PFS #2-22: Eyes of Ten, Part 4: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

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The Exchange

I am also in the middle of running Eyes and was wondering if anyone has any suggestions for running the first battle of Part 4 with relatively “open knowledge.”

To explain: one of my players has real trouble with just one abstraction layer (what players know vs. what characters know). Not metagaming, just has problems with - for example - a situation where all the PCs except his can see in a dark room. Can’t really process that even though he can see the walls, stairs, and creatures on a map his character can’t. I’m afraid that adding another layer of abstraction (players acting without clearly knowing who is saying what) is going to make it exponentially more frustrating for everyone as he gets more and more confused/upset.

I’m thinking about dumping some minis on the map, letting them talk freely for a bit with the voices coming from “all around”, and having Woltag strike relatively quickly - as soon as someone says they will do something identifiable like “I’m going to check out these stones.” Then doing the “spin your chairs around” and just calling names one at a time. Point at their mini and take a turn as normal.


Dark Archive

When I gm it, I put 5 identical minis on the map and gives cards to my players.
They had to write down what they do and what they say in it and I moved the minis and read the cards so that nobody knows who was who.

It worked fine :)

Dark Archive

I did something similar to Ilmakis, but with numbered discs instead of minis. Be sure to include one for Wotan/“Eliza”.

I gave each player a card with their number on it, and told them to write their actions. So everyone could look at the board, without revealing locations. I then announced all the actions at once. The players figured out who was who on about round three after combat was initiated by Wotan. We abandoned the cards at that point. Once the attacks start happening, they get really motivated to identify each other.. ;)

Sovereign Court

I did the same as above with cards. I just used different color die and assigned a color to each person. Had them write actions/statements on the card and made everything happen at once until they had identified Wotan.

The Exchange

Hmmm... I may not have been explicit enough in my post.

The cards is how it's been done in the past (with variations). But I have one player in this game who just won't be able to handle the abstraction of having to write down what he says and then not knowing who says what. He'll get more and more confused, frustrated, and angry each round. "Why can't I just say it, we're all in the same room?" Which will in turn greatly reduce the fun for everyone else as he rants about how stupid the whole thing is. I've thought about it for quite a while, and there's no way I can do cards or any other kind of "concealed talking" without it starting Part 4 off as a terrible kill-joy.

The additional abstraction of having all the actions happen at once would be even worse. "I wouldn't have done that if I'd known that guy was going to be there! How was I supposed to know?"

So I'm going to start them off with some replacement minis in the room but not tell them who is who. I'll let them talk, discuss their plans, and try to find Eliza until someone says {I} {take action}. (Such as "I move towards the pedestal," or "Brennan says 'I'm about to fly upwards.'") At that point Woaltag attacks.

I will have the players turn away from the board and call them in initiative order. I will then point at which mini is theirs (with an explicit warning not to say it out loud), have them take a regular turn, then turn back around.

I was wondering if anyone had done something similar and if so how it went.

The Exchange

Simply turning around worked out pretty well.

Started out with just a vague room description (no map), then brought out the map when combat started (when someone stepped in an alcove and Woaltag decided to make his move). Used a set of elementals to represent the players/NPCs. Facing away let them talk freely on their turn since the others couldn't tell where it was coming from. Still kept the element of confusion going. I think I actually had the swashbuckler convinced he had killed Eliza at one point. They gradually found the stones and made themselves visible to one another.

I think it went faster than the cards as well. And there was WAY less argument about "well I wouldn't have done X if I'd known Y had already happened!"

The Exchange

By the way, one of the players put on a phony decimvirate helm and got the mark of justice applied. Has anyone ever actually applied the penalties of the activated mark to a player before? It doesn't say which option to choose. I considered it for a while and decided not to do it. It's just so brutal if they don't have access to break enchantment.

On further review, I think if any PC does this again I would apply the effects of greater brand instead. The mark glows and the target becomes sickened if within 30' of a wayfinder. Given the description of what happens, that seems like what the spell should have been in the first place.

Scarab Sages

Glad turning everyone around worked out. That's actually a pretty cool way to do it. I had my map at a second table. We went into initiative the second they entered the room. The party could speak freely, but they could only see the map during their turn.

I haven't seen anyone put on a phony helm in either my run as a player or a GM though I had planned to apply the Mark. I had planned to apply the -4 penalty option as I thought it would make things challenging without being quite as nasty as they -6 to an ability score or slow things down as much as the 50% chance to not act.

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