Tips for Day One?

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Tips for Day One?

Postby greybird » Mon Oct 21, 2019 4:47 pm

I'm getting ready to kick off Day One in a couple of weeks, my first time running Torg: Eternity, and my first time running any Torg since 1990-something (although I've run plenty of other systems in the years since.) I'm prepping up Day One, which I'm thinking I'll run in order.

Does anyone have any tips on running this particular set of adventures? Things that they've found helped it go smoothly, changes they've made, bumps that always seem to cause problems, or things that just don't seem to work well (like I'm very iffy on doing the tunnel in the Living Land as a DSR - it just feels awkward.)

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Re: Tips for Day One?

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:03 pm

The biggest thing is that the adventures assume all of the pre-gens are in play. So if you don't have a full group, you'll want to reduce the opposition a bit.
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Re: Tips for Day One?

Postby graethynne » Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:30 pm

My two cents - each of the Day 1s introduces concepts and mechanics, so make sure you are fully read in what's ne win each one before you start.

Also, try to work out your players tolerance for rules complexity and prep them a little. If they are new to TE or Torg in general the Destiny hands and Drama deck for initiative and all the additional factors (conflict line, DSR stuff and approved actions) can be a lot to keep track of.

If they are all very mechanically oriented, just give them the chapter on combat/DSR ahead of time and be ready to field questions.

If that might overwhelm them and you are running the same people through all seven, I would stage things a bit.

In general, no need to be stingy with Moments of crisis, this is a game about what Storm Knights do not a protracted exploration of becoming one. Also, cosm cards can be a little weird in the day 1s. In some cases the book talks about them explicitly, and in others it doesn't. If a card *really* doesn't fit in the moment, don't reluctant to give the player a possibility and another cosm draw rather than derailing or dragging down the action. Oh and this is a biggy (which probably goes without saying, but) Torg isn't heavily scripted to run on rails. Adventures are bullet-pointed outlines, so think a little about filling in the bits at the edges, and be ready for your players to go in a direction not spelled out in the adventure. Some times you can adapt around them, other times you might need to guide things back on track.

LL Day introduce them to the basics of the Destiny Deck and the Drama Deck card anatomies, along with how interaction attacks work, including player calls, and narrative examples of these things in action. Also take some extra care to prep for Leena's transformation. Dramatic Skill resolutions are a thing unto themselves, so before you run Act 3 read up on them and think about some sample setbacks, complications and so on.

In Aysle maybe bust out the extended list of actions, and shooting into melee (you could do this in LL but it's just one more thing to think about), as well as Magic and Backlash. If you haven't already, highlight the rules about trading Destiny Cards between players. And if a fight gets scary (there are several that could) highlight The Critical Moment. If the DSR gets hinky make sure to bring up Last Ditch Effort.

In Pan-pacifica be ready for the psychic to lean on being psychic. Make sure the player understands that they have specific psychic powers, though you can give them visions beyond that of course (and should). The bit with the compound and the auto turrets is a chance to introduce "cover and concealment" if it hasn't come up already. As the book spells out this one is an emotional downer, it teaches the players that some times bad things happen. Also, personal note, the DSR chase at the end feels a little odd, I'd spend some extra time looking at it and being comfortable with it as well as thinking about ways to make it more interesting for the players.

Tharkold (the only one I haven't run yet) is tonally very different since instead of a random collection of civilians the PCs are cohesive military squad. Also, be super on point for the vehicle chase stuff as it's a significant part of this one.

Nile Empire - my players were extremely cautious in opening the doors to the scorpion maze, and then tried to pre scout the maze, and then solved the giant scorpion in round 1. Point being that things often don't go exactly as you might expect, but roll with it and things will be fine. Oh and they developed a DSR for the final scene rather than fighting the pulp villains and all the shock troopers. It worked and they were pretty pleased with themselves. However, I'd recommend being prepped thoroughly for this fight because it is much more complicated than any that have come before it. Also give some thought about the shocktroopers and how quickly they arrive in the final fight, they can serve as waves of reinforcements to keep things interesting, but don't feel compelled to "flood the board" if that won't be interesting.

Cyberpapacy - the tone here is another bog shift, everything is fine nothing to worry about, just proceed to the center and everything will be fine. layer in the red flags until your players pushback against the cyber churg and run with that. The train chase is the complicated bit (if it comes to that, don't rely on your players to disable the cyber train, that might not happen).

Orrorsh - the passage of time mechanic in this one works well. Resist the temptation to go too easy on the players, this is meant to scare them a bit. Also, Gospog ignore shock, which can be frustrating for characters with low base damage, so make sure by now they understand how to help each other focus their efforts and hit harder. Drop hints about the were-bat, but if the PCs steamroll over that, they have made their bed. In case the players decide to go after the back up stelae make sure you have a handle on the rules for completing DSR steps and the various consequences that attacking the stelae can have. Don't shy away from them, it serves as a good example how difficult these things can be.

Sorry that got long, hopefully it helps!


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Re: Tips for Day One?

Postby Spatula » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:35 pm

I ***personally*** didn't care for all the High Lord terminology being thrown around in the Ukhaan portion of the Living Land adventure. So I edited the texts slightly to make it sound less like the Ukhaanians had read the GM section of the rule book. Here's a link to my versions.

I had also written an intro for the Tharkold Day One which is the one I ended up running for my group of gamers who were new to Torg. It's the quoted text near the bottom of this post, down to the end - I wanted to emphasize the weirdness of passing through the reality storm for them.

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Re: Tips for Day One?

Postby gog » Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:31 am

Would say they are good introduction to the mechanics and setting. But also to make the players aware that they are on Day 1, while the main book starts with Day 90, so the feel of some places changes, and the wash of reality changing is not normal to the system

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Re: Tips for Day One?

Postby Istrian » Tue Oct 22, 2019 8:56 am

For the PP adventure I suggest you warn your players beforehand that they are all going to die (that is what the script says). Most players do not like scripted loss but are more forgiving if warned in advance.

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Re: Tips for Day One?

Postby Sword of Spirit » Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:20 pm

To share a different experience...

My group contains a couple of veteran MtG players, who took to using the cards to good effect really quickly.

We've played through Tharkold. We had 4 players for most sessions, I think we may have had 5 for a couple, and we had 3 for the Tharkold one.

Only one character ever died (in the Tharkold one where there were only 3). (Technically another died, but that was the player requesting us to just kill off his character in some awesome way because he wouldn't make the session.)

I told them that everyone was supposed to die in the Pan-Pacifica one, because I knew some of my players would hate that happening without warning. I let them fight the security forces at the end rather than just fade to black. They won. They all got on the chopper and flew off. It might have gone tougher if I hadn't used the guidance from the Beta Primer about having all the mooks take a combined action and multi-targeting the characters. I probably should have made a separate group for each character and had them make a combined attack instead--but even then I bet the party would have pulled through. If I had run each soldier as an individual, then we would likely have taken actual casualties.

Cards and possibilities are powerful. In the Day Ones (where you usually have pretty crappy stats for an "adventurer" type of person), they are more important than stats. So if you have a group that gets the whole dynamic of trading cards and saving a couple of possibilities for soaking, they might steamroll through most of these.

Now granted, that is assuming they actually become Storm Knights. I assume the intent is that everyone becomes a Storm Knight fairly quickly, so I look for opportunities to make that happen in the first 2-3 scenes. If you are stingy with that, then they'll likely have a significantly more difficult time.

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Re: Tips for Day One?

Postby greybird » Wed Oct 23, 2019 12:19 am

Thank you all for the input. I will think about all of it and integrate it into my notes. I will check back for new ideas (and my use the thread for a question or two.)

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Re: Tips for Day One?

Postby Kuildeous » Wed Oct 23, 2019 10:43 am

Sword of Spirit wrote: It might have gone tougher if I hadn't used the guidance from the Beta Primer about having all the mooks take a combined action and multi-targeting the characters.

I have a thread on determining when to use combined action and when not to: viewtopic.php?f=31&t=1989&p=18522

I think your point is correct, especially since that fight should’ve been “unwinnable.”

I personally don’t mind the fade to black where the PCs are all killed. The players themselves still won, but the theme that winning is not enough in Pan Pacifica can really pack a punch. Perhaps the sourness of getting killed anyway can be offset by the knowledge that the characters made a difference. Perhaps that should be emphasized in the wrap-up.

“Though you have been summarily executed by the emotionless goons, you do not die within a vacuum. The person you talked to at the temple feels a surge of uncharacteristic bravery and makes it past the cordon. And in the wake of the destroyed research facility, a lone survivor picks through the rubble and finds the flash drive that fell out of your pocket before you boarded the helicopter.”

Or something like that. It’s a crap example, but hopefully you get the idea.
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Re: Tips for Day One?

Postby graethynne » Sat Oct 26, 2019 2:28 pm

From one of my players, who played LL, NE and Orrorsh I think -

"the nile empire felt very rail-roady, gettinig dropped into an underground cave by fiat. Massaging that into more of choice (or at least the appearance of choice) finding a way into the pyramid, would feel better."

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