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Lillian Goulston

A member registered Nov 25, 2015 · View creator page →

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GM'd our first game last week and have another planned for this Thursday! It was my first time GMing anything and some of the players' first times with TTRPGs in general. I'm happy it went well. That being said, I have some concerns with the Overthree encounter in the Terabyte Boys one-shot, as well as with character creation.

1. Overthree is a LONG fight for new players struggling to learn the mechanics. Not every group gets the chance to fight before this. My players took a stealthier option and successfully pickpocketed Quade outside the Im-X visitor center. I rewarded them with a modded prototype Multipass given to Quade by the Boys as a means to enter the auction. This means that Overthree was their first fight. For my group, the combat took over an hour.

12 health is a LOT to throw at a new group. I get that Dreamers are designed to be a Big Deal, but if I hadn't brought Diego and Olivaw to the auction, it would've dragged on for hours.  Each of my players spent 5-10 minutes each turn just figuring out what to do. They're new players - they had to check the player reference for everything. I was so caught up in helping them that I completely forgot that Overthree was supposed to deal damage.

I decided to try and cut the fight length by having Overthree leave the auction site and wreak havoc elsewhere. Unfortunately, one of my more experienced TTRPG players correctly pointed out that this would be a Run Away action. This means Overthree had to roll against the number of opponents it was facing +7. That meant five players, Olivaw, Diego, and the Terabyte Boys (who moved in solid state). Even for a Dreamer, that's a lot, and it meant everyone got a free attack against it. This killed the already sluggish pacing. I had to make Overthree tear off its own tendril to hit the -1 roll threshold and go into hibernation at 1 Health to end the fight. Otherwise, it could have taken an extra half hour. (Luckily, Diego carried the fight with the gold-plated Omnidyne pistol I gave him, and the Terabyte Boys provided some good meat shields.)

2. Throwing everything in at character creation time was overwhelming for my players. I had to throw in a Session 0 just to help them make their PCs. They're struggling to figure out the purpose of all the mechanics in their sheets, and choosing assets from their Occupation AND two extra Assets was a lot. They were confused ("It says I pick two Assets, but I already got two from my Occupation,") but also wowed by the generosity ("Wow, I get two MORE Assets?!"). Is there a way to split up some of the character creation mechanics over a campaign? I'm reminded of GMTK's video on making tutorials for complex games. It's more talking about stuff like Civ or Total War, but it's still a good reference.

Anyway, those are my two main gripes for now. I understand that this game is trying to lower the complexity a bit in order to not alienate new players, but there's still work to be done. (Also, if there's a Discord or subreddit for this game to share ideas with other GMs, I'd really appreciate a link.)

It's done.