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Waterbrick Down

Heroica: Glory Amongst The Stars - Mission Masters Lounge

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30 minutes ago, Waterbrick Down said:

 . . .something to consider for future missions (and this applies to everyone) is to look at what your party members statistics are before leaving on the Mission and prepare accordingly. The rules allow for characters to be super flexible. . . know that things are going to require a lot of sneaking, consider swapping an athletics proficiency for a stealth proficiency. 

I had not considered mission-based respec-ing, as I was under the impression that PCs would retain their core skills throughout the game (with the exception of minor early reworks). Is swapping proficiencies before nearly every quest considered poor form, and can proficiencies above level 1 be swapped with others at the same level? 🤔
 

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4 minutes ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

I had not considered mission-based respec-ing, as I was under the impression that PCs would retain their core skills throughout the game (with the exception of minor early reworks). Is swapping proficiencies before nearly every quest considered poor form, and can proficiencies above level 1 be swapped with others at the same level? 🤔
 

This is somewhat player dependent. A player's stats are completely customizable between missions, so if you want to play one mission as a heavy melee and the next as a long range casting wizard, you're allowed to. Some players will probably desire for their character to have motivation to change things drastically for internal role-play consistency reasons and may never change their core stats. Others may see it as a way to show that some skills just haven't been practiced in a while and have lapsed while new skills have been developed. It really comes down to how you want to play your character.

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Personally, the idea of radically reorienting my abilities and load out for every mission is something I'm the most excited to get into (incidentally, it's also the reason I was so much in favor of the Locker system during development). I still intend for Enson's proficiencies to be built around a strong Insight-Medicine-Religion core, but even then their levels don't have to stay static. For a specific example, my current point in Survival is unlikely to outlast the current mission and I intend to discard my Melee Proficiency eventually.

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So first off, thanks to Kintobor, The Legonater, and Classic_Spaceman for sticking with the long trek that was Mission 1. You guys are real troopers for seeing it to the end and that alone is admirable.:wub: Overall I’d say Mission 1 was enjoyable, but it definitely had some kinks that could have been ironed out. The mission started as an idea based upon the pun title. It shared little resemblance to the seminal mystery, but it was the original jumping off point. As the first mission, I wanted to introduce players to some of the staples of the world, Oc|Tan, M-Tek, Quarm, some of the technology and for the most part I think the mission accomplished at least that. The mission was intended to be a heist setup akin to Quest 2 and the three players definitely approached it each with their own perspective which was fun to see, but also a headache at times to run. My hope was to foreshadow involvement by Blackguard early on and I was jumping for joy when someone finally put all the puzzle pieces together and figured out that Irgonstead had hired two groups and it was cool to see. Unfortunately I can’t say the same about the cube. The players had a good idea, pump the M-Tek employees for info and search in the baggage car, but until Agent Slice actually pulled the cube out of the energy containment unit, I don't know if anyone put two and two together as to where it was being hidden. In the end it didn’t matter too much as there was still a lot of back and forth about what to do with it, but I wondered what other clues I could have given to point the players in the right direction aside from the Blackguard drone. Breaking things down by scene:

Hover Train Station
This was an open ended role-play puzzle. There wasn’t a wrong strategy for getting on the train. You could have chosen to disguise yourself, fight your way on at the last minute, or become fast friends with the more wealthy passengers. It was interesting to see how you approached the problem and it gave opportunity for the characters’ personalities to come out. Yelana had a good spot of Agent Slice at the beginning which is exactly what I had hoped and it was fun coming up with all the little pieces of gossip the group overheard from the other NPC’s.

Economy Car
Each of the NPC’s could have contributed to the overall quest in some way, but I think it’s fitting that the group interacted more with the staff than they did the other passengers. You jumped on the opportunity to help Bloeberis out and I liked how it gave us insight into Zaria’s faith and Yelana’s penchant for espionage/bribery. The presence of the Dwarf and his briefcase gave us insight into the shaping of the party’s plans, but it wouldn’t be until later that we realized how divergent they were.

Baggage Car
Another open ended problem that could have been solved diplomatically, but given hindsight into Zaria’s beliefs, I should have anticipated combat. That being said, you solved the quick find-it puzzle and the first combat went about as well as I could have anticipated. It wasn’t too out of balance and the resolution of having one of the Tvilgard’s killed gave more fodder to feed the ever developing personalities of the heroes. Unfortunately for you, the cube wasn’t in the baggage car so no matter how long you would have looked you wouldn’t have found it. The baggage car also gave opportunity to delve into how hacking/lockpicking works in this system, so that was good to experience as well as show that you can approach a locked door with multiple strategies.

Dining Car
There was a chance a bar-brawl could have broken out in this car, but I’m actually fine that it went the more subtle route with Soren schmoozing the Kish and Yelana having an interesting experience spying in the bathroom. Classic_Spaceman take note, when the MM is giving you TMI about something, that usually means it isn’t relevant to your mission. Other than that, you could have followed up with the chef’s poor treatment of the staff, but that was about it going on in this car.

Business Car
You lot never did much in this car except follow the drone. One of the NPC’s could have been plied for a game of cards and the other NPC’s could maybe have given information on Kish and possibly the cube going to Engineering, but that was it.

Engineering Car
The meat and potatoes of the mission. This is where the cube was hidden and while Soren did a good job getting some information from the Engineers, I do wonder if I gave enough hints. The inclusion of the drone was to help steer folks in the right direction and I think it helped, but I might have needed to include more. The final fight was in some ways always planned. It was simply accelerated to help keep the group on task, little did I realize it would actually cause the party to split even more. I hadn’t anticipated on Yelana appealing to the Triad (of which there is a very obscure link to Blackguard) so I had to override that method of diplomacy as it was a little too close in my perspective of a PC using outside information to influence the current scenario. That being said, it further shattered the frail cohesiveness of the group and while the heroes worked together to beat Blackguard, I could tell they weren’t going to recover as a unified party. The battle itself went like I expected. I could have definitely extended the battle by employing the use of spells and consumables more effectively, but I think it was long enough already and folks were chomping at the bit to move things along. That being said, I felt the balance was a little more what I wanted for a finale battle and the heroes definitely were threatened at one point which was my goal. It was also intended to have Blackguard escape as I’m a fan of recurring villains and hopefully we’ll see more of Agents Pierce and Crunch, after they get a chewing out by Blackguard command that is.

Dealing with the Cube and Space Police
This is where the party cohesion broke down. At this point there were three competing goals amongst the heroes. Yelana seemed to want the cube for either the Triad or Oc|Tan, Soren was actively trying to keep the cube with M-Tek given Kish’s ideals for free power to the universe, and Zaria was satisfied with the documents they had and didn’t want to take any further risks. All in all it meant a lot of deception, behind the scenes actions, and a general shattering of the comradery of the group, which is something that saddens me. I enjoy quests where in the group bands together to overcome adversity, but this seemed the opposite and I wished that I could have done more to keep everyone together. Thankfully it didn’t result in apathy on players parts, but it was sometimes hard to figure out what was player disagreement/annoyance/frustration and what was character disagreement/annoyance/frustration. While that can be good for character development every once in a while, to have a mission steeped in it from the beginning I think can be draining in the long run. While there was some cohesiveness as a party when dealing with Space Police in that no one wanted to get caught and everyone wanted to get paid, it felt like a begrudging cohesiveness.:sceptic:

One thing to note, Sergeant Myron rolled 4 successes on his Insight checks against the Deceptions of the group, so while he didn’t see the need to jail any of the characters, he was definitely peeved that the truth wasn’t coming out. I doubt he’ll be happy to interact with any of the characters again.

A note on private actions. Moving forward I’ll probably treat certain types of contest rolls as hidden (stealth, perception, insight, deception, sleight-of-hand) so that players don’t have to worry about outside character knowledge. While you’ll know what your part of the roll is Deception for instance, you won’t know what your target’s Insight roll is. You’ll have to risk whether or not your lie was good enough to probably be convincing to stake your success on. Same goes for stealth or sleight-of-hand, you shouldn’t necessarily know if you were spotted unless someone does something or says something about it. It’s up to you to evaluate how well you performed and whether you should continue your present course of action.

All in all, Mission 1 went ok in my book. A bit long because of the disagreements between the players, but in the end you accomplished it successfully and helped expand the world and your characters.

Player Feedback

Kintobor (Zaria) - A refreshing departure from Karie (not that Karie was bad). You do a good job of embodying the wandering paladin type character. She has a code by which she lives and it comes across not in the haughty sort of way, but in the she’s actually lived it out for a hundred years sort of way. It gives her depth and a sense of groundedness that’s good to see compared to Karie’s bubbly and sometimes cynical personality. Zarai’s faith was also amazing to see fleshed out in this quest and I hadn’t originally planned on there being a lot of opportunities for the different tenants to work their way out, but I’m glad they did and it really made her discipleship to Varuth believable. The bit where she made a formal complaint was awesome and its given so much more depth given her religion. Her interactions with Soren were quite believable in feeling out and coming to terms with an ally while understanding they may not see eye to eye on everything (Mission 1 ending scenes). The conversations with Yelana were also fitting and I’ve to give you credit for never dropping character and speaking plainly about what you as a player wanted, you made it fit for how Zaria saw the situation. She was a good pick of Party Leader and something the team needed even if the group ended up splintering at the end. As a player, you’ve been around the block so many times I don’t need to give you any pointers. The battle system is new to all of us and it takes some getting used to, but you did a good job adapting and pointing out good strategies. I’m glad I could have you for Zaria’s first mission and will always welcome you on more.

Soren (The Legonater) - In some ways Soren reminds me of Dyric, albeit a little more cynical. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something that makes me smile every once in a while. That being said, Soren’s definitely his own character and I’ll be interested to see the ways his piloting and arcane abilities factor more into his development. You play him as a straight man and I think every group needs that. Reminds me a little of Hoke from Heroica 1.0, but not in a bad way. His schmoozing with Kish was one of my favorite bits and his tense negotiations with the Engineers was also memorable and I think really stretched his social skills in ways that were fun to see. In battles, the mix of gun and magic is a neat combo and I like the way you’re flavoring your spells and interacting with the enemies mid fight, it really kept it fun for me. Your bits with Zaria were well played and your final interactions with Yelana really helped to flesh out more of Soren’s character and the things he thinks matter. You went toe to toe with Yelana and I think that was some of your best writing. While things at the end didn’t necessarily go the way I think you would have hoped, it was interesting to see how Soren’s brain ticked and the plan he pulled threw together. Like Kintobor, you're a veteran to these games so there's not much I can fault you on from an RP perspective, I was glad to have Soren for his first mission and look forward to watching you MM and hosting you again at some point.

Yelana (Classic_Spaceman) - Alrighty, considering Heroica: GATS is your first RPG and this is technically only your second mission, I want you to know we have all been in your shoes at some point and it takes time and experience to become comfortable with this type of play as well as the unspoken rules and social contracts we all setup with each other when we engage in this hobby. Firstly I do want to say I appreciate your enthusiasm you bring to Yelana and the lore. You can certainly tell that you’ve read everything that we’ve published and you have a good imagination regarding how the world can be expanded upon. One word to some up Yelana on Mission 1 would be: combative. It never quite felt like she was part of the group and always had an alternative mission. We’ve discussed this privately and I get your reasoning behind it, but I think something to consider that in a cooperative game, as a player your fellow players are expecting you to pursue things for the good of the group first and then your character. Eventually when enough trust between players is built up, you can start pursuing things that are sometimes better for your character than they are for the group, but this takes trust and buy-in from other players and it’s not something you can jump into right away. In each of the scenes, whether it as Abam/Maba, stealing the briefcase, interacting with the M-Tek employees, dealing with Blackguard, and finally trying to obtain the cube, it always felt that Yelana’s priorities were first to the Triad and then to Heroica (the party) and when they competed, the Triad seemed to win out. That’s not to say any of Yelana’s plans were necessarily bad, they just weren’t convincing to her fellow party members and when you can’t get convince folks in a cooperative game to go along with your plan, you need to either decide to concede or be ok with characters and sometimes players being mad with you and that sometimes has consequences in and out of game. From a game perspective you did a good job taking advantage of the scenarios as presented (taking to the proficiency system like a fish to water) and some of your ideas worked (like shooting the tank), but you’ve got to remember to not isolate your fellow players as the real fun comes from working together and not necessarily being “right”. That all being said, you did really well and staying engaged with the story (even in those times where you were away for awhile) and the conversation/arguments she had were at least interesting to read, if not probably aggravating for some of your fellow characters and I’d be interested MMing you again at some point to see how you and Yelana develop. In the end there are three things I’d encourage you to consider on future missions:

You can’t win Heroica: GATS - In a way you can, (i.e. get more powerful stats and equipment), but in the end a collaborative RPG is often more enjoyable when people play characters that enjoy questing with one another and trust one another. Yes there can be differences in perspective between character’s motivations, but at the end of the day, the way we win is by telling a mutually compelling/interesting story (MM and players included) that is entertaining to read and contribute toward and makes our characters want to interact again in the future. If you play with an agenda that can go against other heroes, or if you find yourself often acting against the party’s consensus or lying to them over big things (i.e. where is the cube) it really starts fracturing that collaborative experience and as a MM, I want to run a game for a group, not three different games for each individual player. That means you need to work together and find a reason to do so. You have total control over your character, you are perfectly able to make them more compatible with the rest of the party if things are becoming too combative. Aim for consensus not always being right or having the most correct answer to a given scenario.

Be careful not to play a veteran - There’s a lot of information on the setting out there, including things like motivations and lots of prior history. I understand Yelana’s character background makes her privy to certain information that might not be available to other characters, but I’d caution you to limit how much of that Yelana actually knows. It is often that those characters who build knowledge by experiencing the world are far more interesting/relatable/and desired as friends than those who already know everything. Some of the stuff Yelana was discussing about M-Tek and the ITA at the end while potentially knowable simply came across as out-of-character knowledge because it implied that she’s had a ton of experience interacting with this type of stuff and that doesn’t necessarily match her Level One stats.

Talk with your fellow players - If you’re unsure how a plan might be perceived, or a certain bit of dialog, or a scenario, talk with your fellow players (or MM if applicable) about what you’re trying to do. If you think it’d be really cool to have a certain scene or try something and you think it might negatively impact or really throw a wrench in another player’s plan or character development, discuss it with them before you do it. This applies to everything from betrayal, to romance, to major character development moments. This can help build consensus or allow someone to express why that may not be good for their character and propose an alternative that is satisfactory to all parties. Don’t just assume that everyone finds your character as interesting as you do. Make a case, but be open to criticism or differences of opinion. You’ll find some of the best moments evolve from mutual agreement between players/MM rather than just one sided enjoyment and reluctant acceptance on the part of the other.

These are all things each of us has had to learn and while some of the lessons have been awkward or harsh at times, in the end they really do lend themselves to a better experience for everyone. If you goal is to not only have fun, but to make sure everyone else is having fun, something really special can happen then. :classic:


I'm happy to answer any questions or expand on certain story points that might have been unclear. Hopefully the mission was as much fun for you as it was for me (even in the slightly aggravating parts) and I look forward to playing more with all of you in future missions.

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I’ll likely have more to say, but overall I had a lot of fun with Mission 1, WBD! :sweet: I have some general thoughts, and then some stuff I want to say about my fellow PCs, but I’ll likely have more to add in the future.

I had a feeling we missed a bunch of stuff, and I’m not surprised to see we missed some of it. I feel as if we got to a certain point and you realized you needed to kick things up in order to get things moving along as the explosion in the engineering car felt like it wasn’t what you initially planned to happen, and it unintentionally ratcheted some of the underlying tensions in the group. I know when designing the mission the cube was designed as a harder item to grab that landed more reward, but it unintentionally wound up splitting up the party’s approaches on how to handle the cube, or if it should even be snatched at all. I do not think you designed the mission this, and I don’t blame you for the fracturing. I don’t think you went about designing this mission with the thought of having party conflict. I just think the mission structure didn’t help in this regard.

Pierce and Crunch are out there, and Zaria will have their heads. The blood must flow. Blood for the blood god. Speaking of, combat was tough as nails, but fair. Abam and Maba had some nasty combo abilities sharing the same square and the Blackguard fight was also rough, but also didn’t feel cheap. Now, our dice rolls were absolute utter garbage, how did we go something like six rounds without killing Slice? It can’t be helped, but wow. Needless to say, I always felt challenged in combat. There never felt like a time came when there was a single, optimal solution, but several move options that had their ups and downs. Combat was really good.

Okay, this is such a niche criticism, but I don’t know what trains you’ve been on, WBD, but the initial confusion with the train layout from me came from knowing that a train’s baggage car sits closer to the front, usually behind the engine. In terms of how it affected my fun of the mission: it didn’t, but I couldn’t help as someone interested in trains finding it a little confusing at first. :laugh: Typically the dining car is closer to first class than second, but I feel like with the train not having any sleepers the position of the dining car was fine logistically speaking.

Sets looked good. It’s amazing how much you can get away with when your set is a single build and you switch out the furnishings depending on the car. :tongue: It was fitting though, and I dug the overall tone of the mission when it wasn’t going completely to hell due to player infighting.

Soren (Legonater)

I actually quite like Soren. I understand it can be hard to step into a new voice after portraying another character for so long, but Soren’s blunt, matter-of-fact tone was fun to play off of. I enjoyed the dynamic that Zaria and Soren had where Zaria’s desire to do good and go get ‘im attitude clashed with Soren’s cynicism and view of the mission as just another job. I think Soren’s stunt at the end of the mission made Zaria realize that Soren wasn’t someone who she can trust, but perhaps was more akin to someone she could rely on considering circumstances. I don’t have much to say that WBD hasn’t already covered, so I’ll leave it at I had fun playing with you again, especially considering Karie and Dyric hated each other’s guts for so long in Heroica 1.0 that it’ll be interesting to see where Zaria and Soren’s relationship will go.

Yelana (Classic_Spaceman)

Ho boy, I have lots to say and only so much time to actually write something. So, despite what you may perceive, I do have some good things to say about Yelana and your roleplaying. I feel as if a lot of the issues I’m going to bring up have a root cause, and that cause is New Player Syndrome. NPS is when you present someone absolutely, totally brand new to the concept of roleplaying and they fall into particular traps. Most of these are course correctable: through experience and time you begin to learn the dos and dont’s of roleplaying, as if you’re not used to roleplaying or acting it can take time to get the hang of it. So, in no real particular order, I am going to lend you some advice that will hopefully help in the future.

I noticed a few times when you tried to barge in on scenes that were happening as characters were making checks or forcing Yelana into doing cool things: particularly Zaria picking the lock to the briefcase. You snagged the bottle opener and came into Zaria’s scene, seemingly with the intent to pick the lock for Zaria. This is generally considered poor sportsmanship in roleplaying. If another character is in the midst of an action or a scene, it’s usually best to let them try and perform said action or perform through said scene, even if it’s not the optimal choice. It is far more interesting watching the martial warrior struggle to pick a lock then the trained thief do it. Sure, the trained thief is more likely to succeed, but from the perspective of suspense and tension, the martial warrior being out of their element and forced to do something they have little faith in succeeding is way more tense. You cannot be everywhere at once: don’t force yourself to be. Making sub-optimal decisions is what makes RPGs fun! Let the spotlight fall on you naturally, as hogging the spotlight doesn’t allow your fellow players to also step into the spotlight. Now, if Zaria came along and asked Yelana for help, that would be a different story. Zaria is asking Yelana to lend a hand: she’s being asked to share the spotlight.

I have a feeling you’re trying to play Yelana as “cool”. This is surprisingly super hard for early roleplayers, as there’s a difference in thinking you’re cool and proving you’re cool.

You know what was cool? Making that shot on the canister. That was cool! It also goes back into spotlighting: you allowed Yelana to take the spotlight and do something cool. What isn’t cool is trying to do this again and again: you’re trying to spotlight steal now.

So, another thing I want to touch on is Yelana’s hostility at certain points and lack of teamwork. There were a few times when you said that what Yelana was doing was “in-character conflict”. There is nothing wrong with getting angry with another player’s character or roleplaying an argument, but there were times it felt like you were being hostile for the sake of being hostile: trolling us to get a rise. I’m not saying you were, but the argument “this is what my character would do” stops being an argument when it’s harming other people’s fun. I threatened Yelana with Zaria’s sword: remove the gauntlet or I’m taking your hand off! I took a moment to think on it after I posted it and decided that despite being in character for Zaria to take her sword to Yelana’s hand, I decided against it as that wasn’t fun for you, C_S. Stealing the credits after both battles might have been in character for Yelana, but I’ll be perfectly honest, were infuriating as a player to deal with. If you had asked me if Yelana could steal them, I’d probably have said sure, go for it. Doing so as quickly as you did, especially the second time, when I didn’t have a chance to notice, was honestly pretty rude. Saying “that’s what my character would do” is not always a valid excuse, and if you’re ever not sure, ask the players you’re in a group with. If some of them feel like your decision would go too far, then think of a different solution, or don’t do the action at all. Your character can get angry and can hold grudges and do morally bad things: just realize that if that’s the case you need to be transparent with the player you’re getting into a beef with, and that your actions have consequences. I don’t know if you’ve ever played Fallout: New Vegas, but doing certain aggressive actions towards the Legion eventually causes them to send out assassin hit squads after you, and they do not megabluck around. It’s fine to steal, and it’s fine to be aggressive, but if you are going to be doing such actions to other players, it’s wise to either let them know what’s going on, and why they want to do something.

Another thing I noticed: you tended to spend a lot of time talking into that microphone of yours. Stop doing that. There are two other teammates with you who you can talk to. Talk to us. Please. I have zero interest in the secret mission you decided Yelana was on when you joined with us. We wanted to roleplay with you, and instead you would talk into that mic and speak to whoever was on the other end. Don’t do that. That is not fun for us, since we cannot interact. When you were just chatting with us you did pretty good. Asking about Zaria’s age was genuinely really cool, and her response just being “wow...” was great! That’s all you needed to get across that Yelana has experienced some form of astonishment. I thought that was cool.

I guess I’ll open this can of worms: I have no idea where the sexual comments towards Zaria came from, but they felt... uncomfortable. I did not read any sexual tension at all from any scene Zaria and Yelana had together, but those comments felt weird coming out of Yelana since they just came out of nowhere. I should know: I played a sexually active character for nearly six years (Karie). There is a handful of characters who could feasibly respond to Zaria slamming them into a wall with “oooh, harder daddy”, and Yelana doesn't read as one of them.

RPGs of this nature are games that rely on teamwork to succeed. Note how I didn’t say “win”, as you don’t really win an RPG. This isn’t a race to see who can make the most credits, or who can be the coolest character: you are working within a group to succeed at a mutual goal. You can have your own individual goals: getting better equipment, buying a certain item, but the best goals arise through roleplay: enact revenge on the scoundrel who robbed me, defend the prince from all who would harm him, that sort of stuff.

One last thing before I wrap up: I noticed you tend to italicize a lot of your words. While I get that you're drawing out words or drawing attention to them, too much use of italics tends to make it confusing as to what's supposed to be important. As an example I'm going to use, you guessed it, Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog, but more specifically a couple of panels from the Knuckles mini-series:

tumblr_nh0r04Q2mU1u4is2oo1_640.png

Besides this panel being confusing both in and out of context, notice how Ken Penders here uses italics way to often, to the point where they lose their effectiveness. If everything is italicized, nothing basically is. Using italics is fine, I would recommend being a bit more select with it in the future. :classic:

So, did I enjoy playing with you? Yes, I did. I think you have room to grow, but I can tell you’re eager to play, and I think enthusiasm is one of the most important things to have. We all started roleplaying somewhere, and we all fell into the same pit traps as you at one point or another. I would go on another mission with you, C_S, I would just ask that you remember that you are in a group, and you need to let Yelana find herself come front and centre naturally instead of trying to push yourself to the front of the crowd.

Zaria (Kintobor)

I normally don’t write about myself, but I guess I’ll talk a little about how I feel playing Zaria. I enjoy her so far, and I think she contrasted with the other personalities well. Zaria’s monastic upbringing followed by one hundred years on the open road have left her a little out of the loop in terms of technology. She knows when something is technology vs. magic, but I don’t think she knows how a computer works, let alone how to operate one. A comment Legonater made stuck out with me, in that Zaria’s not one to start fights, but she will end them. She doesn’t view her weapon as something to flourish about with: it’s a tool to kill people, and she thinks she’s pretty good at doing so. Watching Vindsval last game has made me want to play a priest for awhile now, so it’s fun finally getting around to playing one.

Zaria was originally going to be a group mom type, but then WBD brought in Valesia and I felt like two group mom’s would get a little too much, so I made some adjustments to her character and leaned into a “shonen-manga” protagonist aesthetic: constantly running into the fray, looking for challenges, and defending the weak. I think the fun for me comes from Zaria being over two hundred years old and occasionally getting to be condescending towards "the children." :laugh: Ironically, the only person she can't do this to is Valesia. I can't wait to see those two go on a mission together.

I think I’m still working on Zaria’s voice, but I’m having fun playing her.

 

Thanks for the mission, WBD, I had fun! :sweet:

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I'll add just a brief thought here, since to be honest I've mostly skimmed Mission #1 - I'm really busy now-a-days so reading too much of the quests I'm not on is difficult. I think the best strategy for me will be following along when I can, and then reading through it once it's all out there and I have a moment to sit down and read it like a story!

But, that being said, I actually followed Mission #1 the most of the missions I'm not on, just because it seemed like good fun. A train is an awesome setting for a story - you said, WBD, that you deviated a lot from the source material (:tongue:) and that's true from what I took, but even if all you took from it was setting a story on a train, well, there's a reason so many great stories are set on a train! A limited space to explore with a limited cast just works well! And there did feel like there was a serious element of mystery - the introduction of Blackgaurd was cool and added a nice extra element, as did the pumping the M-Tek employees for info. It seemed like everyone had a moment to shine, with, as you said WBD, Soren schmoozing and Yelena listening in! I felt really bad for the dude who had one of his heads cut off too. That's a pretty brutal way to go through life moving forward. :sad:

As for the massive discussion above about inter-party conflict, I have to admit I... really enjoyed reading it. :blush: . From an outsider's perspective, just dipping my head in, I found it super interesting, and I really enjoyed how prickly the party was. It's clear that Yelena was doing her own thing, and that bothered Soren & Zaria, but I also liked how even though they were united against Yelena's ulterior motives Soren and Zaria didn't really see eye-to-eye either! Again, I didn't catch the whole thing, but it makes me excited to re-read and it kept my interest while I was poking my head in.

BUT, I'll echo WBD & Kinto (I don't want to pile on, but as someone who ENJOYED it and would honestly like to see it done in the future, I want to add my two-cents). I think it boils down to a few things, which, as the others have said, is simply implementation. It doesn't matter how much fun I'm having reading it if the other players aren't happy with it. That is an easy hurtle to overcome, though! Transparency, like Kinto indicated, helps a lot. But even then, maybe we want to keep our motives hidden - different people play different ways, and that's cool. So, most important is trust. Other players have to trust that you are genuinely prioritizing other player's enjoyment. Kinto notes that Karie and Dyric hated each other for a lot of 1.0 (I don't remember that, I'll have to go back to read it again!). My character and Karie had a LOT of beef too. But, before we got to that beef, we got to know each other as players, and understood that we were cool doing it, and we wouldn't let it get in the way of our enjoyment. I'm pointing all this out because I'm NOT 100% like WBD. I think I'd be comfortable with a rogue character, or a mission that ends in (even super!) sour feelings. But it's gotta be clearly cool with everyone. (And I'd also echo WBDs statement that it's tough to run three separate missions, so make sure the "other stuff" you're doing still has you in the party's orbit and trajectory most of the time, and I'd secondly echo Kinto in that, if you're planning to sneak off and have private scenes I think that's 100% cool, but you have to respect when other players are doing something you wouldn't know about). It's basically rogue character v. rogue player.

Again, I'm only hammering that so much because I LOVE the drama of inter-party conflict, and I want to KEEP IT IN THE GAME!!!!! For that to happen, we have to say how it can happen.

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21 minutes ago, Zepher said:

My character and Karie had a LOT of beef too. But, before we got to that beef, we got to know each other as players, and understood that we were cool doing it, and we wouldn't let it get in the way of our enjoyment. I'm pointing all this out because I'm NOT 100% like WBD. I think I'd be comfortable with a rogue character, or a mission that ends in (even super!) sour feelings. But it's gotta be clearly cool with everyone. (And I'd also echo WBDs statement that it's tough to run three separate missions, so make sure the "other stuff" you're doing still has you in the party's orbit and trajectory most of the time, and I'd secondly echo Kinto in that, if you're planning to sneak off and have private scenes I think that's 100% cool, but you have to respect when other players are doing something you wouldn't know about). It's basically rogue character v. rogue player.

Again, I'm only hammering that so much because I LOVE the drama of inter-party conflict, and I want to KEEP IT IN THE GAME!!!!! For that to happen, we have to say how it can happen.

So, hi, it's me again. :laugh:

Karie and Boomingham's dynamic worked for me because of the simple fact that we were both pretty transparent with each other, especially during Eternal Reaper. That and you, Zepher, had Lawrence cut Masson's hand off at a point that, story wise, ensured the party stuck together and actually killed that bastard known as the Regret. Part of that is also probably on Endgame, but I distinctly remember being let into some of the conversations you two had to ensure I was cool with all of it, and I was. Also, what was the quest you hosted, Debts? The one with Karie, Dyirc, and Thothwick? That quest felt A LOT like Mission 1, but almost kind of intentional in a way, where Mission 1 clearly wasn't meant to go off the rails, pun intended. :tongue: I'm fine with heroes not getting along, even getting into fights! I think that stuff's riveting. Karie fought and argued with a lot of people in Heroica 1.0, I just think WBD walked into the perfect storm and had to weather it. I still had fun, so it's not the end of the world by any means. I think while it might be fun to go back and read through, it could get exhausting at times playing it, and as a player, that was the main issue I had. It was still fun, I would absolutely play with C_S again, and I imagine going back it will be fun to read, but the mission's structure unintentionally escalated the main issue I had, and it's not something I blame anyone for.

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I'm still not entirely convinced the quest is over. :laugh:

I want to say first and foremost that for the most part, I did really enjoy Quest #1. I love the micro-world of the Boreal Express, it felt very fleshed out and alive. I just regret that: A) I was playing a less-talkative character than Dyric, who I'm sure would have tried getting to know everyone on the train, and B) the pacing brought us to a point where I, as a player, really just wanted to move the plot along rather than visit with all the characters. Even still, there's something satisfying about entering a world where you know there's more secrets lurking around the corner, and just don't have the time to go visit them. We didn't even step into the Crew Quarters! On that note, I really liked how open-ended this one was; something you've always excelled at is is creating an environment where the players can really take their own lead, and this is no exception. We were basically just told to plan a heist, and go wild - a really fun concept! Regarding the cube in energy containment, I definitely had my suspicions, though I'm not convinced Soren did. If he did, he had bigger things on his mind at the time than worrying about the cube anyways. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the first two 'acts.' I had a lot of fun bouncing Soren off the NPCs - I think the interactions with Kish and the engineers are probably highlights for me from this quest? The bits of genuine downtime with Zaria and Yelana were quite nice as well. Once we got into the final combat, my general enjoyment definitely began to tank. That's not a disparagement on the combat itself; both fights this quest were a lot of fun, and I really love the flexibility our new combat system allows. It's just that was the point where the real-world pacing slowed to a halt, and the party dynamics totally collapsed. That final combat sequence took nearly a month to get through. :sceptic: I feel a little bad for the way I had Soren go about handling the cube at the end, in general, it went a lot less smooth than I had in my mind and continued to exacerbate the length of the quest. Mostly I just genuinely forgot to come up with a good alibi, and I didn't anticipate Yelana would grill Soren as hard as she did. :laugh: I think you resolved it very clearly though, WBD, and I'm happy for the chance to explore Soren through such wild circumstances.

Kintober (Zaria):
I really like Zaria! She's a very cool shift from Karie. I appreciate the balance between being a broadly good-focused character who still has a clearly unique moral framework and approach to situations. I think you had to test that a lot this quest, but it really made her into a well-rounded character. The first 1.0 parallel that comes to mind is maybe Nerwen? Someone who's clearly wise, mature, and collected, but also has very much her own way of going through the world. I'm excited to see where she goes, she seems like a really solid mainstay for Heroica. Soren has a decent amount of respect for her, I think, and knows she's someone he can count on when the chips are down.

Yelana (Captain_Spaceman):
WBD and Kint have said the meat and potatoes of it, so I'm going to try and not add too much. First the positive: you've really built a hell of a character in terms of core stats. Yelana hits like a truck from a distance and is an incredible support character in close-range. I do also appreciate your core resourcefulness; there's a certain way of looking at an RPG world that you kind of lose with experience, and I do like that 2.0 has a lot of room for unique situations to complex problems. On a character level, though, I find Yelana a little confusing? Essentially, what she does and says often do not line up - which is cool, if it's intentional, but I'm not sure I get the impression that's the case. Yelana talks a big game about being an experienced, pragmatic spy, but in practice, she tends more towards diplomacy, even beyond reason. In fact, she seemed more willing to cooperate with our enemies than her allies much of the time. I tried to poke at this a little bit with Soren, hoping that it would lead to cool underlying character choices, but for the most part it seemed to brush off Yelana and as a result I feel like I still don't have a good sense of who she is or what she's about. Like Kintober said I think Yelana has a self-perceived "coolness," but that often doesn't fully come across in action, and instead she often reads as self-centered or entitlted. Which, if that's the character, alright! I just want to make sure Yelana isn't coming off that way unintentionally. 

Again, a lot of this has been said, but I have two core morsels of player advice I want to leave you with. First: as a player, it is fine to be either combative or inactive, but it doesn't really work to be both. I have no problem with genuine character conflict or alternate approaches to a problem, in fact, I welcome it. I also have no problem with people being inactive for periods; life happens, and Heroica shouldn't be a priority. But when a character is both combative and inactive, it dramatically slows down the pace of the quest. I was on several quests in 1.0 where players would disappear partway through, and while that was unfortunate, you essentially keep going without feedback from that character. In this quest, however, we regularly found ourselves in situations where the rest of the party had made a decision, and then Yelana would come in a real-life day later opposing that decision, and we'd have to spend the next day or so finding a consensus. When the ideal is to roll a round of combat a day, this really slows down a quest, and was the reason for a lot of our pacing issues. This is a really nuanced point so I want to be clear that I do appreciate players coming up with creative alternative approaches, it just quickly becomes frustrating when those approaches are in direct opposition to already agreed-upon decisions. 

Second, if a character's nature is to go against the party, I'd recommend that player re-workshop that character. This is also a really nuanced point, but essentially I'm echoing what Kint has already said in that RPGs are collaborative games. A lot of the time (in say, D&D or Pathfinder or the like) you'll be physically sitting across from your fellow players. As a result, these games really don't work if one player is trying to have a single-player experience. I played D&D once with a group and one of the players straight-up stood back and let a beloved NPC die, saying "it's what my character would do." As a result, nobody really liked that character, and the party all kind of resolved to make sure that sort of thing never happened again. Each character should definitely have their own goals and motivations, but if those are consistently coming diametrically against the other party members it quickly becomes frustrating. Note what Zeph said about Soren and Zaria at the end - they were working towards a similar goal, even if they were doing it in different ways. That's good conflict. Good conflict isn't just stealing from the party for kicks, it's when different worldviews and experiences come crashing against each other in interesting and dynamic ways, and the party tries to figure out how to progress through that. Sometimes that will come to blows, but hopefully that isn't the majority. This is also obviously easier to achieve with well-established characters, which is hard to do on Mission 1. It also goes in-line with what I said earlier about Yelana - I get that she's selfish and has other objectives than Heroica, I just don't understand what those are. I as a player and Soren as a character can't know very much about this other organization Yelana is working for, and so neither of us can bounce off of it very well. For that matter, we've established individual comms aren't really a thing in this world, so I'm not sure how she's talking to the Triad in the first place? Like Kint said, we are your fellow players and we'd love to interact with you, but it's hard when your character is on a mic half the time doing her own thing and ignoring the others. 

All in all, I do see a lot of promise for both you and Yelana in the future. I look forward to seeing how you grow as a player over the course of GATS!

The Legonater (Soren):
Oh hey, that's me!

My goal with Soren was basically to create the flip side of the coin from Dyric, and so far I've had a lot of fun with it. Dyric was earnest, likable, diplomatic, and frequently long-winded, with a detailed and comprehensive backstory to match. Soren is, in contrast, blunt and to-the-point, cynical, and far more interested in the present moment than anything else. He's definitely kind of a dick, but hopefully in a way that's entertaining and amiable rather than being an obstacle. As a result he is a very different experience to play, and it's been a decent task to keep myself in Soren's head. With Dyric I used my natural voice a lot of the time, and played a character who generally would do the same sorts of things I would do - Soren is a change of pace, but a very fun one. I'm still obviously working on finding a consistent voice for him, but this quest did a lot to explore his edges and help find where that center might be. I also love the way he plays in combat. Dyric never dabbled in magic, so I'm excited to have someone who will play in that field a little more. I also enjoy how constrained his magic is? I can't wait to see how far he can go with ice abilities. All-in-all, Soren is a blast and I'm very much looking forward to developing him further.

Thanks yet again WBD - you have the patience of a saint and you're a superstar for carrying us through all the way!

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1 hour ago, Kintobor said:

Karie and Boomingham's dynamic worked for me because of the simple fact that we were both pretty transparent with each other, especially during Eternal Reaper. That and you, Zepher, had Lawrence cut Masson's hand off at a point that, story wise, ensured the party stuck together and actually killed that bastard known as the Regret. Part of that is also probably on Endgame, but I distinctly remember being let into some of the conversations you two had to ensure I was cool with all of it, and I was. Also, what was the quest you hosted, Debts? The one with Karie, Dyirc, and Thothwick? That quest felt A LOT like Mission 1, but almost kind of intentional in a way, where Mission 1 clearly wasn't meant to go off the rails, pun intended. :tongue: 

Well, I clearly do have to go back and do some reading. I don't want to talk 1.0 too much since a) don't like dwelling on the past too much and b) doesn't feel sporting to newer folks who it would be exclusionary of, but I agree. This is a point Legonator touched on - conflict is frankly easier with established characters/players. Anyway, I don't remember exactly how the Masson hand cut-off went down (I am going to go look it up!) but I think it came at a point where we had both met the character before and made different judgment calls about him, and then it conflict was played out later as a result of that. Also, Boomingham never got the hate Karie directed at him! He did her a favor by only taking the hand, and once he did it, all debts were forgiven! Why was she holding a grudge??? :laugh: But again, it came from a place of us building on our history with an NPC and also who we'd been up to that point.

As for my earlier comment about having to do some reading, I have exactly 0 memory of running that quest. I'll have to go back and read it. I've always been nervous to revisit - I was a younger less mature less generous person then. Hopefully it isn't too cringey. Even early Boomingham was really leaning into like "flirting" and I had that character trait die down as I went along, because I don't think I was playing it kindly. Just to throw into the conversation above ^ generosity in role-playing is absolutely a learned skill. Generosity in general is. We are all collectively getting better, but I have absolutely played in ways I'm not proud of!

AND, a final thought on generosity: already called out the fun of the quest, but WBD, I think Legonator hit the nail on the head in that you always build a vibrant world and then turn it over to the players. Very generous, and something I definitely aspire to!

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3 hours ago, Kintobor said:

I’ll likely have more to say, but overall I had a lot of fun with Mission 1, WBD! :sweet: I have some general thoughts, and then some stuff I want to say about my fellow PCs, but I’ll likely have more to add in the future.

I had a feeling we missed a bunch of stuff, and I’m not surprised to see we missed some of it. I feel as if we got to a certain point and you realized you needed to kick things up in order to get things moving along as the explosion in the engineering car felt like it wasn’t what you initially planned to happen, and it unintentionally ratcheted some of the underlying tensions in the group. I know when designing the mission the cube was designed as a harder item to grab that landed more reward, but it unintentionally wound up splitting up the party’s approaches on how to handle the cube, or if it should even be snatched at all. I do not think you designed the mission this, and I don’t blame you for the fracturing. I don’t think you went about designing this mission with the thought of having party conflict. I just think the mission structure didn’t help in this regard.

Pierce and Crunch are out there, and Zaria will have their heads. The blood must flow. Blood for the blood god. Speaking of, combat was tough as nails, but fair. Abam and Maba had some nasty combo abilities sharing the same square and the Blackguard fight was also rough, but also didn’t feel cheap. Now, our dice rolls were absolute utter garbage, how did we go something like six rounds without killing Slice? It can’t be helped, but wow. Needless to say, I always felt challenged in combat. There never felt like a time came when there was a single, optimal solution, but several move options that had their ups and downs. Combat was really good.

Okay, this is such a niche criticism, but I don’t know what trains you’ve been on, WBD, but the initial confusion with the train layout from me came from knowing that a train’s baggage car sits closer to the front, usually behind the engine. In terms of how it affected my fun of the mission: it didn’t, but I couldn’t help as someone interested in trains finding it a little confusing at first. :laugh: Typically the dining car is closer to first class than second, but I feel like with the train not having any sleepers the position of the dining car was fine logistically speaking.

Sets looked good. It’s amazing how much you can get away with when your set is a single build and you switch out the furnishings depending on the car. :tongue: It was fitting though, and I dug the overall tone of the mission when it wasn’t going completely to hell due to player infighting.

I've admittedly ridden on maybe two trains in my life and I paid zero attention to how they were laid out. :laugh: I'll just blame the confusion on it being a "space" train. :tongue: I'm glad Zaria has some enemies to look forward to, I love returning NPC's and the antagonistic ones are always the hardest to pull off.

You are right, when I designed the mission I wasn't expecting that much infighting. Admittedly if you had worked as a team, you probably could have easily gotten the cube undetected, but it simply didn't work out that way. There was still good character development, just not the kind I anticipated. :shrug_oh_well:

2 hours ago, Zepher said:

As for the massive discussion above about inter-party conflict, I have to admit I... really enjoyed reading it. :blush: . From an outsider's perspective, just dipping my head in, I found it super interesting, and I really enjoyed how prickly the party was. It's clear that Yelena was doing her own thing, and that bothered Soren & Zaria, but I also liked how even though they were united against Yelena's ulterior motives Soren and Zaria didn't really see eye-to-eye either! Again, I didn't catch the whole thing, but it makes me excited to re-read and it kept my interest while I was poking my head in.

BUT, I'll echo WBD & Kinto (I don't want to pile on, but as someone who ENJOYED it and would honestly like to see it done in the future, I want to add my two-cents). I think it boils down to a few things, which, as the others have said, is simply implementation. It doesn't matter how much fun I'm having reading it if the other players aren't happy with it. That is an easy hurtle to overcome, though! Transparency, like Kinto indicated, helps a lot. But even then, maybe we want to keep our motives hidden - different people play different ways, and that's cool. So, most important is trust. Other players have to trust that you are genuinely prioritizing other player's enjoyment. Kinto notes that Karie and Dyric hated each other for a lot of 1.0 (I don't remember that, I'll have to go back to read it again!). My character and Karie had a LOT of beef too. But, before we got to that beef, we got to know each other as players, and understood that we were cool doing it, and we wouldn't let it get in the way of our enjoyment. I'm pointing all this out because I'm NOT 100% like WBD. I think I'd be comfortable with a rogue character, or a mission that ends in (even super!) sour feelings. But it's gotta be clearly cool with everyone. (And I'd also echo WBDs statement that it's tough to run three separate missions, so make sure the "other stuff" you're doing still has you in the party's orbit and trajectory most of the time, and I'd secondly echo Kinto in that, if you're planning to sneak off and have private scenes I think that's 100% cool, but you have to respect when other players are doing something you wouldn't know about). It's basically rogue character v. rogue player.

Again, I'm only hammering that so much because I LOVE the drama of inter-party conflict, and I want to KEEP IT IN THE GAME!!!!! For that to happen, we have to say how it can happen.

I'm a fan of inter-party conflict as well, but I feel it has to be done in a way that mutually builds character development in a way all involved players enjoy. Heroica 1.0 had some really good rivalries that developed among the heroes, but it was because the players had grown to trust one another and that if one person conceded they knew the other player had their best interest in mind and wanted to make something that was cooler than if one person did it on their own. I don't think Mission 1 was the place for this type of development, or at least not in the quantity it occurred. That being said, I'm glad it was enjoyable to read at least, I just hope for less player frustration next time.

1 hour ago, The Legonater said:

I'm still not entirely convinced the quest is over. :laugh:

I want to say first and foremost that for the most part, I did really enjoy Quest #1. I love the micro-world of the Boreal Express, it felt very fleshed out and alive. I just regret that: A) I was playing a less-talkative character than Dyric, who I'm sure would have tried getting to know everyone on the train, and B) the pacing brought us to a point where I, as a player, really just wanted to move the plot along rather than visit with all the characters. Even still, there's something satisfying about entering a world where you know there's more secrets lurking around the corner, and just don't have the time to go visit them. We didn't even step into the Crew Quarters! On that note, I really liked how open-ended this one was; something you've always excelled at is is creating an environment where the players can really take their own lead, and this is no exception. We were basically just told to plan a heist, and go wild - a really fun concept! Regarding the cube in energy containment, I definitely had my suspicions, though I'm not convinced Soren did. If he did, he had bigger things on his mind at the time than worrying about the cube anyways. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the first two 'acts.' I had a lot of fun bouncing Soren off the NPCs - I think the interactions with Kish and the engineers are probably highlights for me from this quest? The bits of genuine downtime with Zaria and Yelana were quite nice as well. Once we got into the final combat, my general enjoyment definitely began to tank. That's not a disparagement on the combat itself; both fights this quest were a lot of fun, and I really love the flexibility our new combat system allows. It's just that was the point where the real-world pacing slowed to a halt, and the party dynamics totally collapsed. That final combat sequence took nearly a month to get through. :sceptic: I feel a little bad for the way I had Soren go about handling the cube at the end, in general, it went a lot less smooth than I had in my mind and continued to exacerbate the length of the quest. Mostly I just genuinely forgot to come up with a good alibi, and I didn't anticipate Yelana would grill Soren as hard as she did. :laugh: I think you resolved it very clearly though, WBD, and I'm happy for the chance to explore Soren through such wild circumstances.

The part you mentioned about combative inactivity really applied to the battles. Because the party was so often fractured in what they desired the outcome of a battle to be, it often felt you weren't operating as an efficient party. You had all the tools, you just all weren't on the same page and thus the battles suffered for it. Glad you enjoyed the NPC, they're really my favorite part of any mission and I loved getting to expand on Kish and the Engineers more than I had originally intended for them.

52 minutes ago, Zepher said:

AND, a final thought on generosity: already called out the fun of the quest, but WBD, I think Legonator hit the nail on the head in that you always build a vibrant world and then turn it over to the players. Very generous, and something I definitely aspire to!

You're too kind.:wub: But yes, generosity is really what makes for a good game. People willing to give of their time, creative talent, chance in the spot-light, and sometimes even character agency to make something greater than any of us could create individually.

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Thank you for the feedback - There is a lot here, so I am just going to respond in-line! 

 

On 9/29/2021 at 12:46 AM, Waterbrick Down said:

One word to some up Yelana on Mission 1 would be: combative. 

This actually surprises me; I could understand "aggravating", or something of that nature, but I find it odd that Yelana comes across as combative. This is probably due to a disconnect between how I am trying to write her and how she is being read, but I actually intend for Yelana to be an upbeat, friendly, sarcastic type of person who prefers to out-think situations instead fighting (both physically and verbally). Could you provide some examples of times that she has come across as combative? 

On 9/29/2021 at 12:46 AM, Waterbrick Down said:

In each of the scenes, whether it as Abam/Maba, stealing the briefcase, interacting with the M-Tek employees, dealing with Blackguard, and finally trying to obtain the cube, it always felt that Yelana’s priorities were first to the Triad and then to Heroica (the party) and when they competed, the Triad seemed to win out.

That makes sense, and I can definitely scale back Yelana's overt allegiance to the Triad (which she should be doing anyway, so as not to blow her cover during missions!). 

On 9/29/2021 at 12:46 AM, Waterbrick Down said:

It is often that those characters who build knowledge by experiencing the world are far more interesting/relatable/and desired as friends than those who already know everything. Some of the stuff Yelana was discussing about M-Tek and the ITA at the end while potentially knowable simply came across as out-of-character knowledge because it implied that she’s had a ton of experience interacting with this type of stuff and that doesn’t necessarily match her Level One stats.

This makes sense. 👍
Which things, specifically? I was under the impression that everything in the Library and Embassy threads was intended to be publicly-available information. 
On 9/29/2021 at 12:46 AM, Waterbrick Down said:

If you’re unsure how a plan might be perceived, or a certain bit of dialog, or a scenario, talk with your fellow players (or MM if applicable) about what you’re trying to do. If you think it’d be really cool to have a certain scene or try something and you think it might negatively impact or really throw a wrench in another player’s plan or character development, discuss it with them before you do it. 

I will definitely do this going forward. I think that I have been relying too heavily on Yelana's actions to convey my intentions with the character (a holdover from Mission Zero, when I tried to only use dialogue to specify actions! 😬). 

 

On 9/29/2021 at 6:12 PM, Kintobor said:

I noticed a few times when you tried to barge in on scenes that were happening as characters were making checks or forcing Yelana into doing cool things: particularly Zaria picking the lock to the briefcase. You snagged the bottle opener and came into Zaria’s scene, seemingly with the intent to pick the lock for Zaria. This is generally considered poor sportsmanship in roleplaying. If another character is in the midst of an action or a scene, it’s usually best to let them try and perform said action or perform through said scene, even if it’s not the optimal choice. It is far more interesting watching the martial warrior struggle to pick a lock then the trained thief do it. Sure, the trained thief is more likely to succeed, but from the perspective of suspense and tension, the martial warrior being out of their element and forced to do something they have little faith in succeeding is way more tense. You cannot be everywhere at once: don’t force yourself to be. Making sub-optimal decisions is what makes RPGs fun! 

Thank you for pointing this out, as I never would have come to this conclusion otherwise! In my mind (and in Yelana's, since she and Zaria were on the same side at the time), I realised that Yelana had tools and Proficiencies that would make getting the bottle opener easier (which Zaria lacked). I was just trying to be helpful/collaborative, but I recognise (now!) that it took away from an opportunity for you to develop your character. 

On 9/29/2021 at 6:12 PM, Kintobor said:

So, another thing I want to touch on is Yelana’s hostility at certain points and lack of teamwork. There were a few times when you said that what Yelana was doing was “in-character conflict”. 

How so? As I mentioned earlier in this post, I had intended to have Yelana come across as non-combative, so I obviously need to work on some aspect of her writing. 

On 9/29/2021 at 6:12 PM, Kintobor said:

I threatened Yelana with Zaria’s sword: remove the gauntlet or I’m taking your hand off! I took a moment to think on it after I posted it and decided that despite being in character for Zaria to take her sword to Yelana’s hand, I decided against it as that wasn’t fun for you, C_S.

Thank you! However, considering how technology-focused Yelana is as a character, I could have made her losing a hand work. 

On 9/29/2021 at 6:12 PM, Kintobor said:

Stealing the credits after both battles might have been in character for Yelana, but I’ll be perfectly honest, were infuriating as a player to deal with. If you had asked me if Yelana could steal them, I’d probably have said sure, go for it. Doing so as quickly as you did, especially the second time, when I didn’t have a chance to notice, was honestly pretty rude. 

I apologise! I definitely see now how that would be infuriating, but I honestly did not even consider how other players would feel about it (just their characters). It seems obvious in hindsight, so I will try to do better going forward! 😬
On 9/29/2021 at 6:12 PM, Kintobor said:

Another thing I noticed: you tended to spend a lot of time talking into that microphone of yours. Stop doing that.

What you are referring to is actually Yelana communicating with her visor via voice-interface (the all-caps text is the response that she hears), which is an RP device that I was using to convey Yelana's actions/checks. It is also somewhat of a holdover from my dialogue-only approach in Mission Zero, and I can tone it down if it is going to be bothersome. (I can just have Yelana reconfigure her visor to have a neural interface (since it already has a psychic component to it), which actually dovetails nicely into the Empath class that I am considering for her. 

On 9/29/2021 at 6:12 PM, Kintobor said:

I guess I’ll open this can of worms: I have no idea where the sexual comments towards Zaria came from, but they felt... uncomfortable. I did not read any sexual tension at all from any scene Zaria and Yelana had together, but those comments felt weird coming out of Yelana since they just came out of nowhere. I should know: I played a sexually active character for nearly six years (Karie). There is a handful of characters who could feasibly respond to Zaria slamming them into a wall with “oooh, harder daddy”, and Yelana doesn't read as one of them.

This is another intent-vs-interpretation issue: I had tried to write Yelana as flirting with Zaria in the Hall, as well as somewhat while on the train, so that is where this came from. 😐

On 9/29/2021 at 6:12 PM, Kintobor said:

I noticed you tend to italicize a lot of your words. While I get that you're drawing out words or drawing attention to them, too much use of italics tends to make it confusing as to what's supposed to be important. . . notice how Ken Penders here uses italics way to often, to the point where they lose their effectiveness. If everything is italicized, nothing basically is. Using italics is fine, I would recommend being a bit more select with it in the future. :classic:

OK. I had been trying to use italics to indicate voice inflections (in contrast to Zaria's more steady, stoic, style of speaking), to convey that Yelana is young and enthusiastic. I can see what you mean by overuse, though! 

 

On 9/29/2021 at 6:48 PM, Zepher said:

As for the massive discussion above about inter-party conflict, I have to admit I... really enjoyed reading it. :blush: .

I actually enjoyed writing it, since I feel like the times when Yelana was questioned or confronted gave me an opportunity to explain her motivations, thought-processes, plans, etc, in ways that I could not really otherwise. 

 

On 9/29/2021 at 7:53 PM, The Legonater said:

On a character level, though, I find Yelana a little confusing? Essentially, what she does and says often do not line up - which is cool, if it's intentional, but I'm not sure I get the impression that's the case. Yelana talks a big game about being an experienced, pragmatic spy, but in practice, she tends more towards diplomacy, even beyond reason. In fact, she seemed more willing to cooperate with our enemies than her allies much of the time.

Intent-vs-interpretation, again! 😕
Yelana's success and pragmatism are reflected in her tendency towards thinking/talking her way out of problems, rather than just fighting. I think of her character as someone who enjoys outsmarting things (be they conflicts, puzzles, locks, or people) and gathering information. 
On 9/29/2021 at 7:53 PM, The Legonater said:

Second, if a character's nature is to go against the party, I'd recommend that player re-workshop that character.

It is actually not - It just happened to be in this case. 😕

On 9/29/2021 at 7:53 PM, The Legonater said:

I played D&D once with a group and one of the players straight-up stood back and let a beloved NPC die, saying "it's what my character would do." As a result, nobody really liked that character, and the party all kind of resolved to make sure that sort of thing never happened again. 

Yikes! Thankfully, while Yelana can be rather duplicitous and manipulative, she is explicitly not heartless (See her only using the stun setting on Pierce, for example)! 😬

On 9/29/2021 at 7:53 PM, The Legonater said:

I as a player and Soren as a character can't know very much about this other organization Yelana is working for, and so neither of us can bounce off of it very well.

That makes sense. 
 

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So, I don't have time to go over every single point, but thank you, C_S for reading through what we had to say and considering it. :thumbup: There's no hard feelings on my end, just a desire to see you get better at something you clearly have an interest in. Nothing I wrote was meant to turn you away or gate keep, quite the opposite really, and I had hoped it came off that way. :classic:

7 hours ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

Thank you for pointing this out, as I never would have come to this conclusion otherwise! In my mind (and in Yelana's, since she and Zaria were on the same side at the time), I realised that Yelana had tools and Proficiencies that would make getting the bottle opener easier (which Zaria lacked). I was just trying to be helpful/collaborative, but I recognise (now!) that it took away from an opportunity for you to develop your character.

This is something you pick up on with time. If I had failed and Yelana stepped in to try and grab the bottle opener afterwards, that's fine! You wind up having just as much fun in a roleplaying game failing and trying to recover from that failure as you do succeeding. If I can impart one more piece of advice for the time being, it is to allow Yelana to potentially fail. One of Pixar's rules for writing is you admire a character more for trying than you do seeing them succeed. You don't always need to make the most optimal decision with Yelana, and expecting other players to do the same is also not always the best attitude. I wouldn't say to do this all the time, I think trying to jump onto the shuttle would've been bad for Yelana, but sometimes your character is forced to do things they're not used to, and failing that task is usually not a bad thing. :classic:

7 hours ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

Thank you! However, considering how technology-focused Yelana is as a character, I could have made her losing a hand work.

I could have, but doing so I feel would've been a breach of player trust on my part. I also wanted to set a good example about talking to your other players if you are going to do something drastic is important. I decided Zaria would let her cooler side prevail and find an alternate solution.

7 hours ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

This is another intent-vs-interpretation issue: I had tried to write Yelana as flirting with Zaria in the Hall, as well as somewhat while on the train, so that is where this came from.

So, this isn't just a problem you face: everyone who uses text to communicate faces this problem more so than in other mediums. You are not the first person to run into this problem, and you won't be the last. My general suggestion would be to use descriptive words to help convey intent. "Hey, how's it going?" takes on entirely new meanings depending on how we then describe it being spoken: jovially, meancing, seductively. Also, sometimes people just don't want to roleplay being in a romantic relationship. Both of my previous PCs had romantic flings going on, so I'm taking that a step back with Zaria and focusing on other aspects of roleplaying with her character. When someone shoots you down, it is best to just move past it.

7 hours ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

OK. I had been trying to use italics to indicate voice inflections (in contrast to Zaria's more steady, stoic, style of speaking), to convey that Yelana is young and enthusiastic. I can see what you mean by overuse, though!

There's nothing wrong with their use, I would just tone it down a bit. I get what you're going for, though, and the example I used is fairly extreme. It is something to work on: I don't expect you to go sleep tonight after taking all this in and being a master at this stuff. I've been playing RPGs for a decade and I am still not some savant: I too make mistakes, we all are human. :sweet:

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11 hours ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

This actually surprises me; I could understand "aggravating", or something of that nature, but I find it odd that Yelana comes across as combative. This is probably due to a disconnect between how I am trying to write her and how she is being read, but I actually intend for Yelana to be an upbeat, friendly, sarcastic type of person who prefers to out-think situations instead fighting (both physically and verbally). Could you provide some examples of times that she has come across as combative? 

Combative in the sense of argumentative or contrary (not itching for a fight combative). There were more times when Yelana would argue for a different course of action than she actually agreed with the rest of the group. It may have happened, but I don't think Yelana ever said once that someone else had a good idea. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it just meant that almost every time the group had some sort of decision to make, I couldn't take for granted that Yelana would agree and go along, because she almost never did. :laugh:

12 hours ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

That makes sense, and I can definitely scale back Yelana's overt allegiance to the Triad (which she should be doing anyway, so as not to blow her cover during missions!). 

I think its necessary, otherwise to your fellow players and to outside readers, it sounds like you're trying to tell a different story (Yelana and the Triad) than what is going on. Because you're the only one in that story it feels very forced to the rest of us because we can't tell it with you. Triad is fine as a background, just like Zaria's religion, it can inform Yelana's actions, but if its something other players and the mission master can't interact with or ask questions about because its supposed to be "secretive" it's better to leave it for RP stuff that happens in the Hall, or on a mission about the Triad that you run.:classic:

12 hours ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

This makes sense. 👍

Which things, specifically? I was under the impression that everything in the Library and Embassy threads was intended to be publicly-available information.

Just because something is public doesn't mean your character has to know it all or that it's 100% exhaustive. :laugh: You've got to remember there will be areas of gray, so writing off ITA or M-Tek as pure evil just because the Embassy thread gives allusions to those things doesn't mean that everyone must agree with your character's take on them. The biggest one for me was when you were appealing for Soren not to give the cube over to the Space Police. Soren was arguing based on what he had experienced on the Mission about M-Tek and in particular Kish's altruistic personality. Yelana was arguing based on info from the Library (outside the mission) and came across as that should invalidate Soren's arguments because Embassy trumps experience. Same thing for Blackguard, it seemed like you assumed what their purpose/mission was based on the Library, not what the Mission was telling you. That just grinded my gears a little, that's all. :classic:

12 hours ago, Classic_Spaceman said:

I will definitely do this going forward. I think that I have been relying too heavily on Yelana's actions to convey my intentions with the character (a holdover from Mission Zero, when I tried to only use dialogue to specify actions! 😬). 

Kintobor's advice about adding adverbs to your actions will definitely help in this regard. Using things like boldly, hesitantly, seductively, decisively, cheerfully, etc. will help us understand her intentions better.

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So, I’m currently on my phone and on break at work, but I do want to get some initial thoughts on Mission 4 out, mainly in that I had a lot of fun hosting it! The core concept started from wanting to try and device a system that allowed for vehicle chases that wasn’t overtly complicated and could easily be grafted onto our current combat system, and I think those mechanics worked well. I think it needs some fine tuning and some abilities the driver has are better than others, but I’m happy it at least works. 

From there I built up the rest of the plot using the motto “take the things you love and put them in your game”, so with the speeder chase put in place as the climax, early American rock and roll and electro-swing became the soundtrack, I included an American 50’s era diner since I have a soft spot for that aesthetic, and I added in some splashes of dry humour and ultra-violence when I felt it appropriate. I think it all worked together nicely, even if it felt a bit linear. I did try and ensure that no one thing would auto-fail the mission. Failing to grab the briefcase meant that you simply lost it to Gheyns and RKO, or Carvrac, or any of the other possible ways. The Dragoon hitting zero hit points means it’s banged up and beaten and you wouldn’t receive the bonus credits. Each scene led into the next, but I intentionally left things open ended in terms of how you approached the problems I threw at you. I imagine a different party would still come to this mission’s conclusion, just not in the way you four did.

Combat was good, but I do have some self criticism. I think if I were to rerun the diner fight, I’d add an extra NPC. Someone to tie up melee combatants while another greaser tries to book it. I feel like the mechanic of the fight was good in trying to keep the greaser from escaping, but it could be tweaked to make it a bit more challenging, but for a first fight in the game, ever for you four, it wasn’t bad. The speeder chase fight I felt was a bit too long, but I also didn’t want to overwhelm you guys with what could’ve been six enemy combatants. Barricading the door bought you some time, and while I enjoy both halves of the fight individually, I think together it was a bit long. I think five to six rounds is the sweet spot for combat in this game, but I know in the future I’ll be breaking this rule for some of the wilder combat encounters I have in mind. It didn’t help I started a new job as the speeder chase fight was happening and I was adjusting to a new sleep schedule, but I thank you guys for keeping with me. :classic:

I have more to say about you four as players, as well as some more specific comments about NPCs and things that happened, but I’m glad to hear you guys seem to have had fun, so I’m glad to hear that. Thanks for joining me for Mission 4, and hopefully I’ll be hosting some of you again soon. :sweet: 

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Loved the mission. Style was top-notch and it rolled over into some fun mechanical challenges and combat. In my opinion, I think the speeder chase hit the sweet spot for boss battle length, but I can understand the reticence in splitting it into two halves (though it was well-advised considering the mechanics we had to learn.) My one suggestion would be to allow for some sort of auto-pilot when we don't have the actions to spare for driving. It seems to be like being in the driver's seat would be a bit of a one-note affair and I did feel a little bad about leaving Kirwin there the whole fight.

Very much enjoyed all of our NPCs, definitely look forward to seeing if any of them pop up again. Had a hell of a time with all my fellow players, thanks for putting up with Yissam♥ ya'll. :laugh:

Excellent work as always Kint. :thumbup:

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3 hours ago, CMP said:

Loved the mission. Style was top-notch and it rolled over into some fun mechanical challenges and combat. In my opinion, I think the speeder chase hit the sweet spot for boss battle length, but I can understand the reticence in splitting it into two halves (though it was well-advised considering the mechanics we had to learn.) My one suggestion would be to allow for some sort of auto-pilot when we don't have the actions to spare for driving. It seems to be like being in the driver's seat would be a bit of a one-note affair and I did feel a little bad about leaving Kirwin there the whole fight.

Very much enjoyed all of our NPCs, definitely look forward to seeing if any of them pop up again. Had a hell of a time with all my fellow players, thanks for putting up with Yissam♥ ya'll. :laugh:

Excellent work as always Kint. :thumbup:

Actually that was fine - I want to try to play a support character and Kiriwn is not really built with combat in mind so I prob would have tried to switch out even if I did not start in the driver's seat. I thought there were good options for the driver. I think maybe some actions could be allowed without giving a -1 to the next piloting roll. Like rally which can be describes as verbal or a driving action. If you try to use a weapon or potion i can see it though.

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3 hours ago, CMP said:

Loved the mission. Style was top-notch and it rolled over into some fun mechanical challenges and combat. In my opinion, I think the speeder chase hit the sweet spot for boss battle length, but I can understand the reticence in splitting it into two halves (though it was well-advised considering the mechanics we had to learn.) My one suggestion would be to allow for some sort of auto-pilot when we don't have the actions to spare for driving. It seems to be like being in the driver's seat would be a bit of a one-note affair and I did feel a little bad about leaving Kirwin there the whole fight.

Very much enjoyed all of our NPCs, definitely look forward to seeing if any of them pop up again. Had a hell of a time with all my fellow players, thanks for putting up with Yissam♥ ya'll. :laugh:

Excellent work as always Kint. :thumbup:

Thanks for the comment, Pie! I'll keep an auto pilot option in mind for the future. I feel like something like that would need some downside to activating, but it won't be awhile until I run another chase, but I'll remember this for later. :classic:

A few NPCs here will definitely be showing up again. Maybe not immediately, but JanineXoX, Antony, and Gheyns and RKO are definitely in the "returning" category.

Speaking of NPCs, I really pushed myself to get some LGBTQ+ representation in this mission. Antony's obviously gay with his relationship with Graham, and Gheyns is explicitly non-binary, using they/them for pronouns. I definitely drew a bit of inspiration in terms of Gheyns from Double Trouble from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and RKO's also got some fun stuff going on regarding her outlook on identity that I didn't get around to this mission but hope to in the future. I initially wanted RKO to be an adamite, but when my collection of parts wasn't giving me the look I initially had in my head I got a little creative and reworked her into who she is now. The swear filter was always there from the start, but I think the concept of someone who identifies more with the the mask they wear (in RKO's case, the protective bunker elf suit that covers her from head to toe) than the person underneath it has always been a concept I've found really, really interesting, and it's something I want to explore with her in the future.

I am actually really proud of the Red Comet diner as a scene. There were a lot of NPCs present, and a lot of ways of getting to the greaser and dealing with that scenario. You could've sabotaged his speeder-cycle, went into the bathroom and jostled him out, persuade Flo into telling you where he was, I'm certain there were other ways that I didn't think of. You guys didn't even talk to the blue haired pilot or his cricet friend on the booster seat, but in the end I'm not really upset by that: you guys interacted with the things you wanted to, and I allowed you to do what you wanted to, within reason.

Finding that jazz rendition of Johnny C. Bad from Final Fantasy 6 was such a pain. I remembered listening to it like a year or so ago and thought it'd be great for the diner fight and then just couldn't find the video. Had to click around and thankfully found it again. 

2 minutes ago, karmajay said:

Actually that was fine - I want to try to play a support character and Kiriwn is not really built with combat in mind so I prob would have tried to switch out even if I did not start in the driver's seat. I thought there were good options for the driver. I think maybe some actions could be allowed without giving a -1 to the next piloting roll. Like rally which can be describes as verbal or a driving action. If you try to use a weapon or potion i can see it though.

I actually should've allowed rallying and defend, and if you'd asked I probably would've allowed it. My thought process behind using items and attacking incurring a -1 penalty is that you're not focused on the road in front of you as your distracted, so you're more likely to have to swerve out of the way of something and give the opposing driver a better chance of taking the upper hand. It was super loosely based on the car chase mechanics from a James Bond roleplaying game from a number of years ago, and I figured a vehicle chase mechanic should reward players who invested in piloting as a skill.

Mission 4 Character Thoughts:

Kirwin (Karmajay) – Kirwin seeemed to start off like you were looking for a direction to take them, and then you seemed to find a stride midway through the mission, and that’s completely and totally valid as a player. I read Kirwin as almost child-like: eager to help but not always sure how, so they refer back to their knowledge listening and watching serialized dramas like Buck Rodgers and Flash Gordon. I really dug this character trait: it’s cute and wholesome but also believable that someone in this setting would just get inspired watching movies and serials and be like “I aspire to be that”. It’s these kinds of hooks that I as a game manager/mission master look out for, as it’s connections like this I tend to dig into and try and turn into content for players in the other RPGs I run, so maybe we’ll see something come of this part of Kirwin’s character. I wasn’t sure if you were going to try and put Sid’s severed hand in a proper fridge, but your commitment to keeping it in the washing machine might be my single favourite comedic moment throughout the entire mission, and your comment to the medical team that it was in there was just comic gold. I laughed for a good minute or two, so nice job! :grin: All in all, I really dug Kirwin and I can’t wait to see more of them!

Bers (Dutch Thriceman) – Like Kirwin, Bers seemed to be an inquisitive, curious adamite making his first steps into a new and unfamiliar world, but where Kirwin seemed to be more innocent and basing his understanding off of media they consumed, Bers came off much more direct and intimidating. I was not expecting Bers to have an aggression mode when the first combat with the greaser started, but I’m down for it. His insistence on calling living things meatbags is rude, but in a funny, interesting kind of way. Not every character is going to be polite to others, so just referring to people as meatbags is both rude but also insight into Bers’ outlook on life. I got the feeling Bers doesn’t understand what he’s saying might be seen as offensive, but no one brought it up so on that trait will continue. I liked the difference in dialogue choice you and Kirwin made: where Kirwin seemed to talk in a sort of regular voice, Bers sounded a bit more like a traditional robot, speaking out your actions before you did them. Also, referring to yourself as “this unit” is a nice touch to differentiate him from others. You and Karmajay showed me how versatile adamites can get, and I liked seeing Bers in action. It seems you have found a rival in Gheyns, so hopefully we’ll see those two get into a fight again. Good stuff all around! I hope you enjoyed your first mission and that we see more of you around!

Merei (Zepher) – Merei was competing with a lot of big personalities this mission, and I feel like that kind of helped her out in the long run as her more calm, thoughtful personality and oddly phrased sentences contrasted with the larger personalities of Yissam and Bers. I like that Merei’s just kind of weird, with the way she forms sentences having this clearly intentional emphasis on being way too calm and friendly in moments that do not reflect that: Merei’s reaction to Sid is a really good example of this. She comes off almost too pleasant, a little too friendly, and I like that sense that Merei only really operates in this sort of capacity. It’s a unique way of presenting a character, where even a threat feels uncomfortable because it’s being given like a friendly greeting. I enjoyed playing off of it. Merei’s probably the most initially nuanced member of the group, and I was interested to see what you’d bring to the table seeing how you and I have kind of a history from Heroica: Fantasy.


Needless to say, I like Merei and I like the potential places she can go. I have this feeling there’s more to Merei under the surface, and I’m excited to learn more. It’s a fairly open space for her to explore character wise, and I’m curious to see what you want to explore with her now that the general conception is to let this game allow for more PC involvement in plot developments.


Yissam (I can’t get the heart to show up, I’m really sorry :cry_sad: ) (CMP) – Where do I even begin? I have the distinction of never hosting you in Heroica: Fantasy, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this. I knew you were regarded as a good role player, but I’ve never hosted you, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from Yissam. Less so in a way like Bers or Kirwin in the sense that I knew you had experience, I just wasn’t sure what to anticipate. I got a good taste with her introduction in the hall, I wasn’t sure just how larger than life Yissam was going to be and... yeah, she’s pretty larger than life. Which is good! In a lot of ways she reminds me of Karie, that showboating performer type, but where Karie’s whole concept was that she was never really as cool as she claimed to initially be, Yissam is everything Karie kind of wanted from the outset, which is a really good distinction. There’s this vanity, this obsession with looking her best, which is compounded by the fact that she’s always onscreen with the AV Rig, but also I dug that you took some of the hooks I threw out regarding things hosting websites typically tend to ban people over, such as swearing and violence, which was fun! Not everyone would’ve toyed with that, and it was a different perspective where Yissam is consistently worried about getting yanked for showing something she shouldn’t which, following some political streamers, is something I related to. JanineXoX was kind of a last minute concept, but I figured you’d enjoy a potential rival to play off of. I imagine we’ll see her again sooner than later.

I also have no idea what HYPE is, and I was genuinely thrown off when you dropped the icon into chat. I was only a little unsettled, alright? :laugh:

I think Yissam is the kind of character we could only get in a setting built the way Glory Amongst the Stars’ setting is built, and I cannot wait to see where the character goes. Great stuff, CMP!

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Okay, time for my thoughts! I'm writing this as a little break from a bazillion things I'm supposed to be doing. Time to relax and have some fun and reflect!

I think I was pretty vocal throughout that I was really really enjoying the quest. Kinto and CMP, it was really nice to play with you two again - in the time without Heroica I didn't really miss it in any concrete sense other than every once in a while thinking about the people I got to interact with daily for many years, and then totally fell out of touch with. So it was good to be BACK BABY! And the newcomers were AWESOME as well. I'm going to go through each character below a little, but overall playing with the fellow players was great.

Kinto - I honestly don't have a critique for the quest, other than as you said the final battle felt like it dragged a little. I don't even think that was pacing in-quest, but rather that updates got a little far and few between. Life happens, no worries, but I was jonesing to see what came at us next, and I think the combination of a tough, long battle with the slower updates created the illusion of dragging where, in reality, it wasn't really there. I'm with CMP - I think longer boss battles are okay, and it didn't feel overly long given that it was mechanically rich and had two phases! I like the idea with GAT that we can have a bunch of different aesthetics, and I'm glad you had a chance to play with them. It felt cohesive but also pretty diverse, and each location was very different while feeling like part of the city. Even the sets were just spot-on - we noticed the trellis like we should have! Really well done. The NPCs definitely stood out to me too - they didn't have a ton of depth, which is fair, because it's all their first appearances and the world is young, but they definitely all had character and things going on about them - friend and foe alike! So, truly, well done.

As for the party, I think it was near perfect. Every single set-piece (specifically thinking of the diner and trying to get into Carvrac's) showed exactly what I like about a good RPG party. Everyone had a super clearly different approach, but it was all in service of the goal of the party as a whole.

Bers: I mean, I love Bers. Everything about him is fun. I know you were nervous about playing a "stock" character, but you did it so well. Constantly trying to get booze and into a fight. Strong direction and wants work! And besides, you added enough quirks that it was a rich character. I never felt like Bers was too stock. He had an approach beyond violence in many situations - the diner, trying to talk to the criminals and bluff his way in. And I loved how frustrated and straight up pissed he'd get in fights! The kill mode was a really fun choice I didn't expect - it fits with the trope, but it's great, and going there absolutely works. I especially like how inarticulate Bers gets when he goes kill-mode. I'm excited to see the character continue to do all the things that make him fun, and to continue to explore the quirks, pushing him in new directions!

Kirwin: Kirwin was also a TON of fun. I think Kirwin and Merei had quite a few asides throughout the quest. I think they were the more level-heads in the party, and I really like that. Your assessment that Kirwin is support is clear too, because Merei is meant to be that as well, and I think they did have a sort of kinship in that. As Kinto said, Merei is a sort of quiet personality, and I think Kirwin is as well. But that doesn't mean they didn't distinguish themselves! Kirwin frequently went off to try to investigate things that clearly interested them, and their skillset makes it clear that they want to apply their skills and interest to specific things, especially tech in all its forms, which makes sense. I like CMP was a little nervous that you got "stuck" as the driver, but I think it was fitting for Kirwin (also, the mechanics seemed legitimately cool, so big ups for that Kinto), and the fact that they drove and hurled grenades is a character defining thing, as is their immediate decision to give those credits to Flo. I like Kirwin, and I think Merei really likes Kirwin as well. And as Kinto says, it pays to have someone who wants to be a hero, even if they have a bit of a Sunday morning cartoon conception of what that means. There are so many interesting places to take that character depending on what happens to them: do they bring their delusional heroics to a disappointing and gray world, or start to realize the cartoons weren't quite right, or some mix of the two? See the world how it is and decide to change? See the world how it is and decide not to change? Never see the world how it is? Lots of awesome options to explore!

Yissam♥: I'm honestly gonna keep this a bit on the short side, just because Yissam is a pretty clear character at the moment! She's a TON of fun, as stated above she's got a definite approach to the way to accomplish their goals in the quest. She's absolutely clutch in a fight too - dealing a lot of damage with the summon and keeping everyone up. Really cool. Merei absolutely doesn't know what to make of her. I do a little more, but I'm excited to see what makes her click a bit more. I don't know how she really feels about different people in the party or about the mission over-all. I think that maybe comes from the two of us being veterans a bit - I'm playing a bit closer to the chest this time, and I think you are too maybe? Or figuring things out as we go (which is totally cool!). Or even just playing a challenging character who is totally about one specific thing and hyper focused on that! Which would be awesome too! It might be that she does like everyone, and is in it for the adventure! All in all, she's a ton of fun, and a SUPER clear character in who she IS, but I'm interested to see if there are OR are not deeper rivers!

Merei: Kinto hit the nail on the head. Merei is calm and kind and polite, and has a way she wants to go about in the world. But there are deeper things. She's here for a reason. She has a goal she is really really trying to accomplish. And in that sense, I was super glad to have this mission be her first, because it has NOTHING to do with her goal. So, I had to figure out how she is when she isn't pursuing it. That was a super important thing to find right out of the gate, so I'm glad I did. An INTENTIONALLY muted personality is something very different than what I played last time around! But I still think who she is shown through. Basically decent. Observant and patient. And she wants, fucking, knowledge. :devil:

All in all, excited to be back.

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27 minutes ago, Kintobor said:

Speaking of NPCs, I really pushed myself to get some LGBTQ+ representation in this mission. Antony's obviously gay with his relationship with Graham, and Gheyns is explicitly non-binary, using they/them for pronouns. I definitely drew a bit of inspiration in terms of Gheyns from Double Trouble from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and RKO's also got some fun stuff going on regarding her outlook on identity that I didn't get around to this mission but hope to in the future. I initially wanted RKO to be an adamite, but when my collection of parts wasn't giving me the look I initially had in my head I got a little creative and reworked her into who she is now. The swear filter was always there from the start, but I think the concept of someone who identifies more with the the mask they wear (in RKO's case, the protective bunker elf suit that covers her from head to toe) than the person underneath it has always been a concept I've found really, really interesting, and it's something I want to explore with her in the future.

All things that I appreciate.

33 minutes ago, Kintobor said:

I think Yissam is the kind of character we could only get in a setting built the way Glory Amongst the Stars’ setting is built, and I cannot wait to see where the character goes. Great stuff, CMP!

That was definitely the idea. It was one thing I appreciated quite a lot during this mission. Sure, we're adventuring around and interacting as ever, but there's elements of the setting that you can't really gloss over like in Heroica OG. Technology, societal advancement, planetary mechanics, all that fun stuff. I thought I'd toy with that as Yissam♥ and it's a lot of fun, if an occasional logistical headache. :laugh:

11 minutes ago, Zepher said:

I think I was pretty vocal throughout that I was really really enjoying the quest. Kinto and CMP, it was really nice to play with you two again - in the time without Heroica I didn't really miss it in any concrete sense other than every once in a while thinking about the people I got to interact with daily for many years, and then totally fell out of touch with. So it was good to be BACK BABY! And the newcomers were AWESOME as well. I'm going to go through each character below a little, but overall playing with the fellow players was great.

I would agree with that. I do some tabletop gaming these days, but having a casual RPG to just relax with was something I did not realize I kind of enjoyed having. Having the familiar faces back is definitely a highlight for me, but it makes me very happy to see such awesome new players in the game. Hanging out with the old ones is always going to be great, but the health of the game depends on the new blood, and I think it's in great hands given what I saw on that mission. :sweet:

54 minutes ago, karmajay said:

Actually that was fine - I want to try to play a support character and Kiriwn is not really built with combat in mind so I prob would have tried to switch out even if I did not start in the driver's seat. I thought there were good options for the driver. I think maybe some actions could be allowed without giving a -1 to the next piloting roll. Like rally which can be describes as verbal or a driving action. If you try to use a weapon or potion i can see it though.

All fair. I see now why Kint wanted a decent pilot on this mission. I'm liking Kirwin a lot, I'm definitely seeing the support side of them (something I'm also aiming for) and I'm excited to see where they develop now that they've got some great characterization established.

The same goes for Bers, it's shocking how easy it is for our resident combat bot can go from chilling in a diner to kill mode. Would love to figure out more about them at some point down the line.

51 minutes ago, Kintobor said:

I also have no idea what HYPE is, and I was genuinely thrown off when you dropped the icon into chat. I was only a little unsettled, alright? :laugh:

You can blame my sad, gay little pile of LEGO for HYPE. I have no parts to build with. :laugh: A sure sign that I need to scoop up more Collectible Figs...

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Awesome quest Kintobor! When you first floated the idea, while I thought it might work, I wasn't quite sure on the style/aesthetic. I'm glad to say you pulled it off really well and I think the game's first foray in to Cosmopoli was excellent! The set pieces while not necessarily elaborate were fitting and really inspired the imagination. The story worked and showcased each of the players really well and I want to both play with and host all of them at some point. Thank you for braving the vehicle rules and running with them, I agree they need a bit of tweaking, but I think they were a fantastic first attempt. You did a really good job of leaving enough loose ends out there for future missions without making the story feel incomplete, which can sometimes be a hard balance to strike. For the players:

Bers: I was uncertain about your take on adamites at the beginning as I thought it'd render his portrayal rather stiff, but I like how he's developed and I think you've established a few things that keep him from becoming a one-dimensional character. The alcohol dependence was not something I saw coming, but I like how you used it to keep the mission moving forward as a character trait. So often characters respond out of what a player's motivations are, not necessarily the character's and I think you've got something here with Bers. Well done.

Kirwin: Sort of the opposite of Bers, in a good way. I love how you made a support character and I also love that they had a chance to shine between all of the technology and engineering checks. I'm glad you've embraced that role and at the same time had Kirwin defined by more than just their skill set. It's always refreshing to have new players in these games as they bring a certain wonder and uniqueness to it and Kirwin is no exception.

Merei: I agree with Kintobor, Merei is sometimes just weird. In a good way of course. :laugh: I wasn't sure whether you'd be playing up the Menahi aspect of the character or the Celestial. I think you're going for the latter and it's awesome. After the gruffness of Lord Boomingham, I love seeing you explore a gentler character. She's a good fit for almost any party as she's not stand-out personality, she's an established character alright, but not one you have to worry about outshining anyone.

Yissam♥: As our first Stratitarian, I was excited to see how Yissam♥ would be portrayed and I can say you did not disappoint! Kintobor was dead on with the comparison to Karie, but at the same time there's enough differences that she's her own thing. I'm loving all of the streamer culture nods you're bringing into the game world and the character and her motivations are extremely believable. I was not expecting Hype to be well Hype, but I'm glad to see how you portrayed the creature as its very fitting for Yissam♥ in a way that gives the character further dimension. The scene where you and the party bluffed your way into the apartment complex was priceless and I almost jumped for joy at the success of the strategy. Can't wait to see more!

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As others have said it was a fun experience! No real complaints besides that one note from above in regards to driving. I enjoyed the story line and mission. I definitely saw some opportunities for "alt paths" in some of the locales but tried my best to allow everyone a chance to lead the scenes.  I also enjoyed how everyone worked together well. 

As a newer player and newer role player I appreciated every ones patience. I don't think I have the experience to include any long player stuff so I'll just point out a couple cool moments I recall. I enjoyed Bers multiple modes. I definitely laughed out loud when they surprised us with the mode change picture and speaking method change. I appreciated Merei going back and forth a couple times and sticking to their guns in regards to not killing people. My goal was not to kill as much as possible but I really felt we were going to be pushed and lose someone during the speeder fight so I made the decision to throw the grenades. Glad that it did not harm the characters relationship! I appreciated the fluidity and creativity of Yissam and how they melded the scenes into her show. I wish we could have used that more to clear more puzzles.

Kirwin awoke on an abandoned station alone and gained skills by keeping the station running. Besides that all they could do was watch the petabytes of media that was aboard. It could have been a short time or a thousand years! I think they have an idea about how they want to adventure that may not change for awhile! I'll do my best to stick with the humorous support adventurer in future adventures!

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1 hour ago, karmajay said:

As a newer player and newer role player I appreciated every ones patience. I don't think I have the experience to include any long player stuff so I'll just point out a couple cool moments I recall. I enjoyed Bers multiple modes. I definitely laughed out loud when they surprised us with the mode change picture and speaking method change. I appreciated Merei going back and forth a couple times and sticking to their guns in regards to not killing people. My goal was not to kill as much as possible but I really felt we were going to be pushed and lose someone during the speeder fight so I made the decision to throw the grenades. Glad that it did not harm the characters relationship! I appreciated the fluidity and creativity of Yissam and how they melded the scenes into her show. I wish we could have used that more to clear more puzzles.

Kirwin awoke on an abandoned station alone and gained skills by keeping the station running. Besides that all they could do was watch the petabytes of media that was aboard. It could have been a short time or a thousand years! I think they have an idea about how they want to adventure that may not change for awhile! I'll do my best to stick with the humorous support adventurer in future adventures!

In a game like this, violence is a core concept both in narrative and game play terms. Combat is a fairly frequent occurrence, and often times violent actions resolve issues. This isn't a negative or positive trait: it is just a part of the world. Also, beating up things in a fictional space is often times fun. Watching Indiana Jones punch nazis is thrilling. Luke Skywalker duelling Vader on Bespin is exhilarating. It's also a really good way to get you invested in your character and the others around you when death is a possibility. Your character should be okay with violence. Pacifists, while not unplayable, will be disappointed at how often they get forced into combat because I as the mission master prepared for some combats to happen and heaven so help me you're going to beat up these enemies I made stats for. :laugh: Don't be worried about your action in throwing the grenade.

While I do enjoy the concept that Kirwin was just on a space station that was empty, I'd be careful how long ago that was. Adamites are fairly new to the scene as a species, so I'd familiarize yourself with how old the species is and then work from there. I do like the character concept though: lots of mystery and intrigue to ponder on and for mission masters to poke and prod! :thumbup:

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I'm just now reading this, I've been strapped for time a lot lately so I'll just say that I too had fun and enjoyed the company and the mission a lot!

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Zepher brought up earlier that Heroica: GAtS is really good at blending different aesthetics, and playing through Borderlands 3 for the first time I get the feeling ultimately that's going to be my go to for describing how I feel Heroica's going to look. We can have dusty, grimy backwater worlds with abandoned refineries and mining facilities, metropolitan cities glistening against the night sky, and planets with monastic temples set to the backdrop of foggy, mountains and rolling hills. Whatever sort of Sci-Fi vibe you want to go for, we can find it somewhere in this world.

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