What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

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Spatula
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What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby Spatula » Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:37 pm

I've been skimming through the oTorg PDFs, as I hadn't seen most of them back in the day, or don't remember much of the ones I had seen (I feel like maybe we moved on from Torg not long after High Lord of Earth?). And I'm just kinda puzzled by the Delphi Council. They don't seem to really do anything, or maybe I just haven't read the parts of whichever adventures or sourcebooks that feature them. But beyond that, it's really weird to me that there's this "official" (I think? still not quite sure what they even were in oTorg) agency that's in charge of fighting the invaders, and the PCs are assumed to not have anything to do with them. For example, there's an early scene in the Destiny Map adventure where the whole goal is for the PCs to get some information out of the local police, which (the adventure notes) is trivial if they're with the Delphi Council, but it goes on to assume that they're not and will have to lie, cheat, and steal to get the info.

The Council is such a perfect explanation for how your bizarre group of PCs got together, a perfect "go investigate this" adventure setter-upper, and a perfect way to explain how the PCs are able to move around the globe with their hardware and pets so easily. But it doesn't seem like they were used for any of that in the published materials. For those of you who had (or have!) oTorg campaigns, what if anything did you do with the Delphi Council? Or for the Master Torgers, what was the intended point of having the Council in the setting, in your view?
Last edited by Spatula on Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jhosmer1
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Re: What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby jhosmer1 » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:25 pm

oTORG's Delphi Council was a different beast. It was the "villain" of Core Earth, created by US Vice President Dennis Quartermain, who used it and its Spartan troops to assassinate the President and take power. It was a big part of why Core Earth couldn't get its act together.

One of the president's last acts was to ask Quinn Sebastian to investigate what the Delphi Council was up to. He finally got them in TORG Eternity

MAJT

Re: What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby MAJT » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:29 pm

Why did they use it Torg Eternity? I'd assume it was a simple 'get all the PCs in one place and give them adventure orders' to give a rationale as to why all these different people from different realities chum around and shoot shocktroopers together. It's also there to give them stuff the GM thinks they need, like equipment or plane tickets to wherever they are going. Kind of to act in the way 'M' and 'Q' do for James Bond.

It's one of those things that -while I absolutely see why they did it - I absolutely loathe about the new setting.

[rant incoming!]

Forcing the PCs to be members of some cheap cars and guns club really disempowers them in my opinion. I really loved the original game where the PCs had to work it all out by themselves, and for most of the early years, they really were on their own. If they didn't do heroic stuff, nobody did.

Even when the Storm Knight's Guild came along, the PCs were (rightfully) very distrustful of it, even if they saw some advantages of organisation.

I find all this 'clearance level' stuff to be even worse and even more disempowering to be honest. While I understand a need to have an 'experience level' system, it feels so wrong on every level for action heroes to be punching a clock and climbing the greasy pole for promotions.

I also liked the original Delphi Council being the bad guys - it was the 90's and X-Files was popular :) I really hate the concept that 'Core Earth = Good Guys' and like the idea of having plenty of internal conflicts, whether it's Spartans or corrupt governments or just terrorists. The players always enjoyed fighting the sinister Illuminati from the early days, and finally taking it down was very satisfying, even as the Guild fell apart around their ears to general cries of 'I told you so!'

Even worse, it saddles the poor shmuck heroes with Poochie Elminster Quinn Sebastian. Who was actually a PC in our original game, the first of the characters to Martyr himself in fact, way back in Possibility Chalice. So I've always had a soft spot for that version, being the first pregenerated Archetype character. This version is just a colossal Mary Sue. It even says that he's prevented Ardinay's assassination and stopped the Still Earth from happening... (likely sipping a dry martini all the while) Gee, might that have been cool stuff for the player characters to do? But who needs 'em huh, when you have supah-kewl awsum GM PCs?

I'm giving serious consideration to having the Thunderlord in the Day One adventures be Quinn Sebastian having gone mad with power. They're both parodies of an 80's action hero and are both colossal jerks, and I think the players would enjoy literally ripping Elminster apart with their bare hands and maybe taking his spot on the Delphi Council and talking about Core Earth socks and watches with Lady Pella and all the cool things PC's are supposed to do.

Maybe it's just my group, but we went beyond the 'you all meet in a pub and an NPC gives you a quest' set-up years ago. Before Torg, we played a lot of Shadowrun, and the only missions that didn't begin with someone shooting 'Mr Johnson' in the face ended with someone shooting 'Mr Johnson' in the face ('Queen Euphoria' pretty much triggered a bloodbath of dead NPCs as I recall...)

Sooo, yeah. I see why they did it, but it doesn't work for me, to put it mildly.

YMMV.

This also leads into another question that is likely premature... the elephant-in-the-room that is 'metaplot'.

Spatula himself made a very, very good point about the original Torg's metaplot (on Reddit I think?), and I guess we can talk about that when we start seeing the early adventures and whatever form UnFunIverse Infiniverse finally takes.

Zackzenobi
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Re: What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby Zackzenobi » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:50 pm

I also prefer the go it alone story mode. The problem is, it's 27 years later. I have less free time and more hobbies than I do in the 90s.

So from a time perspective, I get it. And I think that we will use it begrudgingly as it makes things easier timewise.

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Gargoyle
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Re: What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby Gargoyle » Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:57 pm

I used the DC in three different ways in oTorg: As a third party that got in the PC's way, as a source of info, and as outright villains. Spartans would do things like uproot stelae without refilling ords with Possibility energy and other things that may seem like the end justifies the means, but in reality just don't help at all, and sometimes they would directly oppose the PC's, sometimes they would offer assistance but often got in the way or were far bloodier. Mostly I didn't use them at all though TBH.

The way I see it, in Torg Eternity I can still make them villains, even ultimate villains. And it's even easier to surprise players, and I can go even farther with it. Players have access to the rulebook, and nothing in there even hints at the Delphi Council being corrupt, much less outright more evil than most of the High Lords. There is definitely no one in the Delphi Council that is corrupt or a double agent. And it's not at all suspicious that Core Earth suddenly has a supranational organization spring up to fight the invaders on Day One. And Quinn Sebastian certainly isn't a bad guy and definitely is not using the PC's to find the lost Darkness Device from Dairoga so that he can become the High Lord of Core Earth. Nope, definitely not.

If that were to happen, and the Storm Knights had to crush the Delphi Council, then the DC wouldn't be available as sponsors for them anymore, and they'd have to provide their own transportation and decide their own missions. They'd have to decide which NPC's to trust and what was important. They would still need help, and might get it from what's left of the DC, individual nations, other Storm Knights, etc. Sounds like a fun situation for advanced clearance level Storm Knights to be in.

It sort of reminds me of Agents of SHIELD in season one. Everything is easy (and sometimes dull) until Captain America Winter Soldier comes out and reveals that half of them are Hydra, and then all hell breaks loose. As long s the lead up isn't too long, (like in Agents of SHIELD unfortunately) it's a good twist.
"That old chestnut?"

Gargoyle

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Re: What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby Devcon » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:05 pm

Spoilering my theory...

► Show Spoiler

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Spatula
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Re: What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby Spatula » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:16 pm

MAJT wrote:Why did they use it Torg Eternity?

Well, I already know that :) which is why I was asking about its use in oTorg, which was a bit of a mystery to me. Or I simply forgot; it's been a few decades.

Personally I approve of the new Council's in-game purpose (though I don't care for the ever-present Quin). Our groups in oTorg never made any sense to me in terms of their compositions. Nor that they'd be running supplies into the Living Land (a common starting point for the first batch of adventures), a place we all hated. Or soon learned to hate, but jeez did the early published stuff keep trying to drag you there. Anyway, having the Council around to explain how these people ended up working together, and how a group of heavily armed invaders can easily travel around the world, is a useful shortcut in my eyes.

The clearance levels are presumably just there to label how much XP the PCs have; e.g. "This adventure is only for Gamma-level PCs."

The PCs are still the important ones. Core Earthers who are working at cross purposes are still a problem, there's a whole section on that in the rule book. Quin isn't going on adventures. He "spoiled" the old plots because T:E isn't rehashing those plots, they're coming up with new stuff.

MAJT wrote:Spatula himself made a very, very good point about the original Torg's metaplot (on Reddit I think?)

Wasn't me.

MAJT

Re: What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby MAJT » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:19 pm

Spatula wrote:Wasn't me.


How many Spatula's are there in the Torg fandom? :)

Ah, found it, it's on RPGNet:

I don't care much for metaplots, but it's more because they tend to (a) sideline the players in favor of NPCs from novels, and (b) trash the setting and then incorporate that trashing into future supplements. Updates to the progress of a war over territory is... eminently ignorable, right? It's your game, use what you like about updates and ignore the rest. If your group uproots a zone and it's not reflected in the Infiniverse updates, did it never happen in your game? Similarly, updates that don't jibe with events in your game just... didn't happen.

I found myself nodding energetically to that. (and ooh, Doc the Weasel was there too! Used to chat to him once on the FFG boards...)

I think it's too early to hit poor Dean with metaplot questions (yet!), but this will become an issue eventually, as it did with the original Torg.

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Spatula
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Re: What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby Spatula » Tue Aug 22, 2017 6:31 pm

Ah yes, that was me. :lol: The way that Dark Sun was trashed in the very first line of novels for the setting, and how the 1st full adventure was "watch the novel protagonists kill one of the big bads," has left me wary ever after of RPG metaplots.

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Kamelion
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Re: What Did You Use the Delphi Council for in oTorg?

Postby Kamelion » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:07 pm

In my current oTorg game, they're a deeply compromised agency, with some very unpleasant folks at the top. The PCs started out working for them, but kept running into evidence that the Council simply didn't care much about collateral damage and was clearly taking a "means justify the ends" approach. Being heroes and all, the Storm Knights have taken serious issue with this - with the result that they're now on the run from the Council and their former colleagues in the Spartans. They're actually theorising that someone high up in the Council is either in league with the High Lords or is an actual High Lord themselves. I guess we'll have to see... :D

In my oTorg games back in the day, they never really featured. PCs didn't care much for being followers and struck out on their own from the word go.

I actually have session summaries for my oTorg game - will have to tidy them up and post in the Game Stories subforum!
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