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AAR - Orlando, Sci-Fi City x3 Sessions [Spoilers]


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#1 EineHund

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 02:54 AM

I ran three sessions for Sci-Fi City in Orlando this weekend and all had a stunningly good time. There ARE some spoilers in this so if you are bothered by such…turn back now!

Let me start by saying FFG - this was a stunning product - a true adventure and FUN. The only complaint I have in regard to the overall pack sent to the store was the distinct lack of a location card: Black Fire Pass! =) [I used the ‘Steep Cliff’ location card in place]

The first session was Friday evening at 6pm and we had only 3 signed up - I felt the two dwarf brothers were 'key' so let free choice go between the other two dwarf NPC's. The party consisted of the Miner, the Agent, and the Troll Slayer - two of the three having never tried the system before. They did very well in the first part of the adventure, and the general role-play was good. The Act served it's purpose and set up a journey type feel and allowed them all to get a grip with the system including a brief but enjoyable fight with tomb robbers [making 1 group henchmen and the leader a normal NPC for brevity sake]. From there they moved along the Old Dwarf Road but sadly got horribly lost and arrived late in the evening fatigued and irritable.

Setting out the next morning for Black Fire Pass they worked their way through the terrain until they encountered a goblin scout. He was at long range to them so they wanted to sneak up a bit if possible – shockingly they managed it [and I mean TWO stealth tests with the first at 1d and the second at 3d!!!] and downed him before the alarm could be sounded.

When they saw the cairn they were overcome with shock and horror, the Slayer crying out in anguish. His call was met with the roar of the Greenskins and arrows began to pepper down on them from the cliffs up above. Filled with self-loathing and anger, the Troll slayer left his cohorts behind and charged [with a generous mix of Fate for the party ability and fatigue] straight up the rocky path to the encampment. The highlight of this fight was truly an epic moment: the Slayer met the Orc Boss in single combat and as he had already fought his way through some orcs to get there – fell after a brief exchange. His brother then felt obliged to charge in to the boss – this is the Agent…lol – and was felled with a fearsome blow that took out all the surrounding gobbo’s as well!

The tense last scene: only the Miner was up on the cliff…staring at the Boss with the unconscious brothers at his feet, and two orcs – he could tell from the large stack of wound cards the boss was hurt, but that he was unlikely to be able to fell him. Looking over his actions – he ran to the engagement and used Splints and Bandages – rolling SO well that the Troll Slayer was restored to consciousness with 2 wounds before the dark would again claim him! The party had an activation before the orc and took it – Reckless Cleave – that did EXACTLY what was needed to down the Boss and causing the remaining two orcs to flee in horror at the Slayer ‘coming back to life’

At this point we were past the slotted 3 hour mark and so wrapped it up with them finding the object they needed in the orc camp and moving off into the sunset to complete their task. Universally this group loved the system and picked up on it very well – at the end THEY were tossing in misfortune die or asking if they would get a fortune one for a situation.
 



#2 EineHund

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 03:11 AM

Session two took place Saturday morning – all new players and one returning from the previous night to see if there was a spot [there was]. So the xp with the system for this group came down to the single player [who was the Slayer on Friday] and two others – with a third joining a wee bit after the start.

These groups role-played – a LOT – to the point were the Hunter [knowing the Slayer’s reason for taking the oath] constantly berated him and mocked him for having a drink in the first town’s inn. This kept going through the whole first act to the point were the party tension went all the way up to 8 – then reset and made it BACK up to 6!! They all loved the back story on the characters and really got into playing a band of dwarves – with only ONE single ‘Whistle While We Work’ joke all morning. ;)

Failing their path finding rolls – they ended up muddling through and carried some fatigue for most of the session – for this one the grave robbers met a fierce fight – with the Slayer downing one in a single strike TWO turns in a row and causing a panicked flight. They spared none of them and took the remainder of the evening to restore the tomb as best they could and reseal it and started the next day beat down tired.

Arriving at the pass – this group also managed some how to sneak up to the scout [really – this surprised me ALL sessions…it was 3d stealth to get up there – and the SLAYER of all guys made it this time!] – the plan was for the slayer to try and nab him to find some info and the hunter cover to shoot if necessary to down him. The Slayer opted to instead try and pick up the Goblin and toss him off the cliff [steep cliff location card] and with the combo on his dice ended up doing so – and almost falling off himself.

The cairn was reached and only the hunter [torn at the loss of his best friend] and the Agent [with the loss of his brother] advanced on the horrible trophies – the Slayer stood back wracked with guilt and the Miner looked around for the shield – and spotted the poorly hidden goblins moments before they opened fire!

The group was a bit more tactical – with the hunter dropping into position to pick off the goblins and the miner slowly advancing to support….[drum roll please] that’s right – the Slayer who had rushed madly up the slope on his own far ahead of his cohort…lol. This time the orcs only roughed him up a bit and the Boss actually fumbled his hit and while a gobbo was sacked, the boss missed and slipped off the cliff! [which was WAY to anti-climatic so I modified so he fell to the path below and took some damage]

With the miner up top trying to fend off three orcs – and the hunter picking at them from range – the slayer engaged the Boss again [spending even more fatigue to get to him] all the while the Agent took these rounds to carefully take down his brother and wrap up the remains.

This one ended ALMOST as dramatically – with the slayer doing a huge hit on the Boss and downing him with it – only to get a icon and take ONE fatigue too much and passing out on top of the dead orc.

Again sadly the group ran a bit long and didn’t make it to the third part of the adventure – but they all loved the system and I was surprised one observer almost instantly picked up the ‘narrative’ aspect of the dice and pointed out the Boss actually FAILED his hit because of the parry action of the slayer and that pushed him off balance and hence the fall! Great time had by all and some super role-playing by this group.
 



#3 EineHund

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 03:25 AM

The third and final session took place Sunday at 1pm and was full from the get go – a couple came to play and two LONG time RPG players who missed gaming [their group’s GM sadly passed from cancer last year and this was their first return to the table (We miss you Laura!)] It was a very friendly group and supportive – the couple’s wife hadn’t role-played before in a game before and the other three helped her out a lot.

This group had a different dynamic – and actually fit together more like a long term play group would – as their entire session was taken up with just the first act! Role-playing ran through everything and everyone had a great time with the Elf conman being on of the highpoint and providing a great chuckle when they realized Rudi was duped.

This group had a lot of role-playing in the first towns in – and a good deal of interplay with the slayer and the hunter – again ratcheting up the tension with the party. That night they were drawn to the crypt and chose the very honorable path of righting this horrible plunder – and took pains to ensure that there were no other available outs for the poor sods inside. Since they were running to almost the end of the session from just role-playing and travel – I wanted to ensure they had a nice combat to work out the system so buffed the band of thugs up a wee bit. Nothing overly dramatic except for the poor slayer FAILING an intimidate roll – followed by whiffing Reckless Cleave AND then Troll-Feller in the subsequent round.

Sadly wrapping it up at that point as they end reached the end of the slotted time and the couple needed to depart to pick up their children – they all loved the system. Comments were generally it was very organic – they could see how folks who want more crunch might be turned off a bit – but they loved the ‘on the fly’ method the die allowed for in regards to tests and combat modifiers.

All and all a spectacular set of demos with defiantly different groups – none of which finished what is – in all honesty – a FULL adventure and one with a very interesting story.

Thanks again FFG! It was a blast and did indeed bring the store some sales – and THREE people desperately wanting to join my already over full campaign.
 



#4 EineHund

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 03:26 AM

Oh and FFG - I still want a Black Fire Pass location card! ;)



#5 dvang

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 08:12 AM

Some great session, that mirrored my own a bit. Certainly, the 1v1 with the orc boss vs Trollslayer is always a bit of a nailbiter.



#6 EineHund

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 08:44 AM

Dvang - that Orc Boss was TOUGH!  I was mightly impressed with him!  lol



#7 scottishrocket

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 08:49 AM

in our session the orc boss beat up the slayer pretty bad but whiffed on a "da big smash" which would have knocked out the slayer for sure....the slayer didn't miss on his next attack!!!



#8 SStreet

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 01:47 PM

I had huge fun running it also.

Unfortunatly there was not a large turnout here, so my first game was a bit small, with only the two brothers.  The second had three players, adding the hunter to the party.

Unfortunately, I did not make it to  part three either, but for a much more sad reason.  Neither party made it past the orc ambush (aarrrgghh)  I thought I had pulled enough creatures out of the combat to balance it, but apparently not.  Both groups did well though, and the second game was a knife's edge as the last orc was down to 1 wound left.  (They also did well to concentrate on the orcs rather than the goblins, so that the goblins ran and the orcs were demoralized after the orc boss fell)  That looks like a tough fight though, even for a full party.

Other fun things:

One group actually paid Rudi to find out where the elf got the map from.  I had the penny pincher negotiate anyway.  The other group did not have Rudi pay up his translation fee.  Neither group got into a position were Rudi needed  to drug them.

The hunter ws able to hit Datzda (the goblin scout) with a knock back shot, knocking him off his wolf and stunning him, allowing the rest of the party to jump him before he could alert the orcs.

The agent in the first game and (IIRC) in the second also were considering telling Rudi that the map was a fake, even before reading it and finding it was actually a fraud.



#9 Dave Allen

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 09:09 AM

Thanks to Einehund and SStreet and anyone else who had a good time running or playing in Journey to Black Fire Pass - it's great to know the adventure played out as intended and that people got through the first episode wiithout too much bother. Shame that the second episode claimed dwarf lives, but it goes to show you shouldn't underestimate the Orcs and Goblins that infest the black mountains and the lands beyond.

It's a shame episode three didn't get an airing in your games. But if the action wrapped up fairly nicely at the end of episode two then it's nice to know the episodic thing worked OK.



#10 EineHund

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 09:31 AM

Dave - it was very well done!  I think the only reason episode 3 didn't make it in my games at least was that new folks to the system = much more pondering actions and walking through putting pools together at first.  Additionally all three groups got much more involved in the RP'ing during the first episode. 

The third episode btw - I think was a brilliant use of the social dynamics and opportunities of the system - outstanding.






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