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Game-N00b wants his adventure sniff-tested

Posted: Wed 16 May 2018, 17:09
by Territan
And so it came to pass, that at the Friendly Local Game Store (FLGS), they wanted someone to run a game each Tuesday in September. This is a thing they do, showcasing a different game each month, creating characters the first week and running through the adventure in the weeks that follow. For June they got me to volunteer to run it, and for the game we chose ...this one.

While GMing and adventure writing are basically first nature for me, I will second-guess myself. So, now I'm wondering if the adventures I'm cooking up for this short campaign bend the rules of the setting too much. I'm going to have two major mysteries running at the same time (commingled, but easily separated), and I already have reservations about the first one.

It's set in the Boulder City Loop, and it revolves around an exhibition game between the local high school football team and a team made of Maltemann AnthroForm Utility Robots, Iteration 7. The coach wants the opportunity to show that his team runs better than a literal well-oiled machine. One of the local Kids, with a reputation for being a troublemaker and having the technological chops to pull it off, had an idea how to mess with it. That particular Mystery starts when that Kid doesn't show up for school, making others wonder, "what's he up to?"

Given that this is a world that has diesel-powered anti-gravity, I would think a man-robot exhibition football game shouldn't be too weird for everyday life, but I still can't help feeling it's either too fantastic or bringing the technology of the day just a little too close to the adults, which are supposed to be "out of touch."

What say you kind folks?

Re: Game-N00b wants his adventure sniff-tested

Posted: Thu 17 May 2018, 04:19
by dysjunct
I agree with you that it feels a little too fantastic. I’d instead change the robots into a rival (Human) team whose coach is using a computer or robot to calculate optimal plays. 

I'm Not Sure It's Just The Adventure That Smells

Posted: Thu 17 May 2018, 16:29
by Territan
Now that I've gone through some of the published adventures looking at the benchmarks, I can't help thinking the rule itself is a little fantastic, and not in a good way either.

For instance, in the aftermath of "Grown-Up Attraction" from the main rulebook (p. 142), it's put forth that "If the Kids fail to [SPOILER STUFF], making the situation grow worse. Some will die and some will suffer from serious dehydration. All the time, more adults will arrive. One day, without warning, the machine stops working."

The other published mysteries, whether in the main book or "The Machines Our Friends," tend to take a similarly bleak tack: People may get chipped, programmed, pecked, or other things bad enough that they may die, but whatever trouble occurs is totally episodic and will be forgotten by polite grown-up society by the time the next mystery happens. Even if people die. Almost especially if people die. And that won't be traumatic to children, nosirree.

This seems unacceptable. I sometimes joked that the theme of non-responsive grown-ups, the adults that won't believe your fantastic tales or do anything about them no matter how true they turn out to be, makes this game where the adults play the children the kind that's literally unsuitable for children. Technically, I may still joke about it, but I don't laugh after telling it.

Given all that, my original "Gearboxes on the Gridiron" scenario doesn't seem all that bad. Considering that I'm not using any time travel, anti-gravity (as a plot device), or artificial intelligence (beyond recognizing audible security tones and reading a color-coded card from the sidelines), I have to say the use of robots for an exhibition sporting event is starting to sound pretty tame. And given the whole business with magnetrine ships and what amounts to mecha, I'm starting to think the adults really can handle this little bit of contact.

I'm thinking that I will roll forward, formalizing this mystery for the June demo. Also, I need to change the name of this thread.

Would people like to see how it turns out after it runs?

Re: Game-N00b wants his adventure sniff-tested

Posted: Sun 20 May 2018, 05:08
by Zaarin
On the one hand, "adults are morons" is a pretty basic trope of the kid adventures that inspired TftL (I mean, just read Ender's Game: the adults are so monumentally stupid that they need a psychologically traumatized 14yo to win their war for them). On the other hand, if I were running TftL I would definitely tone that down: adults are out of touch and don't care about the kids' adventures but they're not simpering dolts utterly incapable of comprehending the world around them. ;)

Re: Game-N00b wants his adventure sniff-tested

Posted: Tue 22 May 2018, 07:15
by Territan
Additional fun note: These are for a demo running at the FLGS over the course of Tuesday evenings in June (so, one week for character creation and three weeks or about 6–8 hours of play). So they start in just over two weeks.

And I wanted two different Mysteries running at about the same time, to provide a sort of “slice of life” feel, that things are perhaps complicating one another. “Gearboxes on the Gridiron” was a great start, but I needed another.

Tonight, I found my inspiration. It came indirectly from “The Machines Our Friends,” in that each mini-scenario in the “Mixtape of Mysteries” was inspired by a different popular 1980s song.

The song I chose was The Tubes’ “Mr. Hate.” And it even explains one oddity in the “Gearboxes” mystery.

Hey, count your blessings. The very next track on that album is “Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman”!