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Author Topic: Setting the mood.  (Read 4760 times)
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Blackstorm
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« on: October 17, 2011, 02:51:18 PM »

I have time until the next session, so, while I'trying to solve the riddle, I'd like to ask for some suggestion.

Before I start the first session I said the players that midnight settings is a world where the trust is a really rare coin, that everybody in the world is at least suspicious if you're luky. But I even said that this is the first time I'm trying to gather up a party, that noone of them know each other, so I asked them to help me in this, for the sake of story. Something like they must be suspicious, but not at the point of go away veryone to his own road.

So, we started. I don't think it goes so bad, but in some way I feel something was wrong... I'm feeling like I didn't set up the right mood. I think you know the adventure, Pool of Rebellion. So, the dwarf was the only survivor from an orcish ambush, and he fleed from the combat, so he now search a way to redeem his cowadry and regain his honor (and the way the adventure ends, I think he is a bit upset about regining his honur), and he wandered around Koln a bit, before he decided to enter. The defender is a giantblooded that has lost his village. Literaly lost. He goes out to hunt, than when he came back the village was disappeared. His home village was named Colt, so I gave him a hook with a misunderstand with Koln.

The channeler has the sense nexus feat, so her mentor send her to Koln to retrive infos about the nexus. Then, the defender go in the city, and I did the commoners react as intimidated from the size of the defender, and the sherif has drawn his sword, before starting to talk. Then the sherif has tried to treat him friendly, as he think (I supposed) that he couldn't defeat him. Then the defender, with the help of channeler, has aided the major of Koln, after the orc beat him, so the major has said everything to him. The dwarf goes in the city with the 2 axes in plain sight, unsheated but clearly visible. The people react scared to him, has he ask where the sherif is, but everyone run away, in search of sherif, that come out to take the dwarf and guide to his house (as he's member of the resistance, I supposed that he think that a fey need help, even if it's risky). The dwarf remain hide in the house for all the time the legate was in city.

The channeler has arrived in a more normal way, as a traveler, but when the legate came, she talked to sherif, saying him things about magic, the nexus, and so on, her mission. But I made the sherif react rudely, saying her that he didn't want to know anything about her mission or what the legate could searching for, because just sayin that she is in competition with the legate is something illegal, so he acted as he don't know anything aboiut the cave - she could be a spy trying to trap him, after all. Then, when the defender came back and explain all the thing, I made the sherif act like he has some doubt, but cannot do anything else that give some trust to the 3 players. Then the thing goes on. So, I think I not acted like a midnight man, or at least not in every situation. How can I improve the mood of untrust and fear that are daily companion for the people of Eredane?

PS: sorry for the long post, but I had to explain something Smiley
« Last Edit: October 17, 2011, 06:11:44 PM by Nifelhein » Logged

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Nifelhein
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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2011, 06:17:17 PM »

I have separated your posts into web paragraphs to make it easier for us to read it.

My advice for you would be two fold: first estabilish the trust between the party, make them depend and rely on each other, then develop the untrust the world gives them and that they should give the world.

Not everyone would actually act suspicious with them, many might even try to get to their better side, to present themselves as trusting, if they are too trusting this can develop into a few relationships that actually prove themselves that (so you don't make them overly paranoid) but the one relationship they like the most and rely the most on proves to be trust misplaced, theya re betrayed, turned to the shadow, and so on. This can be just roleplaying-wise, which makes it even better, but make sure they loose something dear to them aside from the relation to the betrayer.

Think for yourself in this, I am a lot more suspicious if I get to a palce where a lot of strangers are nice to me than if theya re all suspicious of me. Wink
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Doomed Hero
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2011, 07:27:40 PM »

Blackstorm casts Wall Of Text!

Admin casts Passwall!

DH casts Improved Snark!

Now that that's out of my system, my advice is to play up the isolation they feel. Make sure they understand that anyone who helps them is painting a target on themselves, or is preparing to sell them out later (or both).

This is a setting of Users and The Used, especially in the Occupied lands. Make sure that no one ever does anything without getting something out of it for themselves (even if what they're getting isn't obvious to the PCs)
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Jack Chick, Abdul Alhazred, and Aleister Crowley walk into a bar...
IORNBORN
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 10:33:12 AM »

Sounds like your players don't get the Midnight setting yet. They are walking around way to out in the open. Maybe a few children and innocents will need to be made an example of to punish their actions.
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Blackstorm
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 11:06:33 AM »

Sounds like your players don't get the Midnight setting yet. They are walking around way to out in the open. Maybe a few children and innocents will need to be made an example of to punish their actions.
Don't misunderstand: it's not totally their fault. This is my first campaign in midnight, so I need practice too. They try, I know it, but it's not so easy. Midnight is a complex setting, and I'm the first that need to improve myself. This is why I ask for advice: if I can render the mood better and better again, they can assest in the new world that open to their PCs.
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DaveTheMagicWeasel
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 12:59:41 PM »

One good way to set the mood is to show the PCs the fall-out from the less pleasant aspects of the setting - e.g. groups of refugees fleeing before orcish armies on the move, they come across a village that's been sacked and razed, bodies left strewn everywhere (chewed a bit ... fell are a great way to set the tone), or they come across a village just as the tearful villagers pile scores of their dead onto a huge funeral pyre after being raided by slavers who dragged all the younger members of the village away, leaving their parents to mourn.

Or, present them with obviously unwinnable encounters, but with a fairly easy escape route - maybe they cut the goblin warg riders to pieces with ease, but then the column of a thousand orcs they were scouting for appears on the horizon and the players have to run for it.

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Doomed Hero
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2011, 11:15:04 PM »

I've presented this idea in a few other GM Advice threads, but I firmly believe in it so I'll repeat it.

Kill Them.

Kill them, and then show them what the setting is *really* all about.

Set them up in a situation where in a regular setting they'd be heroes for saving some people from the bad guys. Say, 5 orcs or something. See if they take the bait and jump into a fight. First off, show them that midnight Orcs are nasty nasty nasty at all levels. Use pack tactics, gang up on people. Have one blow a horn for reinforcements. Give them 3 rounds or so before you double the orc's numbers (with a tougher squad leader added). Another 3 or 4 before a lesser legate shows up to see what the fuss is about.

Either they'll all die (good) or a couple of them will manage to get away (better). Have the people they were trying to save sell them out. Make sure they're captured. Then have them publicly executed.

When they make new characters, make sure they have some sort of tie to the old characters, tell them they're investigating the deaths of their original characters.

When the new characters arrive in town, make sure that every single person who the old characters interacted with in any reasonable way is dead or has been harshly punished.

Let them find out that the shadow's forces are tracking down all the old characters' friends and loved ones (including the new characters). Send them off to try to warn or save an NPC. When they arrive, have them interrupt the capture of the person they were trying to warn.

When the fight starts reveal that the people tracking down the old character's friends are in fact the old characters raised from the dead as Fell and commanded by a legate to destroy everyone they ever cared for.

Let them kill their old characters.

If they don't cut the heads off or destroy the bodies, have the Legate arrive later and raise them again, this time with specific instructions to kill the party. (Maybe even have them raised as more powerful undead. This makes for awesome recurring villains)

If they do cut off the heads or burn the bodies, Speak With Dead will still work. The Legate can still find out who they are and dispatch a whole new group of bad people to track them down.
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Blackstorm
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2011, 03:17:03 AM »

Doomed, I appreciate greatly your idea, and I take in account for some session. But I don't want to kill them. One player has already said me that if they die, she make the same char again. The other two chars are a great concept, imho, and I really don't want to kill them. Specially if you take in account that their defeat was basically my fault, and they know it. If they would be killed because they was reckless, I'd probabily work on your idea. But in this case, setting the mood killing the chars seems to be... dunno, the idea make me feel bad... I'm started as DM 12 years ago, but for midnight I'm like a newbye... And I don't want to upset my players with bad choice. I love when the players has funny, it's my DM duty&pleasure... And with those players, in the situation they are, I like to make them survive.... Still, your idea is something like a genius call Smiley
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Against the Shadow  |  Forum  |  Midnight & RPGs  |  GM's Corner (Moderators: Bleak Knight, Glacialis)  |  Topic: Setting the mood.
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