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Sebastian Yorke

GM rant, leave yours here

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Well, Lure of the Expanse is a curse.

Really, after I get it started, by mid-adventure the group disbands.

 

After MANY sessions with other adventures and stuff, my second group disbanded mid-adventure. Even though everyone said to be "loving it" before they became consistently unavailable.

 

WHY.

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Great idea.  Poor execution.  Not very well thought through.

 

Seriously, nothing about the module works RAW.  I ran it when it first came out.  It was a disaster.  Call me a martinet, but the timing thing doesn't work.  After the initial disaster, my past 2 campaigns saw it as a background endeavor chased at by NPC Dynasties.  It made for good background rumors at starports.  I'm working on a 4th campaign now and I'm going to use the same blueprint.  It's a good story.  Don't run your players through it and expect them to get it logically or intuitively.  If they're into D&D space opera...maybe.

 

Good games develop from interesting decisions players get to make.  LotE has none of those.  It's a railroad ride.  Draw up a vanilla campaign.  Give your players potential colonies (conquered or from scratch), ship graveyards, xenotech, archaeotech, pirates to contend with, rival dynasties, intrigue at Footfall (Underworld) and Port Wander (Overworld), occasional trips back to the Calixis Sector, and see how they run with it.  Throw a war in the background and plenty of on-board encounters in the foreground (death cults, hullghasts, etc.).  Switch things up.  One session it's intrigue with a planetary governor, next it's a rebellion on Deck 28, and after that it's a void combat with 3 pirate raiders.  Don't forget those incoming messages from loose Astropaths around the Expanse.  Think like a TV series.  Each episode stands alone; except for those 2 and 3-part episodes (but make them rare).

 

Players make the game.  GMs are along for the railroad ride.  Get that much straight and you'll have a game that lasts.  Enjoy.

 

As an aside, nearly every module published by FFG is like LotE.  There are some great stories there, but they are all Monte Haul wet dreams with a burst bubble at the end.  Your players want to be the next Winterscale Dynasty.  Let them.  They have to come up with the formula.  They will.  Throw obstacles in their way.  Use the Misfortunes table and embellish.  Make it painful and play through the pain.  Your players will thank you later.  In the meantime they will keep coming back for more.

 

As another aside: the Over the Hill Gang rides again.  In my 4th campaign GMing RT, the Down Home Boys are playing.  These are all guys I started playing with over 4 decades ago, and we haven't played as a group for over 2 decades.  Now with the magic of the internet we will all get together again from: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, California, Texas, and Peru.

 

And folks, that's what it's all about.

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Errant Knight has the right of it. Lure of the Expanse is a horrible adventure, something you shouldn't waste a group's time with. It's not cursed, just bad enough that it ruins your game. At best, steal the idea and let the fiction of your personal game dictate the set pieces the players meet.

Rogue Trader games with a GM plot are always horrible. You should let the players run their own business and react to them. Rogue Trader needs adventure supplements like a fish needs a bicycle. Simply put, ffg tricked you into buying something you didn't need. All you can do is make the most of it.

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My GM was getting us through Lure just fine....right up to the point we met other RTs at the seven witches thing. I proceeded to flirt with Charlabelle Armelan so well my seneschal had to be present for it because I was....indisposed, and shortly after married and completely ignored it. We basically just sat back and placed bets on who would actually make it. I got a PF out of it, just from the reputation I got for the outrageous bets I made.

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Lure of the Expanse went just fine for me, then again I often consider published adventures more a series of guidelines than anything to be followed to the letter.

 

Rant on: Why are some people unable to voice complaints or suggestions. Instead everything is fine until one day they say "I'm frustrated and not coming in anymore," despite the entire group having been regularly asked "Is everything good? Anything you'd like to see more/less of?"

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Most people don't like public conflict.  Ask them directly if something's wrong and they won't tell you.  That could cause conflict.  It's easier to just avoid it.  I've been in enough games like that.  I remember one not long ago.  I told the GM there were issues.  No other player did.  The GM changed nothing.  Within a couple weeks it had fallen apart.  Everyone stopped showing up.

 

Tabletop games are one thing.  It's usually a group that knows each other.  If the current game doesn't work out there will probably be another.  Internet games have people that are strangers to one another.  Worse, and maybe this is only my experience but, people seem to make up an alias and use it for a single game.  If that game doesn't work out there's nothing invested.  Just drop out, change your username and look for another.  No embarrassment, either.  Hey, I've known people that got dumped by a significant other with a text message.  It's the same thing.  People don't want to face conflict.

 

If I were ready to play in...or start up...another game, I'd advertise for players right here first.  This is the community that cares enough about perfecting their game to hold conversations with other people about questions they have with the system.

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Most people don't like public conflict.  Ask them directly if something's wrong and they won't tell you.  That could cause conflict.  It's easier to just avoid it.  I've been in enough games like that.  I remember one not long ago.  I told the GM there were issues.  No other player did.  The GM changed nothing.  Within a couple weeks it had fallen apart.  Everyone stopped showing up.

 

It could also be a sort of "idealism", a desperate belief that things will work out - until it's too late.

 

Without doubt there's also a lot of times where it is really just a lack of responsibility or fear of conflict, as you put it. There's probably a huge overlap between all those reasons, too. And then there's the issue of perception: one player's heartfeld concerns may be another's QQ. Who actually wants to feel like "That Guy", instead of trying to just fit in and attempt to maintain harmony because they're still having fun?

 

I suppose it all comes down to group chemistry. Plus whatever people may have to deal with in their private lives, that it possibly affects their "focus" on the game.

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GM rant:

 

Every freaking time I run RT I always get folks who want to use stuff from the other 40k games, gear, talents you name it. even if it is said up front "X books only" you always get at lest one guy who just has to have something from a DH, BC or OW book. EVERY FREAKING TIME.

 

It is highly annoying.

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GM rant:

 

Every freaking time I run RT I always get folks who want to use stuff from the other 40k games, gear, talents you name it. even if it is said up front "X books only" you always get at lest one guy who just has to have something from a DH, BC or OW book. EVERY FREAKING TIME.

 

It is highly annoying.

I'all say it. I'm That Guy, the one who digs cybernetics out of other books and goes OOOH can I have it pretty please??? But I totally see your point, if there's a limit on what books you can use, you really need to stick to that.

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You know what I hate? Long time gms! Stuck up neckbeard that think they are the be all know all of all gaming ever! For fifteen years I had to put up with the same uninspired dumb murder-hobo questing for the magic mcguffin, knee-capped at every turn by dm fiat and outshined by dm pcs ad nauseam!

Would it kill to ONCE run a game where the PCs are allowed to shine? To include a minimum of actual player participation into the **** plot?

Telling that group to suck it was my best roleplaying decision ever, I have never looked back.

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You know what I hate? Long time gms! Stuck up neckbeard that think they are the be all know all of all gaming ever! For fifteen years I had to put up with the same uninspired dumb murder-hobo questing for the magic mcguffin, knee-capped at every turn by dm fiat and outshined by dm pcs ad nauseam!

Would it kill to ONCE run a game where the PCs are allowed to shine? To include a minimum of actual player participation into the **** plot?

Telling that group to suck it was my best roleplaying decision ever, I have never looked back.

Everything you just said. I had to put up with a GM's ABSOLUTE LOVE, LOOOVE, of F**KING KENDER. And all his GMPCs, most of which were smarmy and smug and generally incredibly pretentious and arrogant, which me, hating that specific kind of person above all others in the world, had a field day with, in the worst way possible. I would just get mad and try to punch one, and OF COURSE he would dodge it like nothin and break my arm. Because 'He's that much better than you." BS. I stopped going for close to two months, I had to wait for the game to reach its conclusion (in which the other players got exactly ZERO glory or cash at the end anyway). This was a Pathfi*Redacted by Holy Ordos for Heresy* game, by the way......GAAH KENDER WAAAGH!

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GMPCs suck.  Kender suck, too.  If you're reading this Maggie and Tracy, they suck.  They always sucked.  Now they're institutionalized suck.  Congratulations.

 

Constructs like Kender are usually a product of copyright fear.  Take Orks, for example.  I mean, there was an Orc in Bullfinch's Mythologies which reference one in the tale of Bradamante and Rogero.  I'm pretty sure that author won't be suing anyone.  Still, we have Orks.

 

I'll just stop there.  I won't go into one of my full page rants.  You're welcome.

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Kender feed well into my gripe; players who have to be goofy, no matter what the game, no matter what the thing they are playing. I have several friends who need to make over the top things, either because they have been gaming long enough that "just wizard" bores them, and while I like prestige classes more than the next person, I don't always like my friends trying to be pricks with them, or because they are dissatisfied with their real life (a believable option, and a good reason to play RPGs), and they want to just be crazy in this game, but it's always MY game. I couldn't pull a fun, serious, even grim moment if I had to, without one or more of them clowning it up. It's why I gripe that over 70% of the people who ever wanted to play Vampire: the Masquerade instantly said Malkavian, and then 60% of those said "Mandatory derangement? Multiple Personality Disorder." As soon as I know what I'm running, I can already guess what wacko crap they will try to request.

 

GMPC's are a grip, too. I use them occasionally, but I often to make them less, or get them killed for inspiration. Watching three of them DBZ fight scene in V:tM? No, that wasn't fun. Watching the awesomes duke it out, and realizing that the GM capped our growth so they could stay awesome? Sucked.

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It's not easy finding good roleplayers, and nearly impossible to find a group that doesn't have a clown.  I don't mind "over the top," but I'm also thinking that Venkelos and I don't have the same picture in our heads when that phrase is spoken.  I'm thinking of the melodramatic player.  I prefer the "too much drama" approach to the "poke fun at it" approach.

 

And there's nothing you can do about it, short of asking the clown to leave and looking for another player, which is a viable option online, but not usually at the tabletop.  Online players can also be hard to find if you live in certain time zones and have a restrictive work and life schedule, or even if the game you want to play isn't widely-spread and popular.  But the clown won't stop clowning.  They don't usually know how.

 

I love stereotypes.  Why?  Because so few play them.  Most players want to be the exception, the snowflake.  That's now so commonplace that the stereotype is the exception.  Then again, I got that from V:tM and V:tR LARPs.

 

And, Venkelos, while I have the same experience of Malkavian players I'd point out that the few who didn't go with MPD were often some of the best roleplayers in the game.  I loved those games with 50-60 people showing up.  You had awesome players there and you could spend your time with them, instead of with the Lou's and Stu's.

 

Happy New Year to everyone and may all of you find that next 10-yr. campaign this year.

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I've actually never played a V:tM game with an MPD Malk. The only Malk in fact I have ever seen that wasn't an NPC was mine, and he had an unfortunate problem of sometimes thinking inanimate objects were speaking to him. He would steal dolls, WH miniatures (HA), even once pulled a teddy bear out of a kid's arms because the teddy bear asked him nicely to do so, and he would stash these stolen talking things in his little lair, it got bad after a while XD. After that I stuck to Ventrue or Tzimisce. Anywho, I too use GMPCs, for a short time, often to introduce players to a new concept in-universe, or as a narrative force (Deathwatch. Their Kill-Team leader, an Ultramarine named Claudius, led them to the objective, then Tau happened, and Claudius held off the little space commies while the rest of the kill-team rather forcefully smoked the Ethereal a little farther on. They came back, found Claudius dead, and so took dat gene-seed and left a high-explosive gift for the Tau. By smoked I mean "THIS. IS. SPARTA! Then dramatic kick and we just assumed an etheral wouldn't take a leonidas kick very well at all, it was gorgeous) but my personal rule is that GMPCs always either go rogue or die. Sure they're more powerful, but that Daemonhost didn't seem to care about his xp total or his bolter xD

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I've never used Tau in one of my games and am not likely to this next campaign unless the players manage to finagle their way into the Jericho Reach, which I find unlikely.  If the Tau did make an appearance, I think the party would probably try to find a way to trade with them instead of exterminating them.  Dead cows give no milk, and steaks but once.  Live cows on the other hand, produce milk, cream, butter, cheese, and more cows.

 

The ship's crew numbers in the tens of thousands.  Planets have populations of millions and billions.  NPCs must abound.  But, GMPCs steal the PCs spotlight.  I get plenty of play time out of my villains.  I'll give the rest of the time to the players.  Powerful and friendly NPCs exist, yes, but are usually no more than silhouettes on a vidscreen, or guests at the governor's ball.

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As far as GMPCs go ... I usually lead small groups of players and need a backup for them. The thing is, I don't want a damned NPC to outshine them, even IF he is on the same power level as they are (I had this happen to me way too many times). That's why they are usually the quiet types, rarely speaking unless spoken to and rarely acting on their own, while offering advice, when I REALLY feel like, the players need another idea or just get stuck. They are there as some sort of solid support for the players ... A reliable NPC to help them out, a close friend and beloved companion, until he gets brutally murdered in a dark alley as he was walking back to their gun-cutter ... No glory, no honour, no nothing. Bleeding out alone and humiliated and found dead hours later by the group, pushing them into the most vengeful and violent frenzy you could possibly imagine. I LOVE making a character, that the group becomes close with, only to kill him/her off out of nowhere. The reactions are usually varied, priceless and quite scary. If you have a good group that is ... Because having emotionally detached players simply sucks.

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A rant thread? I like it. Here goes.

 

I hate lidless stare. I hate everything about it. Any time I try to create a tense moment, or an epic climatic encounter, it immediately changes into "Lets find out if the big guy can roll to not die". And I'm not talking about boss fights, either. Casual dinner parties to introduce a plot point, trade negotiations, even diplomatic events often end in a room full of corpses. Worst part is, it's part of the core and with a PC already having sunk xp into it, I can't exactly take it away or even change it really. So I'm stuck with creating NPCs that die (literally) on sight because I gave them a name, so they must be a threat, and there's almost no way to defend against it.

 

tl;dr: **** lidless stare.

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A rant thread? I like it. Here goes.

 

I hate lidless stare. I hate everything about it. Any time I try to create a tense moment, or an epic climatic encounter, it immediately changes into "Lets find out if the big guy can roll to not die". And I'm not talking about boss fights, either. Casual dinner parties to introduce a plot point, trade negotiations, even diplomatic events often end in a room full of corpses. Worst part is, it's part of the core and with a PC already having sunk xp into it, I can't exactly take it away or even change it really. So I'm stuck with creating NPCs that die (literally) on sight because I gave them a name, so they must be a threat, and there's almost no way to defend against it.

 

tl;dr: **** lidless stare.

Not sure, but you could always have it so that the navigator house itself starts taking a really nasty view upon the navigator who does that. Navigators are mutants who have accrued massive amounts of power because they're the ONE sort of mutant totally indespensible to the existence of the imperium, but they ARE mutants none the less, and they live, mostly, on sufferance. So they aren't really supposed to go around using their powers all that often in polite company.

 

Couple of ways to run around this ability:

1) Make it only work if you actually are LOOKING into the lidless stare. If your back is turned, your eyes closed, or even if something like smoke and ash in the air is OBSCURING the lidless stare, it's ineffective. Gotta be a nice, clear view of the eye.

2) Have it so that there are snipers in the eves of these events, who peg the dude all in the first round with well placed sniper shots all in the first turn because of his bull. See if having him lose a fate point to idiocy helps him work out you're not putting up with this.

 

Seriously, there are PLENTY of ways to discourage such bull. And also, you're the GM. You should have a screen. Just tell them "nope. They all passed. Sucks to be you now." Heck... if there's navigators pulling this ****, maybe some sort of xenos artefact that makes people immune to eye powers starts showing up and being commonly distributed. Have it be a minor plot point.

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Worst part is, it's part of the core and with a PC already having sunk xp into it, I can't exactly take it away or even change it really. 

 

Sure you can. If it's really that bad ... tell the player that as it turns out, the ability is broken as gak and to increase tension and atmosphere you intend to change it into something more suitable. The player can offer their feedback on the new version, helping to flesh it out, or - if they really don't like it - they can get back 2/3 of the XP they've put into it, and you'll make up some explanation of how he loses this ability in the process of the next adventure.

 

For example, you could change Lidless Stare to how it worked in Games Workshop's own d100 game:

 

"The Navigator can stare deep into the soul of a single character, exposing them to the horrors of the Immaterium and ravaging their mind. This power requires line of sight. The target must pass a Nerve test or be driven insane by torturous visions of the Warp flooding their minds. Affected characters count as being stunned for D3 turns, lose D10 from their Willpower permanently and count all characters as Terrifying for the remainder of the game. This power has no effect against Daemonhosts or followers of Chaos."
 
Alternatively, you can try to turn the player's behaviour against them to teach them a lesson. For example, you could present them with a character that, as per your experience, is prone to receiving the Stare .. however, as it turns out, that guy/gal was innocent and actually a powerful ally, and killing him deals a serious blow to the players' campaign, possibly turning other friends or even their own Navigator House against them.
Needless to say, this would have to be planned with care so as to not feel like a "rocks fall" railroaded situation, but truly capitalises on this player's habit of essentially shooting first and asking questions later.

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