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Adventure! RPG - My new TT game


Matt
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I am going to run a table top game of Adventure in Feb. and was hoping to get some helpful hints or insight from people that have ran/played it before. I've been trying to get a group to play it since it came out and I don't want to blow the opportunity, so any help you can give is appreciated.

Thanks,

Chosen

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A few simple points:

- Encourage Dramatic Editing usage, by deliberately setting your players against odds they could not possibly overcome (actually, I favour this as a general rule - If you can't think of a way out of a situation, put your players on it - trust me, they'll find a way out). They certainly won't die, Pulp heroes never die, but it'll stretch their imaginations a little as they try and find ways to turn a given situation to their advantage.

- That said, Villains should be Villains - download the Evil Overlord list to get an idea as to how Villains should be thinking. And this type of thinking is directly proportionate to how much power the Villain wields at any given time, so top Villains working on their own make less stupid decisions than Villains with lots of mooks and resources. Consider it an extension of Groupthink if you will.

- While we're on Villains, always design your Villains with a schtick in mind. It becomes much easier to figure out how, exactly, they're going to screw up.

- Adventure has the capacity to get really campy - which is occaisionally fine, but if you're trying for the Pulp Experience, can be a little disrupting. This is really depending on what type of game you and your players are hoping for, but if you're going for a somewhat serious chronicle, take steps to avoid mood disruption.

- It has to be said - The Shadow, Indiana Jones, The Phantom, The Mummy, these are all films that your players should be subjected to before character generation. In addition, if you can score some old pulp magazines, use them as well.

- For the GM, read the Storytelling section of the Adventure! book. It has many good ideas on what you should be doing, and how you should be running a pulp chronicle.

- Should one of your players go the route of the Super Scientist, give them room to work with. Don't restrict their ideas too much when their trying to design stuff, and be willing to be lenient with time - and keep track of downtime.

- Keep it up-vibe and over-the-top. Pulp should be somewhat larger than life. Atlantis, Antarctic hideaways... Physics get stretched by a large amount. Also, don't be afraid to get a little inconsistent - your Inspired NPCs happen to have Inspiration points as well, and they can spend them on Obvious Continuity Violations as well.

That's all for the moment, really...

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Quote:
Originally posted by Kirby1024:
A few simple points:

- Encourage Dramatic Editing usage, by deliberately setting your players against odds they could not possibly overcome (actually, I favour this as a general rule - If you can't think of a way out of a situation, put your players on it - trust me, they'll find a way out). They certainly won't die, Pulp heroes never die, but it'll stretch their imaginations a little as they try and find ways to turn a given situation to their advantage.
I don't particularly like the pulp setting, so I could be sticking my foot into my mouth bigtime here. As a player, I HATE it when a storyteller does this to me on a repetitive basis in any other system or setting. The suspension of my disbelief only goes so far, and if the group is consistently pulling off victories it had no business winning then it cheapens the victory and makes it meaningless.

I'm not saying not to do this, but I'd use it sparingly. Like once in a character's life.
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I'm not saying not to do this, but I'd use it sparingly. Like once in a character's life.

It's part of the pulp setting. ST sets up situation, situation escalates out of control by revelations of the unexpected culminating in cliff hanger and now the player comes up with a plausible reason why they can survive what would surely have killed lesser men and women.

It's a pulp thing... wink

On topic I offer a bit from the Ghostbusters RPG. "Don't try to make it funny. Just set up the situation and your players will create the jokes." Same thing with Pulp. Makes sure they're enthused about the basic conventions (watching the movies mentioned is a pretty good way to start) and let make of it what they will.

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The thing is, of course, that if you are doing this on a regular basis it's vital that you don't explicitly make the situation inescapable - You don't tell them that walls of that pit are silky-smooth, made from impervious material, and that the monsters down there are not only metal-coated, but filled with acid so if you do manage to hurt them, you're going to get hurt alongside it.

No, what you tell them is that you've been thrown into a 20-ft high pit, there are bones of previous victims in the hole, and you've just woken up several mutated, ill-tempered Griffons, that have just realised that you're their next meal. See you all next week!

At first glance, it looks inescapable, because you've deliberately left it all vague. At this point, it's up to the players to begin using Dramatic Editing, stunts, and far-fetched logic to turn this situation into a situation that's dire, but can be escaped, but only for such brave, heroic people such as the PCs.

It's a simple system, and it's kinda born out of my experience that Players will never use the way you planned out of the situation, so you may as well not leave any planned way out, and let the PCs figure a way out. This means that you can encourage creativity, because the only way the PCs are going to get out is because the PCs made a way out. It also gives the players a sense of accomplishment, in that it was them who figured out how to survive.

I probably worded the advice wrong, but the spirit of the advice should be clear. Besides, Pulp Heroes typically do 3 impossible things before tea time...

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Well,whenever I start a game,I kill all the players.Nothing gets in the way of a fun game,more than the players....

Chosen,I would make sure the players fear their characters failing,but only enough to high light victories.With no losing,and or failing,the game doesn't mater.With no winning,the game is a chore.

I could tell you many things that work for me in pulp,but my games tend to take on more of a punk,than pulp feel.I will say this,play off your players,as it is a game,and if everyone is having fun talking about music..cool.If you have fun,playing cards and not your game one day.Cool!It is about fun.So,have it.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Woohoo, I finally get to run my first game of Adventure next week. I thought it was going to fall through, but luckily I'm going to get to run at least 1 night of it. I'm running a convention style game with premade characters for a group of people in hopes to entice them into playing a weekly game of it. I'll let everyone know how it works out.

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  • 3 weeks later...

For those interested, my game of Adventure went great. I don't think I've seen my players this animated and excited about any game that we've played in a long time. If you get a chance, I highly recommend playing or running Adventure.

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The characters were:

Dr. Watson (No relation to the fictional sidekick of Holmes, which is going to be a sort of in joke in the game.)

A Mesmerist with Brain Skimming, Marked Man, Perfect Translation, Psychic Hand, & Mindhammer

Thomas Easter, aka Paragon

A Stalwart with Cool Hand, Powerlifter, Man of Many Faces, & Reptilian Regeneration

Jack Chance (I've always wanted to use the name for an Adventure character.)

A Daredevil with One-Man Army, Death Defiance, Lightning Reflexes, Trick Shot, & Wheelman

The game starts off with me paraphrasing the following:

"When our heroes were last seen, they had travelled to the ruins of the Ancient City of Gaochang, located in the middle of the Flaming Mountaints of China, on the heels of the evil Dr. Kharakhoja, or Dr. K. But tragedy struck and their guide, the beautiful Gong Li, was captured. Our heroes followed Li's tracks into the Astana Tombs, only to learn Dr. K. true plans to use his z-wave projector to animate the dead and take over the world. While an army of undead minions closed in, Dr. K. held Li's sleeping body over a bubbling pit, vowing to drop her in the acid if any of them rose up against him. Jack Chance, Paragon and Dr. Watson gave themselves up in exchange for Li's safety. While zombies took Li out of the tomb, the three heroes were placed in a steel cage, which was roped from the ceiling and lifted over the bubbling liquid. Dr. K. says goodbye and lights the rope holding their cell on fire where it is tied to a mound near him."

After I set up the cliffhanger situation that the game started in, I went into details about how the game worked and how they could use Inspiration to help get themselves out of the death trap.

I've always struggled with trying to get players to be more descriptive about their actions, and for some reason they really took to it in Adventure, which I really fed off of and think helped me run the game better.

I talked to Kirby a bit and he helped me with some basic info, as well as what he posted above, for how to run the game. Before the game started I made sure I was mentally prepared to go in any direction the players wanted, so I didn't write anything with specifics in mind. I created some scenes that I thought could be cool, including some terrain and npcs, but I made sure that I was willing to let the players go in whatever direction that they wanted and that I didn't overwrite any scene for a specific direction.

The adventure setup was really simple, as I didn't want to spend too much time setting things up. I just wanted to get across the uses of dramatic editing, the basic rules for the game, and the tone/style of the game.

One of the players was really late, so we didn't get to finish the game, but that was ok. I wrote it as an adventure and a half, so that they could pick up on a cliffhanger, which was written above, and then continue onto the primary adventure in Shanghai. But because of the lack of time, I couldn't finish what I wanted to in Shanghai, so I cut it right as they were getting into the city and things were getting exciting again. Like most of the night, it wasn't what I planned, but it still worked.

Some highlights were when Dr. Watson recalled that he kissed Li shortly before she was taken using marked man. Paragon had a belt that was actually a whip, which is primarily how they got out of the cliffhanger at the beginning, and then later his discovery of a secret passage that got them out of the tomb, just as Dr. K was collapsing the entrance on both them and the rest of his living thugs. And then Jack Chance drove the partially damaged jeep that was left behind off of part of the ruins to avoid the rubble from the collapsing build which took out one of Dr. K's truck and landed their jeep in the back of the other truck. After the fight on the plane, I had prepared a map of Asia and had a marker ready to do the Indiana Jones map travel scene, cutting back in at Shanghai.

The Shanghai section was going to be some investigation into the Dragon Coil Tong, but I called it a night as they were starting to figure out what was happening. The adventure was far from great, but it was probably the best time I've had running a game for this group.

I really like the extras rule, and the game did action very well. I can't wait to run it again.

Ok, enough of my rambling.

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  • 1 month later...

So the players liked the one shot game that I described above enough to give an ongoing game a chance, and we've now been playing for about a month.

I can say that it has been one of the harder games for me to run. I'm still trying to be as free with it as possible. The players are having fun, but pretty much every night has gone in a different direction than I had anticipated. That's not a bad thing, but my trying to either get them going in the right direction or come up with new scenarios on the fly has slowed the game down more than I would have liked.

The game I'm running is sort of a Forrest Gump style game, where I've taken some real events and have given new reasons for those events, and then placed the characters at the scene. Part of the group are history buffs and like the history part of it, and the other part of the group didn't even know the events happened and are happy to learn a little something new about the world while playing tha game.

So far I'd say that the campaign has been a moderate success. It's fun to run, but very exhausting and I don't think I've done it justice yet in the ongoing game. Hopefully I'll find my groove in next couple of sessions.

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Do any of them have background tie-ins you can use to get them going were you want to go?

A call from a dying uncle?

An heirloom from a long-last relation?

The genre is good for that kind of stuff.

Also, you could use the guilt hammer. Have a less competant group head off were they should have been going, and then have their horribly mutialted bodies (minus one or two members) found. Now, they feel bad about letting these "mere" mortals go were they didn't, and they need to find the missing people, and hopefully save them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for the input guys. The problem isn't so much that they won't go along with the plot, it's that they make characters that are designed for a certain purpose and then tell me at the end of the game that they want to do X the following week. so I take into account what their characters are and what they said they wanted to do the following week and prepare the adventure. And 5 out of 5 times as soon as the game starts to go in a completely different direction and go against what I think their characters are about.

Here are some examples. The first week we played the 6 dot resource daredevil is throwing a lavish party, which all of the other players attend for different reasons. In the middle of the party men show up and start blasting up the place, then when things get really crazy someone that may be affiliated with the Dragon Coil Tong drop in a bomb, which one of the characters knows contains an agent that has been modified iva z-waves to induce something similar to the bubonic plague on anyone near it. One of the characters is a gadgeteer and stated that his character loves gadgets and wants to explore all gadgets. So I figure it's an easy thing for him to stop.

Of course out of the 4 players, not 1 of them considers stopping the bomb, which blows up in LA and disperses an airborn bubonic plague into the city, nor do they investigate the people that dropped it into their laps, but rather go in a different direction completely.

It's fun, but just not what I had intended or hoped for. I try to prepare cinematic fight scenes at certain geographic locations, but when they decide not to explore those areas I have to come up with new stuff on the fly.

So I can't fault my players, because they are having fun and doing some fine role playing. They just aren't cooperating with what I think they've originally set out to do, so in the grand scheme they are missing out on some of the things that I thought would be really cool.

I always thought that I'd have to be quick with thing to try and keep up with the players in this game. I originally thought it would be because of use of insiration, but that has been so minor compared to the other stuff, that I haven't even flinched over it. The one thing that bothers me is that in many ways, I'm losing the pulp feel of the setting, as what we have is much more comedic than anything I've ever ran before, excluding Paranoia.

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I learned 1 very important thing tonight during my Adventure game. If I wasn't already going there, I am definately going to hell. No doubts about it. Tonight was a blast, but once again not at all what I expected.

At the end of the last adventure, they were going to the airfield to get a dirigible to intercept a boat that housed another dirigible which was going to release another container of the plague on San Francisco. They knew where the boat's general location was, and the basic area that they were going to attack, they just didn't know the specifics.

So I plan my adventure, a grand (well not huge, but what I hoped would be very dramatic and exciting) dirigible encounter, with some air to ship and ship to ship hazzards thrown into the mix. They gave explicit instructions for what they were going to do, so I figured this would be the night that I was finally able to use something that I had pre-planned.

But when will that ever work? In the first 5 minutes, I have to throw the playbook out the window and start improvising. Because once they get to the airport, they decide that it would be much easier to just get on a plain, then rent a car and drive the countryside looking for the villians. I'm not entirely sure how this happened, well I sort of know, but it's too complicated of a story.

Anyway, the adventure didn't go at all like I planned it, but it was the most laughter that I've had with this group to date. We in no way captured the pulp feel for the game, but had so much fun. At multiple point in the game everyone face was bright red from laughing so hard.

We all promised that we'd never divulge what happened during the game, simply because the tangent that the game got off on was so off beat and just generally wrong that we'd look like idiots or assholes for telling it. But the general consensus from the group was that we had all done something terribly wrong in the game and that whatever cosmic forces there are will have to smite us in some way for it. wink

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