Author Topic: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?  (Read 1417 times)

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Offline Domino

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Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« on: November 24, 2010, 12:53:10 PM »
I've got a few idea for a Deadlands adventure I want to run for my friends. As it happens I'm not terribly experienced at this.

There's 2 main things I'm looking for. Challeneges and puzzles/mystery.

Deadlands, if you've not heard of it, is basically The Wild West + Magic + Steampunk.

The idea that I've got is that the players belong to a government agency sent to find out why the populations of a number of towns in the area have either disappeared or fled. It's going to be werewolves, a few have moved into the town and have been infecting the townsfolk. Come the full moon the "full" werewolves turn into large wolfmen, the infected townsfolk irreversibly turn into wolves, everyone else gets eaten or flees and the werewolves move on to the next town.

I want this to be a mystery that the players have to work out. I want them to know that they're dealing with werewolves before the full moon (ie the climatic battle) but not as soon as the walk into the town. I guess red herrings might be the way to go. I'm not really sure how to pace the clues. In short, I'm not very good at writing mysteries. Any writers out there?

Something I'm struggling to think of are skill-check challenges. I think one might be breaking into the town vault (I had the idea that the werewolves have been there a while and are buying/hoarding all the silver) so the players are cracking the safe and acting as lookout.

I ran a zombie themed game about a year ago. The players had to search through the back rooms of a pharmacy for medical supplies that was under siege from zombies. Some of the players were rolling to search while others were killing the zombies that were flooding through the doors. This worked well and I'd like to have a few more events like this. Anyone have an ideas? Anything really, I can find a reason for the event later.

Offline I am Nintendo

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2010, 04:21:26 PM »
One thing you could do is have a machine that you need  to build.

Every once in a while throughout the game, you pick up an item, which you need to complete a particular puzzle. However, you either get to keep the part after using it, or receive a different part after finishing the puzzle. Each part you gather can give a hint as to the machine you need to build once you have collected all the pieces, but nothing is a dead giveaway.
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Offline Caffiene

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2010, 06:12:13 PM »
Fear The Boot podcast had a good episode the other week about player misdirection. They discussed ways to keep the player guessing, as well as potential problems (eg, what do you do if they figure it out too early? Or if they dont figure it out at all?)

You can probably get some good ideas from there.
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Offline Jim S

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2010, 06:27:59 PM »
Maybe throw the Pinkerton's into the mix?  They're there at the behest of the rich guy in town, and are concerned only with protecting his interests, not the town as a whole.

- Social skill challenge to convince the Pinkerton agent(s) to tell you what they know, with success giving the party a leg up in the climactic battle.
OR
- Physical skill challenge to follow the Pinkerton agent some place (undetected) and then steal his intell.

The mystery then could be some tie in between the rich guy (mayor?) and the werewolves.  For instance, a family member is infected, and the rich guy thinks he has a cure.  (Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't.)  Rich guy, of course, doesn't want anyone to find out that his relative is infected (son? wife?) and this is what is driving his strange behavior. 

Another skill challenge then might be sneaking into the mayor's house to find out what his deal is. 




ETA: fixed a couple typos
« Last Edit: November 25, 2010, 12:31:51 AM by Jim S »
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Offline Domino

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2010, 07:02:51 PM »
All good stuff. More ideas welcome :)

I hadn't actually thought about having people know that they're infected. Maybe have some subtle sign that the players could pick up on. When the idea came to me it seemed like a good way to (story-wise) explain a sudden mass disappearance and provide lots of mooks to fight. I had an idea that one of the werewolves would be a saloon girl, she'd be infecting her "customers" with a bite or something.

My friends aren't really ones to role-play so I think a semi-structured series of challenges (checks and fights) is what they'll get the most out of - with the opportunity to role play if they want to. That's why I really want challenges.

In the zombie game I had them make characters that were themselves (well, more or less) and set it in the city we all went to uni in - I actually used Google maps to mark out where they were. They had to negotiate with criminals to get some guns, sneak down a street past zombies, search a pharmacy for first aid stuff while fighting of zombies and finally fight a boss monster. It was a Tank from L4D basically, I had some rules for how it would react and who it would attack. It was represented by a teddy bear with an angry face taped to it that I'd throw at whoever it was attacking at the time. That was a one shot game that lasted one session, for this I was thinking longer - a couple of sessions each lasting a day in game-time until the full moon.

Offline Jim S

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2010, 12:42:20 AM »
I assume you're using a 4e system...no roleplaying required.   :-\

The people don't have to know.  As you suggest, maybe people with experience in this area can figure it out, but most people, including the pary early on, have no way of knowing.  So maybe Mr. Mayor knows his loved one is infected, because he has fought lycanthropes before.  But not one else knows, no even the person who is infected.

Oh, potential cool fight/skill challenge:
The party has learned to recognize a lycanthrope several seconds before a person changes.   Much of the town has gathered in one place for safety, not recognizing the danger in their midst.  The party gets there just as the changes should be starting.  They have to fight more powerful some more powerful werewolves who have come to feast and collect the new werewolves.   While some in the party are fighting them, the others are working through the crowd, trying to spot those about to change.  Each person they spot they can subdue and keep them out of the battle.  Each one they miss they'll have to fight.
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Offline Domino

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2010, 07:28:10 AM »
Deadlands uses Savage Worlds, I don't know how it compares.

Some background on Deadlands. The American Civil war didn't end. The USA and the CSA have settled down into a cold war. A new mineral called Ghostrock has been discovered - it burns much hotter and much, much, much, much, much longer than coal and so is highly valued, especially for the war effort. It also wails like the dead and glows ghostly white when you burn it and tends to drive people mad if they handle it for too long.

The Plot such as it is:

Ghostrock production in this area has been dropping off rapidly, the Agency has been sent to find out why. The Agency's mission is largely to investigate paranormal activity and keep it hidden from the general public, generally by killing it and intimidating/bribing/"silencing" any witnesses. In this area the Ghostrock veins are long and thin so the area is dotted small mining towns of a couple of hundred people. The players have been exploring and have found a cluster of at least 5 of these towns that are completely empty. They find a nearby town that still has people. This is where the game starts.

Day 1

Introduce themselves to the Mayor - he also owns the mine. He doesn't like/trust them but knows that something is up (that's why he has the Pinkertons in?).

Talk to the Sherrif. Get told some more information about the town. Something is wrong, people are scared and angry but don't really know why. There are a few crazy men in town (survivors from previous massacres, brains scrambled with fear - they'll give some clues mixed with madness)

Go to the Saloon to find a place to stay. Walk into a bar fight (because people are scared, angry and half mad, but mainly because this is the Wild West and well, you gotta have a bar fight)

Day 2

Talk to the miners and crazy men. No idea what they'll find out.

Attack by Indians on horse back. Check - they seem to be only attacking certain people. They'll have to fight them off anyway, Pinkertons are probably out fighting too. (They know there's werewolves in the town and know how to identify the infected - maybe the players will get a little information from them after the beat them)

Talk to the Hukster in the Saloon. (A Hukster is a Deadlands version of a wizard, they use cards to cast spells and so most are also professional gamblers.) Beat him to gain information. He cheats. Cheat better. He won't want to use magic in public but fighting him should not be a good idea.

Day 3

They should know it's werewolves by now. For whatever reason almost all the silver in the town is in the vault - town is run on credit? Maybe the Hukster is there to break into the vault and sees an opportunity for the player to help.

Break into the vault - maybe on night 2?

Make silver bullets

Werewolf fight

Offline Domino

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2010, 10:05:24 AM »
Just thought, a player decision might be fun. Preferably a bad and worse choice. Maybe some kind of moral choice where neither option is that attractive.

Offline Jim S

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2010, 03:11:09 PM »
I'm familiar with Deadlands, but not the Savage Worlds system. 

Ideas:  (just to add some stuff, if you want)
When they talk to the crazy ppl on day 2, give them a red herring.  Say it is the Indians. (the evidence seen in the other towns is inconclusive but seems to indicate it isn't Indians.)  When the Indian attack occurs shortly thereafter, it will seem like immediate confirmation, but they'll reecognize some unusual behavior by the Indians during the attack, but they may kill a few Indians before they see that the Indians are being choosy. 

Regarding gambling with the Huckster - it will be tough to have skills even in the same neighborhood, unless you have a huckster yourself, right?  If you have a huckster in the party, have this guy give the party a Hoyle's...your Huckster will love you forever.  He needs something to help him stay up with the silver-bullet-shooting party members during the last battle. 

Regarding getting the silver out of the vault:  The players could have a challenge to see if they can convince the mayor (or whoever) to let them have it.  If they fail (and go ahead and make it very challenging), then they have to break in.  In other words, plan the challenge so that only some really good rolls will lead to success.  Let them think they've gotten themselves into trouble. 
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Offline Domino

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2010, 03:56:34 PM »
Ooooh... I like these.

From what I understand the original Deadlands system mutated into Savage Worlds (a generic system) which was applied to Deadlands Reloaded.

Not sure what you mean by
Regarding gambling with the Huckster - it will be tough to have skills even in the same neighborhood, unless you have a huckster yourself, right?  If you have a huckster in the party, have this guy give the party a Hoyle's...your Huckster will love you forever.  He needs something to help him stay up with the silver-bullet-shooting party members during the last battle.

Video on Savage Worlds if you're interested

Game Geeks #47 Savage Worlds and Dead Lands Reloaded

Offline I am Nintendo

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2010, 05:03:11 PM »
Just thought, a player decision might be fun. Preferably a bad and worse choice. Maybe some kind of moral choice where neither option is that attractive.

One idea. There is a situation where there is someone on your "team" or whatever, and they are fighting with their double (a bad guy). They get to the point where you have to shoot one of them. Depending on which one you shoot (and there is literally no way of figuring out which is which), the way that level progresses is different.

If you shoot the good guy, the level is generally harder, because the bad double is making everything go wrong (obviously making it look like all accidents), but the level ends with you only having to fight him.

If you shoot the bad guy, the level is generally easier, but the level ends with you fighting this big baddie, who ends up killing the friend you saved at the beginning of the level.

You could even have the one-or-the-other scene set up so that whoever you're aiming at starts talking to you, telling you to shoot the other guy.
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Offline Domino

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2010, 06:13:00 PM »
Heheh, I don't run many games but when I do it tends to be Paranoia. That tends to produce a mean streak in a GM. If this situation comes up I doubt the players will even be able to shoot the bad guy.

"Secret roll for perception! *rolls behind screen* You fail!"
"What did we roll?"
"Er... 4"

The kind of thing I was thinking of wouldn't really even have to have anything to do with the plot. Just one of those horrible moral choice things like The Trolley Question.

Offline Jim S

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2010, 02:39:05 AM »
Not sure what you mean by
Regarding gambling with the Huckster - it will be tough to have skills even in the same neighborhood, unless you have a huckster yourself, right?  If you have a huckster in the party, have this guy give the party a Hoyle's...your Huckster will love you forever.  He needs something to help him stay up with the silver-bullet-shooting party members during the last battle.

As you say, Huckster's have great gambling scores...if the party has a huckster amongst them (and he is a gambler), they have a chance of beating the NPC huckster.  It seems to me that an NPC Huckster would be tough to beat unless there is a gambler in the party, even if the party cheats.   In other words, it seems unrealistic to me for non gamblers to beat a gambler, under any circumstances.  But that is just opinion.

If one of your players decides to play a Huckster, an upgraded version of Hoyle's Book of games is THE treasure item to get.  (You may already know all this.  Or it has changed since I played.)  It can make casting more reliable or allow the huckster to get better hands when casting.  The Huckster in the party may need an extra boost in the final battle you described.  Upgraded versions of the books are hard to get, but another huckster would be a reasonable place to get one.  (i.e. the NPC huckster's old copy) 
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Offline Domino

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Re: Anyone want to help me write an RPG adventure?
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2010, 04:18:28 AM »
Ah right. Yeah, the Deadlands Reloaded version is a little more generic but it would be easy enough to limit the spells available at the start of the game and offer new ones once they beat the guy.

 

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