Wednesday, August 25, 2010

No Plan Ever Survives First Contact with the PC's...

We just wrapped up the first session of playing through An Eye for an Eye and all I can say is wow, this system is something truly special. Firstly for anyone who has been concerned that combat has been dumbed down and is less deadly than it has been in the past, let me tell you that is so far from the truth. Combat is fast, dirty, narrative, and most of all far deadlier than any of the previous versions of WHFRP. The second thing that I immediately noticed is that the components are really fantastic to work with and by the end of our session all of my players had really begun to get comfortable with the basics of the system. The core mechanic works incredibly well (fortune and misfortune dice make the work of a GM a delight in modifying things, and best of all I found that narrating the reasons behind these additions really added a lot to an action, and because of that my players were very receptive of the modifiers and felt that  actions were being adjudicated fairly.

However as the title implies there were a few unexpected twists and roadblocks I hit as a GM tonight, that luckily can be cleared up before our next session Saturday. First off I read the rules thoroughly two times cover to cover and taking notes as I went, and another time skimming the sections I thought I needed to go over again. This was nowhere near enough study time before running the session. My player's claim I did very well however the amount of times "ummm let me check that" or "we'll do this for now and I’ll get back to you"' came out of my mouth was far more than I had anticipated. These were mostly combat questions, and fatigue and stress questions that simply slipped from my mind when I was pushing to get the adventure prepped and ready, although there were some simple questions that, under pressure had simply oozed out my ears when the game began. Encounters 0-2 filled an entire session and the theoretically simple combat in encounter 2 can get all kinds of messy fast when PC's get a hold of it. I will post a narrative play by play of the action so far in another post but sufficed to say, when an axel snaps on an overladen wagon being pushed to a gallop a few hundred yards from the Gatehouse (well out of the crossbow range of the guards) the encounter gets interesting.

The entire session was approximately 3 hours in length and took us up to the Act 3: The Retreat in Encounter 2: The Attack. At the end of the beastmen ambush (which lasted 3 turns and since it was our first time out with combat, took an hour to resolve) 1 Gor was killed and 4 Ungor henchmen were murdered to a man, Valdrid was wounded 6 times with 2 critical wounds ( aggravated wound, and minor trauma), Odwin was wounded 2 times with 1 critical (ringing blow), while Burgrin was struck a number of times to no effect (parry and a toughness 5 + being a troll-slayer helped here), and Adel managed to get hit and run (using nimble strike on wounded ungor) down fast. Before the beastmen's moral wavered and they fled the second Gor had taken an accurate shot for a total of 7 wounds as well. Now what is so shocking to me is that all this was dealt out in 3 turns.

What the players had to say so far is that the game system for them was very intuitive and they all seemed to find the components were useful and really liked how the core mechanic facilitated roleplaying. They all seemed to have had a great time and decided themselves it was necessary to play again this Saturday to get through the adventure... now I just have to figure out how this will work with 2 critically wounded pc's and Lord Aschaffenberg's possessions strewn across the road a few hundred yards from the gatehouse.

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