the city.

Usually, they are set at SC 9, but I cranked them to 14 for this adventure due to the SC of the Party and the nature of a few of the people I knew were going to be playing.

Tormentor Demons are humanoid with violet eyes and yellow hair contrasting with pale skin. They are taller than an average human and appear emaciated with gangly limbs. Its arms dangle to their knees and triple digited fingers end in thick, yellowed claws. The most striking physical feature is its permanent smile that stretches almost literally from ear to ear and reveals many narrow, long teeth. The smile cracks wide as it giggles and laughs. Most wear fine red robes with concealed pockets filled with small tools for torture, demolition, lore, and detailed examination.
A cruel curiosity and natural inclination for destruction lends this demon it's name. Tormentor Demons examine people, animals, structures, and everything else they behold with a discerning eye. After careful consideration, they attempt to pick apart what they see with small gestures such as removing crucial supports or severing tendons. They delight in success with high pitched laughing and tickling themselves. Piece by piece, they tear their surroundings to nothing. They are smart and know well how to assess threats. They are also gifted tacticians and use other, lesser demons in their games. They have no societies of their own and even small groups will eventually disband through violent and political means.
Tormentor Demons can be found working in the courts of the Drailur Succubi or following their own whims and machinations. Powerful Tormentor Demons have led some of the most successful military campaigns in the Demonic Homelands.

Demon: All demons gain +1 skill die on desecrated ground and -1 skill die on consecrated ground. Also, all have have +20 total life, +2 Arcane Resilience.
Diabolical Genius: Raised Intelligence, +3 to Lore, Tinker, Medic, Perception, Empathy, and Gossip.
Complete Understanding: After examining a target building, item, or creature as a Very Slow action, a Tormentor Demon knows all possible information about said object of consideration including weaknesses, strengths, and abilities.
Demolish: As a Very Slow action, may damage a mundane structure or object in such a way that it becomes fragile, breaking after next use or interaction. If object is in the possession of a character, a character may make a Dodge or Parry attempt against the demon's Tinker check. Must have Complete Understanding to use this ability.
Disable: As a Fast action, may make a melee attack to sever, crush, or otherwise ruin parts of a victim's body. May do one of the following: -2 movement penalty, -4 to skills requiring use of specific limb, -2 to any specific skill buy doing related damage. Must have Complete Understanding to use this ability.
Terrifying Laughter: The laughter of a Tormentor Demon is terrifying and forces an Autonomy check opposed to the demon's Intimidation. This effect causes 1d4 initiative damage and can be done in conjunction with any successful attack.
Claws: May attack with claws using sabre statistics.
Elusive: The character may Dodge Melee attacks with a -2 penalty instead of the usual -4.
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Re: James's One-Shot

Postby Maugh » Sat Feb 19, 2011 12:20 pm

Yeah, you're probably right about the tormentor being fair, I'm just leery about the pemanent nature of the injuries. spectacular game, all around, and I very much look forward to playing this kind of a one-shot again. Thanls for dming.
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