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CynicalMo
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 24 Jun 2019, 02:18

I'm a less is more kind of guy so I think I'll be selective in what I use for the first session. Try and keep it simple without being boring. Pick and choose elements that work well and then when I run it again I'll still be able to surprise anyone who's playing a second time.
 
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The1TrueFredrix
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 24 Jun 2019, 14:07

I'm a less is more kind of guy so I think I'll be selective in what I use for the first session. Try and keep it simple without being boring. Pick and choose elements that work well and then when I run it again I'll still be able to surprise anyone who's playing a second time.
My thoughts exactly 🙂
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Cthulhu4prez
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 24 Jun 2019, 15:46

So, instead of starting a new topic I'll write is this thread.

Don't know if my players frequent this forum but ROLAND, JACOB and LUDVIG, if you're reading this: kindly bugger off until we're done! =)

Yesterday we played through act 1, effective playtime was about 3 hours. 1.5 hours of small talk, system run through and character stuff. I handed out characters about a week in advance along with the act 1 agenda for each.

I will start by saying that we had a blast. The system is very good and pretty rules light (although there are some minor rules to keep track of), I really feel that the mechanics augment the Alien-feeling. There is an incredible amount of detail written into the scenario. Very cool. However this also put quite a strain on me as the GM. There was a lot to keep track of: lots of moving parts, NPCs, events, location descriptions and time. Yes, time felt very important partially because oxygen consumption can become something of a plot device. There was lot of going back and forth in the PDF between locations and events. I will print the events before our next session. 

There was a couple of things that I didn't prepare for, that I should have thought about in advance. How much does the Cronus MU/TH/UR know? Access to her seems faily easy since both Miller and Wilson have access cards and the scenario states that smart PCs can start asking her questions. Can MU/TH/UR literally reveal most of what's happened? Where the ship's been? Can she replay the garbled distress call? Can she inform the players about the existences of xenomorphs on the ship? 

Also time: I had a hard time gauging how much time in game the players should be able to spend on the Cronus before things start going to shit city. For example: replacing the air filters is one shift, that may as well be the whole scenario. Or not. How long does it take for the Cronus crew to shake off desorientation and amnesia?  

My PCs were Miller, Rye (Lucas) and Wilson. In retrospect I would perhaps have given the Wilson player Davis or Cham for act 1 instead since they have a couple of important things to do involving their skills. However I don't think the Wilson player was bored or anything, he went off exploring (finding the Headless body, a shotgun and examining the bridge, getting spooked and shooting up an EVA suit) by himself while Miller hung out with the Cronus MU/TH/UR getting her back online. NPC Davis turned off her radio for a short while and snuck off to the medbay in search of drugs (preempting her act 2 agenda, yes). PC Miller went looking for her (guessed correctly that she might have gone looking for pills in the medbay), found her standing, frozen in front of the specimen jars but did not elect to explore the medbay further at that time (she did suffer stress from seeing the dead bloodbursters though). NPC Cham spent some time with the air scrubbers. Act 1 ended with the crew waking up and the bloodburster popping Coopers head. They failed to kill it and we wrapped up the session with the Montero crew huddling just inside the central cryo room wondering what the fuck just happened...
 
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finarvyn
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 24 Jun 2019, 15:59

- I am being worried (I already said in other thread) that PCs could split in different groups constantly (keeping in mind their agendas). In this first session, I have already had three different groups exploring the ship, plotting against the others, etc. which could slow the pace of the game. Nothing serious because they enjoyed the game but I will try to avoid splitting too much.  
I see this as a potential problem with the Alien universe. In my D&D group the "don't split the party" mantra is a high priority, and the group moves around in a big pack and fights things en masse. In an Alien universe game, I think I'd rather have them split up a bit more because part of the feel of the game ought to be alone and isolated from others. I'm kind of hoping that my group does split up a little and make some factions.
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CynicalMo
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 24 Jun 2019, 16:34

My PCs were Miller, Rye (Lucas) and Wilson. In retrospect I would perhaps have given the Wilson player Davis or Cham for act 1 instead since they have a couple of important things to do involving their skills. However I don't think the Wilson player was bored or anything, he went off exploring (finding the Headless body, a shotgun and examining the bridge, getting spooked and shooting up an EVA suit) by himself while Miller hung out with the Cronus MU/TH/UR getting her back online. NPC Davis turned off her radio for a short while and snuck off to the medbay in search of drugs (preempting her act 2 agenda, yes). PC Miller went looking for her (guessed correctly that she might have gone looking for pills in the medbay), found her standing, frozen in front of the specimen jars but did not elect to explore the medbay further at that time (she did suffer stress from seeing the dead bloodbursters though). NPC Cham spent some time with the air scrubbers. Act 1 ended with the crew waking up and the bloodburster popping Coopers head. They failed to kill it and we wrapped up the session with the Montero crew huddling just inside the central cryo room wondering what the fuck just happened...
.......
I see this as a potential problem with the Alien universe. In my D&D group the "don't split the party" mantra is a high priority, and the group moves around in a big pack and fights things en masse. In an Alien universe game, I think I'd rather have them split up a bit more because part of the feel of the game ought to be alone and isolated from others. I'm kind of hoping that my group does split up a little and make some factions.
Also, as a mostly D&D GM/Player with the same "don't split the party" mantra, how do you handle it when people at the table are doing things apart? How does this work? I'm honestly asking because I have no idea how to work this as it seems to break the illusion. Do the other members just pretend that they haven't heard what's going on in the other parts of the ship?
 
RenoGM
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 24 Jun 2019, 16:55

Over the years the group I GM for has gone from "Never split up" to frequently breaking up into smaller groups (usually groups of two or three PC's). In fact our last game session was 90% split, three heroes went and explored an old ruin while the other three were researching several topics and shaking down some locals back in town.

Anyway, here's my advice:
  • Make sure your players are comfortable with distinguishing between player knowledge and character knowledge; my group does this very well. It is way too burdensome to pass notes or talk privately. Besides, letting the "off camera" people watch keeps them engaged with what's happening.
  • Switch between groups fairly frequently. Spend a few minutes with one group, maybe call for a roll of some sort but before dealing with the results move to the other group. When you circle back around to the first group you start with the results of their last roll. This lets you leave each group on a mini-cliffhanger.
  • If a fight breaks out for a single character or small group make it quick, a round or two at most. Combat in many games can take a long time and those not involved can get bored. As a side note, this may not be an issue in Alien!
  • If a character is involved in an activity that consumes a large amount of time, such as repairing something or doing research, remember to cut back to them on occasion and add something to what they are doing. Maybe a minor complication to their repair forcing them to get a special tool stored somewhere else. Or while researching they have a brief social encounter with someone. Maybe they overhear something interesting. Even if their entire task could be resolved in a single roll I like to break it up to ensure they get as much "screen-time" as the other characters.
Hope some of this helps. I haven't ran Chariot of the Gods yet but I'm already imagining the players at my table will all go their separate ways (which will probably kill them!).
 
decanox
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 24 Jun 2019, 18:29

Good advice, Reno. In other games, I've been playing with the second and next ones, switching the play from group to group in the most equitable way I can. The first advice is more difficult to achieve in my case.

That's the reason the PCs have split into groups. Of course, in any horror movie that's a bad idea, but in those movies the characters have the same goal in theory. In this case, some characters have opposite game agendas from the beginning: Rye (Lucas, the android) and Wilson and they have done some actions following their agendas. Wilson entering secretly the Mother system inside the Cronus to know about the ship's mission and looking for ruining Miller's actions; Lucas trying to explore any area of the ship (of course, nor Miller nor Cham want to do that).

And watching a session on youtube (DM Plays), I see another hypothetical conflict: Is Lucas able to lie to the other crew members when he/she is uncovered as an android? For example: Would he/she able to lie saying that he/she is an undercover android form Weyland-Yutani to cover his/her affiliation to Bionational? Reading page 75 ("Electric Sheep" note) I think it's possible to do that since they can attack humans too... But in an android is a bit strange to "lie". Although "David" did that and more in Prometheus and Covenant without any conflict. So, I am going to give the possibility to do that if the Lucas player wants.   
 
mistken
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 24 Jun 2019, 21:17

So finished one game of it. Everybody had a blast, the stress/panic mechanics are awesome. The agendas had everybody guessing. The game ended with 2 people in the Daisy drifting away from multiple clouds of debris. Before the end, we had 2 players play people outside the crew since we had six people for act 2 and then another person died.

This has probably been one of my favorite games to run. My big issue that I hand waved was rolling for air every turn. I just kind of made them roll whenever they were taking long or thinking about an action that would take longer.
 
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aramis
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Mon 24 Jun 2019, 22:54

Also, as a mostly D&D GM/Player with the same "don't split the party" mantra, how do you handle it when people at the table are doing things apart? How does this work? I'm honestly asking because I have no idea how to work this as it seems to break the illusion. Do the other members just pretend that they haven't heard what's going on in the other parts of the ship?
During act I, my players were split Miller stayed aboard but watched suit cam feeds.. She was able to help with command rolls from the bridge, but only did so once. Then she ordered a retreat.

One, Cham, ran out of air, had to pull back. 
I turned over the NPCs (Rye & Wilson) for them to handle during the fight.
During the retreat, Davis managed to harpoon the Abomination....
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IdleRedHands
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Re: Who's gotten it to table so far?

Tue 25 Jun 2019, 08:02

We played the first session for about two hours. Didn't make it to the end of Act 1. Rushed the character intros for the sake of time, but still didn't help. Some players were new to the Year Zero system, but picked it up fast. Four players with Miller (captain) as an NPC. Only two hours of playtime seemed to make it hard to finish an act in a single session. But we are an easily distracted group. The players got into the setting and already are catching on to some of the hooks in the adventure. No combat yet. Mostly observation rolls. Cronus crew woke up as we stopped. Anyone interested can watch the session here 

We will be trying again this Friday around 8:00pm Tokyo time.
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