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Re: DG operation lethality. How do you deal with it? [Convergence Spoiler]

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  • Graham Kinniburgh
    ... Hard one to answer this - I ve concluded one long termish DG campaign (which involved about 5 or 6 decent sized scenarios irrc) and am running another
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 1, 2009
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      > So, to those Keepers who have run long campaigns where the same
      > characters survived numerous points of contact with the mythos, how do
      > you do it? Are your PCs particularly plucky? Do they get some help
      > from behind the GM screen?

      Hard one to answer this - I've concluded one long termish DG campaign
      (which involved about 5 or 6 decent sized scenarios irrc) and am
      running another ongoing one just now. Lethality has varied from player
      to player and character to character. In the first campaign I had one
      player whose character lived right through to the end of the campaign
      only to die at the very end (and he only perished because he was the
      unlucky bugger chosen for special attention from the funguys in
      Convergence). The other two players had two character deaths each
      respectively).

      In my new campaign each player has lost at least one character already
      due to death or madness (again we've played about 5 or 6 scenarios and
      some smaller 'ops'). In most cases these have been a result of poor
      choices by the players or just bad luck. Personally I suspect that if
      played pretty straight with a 'normal' bunch of players (i.e. those
      showing a reasonable mix of caution and curiosity) then a death every
      three or four scenarios is pretty inevitable - the mythos plays for
      keeps, especially in DG it seems.

      I have made the conscious decision to pull my punches once

      *** SPOILER warning for Owlshead****

      when I ran the Dark Young they encountered it could easily have killed
      everyone present but instead I decided that one death per encounter
      was appropriate. Even then it killed one NPC, one PC and drove another
      PC mad.

      ********

      My suggestion to extend player shelf life is to leaven your campaign
      with some lighter 'ops'. Some of Brett Kramer's shotgun scenarios like
      'Last Things Last', 'Whereabouts Unknown' and 'UXO' are interesting
      and challenging without being overly deadly and some others like 'See
      No Evil' and 'A Victim of the Art' are survivable if the players are
      smart and / or cautious.

      Ultimately though - Nights at the Opera are a risky business and death
      and madness are part of the fun !
    • David Rankus
      I have not run or played CoC in ages, due to not having a group into this genre.  I ve never played Delta Green, though I ve written twists and whatnot for
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 1, 2009
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        I have not run or played CoC in ages, due to not having a group into this genre.  I've never played Delta Green, though I've written twists and whatnot for planned games should a group ever actually get past the discussion phase.  I am currently writing a modern day detective novel set in Lovecraft Country, but am not sure whether I'll be using DG or not.

        So, from this standpoint.

        1) Ever read Titus Crow by Lumley?  I haven't yet, though it sounds as though that could help you.  He and a friend constantly run into Mythos and instead of doing as Lovecraft's do, these guys fight back.  It sounds like luck has a little to do with it as well, though.  Look it up online.

        2)  I like the idea of recycling characters.  For instance.  Howie plays a student at Miskatonic named Randall Carter.  Randall goes crazy, gets locked in the asylumn.  Howie next plays Dr Harold West, New Psychiatrist working in Arkham Asylum.  Harold is struck by his patient's delusions as Randall Carter, his patient, describes such hideously real depictions.  In order to try and help, he tracks down friends Randall babbles about and inadvertently joins the group.

        Harold goes crazy, meets Randall in the ward and the comfirmation he brings Randall allows Randall enough grip on reality to be released in his friends custody, to continue on.

        Now, I'm a firm believer in the entropy of sanity, however after slow, repeated exposure, the same thing doesn't drive you crazy and Randall, much like Pickman being functional knowing the monsters were real, can better deal with the issues.  Should something go wrong, Howie always has good old Dr. West on hold to release from the asylum.

        3.) Altering, maiming, disease, not necessarily the end of your career.  Sometimes it just takes some creative RPing and/or storytelling to overcome certain handycaps.  Personally, I've always felt flaws can help define a character better than skills.  The measure of a man based on how he plays the cards he's dealt.  Can you take AIDs and make LemonAIDs?  That sort of thing.

        Death is something you can't avoid unless you've got some seriously witty players.  I've known one guy who made life difficult for his game masters because he was too creative.  They couldn't penalize him, because he wasn't doing anything wrong, wasn't metagaming, he just thought correctly for the game.  Ironically, those were some of the best games, even though the GM had to think on his feet constantly.  Now, that was Vampire: The Masquerade, not Call of Cthulhu.

        Call of Cthulhu, as mentioned about Titus Crow, relies heavily on chance/luck.  There is not much good and evil, but strictly "oops, sorry, didn't see you there."  In this regard, there isn't a whole lot you can do to save their lives other than to throw in safety catches.  But this will lead to a much different experience.

        Have you ever seen Cast a Deadly Spell?  The ending is a clear case of the surviving characters surviving because of how events played out, not because of anything they did to save themselves.


         



        ________________________________
        From: hairygumby <hairygumby@...>
        To: dglist@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2009 7:55:26 PM
        Subject: [dglist] DG operation lethality. How do you deal with it? [Convergence Spoiler]


        I recently started running a Delta Green campaign for a couple of
        players. I ran the adventure "A Victim of the Art" first, and then ran
        "Music From a Darkened Room."

        The PCs perished in MFADR.

        The players say they had a blast. The final character actually
        committed suicide after murdering his partner, so it wasn't like I
        railroaded them into doom or anything. It was just a regular Delta
        Green operation that went completely sideways.

        Anyway, the end of the session got me to thinking about the lethality
        of DG operations, and I'm interested in how other Keepers deal with
        it. DG is one of those games that seems geared toward an "every
        mission could be your last" play style, especially when you start
        investigating stuff like Tillinghast Resonators, Hounds of Tindalos,
        and anything remotely connected to OUTLOOK. Adventures like
        Convergence even go so far as to suggest having characters kidnapped
        and altered or killed off by horrible mi-go engineered viruses.

        Personally, I love the desperation of Delta Green agents and the toxic
        nature of interacting with the mythos, but I'm wondering how many
        people run it that way and have dead agents piling up left and right.

        So, to those Keepers who have run long campaigns where the same
        characters survived numerous points of contact with the mythos, how do
        you do it? Are your PCs particularly plucky? Do they get some help
        from behind the GM screen?






        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • jonasargham
        ... I have pulled punches quite a few times, lowering damage enough to put the character in the hospital for months without killinng him, or lowering the san
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 1, 2009
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          --- In dglist@yahoogroups.com, "hairygumby" <hairygumby@...> wrote:

          > So, to those Keepers who have run long campaigns where the same
          > characters survived numerous points of contact with the mythos, how do
          > you do it? Are your PCs particularly plucky? Do they get some help
          > from behind the GM screen?

          I have pulled punches quite a few times, lowering damage enough to put
          the character in the hospital for months without killinng him, or
          lowering the san loss enough to leave a character with a permanent
          phobia and a white streak in his hair, but not enough to lock him away
          for ever. Having to remake characters every couple game sessions makes
          it hard to keep players, and it furthers the negative stigma of CoC.
          I like to build up npcs to the point of familiarity with the party and
          then when the time comes to pick a party member to die, like in
          convergance, I choose the npc. Its important not to abuse this to
          the 'oh my god, they killed kenny!' point. Don't get me wrong, I'm not
          opposed to killing characters, sometimes they deserve it, and when the
          player makes blatantly bad decisions, I send a message to the rest of
          the players via gruesome dismemberment.
        • Ross Payton
          When I ran Owl s Head mountain, (which you can listen to on role playing public radio
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 1, 2009
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            When I ran Owl's Head mountain, (which you can listen to on role playing
            public radio
            http://slangdesign.com/rppr/2007/12/actual-play/actual-play-delta-green-eyes-only-a-night-on-owlshead-mountain/)
            I crippled a PC that got too close to Cooter rather than kill him. I
            am
            not afraid of killing characters but I hate to do it in the middle of a one
            shot game that would force the player to sit the rest of the game out. At
            the end of the game, I had the fun guys abduct the player in question. Same
            end result basically :)


            On Sun, Feb 1, 2009 at 3:43 PM, jonasargham <jonasargham@...> wrote:

            > --- In dglist@yahoogroups.com, "hairygumby" <hairygumby@...> wrote:
            >
            > > So, to those Keepers who have run long campaigns where the same
            > > characters survived numerous points of contact with the mythos, how do
            > > you do it? Are your PCs particularly plucky? Do they get some help
            > > from behind the GM screen?
            >
            > I have pulled punches quite a few times, lowering damage enough to put
            > the character in the hospital for months without killinng him, or
            > lowering the san loss enough to leave a character with a permanent
            > phobia and a white streak in his hair, but not enough to lock him away
            > for ever. Having to remake characters every couple game sessions makes
            > it hard to keep players, and it furthers the negative stigma of CoC.
            > I like to build up npcs to the point of familiarity with the party and
            > then when the time comes to pick a party member to die, like in
            > convergance, I choose the npc. Its important not to abuse this to
            > the 'oh my god, they killed kenny!' point. Don't get me wrong, I'm not
            > opposed to killing characters, sometimes they deserve it, and when the
            > player makes blatantly bad decisions, I send a message to the rest of
            > the players via gruesome dismemberment.
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > The Delta Green Mailing List:
            > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dglist
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >


            --
            Ross Payton
            Raillery: A Comedy video podcast
            http://www.raillery.tv


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Peter Kisner
            Hah. That ll show em for bad decision making! Makes me wish I had some thugs of my own on call to drag players kicking and screaming into the night. :D ...
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 1, 2009
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              Hah. That'll show 'em for bad decision making!

              Makes me wish I had some thugs of my own on call to drag players
              kicking and screaming into the night. :D


              On Sun, Feb 1, 2009 at 5:31 PM, Ross Payton <rpayton@...> wrote:
              > At the end of the game, I had the fun guys abduct the player in question. Same
              > end result basically :)
              >
              > On Sun, Feb 1, 2009 at 3:43 PM, jonasargham <jonasargham@...> wrote:
              >
              >> --- In dglist@yahoogroups.com, "hairygumby" <hairygumby@...> wrote:
              >>
              >> > So, to those Keepers who have run long campaigns where the same
              >> > characters survived numerous points of contact with the mythos, how do
              >> > you do it? Are your PCs particularly plucky? Do they get some help
              >> > from behind the GM screen?
              >>
              >> I have pulled punches quite a few times, lowering damage enough to put
              >> the character in the hospital for months without killinng him, or
              >> lowering the san loss enough to leave a character with a permanent
              >> phobia and a white streak in his hair, but not enough to lock him away
              >> for ever. Having to remake characters every couple game sessions makes
              >> it hard to keep players, and it furthers the negative stigma of CoC.
              >> I like to build up npcs to the point of familiarity with the party and
              >> then when the time comes to pick a party member to die, like in
              >> convergance, I choose the npc. Its important not to abuse this to
              >> the 'oh my god, they killed kenny!' point. Don't get me wrong, I'm not
              >> opposed to killing characters, sometimes they deserve it, and when the
              >> player makes blatantly bad decisions, I send a message to the rest of
              >> the players via gruesome dismemberment.
              >>
              >>
              >> ------------------------------------
              >>
              >> The Delta Green Mailing List:
              >> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dglist
              >>
              >> Yahoo! Groups Links
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >
              > --
              > Ross Payton
              > Raillery: A Comedy video podcast
              > http://www.raillery.tv
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >



              --
              democratsforlife.org - feministsforlife.org
              amnesty.org - voteforjoe.com
              theologygirl.com - protozoic.com
            • Joe Crazyperson
              I m not sure how people have the problem with lethality so much, I run a lot of games and send some really nasty shit at PCs, but I rarely come away with a
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 1, 2009
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                I'm not sure how people have the problem with lethality so much, I run a lot
                of games and send some really nasty shit at PCs, but I rarely come away with
                a huge body count. The trick I think is foreshadowing or at least allowing
                the players the abillity to gather clues before the end encounter. Ditsy
                players jump the gun and they do get killed when that happens, maybe my PCs
                are just smarter than yours? :P But they rarely seemto die.




                On Sun, Feb 1, 2009 at 8:36 PM, Peter Kisner <kisnerp@...> wrote:

                > Hah. That'll show 'em for bad decision making!
                >
                > Makes me wish I had some thugs of my own on call to drag players
                > kicking and screaming into the night. :D
                >
                >
                > On Sun, Feb 1, 2009 at 5:31 PM, Ross Payton <rpayton@...<rpayton%40gmail.com>>
                > wrote:
                > > At the end of the game, I had the fun guys abduct the player in question.
                > Same
                > > end result basically :)
                > >
                > > On Sun, Feb 1, 2009 at 3:43 PM, jonasargham <jonasargham@...<jonasargham%40yahoo.com>>
                > wrote:
                > >
                > >> --- In dglist@yahoogroups.com <dglist%40yahoogroups.com>, "hairygumby"
                > <hairygumby@...> wrote:
                > >>
                > >> > So, to those Keepers who have run long campaigns where the same
                > >> > characters survived numerous points of contact with the mythos, how do
                > >> > you do it? Are your PCs particularly plucky? Do they get some help
                > >> > from behind the GM screen?
                > >>
                > >> I have pulled punches quite a few times, lowering damage enough to put
                > >> the character in the hospital for months without killinng him, or
                > >> lowering the san loss enough to leave a character with a permanent
                > >> phobia and a white streak in his hair, but not enough to lock him away
                > >> for ever. Having to remake characters every couple game sessions makes
                > >> it hard to keep players, and it furthers the negative stigma of CoC.
                > >> I like to build up npcs to the point of familiarity with the party and
                > >> then when the time comes to pick a party member to die, like in
                > >> convergance, I choose the npc. Its important not to abuse this to
                > >> the 'oh my god, they killed kenny!' point. Don't get me wrong, I'm not
                > >> opposed to killing characters, sometimes they deserve it, and when the
                > >> player makes blatantly bad decisions, I send a message to the rest of
                > >> the players via gruesome dismemberment.
                > >>
                > >>
                > >> ------------------------------------
                > >>
                > >> The Delta Green Mailing List:
                > >> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dglist
                > >>
                > >> Yahoo! Groups Links
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
                > >
                > > --
                > > Ross Payton
                > > Raillery: A Comedy video podcast
                > > http://www.raillery.tv
                > >
                > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                > >
                > >
                >
                > --
                > democratsforlife.org - feministsforlife.org
                > amnesty.org - voteforjoe.com
                > theologygirl.com - protozoic.com
                >
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Edward Lipsett /t
                The biggest problem is not that a character dies, but that the player comes to EXPECT that he or she will die. They can get a lot less interested in surviving,
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 1, 2009
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                  The biggest problem is not that a character dies, but that the player comes
                  to EXPECT that he or she will die. They can get a lot less interested in
                  surviving, which is unrealistic and can really eat the heart out of a game.

                  ----------
                  Edward Lipsett, Intercom, Ltd.
                  translation€@...
                  Publishing: http://www.kurodahan.com
                  Translation & layout: http://www.intercomltd.com
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