Monday, November 22, 2010

Notes... A Good Thing!

One of the bad habits of a GM I have is running just about any game by the seat of my pants.  I like being able to make stuff up on the fly, and I normally have no problem recalling the stuff I make.  This is both a boon and a curse at times however, in that while I can make stuff up on the fly, the games I run usually turn into something that the designers would not recognize as theirs at all.  I'll have to share my saga with the "World of Darkness" and how I modded the holy hell out of it for 8+ years for a long running campaign.  Yeah I'm pretty sure White Wolf would have no idea what I was actually running.

With Hex games however I seem to have no real problem following their rules and still being able to make stuff up on the fly.  I have to admit I'm DAMNED impressed by the system and one of my players on Friday said it was great!  His reply was essentially "It's a great system.  Qags is simple enough for anyone with just enough complexity for anything." 

Now I don’t work for Hex games, so don’t think I’m just schilling for them.  I really like the FATE system as well, but for breaking in gamers who are used to AD&D Hex seems an easier fit to begin with.
So what was this about notes?  Well the other bane about being able to magically pull stuff out of my wazoo is that I do inevitably forget SOMETHING…
Like the name of the rancher the players first went to investigate on the first session.
So… for the first time in a LONG time I actually took NOTES on the game session.  First off, to help me remember what the heck we were doing, and second so I could more accurately report the shenanigans to you.
The Pinkerton Monster Files
The team, known as the “Mason Dixon Marshals” is a group of Pinkerton agents specialized in xenobilogical and paranormal threat investigation and elimination so necessary in these modern times! (Note: I’d like to speak with the history professor on campus about the dates and happenings of the Civil War for more details.  Luckily he’s a gamer too!)
The MDM consists of:
Jacob Edwards: Professional Gambler
Xavier Grave: Bounty Hunter
Zakk Cannur: Undercover K9 officer (He’s a blind man with a “seeing eye dog”)
“Winchester”: Sniper
Dr. Nkki Smith (no typo on the name… the player wanted it that way!): Xenobiologist and Bio-warfare specialist
We re-join our heroes as Jacob and Zakk finally make it into the little town of Groversfeild on the Rio Grande river south of the Devastation line.  The team meets over a breakfast serves at the ranch mansion of their eccentric host, Colonel Westerson and his butler Charles. 
(The Colonel I played up as a crazy Southern man in a steam powered, tank treaded, wheelchair.  Picture Colonel Sanders on an espresso bender screaming for mint juleps.  Charles is a black man but has the bearing of an English nobleman and seems to suffer working for the Colonel while giving the characters some ACTUAL help.  The butlers… when they aren’t the ones who did it… ALWAYS know what’s really going on.)
(Here the characters were able to meet and greet and get to know each other again.  We added Jacob and Zakk for this run and lost our duelist/gunslinger.  Oh well.  Nkki’s player came up with the military background for the E. bola and said her character would also be researching those biological weapons in the field against the things they faced.)
Dr Smith (DHOT!) mentions that it will take some time for the virus to work on the creature they encountered, if it works at all, and the MDM decided on another plan of action.  With the help of Charles, they found out that one ranch had NOT been struck by this mysterious monster.  The Shen ranch on the other side of town.  The MDM decided to boldly go forth and investigate… after the third round of bacon and OJ.
(There were a lot of plans flying around the table here, as well as a well and truly botched job roll by Nkki’s player.  She wanted to know if she knew anything about this monster so I had her roll with a difficulty rating of 5.  She rolled a natural 20 and man did I hate breaking to her that in Hex that was a critical failure.  It was not a life and death situation but for a while her character was truly convinced the thing was an Irish giant named “Iron Jack” and they could get rid of it using magnets.)
The MDM made it to the Shen ranch, which was heavily laden with Asian flair.  Inside the house they met Lee Shen, the 20 year old daughter of Xi Shen, the ranch owner.  She explained that her father had defended the ranch with a jade sword but he was now laid up in bed resting.  Xi Shen was 98 years old after all and the monster has not come back.  Zakk asked why he did not hear any cattle in the fields to which Lee explained in some excitement that their ranch was becoming a test facility for a new Lemurian technology for breeding cattle!  This shocked the MDM and they were taken out back to see this research in progress. 
They were greeted outside with a massive structure made of what appeared to be white marble, brass, and bronze with three massive domes of metal running down the center length of the building.  It was simple, yet elegant in design and outside the door stood in customary white and gold robes, a Lemurian of the Biological clan, symbolized by the tree with its leaves growing down and connecting to its roots emblazoned upon his helmet.  The Lemurian had the typical respirator to filter our air of impurities and all the MDM could see of its skin was its emerald tail and the eye region on its face.
(We had some funny moments in the house, when the Doctor rolled and passed a weakness check for her kleptomania and when “Winchester” rolled and FAILED his weakness of “Watch out for that tree!” and plowed into a Ming vase and obliterating it.  “Winchester’s” weakness is going to be interesting… especially since he has a JETPACK!)
(The Lemurians I’ve had a good idea of their physical characteristics for a while.  They dress in modified Asian and Roman robes that completely cover their skin.  Only their tails and eyes are seen by the mammals.  Otherwise they appear to be sleek reptilian humanoids with rather large mouths.  They are strict carnivores but lean towards fish and cephalopods for food.  Unfortunately a rogue faction of their society caused an ecological disaster, killing all local fish and squid populations, to force the Lemurians into the modern world.  The caste system works on a color and symbol pattern which… I have not fully worked out yet.  I do know White is now Scientist and Black is Warrior with specialties denoted by the symbol on their helm.  The mask/filter is to purify our air, and to add needed salts not found far inland from marine habitats.  It’s also a courtesy to the mammals that tend to freak out when seeing a large mouth full of very VERY sharp teeth.  Too many bad racial memories of giant lizards stepping on mice perhaps?)
The Lemurian took the MDM on a tour of the facility which was fully automated by Lemurian technology and automata.  The cattle were fed, cleaned, milked, and stored, while the bulls were also “milked” to obtain sperm for genetic analysis to ensure superior breeding with the cows.  Xavier asked if they ever had any problems and the Lemurian just began to utter that they had been error free when suddenly… A metallic Disc struck the tank next to his head!  The group turned and found three Lemurians dressed in black with red serrated discs emblazoned on their helms drawing their sonic swords and rushing to attack!
The MDM proved however, that one should never bring a sword to a gunfight as they blasted these would be warriors, and even Samantha (Zakk’s “Guide Dog” Doberman)  joined in to tear the throat out of one of the warriors.  Even better, only two cattle were lost to missed shots leaving Miss Shen to look at our heroes and say…
“I see the Pinkertons are just as efficient as I have heard.”
(The session had to come to an abrupt close but I was bound and determined to give combat an actually try.  So out of nowhere I yelled :SUDDNELY… NINJAS! And dove into combat with the group.  Between laughing they got up to speed with the combat system fairly quick and soundly kicked the Lemurian warrior’s asses.  I was even able to mentally justify it later (the players will have to investigate it a bit) by saying the attack was an attempt on the Lemurian Biologist’s life.  On the other hand I have also learned to NEVER give ninjas a body of 11…  Man they sucked and my rolls did not help them.  After the fight the players had to leave but everyone said they had lots of fun and look forward to playing it again.  Nkki’s player also said this system would be perfect for her to use to run some games!  Hell I think I made a convert!  WHOOT!!!)
Next time… something with pictures.  Y’all have GOT to be tired of walls of text.

1 comment:

  1. "Picture Colonel Sanders on an espresso bender screaming for mint juleps." = WIN!