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Questions about Final Testament *may contain Spoilers*


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#1 Robomummy

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:34 AM

So I recently started GMing Only war at my school with a campaign I wrote about the Tanith. Now I have recently recieved a copy of the Final Testamate book and am a little concerned when reading through the first few missions after the drop ship crashlands. Now we are still two weeks out from starting this campaign but i have some questions.

The book says that the battle through the ork caverns is a rolling battle that is told in narrative time based on the player's actions but I cant help feeling that this is cheating the players out of some good fights. For example it says that when the players fire at a large mob of boyz or gretchin that the combined volley from them and other squads wipes them out. It just feels like the players are being cheated out of a combat (of course I know that there is no way a group of four players can take out a mob of 20+ boyz). I was considering giving the players a leman russ to use in the beginning but I dont think any of the players are operators or tech preists which means that controlling the thing will be a nightmare for them. I want to make it feel like they are actually doing something rather then me just reading a story.

Also another issue is how can I tell the players what their choices are while still giving them control over what they do, in a few parts in the book there are places where the characters can pick from two or more options but these options might not be what they think they should do and they might decide to to something else entirely leaving me to come up with a new mission on the spot in order to kind of push them in the right direction so they feel like they are in control of their characters. I dont want to just read them the choices but the only other way i can think of is to have an NPC suggest something which again makes them feel like I am trying to push them in a certain direction.


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#2 Alekzanter

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:26 AM

After reading your post I am regreting special ordering a copy. I am now obligated to purchase a "pop-up story" adventure. If I had wanted a Fighting Fantasy adventure I'd just dig into my ancient TSR collection of Star Frontiers crap and be done with it.

Do you fight the Orks? Turn to pg. 113

Do you hide in the tunnels? Turn to pg. 39

Lame.



#3 Robomummy

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:24 AM

the campaign isnt like that, it is a good campaign it is just that the first few missions are more narrative then the rest of the campaign. as for the choices the characters make they arent really choices that effect the campaign as a whole, rather they just effect little details of the situation so that former decisions can give them an advantage or disadvantage.

my question was more about how can I make these first few missions less narrative and more involvement on the players part, and how can I make it so that the players do not feel like they are being pushed to do something.

Overall I enjoyed the campaign after some playtesting with a fellow GM who is running this at another school nearby (I GM a mission and he plays 3-4 characters then we switch every few missions and discuss what to do to improve our GMing and the campaign).


Check out my podcast Buckets Of Dice where myself and a friend review how to start various different kinds of tabletop, roleplaying, and CCG games. http://bucketsofdice.podomatic.com/ Each episode focuses on a new game, we discuss a little about the game's backround, rules, how to start/ what to buy, and a little about the company.  


#4 ConstantineRoth

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:41 AM

My concern is that if you make the opening less narrative and more involved you run the risk of it going too far the other way, I've had some of my most epic moments in Dark Heresy and the other FFG games in a narrative time situation. I don't think you should look at taking it off narrative time just managing it differently and rewarding smart use of the situation, topography, enemy and friendly positions etc. If you do switch from narrative to involved you changed the scope from a zoomed out view of a wide conflict on a battlefield to a close up view of just the squad and you run the risk of loosing the wider focus of what the Guard are doing there. By all means, if the players get into bother roll initiative and get them to have a fight but then duck back out into the narrative.

If you scrap narrative for the whole thing then you add a lot of reliance on the crunch of the system and the numbers game and being 100m away from the enemy in combat time with a 18m max run per turn is not a fun situation to be in as a player. Narrative time allows you to move the situation along, allow players to get shots in feel like they're contributing as part of a whole (to have their individual moments of glory later) and it allows this to be done at a swift pace. I can understand why it seems jarring but if you do get rid of the narrative time you need to find a way to move them over that battle quickly otherwise it's going to be a massive 2+ hour speed bump to the game in my opinion, depending on how you play and manage it. Just need to be aware of the positives and the negatives of both choices.



#5 Robomummy

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 03:12 PM

ConstantineRoth said:

My concern is that if you make the opening less narrative and more involved you run the risk of it going too far the other way, I've had some of my most epic moments in Dark Heresy and the other FFG games in a narrative time situation. I don't think you should look at taking it off narrative time just managing it differently and rewarding smart use of the situation, topography, enemy and friendly positions etc. If you do switch from narrative to involved you changed the scope from a zoomed out view of a wide conflict on a battlefield to a close up view of just the squad and you run the risk of loosing the wider focus of what the Guard are doing there. By all means, if the players get into bother roll initiative and get them to have a fight but then duck back out into the narrative.

If you scrap narrative for the whole thing then you add a lot of reliance on the crunch of the system and the numbers game and being 100m away from the enemy in combat time with a 18m max run per turn is not a fun situation to be in as a player. Narrative time allows you to move the situation along, allow players to get shots in feel like they're contributing as part of a whole (to have their individual moments of glory later) and it allows this to be done at a swift pace. I can understand why it seems jarring but if you do get rid of the narrative time you need to find a way to move them over that battle quickly otherwise it's going to be a massive 2+ hour speed bump to the game in my opinion, depending on how you play and manage it. Just need to be aware of the positives and the negatives of both choices.

Im not saying I want to get away from the narrative aspect, I just dont want the players to be sitting around with very little to do for the first few missions.


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#6 ConstantineRoth

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:33 PM

That's fair, it'd be good to hear how you decide to do it as it could be useful when I run games in future. Hope it goes well for you :)



#7 whoseyes

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 09:53 AM

My take on your first question would be (be careful, I haven't read the book thoroughfully yet):

Design two or three encounters for the PC during the major battle. As the book says, the actions of the PCs influence the outcome of the battle (if they are killing orks, all the guard are winning; if they are being wounded, all the guard are being slaughtered), so you should place them into situations that have some relevance on the overall situation.

Some examples I can think of right now:

- The liutenant of the characters platoon and his personal bodyguard are having a bad time fighting a group of orks. The liutenant himself is suffering from blood loss and is not going to survive much more. The players have to get there and save the LT's ass. They should also perform some first aids on the liutenant or he is going to die anyway… If the players succeed in this, the rest of the guard start fighting with more strength. If they don't succeed, half of the platoon starts running away.

- A group of orks are running towards a fortified position where they have some impressive big guns emplaced. The players have to try to get there first or stop the orks from reaching the weapons. If they succeed, they can use those same guns to do a lot of pain on the enemy side. If they don't succeed, things turn ugly for the guard…

- Suddenly, WAVES of gretchins charge! Gretchins don't stop commin, doesn't matter how many of them are killed by lasgun fire or flamethowers. These Gretchins are commanded by some runherds spread all over the place. The players have to reach a good firing position and try to snip half of the runherds in order to spread chaos and fear among the gretchin lines.

 

Stuff like that. Tailor some encounters like this to the interest of your players, their capabilities and their power level!

 



#8 Robomummy

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

well the problem with this is that the players are spending the narrative trying to escape from the greenskin camps with thousands upon thousands of the xenos attacking, they shouldnt even stop for a minute or they will be overrun. I think I have an idea that will fix it though.

I might have a few mini-missions where the players need to shoot at a group of bomb squigs running at their convoy, or the players need to clear off the outside of the vehicle (or a nearby one) of greenskins that are climbing up the sides. yet another mission would be where a group of trukks or warbikes pull up alongside the convoy and the players need to shoot the orks off before they board the tank or just blow up the vehicles.

maybe just a few small things like that where the players need to deal with threats to the convoy as they speed toward the exit of the cave. It is just difficult because the sheer amount of orks attacking makes it a very unwiledy combat for a GM to do, we are talking about a company to regiment scale battle. Larger battles and thing like waves upon waves of infantry would kill the PCs before they got a chance to do anything and in this escape anyone who falls behind will basically be overrun and killed almost immediatly. 


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#9 whoseyes

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 12:12 AM

That's the way to do it! "Mini-missions", as you call them, hehe.

Something I would do is try not to focus all those minimissions in combat. If you do so, a 90% of the Tests done during the first act of the adventure will be Ballistic Skills tests!! (and after you have killed 30 orks, it starts getting boring…).

- If there's a Medic in the group, make him rescue/heal an important officer or character.

- If there's an Operator, make him outmanouver a couple of warbuggies trying to make them crash while the other characters shot from the vehicle.

- If there's a Techpriest, make him get off the transport in order to open the main gates of the ork base to get to the surface.

- Priests, Comissars and Sarges may be obligued to go back the the tail of the convoy to try to regroup some squads terrified by the overall situation.

And so on…



#10 Friend of the Dork

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 06:49 AM

Hello everyone, Instead of making a new thread I'd just add my experience in playing this module. ***SPOILERS***

 

We started up last session, with my somewhat experienced Cadian Shock troops PCs who already ran the module in the main book. 

 

After spending quite some time on the ship listening to rumors, doing the briefing etc, they went into the dropship thinking they would all likely be ambushed or have something bad happen to them - the briefing saying "we don't expect this to happen" basically told the players "THIS will happen!" Still, foreshadowing if nothing else, and I portrayed there was a bet running in their Company about whether they would be ambushed on landing or not, with odds of 8/2 in favor of something terrible going to happen ;)

 

Surely enough it did, and the PCs was quickly wanting to do something about it ever since their dropship got hit by the attack - I had to actually push the story onwards just to get to the "Into the cockpit" scene - even if it was optional having the PCs do nothing in a scene portrayed as if they will all die is stupid. The scene itself had as I expected way too many Acrobatics checks, and strangely enough just staying put was more dangerous than trying to do something (+20 Acrobatics vs -10?). Also, I had to nerf the "falling damage" and give half armor towards being bumped around, do avoid the party getting killed just trying to get there. Any character without Acrobatics skill is likely to get 1d10+3 to 1d10+5 damage EVERY ROUND until they get strapped down, which is insane. I had to make the damage 1d5, +1 per DoF and give them armor to avoid killing the Operator who only have 6 wounds to start with. 

 

Other than that, the scene went well - the Operator had taken the Hotshot Pilot talent and finally found use for it, making those Tech use tests fairly easy for him, and also a chance to display his Braggart personality by using the intercom and declaring that he was saving the ship, and when landing putting on the green light. 

 

The crash combat was handled both narratively and in detail at the same time. In the beginning the PCs mostly started getting their gear and organizing the squads - the game says all officers are killed, but this is a poor design due to the fact that we have invested time and effort in making these officers come to life. So in my game they know at least one officer came out alive but unconscious, and later they will find out more officers escaped as well, so they lost "only" about 60% of them. 

 

I also had to gloss over the fact that none of the players present played a Sergeant or anyone with actual rank, so in theory the NCOs of the Company should be taking charge despite their officers and commissars being killed. So Sergeants from other squads took command of each squad without actually taking over the whole company, while the PCs got to be the unifying force that led by example. 

 

The combat was somewhat strange - even though the module is meant for a light infantry regiment, they do include several Chimeras that the PCs can use, making the hordes of normal greenskins outside a trivial encounter. Also since our regiment are mechanized infantry, they found it natural to use their normal Chimera to drive out, backed up by several other squads. 

 

Most of the orks in the room did not enter combat with the PCs, but I used the mob of 20 Lootas and the ork Nob in megarmor become the challenge. This worked better than I anticipated, as the Deffgun the Lootas use are actually dangerous enough to potentially hard a Chimera from the front. Instead of rolling 20 attack rolls every turn, I figured only 20% of them would have randomly enough power in their gun that turn to hard the chimera - and the PCs got really worried when I started rolling 5d10s against them for damage, sometimes with Penetration too. Also, each time they would get a Righteous Fury, the Chimera would take 1 damage even if the shot would not normally do damage. 

 

Those of the PCs who were exposed in the turret hatch were also being shot at by some Lootas, one being damaged and Stunned once. During this time I mostly ignored the other X Chimeras, thinking they were busy fighting other orks in the grand cavern. 

 

Another fun part was the Nob- he actually had so much armor and toughness that even the Multilaser in the Chimera hardly wounded him at all, some shots even bouncing off. While he never got close enough to get into Melee, he made the Chimera Operator back off in fear, all the while firing the Multilaser at him. The Heavy used the Heavy Bolter to shoot down ork after ork, doing enough damage to Crit but not kill, due to the ork sheer toughness (True Grit is overpowered), while the Weapons Specialist used his Grenade launcher to finish off the wounded orks, doing critical damage to many of them at once. PS: If the Nob in question were do assault the Chimera he would probably do some serious damage, and the PCs on foot would hardly be able to wound him at all - Lasguns would be useless, and even stuff like a heavy bolter would struggle with damaging him. Having him start about 100 meters away is too long though, so I recommend half that or less. After all, the PCs don't have to defeat him, only drive away. 

 

After about 5 rounds of combat, the PCs had killed/disabled about half of the Lootas mob, the Chimera was lightly damaged, and the Operator got his glory by ramming the Nob and killing him with the Chimera outright. They then decided finally to withdraw as they saw still tons of orks pouring inn, Bomb squiqs getting ready, and orks with Heavy weapons at the Ordinatus. I also made it clear the Ordinatus would not be able to move without significant repairs, otherwise they PCs would probably have attempted to take it. It is critical that the DM makes it clear to the PCs that they are over their heads, Chimeras or not. They also noticed that one of their own Chimeras had been taken out by ork Lascannon fire. 

 

Once getting out of the cavern, the module gives two choices without giving much of a hint to the players what to do: Go left or go right. Right is of course right, but the players chose to go left and got into some combat that way as well, but they managed to rescue another Chimera that got stuck in the fungal forest, and tried to rescue another that had gone into the main ork town and was overrun by orks - at this point the PCs gave up trying to take on all the orks, tried to rescue as many as they could, and then turned back. From there on it was smooth sailing - they ran through the Maddoks hospital and casually killed him with Multilaser fire, before getting to the garage/hangar. here they decided to stop and destroy all the ork vehicles, while waiting for the other Chimeras to catch up. They also tried to set up some explosives to block the passage, but failed the Perception test, so they were only able to blow up the fuel and ammo, not collapse the entrance. Getting out was easy, the orks with Dakkaguns were easily dispatched before they could open the cages of the Bomb squigs. 

 

That's where we left off. They have 10 surviving Chimeras and as many squads, and they had one companion film everything that happened with a pict recorder, so this intel on the Ordinatus will be very useful later. Overall a very fun evening and some interesting vehicle combat. 

 

Hope this was an interesting read for GMs who considers playing this module. And I'd like to hear other experiences too. 






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