Friday, 29 August 2014

#RPGaDAY: Day 29 - It's all fun and games until somebody loses a Fate point

Today's topic is 'most memorable encounter', and I'm drawing a bit of a blank, as I've never really been in many games which played out in discrete encounters. Instead of a single exemplar then, I'm going to run down two memorable incidents and talk a little about what makes them work.
And then this happened...

Here There Be Monsters was the 13th session of my epic WFRP game, 'Boomtown', and took the action to a whole new level. The PCs had previously fought bandits and small packs of beastmen stalking the woods near their village of Heortwald. In this session, they took a trip into the deeper woods to aid their barbarian friends - actually a group of dissident academics who have adopted a barbarian lifestyle, although there is an actual barbarian tribe living in an abandoned mansion nearby - against a massive (by their terms at least) Beastman horde.

In the end, the session involved the PCs rallying the actual barbarians to aid their new neighbours by capturing a beastman for them to fight, then dressing in beastman skins to mask their scent (eww) to rescue captives from sacrifice, and finally leading a massed battle at the neo-barbarian camp. This last was an almost note-perfect mid-game climax, and a huge step up from some of my earlier efforts at large-scale combat.

It worked because the PCs were intimately involved in the combat, battling major opponents at pivotal points in the fight; it worked because they made a major strategic and tactical contribution to the fight, and because they had to work their arses off not to get mashed into a paste by a minotaur or acid-burned by the shaman. There was threat and consequence, and as a result, there was triumph. I think it is still the best battle I've ever run.
Evil, right. Right?

My second example is from a game of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness. We - being a college educated bull-man, a martial arts trained badger-man and a trailer trash bobcat-man - were tracking a group of mutant weasel archers (led by a wolverine and a psychotic bat) who were raiding meat storage facilities. We tracked them down and captured them, and we established that they needed to eat more than their own body weight in meat every day to survive. I'm pretty sure that the scenario's ending options were 'fight to the death' and 'turn them over to the authorities to be returned to the military lab that made them'; possibly, allow them to go to Alaska and try to live free.

Instead, we figured that given their unstoppable digestive systems, we could set ourselves up in a business partnership with them, collecting and disposing of condemned meat. Apart from the bat; because fuck that guy, he was a crazy, giggling killer.

This was a notable incident, because we turned the expectation on its head and were able to find a left-field solution that really worked.

Just two more days left, but I may end up doing both on Monday. The topics are rarest RPG owned and favourite RPG of all time. Not sure what's going to go into that, but I guess we'll find out.