Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Trust in a Savage World

I find the frequency with which I blog mirrors the frequency with which I game, and the last couple of months have been scarce due to a variety of issues, not least of which being a bout of Strep. Thank goodness for modern medicine.

But I just GM'ed a session of Savage Worlds, and tried to apply some of the wisdom from hackslashmaster while doing it. Primarily, I was going to give the players all of the information they needed to play, without requiring spot rolls or perception checks; if they said they were looking in the right place, they'd find any relevant information.

They kept on asking to make notice rolls anyhow, and in the spirit of making the game go faster, I let them roll; Savage Worlds is a game where, if the characters want it enough and are willing to spend the Bennies to make it happen, they will be successful far more often than not. I don't think anyone missed a notice roll all night long.

The setting was pulp sci-fi in the style of '30s-era Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers. They were members of an underground resistance on a moon orbiting a Saturn-like gas giant, in a city modeled after Fritz Lang's Metropolis. The adventure was twofold: first, their previous excursion had almost been sabotaged due to a traitor in their ranks, and since they were also under suspicion, they wanted to root out the mole.

Hidden information is something that requires a die roll in most game systems, but I let them know that three members of the resistance were in a position to be the mole, and they basically guessed the right on on the first try. I role-played a bit of him trying to get one of them into his chambers, where he'd set off a bomb that he could conveniently hide from and survive. That didn't work, and after a few intimidate rolls, he cracked and let details slip that only the mole would have known, at which point I had notified them that the city guards were bearing down on their underground hideout.

That's where phase two came in; I drew up a simple map of the corridor they were in: on either end of a 140' hallway, two empty elevator shafts provided entry for teams of rappelling guardsmen. Crossing this hallway at two points were shorter hallways, and on the end of those, I placed escape routes in the form of maintenance access shafts. I told them that three out of the four shafts were guarded, and let them do as they would.

Long story short: the next session is going to be a jail break. What I thought would be the obvious thing to do--see where the guards were coming from, go the other way--wasn't as obvious to my players. They did a decent amount of damage tactically, but I let them know that the guards would keep coming in waves. Instead, they tried to go up a shaft from which guards were sprouting, so I informed them that they'd not be able to get past them in such a narrow space, and the reinforcements from behind them would catch up soon enough. Even if they shot a guard, he'd only fall down--on them--and obstruct their escape.

I guess the moral of this story is, old habits die hard, and the players didn't take up the information that I was handing out to them. Sometimes it's hard to trust the GM. But hopefully, if the games keep being fun, I'll be able to condition them until they do.


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