Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pudding Recipe Antagonist Relations Actual Play Podcast 2 - GM Commentary

First, go listen to Antagonist Relations Podcast - Episode 15 - Pudding Recipe as that is the session that I'll be commenting on. A Red and Pleasant Land is abbreviated as aR&PL below. Also, spoilers for the podcast, though I'll hide any spoilers for the players about upcoming sessions.

Comments are in roughly chronological order as I listen to the podcast for the umpteenth time...

  • The Sisters of Stonestrike (S.o.S.) return. I'm slightly surprised that we got our acts together enough to make this an ongoing thing and the next one is scheduled already.
  • Christy is so bitter about the Heal skill requiring Bandages and time in the World of Dungeons 1979. This comes up in my Planarch Codex pickup game as well.
  • Listening to the players try and summarize the previous session, I could tell that none of them re-listened to the first session that day. I, on the other hand, listened to it four or five times (that day (I had listened to it multiple times before that, my mp3 player has its play count at 9 and I listened to it on the computer at least once and on my phone at least twice)) for those of you playing the Antagonist Relations blogpost drinking game, take a shot for Zack using parenthesis inside a set of parenthesis".
    • Highlights of the player summary...
      • "We have a moth friend... his name is Moth."
      • "We met some childrens sitting by a well who were creepy as childrens will be."
      • "We got told some information that none of us wrote down or paid attention to." 
        • Refreshing for players to admit this, as it is a dilemma GMs face often of having to decide if they tell the Players what their PCs would remember/know a second time because the first the players did not pay any attention.
      • "Creepy children... creepy fort... creepy knight... creepy vampire knight...they were creepy (referring to the knob goblins)" All in under a minute. Apparently I run super creepy adventures? (for those continuing on with the Antagonist Relations drinking game take a drink for "Zack uses ellipsis") 
      • "Didn't they vomit up keys?"
      • "Children are delicious, Ben"
  • After the rambling player summary, I'm glad that I reminded them that the Moth had told them about the crystal orb that was tied to the rabbit to bring them back to the matter at hand and the important goal at hand.
  • Cassandra tries a "Is the GM a sucker" move, asking "Is there anything cool lying around, like a healing potion or anything?" 
  • Instead the PCs loot the end table drawer and couch cushions.
    • There's a lot less random table rolling during the game, because I had rolled on lots of tables before hand and assembled a single page list of results to draw upon instead of trying to print out several internet tables.
    • When goblin bodies were looted I did make use of the "I search the body" tables from both Vornheim and A Red and Pleasant Land. The players rolled their d100 and I took the result from the table I preferred.
    • Somehow that hacked chess piece will become important, even if I don't know how or why yet.
    • Speaking of tables, I did update the names of many of the less colorfully named tables of aR&PL over in this separate post.
  • Part of me wishes I had come up with something that would happen when the glass eyes were all turned away, but part of me just enjoyed the player paranoia. 
  • Spoiler... For the needle dart trap I rolled on the "Growing and Shrinking Sizes" table, but alas Christy rolled a 1 so she remained ordinary sized. So instead I had Raka's skin color change from silver to sickly violet color, though I think the players forgot that almost immediately.
  • I also wish I had done something with the space behind the fake books, but alas. I need to just remember in the future to just go crazy down the rabbit hole with that stuff. (For those playing the Antagonist Relations drinking game, take a drink for "Zack expresses regret at how he ran a game" and another for "Zack makes a Wonderland reference in a post about aR&PL")
  • Spoiler... None of the PCs (or the players) realized that the exterior of the Tower was described as being two stories (above-ground) and the interior was described as three stories (above-ground).
  • Here is the text of the letter, generated with aR&PL's Intercepted Communiqué table...
To my beloved and devoted Hatter,
 I send greetings from the Forest. This past season has been suspiciously merciful. I trust that the news of recent events here has reached you, and I likewise trust you received the claw I sent earlier, for otherwise you would be entirely unable to read the words I now set down. Though I am indeed made weary by the strain of maintaining this deceptions, I see the necessity in it, as, I am certain, do you. Be sure to avoid the humans. To do otherwise is to risk what little you have left.
Your most humble servant,
Finefinger Forth of the Order of Diamonds.
P.S. No more drawings, your aunt caught a glimpse of the last one and became terribly distracted.

  • The PCs tried to use the Moth as a scout, but of course a Moth is not a very good scout and doesn't have a great idea of the information the PCs really want.
  • The conversation around using the "Use Darkness to your advantage" Elven Heritage move is classic Powered by the Apocalypse. It reminds me that I have a post brewing on using Powered by the Apocalypse as a gaming language to speak as a GM and to teach to your players.
  • One of the mechanics I like best from Dungeon World (that's where I encountered it first, at least) is the Best and Worst mechanic. Basically, you roll two damage dice and either take the best or worst, depending. I've found, while running World of Dungeons 1979, that it makes it easy for me to fine-tune damage on the fly, letting less dangerous monsters and situations (like falling down stairs) tend to do less damage than just relying on the randomness of a single die. I should think of how to apply this when I try to gussy up monsters...
  • "We place booby-traps for arbitrary reasons in this place" sums up many a Fantasy Heartbreaker style dungeon.
  • Ben's gasp as I said there was a cake in the cupboard is a thing of beauty.
  • Pudding Recipe
Full Moon Baked Pudding
Take 1 pudding and place into a large, buttered porcelain baking dish.Add several teaspoons of salt *to tasteAdd several teaspoons of cinnamon *to tasteAdd a half a cup of the blood of a virginPowder of a single Green mushroomBake for 3 hours *Under a full moonTake out and let cool for a quarter hourBake for an additional hour

  • "I guess we just grab all this shit since nothing we're looking for is here" Oh, how quickly the PCs forget the objective that I made sure to reiterate only 45 minutes earlier.
  • Spoiler... The cake was definitely magical (even if it was just magically preserved) and absolutely contained human blood, at the very least. But even with human remains used in its baking, it's still not any more disgusting than a standard Red Velvet cake, which is the lowest form of cake known to humankind.
  • "Sassy moth is sassy..." Even though I didn't say "It's obvious that the moth isn't going to know anything about the food" I feel like a did a pretty good job communicating that fairly succinctly in the 30 seconds that there are many things the PCs can't rely on the moth for.
  • Spoiler... Of all the food/drink the PCs found, only the Beer is free of human remains.
  • I'm quite pleased that the players never expected the proper state of the rabbit to be skeletal, which I stole completely from the very excellent Pretty Deadly and got a good "Skeletal rabbit is creepy" out of Ben. (If you're playing the Antagonist Relations drinking game, take a drink for "Zack makes his players remark on how creepy his game is")
  • I'm pretty pleased at how the Crocodile Statue description turned out in the spur of the moment, just the right mix of whimsy and horror.
  • I also did the description of the Colorless Bishop off the top of my head as it wasn't spelled out in the book which is a little odd as most of the other vampire entries have descriptions of the appearance of said vampires. Fortunately the art for the Colorless Bishop is pretty evocative.
  • Again, "Idiotic Voivodja Filibuster Conversation Openers" provides a great and enigmatic introduction for the Colorless Bishop. "Interloper! View my invention! (Points to mundane feature of landscape)"
  • I know the Ginger Giant was pretty irritated at being Charmed by the Colorless Bishop but Spoiler... The PCs would need a ton of luck to take out a Vampire at 2nd level, much less one has 7 HD and casts spells as a 10th level cleric.
  • While I normally don't like having a helpless PC, this encounter did lead so some good RP between the sisters.
  • Now Ben tries the "Maybe the GM is a sap" move with "The opposite direction".
  • I'm not sure how much the PCs pick up on the time fluctuations in Voivodja, though I am a little disappointed they remembered to go around the tree a third time. It would have been fun to have them double back on their timeline.
  • I'm a little surprised that the PCs didn't search the bodies of the Mantis and Kangaroo.
  • I used my own momentary confusion on whether it was a Pale or Colorless Knight to my advantage by having the children of the well, Svezdan and Svezdana become confused, which led to the NPCs giving an info dump to the PCs about the four vampire houses of Voivodja.
  • "What do you know about moths?" at first I though Ben was just going to try and pump the children for information about moths, but then it quickly became more about the other PCs with "Are they real friends, or are they friends that only talk to one sister and not the others?"
  • I tried to use the children to sell how dangerous the Bishop was, but the Ginger Giant wasn't having it.
  • I enjoyed coming up with all the F items for the well children to have to trade for non-Voivodja foodstuffs...
    • Felt Hat
    • Flail
    • Fishing Tackle
    • Flask, empty
    • Flask of Oil
    • Forgery Kit
    • Flute
    • Feed, animal
    • Flint and Steel
    • Firewood
    • Fishing Net
    • Fishing Pole
    • Fire Oil
    • Fiddle
    • Forks
    • Funnel
    • Frankincense
    • Fireflies
  • I'm a little sad the PCs didn't take them up on any of the F items.
Final Thoughts/Goals
  • Again, I forgot to draw maps. Bad GM, bad. (For those playing the Antagonist Relations drinking game, take a drink for "Zack expresses regret at how he ran a game")
  • I didn't roll nearly as many things randomly this time, though the Bishop encounter was pretty driven by table rolls, but with the fort/skeletal rabbit/getting children back into the well story wrapped up, next time will probably be spontaneously generated by table rolling.
  • Hopefully folk are enjoying listening to these and also to reading my commentaries. Feel free to ask questions about why I did or didn't do things or to let me know of things you'd like me to do. I make no promises to answer questions or implement suggestions, but I'll at least take them under advisement...

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