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R22

First time RPG player w/ questions now that the book is out

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So my group and I are new to RPGs entirely. We got the book and did a rough run through this past weekend. Love that the system seems set up to take advantage of your imagination and local setting. I have a couple questions that came from our first run through though. Some are scenario questions and others more logistic questions.

 

1. At one point two PCs went to Wal-Mart to buy guns. They had credit cards and about $300 in cash.

-Using the EOTW dice system what would the difficulty be of bribing a Wal-Mart employee to buy the guns then and there without waiting for a background check?

 

2. We played "It ends with a whisper" and it included a timeline. The first day is a series of announcements from various government officials spaced hours apart. Otherwise though not much is happening, it's setting up context and atmosphere.

-As GM do I cover that just with an opening description or do I need to narrate a day's worth of ordinary activity punctuated by such announcements? I want to include the details but it seems boring to just have them run through a normal day when we all know what's coming -- the game is called 'The End of the Worlds' after all.

 

3. Two PCs jump into a car, fleeing a store as a riot breaks out. A third PC is in the driver's seat waiting for them and they take off. The car is rear ended and run off the road.

-As GM, how strict am I? Nobody said they jumped in and buckled up.

-How do I decide or roll for how injured they may be?

 

4. A PC's brother is gravely injured and/or goes insane. The brother, also a PC, sees this. Is stress or trauma automatically assigned?

-Shouldn't all the PC's suffer? Especially when another is hurt badly or lost?

 

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The book hasn't come out to my retail store yet so I don't have access to the rules however;

 

In regards to question 2 it depends on your group. A smart group will use this downtime to begin stocking up on equipment and such especially if the announcements are informative enough to let them know that something bad could be happening (again don't have the book yet). Remember just because it's the end of the world doesn't mean that the PC's know this yet so playing the build up could be fun.

 

3. The good thing about playing yourselves is you probably have a fair idea if the players buckled up or not because you know them. Often such an action is automatic in most people these days which could be why they didn't mention it, basically it's for you to make the call if they did or didn't. Many GM's will have different approaches however and some are harsher than others. Basically make the call on what you think is right, after this RPG is about the players not made up characters.

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1. At one point two PCs went to Wal-Mart to buy guns. They had credit cards and about $300 in cash.

-Using the EOTW dice system what would the difficulty be of bribing a Wal-Mart employee to buy the guns then and there without waiting for a background check?

 

With this game, keep things simple as it keeps the game flowing. First decide if this action is going to incur stress. If it is then you will adjust the test by adding negative dice. You start with an initial one negative die. Then check out Table 8 on page 45. This would be a fairly hard check as you are asking someone to break the law so I would make it a 2 negative dice test.

 

If the action will not incur stress then you can do as suggested on the page 44 "Additional information" sidebar and just call for 2 successes to complete the action from the player's positive pool.

 

 

2. We played "It ends with a whisper" and it included a timeline. The first day is a series of announcements from various government officials spaced hours apart. Otherwise though not much is happening, it's setting up context and atmosphere.

-As GM do I cover that just with an opening description or do I need to narrate a day's worth of ordinary activity punctuated by such announcements? I want to include the details but it seems boring to just have them run through a normal day when we all know what's coming -- the game is called 'The End of the Worlds' after all.

I would just narrate and allow the players to narrate what they are doing.

 

 

3. Two PCs jump into a car, fleeing a store as a riot breaks out. A third PC is in the driver's seat waiting for them and they take off. The car is rear ended and run off the road.

-As GM, how strict am I? Nobody said they jumped in and buckled up.

-How do I decide or roll for how injured they may be?

 

Personally I always decide in favour of the players. If they had time I would assume they buckled up. If you are going to have them roll for damage, it could be a Vitality test with a bonus positive die for the seatbelts (if appropriate) and any other applicable features. Then decide how severe the crash is, 2-3 negative dice maybe.

 

 

4. A PC's brother is gravely injured and/or goes insane. The brother, also a PC, sees this. Is stress or trauma automatically assigned?

-Shouldn't all the PC's suffer? Especially when another is hurt badly or lost?

Again you have to decide if you want them to have to possibility of incurring stress. I would not do it automatically as no player likes having something taken out of their hands. You can make it a Willpower test of varying difficulty (again, depending on severity maybe 2-3 negative dice total). Something like this may be okay in the initial stages of the apocalypse, but itwould quickly become an everyday occurrence as time goes on (in game terms a simple test).

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R22, the rules are intentionally vague about what to roll and when, and this can definitely lead to confusion about what to make your PCs roll for things like your gun/car-crash/mental breakdown scenarios. I mean, ****, the book doesn't tell you how to roll for any of that!

I think the thing you have to do in those situations is to bear in mind the purpose of the rules and of the scenarios that you're running. As a GM, you are trying to tell a good story, not punish your players or police the rule book: your goal is to make things fun and interesting. To that end, you would change the dice you're making them roll based on what will tell the best story.

Let's look at your car-crash as an example:
- First you would ask what are you trying to accomplish with the crash (get them out of the car and on foot? Injure everyone in order to raise the stakes on the next combat? Redirect them to the hospital?). The answer is going to change how many negatives you have them roll.
- Next you would look at their existing stress and trauma. If you are just trying to get people injured for the next fight and one or more of your PCs is on the verge of death already, you don't want to hit them too hard and risk killing one. That's against your goals as a story teller and a sh*tty way for a PC to die ("Suddenly a car hits you. You die. The end.") and is unfun for them.

- Finally you might take into account positive features and armor. If your PCs are uber, you might need to hit them a little harder in order to get your desired result.

My take-away from the rules is that the power in this system is its flexibility. You can dial the difficulty up and down depending on your needs and your group dynamics. I know "eh, it depends" is not always a super satisfying answer. But I hope in this case it's a helpful and empowering one.
 

Edited by TagalongFriend

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Good job, Tag, in expanding the example to help a) the new-to-RPGs person and b) those new to more flexible systems.

 

Some systems get so complex and so detailed in tracking everything (ie - D&D's later editions vs the Blue or Red Box) that doing so can take away from the experience of playing.

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So my group and I are new to RPGs entirely. We got the book and did a rough run through this past weekend. Love that the system seems set up to take advantage of your imagination and local setting. I have a couple questions that came from our first run through though. Some are scenario questions and others more logistic questions.

First, congrats on joining the wonderful, wild, and sometimes weird world of RPGs. Your life will never be the same.

There is some great advice in replies above, especially from mouthymerc and tagalongfriend. Understand that there is rarely one right answer. Different groups have different styles of play and as long as people are having fun, you're doing it right. It sounds like you are off to a great start. :D 

Now, this is how I would approach your situtations with my group.

 

1. At one point two PCs went to Wal-Mart to buy guns. They had credit cards and about $300 in cash.

-Using the EOTW dice system what would the difficulty be of bribing a Wal-Mart employee to buy the guns then and there without waiting for a background check?

A lot depends on exactly where your characters are located and how much reality you wish to have in your game. I wouldn't have the roll be for if the Wal-Mart employee can be bribed to commit a Felony, but whether the employee would call for security or just tell the characters to get lost. Most of the time, there is little delay in the background check (usually 5 to 15 minutes) though some states have actual waiting periods. If your reasoning is that the background check system is going slow or down then there should also be a problem with the system for processing credit cards.

What would be a better option would be for the characters to have tried a regular gun shop or even better a pawn shop with a more morally flexible owner.

All this assumes that the characters are legally able to purchase firearms of course.

 

2. We played "It ends with a whisper" and it included a timeline. The first day is a series of announcements from various government officials spaced hours apart. Otherwise though not much is happening, it's setting up context and atmosphere.

-As GM do I cover that just with an opening description or do I need to narrate a day's worth of ordinary activity punctuated by such announcements? I want to include the details but it seems boring to just have them run through a normal day when we all know what's coming -- the game is called 'The End of the Worlds' after all.

Do whichever you feel your group would enjoy the most. My group would enjoy playing through the first day.

 

3. Two PCs jump into a car, fleeing a store as a riot breaks out. A third PC is in the driver's seat waiting for them and they take off. The car is rear ended and run off the road.

-As GM, how strict am I? Nobody said they jumped in and buckled up.

-How do I decide or roll for how injured they may be?

Good one here, the idea is great and I can easily see this happening in real life. Me personally, I would consider the characters to be buckled-up, it's just such an ingrained habit for us. I'm sure you know and have ridden with the various characters in question. Ask yourself if they buckle-up automatically. For possible injury, depends on how bad the wreck was but I'd generally go with low damage, maybe just have them be a bit sore and stiff. There is the possibility that they are stuck on foot now. Also do they do anything about the other driver and passengers? Loads of fun possible here.

 

<SNIP>

Edited by Bornite

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There is a general unwritten rule with RPGs (well, sometimes it is actually written) that the GM can bend or break the rules as required to suit the game. In general, how harsh or how lenient you want to be is up to you and your group. If any particular rule is getting in your way, remove it! If rules don't cover what you want to do, make up rules to fit your need.

At the end of the day, it's all about telling a good story with your friends.

1. At one point two PCs went to Wal-Mart to buy guns. They had credit cards and about $300 in cash.

-Using the EOTW dice system what would the difficulty be of bribing a Wal-Mart employee to buy the guns then and there without waiting for a background check?

Depends how complex you want to make it. I'd probably just roll high/low to see if the employee goes for it. Really, if the world is coming to an end and people know it, following all the red tape is probably not a priority.

You also have to ask yourself how easy you want it to be to let your players get guns. Again, in a proper Zombie Apocalypse, guns are not generally hard to come by.

2. We played "It ends with a whisper" and it included a timeline. The first day is a series of announcements from various government officials spaced hours apart. Otherwise though not much is happening, it's setting up context and atmosphere.

-As GM do I cover that just with an opening description or do I need to narrate a day's worth of ordinary activity punctuated by such announcements? I want to include the details but it seems boring to just have them run through a normal day when we all know what's coming -- the game is called 'The End of the Worlds' after all.

Again, it's up to you. Playing out that first day can be really immersive if it's done right, but since you guys are new to RPGs, I wouldn't put too much time into it if the players just want to get on with the zombie-shootin'.

3. Two PCs jump into a car, fleeing a store as a riot breaks out. A third PC is in the driver's seat waiting for them and they take off. The car is rear ended and run off the road.

-As GM, how strict am I? Nobody said they jumped in and buckled up.

-How do I decide or roll for how injured they may be?

Up to you how much of a stickler you want to be. However, be aware that telling your players they take extra damage because no one explicitly said they were buckling up is likely going to lead to your players being extra anal-retentive in the future about specifying every little thing they do.

If you and your group wants that sort of attention to detail, then great. Personally, as a GM, I tend to assume the PCs are moderately intelligent and will do things like buckling up implicitly when they can see the drive is going to be hectic.

As for damage, you should always roll either for damage dealt or for a chance to dodge if damage is fixed. Things that will modify an element of the character sheet (ie: hit points) should always be decided by dice.*

* Keeping in mind the Golden Rule I mentioned at the start, of course. If it's too hard to decide what to roll, just throw out a number!

4. A PC's brother is gravely injured and/or goes insane. The brother, also a PC, sees this. Is stress or trauma automatically assigned?

-Shouldn't all the PC's suffer? Especially when another is hurt badly or lost?

I would have all the PCs suffer a minor amount of stress if a member of their group is badly injured or insane. The brother would suffer an extra pip for being related. But again, as before, it's up to you how harshly you want to run the game.

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