Feeling deflated (somewhat)

Well, that was unexpected. I was really looking forward to running my session this week; my maps were made, my encounters weren’t too deadly as my PCs are still fledgling adventurers that I don’t want to kill with my creative boss encounters. I planned for a bit of moral ambiguity, which amusingly took me to a conclusion I didn’t think my players would take, and was super pumped to run the session. Everything was in place. Everything was wonderful.

There were obviously good points. There was some good tension between the players when I faced them with a moral dilemma concerning some captive aliens. I was honestly not expecting one of the players to free the Nurian captive and give her a vacc suit so she could escape the facility and survive on the surface of the toxic planet. The player who decided to try and uncover the planet’s history from the primitive patterns on the wall was another fun aspect, as I got to explain some of the lore behind this specific planet they found themselves on.

However, if everything was great I wouldn’t be feeling so down.

My players are not ideally suited for sticking together. I don’t want to railroad, but by this point it is starting to look like I may need to step in and provide some looming threat to keep the group together. The out of character tension was unfortunately thick this session, with players getting in each other’s way, causing more conflicts to spark up. While some of these in character conflicts are great and I love the crew dynamic at times, some of them seem to bubble over a bit too far and get uncomfortable.

One of the players also hated the more dungeon crawly aspect of the job. There were a series of caves the players had to go through and the enemies continuously failed their morale checks (as they were really crappy, but numerous. They were meant to swarm the PCs, but kept failing morale checks and ran away). I can agree that this dragged on a little, which is why at the end I just stopped doing morale checks and just made them fight to the death. The sole reason I kept the NPCs as these small pack animals was because I don’t like killing off players, unless they deserve it, that is, and that meant their morale score was utter garbage. I will be upping the difficulty now that my players have mostly hit level 3 and will be catapulting my players into the conflicts plaguing the universe a bit more. I can appreciate feedback, in fact I love it. I need it. As a writer, I need good feedback and the same is said for GMing, however after the level of planning I put in this week it has left me a little bit deflated. Also, only one of the PCs actually examined the walls in any detail, though was let down half way through by poor rolls. I had a lot of planetary history planned and no one even tried to find more out about it, but still decided the adventure was boring.

I was going to have the PCs stalked on their way back from these caves and subsequent facility they had to go into to help this trainee psychic complete his trials, hounded by Eridak hunting parties who remained on the planet surface after the war with the primitive natives and the aliens who lived on the surface before it was turned into a toxic wasteland. However, by this point I just wanted it to end. The energy of the group was depleted and I had already grasped that there was both negativity and tension running high since mid-session. I didn’t want to continue by this stage; quite the opposite to the start of the session.

I’m going to keep soldiering on for now. I will take the feedback to heart, but I’m certainly not doing any planning tomorrow. I just don’t feel like it. Maybe I’ll play some World of Warcraft, or maybe I’ll write some fiction. It’s my 2nd day off of the week, so I’d better make it a good one!

Also, it’s 3am in the UK. I think I should go to sleep…

Planning, planning and… ooh, planning!

I was going to write some fiction, I really was. I had a little adventure to send my little Blood Elf on and everything was planned out. It was going to be amazing.

Then I remembered I run a Stars Without Number game every Wednesday.

Then I remembered I needed to make a map for said Stars Without Number game on Wednesday.

Then I realised I would need to make a whole two maps for said Stars Without Number game on Wednesday.

And I like dynamic lighting.

Then I had busy days at work so I couldn’t build maps or write fiction in between calls as they were just constantly coming in. Working customer service in an arguably understaffed department is really not fun on busy days…

Anyway, I’ve spent a lot of my free time planning for this week’s Wednesday game and it’s going to be amazing! I can’t wait to run it; it’s going to be fantastic. Now, I know my players are out there, so I won’t spoil anything just yet, but it’s going to be great. Probably a bit less RP than last session, as the job my players have taken on is going to involve combat and last session saw no combat at all. We’ve got all that to look forward to, plus some mysteries of a toxic planet to uncover, some caves to explore and some new people to meet! All to help a psychic nerd pass his finals… and 50k credits.

Also, the last “boss” of the job is both dangerous and utterly useless at the same time. I can’t wait to see how -that- pans out…

However, I would feel bad not giving at least a sneak preview of what I’ve been working on in terms of fiction. Here’s a snippet of the first piece of Warcraft-based fiction I have written in literally eight years! I feel so incredibly rusty since I haven’t really written in a universe or setting that isn’t my own design for quite a while.

Military life is a difficult one to leave. I thought I could do it, I thought I could leave that life behind and join the civilian workforce; maybe I could’ve become a priestess as I wanted to all those years ago, before my little sister left and Father pressured me into becoming a paladin. I honestly tried. I tried to pick up the smithing trade to earn a living. It wasn’t that it was difficult, I understood the basics of it pretty well, however I felt useless. I didn’t feel like this was a way for me to repent for what our order did after the Sunwell was destroyed by the Scourge; what we did to that Naaru.


Stay tuned to find out what’s going down in the Arathi Highlands and why I have an edgy screenshot of my Blood Elf kneeling on a rock. Also stay tuned to learn of the antics that will go down on Wednesday when my players get into the heart of this job they have taken!

Also still going to try and reorganise this website so it makes sense and maybe update some things (not the 40k tactics. I haven’t played in about a year or two).

I also need to think of a witty sign off… >.>

Asuka Tries To Do What Is Right

A quick note on this. Yes, it is highly biased because it’s from a certain character’s point of view. A certain character who is directly opposed to the rest of the party on a particular matter. It was from a Stars Without Number session in a campaign that I am a part of that I decided to turn into a brief piece of narrative. Essentially, we have a rat-man who is worth a lot of money welded to the ground. I play a doctor who thinks that his treatment is really inhumane and has been trying to hatch a plan to make it right. Then we get attacked by a guy who wants the rat-man and Asuka, my character, has to improvise with a far from perfect situation. Both plans were basically a betrayal of the party, but not in the sense that she’d kill everyone, but more in the sense that everyone else wants to sell him for large amounts of money and Asuka just wants to do what’s right in her eyes. This does not tide over well with the rest of the group when they find out about plan B. (They never found out about plan A).

Boom! Boom!

I struggle to keep my balance as the ship is hit by two more missiles. I can see on the holographic screen that the turret is a flaming wreck by this point. I hope Kiril got out okay; he may be a psychopath, but he is also a member of this crew. I make a mental note to sit down with him and get a proper diagnostic on his mental state at a later time, but time is not something that we currently have. The Ige-gumi helicopter starts to hover above the ship, armed men rappelling down along with the same man who came for Timmy before, a new cyberninja in tow.

There is no way I can prep these engines for take off in time. These armed men will be inside way before I can do anything useful here.

“I’m heading to the computer room. No way I can prep these engines in time,” I yell in English through the intercom as I pack up my tools and bolt down the corridor. I can see the movement outside the ship. They are getting into position. I can’t believe these idiots brought arguably the largest yakuza clan to our doorstep with an attack chopper. Why? Why couldn’t they have waited twenty four hours? I would’ve had Timmy out of here and in the care that he needs after what the crew has done to him. His mind is damaged beyond my counselling skills. He needs specialist help that I could’ve got him to. I had even planned on taking out a loan to cover the costs. It’s the least I could do now. I should’ve spoken up earlier.

But that plan has gone to hell. I will have to cancel the pick-up tonight. Why can’t these muscle-heads do anything right besides commit murder and inhumane atrocities? I get to the computer room and immediately try to hack into their comms. The security is there, but I easily overcome the obstacles and tap into their network. I hear them going over the plan. My God, they plan on blowing up the radiators once they’ve grabbed Timmy. That would cause the ship to explode and take the entire hangar with it. They want to kill us all, but it seems like they especially want John dead. Also, I get a name.

Reuben Jacobs.

I almost wish I hadn’t. Jacobs is big time in the Jewish mob, which explains why a yakuza clan would be working with a gaijin; he is obviously offering them something in return. Perhaps a share of the profits they’ll get from selling Timmy?

“Reuben Jacobs. We don’t have to do this,” I say into their comms network in English. I just hope that he is still amenable to reason after everything the crew have done.

“Oh?” he replies.

“That’s right. I am the ship’s doctor and I believe that we can come to an arrangement that doesn’t involve violence.”

“The rat-man. Give him to me and I’ll let you live. Hell, I’ll even give you the eight thousand that I promised your captain last time.”

“Done,” I say as I tap furiously at the computer keyboard, exploiting holes in the ship’s security to wrestle control of the doors.

“Nice job getting into our comms, by the way. I wasn’t expecting that,” Jacobs says as I open the ship airlock’s outer door.

“What can I say. I’m a woman of many talents,” I respond with a smile. “I want one of you to step into the airlock. Not you, Jacobs, and not the cyberninja. One of the others. I’ll release the rat-man into his custody and we can both go our separate ways.” I hear the thud of footsteps as John pokes his head into the computer room and asks me what I’m doing. I tell him what I am doing and instantly wish I had lied when he runs into the cargo bay.

“All right,” Jacobs says as he motions one of the yakuza into the airlock. I close the airlock door behind him and transfer comms to my compad, telling the man in the airlock how it’s going to go in Japanese to ensure he understands what I’m doing. I take my monokatana from my belt and leave it in the computer room before I run to the cargo bay and head over to where the rat man is welded to the floor. I fish around in my first aid kit and take out a tranquilliser, which I administer to the rat-man; I can’t risk him biting me while I work. Once he is sedated, I take out my toolkit and start cutting the rat-man loose. The whole scene makes my stomach turn every time I see it. Anything would be an improvement on this. We’re miles south of best case scenario right now, but at least I can save the lives of the crew in doing this.

As I work, John seems to have his own heated conversation with Jacobs as he points the humvee’s turret at the airlock doors.

“Change of plans. I’m going to bring the rat-man out myself. Tell your man to leave the airlock,” I say as I continue to release the rat man, re-opening the outer airlock door and re-iterating the change in plans in Japanese to the yakuza. Once he walks out, I shut the airlock door behind him.

“Hey, we’ve just been locked out here,” Jacobs says, suspicion prevalent in his voice.

“I have to ensure the safety of everyone. I will be out with the rat-man, don’t worry.”

That’s when I hear a click behind me.

“Asuka, if you don’t stop what you’re doing, I will shoot you. You’re getting between me and a pay day” John threatens as he points his spike thrower at my back. If I keep working, I have no doubt that he will pull the trigger. All over a pay day, of all things; he would shoot me over a sum of money, after all I’ve done on this ship, the hours I work. Morality and human decency on this ship are basically dead concepts.

Defeated, I stop what I am doing and pack up my things, leaving the job half done. I turn to John. “Then the deaths of the crew are on your hands, Mr. Mayhew,” I reply, though my tone is low. I make my way out of the cargo bay and transfer control of the doors back to the ship and the rest of the crew.

“Then I guess we do this the old fashioned way,” Jacobs says as he and the yakuza start to make their way around the front of the ship.

“I’m really sorry we couldn’t work this out, but the crew threatened to kill me if I continued. Can’t fulfil my side if I’m dead,” I say into their comms. I keep my link into their comm as I may need it should the crew fail to defeat these people. I slump down into the corner of the computer room and just let it all go. The stress, the emotional trauma, I let it all go, curling up and crying into my knees.

All this because I tried to do what was right. Well, at least I didn’t tell Summer of my plans, so she’s safe from John’s trigger finger should the crew make it out alive.