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DM's Corner - Session 1


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#1 Virulent

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 11:32 AM

Who we are...

The SCSG, like most here, are normal people who enjoy having a good time. We have regular day jobs, and gather once a week to have some fun, let our imaginations run wild, and dodge flying dice.

For a long, long time I thought table top RPG's were... redudant for lack of a better word. Why spend all that time rolling dice, tracking hit points, status conditions, posistions, multiple monsters, and so on. A computer or video game does this so much more efficiently. So, I largely mocked or ignored those who claimed it was one of the best gaming experiences they had.

When I met my wife, it was online, in an environment we both enjoyed, and which happened to allow for some roleplaying, so that is something we've always had in common. She has a long history of table top games, and would often regal friends with tales of her adventures. Being caught up in a tree, running from a pack of worg riding orcs. Dancing from limb to limb as the pyromaniac wizard of the party commenced to lighting the forest on fire. Narrowly escaping burning to death by leaping to safty in a river 100 feet below, only to have to fight rapids, dodging razor sharp rocks.

After enough time of hearing her tell such tales, I realized where computer games really were lacking: They are finite. Even the most elaboratly laid out story, in the most far reaching and developed worlds, have limits. Only so many characters, so many places to adventure. Limitations of what the hardware can provide. The table top is only limited to what you can imagine.

When Wizards of the Coast released Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition, I managed to talk enough of our friends into trying out a table top campaign. We ran through the first published adventure released with the edition, The Keep on the Shadowfell, and had a good time. However, just as we were begining to move on to my own crafted adventure life threw us for a loop. I was laid off, the economy went to crap, and a year of getting our lives back together doing whatever we could ensued.

By the grace of God, we are past that now. Life is restabalizng, and I've had time to work on my own twist to the DnD experience, set in Bioware's Mass Effectuniverse.

My players are:

[*:6b4rwjie]Lewis - DM and Salarian Infiltrator Orion
[*:6b4rwjie]Christy - Quarian Soldier Nymeria'Stark nar Arya
[*:6b4rwjie]Mary - Turian Vanguard Rile Carron
[*:6b4rwjie]Josh - Krogan Vanguard Triton SparrThe game is a homebrew story and "engine", though heavily reliant on 4E. My goals in the conversion were the following:


[*:6b4rwjie]Destroy the 4E "grind" which players often find occuring in combat. Enemies are always capable of inflicting serious damage, but the difficulty is getting the balance right so anything but a special type bad guy will not one shot a player. Players also have to be able to react to these threats, without being so powerful as to not be threatened in the first place.
[*:6b4rwjie]Emulate the mechanics of the video game. Fast action, diving for cover, rushing into a crowd of husks, biotic forces rearranging the battlefield. Coming up with ways to make these possible, and more importantly, meaningful was an interesting challenge.
[*:6b4rwjie]Make it fun! Some mechanics, while integral to various parts of the game, just do not translate well to a table top game, and in the name of fun, I had to eliminate them. Counting ammo and heat generation are first to come to mind for these type of cuts.
[*:6b4rwjie]Allow imagination to rule. I didn't want to restrict my players to the limits of my imagination, so character advancement is very open, but does put some more responsability on the players. I don't see this as bad. Gone are pages after pages of powers to choose from. I'll explain leveling up when we get to our first point in the adventure where it matters.
I'll be posting the rules as soon as I get them in a format worthy of publishing. It wasn't required that I have everything pristine to start playing, so long as the players could understand what is going on.

First game highlights... typical first game of a new campaign. New characters, new abilities. Some people take more time than others to learn what they can do, but it's how things go. We spent about an hour making sure all the characters were right, have everything they are supposed to have, numbers all add up correctly, so on.

I didn't want to be overly traditional when starting this story off, so I dropped a group of strangers into a life and death situation, where their individual talents would be needed to keep all of them alive. Without any of them, the story would have shifted in a whole new direction than it did.

It was a 4 hour session, and we only got through one combat encounter, plus a "skill challenge", but the players performed very well. Most of the slowdown was the learning process. I want to do this, so how do I do it type of things. Also, some extra explination of "general" knowledge, such as technology, government, how things like ammo work, etc. For reference, I pulled most of my data from the Mass Effect wiki, so my thanks go to the plentitude of contributors there.

The powers the players had to pick from for level 1, were all things from the ME games,or minor variations thereof, and can be found herehere[/url] for reference.

Let me know what you think of it all.
-V-
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#2 Calibret0

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 01:21 PM

Sounds cool. I loved the games and the universe. I'm checking it out now! :P
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#3 CrimsenOverlord

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:54 PM

I really enjoyed session 1! I hope that you guys do some more soon... as well as release the rules for my group to try out :P
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