Help me tweak a few existing adventures?

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pkitty
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Help me tweak a few existing adventures?

Postby pkitty » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:53 am

I'm about to start my first actual TE game. My plan is to start with a Delphi Mission or two, but then to begin working in Burden of Glory + Relics of Power as the "big adventure." This leads into three topics I'd like to discuss.

1. I actually like a few of the other "big adventures" quite a bit, but am choosing Relics of Power because it spans multiple cosms. I'm hesitant to run something like Revenge of the Carredon that takes place 95% in one cosm for two reasons. First, I want to showcase the various cosms of TE. Second, I don't want to "punish" the PCs who don't fit into a cosm by spending over a year of real time there (we play 1-2x a month). For example, we have an elf, dwarf, edeinos, Victorian, and cyborg; so if I run Revenge of the Carredon, two PCs will never disconnect, two will do so occasionally, and one will do so constantly. Do thesetwo concerns seem valid, or is there something that I'm overlooking?

2. One issue I have with Burden of Glory + Relics of Power Acts 1&2 is that they rely a bit on an overused trope -- specifically, all three acts basically end with a building self-destructing. I raised this issue in a different thread, and got some helpful advice, so here's what I'm thinking about changing.

* Burden of Glory: The temple doesn't self-destruct. Instead, the top floor begins creating more and more zombie lorbaats. At first there are enough for the PCs to reasonably fight, but then the room becomes noticeably warmer and a pheromone-like smell from the killed zombaats begins to fill the room, and dozens of them begin to hatch from the piles. They'll pursue the PCs, but not quickly, and they won't leave the temple. Later, they'll learn that the Wonder wasn't there (no real surprise) when the local forces went to investigate, so it's good that they got the intel when they did.

* Relics of Power Act 1: This explosion we're keeping, because it doesn't really work otherwise. (But see #3 below for a related issue.)

* Relics of Power Act 2: Stealing the data spike doesn't start a self-destruct, it simply starts the Observatory shutting down and going completely inert. The motivator here isn't "get out before it blows," but "follow the bad guy and retrieve the data spike". In fact, if they come back to this area, the Observatory is still here, but it's a fused, powered-down husk with zero utility. Even the pictograms are gone, because they were glowing markings, not true etchings. (But see #4 below for related issues.)

What do you think? Am I missing anything?

3. The end of ROP Act 1 has a dramatic task that uses computers, computers, computers, and reality. That's a lot of computers, which is a trained skill (no default use). So, since using computers is already a contradiction for everyone in our party except the cyborg, no one else has it or is likely to learn it. And our cyborg's player has a habit of having to exit games (at least for a while) for personal reasons.

So, what do you do there if no PC has adds in computers? Even if we do have the cyborg PC for this one, I'd still love to change it up a bit. Personally, I like my DSR skills to vary a bit.

4. There are a few things that concern me about the end of ROP Act 2, so if anyone can offer explanations and/or advice, I'd appreciate it.

* The "blocking" of the scene. If I'm understanding this right, the Observatory is atop the waterfall itself. So LC steals the data spike, jumps in a boat, and heads away from the waterfall. But then if the PCs start to catch up, she turns around on the river and heads toward the waterfall, which means she has to drive right past the PCs, giving them a pretty easy chance to stop her, yes? Or am I misunderstanding something?

* All of the dramatic tension comes from the PCs pursuing LC, trying to get that data spike back. And when they finally catch up, the idea is that the GM invokes Plot Fiat to simply have her die so that data spike will be lost. As a player, that seems unsatisfying; I'm worried they'll feel railroaded. So I'd like to come up with a slight variant here where they can catch up to her and finish the fight, yet that still gets the data spike nice and lost -- basically a more subtle railroad that gives them the payoff of kicking LC's butt. (Or is it going to be a problem if I leave her alive?)
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Kuildeous
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Re: Help me tweak a few existing adventures?

Postby Kuildeous » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:30 am

pkitty wrote:
* Burden of Glory: The temple doesn't self-destruct. Instead, the top floor begins creating more and more zombie lorbaats. At first there are enough for the PCs to reasonably fight, but then the room becomes noticeably warmer and a pheromone-like smell from the killed zombaats begins to fill the room, and dozens of them begin to hatch from the piles. They'll pursue the PCs, but not quickly, and they won't leave the temple. Later, they'll learn that the Wonder wasn't there (no real surprise) when the local forces went to investigate, so it's good that they got the intel when they did.


I don’t know that the temple has to collapse. It’s basically a dead end with the collapse being a convenient trope that indicates that the Storm Knights have reached the end of that particular thread. The module doesn’t even list a penalty for the Storm Knights who fail to escape the temple, so it’s completely up to the GM on what that is. You could just tell them that they got what they came for, and what are they going to do about this Nightmare Tree?

pkitty wrote:* Relics of Power Act 2: Stealing the data spike doesn't start a self-destruct, it simply starts the Observatory shutting down and going completely inert. The motivator here isn't "get out before it blows," but "follow the bad guy and retrieve the data spike". In fact, if they come back to this area, the Observatory is still here, but it's a fused, powered-down husk with zero utility. Even the pictograms are gone, because they were glowing markings, not true etchings. (But see #4 below for related issues.)


Reasonable. This doesn’t need to follow the trope. It could even have a different trope where the Storm Knights walk away, look back, and find that it simply disappeared.

pkitty wrote:3. The end of ROP Act 1 has a dramatic task that uses computers, computers, computers, and reality. That's a lot of computers, which is a trained skill (no default use). So, since using computers is already a contradiction for everyone in our party except the cyborg, no one else has it or is likely to learn it. And our cyborg's player has a habit of having to exit games (at least for a while) for personal reasons.


True, but the Storm Knights have plenty to do with the concomitant fight. While the DSR is not particularly varied, everyone still has something to do. Compare it to a chase where it’s basically going to be land vehicles, land vehicles, land vehicles, land vehicles (or whatever). Not all DSRs have to be unique snowflakes.

As for no one having the skill, you could have the Delphi Council give them an experimental dongle (maybe Tech 24 or 26 even) that will download the information for them. This requires an untrained Mind test instead of Computers. Possibly it’s impossible to get a Good result, so the Storm Knights will not get all the juicy info, which is a boon for the person who invested in computer knowledge.

The fight at the end of Chapter 2 may require a bit more leeway and GM fiat in setting up the scene. It’s a Nile villain, so any ending that is fitting for her could work. It could even end in quicksand or a volcanic vent.
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Istrian
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Re: Help me tweak a few existing adventures?

Postby Istrian » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:42 am

pkitty wrote:2. One issue I have with Burden of Glory + Relics of Power Acts 1&2 is that they rely a bit on an overused trope -- specifically, all three acts basically end with a building self-destructing. I raised this issue in a different thread, and got some helpful advice, so here's what I'm thinking about changing.


Actually I think you don't have to run Acts 1&2 one after the other. You could mix in a couple of other acts (or Delphi Missions) which do not end with buildings self-destructing.

pkitty wrote:3. The end of ROP Act 1 has a dramatic task that uses computers, computers, computers, and reality. That's a lot of computers, which is a trained skill (no default use). So, since using computers is already a contradiction for everyone in our party except the cyborg, no one else has it or is likely to learn it. And our cyborg's player has a habit of having to exit games (at least for a while) for personal reasons.

So, what do you do there if no PC has adds in computers? Even if we do have the cyborg PC for this one, I'd still love to change it up a bit. Personally, I like my DSR skills to vary a bit.


I'd go with the following DSR (which requires reworking the scene context somewhat to fit):
A. Hack the computer (Computers)
B. Find the right data and also that the destruction sequence cannot be stopped from the computer (Evidence Analysis or Find)
C. Tweak the facility's electrical circuit to halt the primary detonation sequence (Science or Profession(Demolitions)). That is when they realize the office's explosives are on its own circuit.
D. As written (Reality)

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pkitty
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Re: Help me tweak a few existing adventures?

Postby pkitty » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:24 am

Istrian wrote:I'd go with the following DSR (which requires reworking the scene context somewhat to fit):
A. Hack the computer (Computers)
B. Find the right data and also that the destruction sequence cannot be stopped from the computer (Evidence Analysis or Find)
C. Tweak the facility's electrical circuit to halt the primary detonation sequence (Science or Profession(Demolitions)). That is when they realize the office's explosives are on its own circuit.
D. As written (Reality)

I really like this approach! Combined with the dongle idea above, this would be enough to give even a lower-tech group a shot at pulling it off. Thanks!
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Re: Help me tweak a few existing adventures?

Postby hawaiianbrian » Tue Aug 20, 2019 1:04 pm

pkitty wrote:I'm about to start my first actual TE game. My plan is to start with a Delphi Mission or two, but then to begin working in Burden of Glory + Relics of Power as the "big adventure." This leads into three topics I'd like to discuss...



One-Cosm Adventures: It's true that a single-cosm adventure is a huge investment into one single reality, so it might not be what you want at this time. However, just keep in mind that any adventure is a toolkit, really, and can be trimmed, modified, etc. For Fires of Ra, for example, you could very easily break it apart into separate adventures, or even string them apart over a long time with other adventures in between. Or you could just run acts 5 + 6 + 7 as a three-part adventure and use the other acts as one-shots later. Revenge of the Carredon could be a little harder, but acts 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 could all function as separate adventures. Alternatively, you could pull out several acts to use later as one-shots, say all the ritual components are already on hand but only the Carredon's heart is needed, then run acts 1 + 6 + 7 as a three-parter.

The Observatory: Since I'm mostly qualified to discuss Act 2 of Relics of Power, I'll stick to that for now. Locations get destroyed at the end of so many movies/books/adventures because it adds a level of urgency, makes it feel like there's only one real shot at this, and that the location isn't static & timeless. It does get a little overused, but Torg plays on tropes, so it "felt right" when I was writing it. However, I'm always about GMs using the material in a way that works for them, so having the installation simply lock down or go inert is just fine. Its entire purpose was to greet humans and show them where to find the pieces of the Destiny Map, anyway. Although the building's catastrophic failure had more to do with the damage La Calavera did to the console than simply taking the data spike... basically she battered the computer for a while before figuring out she could simply grab the thumb drive and run. :lol:

La Calavera Chase Scene: You're right, she starts heading upriver, then swings around to go downriver if it looks like the PCs are getting too close. The river there is pretty wide, so such a maneuver isn't impossible. There's also an island right next to the Observatory, so she could easily just swing around it and head for the other part of the falls. As for the data spike, the main reason for it being lost is so that other parties can stay in the game. Otherwise only those who saw the three locations visually would know where to go. If you want to try something else there, how about this:

Option 1: As written, La Calavera grabs the spike and runs, but the spike drops into the water and cannot be retrieved due to the extreme danger (it doesn't float, but is still swept rapidly downstream along the riverbed and plunges over the falls, where it can be retrieved later).

Option 2: Instead of a boat chase, it's a foot chase across the roots that extend over the water. It ends with her dropping that spike, maybe even falling/jumping off the falls with it.

Option 3: As above, but there is no spike, and the PCs can chase her if they like. The building doesn't collapse, and after the PCs leave, enemy teams go in there and also learn about the Destiny Map locations. Problem is, this is a bit anticlimactic so you might want to add something else here, like the arrival of some cyberpapal agents to turn the map room into a three-way battle, etc.

Option 4: Add some more copies of the information to the mix. Instead of La Calavera and her shocktrooper goons, have it be Pan-Pacifica or Cyberpapacy agents in there, instead, and they've been frantically downloading copies of the data. Or La Calavera has a camera and is trying to escape with the photographic rolls, and those go over the falls instead of the data spike (which ends up in the hands of the PCs, or better yet, someone else).


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