Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby hawaiianbrian » Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:00 pm

The other issue is that Torg adventures are structured around an Act/Scene framework which has a baked-in mechanical element, as part of its movie-inspired roots. D&D doesn't use that kind of structure, so it's whatever... same with most other RPGs, really. When writing for those games, it's fully possible to write your adventure as basically "Here's what happened before, here's who is responsible, here's what they want, here's where this takes place, here are some things the heroes might learn as they explore... and go!"

If you're running a homemade Torg game you can still kinda do that, because you can base scene and act breaks based on natural dramatic points in the story as it is generated by the back-and-forth between the GM and players. Someone gets a spontaneous idea and they rush off to hack a cyberpapal data bank, and the GM rolls with it, and there's a scene.

But when writing a Torg adventure, the author knows they won't be at the table, so they have to create something that already has scene and act breaks built in, if for no other reason than because many people need help knowing when and where to do that.

As for Act 1 of Fires of Ra being fights and chases, to be frank the rest of it is mostly fights and chases, too. As Greymarch2000 pointed out, this is the Nile Empire, which is aggressively action-oriented. The World Laws and cards push that, so if things start to slow down, action interrupts it. I could see a more Noir-ish investigation taking place in Cairo, but I don't think it would last more than two or three scenes before suddenly Professor Infinity's Psycho-Ray Machine is poised over Cairo and the heroes are having fistfights atop a zeppelin rigged to explode.

Other cosms aren't like that, or at least not as much. Aysle's mega-adventure is a cosm tour, just like all of them, but pulls back a bit on the railroad. You can play most of the acts out of sequence, depending on where the heroes choose to go. Within each act, there's the usual sequence of scenes that presupposes certain decisions on the part of the heroes. Every published adventure is going to have that kind of thing, and yes, sometimes characters have abilities or players come up with clever workarounds that changes everything. This is where the DM has to do some work; There's no amount of pre-planning on the writer's part that can cover all possible outcomes at the table. We try to anticipate some things, but there's only so much we can do.

The idea about an adventure that functions more like a choose-your-own-adventure is something I've also thought of. I'd like to do something like that someday. I can see some complications I'd need to think through, first. One of those complications is that no table would end up using more than a fraction of the total word count of the adventure –– all the rest would be "wasted." To mitigate that, we'd probably just have scenes within an act be selectable, with all threads coming back into pinch-points that mark the beginning of the next act, and with variables that shift depending on which route the heroes took to get there. All that would be really, really cool, and I'll see if we can do something like that someday.

Lastly, I think it would be fantastic to have an adventure (not one of the main realm adventures) that is a full-on sandbox and leaves scene/act breaks up to the GM. As the realm of high fantasy, Aysle would be perfect for that. But it would probably be best saved for a Year 2 adventure. Or something on the Infiniverse Exchange!

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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby ShirtlessOBrien » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:50 am

I think Torg works best in a middle ground between sandbox and railroad job.

As I said when we were talking about The God Box, previous Torg adventures like The Destiny Map were linear in the big picture sense but each individual scene offered some scope to approach it in different ways, and some scope for the choices made in that scene to affect future scenes. When you meet Wu Han for the second time it matters how you interacted with him the first time. Enemies you don't kill can come back to annoy you again or come back as allies. Each scene led to the next in some kind of logical order that made the players want to follow the story path.

The Day One Living Land module also did a good job in this regard.

In a good action movie there are still fights and explosions in a formulaic order but they hang together logically and the characters make sense. It's what separates a Die Hard from a mediocre action movie, or the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie from the sequels.

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Re: Fires of Ra Discussion and Questions

Postby GeniusCodeMonkey » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:46 am

I think it's too late, but...

Page 24 states "A shocktrooper company (consisting of three platoons) has been assigned to the dig site ...". With there being 40 shocktroopers shown in the enemies section.

In the Nile Empire source book ...

"Shocktroopers are organized into squads of 10 men, one of which is assigned a Kocha machinegun. Squads are commanded by a veteran shocktrooper. Platoons consist of four squads and are led by a lieutenant. Three platoons make a company led by a veteran lieutenant. Each company is also accompanied a support platoon of five 81mm mortars. "

So actually at the dig site there should be 10 men * 4 squads * 3 platoons + (1 * 4 lieutenant) + 1 veteran lieutenant = 125 troops; not 40 as stated ... not including the support platoon.
Question everything.

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