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Critique My First Hell on Earth Story

 
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So what do you think?
Great!
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Great!
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Great!
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Good.
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Pack it in.
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Pack it in.
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Pack it in.
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Pack it in.
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Total Votes : 24

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Wrathamon
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Joined: 06 Jul 2004
Posts: 131
Location: Back East

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:20 am    Post subject: Critique My First Hell on Earth Story Reply with quote

All right. . . our previous Marshal standing down for a little break, I have opted to take over our weekly Deadlands game. This will be my first time running, and I'd like to ask your opinion of my introductory story for a little feedback.

I don't think any of my players read my boards, but just in case, Garrick, Lana, Ray, and Jen ought to scat now.

All right. We begin in a survivor settlement near what used to be Salina, Kansas. The posse arrives through their various means, hitching across the plains, coming in with a trade caravan, however. They're told to surrender their firearms and submit to a pat-down at the gap in the wall of sandbags and rusted derelict cars that serve as the gate. I don't imagine them starting trouble over this, and if they want to bluff or hide a gun on them, I'm willing to let them succeed.

One by one, the posse meets the top gun of Salina, Chief Oscar Cullpotter. He gives them the "I'm big, I'm bad, don't cause trouble in my town," speech, and tells them that if they toe out of line, they answer to him.

A little exploration of Salina follows, and the posse can retire to the meeting hall/food tent in what used to be the high school cafeteria. Meetings and introductions follow. Later, they witness a group of toughs bullying an unresisting Indian, who shields a little girl (presumably his daughter) from the abuse of the locals. Cullpotter isn't interested in intervening so long as there isn't bloodshed, so the Indian is on his own unless the posse steps up the bat. That will turn out to be the wisest course, since the Indian is a veteran Templar in disguise as he assesses the worthiness of Salina. Helping out Tom Laughing-Fox will earn each posse member a white chip, as well as earning them the gratitude of one tough hombre.

That night, a tale-teller named Sissy Williams puts on a one-woman performance of MacBeth, does some singing, and tells stories in the high school. She tells the story of Throckmorten and Cole Ballard, and inadvertently touches off a riot. Since Salina is on a straight line to Denver, they've always been good about ponying up tribute to the Combine, and a few people in the mess hall have positive outlooks on the Black Hats, since, say what you will, they keep bandits and road scum from attacking them. Bricks are thrown, and it's a typical bar-room brawl, in which the posse has the oportunity to dig Sissy out of the mess her big mouth got her in, and net another white chip.

Finding logings either in the classrooms or tent city, the posse gets some shut-eye. The next day, the posse learns about a group of survivalists that camp out in the wilderness five miles outside of town. Either their vehicles have been vandalized and looted by Pegrin's men, or Sissy has some of her gear "confiscated" by the toughs and she comes to the posse for help. This is the chance for them to redeem the favor Tom Laughing-Fox owes them, as he is a veteran woodsman and can scout out the bandit camp and note the location of the tripwires and pit traps.

After confronting Pegrin's men (and being surprised by the pet trog and greenie syker arsonist the bandit keeps on hand), the posse acquires some loot, as well as what was stolen, but the most important find in the tend camp is an antique music box that plays a distinctive song when wound. The initials "STM" and a date early in the century are inscribed on the bottom, and not only would this fetch upwards of two hundred dollars in trade, it is a relic from the chlidhood of none other than Samual Throckmorten.


Comments and suggestions are much appreciated, and highly sought after. In specific, I'd be interested in tightening up the beginning. I've always been pretty bad at the "meeting" stage of a new campaign. Any tricks or hints to make this smoother would be gobbled up eagerly.

Thanks all!
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DerFinsterling
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Joined: 13 May 2003
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Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright, a couple of things: Let them meet at the gate or even before that on the road. Say, one of them knows of this town and the rest tag along. Better yet give one of them a vehicle that's low on gas, but he knows where to go. Give the other one a vehicle that's wrecked (you could even play out the accident), but has additional fuel barrels.
If you go with the accident, another player might help him - or look for something to salvage.
It'll be easier to get the group together that way. Otherwise it could happen that they say: I don't know these guys, why should I hang out with them (totally depends on you players, though).
In essence: In my experience you have to give the players a reason why their "highly-capable-but-lone-wolfy-type" characters meet and stick together

Second thing: the initials should read SMT (like Sam M. Throckmorton), or just ST. I'd get hung up on looking for someone whose last name starts with an "m".
Third: Make sure that the characters and players know that the indian is an expert woodsman. Otherwise they might not think of it.

If it's necessary that the players help Sissy Williams, put them in the middle of the fight - so they have to defend themselves, not just help her.

This is all of course without knowing your players, so none of this might be essential.
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Reginald de Curry
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Joined: 20 May 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seeing as most black hats are bandits and road scum, I'm surprised anyone has a positive outlook on them at all. Now if the supporters were actually Combine spies, then....
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Psykoguy
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Joined: 14 May 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reginald de Curry wrote:
Seeing as most black hats are bandits and road scum, I'm surprised anyone has a positive outlook on them at all. Now if the supporters were actually Combine spies, then....


Three words: Special Unit One
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Wrathamon
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Joined: 06 Jul 2004
Posts: 131
Location: Back East

PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2004 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Game tonight, wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate your suggestions.

I've got four players, and two of them will be in a car with almost no go-juice, the others will be ina car with plenty of gas, but shredded tires. That ought to be sufficient justification for them to travel together, especially once they notice the radstorm rising in the summer heat.

I'll give the posse justification to get involved in the fight over Sissy, as well as justify the ensuing combat, by putting three of Pegrin's men in the bar listening to her performance. She'll say some things about the Combine that they don't like, and start jeering and catcalling. As the crowd is a bit rowdy and a little drunk, sooner or later a bottle will get thrown, and a free-for-all will ensue. Since, in theory, firearms have been checked at the gate, no one should get anything more than a little bruised. In the spirit of a barroom brawl, some toughs will jump the posse while Pegrin's men go to "teach Sissy a lesson." The posse will notice this and, if they're interested in saving her a couple of teeth, get to play hero while wading through a bunch of sluggers.

The initials on the music box will now simply read "ST."

Laughing-Fox will provide the posse with some meat from "his traps and snares in the area," which ought to provide them with enough of a clue to tap him for a scout once they realize they need to hit Pegrin's camp.

Once again, thanks for all of your help!
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DerFinsterling
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2004 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're welcome - let us know how it turns out!
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Wrathamon
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2004 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well guys, it went better than I could ever have expected or hoped for!

All I had to do was mention to those characters who made their survival roles that there was a dust storm approaching, and they hustled towards Salina, stopping to pick up the 13-year old Doomsayer and gristly Hell's Angel Biker who weren't together at the start of things. They made it in, even helped Cullpotter haul the train boxcars that seal the town gates shut for the night.

When they witnessed the scene between the scavenger and Laughing-Fox, three of the posse members jumped up to take on the baddies, while the same Doomsayer put herself in front of Cynthia, protectively. There was a tense moment when the bounty hunter of the group pulled a knife on the scavengers. . .other members of the posse warned her not to kill anyone in town, so she checked herself and just "hilt-whipped" Herb's boys.

After accepting Laughing-Fox's gratitude, I was able to drop my first hint that Salina was being molested by Pegrin's Black Hat detachment, and a few Streetwise rolls later revealed to them that Pegrin had a bounty on his head in another settlement, which set them calling in Laughing-Fox's favor for information on the whereabouts of Pegrin's camp.

They were so excited by what they learned about Pegrin, and in such a damn hurry to hunt him down, that they left even before Sissy Williams got in to town. We ended the session with them coming across Pegrin's campsite in the middle of the night, and the pitched battle will occur at our next session.

Either fortunately or unfortunately, the posse didn't think to ask Laughing-Fox to scout out the camp, so they are unaware of the position of the tripwires, pit traps, and sentries. Considering that Pegrin also has a greenie syker arsonist and a chained and dominated Trog (think the Cave Troll in Fellowship of the Rings) around for defense, I think I'm going to have to do some serious damage to them to teach them not to run off half-cocked. Still, I was pleased at their initiative. If their current characters survive, they'll be one heck of a team by the time I'm ready to throw them up against the real bad guys.

So once again, thank you, one and all.
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Reginald de Curry
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2004 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reginald de Curry wrote:
Seeing as most black hats are bandits and road scum, I'm surprised anyone has a positive outlook on them at all. Now if the supporters were actually Combine spies, then....


Psykoguy wrote:
Three words: Special Unit One


Doesn't ring a bell.... Question
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Psykoguy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2004 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reginald de Curry wrote:


Doesn't ring a bell.... Question


*spoilers*


Special Unit One is a group of Black and Red Hats sent by Throckmorton to capture Abominations alive for the purposes of experimentation. The Hats who do this aren't scum, most of the red hats who don't like the way the Combine has become, basically the good bad guys. The side effect of this is that some towns are viewing the Combine as good. Throckmorton, not wanting any rebellions or anything, has ordered his Hats to treat these towns with kid gloves.

So, in summary, there are good hats, they're mostly sent on extremely dangerous missions and PR missions.
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Kyu Kage
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So Wrathamon, any more updates on what's happening?
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DT
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Joined: 09 Jun 2003
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Location: Lynnwood, WA

PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds great. Please keep it comming.
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Wrathamon
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadly enough, the game ended a few sessions later with little in the way of development. Crying or Very sad
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