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Standard of FFG scenarios


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#1 LanceND

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 04:51 AM

Hi all, im thinking of starting a new RT group and need a bit of advice. What i want to know is do the published materials improve in quality for the GM?

 


The last group i ran had fun, it was fun for me and we got the first two scenarios done. However, for me it was a right pain to prepare as there is a lot missing from the published material.

For example maps, trying to create an area of sufficient complexity for the task in hand without turning it into a serious time vacuum i found to be a real pain. Especially as a first time GM. Into the Maw provided the main maps required, Whispers on the Storm had no maps what so ever. The one it actually did provide was more of a diagram of Installation 23 and was very difficult to decipher, especially since i am meant to give it to the group for them to form their plan of attack.

That and the scenario seemed half finished with simple notes of extra parts stuffed in. Whispers on the Storm had a list of Additional Locations for the GM to use for expanding the story, a nice idea that i do like but felt i had forced use these as i found the scenarios far too short without them. Svard -> Cog -> Installation 23 is too quick for what is meant to be a very important scenario with the rewards it holds. Those additional locations accounted for more then half of the groups total play time and were fun, but that was a lot of additional work for me.

 

In comparison i was speaking to my Pathfinder GM about how Paizo do their scenarios and he could not believe the amount of work i had to put in and how little FFG provide. Even something as simple as artwork to help bring the scenes alive, Cog is described brilliantly but a picture to hold up would be infinitely better. The materials provided by Paizo give him everything he needs so he can just focus on making it fun.

I want to run RT, i like the game, i like the universe and i want to make a real effort for this group to last. But i dont know if i can justify the time and head aches needed to put together a basic nights play :(
 



#2 Kasatka

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 06:42 AM

My groups have never needed handouts, maps or anything like that. That said we have access to a projector so just cover up parts of the PDF and project images onto the wall, but even that is a bonus and not necessary. Just get the group to nominate a player who will doodle maps as you guys go. If it's the Explorator or Seneschal that would make sense (Chronicling new areas for the Mechanicum or the Dynasty's records)


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#3 LanceND

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 05:19 AM

I am not just talking about player handouts, i am talking about GM materials.

You meantion that you get your players to sketch the maps, but you had to create the area before hand to tell them what to draw. For Whispers on the Storm i had to create my own maps for Svard, Silence and cog plus the additional areas. These were area in general maps so they can decide which routes to go or areas to avoid, but also the maps for combat areas. If you look at the Paizo stuff they provide all that for you and are much more detailed.

So do they later adventures get more detailed and useful for the GM compared to the starter scenarios?



#4 Nameless2all

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 07:29 AM

As for actual scaled detailed maps, where it has floors, doors, and cool pools for the scenarios..... no.  For drawings, images, and other sketches from designers, yes they do.

 

I can see why you would want more detailed maps of all the various places, but alas, FFG isn't Paizo.  Neither was Shadowrun, Rifts, or various other RPG's that hardly came with maps.  Yes, certain D&D settings/campaigns had completed detailed maps to scale (well, to a point), and were awesome, but were like $20-30 (Fire Mountain being one I bought and loved).  Anyhoot, after 5 years into it (been doing RPG's for about 20 years now), I realized a quick sketch, using models and paper terrain, or even using dice and pencils (or Soda cans) was easier than me wasting 5 hours making maps to scale.

 

The game is an open sand box.  There is nothing stopping the PC's to not explore something (more than likely they will, but it's likely they get side tracked and come back to waaaaaaaaayyyyyy later).  Most of the DH games have maps, because it's more streamlined, and you need to follow certain paths in order to get to the end.  For RT, not so much.  I mean, they have a ship.  The PC's can blow your map of Svard up because they didn't like they way the Governor guy was talking to them (or some other trivial perceived crime).  I think this was the intent of FFG.  They made the nice pictures, story, setting, rules, and toys to go along with the game, but a stream lined story with detailed maps, not so much.

 

So in closing, it's not Paizo, sorry.  Though I do wish you and your players many happy endeavors.


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#5 Errant Knight

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Posted 26 March 2014 - 07:01 PM

D&D is designed as a sandbox.  D&D scenarios are dungeon crawls.  The walls are in place to limit the scope.

 

Maps of limited scope are easy to provide.  Maps of unlimited scope are impossible to provide.

 

You don't want maps.  Narrate the scene.  You can't provide maps of a scope that describes some people trying to pin down your PCs with a heavy stubber nest hundreds of meters away and map every bush or piece of cover and concealment between your part and that nest.  It's just not reasonable.

 

Every thread I've ever seen in these forums that started, "The <insert character class> of our group is overpowered.  Help me," is the result of min-maxers on a map of limited scope.  Put that same character on a map of unlimited scope, throw in a few hordes, narrate the scene, and all of a sudden you have a challenge for a whole party of Deathwatch Space Marines and maybe even some fun for a change.


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#6 RogalDorn01

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:07 PM

D&D is designed as a sandbox.  D&D scenarios are dungeon crawls.  The walls are in place to limit the scope.

 

Maps of limited scope are easy to provide.  Maps of unlimited scope are impossible to provide.

 

You don't want maps.  Narrate the scene.  You can't provide maps of a scope that describes some people trying to pin down your PCs with a heavy stubber nest hundreds of meters away and map every bush or piece of cover and concealment between your part and that nest.  It's just not reasonable.

 

Every thread I've ever seen in these forums that started, "The <insert character class> of our group is overpowered.  Help me," is the result of min-maxers on a map of limited scope.  Put that same character on a map of unlimited scope, throw in a few hordes, narrate the scene, and all of a sudden you have a challenge for a whole party of Deathwatch Space Marines and maybe even some fun for a change.

You are totally correct on this note.  My party tends to begin most potential landing parties with a detailed scan of the world and some "pinpoint" orbital bombardment.  Then the players tend to land with their entire compliment of thousands of armed soldiers.  A trip to the market can often appear to be a full scale invasion.  Maps are totally overrated in this game though, the whole thing shines when you are doing it with a more narrative style.  With the exception of ship combat, which certainly is helped by models and a generic space grid...


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#7 Errant Knight

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 02:04 PM

I use a map for space combat, but not in a traditional sense.  I find it absurd, for example, that the RT ship goes first, nearly passes the opposing ship, now can't fire their forward mounted guns, then the opposing ship moves and gets out front again.  I narrate the scene, the players make their various tests, we place the ships in their new positions on the map and both sides fire in order of initiative.



#8 Fgdsfg

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Posted 26 April 2014 - 05:12 PM

In general, the FFG adventures for the WH40k line are very well-written and lends a lot of potential when it comes the the GM expanding upon the adventures, but when it comes to hand-outs, pictures/exposes and Dramatis Personae and - especially - maps, they are absolutely terrible.

 

Many adventures repeatedly mention certain areas, but despite the nature of the game basically necessitating maps for combat encounters to not become a complete mess, maps are rarely provided. And forget about getting good images for the various mooks for making tokens or anything like that.

The combat system in the WH40kRP line is actually pretty good, and has a fair bit of depth to it, but the adventures rarely lets it really bloom, going by the presented content itself.

They really should publish a bunch of extra content for each adventure book online, with maps and tokens and whatnot. It would be tremendously useful.


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#9 Annaamarth

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Posted 28 April 2014 - 08:23 AM

I use a map for space combat, but not in a traditional sense.  I find it absurd, for example, that the RT ship goes first, nearly passes the opposing ship, now can't fire their forward mounted guns, then the opposing ship moves and gets out front again.  I narrate the scene, the players make their various tests, we place the ships in their new positions on the map and both sides fire in order of initiative.

This (my response) is irrelevant to the topic at hand and may belong in houserules, so feel free to ignore.

 

I handle space combat weird (I am fully aware that is improper sentence structure, used for emphasis).

 

I handle everything in steps.  Each round:

 

Roll initiative.  This is normal.

 

Movement phase- Worst initiative goes first, best initiative goes last.  This allows winners of initiative to outmaneuver foes. Actions affecting movement are declared and carried out in this phase.

 

Combat phase- Shooting, boarding and whatnot. Worst initiative goes first, best initiative goes last again.  Damage is not applied in this phase, as macrocannon shells and boarding parties are likely to pass each other.  Come to a New Heading can be used during this phase, as a last ditch effort to bring guns to bear, allowing a one hexside turn, but if it wasn't declared during the movement phase then A) failure by 2 DoF or my causes an engines crippled result and B) the penalty to BS rolls is -50, not -20.

 

Damage phase-  The damage effects of shooting and boarding take place in this phase.

 

End of the Round.

 

This is like normal play, but it breaks up the combat phase into three pieces.  It makes firing arcs more important, and it makes outmaneuvering the foe a bigger deal.  It also means that, as GM, I'd better be using wolfpacks!


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#10 Errant Knight

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Posted 29 April 2014 - 09:17 PM

We do much the same thing Annaamarth.  I just didn't bother to spell it out on these forums.  I do have it spelled out in the house rules that every player gets handed before drawing up their character.

 

And still, I find that maps aren't entirely necessary for space combat.  Like Rogal, I used to go with maps for space combat and little else, but a couple silly sessions was all it took for me to abandon those as well.  With a bit of practice, I think narration and peoples' imaginations are better, though I keep poster paper around for graphic demonstrations.



#11 Kasatka

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 06:23 AM

I like to use non-scale maps for things like starship combat, so that players can see relative positioning to targets and phenomena, but don't get bogged down in measuring every little detail and calculating a billion maneuvers. 


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#12 Errant Knight

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Posted 30 April 2014 - 04:03 PM

One of the things I hate about almost every set of miniature rules ever developed and published is...

 

They all wind up being a contest in geometry.  Getting onto your opponent's flank is more about an extra inch of movement, or having troops well enough trained to wheel an extra 15 degrees, than it is about holding onto those reserves till the critical moment of a battle, like the commander on a battlefield even has control over specific troop maneuvers.

 

And so, I really like narrated battles in RPGs over orchestrated battles on a tabletop or map.



#13 Annaamarth

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 03:36 PM

I bet you would like World In Flames.

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#14 Errant Knight

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Posted 02 May 2014 - 12:46 PM

I have the old board game.  It's okay.  So was 3rd Reich, Hitler's War, Europa (Drang Nach Osten, etc.), War in Europe (War in the East, etc.), et al.  None of them achieved playability with an operational feel.  I always thought they should have gone to army scale with activation points based on economics.  And in the end, they all (except DNO) have that "edge of the world" problem, largely because of unlimited length supply lines.  DNO was just too massive.

 

I haven't tried the computer version.



#15 RogalDorn01

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 11:51 AM

 

I handle space combat weird (I am fully aware that is improper sentence structure, used for emphasis).

 

I handle everything in steps.  Each round:

 

Roll initiative.  This is normal.

 

Movement phase- Worst initiative goes first, best initiative goes last.  This allows winners of initiative to outmaneuver foes. Actions affecting movement are declared and carried out in this phase.

 

Combat phase- Shooting, boarding and whatnot. Worst initiative goes first, best initiative goes last again.  Damage is not applied in this phase, as macrocannon shells and boarding parties are likely to pass each other.  Come to a New Heading can be used during this phase, as a last ditch effort to bring guns to bear, allowing a one hexside turn, but if it wasn't declared during the movement phase then A) failure by 2 DoF or my causes an engines crippled result and B) the penalty to BS rolls is -50, not -20.

 

Damage phase-  The damage effects of shooting and boarding take place in this phase.

 

End of the Round.

 

This is like normal play, but it breaks up the combat phase into three pieces.  It makes firing arcs more important, and it makes outmaneuvering the foe a bigger deal.  It also means that, as GM, I'd better be using wolfpacks!

 

This is a great way to go about doing this.  I am going to show it to our GM and see if he wants to give it a whirl!  This makes it feel a lot more like a naval battle and a lot less like a three kilometer long dogfight!


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#16 Errant

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Posted 05 May 2014 - 05:43 PM

Messes with Eldar and the ability to shoot then move though.


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#17 Tenebrae

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:27 AM

Messes with Eldar and the ability to shoot then move though.

Then the Eldar will use their own special rule, eh.



#18 RogalDorn01

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 11:02 AM

Messes with Eldar and the ability to shoot then move though.

How is messing with the eldar bad?!?  ;)


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