Sunday, January 27, 2013

GM Commentary: Last Rest Episode 6: Tough Times in Tribute

Same disclaimer as always, go read the Summary of Reign Season, Last Rest Episode Six: Tough Times in Tribute.

  • Reached roughly the halfway point of the First Season.  One of my main goals with the game is to have discrete plotlines with a definite end.  Part of my goal with the episode was to let the PCs choose a finale.  I drafted up a half dozen possibilities, though there were three that were much more likely and as expected the players choose one of those.
  • Completely stole Thomas's "In Search of Healing" subplot, wherein they had the choice of getting very costly healing from a Goody Two-shoes, definitely good group, represented by The Monastery of Blessed Immaculate Purity which wanted those seeking healing to provide a blemish free animal for sacrifice and to undergo 30 days of prayer, repentance and cleansing or to choose a more morally ambiguous healing provider, portrayed by the House of Transference who painfully rip the wounds from your body and transfer them onto a person so impoverished they are willing to undergo agony and dangerous wounds in exchange for money.  Much to my delight, the players chose the House of Transference, as I suspected they would, mostly due to the time factor.  Perhaps I should have only had the purification at the Monastery last a week or so, but meh.
  • Seven players easily becomes unwieldy, especially this last session, where I had some payoff for background details from a few PCs that didn't do a good job engaging the other players.  For instance, Norah's quest to find her mother and brother, Kaden.  A session or two ago, Norah began to suspect that Kaden was the Ashen Kingdom's mole, so instead of bringing all the PCs in right away to find her family, she kept it to herself and only brought them in right at the end when I upped the ante and had Kaden flee to meet another NPC from a player background John Barker.
  • Another reason so many players is unwieldy, the player of Corrie, from whose background Barker was plucked, is unable to attend but I unfortunately did not know that until after I set up the scene, which lessens the magnitude of the NPC for the remaining players.
  • With the next game I run, I am going to really focus on having a much, much more cohesive group.  The PCs in this group are often times a herd of cats, in theory they have a common goal, but in practice they don't seem to cooperate very well.  Another problem, is the that of the best connected trio of the group, Trent, Sorina and Mercutio, who all spent time in prison together, Sorina and Mercutio have the least worked out backgrounds of the group, as their players are very busy with other things.
  • With both Reign and Fading Suns, I've noticed that my games have gotten very intricate and talky... Probably as a backlash against all the D&D combat encounters I planned, I tend to avoid making combat the heart of an episode, aside from the Ogre battle.  I get the feeling with Reign that the players who made more combat focused characters are a little less engaged because of that.
  • I also did not manage to work any Company Challenges into the game, making it the second episode in a row where those were absent.
  • I had planned to write this commentary sooner, but had the DEATH FLU for a half week, which delayed things significantly and caused me to cancel my planned Sabbat game.
Goals for the Next Episode:
  • Bring things to a boil and help the players and PCs start to really see the connections.  There's a lot of plot threads woven about and I want to start showing them the outline of the endgame for the plot.
  • Play up Company Rolls by having half the session be time lapse and montage and having the PCs run the company over the course of several months.  Yeah, this was also a goal I had in the last commentary, but I didn't get to do it.  Hopefully, once they get Kaden/Barker and/or let Kaden/Barker slip through their grasp, there'll be a good way to transition to having a couple months of prep for the Company to move south, to make sure their business in the Free Valleys to the North is in good shape, etc.

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