Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday Night Gaming 4/2/10 - Armory of Terror

Last night's friday night gaming gave me my second chance to run Savage Worlds. I decided to try out another One Sheet adventure (check out this previous post to learn more about the One Sheets offered from Pinnacle Entertainment) to give the group a chance to see how their characters they built for my planned Day After Ragnarok campaign.  Looking through the One Sheets there are a lot of options for different scenarios to make your own. In general I've found these One Sheets to be a great starting point for planning an adventure - it's really not exclusive at all to the Savage Worlds ruleset. The only thing you'd have to do is supply your own system's NPC's and you've got yourself a hook and some unique challenges. Alternatively you can easily take something very fantasy-based and make it work in the modern world.

So how did I make my WWII era Day After Ragnarok scenario from the Tomb of Terrors?
I started off by re-skinning everything. It's really quite an easy task when you have the pdf opened right next to a word document. I basically re-wrote the entire scenario in a half hour and made it our own. Instead of a small village we were on an isolated and under-staffed American airbase just West of the Rockies (basically on the borderlands  between civilization and poisoned chaos. Instead of the evil liche Thomas Olchan and his zombies they had to face the likes of Major Brunner of the Luftwaffe and his evil cult of witch hag nazi ghoul women.

My favorite things I changed were pretty easy and basic fixes that were 100% flavor changes. The first thing I changed was the name of the scenario. Originally the Tomb of Terror, I switched it to the Armory of Terror. With the change of the type of underground location I was able to flavor everything as a military concrete structure instead of an ancient ruined temple. There was some background I had to change, and Major Brunner's plan was never explained last night, but it was mostly easy fixes.

The other change that I'm most proud of is the change in the type of golems the evil magic mastermind used to defend himself. The original scenario calls for the heroes to see a pile of bones in the middle of the room upon entering it and seeing the big bad dark wizard. The bones then animate in bone golems which proceed to use their sharpened arms to do their best to skewer and slash the heroes. Instead of the bones in the middle of the room there were bare rifle barrels - hundreds of them. I then presented my players with (what I think is) the first ever gun barrel golems. I could have used the guns as functioning ranged weapons, but I didn't work it into the game and kept things simple. It was a fun exercise trying to think of how to turn Temple of Terror into Armory of Terror.

I was talking with TheBro last night after the game and began to realize that just this simple little scenario introduced some real ideas and concepts that will likely stick for the campaign. It's the definition of stealing to make a game work - I took the NPC's generated for the sample scenario, tweaked them just a tiny bit to make them WWII-appropriate, and wham, instant NPC for the future! PFC O'Brien, an M.P. who replaced the village guard in the scenario has a built in relationship with the group, and all I essentially did was change the name of the NPC from the original scenario and let the flow of the game mould his character.

I know this is pretty basic GM'ing commentary, but it never hurts to hear a testiment for a good GM'ing source that's more than just theory. Did running Savage Worlds go exactly as I hoped? No, not really. There's still a lot of rules questions we have, and I'm finding that it may be a little too crunchy for its own good, but I think it's probably learnable still for us at this point. That's all beside the matter at hand - if nothing else I can hardily recommend using the One Sheets provided from Pinnacle for a quick fix and scenario idea when you don't have much time to prep for that game in 2 hours from now.

On a sidenote, I once again used my Flip-Mat that I picked up from Noble Knight (go click the banner at th etop of the page here and buy one - you'll help support The Hopeless Gamer directly!) and am just enamored with it. Right now I have the bandit fort Flip-Mat. I'm definitely going to pick up one or two more of them, probably a dessert one and something that looks more concrete than natural to cover my bases. They're so easy to just throw in your bag, and I already use dry erase markers/page sheets for whenever I play in an RPG, so it's really easy to always have what you need at hand. I'm a true convert as someone who has both GM'ed and played on a Chessex wet-erase ginormous mat. 

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