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Nevermet

Wish me luck: Starting an online game

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What the title says: due to current circumstances, I've volunteered to run a game online for some friends.

I'm a little nervous because I haven't run anything real time in forever (like 16 years or so).

Anyhow, here's a short summary on how things are going to go down:

  • I'musing Heroquest rules because I know them better and I feel they will go smoother in online play with some less experienced players
  • The game is set in Maniria, the hook is that a caravan has a murder, and the PCs need to solve it.
  • The structure of the game is loosely based on the movie version of Clue.  So...
    • I'm making pre-gen characters that are Manirian equivalents of Mrs Peacock, Colonel Mustard, etc.  The nice thing about this is that the characters are all relatively different.
    • The "helpful" NPC is the main assistant to the trader prince master of the caravan (Tim Curry's character)
    • The caravan head is Mr. Body.  Mr Body was found dead, floating in a pond, with bite marks on him.  If a PC rolls well enough, they will see they were an attempt to fake bite marks.  A poor roll will make them think it was an ogre attack
    • Mr Body was an elf friend, and he has a charm that tells elf allies that his death must be avenged.  Thus, we have a motivation for the PCs: they need to figure out who killed Mr Body, where, and how before the Elves show up.  If they don't have the killer caught, the Elves are likely to just turn the entire caravan into mulch.
    • I will decide who the murderer is after the players choose their characters.  But generally, Mr Body was blackmailing everyone, and had a spy / information network throughout Maniria.  He was killed either to be free of the network, or to take it over.  As for ogres, to butcher a line from the Clue movie, chaos was always a red herring.

I'm unsure if actual play treads should go here, the Heroquest forum, or nowhere.

I'm using Roll20 and Disord.

I'm excited and nervous and I hope I don't suck as a GM (it's happened before)

So, yeah, wish me luck!

Edited by Nevermet
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Obviously, if anyone has any suggestions on how to run a murder mystery, or how to run things in ROll20, I'm all ears.

 

I will let you know how things go

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53 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

I'm unsure if actual play treads should go here, the Heroquest forum, or nowhere.

I don't think it matters which forum - it's a Glorantha game, so here is fine from scenario standpoint (if you have HQ specific questions, I'd use the HeroQuest forum).

The plot sounds good, and hope that goes well!

55 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

I'm excited and nervous and I hope I don't suck as a GM (it's happened before)

Just go with the flow of the game, and hopefully it will all go well.  The nice thing with HQ is that it's all a nice narrative flow.  I don't know whether you are using HQ1 or HQ2/HQG, though there are certainly differences there, but since you indicate you know those rules fairly well, then you should be fine.

33 minutes ago, Nevermet said:

if anyone has any suggestions on how to run a murder mystery, or how to run things in ROll20, I'm all ears.

I can't help on Roll20. I've done one murder mystery (based on an old RQ3 scenario) which went well.  A lot of it is in the pacing of the clues, keeping up the possible options, and ratcheting up the danger (unlike with an actual game of Clue where its just the investigation).  And with the possibility that the murderer may uncover the heroes efforts and thwart them too.

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3 hours ago, Nevermet said:

I'm unsure if actual play treads should go here, the Heroquest forum, or nowhere.

Several people here have created a blog on this site (go to the Blogs section and hit "Create a Blog") in order to post session reports and campaign diaries and so on. It's often super interesting to read... I'd love to read a diary of your Gloranthan murder investigation! It sounds awesome!

3 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Obviously, if anyone has any suggestions on how to run a murder mystery, or how to run things in ROll20, I'm all ears.

You may find some help with us Call of Cthulhu players (which there are a lot of in a nearby sub-forum!), since CoC is, basically, all investigations -- and often the investigation starts with a murder or two!

My advice is to basically know as well as possible who the various characters and factions are, what they want, what they would do next if the players don't do anything, and what they would do if the players interfere. This way you can manage pace fairly easily by improvising NPC actions and reactions, especially when players are stumped (and spend hours or days not doing anything) or try various random things to see what "sticks". Figuring out clues is obviously important too, but I find that it's possible to improvise clues as players ask questions I didn't think about because at least I know what happened and who was involved, so I just need to deduce things logically "forward", as opposed to improvising things "backwards" which is where you create loopholes and inconsistencies.

As for Roll20, unless you're doing grid-based action scenes (probably not since you're using HeroQuest) then it's mostly useful for dice rolling, storing character sheets, and sharing handouts either via the Handouts library feature, or placing the handout pictures directly on the background (which is what I do for maps, for instance). I'm a Roll20 newbie though so people might have more info.

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I've been using Roll20 for 13th Age games since 2014 now. For HeroQuest, you can use Handouts to show pictures to the players, or you can use Map pages with images on them and just move the Player Ribbon from scene to scene. I've never used the 3D dice, but you & your players might enjoy that. 

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Good luck! I did the same thing recently, playing on line for the first time ever because of the compulsory confinement. It went very well as soon as everybody got hold of good quality audio hardware. This is something worth loosing a bit of time to settle at the beginning. Also, I found that GMing on line was slightly more tiring than "physically", so I went for shorter session, around 4h. 

keep us posted!

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7 hours ago, Minlister said:

Also, I found that GMing on line was slightly more tiring than "physically", so I went for shorter session, around 4h. 

Yes! And since my usual sessions are actually 4 to 5 hours, I decreased my online ones to less than 3 hours. I also find it harder to have large groups, especially since it's harder to check if everybody's engaged.

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10 hours ago, Minlister said:

Good luck! I did the same thing recently, playing on line for the first time ever because of the compulsory confinement. It went very well as soon as everybody got hold of good quality audio hardware. This is something worth loosing a bit of time to settle at the beginning. Also, I found that GMing on line was slightly more tiring than "physically", so I went for shorter session, around 4h. 

 

In english or french?

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It is in French as two of the three players do not speak English well enough. Even myself, although I use to live in England, I am not sure I could GM in English. All the players, even if very experienced with RPG, were complete beginners in Glorantha. They quickly diverted from the intended scenario and I had to improvise for 3-4 sessions. Luckily for me they were in the area covered by The Coming Storm and Ian's magnum opus proved a fantastic tool box to save my bacon! 

 

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UPDATE: NOBODY HATES ME YET! 

 

Session 0 went well.  None of the three players know Glorantha very well at all, though 2 are experienced gamers.  

I explained a bit about Glorantha as a setting in general (I basically summarized the "Unique Features of Runequest" section of the RQG book), and then I explained the Trader Princes of Maniria, the Wenelians, and the Manirian Road between Safelster and Esrolia.  I did not go into the Five Arkats, the Lunar Empire, or the hero wars in general, as those will not be relevant to this game.  I DID mention that part of why the Manirian Road became so profitable over the last few centuries was that seafaring was impossible... but then Dormal figured out how to get around the curse.  I also made sure they were all on board with the basic concept of a murder mystery on a trading caravan.

 

They had lots of questions about the political relationships between different cultures, and I explained them.  I then presented them with a list of characters that were Names, occupations, homelands, and 3 runes.  I then explained what runes are.

 

The players chose the following characters:

  1. A Ditali cook / healer who was injured in the 1st skirmish of campaign lead by Greymane against Esrolia (weakness: Limp). 
    1. The head of the caravan convinced him to join the caravan by promising him a solid amount of wealth after a few years of service, which may include a healing of his leg.  He also forced the Ditali to give up dirt on a lot of political figures among the Ditali, threatening to find people willing to accuse him of cowardice and desertion in the Esrolia raid to the point he would never be married and may be exiled from his village.
  2. A textile merchant from Jubal.
    1. A true mistress of fashion, she dreams of high fashion for the trader princes and beyond.  She got her start by stealing insect eggs from Ryzel used to make Jubal's famous scarlett dye.  The Caravan head is blackmailing her to get information on the high societies of all the Trader Prince cities.
  3. An entertainer from the Nimistori
    1. Young commoner who left home and has spent the last year making money by entertaining the muleskinners in the caravan.  She does not know she is the daughter of the caravan head.

 

Finally, I didn't do a full discussion of sensitive topics, but I did tell them that (1) I was not running a player vs player game, (2) I wanted the game to be a "PG-13" rating (some violence, a bit of swearing, but not the Game of Thrones tv show by any measure), and (3) they should let me know publicly or in private about any specific concerns they have.  There was also a request for "a little" combat, which should be easy to do :)

 

So, yeah.

 

We'll be gaming online for 2 hrs every Wednesday, so if it's ok I will give more updates and ask for help as I need it.

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On 4/16/2020 at 5:35 AM, Minlister said:

Good luck! I did the same thing recently, playing on line for the first time ever because of the compulsory confinement. It went very well as soon as everybody got hold of good quality audio hardware. This is something worth loosing a bit of time to settle at the beginning. Also, I found that GMing on line was slightly more tiring than "physically", so I went for shorter session, around 4h. 

keep us posted!

Everyone already has headsets, which is good.  

And other people requested 2.5 to 3 hour sessions, no longer.  I can make that work, I think.

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On 4/15/2020 at 5:03 PM, lordabdul said:

Several people here have created a blog on this site (go to the Blogs section and hit "Create a Blog") in order to post session reports and campaign diaries and so on. It's often super interesting to read... I'd love to read a diary of your Gloranthan murder investigation! It sounds awesome!

You may find some help with us Call of Cthulhu players (which there are a lot of in a nearby sub-forum!), since CoC is, basically, all investigations -- and often the investigation starts with a murder or two!

My advice is to basically know as well as possible who the various characters and factions are, what they want, what they would do next if the players don't do anything, and what they would do if the players interfere. This way you can manage pace fairly easily by improvising NPC actions and reactions, especially when players are stumped (and spend hours or days not doing anything) or try various random things to see what "sticks". Figuring out clues is obviously important too, but I find that it's possible to improvise clues as players ask questions I didn't think about because at least I know what happened and who was involved, so I just need to deduce things logically "forward", as opposed to improvising things "backwards" which is where you create loopholes and inconsistencies.

As for Roll20, unless you're doing grid-based action scenes (probably not since you're using HeroQuest) then it's mostly useful for dice rolling, storing character sheets, and sharing handouts either via the Handouts library feature, or placing the handout pictures directly on the background (which is what I do for maps, for instance). I'm a Roll20 newbie though so people might have more info.

Thanks for this, especially the investigation help.

As for Roll20, yeah,HQG isn't a real minis-reliant game, so it's mainly there for references, be it handouts, character sheets, and maps out the area.

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On 4/17/2020 at 12:55 AM, Minlister said:

It is in French as two of the three players do not speak English well enough. Even myself, although I use to live in England, I am not sure I could GM in English. All the players, even if very experienced with RPG, were complete beginners in Glorantha. They quickly diverted from the intended scenario and I had to improvise for 3-4 sessions. Luckily for me they were in the area covered by The Coming Storm and Ian's magnum opus proved a fantastic tool box to save my bacon! 

 

Worth noting, I did not see this for about a month because there was nothing alerting me to come here. No quotes no @bill the... so sorry for not getting back to you. Hmm., if you were running in english and a game that met in real time I might have been interested. Oh well. 

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