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Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 11:32 am
by carldot34
Someone mentioned Day Zero adventures. Can we use this topic heading for listing adventure ideas and seeds? I might try turning them into mini adventures once the KS has finished.

Re: Adventures

Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:01 pm
by Stormchild
I often use basically the same Day Zero adventure similar to the Eric Alder/Pater Bryce/Tolwyn/Tal Tuu adventure in the novel

Living Land: New York, the bridge drops, players survive individually until they stumble upon each other, they fight for survival and to get out of the living land. They are quickly found by other survivors soon forming a small treck of civilists they have to defend and get out of the living land.

This can be done in all the other realms too but with a nod to the relevant world laws and the different ways the invasion starts there:

Aysle: the first impact is a rampage of creatures and warriors but the difference to living land is that first pockets of resistance just like besieged cities in medieval warfare can be formed early on. So it is not so much a run for survival but instead a gathering of forces and fortifying a holdout (I always wanted to use the Guinnes brewery in Dublin as such a rallying point but haven't done it yet, the battle for the last barrel could really be fun and the building already looks like a fortress

Nile Empire: The invasion starts with an axiom wash and everything becomes pulpish. Good and evil forces from before the invasion are now exagerrated. The powers that are have to decide on which side they stand when the pharaoh's troops attack the government palace in Kairo (btw al Sissi is about to build a new Capitol city near Kairo in the real world right now). In Egypt today, the army is everything, the generals own corporations, the army builds streets and houses, bakes bread, manages the hospitals etc. so there is not such a big difference to the Nile Empire. The soldiers only change their clothes. The difference to the setting in the 90s is that there was a revolution in egypt and there are many people today who still hope for change (though the ideals range from democratic to islamic fundamentalistic). There are still heroes from the revolution left who are likely to take a stand and rally people around them.
So, the invasion in NE is more about moral choices than about fighting an invading force.
I usually play it as a storm followed by a progressing change of scenery. After the storm devastated a lot of the vicinity (usually I play in Kairo) with ever more modern equipment transforming or ceasing to function, the first strangely clad soldiers appear and the players have to face a moral choice. Then a "normal" pulp adventure starts f.i. the hunt for an important artifact.

Orrorsh: I never played it from Core Earth perspective, instead some of the players were Victorians about to go through the gates in order to bring hope and salvation to a demon-infested world. Later on they stumbled upon Core Earth players who are not so fond about their benefictors. And of course, there was a Horror involved. Btw this one is tricky, every NPC needs to be fleshed out very carfully as the hunt for the Horror is about information-gathering or it becomes just another Monster-chase.

Marketplace (aka Nippon Tech but I refuse to use that name): the change is subtle and is only advisable for experienced players who know that RPG is about roleplaying not about dice rolling. I never played it as an introductory on cons. With my experienced group the visits to marketplace surely were no DayO adventures. There are a number of options this could start, here is one I often wanted to GM:
One Player is a loyal employee of his company when he finds a misdirected file in his private email programme. He can't open it but is soon chased. Other players can be friends and resources (f.i. a private detective or a programmer who is asked to help decrypting that file). The file is a ransome note to the company's CEO, someone has his daughter, if he wants to see her again he has to sell his company shares. And just when they think this gives new meaning to the word hostile takeover, they are confronted by Ninjas.
Of course, in Torg Eternity Pan Pacifica will have a totally different flavour. It starts out with a Zombie-epidemic, so ideally suited for Day0 convention adventures.

Cyberpapacy: in OTorg the pope is a late-comer, so there is no Day0 Story (I used Operation Central Fire as a first entry to the CP). In Torg Eternity though, it looks like the invasion on France will be on Day0. As far as I understand it by now, it will begin with disasters and the cyberchurch will come as a salvation from this perceived Armageddon. The DayO story could be around surviving the disasters or revealing the cyberchurch is evil or both.

Tharkold: Well, I have no idea. I have to read it first. But it looks like Mad Max with demons so far.

Players from different realities can be brought in just like Tolwyn was brought into the living land. I had one character brought into the Land Below into the body of a virgin that was about to be sacrified. The power of the big eternity shard transferred the soul of a hero from another world (a prince in the image of Elric of Melnibone from an non-canon world) into this female body. Though this was not a Day Zero adventure, it was a great introduction for a player new to Torg. Playing a male hero in the body of a female savage was great fun for him and the group (and btw I had this idea when he started the game with a mistaken identity card and asked me what this card is used for. I took it, I used it, we had fun).

Re: Adventures

Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:20 pm
by Stormchild
This thread made me think about what makes a good introductory story for the relevant realm.

Of course, there are tons of material about storytelling or in the words of german literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki: Girl meets Boy they lead a happy life, this is not literature. Girl meets Boy, they have to overcome many obstacles, this is literature.

Obviously, in Torg stories it is less about girl meets boy and more about PC meets PC but the reasoning is the same, it is about overcoming obstacles.

And, Torg is not your generic RPG. Of course, Aysle is fantasy, Orrorsh is horror, Nile is Pulp, Marketplace is Near-Now Espionage (or in TorgE Zombies), Cyberpapacy is Cyberpunk, Tharkold is a wasteworld and Living Land is a lost world but all of this together is something very different. In order to show players that this is not their standard "put in a theme name" some tricks are needed.

The most original part of Torg are the storms. Of course, storms are a staple of many settings, dark and brooding, underlying the world-ending mutterings of an evil wizard or the aftermath of a natural catastrophe, but in Torg they change people, they are not the end of the world but the beginning of a new world were the players have to find their place.

I think it is never the best tactic to throw everything at the players at once. Instead I like to spoon-feed them the news obstacle by obstacle.

In the end of a Day0 adventure the players should know that they are not in Kansas anymore.
1) The world has changed and it is gonna stay changed
2) The players can do something against it but it will be a long fight
3) Even if they win they will lose something
4) Not all outsiders are enemies
5) Storms are dangerous by virtue of being storms but they are more than that
6) Storms change people and objects, reality is the true battle field
7) Some people can hold on to their own reality. Some of those people are fighting the good fight, they are called Storm Knights (others are Stormers)
8) Not all Storm Knights fight for the same reasons, some of your allies are not on your side on the long run
9) Every realm is different (they now know some of the world laws but not all)
10) The big honcho is some mysterious figure called High Lord and there is someone even more mysterious called the Torg

The obstacles can be put into some kind of order, though it could become boring to always play it in this order
1) Natural disaster due to the storms
2) Some things you could rely on don't work anymore
3) Homo homini lupus - in a crisis people can become worse enemies than the invaders
4) Monsters are real
5) Disaster, monsters, desperate people packed in one action sequence
6) The road to safety leads through a storm (play out the fear of the stormfront as far as you can)
7) Stormeffects - going through a storm should be a unique experience, it should be different and memorable every time
8) Behind the storms the resistance begins - and they are uninformed and suspicious
9) Eternity shards, a good reason to go right into the heart of enemy territory again
10) there are many mysteries left to be solved
and at any step on the way: find some friends from the invading realm and hear about their mysterious High Lord also experience disconnection and transformation first-hand

Re: Adventures

Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:21 pm
by Gargoyle
All of the above is great. ^^ Fantastic thread.

I'm actually thinking about doing what I'd call a Day -1 adventure. My thinking is that I'm probably going to have players that are completely new to Torg, so why not keep them in the dark a little longer, and run a Core Earth adventure that take place 24 hours before the first bridge drops?

This is sort of a sneaky thing, where I'd give them all the Core Earth templates, and no information about Torg other than a description of Core Earth aka Cinematic Earth. I'm thinking of doing each adventure one on one in different parts of the world, completely unrelated, at least as far as they know. They wouldn't be Storm Knights yet, and this would be a very short adventure to get them used to the core rules. No possibilities, no cards except for initiative, but world laws still apply of course. They would face regular Core Earth foes, except at the end, when an invader appears...a scout or a stelae team or something. Then it ends with encroaching storms, and I can run the day 1 stuff and give them more info about the game and a normal assortment of templates. I'd explain that if they see a character concept they'd like to play more, they can transform into it, so if they picked Tough Cop and decided they wanted to be an Aysle Mage we'd just use the other template rather than normal transformation rules.

I think that this is a slower way to get people into it the game, though perhaps just jumping into it full bore with a day 90 campaign and then doing flashbacks one on one would be more fun. The nice thing is that there are so many ways to run this and 1 on 1 adventures work pretty well in just give them a bigger hand once they are possibility rated...or even give them cards when they are ords but no possiblities, lots of options.

Re: Adventures

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:25 am
by carldot34
In DH Heroes, from Mayfair games, the players were encouraged to work up subplots for their characters and pass them to the GM to run during the game. I'm thinking of doing something similar; get the Torg players to write up flashback scenarios for their characters that I can then incorporate into the games. I'm not sure how much buy-in I will get from my players; I have had the same bunch since 2001 (with one new addition in 2008) and I know that some will put in homework for games and others won't. :shock:

Re: Adventures

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:04 am
by Kuildeous
Gargoyle wrote:I think that this is a slower way to get people into it the game, though perhaps just jumping into it full bore with a day 90 campaign and then doing flashbacks one on one would be more fun. The nice thing is that there are so many ways to run this and 1 on 1 adventures work pretty well in just give them a bigger hand once they are possibility rated...or even give them cards when they are ords but no possiblities, lots of options.

I'm considering running it as intended but with flashbacks. A really ambitious project—if I can pull it off—is to have the group make their disparate Storm Knights and go through a minor adventure or two. Then run the flashback episodes. Only instead of running it one-on-one, I would write up NPCs for the other players. Or maybe the NPCs will be made up on the fly.

For example, let's say I have four players, and they chose a Russian mechanic, a Marketplace CEO, a New York cop, and an elven monk. I have them go through a couple of adventures to establish a little bit about their role in the war. Then I change things up for the next several sessions.

I tell the Russian mechanic, "Okay, so what happened during the invasion? Where did you work? Who was important on that day?" The mechanic's player thinks a bit and tells me that his wife ran the body shop where he worked. I ask a player to quickly whip up a character with 36 attribute points and some skills. "Right, so you and your wife are working when there's a power outage. You hear gunshots in the streets and…something else. Like lasers from a sci-fi movie." The two players say they go investigate and find two people cornered by dogs with weird cyberware. I ask the mechanic's player who those guys are, and he says that one was his neighbor who retired from the KGB, but he doesn't know who the other guy is. He has all sorts of weird machines attached to him. I assign the third player to quickly make up an ex-KGB agent and the last player a Race commando.

Now that each player has a character, we tell the story of how the mechanic survived the initial invasion. How does he respond to the invaders? How does he react to his newfound ability to fix the Race commando's cyberware? What does he do when he sees the mushtroom cloud in the distance? The only stipulation is that the mechanic obviously lives, though he may be scarred physically and mentally. Since the other players are playing NPCs, they are not guaranteed to live. In fact, the mechanic may helplessly watch his wife succumb to radiation poisoning and his neighbor sacrificing his life to slow down a technodemon. If an NPC exits too quickly, a new NPC can be added. Keep doing this until the PC has reached a critical point in his Day 0.

This is, of course, repeated for the others. The Marketplace CEO started off with an invasion with two players acting as his loyal bodyguards while another player acts as the Palin monk who convinces him of the error of his ways. The New York cop can meet up with scavengers and maybe a rogue edeinos. The elven monk can have resistance fighters of various races who are wiped out as corruption festers in their midst.

This lets players do something while you indulge in the single-player backstories, and they have a hand in developing that character's story. After a few sessions with each person, jump back to the present. This will give the players a lot of experience to play with and refine their characters to better reflect what they went through.

I'm not sure if I'll be running it since I already know of someone chomping at the bit to run one of his own, but I may suggest this.

Re: Adventures

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:06 am
by Kuildeous
Basically, I typed all that in response to my thought that the problem with Day 0 scenarios is that a group of players usually likes to come up with characters from all over, so it's not feasible to have a Day 0 unless you force all the characters to have the same critical moment.

Re: Adventures

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:24 am
by Gargoyle
Kuildeous wrote:Basically, I typed all that in response to my thought that the problem with Day 0 scenarios is that a group of players usually likes to come up with characters from all over, so it's not feasible to have a Day 0 unless you force all the characters to have the same critical moment.

I think flashbacks are a great way to handle the moments of crisis,especially if you're starting an entire group of players at once. I think I'm going to have to convince people to play (at first), and probably will only have one or two players at a time at first anyway, so doing a Day -1 or Day 0 thing from the beginning will probably work for my table.

Re: Adventures

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:38 pm
by Stormchild
Of course, it is difficult to have a Day0 adventure when all players want to come from different realms. I usually GM Day0 at cons, ask the players what they want to play (I have a ring binder with all the templates and let them flip through it). It usually turns out that most are from one realm with the occasional outsider inbetween. So I beam in the outsider via some unexplained event and often this event turns out to be the adventure. I usually don't prepare for Torg but improvise the adventure totally.

One example (some weeks ago): 3 players, two Core Earthers, one experienced player who wanted to use his often-played (about 30 Poss total) Mystery Man from Terra. The Core Earthers are in a New York pub when the invasion starts. Lights go out, equipment fails, some people go beserk, bar-room brawl in the dark. The door opens, a harried man comes in and is struck from behind by a spear. The players and some NPC run for the door and the windows, they see a dinosaur with an edeinos riding it in a street devastated by the storm. They fight the dinosaur and when they think they have won, more edeinos and dinosaur come stampeding into their direction.

Suddenly a flash in the middle of the room, a portal of light appears and a crimson clad hooded figure falls out of it. He is unconscious. I thought, all 3 of the players would then take a stand against the dinosaur horde but they, recognizing an exit when they see it, take the unconscious pulp hero and jump into the gate which closes behind them.

They fall out of the portal into a bar that is very similar to the one they left, only that it is decorated in 40s style. They are surrounded by mobsters who instantly brawl with the heroes over the unconscious pulp hero's body. From then it is action piling all over. The pulp hero finds an eternity shard in his pocket but does not know where he got it from or what happened the last 24 hours (or how to use the shard for that matter). Of course, this is what opens the gate and it is what many fractions want. The story goes on a lot further but I think you got the picture

Re: Adventures

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:52 pm
by Stormchild
Btw, I love the idea of flashbacks and will try it in my next adventure. I think it can be done as a played-out adventure. The players have to answer some questions on their character, then I play a one-on-one with each one, albeit a short one.