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Atalan: BTF#2 The Path to Where We Are


svensson

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Alright, once I got my nieces on board with the idea of a game and they chose the genre they wanted to play in, I had to figure out the actual nuts and bolts of this project.

My goals were three-fold:

a] MAKE IT EASY TO LEARN

b] MAKE IT LOGICAL

c] MAKE IT FUN

With those guideposts, and taking a few cues from previous experience as a gamer, I decided that I'd just put together pregenerated characters rather than have everyone grind through character generation in RQG. The second thing I decided was that I'd have everyone's character just be an 'average guy'... they all had the same statistics [STR, POW, etc.], but different Occupations. This was to illustrate that training counts for more than badass stats. The third thing was that I wasn't gonna put a lot of effort into background and setting until I found out just how interested everyone was.

The occupations I chose were: Hoplite [Heavy Infantry Warrior], Hunter, Sailor, and Temple Initiate /Scribe.

The basic scenario is one that I love to use when introducing new players to a game system: 'Disaster Survivor'. The basic idea is that the characters begin with 'You wake up...' and then I describe their physical situation. In this particular case I used a shipwreck, so the group has washed ashore... they're soaking wet, slightly hypothermic, and literally have nothing but the clothes on their back. They're on a rocky coast [using photos of the Pacific coastline of Washington State] and there, across a lagoon, is their ship. Or rather, what's left of it. The ship has broken her keel on the reef, and her aft section is lies at a 25 degree angle on the ocean side of the reef, while her prow juts up at an angle high-centered on the reef itself.

I began by describing the storm that got them here, then described their current situation. Instead of just asking 'what do you do', I called for Perception skill checks... whereupon the Sailor [played by Niece C] made a critical Scan roll! In her 'expert' opinion, the ship is irreparable and would probably not survive the next high tide.

Note: I'm not a sailor myself, but I'm a military historian who's done quite a bit of reading on island landings, the Normandy Invasion, and other instances where tidal conditions were important. Beyond that, I live in a maritime community and have absorbed some abstract knowledge on tides and high water lines over the years.

The Sailor concluded that high tide would fully cover the reef, lifting the prow enough that it'll probably slide down into the ocean. She didn't know how long it would be until high tide, but she guessed they had about six hours max to retrieve anything they wanted off the ship and somehow get it to shore.

This spurred everyone into various brainstorming ideas and skill checks [which was the point of this session]. The first game session got them all to figure out the situation they were in, understand why they needed to get gear aboard the ship, learn the skill system, and get to the prow of the ship.

 

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