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How to create more serious mood?


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#1 felismachina

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:47 PM

Hi.

After last session i have a little problem. I think my players don't take things seriously. I don't mind a little humoristic situation but entire session was dominated by it. A quick rundown.

Tech priest acted like crazy and while i understand they are little excentric but after he sees a best craftmaship lasgun he say something like "gun, i love guns, guns guns guns" and started to running (image monty python style) towards gun ignoring that rest of regiment was fighting orks. Weapon specialist acting like he is some braindead warrior "kill the orks, orks bad" and other team members just joking all around. So after they started a bar brawl (cause it's fun) i stoped all this by a nearby commisar. Session ended in cliffhanger. Now i don't know what to do. I was thinking in executing one of the players which started the brawl but that seems a little extreme. Maybe execute on of the players comrade (who also had a part in all this) or just give them a reprimand. But i don't think this solves the problem. So beside doing something drastic how to create more serious mood.



#2 Santiago

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 09:32 PM

A bar brawl in a combat zone is a serious breach of conduct so an execution won't be out of the question. Otherwise use a favorite of min. Do nothing, have de Commissar smilingly dismiss them, next day a general assembly is called.
Have the pc's step forwards and enjoy their public flogging, 10 lashes would do and add a -10 reduction in Logistics rating.

That should seriously make the players think, a permanent mark on their record and the promise of a certain execution next time.

Obviously you should make use of the situation so when they are tied up and had their lashes the air siren should go off...


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#3 Adeptus-B

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 11:06 PM

If the majority of your players are having fun, then does the mood really need to be made more serious? The comical Caiphus Cain books are quite popular, after all...

 

But if you do need the mood to be more serious, try working the full spectrum of the Horrors of War into your descriptions. Watch Saving Private Ryan again, and try to put your players 'on the beach', where humor has no place amidst the showers of gore, grown men crying for their mothers, friends dropping like flies, etc.


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#4 Myrion

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 11:44 PM

I think the most effective way would be to talk to your players. How do they want to play the game?
As Adeptus-B points out, it might not be necessary to have a more serious mood while playing. I know that when I played D&D we played it much like your characters. There were serious moments, but we also had "Bad pun day" where we spent almost the entire session making crude puns and stupid jokes. It was fun.
In my GURPS group the mood is generally more serious, because the game is more lethal and the group doesn't want it to be too silly. We still had a guy walk into a 1980's America in stereotypical Russian clothing, announcing "The Russkies are here!" with a stereotypical Russian accent. Got himself a nice beating.

So, in the end, it's all down to what do you and the players want to play? Figure it out together.


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#5 Askil

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 01:32 AM

Well if you aren't afraid of flying off the original storyline and death isn't an issue then have the commissar sentance the troublemaker squad to death by decimation. Have the randomly picked individual beaten to death by the rest of the squad under the watchful eye of the commissar.

 

Then have the unlucky fellow take control of the commissar (or a provost under his orders) who has taken straightening the squad out as his personal project.

 

If the squad refuses you can either TPK them or have a fun romp as a newly transferred penal unit.



#6 Fgdsfg

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 02:18 AM

Trench foot and dysentery.


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#7 Misha

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 03:45 AM

Trench foot and dysentery.

 

They'll stop laughing after a dose of that action!
 

Far away in the warp... "Wait till they start BC, oh are they gonna be singing my song!"



#8 venkelos

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 08:32 AM

Yep, sometimes it's just the players, and if they don't WANT to play serious, there's little you can do; maybe Only War isn't their game, and something like Rogue Trader would be more their speed. I have a friend who is one of my favorite Star Wars players, and knows more about Star Wars than I do (not everything mind, but a very decent bit). My problem is, he is INCAPABLE of role-playing fear. Since HE isn't in danger, his character's plight is not often perceived as significant, and so he is often more sarcastic in the face of the enemy; he's never endangered the group much, but when they faced down what they thought was the Emperor, he could only laugh at, and smart off to the guy, even with Force Lightning, more Force Lightning to his allies, it just didn't matter. His favorite character is Corran Horn, and anyone whose read I, Jedi, and that fun little bit where Exar Kun rag-dolls him, can probably imagine what every "serious confrontation" could easily devolve into. if the worst I could do was say "you might need to build a new character", it didn't get results; I was just lucky that he was very good at surviving. If i could run games with those electrocution tables, like in James Bond...

 

So yeah, serious might just not be your friends' speed. Of course, I don't know these people, so I can only guess. Some people are just better at being players than "role-players."

 

Aside from that, I've often found Orks comical, even if they can be brutally effective, so maybe switch up who they fight. Dark Eldar are a completely different foe.


Edited by venkelos, 31 July 2014 - 08:33 AM.


#9 felismachina

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 07:52 PM

Main problem is that things started to be a bit too silly. I wanted to have mood like band of brothers when sometimes they joke and have fun but mostly they see their comrades die for the cause, they see that empire has it's flaws and not every war is worth fighting for. Maybe it's some fault on my side that i didn't give them enough grimdark feel. Well i will see on the next session what will happen. For now i decided that good thing will be give them a little fear. On the next day assembly there will be a commisar standing next to the lieutenant. And depends how the players react i either give them a taste of fear in verbal form or if they refuse to take it seriously i will execute one of players or their comrades who took part in the brawl. I hope it will make enough serious mood.



#10 Adeptus-B

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 09:50 PM

It sounds like you need to sit down with your players and discuss your expectations for the campaign.


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#11 Myrion

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Posted 01 August 2014 - 04:28 AM

Yeah, because otherwise it'll just piss them off that you killed one of their characters for no reason. You clearly want someting out of this game that they don't, and that's always going to be a problem, one way or another, so what you need to do is not try and impose your view on the others but craft a common view.



#12 felismachina

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 12:57 AM

From what i read on forums, not sharing the same view is a common problem. I will talk with my players and try to resolve in game situation in next week.


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#13 Bron

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 04:52 AM

I personally would have it play out something like this

 

Commissar: "All present at this disturbance have been volunteered for special duties, Provosts load these.... people... into the trucks outside"

 

Have all the people present guilty or not guardsmen or not roughly bundled into trucks outside, any that resist get cattle prodded until it stops being funny, any weapons stripped off them.  They get driven off to the front line for what seems like hours (if they start thinking about making a break for it have someone else try and have them get gunned down or flammered perhaps (and be very descriptive with them running screaming as the flaming petroleum sticks and burns melting skin and flesh, maybe a provost gets sickened and puts them out of their mercy ending up thrown in with the rest if you feel particularly cruel)).  They get to the front and are bundled off the trucks and pushed into a rough line, the commissar getting onto a ammo box.

 

Commissar: "You reprobates are being given the chance to serve His Holy Majesty The God Emperor Of Mankind and expunge the crimes committed against HIM today and the many for which you undoubtedly have not yet been caught for, you will have your records expunged and those of you who survive will be allowed to continue to serve HIM in the most righteous armies of the Imperium, do any of you shirk this honor and wish to serve your sentence in another manner?" (Bold and caps for when he is getting particularly shouty/frothy).

 

Have one man put his hand up, a single shot rings out and he falls a smoking hole through his forehead (or a bolt pistol for scanner type head explosion if you would rather).

 

Commissar: "Anyone else?"  I assume none of the players put their hands up "Very good, to the front"

 

Have them herded forwards past groups of guardsmen overhearing/seeing things like:
   -A sergeant/officer explaining that "a few more waves and we'll be going in to clean up, the greenies have to run out of ammo sooner or later"

   -A guardsman running book on whether there will be any survivors from this wave, giving odds of 100-1 (or higher) and getting no takers

   -A religious guardsman mumbling a prayer for the dead and lost while making the sign of the aquilla over himself

   -A guardsman making signs to ward off the evil eye as you look at him

 

Have them get to the frontline trenches and see the remains of the last wave fleeing back towards you, carefully emplaced heavy stubbers/bolters mowing them down.  Scratched up and battered weapons thrust into their hands (poor quality or just not very good (go for a mix of things like lasguns of different types, auto pistols, stub rifles, shotguns, autoguns etc) and no other equipment (so I hope they brought their armour with them) and then they are driven forwards towards a large orky fort under the shouts of commissar cadets and the blows of provosts (think very much the opening battle scene in enemy at the gates), have people gunned down around them but the player characters as long as they don't do anything too stupid should be able to take cover in a shell hole or something (maybe a couple of comrades get killed) along with some others, I'd include some of whoever they were fighting in the bar brawl and maybe a few civvies as well, force them to work together to survive.  Make it clear that going back isn't an option, (maybe a few from other groups try to slip back behind the front line and get gunned down) but have one of them spot a way inside (maybe a drain or similar) with them having to coordinate suppressing fie in their disparate little group to be able to run across from cover to cover. 

 

They sneak inside the fortress maybe having to quietly dispose of some grots along the way.   Inside they discover some ragged human survivors chained up (a sign saying "Slaevs/Emurgenci Eatz") being menaced by a sadistic slaver/mad dok, his "Aprentuzez" and grot "Oderliez", cue frantic gunfight/close quarter battle with every round of fighting giving a greater chance of Ork reinforcements (I imagine that a few rounds of wild gunfire probably wouldn't cause orks to worry that much but if it continued it might make them want to join in the fun (I mean if there is lots of noise then there must be lots of fun!)) assuming that the party survives the "fun" any surviving slaves inform them that there is a ammo dump further inside which the player party could sabotage blowing the fort apart.  Depending on how well the party is holding together you may want to throw another firefight at them (maybe as they set the fuses to blow the ammo they have to hold off some orks/grots, holding for long enough to set the fuses and let them run enough that the enemy is unable to stop the explosion but giving them enough time to run (and for a action hero jump away from the explosion!).

 

This would give them a sign of what messing around with imperial "justice" can do to you, give them a hard fight, the possibility for some interesting replacement comrades (if you wanted to) and show them what happens to people if they don't concentrate on fighting the orks. 

 

Sorry I meant for this to be just a few ideas but I ended up half writing an adventure session....   been writing a new campaign for one of my gaming groups and may have broken my brain a little!


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#14 obak

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Posted 04 August 2014 - 04:04 PM

Read Sven Hassels book Wheels of Terror, about a ww2 penal tank battalion on the eastern front, absurd humor is mixed with gritty horror of war in a very amusing mix.
Second, kill people, shoot them dead. If someone pops their head over the edge of a foxhole, have a sniper targeting them, dump ordnance and barrage on them, have them taking care of casualties, blow someones legs off and have the rest carry them back. Let them be goofy, absurd humor is a way to cope with trauma, don't force them into melodrama if they are not comfortable with it, but kill them! And let them know how cheap life is.
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#15 Commediante

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 12:17 AM

So beside doing something drastic how to create more serious mood.

 

First thing of all: don't do anything drastic.

 

I mean if they brawled in the bar there should be an official punishment, but don't kill them for the Emperor's sake. That will destroy the character, piss off players and generally do worse than better.

 

Instead maim their characters. Cut their ear off (-10 to awareness), chop their finger off (-1 to Initiative when shooting), or mark them with iron as thieves on their forehead in front of the whole regiment (-20 to fellowship). Lesson learned, player punished and what is more important - character is alive to tell a story. He bears a scar, a mark or something that makes this character richer.

 

Secondly: just think why don't they laugh watching epic scenes in Transformers in Avengers... The answer is F/X. There's nothing to laugh when Optimus Prime transforms and unleashes hell in the city (although it's funny to watch it) and that's because the tons of animations they made for him.

 

You can't of course compete with M-M-M-M-Michael Bay in providing speciall effects, but you have one advantage over him - the players can influence the game, they cannot influence the movie. And what is most important - you can provide special effects for free and with minimum effort. It really works. Just show your players something more than sheet of white paper printed with black ink and couple of your words.

 

How? 

1. You can download SketchUp for free and browse Warehouse where people from around the world publish their 3D models. You'll fiind there perfectly good city, martian base, space stations and whole bunch of wh40k models. You can make ones by yourself because it's easy in this program.

2. Use music and sounds from freesound.org or download Audacity and edit them yourself. Do you know how to make a lion roar in Audacity? Record cough and slow it down 50%. That's it. There are tutorials on web how to make your voice sound like a robot, military radio, ghost, demon and son on.

3. Use projector if you have one. There's nothing more moodbuilding than darkened room with a photo projected on the wall. It may picture a war scene or a deep space, anything that suits the session. But in contrary to the previous ideas this requires some money.

 

Aside from that, I've often found Orks comical, even if they can be brutally effective, so maybe switch up who they fight. Dark Eldar are a completely different foe.

 

I don't agree. Dark Eldar can be hilarious.



#16 venkelos

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 06:48 AM

 

So beside doing something drastic how to create more serious mood.

 

First thing of all: don't do anything drastic.

 

I mean if they brawled in the bar there should be an official punishment, but don't kill them for the Emperor's sake. That will destroy the character, piss off players and generally do worse than better.

 

Instead maim their characters. Cut their ear off (-10 to awareness), chop their finger off (-1 to Initiative when shooting), or mark them with iron as thieves on their forehead in front of the whole regiment (-20 to fellowship). Lesson learned, player punished and what is more important - character is alive to tell a story. He bears a scar, a mark or something that makes this character richer.

 

Secondly: just think why don't they laugh watching epic scenes in Transformers in Avengers... The answer is F/X. There's nothing to laugh when Optimus Prime transforms and unleashes hell in the city (although it's funny to watch it) and that's because the tons of animations they made for him.

 

You can't of course compete with M-M-M-M-Michael Bay in providing speciall effects, but you have one advantage over him - the players can influence the game, they cannot influence the movie. And what is most important - you can provide special effects for free and with minimum effort. It really works. Just show your players something more than sheet of white paper printed with black ink and couple of your words.

 

How? 

1. You can download SketchUp for free and browse Warehouse where people from around the world publish their 3D models. You'll fiind there perfectly good city, martian base, space stations and whole bunch of wh40k models. You can make ones by yourself because it's easy in this program.

2. Use music and sounds from freesound.org or download Audacity and edit them yourself. Do you know how to make a lion roar in Audacity? Record cough and slow it down 50%. That's it. There are tutorials on web how to make your voice sound like a robot, military radio, ghost, demon and son on.

3. Use projector if you have one. There's nothing more moodbuilding than darkened room with a photo projected on the wall. It may picture a war scene or a deep space, anything that suits the session. But in contrary to the previous ideas this requires some money.

 

Aside from that, I've often found Orks comical, even if they can be brutally effective, so maybe switch up who they fight. Dark Eldar are a completely different foe.

 

I don't agree. Dark Eldar can be hilarious.

 

I'm certain that they can be, but I more meant Orks are right in your face, they talk, and say stupid things. You were probably well aware of them before the fight even started, barring the occasional Blood Axe, un-Orky ambush, and you can certainly hit them; they just probably won't care. My take on Dark Eldar, by comparison, is much more agile and stealthy. You know they are there only as you see the ground rush up to you, because your head was just cut off. If they don't immediately  kill you, all of your efforts to hit them will seem futile, as they dance and dodge around everything you throw at them. There's a mystery to them you can use, like the films where you just wait for something to jump out, and scream. Also, barring being taken prisoner, I don't imagine most victims getting to hear the lyrical, if sadistic and sarcastic tones of their Dark Eldar foes; if she lovingly nuzzles her cheek against yours, just as she guts you from behind, or slits your throat, then maybe she might also whisper in your ear, but usually you're dead as they arrive, from out of nowhere, and little dialogue is had. Of course, these are mostly my own takes on things, only, so your use and experience may vary.



#17 Commediante

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 03:40 PM

I'm certain that they can be, but I more meant Orks are right in your face, they talk, and say stupid things. You were probably well aware of them before the fight even started, barring the occasional Blood Axe, un-Orky ambush, and you can certainly hit them; they just probably won't care. My take on Dark Eldar, by comparison, is much more agile and stealthy. You know they are there only as you see the ground rush up to you, because your head was just cut off. If they don't immediately  kill you, all of your efforts to hit them will seem futile, as they dance and dodge around everything you throw at them. There's a mystery to them you can use, like the films where you just wait for something to jump out, and scream. Also, barring being taken prisoner, I don't imagine most victims getting to hear the lyrical, if sadistic and sarcastic tones of their Dark Eldar foes; if she lovingly nuzzles her cheek against yours, just as she guts you from behind, or slits your throat, then maybe she might also whisper in your ear, but usually you're dead as they arrive, from out of nowhere, and little dialogue is had. Of course, these are mostly my own takes on things, only, so your use and experience may vary.

 

Agreed. I was thinking about a DE NPC who's cut off from his people and the players need to tolerate him for some reason. He's like those Disney characters - cheerful and telling jokes all the time, hillarious n' ****. Then bam! His colleagues find him with the players. Turns out he's an archon and needed someone to lead him through the desert. Then the creepy part starts...



#18 venkelos

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 05:10 PM

Ah, I still sort of shake my head at Ork and Dark Eldar crew members, even if they can seem admissible, so I rarely think of them in the light of "jovially living with the crew." Yeah, I can see where the Dark Eldar crew member could be funny, if given the chance, but I also imagine him or her not doing so, assuming they don't want to appear weak, or lesser in the presence of inferior Mon'Keigh. I like to think, though, that some could look past this, and see themselves, and the Humans around them, more as "people", so that they can behave more evenly.

 

This is less likely in OW, I'd think, where the troops are NOT permitted to interact with xenos, and the Commissar would probably shoot SOMEONE in this scenario, but could happen.


Edited by venkelos, 06 August 2014 - 05:13 PM.


#19 felismachina

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Posted 06 August 2014 - 08:34 PM

 

So beside doing something drastic how to create more serious mood.

 

First thing of all: don't do anything drastic.

 

I mean if they brawled in the bar there should be an official punishment, but don't kill them for the Emperor's sake. That will destroy the character, piss off players and generally do worse than better.

 

Instead maim their characters. Cut their ear off (-10 to awareness), chop their finger off (-1 to Initiative when shooting), or mark them with iron as thieves on their forehead in front of the whole regiment (-20 to fellowship). Lesson learned, player punished and what is more important - character is alive to tell a story. He bears a scar, a mark or something that makes this character richer.

 

Secondly: just think why don't they laugh watching epic scenes in Transformers in Avengers... The answer is F/X. There's nothing to laugh when Optimus Prime transforms and unleashes hell in the city (although it's funny to watch it) and that's because the tons of animations they made for him.

 

You can't of course compete with M-M-M-M-Michael Bay in providing speciall effects, but you have one advantage over him - the players can influence the game, they cannot influence the movie. And what is most important - you can provide special effects for free and with minimum effort. It really works. Just show your players something more than sheet of white paper printed with black ink and couple of your words.

 

How? 

1. You can download SketchUp for free and browse Warehouse where people from around the world publish their 3D models. You'll fiind there perfectly good city, martian base, space stations and whole bunch of wh40k models. You can make ones by yourself because it's easy in this program.

2. Use music and sounds from freesound.org or download Audacity and edit them yourself. Do you know how to make a lion roar in Audacity? Record cough and slow it down 50%. That's it. There are tutorials on web how to make your voice sound like a robot, military radio, ghost, demon and son on.

3. Use projector if you have one. There's nothing more moodbuilding than darkened room with a photo projected on the wall. It may picture a war scene or a deep space, anything that suits the session. But in contrary to the previous ideas this requires some money.

 

Aside from that, I've often found Orks comical, even if they can be brutally effective, so maybe switch up who they fight. Dark Eldar are a completely different foe.

 

I don't agree. Dark Eldar can be hilarious.

 

 

As for graphics and music i always use this (i am graphic artist myself so there is always something to show). All this ideas are good. But i realized after last talk with players that problem lies with them. They just want to come, play, have fun and forget, throw a few puns and jokes and go home.. They don't want to invest into their characters and only person who cares about fluff, mood or epic storyline is me. They don't care if tech priest with sunglasses looks silly or that their characters acts like crazy (and i mean even RT characters looks more sane) In past few months i had only 2 groups which really wanted to get into game. Sadly one disbaded due to the personal differences outside game and with other i play rarely due to the lack of time. Looks like this group just not the group i was looking for. Storyline with horrors of war, moral dillema and decisions don't matter to them


Edited by felismachina, 06 August 2014 - 08:35 PM.


#20 cpteveros

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Posted 07 August 2014 - 01:41 AM

Those things can be funny, too. Look at the movie "Inglorious Bastards"






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