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LFP A couple of inter-system one-shots

riderv3

Member
Faster Combatant
First off, thank you very much for the detailed feedback. I appreciate the time you have put into this.

VTT Medium
  • I am very happy with Discord as a gaming medium. Solid audio/video, chat, dice rolling capability. I am a bit surprised and very happy that even over the extreme distance between us, the A/V was solid.
Number of Players
  • My vast experience with group size has been with 4-5 players, which works well for the combat heavy and roleplay light style of my local group.
  • I agree with you that a group size of 3, perhaps 4 would provide us with a better rounded experience for campaign play.
  • I did however very much enjoy the 2 player dynamic, with the great interactions between your two characters. This is something lacking in my local games, I think a result of a combination of player styles, large group (5), and focus on mechanics/combat.
GM Decisions
  • I found that both you and Jessica were asking very interesting questions during play, which I really enjoyed. It made me feel like you were invested in the game, and what was happening.
  • The module/adventure/operation we are playing through is sparse on detail, so there were a number of items that were introduced on the fly. I am trying to get away from very intensive prep work as I have done in the past, as I feel that it becomes more restrictive.
NPCs
  • I did leave out a potential NPC encounter at Baughman's apartment due to time constraints. I agree that more NPC interaction would have been fun.
PC backstory and integration
  • I think that having connections between PCs is very important from the start. I have had some poor experiences otherwise - a PC I was running was killed within 10 minutes of introduction (this was DnD 3.5).
Pacing
  • This is a big one, the mystery/horror genre is new for me, and I did feel things were slow moving. The adventure as written seems to assume that the PCs will gloss over the apartment, something to the effect of "We search the apartment!", and the GM provides an info dump.
  • The structure overall is a very mundane start, ramping up quickly towards the end. The intent as written is for the entire operation to be resolved in one session, solving the pacing problem.
  • All that being said, I do feel that pacing is one of my shortcomings. Something I need to work on.
  • I like your suggestions a lot, thank you.
Emotional Rollercoaster
  • I completely agree with your assessment. This is a part of gaming that I am missing, that I am looking for to experience. My play experience has been dominated by "mechanical" play, with emotional content being delivered mainly through combat. I don't think this is inherently bad, as that is how my local gaming group enjoys play, but after running Blades in the Dark I see that there is a whole world of gaming that I am missing.
  • This is an aspect of GMing that I need to work on. I feel that this and Pacing are two of my weakest areas.
Variation of Scenes
  • I have always had trouble with hard framing and cutting scenes. I enjoy following the characters through a scene and allowing things to progress organically, but I admit that is not always the best method.
  • Moving away from the modes of gameplay I am entrenched with, this is another skill I need to cultivate.
Horror
  • The lack of horror in the first session is my fault, definitely. Were I able to pace the operation to fit into one session as intended, there would have been a strong progression from mundane to terrible.
  • I think the bathroom area where Mr. Baughman perished might have been an opportunity, to push on the feeling of isolation and despair (SAN check vs Helplessness), but I did not think of it until after the fact.
Dice Rolling
  • This was an interesting case. The rules want us to not roll unless failure is interesting, and suggest particularly that while investigating, to illustrate the high level of training agents have by providing information without rolling where PCs have high scores.
  • This falls into my belief that players should always get the clues, otherwise things grind to a halt. I have played in a game like this where the entire game ended, due to being unable to find the clues needed to proceed.
  • On the other hand, rolling dice is really fun.
  • After some thought and some reading, I think a better method may be to prompt for rolls, but instead of not getting the information on a failure, have the result be success with a price. You find the clue but in the process attract attention, leave behind incriminating evidence, something of that nature. More tools to add to my toolbox.
Getting to Know the System
  • I agree with your assessment, we have not engaged with the system thus far.
  • I am thinking that perhaps the starter adventure is a bit too truncated to really experience the whole depth of the system. We could look at playing a second operation, something more fully realized to get a better feel for the Delta Green system.

Thank you for the feedback! Very detailed and helpful - I look forward to more games.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
I have always had trouble with hard framing and cutting scenes. I enjoy following the characters through a scene and allowing things to progress organically, but I admit that is not always the best method.
I wouldn't go so far as to make cut scenes, but rather organically switching perspective. E.g. I would have introduced an old lady with hands full of clothes that need washing when we were investigating the the washing machines. This would have resulted in a moment of shock to have been detected and some kind of improvised roleplaying. And if you have made her nosy and protective, this could have become really intense. Up to the point that we could have feared that she will talk about our involvement to the heirs or police or neighborhood. Thus, it would have become a moral decision on what to do with her.

The structure overall is a very mundane start, ramping up quickly towards the end. The intent as written is for the entire operation to be resolved in one session, solving the pacing problem.
(...)
The lack of horror in the first session is my fault, definitely. Were I able to pace the operation to fit into one session as intended, there would have been a strong progression from mundane to terrible.
I had this several times during my own GMing. Especially when my planning was off or when it was one of those rare moments I GMed a module. My solution is to either adjust the content on the fly, so that it becomes a complete session (often, this doesn't work though), or introduce those rollercoaster moments in addition to predetermined scenes, i.e. like in the above example where I switch organically from an investigation encounter to a roleplay encounter while instantaneously increasing the challenge and thrill by some notches.
Pacing is not only about what we found out story-wise, but can also be experienced by overcome challenges (e.g. via dice rolls) or emotional tension and relief. So it can be used. For me, this is what it means to be a "Master of the Moment".

After some thought and some reading, I think a better method may be to prompt for rolls, but instead of not getting the information on a failure, have the result be success with a price. You find the clue but in the process attract attention, leave behind incriminating evidence, something of that nature. More tools to add to my toolbox.
That is a great idea! I merely thought about "failing forward", so in case you don't succeed, you only get hints on how to proceed instead of answers. So, e.g. even if we wouldn't have seen the scratch marks on the first door (awareness), we could have seen the one on the second door and you could have described that there was this nagging feeling all along with her, that something was not right when we entered. Even a HUMINT roll could have given some clues maybe. After additional examination, it could have been found the second time.
Or you could have only alluded to the fact that his hand writing was stern OR obsessed OR he was just a strong person OR he was maybe drinking alcohol during writing. You can mix in wrong information that can be cleared after more investigation.
I often use a snow ball (fail forward) system for investigation / leg work / matrix searches in Shadowrun. People get hints and look for information from different angles and can co-op.
Also, when it comes to knowledge rolls I often tier the answers, like when some PC has 60% history and rolls 40-60% he knows all that I thought of. But if he rolls 60-70% instead, he almost got everything right, but some information is just missing or wrong. Even less, when he rolls 70-80%. Once we reach 80-90% I would include serious misconceptions and not provide the necessary information anymore, but the PC knows that he/she doesn't know much about this. On 90-100% though, he isn't even aware of that and I will lead him/her astray (in a friendly or funny or thrilling or hurting manner). In contrast, when he rolls 30-40% he will get more information than I originally thought of, probably spiced in his/her specialty. On 20-30% and 10-20% this gradually increases so that he may also receive two pieces of important information that way. On 1-10% it is a dramatic insight. Just a thought of how I would normally do it in Shadowrun (it is a little bit difficult with percentages though and I would make that decision intuitively and on the fly, i.e. I surely wouldn't check a table for the individual percentages that may define the tiers).
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
Yes, of course, Gerald! Tomorrow 9pm German Time is slotted in my family calendar as game-time! I'm looking forward to it.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
Thank you, Gerald, for this great session yesterday! For me, it was a blast.
Once again, I want to give you some feedback:
  • I still found that Jessica and I were a great team of players. We complemented each other and it was never boring, even though most of the time there were no NPCs in the session. I'm not sure whether a third PC would make it better or worse.
  • Your NPCs were convincing and I liked them.
  • If I may ask, I still do not get why a 70 year old woman would go poaching with two 30 year old men and she is not armed while the other two are. She didn't seem like the hardy huntress to me. Was she an "insider" from the wildlife preservation bureau who made some extra money? Then again, she was way beyond working age. And she also didn't seem to be their mother...
  • The Pacing was great and I agree that the slower pacing in the first session (which I noticed but did not mind) would have been balanced by the latter part in case we had been able to play everything in one session. Thank you for GMing two sessions in a row!
  • Again thank you for staying so calm with all the inconveniences (short sessions, late start, sudden breaks, etc.)!
  • Emotionally, the mood got gradually more intense. I liked that very much. The short comical episodes made a good contrast. And you also rised the horror level.
  • Good call to point out, that the arcane book was nothing more than fake for my PC as a scientist. Originally, I had not planned to make him so scientific, but it fitted his intellect score and was a nice thing to play with in the moment.
  • Also, good point calling for sanity checks in those situations. It made it feel more intense and lovecraftian.
  • But I especially liked your GMing style when I failed my perception test, but instead of not finding anything, you chose to let me find something else but for a cost. It fitted my PC to stumble and fall into the soot. Also, after you gave me this scene, you turned to Jessica and asked her, what she had been doing in the meantime (instead of asking her, what she does). This was very fair and clear and showed simultaneous situations.
  • Also, I liked your description of Marlene.
  • It was not very wise to just open the latch, but I figured that the first-timer Dr. Marc Zimmer would not leave someone in this tank longer than necessary (who is obviously held prisoner and can't be a monster as she was speaking to him). I hope you two didn't mind. I like that he made a big mistake on his first mission and how quickly this escalated. It made for a great ending (better than just burning everything down, I believe).
So in summary: Great GMing, Gerald!

So, how would this normally? Did the doctor had the chance to read that book he pocketed? I'm not sure how he will react on having seen something like this. He will probably not be the same man afterwards. Is there experience points or something in Delta Green, some way to improve one's PC?

And finally, how are we going to proceed. Of course I'm willing to GM for you two (or even one more if someone likes to), but you know how my circumstances are and that there might be sudden interruptions. So, either you GM on (more of Delta Green or something else) or I GM something you would like to test. Your choice.
 

riderv3

Member
Faster Combatant
Thank you Stephan, I had fun also!
  • So I did miss a part with character advancement - during play, when a character fails a skill check (where they have at least 1% rating), put a check next to the skill. At the end of the operation, add 1d4% to each checked skill, then remove all checks.
  • I enjoyed your portrayal of Dr. Zimmer. His innate humanity and desire to save the victim in the septic tank despite signs of danger made for a memorable scene. I feel this sort of interaction is important for Delta Green, as it explores the horrors of the Mythos on a personal level.
  • A couple of hours spent skimming the Liber Damnatus would reveal the nature of the book with various instruction on the preservation and animation of the dead. The section most annotated by Mr. Baughman is a ritual that purports to revive someone who has died. Dr. Zimmer would get a basic overview of the ritual itself. Dr. Zimmer could spend his downtime activity to study the tome in depth (instead of taking care of responsibilities to his Bonds), gaining knowledge of the ritual, a boost to Unnatural and Occult skills, and losing some Sanity.
  • The next phase of the game is the Home phase, where we would have short scenes/vignettes showing each agent's normal life, and in Dr. Zimmer's case, how his relationship with his Ex-wife has been affected by his experience. Then each player chooses a personal pursuit: to improve stats/skills, take care of obligations, get therapy, study the Unnatural, etc.
As for the future, I see that my GMing experience has been a bit narrow, as the vast majority of my playtime has been with the same group of players. I would love to experience your GMing style - I think I could learn a lot. If there is something you would like to run that would be great! I understand your family may make this difficult, so I would be also happy to run something - Godbound perhaps.

I enjoyed Delta Green a lot; I have more to learn, but it was satisfying. It would make for a fun longer running series if we decide to go that way.
 

riderv3

Member
Faster Combatant
The group of illegal hunters was sort of a random element. I wanted something to provide an active problem at the cabin, so I randomly generated 3 Americans. While browsing photos of midwestern America and Nebraska, an odd group of hikers caught my eye - that's where they came from.

Their significance would be based on the PCs reaction to them really. Cannon fodder, victims for Marlene to spike the horror, and in this case, since Dr. Zimmer caught that they were an oddly mismatched trio, perhaps something more. Schroedinger's NPCs in a way.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
Actually, I was talking about the book about the natives (which is more his specialty than the occult). As far as I understand, he was able to pocket that book and the pouch containing feathers, hair and so on. He was not able to pocket the Liber Damnatus and was surely supposed to hand it over as soon as possible. So, I would assume that he wouldn't have had the chance to study it.

But then again, I believe he was shocked about what had happened and the big question loomed above him: COULD THIS REALLY HAVE BEEN THE WORK OF NECROMANCY?? As a scientist he would naturally resist the thought that this had been real. But first, he discovered a very unnatural glass sphere (which he pocketed before leaving and wouldn't tell Delta Green about it). Then, he became witness of a person who should have been dead for 16 years. What's more, she was unnaturally swift and strong and even bit Agent Lane. DID HE REALLY SEE SOME KIND OF ZOMBIE? His inquisitive mind wouldn't have been able to stand the thirst for knowledge. If he believed in the occult rituals of the Aztecs, Sumerians and Babylonians from a cultural, historical and anthropological perspective, he surely could consider that there may be things in the world, the world doesn't know about. So when there are even retellings from the earliest of times and the Sumerians made sure that at least those recordings are to be preserved if nothing else (as there are a great many of those!), it stands to reason, that there might be some truth to them after all. I believe, Dr. Marc Zimmer noted in this moment, that the reason for his great interest in the occult in the past (especially architectural structures and runes left behind by the Aztec kingdoms, many now underwater) was that he subconsciously believed, no, hoped, that there is something out there, that is not merely learned and structured like all the sciences so far. He believes in wonder. Within reason, of course.

So, his brain would be flashing with all these sudden insights (also about himself) shortly after he made sure that Agent Curry is informed and Agent Lane is not dying. He would stoop to pick up the sphere and the dropped vial. He will tell Agent Lane that he will again look for some hints and also retrieve their "weapons" "in case she returns". So he will shortly inspect the septic tank, go around the cabin, inspect again the pole and the chain for hints of struggle and how firm the pole is still in the ground, and then he will enter the cabin again from the front. He will retrieve the knife and the crowbar and spot again the Liber Damnatus. And a thought creeps into his mind. While it fully evolves, he will inspect the sidehouse and retrieve some gasoline. Leaving Agent Lane outside, he will pretend to just bring the gasoline inside the building and looking for more hints. Instead though, he will take pictures of all pages of the Liber Damnatus with his mobile phone for later study. Just in case. Something is not right here. He will also take pictures of everything they found. The place itself, scratch marks, the runes on the knife, the ritual chamber... Sometimes, clues become evident only later. Although he has a great memory, this lets him check his conclusions later with the pictures or show things for which he hasn't even looked for before reading the Liber Damnatus. Because that is what he intends to do. Hopefully, he will be ready until the reinforcements come back. He is just happy, that the creature, Marlene, hasn't come back.

I definitely missed the following rolls: Alertness, Athletics, Search, Latin, Navigation, and CON (but I believe this does not apply to CON, right? Can attributes increase?). Another question, what do the specializations help here?

I would love to continue, but even more so to try something new. Godbound would be great.
On the other hand, although difficult with the current family situation, I still offer to GM and would rather suggest that I GM next because that's fair.
Can we count on Jessica to join us again? Please choose one of the below if you would like to:
  • D&D
  • The Dark Eye (Das Schwarze Auge)
  • Star Wars
  • World of Darkness
  • Splintered Moon (Splittermond)
  • Dungeon World
  • Shadowrun
 

riderv3

Member
Faster Combatant
Skimming the book "Sky Devils: Archetypical Figures in Native American Mythology" would reveal a disturbing thesis on the true nature of certain Native American legends with seemingly mad but very well documented arguments. (Spending a downtime activity reading it thoroughly would increase Unnatural skill at a Sanity cost). I think that Case Officer Curry would have Agent Lane and Dr. Zimmer place any suspicious material into a "Green Box", an prepaid storage locker in a private storage facility meant to hold tools, weapons, and evidence. If Dr. Zimmer was interested, he could gain access to the artifacts without too much trouble, though it would be against general Delta Green policy. Dr. Zimmer may have a short career with Delta Green, as his curiosities increase his understanding of the universe, at the cost of his sanity.

You can add 1d4% to each of the skills mentioned, but indeed, not CON. I'm sorry, I am not sure what you are referring to as specializations?

Jessica will definitely be joining us again, and I have always wanted to try Dungeon World. Please let me know if time constraints will make GMing difficult for you - I am happy to run games as well as be a player.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
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Ok, I'll prepare a one-shot for Dungeon World. I'll come back to you concerning PC creation, but would also ask you to comment in case you already have an idea.

Dr. Marc Zimmer will probably read the 160 pages of Sky Devils on their drive back to civilization.
With specializations I mean e.g. "Perseverance" in CON. High values seem to have those specializations.
 

riderv3

Member
Faster Combatant
Ah, the specializations for attributes are simply descriptive. Meant to give agents more personality.

Studying "Sky Devils" will give Dr. Zimmer +1% in Unnatural skill, and he will lose 1d3 Sanity. Dr. Zimmer begins to perhaps piece together scraps of knowledge he had accumulated but not pieced together from his archaeological projects. The conclusions and "evidence" put forth by author Karen Barr further reinforce the doctor's idea that there are non-human things and forces that exist, that maybe reality as he knows it is NOT all there is.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
Ah, the specializations for attributes are simply descriptive. Meant to give agents more personality.
Oh, that's a pity. I thought maybe that it would give a slight bonus in situations applicable to it.

So, Dr. Zimmer will read the Sky Devils on the way back and research a little bit more when back home. Over the weeks that follow (I assume they do), he will eventually give in to the insecurity that nags him all the time: Is this real?? His perception of reality begins to crack (he reached a breaking point! What now?) and darker thoughts creep into his mind. Nightmares will keep him awake at night and even sleeping pills will often not work to his dismay.
He will research Karen Barr and his works, while getting a little sloppy at the end of the semester leading to the director slightly reprimanding him. I believe you said, that it is autumn, so during halloween and the autumn break, when he was told to rest and start fresh after, he will finally give in to reading and studying the printed out pictures of the Liber Damnatus assuming that he studied the Delta Green procedures with evidence material before going on the mission and knowing exactly that they wouldn't check the pictures he took with his cell phone (what would the study of the book entail stat-wise?).
He will surely become convinced that there is something in the nooks of society that tries to stay hidden. He notices what it does to him, but in a somehow self-hurting manner he also knows that he will not be able to stop himself from asking himself the painful and corrupting questions: What did I live for? Am I strong enough? Or will this bring me to a brink? Slipping into a form of obsession and maybe even addiction, he will fervently try to cling onto his teaching works and block out all thought about what he realized may be true.
He has become even more funny or rather queer during teachings, but sometimes falling into unusual somber silence.
He will become a little bit more courageous and make his interest for the pet shop owner a little bit more obvious, bringing along donuts e.g. which will seem unusual but nice at first, but end in many dogs barking to get a bite and him being told not to bring food anymore. On the bright side, she might agree to grab lunch together some time.
But when he is alone in his appartement at night, there are times, he becomes moody, melancholic or even restless and either cries or goes for a walk trying to cling on and hardly succeeding.
 

riderv3

Member
Faster Combatant
If Dr. Zimmer chooses to devote his time to studying the Liber Damnatus, he would gain +2% Occult, +4% Unnatural, and lose 1d8 SAN. He would also learn a ritual that purports to raise the dead, though the poor quality of the photocopy has made a few of the more detailed diagrams difficult to read. The time spent on the tome, and resulting neglect of more mundane duties results in the reduction of a Bond by 1d4.
 

Stephan Hornick

Community Goblin
Staff member
Wizard of Adventure
Faster Combatant
Adventure Builder
Adventure Master
He starts to mistrust his Mentor, Tom Shaw, as he surely must have known but let him face the Unknown unknowingly. It has to be noted though, that his relationship to Tom Shaw mostly represents his relationship with the whole Delta Green department, so he starts to mistrust every member.
 

riderv3

Member
Faster Combatant
I am very sorry, Jessica's charity organization has just set their activity date for the same time as our scheduled game. Can we re-schedule?
 
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