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Episode 1933: Peaceful Easy Fleeing

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For the most part, PC heroes should escape from or prevail in encounters. It wouldn't be much of a game if the players' characters kept getting killed off three times every session(*).

The relevant question is how easy should it be for them to come out alive, and how much damage or setback should they sustain along the way. In the early days of gaming, you just had to figure this out for yourself, but modern games (such as D&D 5th Edition) often include GM advice on how to structure encounters to provide an appropriate challenge to a group of adventurers. This can include information on setting a number of "easy" encounters which the group can be expected to overcome without significant injury, a number of "medium" encounters which will cause some significant damage, and perhaps one "major" encounter per session which will seriously challenge the heroes and require clever play and/or luck to come out the other side without some of the heroes being killed.

And this is about the mix you want: several easy encounters, a few medium ones, and one big challenge. Either per session, or spread out over the course of a multi-session adventure.

(*) Unless you're playing Paranoia.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

Making the video seem coherent. Oh bleep, that is really painful.

I've recorded some of my Minecraft games, both solo and group. For a while I was trying to have a YouTube channel of gaming, eventually doing two channels, one for just Minecraft, one for other games. Editing to remove the "junk" was painful. And generally, 70% of what happens does nothing to advance the story, yet that is where all the fun player-player interaction happens - so all the enjoyable stuff goes along with no plot development, and trying to get things cut down for viewer enjoyment becomes a real major PITA. I learned a lot of respect for people who can write a good TV script, and understand why so much of it isn't. As well as a major appreciation for improv groups that can actually be entertaining.

And Bingo! "They let us go". Pete/Rey has come to the same conclusion I came to in 1929 - Hux let them go because he wants to find the Resistance base. Even if Finn is defecting, he is being tracked by Hux.

And how does Pete know they were allowed to get away? Because the GM had Pete roll the dice to get away. Bad GM, Bad, bad GM. Never let the players make their own stealth rolls.

Err, let me rephrase that. Never let the players roll the dice for their stealth rolls. In fact, you should just pretend to roll, and decide if they succeed or not based on your adventure plot/story. No, that's not railroading. That's all about working together to tell a good story. This is what a TT-RPG is about, players working together to tell a...

Working together? This group? Never mind.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Heh, with how much of a tangent the group seems to head in, it's very impressive that the GM manages to still roll with the flow and come up with a mostly sensical plot out of the players' actions. Especially when one of the players is Jim and is capable of coming up with incredibly silly plans, just to link a few. Annie's campaign didn't go exceptionally well for those that remember the other details, so I think she might have missed some of the other things that come up when one runs a campaign.

I really like the callback to Episode IV here. I'd agree that Rey, Finn, and BB-8 were definitely let go, but not because Pete rolled low and still made it. Practically speaking, a couple of troopers and a couple more PIE fighters don't amount to much more than a token effort to keep someone from defecting. The GM hasn't pulled any punches before when low rolls happen from player decisions, though they do feel bad about the outcome. OOC, everyone would know it was Ben as General Hux calling in the attackers (and the defection plot), while IC, Rey and BB-8 could figure out that such a small strike force wouldn't be good for finding and putting down a deserter and is very suspicious.

I also just realized that there's been no mention of costumes yet, which is rather a shame. It is quite understandable though with how busy life can get. A week's time, assuming it has been a week since the previous session, would not be enough time for myself to put together a costume I would want shown off on camera. I could kludge something together with some cardboard, tape, and permanent markers in a day or two, but I wouldn't want to show anything like that off on camera unless it turned out much better than I expected.

Transcript

Poe: {dead} Hey everyone!
GM: Hi Jim. Are we ready then?
Finn: Is it okay with everyone if I video the session again?
GM: Sure. But what happened to the last one?
Finn: Still editing. Do you know how tough it is to make the game seem coherent?
GM: ... No comment.
GM: Rey, Finn, BB-8: You’re in deep space in the Tatooine system.
Rey: Right. We need to figure out where to go.
Finn: Your Resistance base, no?
Rey: Yeah, but you’re a defector. We don’t know if we can trust you.
Finn: Troopers were hunting me down on Tatooine!
Rey: They let us go. It was the only reason for the ease of our escape.
Finn: Easy? You call that easy?
Rey: I rolled low twice and we still made it!


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Published: Sunday, 20 December, 2020; 01:11:04 PST.
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