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What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it. 
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Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 1:39 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
We completed Part One of the Kingmaker adventure path last Saturday. The intrepid PCs stood victorious over the Stag Lord's fort - two had really close shaves with death. Once all of the loot was taken, the PCs put the fort and palisade wall to the torch, leaving only piles of blackened stone rubble on the banks of Tuskwater Lake. They didn't want anything to move in and take up residence once they had carted away the last of the goods. Smart!

With that I am taking a break from the GM chair to digest part two of the Kingmaker adventure path and also to put my Star Wars KOTOR sequel back on the drawing board for refinement.

The next GM is running an oldie but a goodie in Top Secret SI where we will be a military special forces unit tasked with counter terrorism missions. Should be fun!


Mon Mar 18, 2013 11:34 am
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
I played in a D&D 4e game at the local RPG Meetup this past Saturday. While this edition of the game is not my favorite, I had a really good time at the table especially since we were teaching two first timers how to play the game. The GM was also excellent, which is always a big plus.

I can't stop laughing about our great big fighter screaming for help as a giant croc got a lock on his leg and started pulling him away from the party and back towards the river we had already crossed.


Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:15 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
It's Raining Planes!

Two weeks ago (Monday), our In Harm's Way: Pigboats session finally reached the special mission stage. The Pike was in Davao Gulf at sunrise, on Lifeguard station, with a prize - a sailing junk captured from the Japanese. The skipper figured to use the junk to help pick up airmen from the waters. The junk was given over to the XO, Lt. Vaugirard, along with Lt. jg Yoder and a five man crew. Both Vaugirard and Yoder were experts at small boat, and could conn the vessel under sail. There was a gasoline engine, small, ancient, and rusted, but no gasoline. They renamed the prize Pickerel, to go with Pike.

The carrier planes flew in from the southwest, and would return from the north, directly over the Pike. The Skipper sent the Pickerel north and west of the Pike, and had them place identification cloths on their deck, identical to those on the Pike. All was ready before the carrier planes returned.

Now rather than set this all up beforehand, or totally wing it, I set up an ad-hoc tool. Roll d100 - on a 20 or less, there would be a plane needing to ditch. If yes, roll a d6 for the number of planes. Pilots trying to ditch make an IQ check. On a failure, they ditch near the Pike, on a success, they ditch near the Pickerel. Make a StarPool Pilot check with a skill level of +2, vs a TN of 9. On 3 successes, the plane lands perfectly, all crew uninjured. On 2 successes, the landing was complicated - roll 1d20 for each crewman vs a TN of 13 - failure means an injury. on 1 success, the ditch was rough! Roll 1d20 for each crewman vs a TN of 9 - failure means an injury. On no successes, the plane crashed - flipping over or cartwheeling - with no survivors.

I had set up the raid itself beforehand - surprise was total, and opposition from the air was late, with the planes exiting in four groups - a group of Dauntless dive bombers, a group of Curtiss Helldivers, a group of Avenger torpeckers, and a group of Grumman Wildcats holding back the Zeroes, Oscars and Tonys from the bombers. This last group would be dogfighting in a snarl as it came over.

The first flight came over - the Dauntlesses - and the flaw in my plan became apparent. Statistically, the dice should cause planes from maybe one of the flights to ditch. No, of course not! Planes came down from every single flight! One Dauntless. Three Helldivers. Six Avengers, One Wildcat, and one Zero! And the pilot check rolls! Out of 28 crew in those planes, twelve lived. Finally, the Pike was chased down by Zeros, while the Pickerel sailed into the west to the rendezvous. The dice are laughing at me. Rolling on the table laughing their butts off.

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Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:16 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
Under Pressure

So in last week's Pigboats game, Lt. Vaugirard and Lt. jg Yoder and five men had left the Pike, and were using the captured sailing junk they had christened the Pickerel to pick up ditched American plane crews - and a captured Japanese fighter pilot as well. The Pike was forced under by Zeros, but they ignored the Pickerel. The Zeros were replaced by a floatplane which looped and stooged around, keeping the Pike underwater. Finally, from the direction of Davao came two corvettes.

The Pike was trying to get to the rendezvous south of Talikud Island, which was due west, but turned south to present her smallest profile to the corvettes. Even so, they got enough of a return to chase down into the Pike's general area. The Skipper did not want to delay things any more than necessary - he wanted to get to that rendezvous! He ordered silent running, and depth to 150 feet. The Signals Officer, Lt. jg O'Grady detected a thermocline at 230 feet. Unfortunately, the Pike's test depth was 250 feet. Since there were fifty feet between the keel and the tops of the periscope shears, They would have to go to at least 285 feet to get under the thermocline. The Skipper ordered them down to 300.

"The Engineers build in a safety margin" said the Skipper. "We'll be fine!" Then Lt. jg Rizzo dashed in from the back of the boat, his pants soaked to the knee. "We blew out the packing in the port shaft. Windy (Mr. Windham, the Engineer) is trying to re-pack it, but we're taking on a lot of water aft!" Ensign Bollings, taking over for Mister Yoder as the Diving officer, set the rear planes on full rise, but the weight of water aft kept increasing, and they couldn't use the pumps while running silent.

The Skipper sent all non-essential men forward, but that too was soon useless. Mr. O'Grady suggested a bucket chain from aft to forward. This was also implemented. He then went back to the hydrophones. The continuous pinging of the corvettes above him had stopped. He couldn't hear their engines. All he could hear, at every point of the compass, was a soft roar. "It sounds like there are ships everywhere around us!" he said to Bollings. "That's weird! Wouldn't they run into each other up there?" It was a puzzler all right. The creaks and groans as the pressure hull was compressed made it hard to think. He listened again... What would make that kind of noise, all around, everywhere at once? He had it!

"Skipper! I figured out the puzzle!It's a monsoon up there! It's pouring out, and those corvettes are deaf - and probably mostly blind too!" reported O'Grady. "Are you sure? Could they hear the pumps?" asked the Skipper. "They can't hear a thing, sir! Neither can I!" replied O'Grady. The Skipper turned to the others in the conning tower."Let's get out of here! Rise to 230 feet and head due west. Secure from silent running! Get those pumps online!" With the pressure lessened and the pumps working, the leak in the port shaft was soon sealed.

Meanwhile, on the Pickerel, the clouds gathered and the sky darkened. As they were approaching Punta Praet, the southern cape of Mawes Island, beyond which was Talikud, the clouds opened up with a crash. The battened sails slammed and rattled against the masts as the wind swirled and capered. The men lowered sail, and the Pickerel began drifting. The wind was from the southeast, so they were slowly being pressed northwest, up against Punta Praet.

Mr. Vaugirard, the XO, ordered a sea anchor be built of spars and canvas, and that helped slow the boat, but the leeway was inexorable. The XO ordered Johnston to the bow with a lead line, to test the water's depth, and the other four crew below, to start converting the useless gasoline engine into an anchor which might *hold* the boat. When Johnston began ticking off the rapidly shelving bottom, the four sailors brought up the engine, wrapped in a line.

Just then, Yoder heard diesels from the southwest, the direction of the wind. He called out, and Vaugirard turned to see the shadowy form of a Japanese corvette take shape in the murk. "Shit!" he said.

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Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Mon Apr 15, 2013 2:17 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
The End of the Pickerel

Again, last night's Pigboats game was a classic. Last time, we had ended on a cliffhanger, where the XO, Lt. Bob Vaugirard, had just anchored the junk Pickerel off Punta Praet in a typhoon, when they sighted a Japanese navy (IJN) corvette coming towards them through the driving rain and swirling wind.

The XO grabbed two small, wiry, dark haired men and sent the rest below, including the aviators and Lt. jg Yoder, who was both tall and blond. He showed the men how to apply grease from the crankcase of the engine they had just broken up on their face, legs, and arms; to turn their fishbelly-white skin - an occupational hazard when subs are underwater all day and only surface at night - dark brown. They stripped off their uniforms, and stained and ripped their skivvies to look from a distance like the sort of clothes a set of down at the heels Filippino fishermen might wear.

By this time the corvette, which was moving slowly in the poor visibility near shore, had come close enough to make out some details. As Yoder swung through the hatch, the Japanese prisoner - who had been patiently sawing his ankle rope against a sharp rib down below - snapped his foot rope and started to dash uo on deck. Yoder grabbed a rope, and using his Rope skill brought him down with a loud crash. Yoder leapt on his back and hogtied him, then stuffed his mouth with a spare IJN uniform.

A Japanese sailor on the corvette shouted out in Japanese, but the crew shook their heads. He tossed over a line, miming the crew to catch it. The XO, not able to speak anything but English and his native Cajun Creole French, decided to pretend that he could speak Spanish. "PRONTO MATADOR OYA POYA ESTA MUY PEQUENA!" he shouted angrily, using the skill Adapt, and his Trait Big Fat Mouth. He threw the rope back to the corvette.

The Japanese sailor points to the loom of Punta Praet, and mimed tossing the rope back again. Vaugirard did not understand, so he goes to the tiller and yells at his crew "MUÑECA CARAMBA HASTA SIEMPRE LA REVOLUCION!!". The IJN sailor yelled something at the corvette's bridge in Japanese, whereupon the XO hurled a basket at the corvette and made shooing gestures. "GAUCHO VOLARE HO HO!!" he shouted ay the corvette's bridge. The sailor raised his hands in surrender and walked back towards the bridge. The corvette turned and started away quickly, as a machine gunner opened up with a long trailing burst into the Pickerel's hull. Three of the rescued fliers were killed, and one flier and one crewman were injured.

The sea poured in though the gaping holes the machine gun had opened in the junk's sides. The XO dashed below, as he and Yoder stuffed sailcloth into the holes to try and stem the horrendous leaks, while one seaman worked the hand pumps, and another gave the wounded first aid. They got the leaking barely under control - the pump had to be manned continuously, but it was no longer gaining on them. Yoder noticed the XO's strange reactions, and realized he had lost his battle with the stress, staring off and talking to himself - he failed his stress roll - and suggested the XO might like to help the two good swimmers fother the hull with a sail. He did so, and it kept the XO busy, but didn't improve the leaks much.

Meanwhile the Pike reached the rendezvous point and the Pickerel wasn't there. They tried listening, and Lt. jg O'Grady heard the sounds of twin screws at very low revolutions - a navy boat moving slowly towards them. He warned the Skipper, who held the Pike right where it was. The boat moved slowly over them, without hearing a thing - sonar being useless in the downpour. They tried getting up very close to the cape, but there was no sign of the Pickerel.

Finally, the Skipper and Mr. O'Grady poured over the charts, and using Research and Analyze, they realized that with the nasty wind and the currents, the Pickerel probably never made it past Punta Praet. They headed back on the surface towards Punta Praet, O'Grady lsitened to the Spanish language propaganda broadcasts, and heard that IJN planes had sunk a submarine in the Gulf of Davao today. "Hey Skipper! They think we're sunk - or at least they brag about it!"

Eventually, they reached Punta Praet and took the remaining crew and fliers aboard. The Pickerel sank within ten minutes of the pumps not being manned. The Skipper looked the XO over as he climbed aboard, then told him to get a shower and he's be waiting for his report in an hour.

End of Session.

-clash

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Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:33 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
Pigboats - "I'm Essentially Scum"

The Pike surfaced after sundown. The rain had softened into a falling mist. The Skipper ordered the sub to head for Cabo San Agustin, straight across the gulf from northwest to southeast. Mr. Rizzo was OOD as the XO headed for the Skipper's cabin to hand in his report. He looked ashen, colorless. He rapped on the doorframe. "Enter!" called out Roy Campbell. (What follows is verbatim)

He came in and handed over the report, tight-lipped. "I came to report our activity sir." Campbell: "Oh, right. You. What's got your panties tied in a bunch then? Seems like you caught plenty of pilots." Campbell pours himself a cup, black, and blows on it before taking a large gulp. Vaugirard thinks about fake Spanish and where it landed him. Campbell "pour yourself a cup and spill. Not the coffee."

Vaugirard "I screwed up" Campbell "How so?" "We got arraigned by a Japanese Corvette, and the plan I chose costed 3 lives" "And?" Vaugirard is so pale he's almost transparent. "I could have just let them bag us" "And what would that have accomplished?" Vaugirard "Those kids would still be alive" Campbell "Not likely."

Vaugirard "Oh come on, they're sons of bitches but they still capture prisoners! Especially me. They would have rubbed their hands" Campbell "Yes, and then they starve the POW's, beat them, and chop off their heads if they felt like it. The Japs treat prisoners like less than crap."

"Listen. I know what you're trying to do but that won't get the screams out of my head." "Nope it won't. But you can't let this haunt you." Vaugirard "I'm not sure I could watch anyone who was on the Pickerel straight in the eye" "Why not? afraid to see how much they still trust you?" "Trust me?" Campbell "Of course. You're their Officer." "I know I wouldn't trust myself"

Campbell "They trust me, even. And I'm essentially scum." Vaugirard "Well.. You got your success streak to your credit. You're no scum! You're untypical, sure - not scum" "Oh, no, I'm scum. A professional Gambler. But, here, I'm the Skipper, and I have to meet that expectation." "Oh don't worry. I'll do my part. I won't let anybody down. Until we're safe at dock." "Moping around won't help anyone then." Vaugirard "It's not about moping. It's about doing what is right." "Right." "Exactly." "Now, get back to work."

Vaugirard went to the forward torpedo room to check on the prisoner. On his way back, he ran into Johnston, who was on the Pickerel with him. "Hey, sir! Practicing your Spanish?" The XO blushed. "What do you mean?" "I can't believe how you kept them damn Japs at bay! That was smart thinking! I'll be telling my grandkids about how Mr. V saved us with hokey Spanish and a towering rage! I was about to pee my pants, sir! No lie!"

When he got to the bridge, the Skipper was scanning the horizon. Off the starboard bow, he caught a glimpse of smoke. (Yes, the skipper, not the Lookouts) "Smoke across the horizon! The ship is below the horizon! Bring us about to the south. Steer One Eight Oh, full speed." As they got closer, the quarry resolved into a single tanker of about 7000 tons escorted by a frigate, racing up and down beside the zigzagging tanker.

The Pike moved to the side and pulled the plug. The Skipper sighted in on the tanker. "Ready one through four. This is a shooting observation." "We have a solution, Skipper" said Vaugirard He swung to the frigate, skipping on oblivious. "Fire one! Fire two! Fire three!" He swung back to the tanker. "Fire four!" "All fish running hot, straight, and normal!" BOOOM! The frigate was obliterated. "Now we have the tanker at our mercy!" KABOOOM! "The tanker is on fire, she's slowing down and listing to port! Bring our stern tubes to bear!" "Reversing course to Two Seven Oh, sir!" "Fire five!"

BAM! The middle of the tanker lifted up out of the water, her back broken. "That's all she wrote boys! Bring her up!"

End of Session

_________________
Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:16 pm
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
Whoa Clash, dude, that was some finale!! And the way you rounded it off:

flyingmice wrote:
BAM! The middle of the tanker lifted up out of the water, her back broken. "That's all she wrote boys! Bring her up!"

Wish I'd been there.*

Gotta coupla questions for you:
1. How much historical research did you do prior to writing this game? It seems extraordinarily realistic.
2. A campaign like this has the potential to go on for several weeks. Or does it? Is it hard to keep up the tension session after session, and, if so, what do you do about it? Do you f'rex weave in some downtime- shore leave- mess-room conversations, arguments, periods of watching and waiting, opportunities for reflection, cut scenes where you have a member of the navy top brass in an office ordering attacks and troop movemnets, and then just afterwards a scene where the men involved in/affected by that order are actually carrying it out or maybe bellyaching to each other about it? Or a scene with their wives or girlfriends back home say?

Leo

*I mean in the game of course, not on the boat!!

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Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:56 am
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
catty_big wrote:
Whoa Clash, dude, that was some finale!! And the way you rounded it off:

flyingmice wrote:
BAM! The middle of the tanker lifted up out of the water, her back broken. "That's all she wrote boys! Bring her up!"

Wish I'd been there.*


Hi Leo!

Doing anything Monday nights? :D

Quote:
Gotta coupla questions for you:
1. How much historical research did you do prior to writing this game? It seems extraordinarily realistic.


Lots. I spent about $250 on books - from sub novels to reference books. It also includes years of reading. It's one of my favorite literary genres. :D

Quote:
2. A campaign like this has the potential to go on for several weeks. Or does it? Is it hard to keep up the tension session after session, and, if so, what do you do about it? Do you f'rex weave in some downtime- shore leave- mess-room conversations, arguments, periods of watching and waiting, opportunities for reflection, cut scenes where you have a member of the navy top brass in an office ordering attacks and troop movemnets, and then just afterwards a scene where the men involved in/affected by that order are actually carrying it out or maybe bellyaching to each other about it? Or a scene with their wives or girlfriends back home say?


It's been going on for four months now, and the first mission is nearly over. Another week or two and they'll be heading back to Australia. It's easy to keep up the tension. Subs are made for tension - and the Stress mechanic helps keep it ratcheting up. Shore leave is vital - it's how the crew relieve the stress accumulated in the patrol. It's also where the Skipper and XO find out what the next mission is. I do all those things you list, though not cut scenes - the scenes are always interactive. The XO has a wife he detests back home, and a blossoming romance with his Wren driver back in Fremantle. The Skipper is new - he was an emergency replacement for the other skipper, whose player had to bow out right at the beginning. The character fell down a hatch and broke his leg. :D

So far, it seems impossible to not have a really good session - and frequently an awesome session - with this game. The playtest missions were awesome as well - I compiled them here if you want to read 'em - http://www.flyingmice.com/Pigboats-Playtest.pdf

-clash

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Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Sat Apr 27, 2013 9:23 am
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
flyingmice wrote:
Doing anything Monday nights? :D

Well, you’re five hours behind us (I just checked it) so I’d have to stay up quite late; I have insomnia but not every night so I never know when this is my night for sleep, so would be loath to stay up late just in case. But yeah, maybe one day, if you need an NPC for an hour or so or if someone else breaks their leg (the ladders on the subs pretty vertiginous are they?). How are you running the sessions, via google hangouts?

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Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:31 am
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Post Re: What we played this week and what we enjoyed about it.
catty_big wrote:
flyingmice wrote:
Doing anything Monday nights? :D

Well, you’re five hours behind us (I just checked it) so I’d have to stay up quite late; I have insomnia but not every night so I never know when this is my night for sleep, so would be loath to stay up late just in case. But yeah, maybe one day, if you need an NPC for an hour or so or if someone else breaks their leg (the ladders on the subs pretty vertiginous are they?). How are you running the sessions, via google hangouts?


Rats! I will hopefully dragoon you in once in a while!

And accidents always happen! :D

-clash

_________________
Flying Mice Games/Better Mousetrap Games: http://jalan.flyingmice.com/flyingmice.html
Designing: Lowell Was Right!
Last Release: IHW: Pigboats, Volant - Kingdoms of Air and Stone
I FLY BY NIGHT Blog: http://iflybynight.blogspot.com/


Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:38 pm
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