Monday, March 1, 2010

Slaughter City Session 3 After Action Report

The last session left me unsatisfied and disoriented, though I'm not entirely sure why.  It might simply be my lingering insomnia, actually, because overall, I thought it went really well.

We dragged Cass kicking and screaming into her story, but she quite enjoyed what she saw when she got there.  She didn't do much, but that's not the point.  She's there to be an outsider looking in, watching all the cool drama and then, if she wishes, interacting or not interacting or bemoaning her situation or what have you.  The point is, she now has material to work with, and that's good.

Roomie and Dave went crazy.  What is it with Dave?  Just because you can kill someone doesn't mean you should.  And so, we have our first major named NPC death (with a mortal.  The other named NPC?  Also Phillip's kill.  Stop pumping your fist and notching your belt, Dave, I can see you!), Danny Devlin, major mafioso.  Funny thing, though, that might actually work out really well for the story.  It's certainly extraordinarily dramatic, and Roomie once commented on how he'd love to see how much damage he caused.  Well, there ya go, some serious damage.  I tell you, I'm seriously glad I statted everything up, because otherwise, this would have left me completely at a loss, but now I find myself mentally counting up the impact this will make on the world.

The group is really having a hard time adjusting to the game.  Shawn saw a serial killer nabbing someone and, without thinking, without hesitating, threw himself (unarmed) into the situation and, shock of shocks, nearly lost a limb, and sped out of there.  Likewise, Dave and Roomie just pounce on a major crime lord without thought of repercussions, and even Byler just walks up to a girl he knows belongs to someone else and tries to put the moves on her (while I'm sure it was unintentional and Byler was just trying to nom on pretty women, his complete disregard for the fact that the Crassus clearly belong to Marion and that, while Esther has been offered, she has not been given to him, really fits with his whole "spoiled bastard prince" persona. Daisy needs to raise him better, but she's not really big on rules or discipline).  I spoke to Roomie about this, and he says we haven't played at this power level in a long time.

Which isn't true, our GURPS game as about this power level, possibly lower.  Of course, even there, Byler tried to kung-fu a guy who had a gun to his head executioner style with his 150 point character and was surprised when, shock of shock, it didn't work.  Mad too, though he got over it.  I think it's just the culture of the group: we play high-powered, epic games.  The guys are used to being uber heroes who answer to no one and seldom suffer consequences beyond dramatic, hilarious, soap-opera/comedy consequences, similar to much of the anime we like to watch.  I wasn't kidding when I called vampire a "Dark, survival horror," though, and the group is only slowly starting to grasp exactly what I meant.  Yes, you have kewl powers, but you're not an Exalted vs a Mortal, you're a former mortal with a curse.  Vampire is not a game about glory, it's a game about consequences.

Plus the format is very strange for the group.  I generally only hit players with opponents they can handle.  They don't expect, for example, that Porcelain, the pretty Korean woman draped all over Master Tiger in the very first session, is actually one of the most combat-capable mortals in all of Metzgerburg (up there with two of the characters the players faced yesterday).  That's not generally how my games work.  You expect such a character at the long end of a line of increasingly bad-ass NPCs.  Instead, Metzgerburg is a sand box, the dragons are mixed in with the goblins, the bad-asses rub elbows with the mooks.  The guys really aren't used to this.

In fact, I've noticed they're really struggling with the whole format: they don't investigate much, they don't sit up and ask to do something much, they don't think ahead and plan and ponder the deeper implications or this or that.  They watch, they wait, and they react.  They're treating it like an action game when it's a game of mystery, intrigue and horror.  But that's to be expected: we're a few sessions in, it's a very different style, and they're still adjusting.

I'm going to keep at it.  Now that we've established a base of the setting and sufficiently involved everyone (It would have been nice to involve Dave more in storyline material, but every time I do, he kills the people I'm offering him as hooks O.O), and we can get back to killing vampires and figuring out just who the Mother and Mortimer Tooms really are.  Once the arc is finished, we can sit back and reassess and see how people are or aren't liking the game.
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