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Not sure how to start a new Savage Torg campaign
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Which way sounds more interesting?
Start at the moment of the invasion with pre-gens
6%
 6%  [ 1 ]
Let the players make their own characters and start later in the invasion
26%
 26%  [ 4 ]
Do both; Run a "prologue" with pregens, then switch to player-designed PCs after a session or two
66%
 66%  [ 10 ]
Total Votes : 15

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HawaiianBrian
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Not sure how to start a new Savage Torg campaign Reply with quote

In a couple of weeks I'll be introducing my regular group to Torg. For those of you who don't remember this classic from 20 years ago, the gist is that our world is being invaded by other "realities," other worlds where things work differently. Eastern Europe is transformed to a horror reality, the Eastern U.S. to a "Lost World" type reality, Egypt to a pulp Indiana Jones/The Rocketeer reality, and in other places in the world there is cyberpunk, wild west, pirates, Wuxia, etc. (Some of these are from the original game and some I've made up.). One of the great things about Torg is that it allows all these genres to mix fluidly, so the party could be made up of a gunslinger, a wizard, a ninja and a cyborg, and due to the way the game works nobody is really at an advantage over another. Adventures mix these genres as well.

My confusion comes from how to start the campaign. There are two very different ways I'm considering, along with their benefits and drawbacks:

1) The characters are all from our world ("Core Earthers") and, at the moment of the invasion, happen to be in New York City. It's a few days before Christmas 2012 and weird storms turn into a wormhole vortex that suddenly opens in Times Square, unleashing dinosaurs and lizardmen into the city, as almost everything around instantly changes into a jungle and crumbling concrete architecture. The characters must escape from this chaos and danger.

2) We begin a couple of weeks into the invasion, after the reality storms have stabilized and different "realms" are fully in place. The characters are from all over and have met and started adventuring together.

The advantage to the first method is that it introduces players to the world at the same rate as their characters, and emphasizes the suddenness and the chaos of the invasion. It could make it more visceral to the players.

The advantage to the second method is that it allows players to create whatever character they most want to be (instead of forcing them to play mundanes from our world), one of the things that makes Torg so great to begin with.

A third option would be to do both, and in this case I'd have the players take over pre-gen characters who are CIA operatives (more Mission:Impossible than James Bond) trying to stop international art thieves who have stolen a small Greek statue from the Met and are trying to sell it to a some mega-rich guy who has learned the statue contains the Philosopher's Stone (the characters wouldn't know this). The invasion happens just as they intercept the drop. Just a thought.

I might prefer the latter as a player, but that's because I already know so much about the game world. I'm truly stymied about which direction to go. What would be most appealing to you and why?

(Here's more info on Torg, and here's the Savage Worlds conversion I'll be using.)

tl;dr I'm torn between starting a Torg campaign with Core Earth characters "in the thick of it" in NYC at the moment of the invasion, or with player-designed characters a couple weeks later.
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Count Zero
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do both. Start the game with Core Earth characters who get dinosaurs dropped on them. Once they escape NY, have them learn of world events through news reports or from government higher-ups they may work for. Flash forward the timeline 4 weeks and ask the players if they want to keep their characters or bring in a new one.
I ran a lot of TORG when it first came out and a few of my players loved trying different character types as new sourcebooks came out. Why discourage it?
I like the idea of one-shot prologue games.
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Captain_Sabatini
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You seem to have a perfect opportunity to enact an idea I read in a Dungeon Magazine article. Start the first (half?) of the session with normals, be they CIA operatives, tourists in Times Square, or a surly taxi driver whose wife has left with the kids and who is succumbing to the boredom of living alone in a small apartment. Then throw the crazy at them. You don't even really need character sheets or rolls, just narrate. This way there is nothing holding you back from killing off a character or two with "rocks fall" scenarios and you can really turn their worlds upside down because you won't be constrained to rules and rolls.

After they have escaped/died/gone missing/gained robot arms then bring in their designed characters. Even better if they want to adapt characters from the narrative you already have a basis for what their characters can do from the narrative making building that much easier (not that Savage Worlds needs help in that regards).
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AlienMasters
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Count Zero, do both. Starting from the very beginning is a great opportunity for the reasons you state Brian, and can be a lot of fun for the players. Once the dust has cleared just let anyone that wants to retire their prologue character and choose from the broader scope of Torg PC possibilities.

For my 50 Fathoms Campaign my players started off playing Pirates of the Spanish Main for a couple sessions, with both the characters and the players blissfully unaware of the existence of 50 Fathoms. When they encountered the storm that carried them over the terror of that passage really brought the characters together as a crew. The players really got into the spirit of exploring/surviving in a new world, and could feel some of what those poor lost pirates on the ship must have felt. It really set up a great campaign perfectly as they got to learn Caribdus along with their PCs.

In that game, as PCs have died or new players have joined they are given the full option of 50 Fathom character creation options, and the PC diversity has grown as the crew has explored and become part of the world. One player retired his original PC to make a Kraken earth mage, and a Scurillian PC and Atani PC have joined as well. Two of the four original PC survivors of that passage still sail in the crew (all Veterans now), and have the full story of the campaign to date as their backstory. If they ever defeat the Sea Hags, for those two in particular it will have been a journey unlike any other.
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Count Zero wrote:
Do both.

+1
If I was in the game this is how I'd want to get introduced to Torg. Since I keep hearing about it but have never heard more than "Torg is awesome."

Sounds like all that RIFTS could have been, if rifts had resembled a balanced game. Or Suzerain if all the realms suddenly collided and merged.
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Sherman
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ran did this and let the characters roll up any modern character that had a reason to be in NY. Ended up with a interesting group and ran them each separately as the axiom wash happened. Imagine all the power going out in the middle of a large mall, when people's cell phones won't even provide light things get interesting...

However, I also made the mistake of mentioning there was a giant bean stalk in the middle of the baseball stadium, which of course they wanted to check out rather than being properly frightened and running the other way. Made a good opportunity to introduce a rogue edeinos looking for allies in this new world. Also made a good character to replace the first character that died...

Worked pretty smooth...
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ValhallaGH
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome. #gunbattle

Now I'll have to take a look at Torg for when I need a new campaign to run. Confused
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Ronin84
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HawaiianBrian, you have inspired me I ordered the Torg R/E book, the living land resource book and GM screen. I played/ran Torg when it first came out and then under the avalanche of bad supplements I got out. Seeing how I could easily use SW for this I am going to look at putting something together for down the road.

Very excited!

Thanks!!
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HawaiianBrian
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ronin84 wrote:
HawaiianBrian, you have inspired me I ordered the Torg R/E book, the living land resource book and GM screen. I played/ran Torg when it first came out and then under the avalanche of bad supplements I got out. Seeing how I could easily use SW for this I am going to look at putting something together for down the road.

Very excited!

Thanks!!


#1beerchug
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HawaiianBrian
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a little nervous. We begin next Monday, and starting with "normals" as a prologue is something I've never done (and to put a fine point on it, they'll be playing Extras! But don't worry, they'll become Wild Cards as soon as the reality surge happens). I'm also nervous because one of my players isn't a very big fan of Savage Worlds, and the others certainly prefer d20 over it. They aren't sure whether or not it's too deadly (one hit kills) or too soft (in a cyberpunk campaign I ran a couple years ago, one character never got injured once). I'm hoping I can fulfill their gaming needs with this campaign.
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canology
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did this game turn out?
I'm considering running a TORG campaign with SW and I'm curious how it went.
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HawaiianBrian
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it turns out this game never got launched after all. My group are all big fans of d20 (especially Pathfinder) because they like high-crunch rules systems with doorstopper books (not conjecture -- they told me this), and don't like Savage Worlds because it is too rules-lite. So when I told them we'd be starting a Torg campaign at the start of January using Savage Worlds, they staged a little "coup," spearheaded by one member who particularly dislikes it. Without saying anything to me, they secretly prepared a Pathfinder Adventure Path, electing a different gamemaster, and then sent out an email the night before as an "official announcement." I read the writing on the wall and just went with it.

Now that we've made it through the first book of that adventure path, I started feeling a little crazy. Pathfinder isn't nearly as bad if you're playing it, but prepping for it can be a nightmare, as yet another group member is now finding out! At our last session, he admitted to me that he now understood why I said I would never run another d20 game that wasn't stripped down to a skeleton, and asked if anyone else wants to take over from here. I declined.

Anyway, in the meantime I've been looking for a new group, one that is Savage Worlds friendly. I found one about a month ago, and since they wanted a GM and were down for whatever, I started running a Savage Torg campaign for them! Tomorrow night will be our third session and things are going well. They're in the Living Land, trying to get to where Air Force One crashed near New York City so they can try and rescue the president.

I decided not to start off with everyone playing Ords/Extras in NYC on the night of the invasion (which I moved to New Year's Eve 2012/13), because with this group I thought it best to let them make the kinds of characters they wanted to play. After all, that's how I sold the concept to them. So they made characters who were originally from Core Earth, and two of them were transformed in the initial invasion. I have one from Orrorsh, one from Nippon Tech, and two from Core Earth. We started one month into the invasion, with them helping out a realm runner who delivers supplies into the Living Land.

As for my previous group, I'm still in it, though now that we've finished Part 1 of that adventure path I'm going to tell them I "need a break" and that I won't be able to join them for a while. Group #2 is still in evaluation mode, and I'll miss the great folks from Group #1, so I don't want to burn bridges.

TL;DR -- My group wasn't interested, so I joined a new group and just started a Savage Torg campaign a few weeks ago. It's going great. I chose to start the campaign 1 month into the invasion.
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HawaiianBrian
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention how the rules have been working.

The rules for disconnection seem to be okay. Wild Cards using a tool that is above either the axiom level of the ambient reality or above their own disconnects if they roll "snake eyes." If the tool is above both the ambient and character reality, they disconnect on a 1 on the Trait die. Extras always disconnect with a 1 on the Trait die.

This means it's REALLY dangerous for Extras to use tools they aren't supposed to use! The odds of disconnection are much higher in Savage Torg. I'm not sure what to do about that. It seems okay for Wild Cards, but Extras disconnect constantly (and cannot simply reconnect).

If a Wild Card disconnects, they can't create any contradictions until they reconnect by rolling their Reality skill (TN 4 as usual, though I toyed with ways of adding bonuses or penalties and didn't come up with anything I liked). If they get "snake eyes" on *that* roll, they have transformed to the local reality! Again, I'm not sure if this is too likely or not -- I thought about having a d20 roll but never settled on anything.

I changed my Savage Torg doc recently to update the way axioms work. It seems to be working, though I have to remind myself the penalties (to magic, miracles, etc.) at low axiom levels is only when one is trying not to/can't create a contradiction.

One thing I wish I had done is whittle away the World Laws for each realm until there is only one. Three seems to be too much for me to remember every time the characters go somewhere or encounter a character from another realm.

If you have any other questions, ask away!
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HawaiianBrian wrote:
The rules for disconnection seem to be okay. Wild Cards using a tool that is above either the axiom level of the ambient reality or above their own disconnects if they roll "snake eyes." If the tool is above both the ambient and character reality, they disconnect on a 1 on the Trait die. Extras always disconnect with a 1 on the Trait die.

This means it's REALLY dangerous for Extras to use tools they aren't supposed to use! The odds of disconnection are much higher in Savage Torg. I'm not sure what to do about that. It seems okay for Wild Cards, but Extras disconnect constantly (and cannot simply reconnect).


This makes sense to me. IIRC in the original Torg, Ords were at a noticable disadvantage compared to Stormers when messing about with axioms.
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Dracones
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HawaiianBrian wrote:

One thing I wish I had done is whittle away the World Laws for each realm until there is only one. Three seems to be too much for me to remember every time the characters go somewhere or encounter a character from another realm.


This sounds like good advice.

I'm semi running a Torg game, only it's Realms of Cthulhu as an isolated shard where the Gaunt Man has fled to. The PCs are investigating the effects of the small Living Lands bridge he used being accidently re-opened after 20 years and causing local effects.

If the PCs ever get into Torg proper and take full part in the war, I'll introduce them to all of the cosms 1 at a time and give each the opportunity to transform. This would be a complete re-roll, keeping the experience, and they could even change the personality if they wanted to. That's happened in the setting via the novels.

Which cosms are you using? Are you translating SW settings into cosms or trying to take the traditional Torg cosms and translate them over to SW?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For extras, I'd probably roll a d4 after they roll a 1 on their trait die. If they roll another 1, then they disconnect. That should cut the odds down quite a bit. It's not elegant, but it could work.

Isn't there a bonus to your reconnection roll if your personal axiom was higher than the local axiom where you disconnected. I am probably not remembering this exactly right. You might just give the reconnecting character a +2 if that's the case.

This completely saved my character more than once. We were always careful not to do things WAY outside both axioms, and we missed this rule the first few times we disconnected. It went from being something that was just 1 in 20 rolls to something you had some control over.
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HawaiianBrian
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dracones wrote:
Which cosms are you using? Are you translating SW settings into cosms or trying to take the traditional Torg cosms and translate them over to SW?


I'm using the original realms, plus three more of my own invention. We have a Deadlands-esque Wild West across the western U.S., a low-magic pirate realm in the Caribbean, and medieval Wuxia martial arts in China. I moved Aysle to India and southern Asia, moved Orrorsh to Eastern Europe (plus England), and added a 2nd Cyberpapacy realm in Brazil. I ditched the Space Gods and Tharkold. Nile Empire, Nippon Tech, Cyberpapacy and Living Land are mostly unchanged.

You can see the document I'm using here. This is a pretty recent draft, though I might have made a couple of changes since. I'll probably leave all three World Laws in place for each realm in the "official" conversion doc, but just use one each in my home game. Really, that's all one needs. Something like this:

Living Land: The Law of Savagery (Things decay faster, emotions run high)
Nippon Tech: The Law of Intrigue (Everyone is plotting something)
Nile Empire: The Law of Action (Obstacles stack and characters are put in high peril)
Aysle: The Law of Magic (spells can be cast as illusions, everyone born with a propensity toward magic(
Orrorsh: The Law of Horror (Monsters are reborn unless killed a certain way, Fear ratings are higher for unknown monsters)
Cyberpapacy: The Law of Heresy (Miracles from other religions are penalized, magic can accidentally summon demons)
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HawaiianBrian
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Dread Polack wrote:
For extras, I'd probably roll a d4 after they roll a 1 on their trait die. If they roll another 1, then they disconnect. That should cut the odds down quite a bit. It's not elegant, but it could work.


A bit like a disconnection saving throw? Hmm, not a bad idea. Maybe everyone -- Wild Cards and Extras alike -- could make an instant free Spirit roll to avoid disconnection? Reconnecting then requires the Reality skill.

There is also the problem of transformation. In the original game, the GM rolled against a high target number. The number was lower for Ords and varied depending on the strength of the ambient reality (mixed/dominant/pure), and also became lower over time. It was all too complex, honestly.

Transformation needs to be enough of a significant risk that players should think twice before using tools that exceed either their reality or the local reality, but it also should be rare. Disconnection can happen more often. I'm thinking about a 10% disconnection rate (if one is using forbidden tools) and about a 5% transformation rate?

With your method, I could see the following:
• A Wild Card using a tool that exceeds the local reality OR his own disconnects on "snake eyes."
• A Wild Card using a tool that exceeds BOTH the local reality and his own disconnects with a 1 on the Trait die.
• An Extra always disconnects with a 1 on the Trait die.
• Both Wild Cards and Extras immediately make a free "saving throw" against disconnection using their Spirit. Getting a 1 on this roll means... what? Shaken? A penalty to their reconnection roll?
• Wild Cards can attempt (next round) to reconnect using the Reality skill. Rolling "snake eyes" means transformation.
• Extras are screwed. They can no longer create contradictions until they get back to their home reality. But how to determine their rate of transformation? It actually seems safer to be an Extra....

I feel like there might be a better version of a couple of these steps. I like the saving throw, but am having a hard time getting a transformation method that applies to both Wild Cards and Extras in the same way. I thought of a d20 roll, something like the Incapacitation table, where Extras take a penalty. Any ideas?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My thought was simply that extras would disconnect on a 1 in 6 if they're using tools outside their axiom. Rolling a d4 after that increases the odds to 1 in 24, which is a bit closer to the 1 in 20 from Torg. I'd say that they should still disconnect on a trait roll of 1 if they're outside both axioms. Wasn't it a roll of 1-5 in Torg in that case?

Transformation was something that only came up once in our game. My Aylish golem (which our GM ran as a fully-sentient NPC ord, which wasn't exactly RAW, but ended up being a lot of fun), transformed into a Cyberpapacy robot while going through a realty storm. Depending on how many ords you deal with, you might never see it happen in the game, but I agree it should be a threat. Was it a random roll, or a Reality skill roll? Maybe it should be -1 for a dominant zone, -2 for pure. Maybe -2/-4?
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Dracones
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why not have the roll of 1 on the spirit die "saving throw" be a transformation?

WC's are going to be able to bennie out of it so it shouldn't be a huge threat.

And on the reconnect roll have the snake eyes mean he's permanently disconnected until returning to his home cosm.
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