Thursday, July 17, 2014

Essay On The Braunstein - Part The Second, For July 17th, 2014 - Science Or Screenplay?

What happens when the boat gets stuck...

Right, then. Here's the second part of my little essay on how I run my games for you...

Let's continue to use my game from last June as our example, if you don't mind. We've made some decisions: 120" x 60" table, six or more players, four to six 'factions'. Where do we go from here?

For me, the next step is to fill that big empty table. You want the thing to look good to passer-by, you want lots of cover for people to hide in - and use 'hidden movement' - and behind, you want something tactically challenging, and you want something that has some hidden traps and tricks to keep the players on their toes. In effect, the table itself becomes a 'non-player character'.

Well, I wanted this game to be set in Prof. Barker's world-setting of Tekumel, and that gave me all sorts of ideas for the table. I used the two large ground sheets I had made for another game, which are an island chain set amongst shallows, reefs, and a whacking big Whirlpool Of Doom. I added my collection of cheap jungle plants - made from materials I got at the local crafts stores on special - and added my set of 'native huts' to make the locals' village. This latter is a specific war game item, from the firm of Hudson and Allan, which I got for cheap from my FLGS when they had a sale - French and Indian War items didn't sell well, apparently. Rickety rope bridges, narrow piers, and all sorts of Dire Perils lifted whole from the old Republic serials added to the atmosphere and the the potential for fun.

(A quick note: the ground sheets are painters' drop cloths from the DIY store; they come in various huge sizes - this pair are 9' x 12' - that's right: feet! - and cost about a tenth the price of regular clooth yard goods. Plus, they are already hemmed up, are made of a very sturdy canvas, and are very easy to paint. Me, I use my old reliable Thayer and Chandler Model E airbrush, but then I am also just odd that way; you can use a roller or brush, and it'll be fine!)

The crowning glory of this whole menagerie are the two cheap faux-Mayan Temple bookends I got as  a gift from Dave Arneson many years ago, and which have been doing duty as the Mysterious Lost temple ever since. Photos of all this are on my Photobucket page, by the way.

So, we have the table; now for the players in our version of a stage production!

As I mentioned, I wanted something like six factions, at least one of which could be expanded to allow for more players:. So, here are the player sheets for the game, with the text common to all sheets first:


"Saving Serqu's Sisters"

A Classic 'Braunstein'-Style Game From The 1970s, And The Forerunner Of Role-Playing Games

The Situation:
The two lovely - but, it has to be said, slightly ditzy - twin sisters of the famous General Serqu, Sword of the Empire have taken a sea voyage and been shipwrecked on the jungle coast infested by the implacably hostile amphibian non-humans, the Hlutrgu. Unless rescued pretty dang quickly, the twins face a horrible death at the webbed hands and feet of the Hlutrgu.

Each player 'faction' or 'team' gets one of these:

***
You are:
The Hlutrgu - amphibian non-humans, implacably hostile to everybody else on the planet. Noted for extreme inventiveness when killing anyone they don't like, which is everyone besides themselves.

You have miniatures:
Lots and lots and lots of Hlutrgu warriors, and one Shaman who can cast a powerful spell (uses flame weapon template) once every four turns.

You also have:
Lots and lots of coracles, the hide boats made from the hides of everyone that the Hlutrgu don't like - which is everyone, actually.

Your goal is:
1. Find the castaways, take them back to your village, and cook them for dinner.
2. Kill everyone else you possibly can.

Your figures move each turn:
12 inches per turn, regardless of terrain type
Your ships or boats move each turn:  12 inches per turn

Your Armor class is: four
Your Attack factor is: six

***
You are:
The Temple Guards from the Temple of Serqu's war god, Lord Karakan

You have miniatures:
A dozen human guards in red and gold armor, and several magic users who can cast spells; use long template for ranged spells.

You also have:
One small sailing ship, one longboat; name them yourself.
A pile of gold for bribing your fellow players.

Your goal is:
1. Find the castaways, take them back to your temple, and collect the reward.
2. Prevent everyone else from rescuing the castaways.

Your figures move each turn:
12" per turn in open terrain, 6" per turn in all other terrain, 4" per turn swimming
Your ships or boats move each turn: 12 inches per turn

Your Armor class is: twelve
Your Attack factor is: fourteen

***
You are:

Mercenary soldiers and guards hired by the twins' husband, General Korumne.

You have miniatures:
About two dozen human guards in armor, and several magic users who can cast spells; use long template for ranged spells.

You also have:
Three small sailing ships; name them yourself.
A pile of gold for bribing your fellow players.

Your goal is:
1. Find the castaways, take them back to your employer, and collect the reward.
2. Prevent everyone else from rescuing the castaways.

Your figures move each turn:
12" per turn in open terrain, 6" per turn in all other terrain, 4" per turn swimming
Your ships or boats move each turn: 12 inches per turn

Your Armor class is: twelve
Your Attack factor is: fourteen; bows have at attack factor of six, range 24"

***
You are:
Mercenary Ahoggya non-human soldiers and guards who need the money

You have miniatures:
About two dozen Ahoggya, some in armor

You also have:
Two hired galleys, Dreadnought and Fearless

Your goal is:

1. Find the castaways, and collect the reward.
2. Prevent everyone else from rescuing the castaways.

Your figures move each turn:
12" per turn in all terrain, 6" per turn swimming
Your ships or boats move each turn: 12 inches per turn

Your Armor class is: sixteen
Your Attack factor is: sixteen; crossbows have at attack factor of eight, range 24"

***
You are:
Honest seafaring merchants. No, really! There are no pirates on this coast! Really!

You have miniatures:
About two dozen human pirates, and several magic users who can cast spells; use long template for ranged spells.

You also have:
One small sailing rowing ship, the Lady Carolyn's Revenge
A pile of gold for bribing your fellow players.

Your goal is:
1. Find the castaways, and collect the reward.
2. Prevent everyone else from rescuing the castaways.

Your figures move each turn:
12" per turn in open terrain, 6" per turn in all other terrain, 4" per turn swimming
Your ships or boats move each turn: 12 inches per turn

Your Armor class is: eight
Your Attack factor is: ten; pistol crossbows have an attack factor of six, range 12"

***
You are:
Temple guards from the Temple of Dilinala, hired by the twins' mother

You have miniatures:
About two dozen human guards in armor, and several magic users who can cast spells; use long template for ranged spells.

You also have:
One sailing ship; make up your own name
A pile of gold for bribing your fellow players.

Your goal is:
1. Find the castaways, take them back to your temple, and collect the reward.
2. Prevent everyone else from rescuing the castaways.

Your figures move each turn:
12" per turn in open terrain, 6" per turn in all other terrain, 4" per turn swimming
Your ships or boats move each turn: 12 inches per turn

Your Armor class is: twelve
Your Attack factor is: fourteen; bows have an attack factor of six, range 24"

***
You are:
The twins.

You have miniatures:
The two of you.

You also have:
An Eye of Raging Power - uses missile template
A pile of gems for bribing your fellow players.

Your goal is:
1. Don't get killed.
2. Get rescued.

Your figures move each turn:
12" per turn in open terrain, 6" per turn in all other terrain, 4" per turn swimming

Your ships or boats move each turn:
None; you do have six lettered chits for concealed movement so you can hide.

Your Armor class is: zero
Your Attack factor is: four; your Eye kills everything in the template

***

And there we are - our players on our stage. Take some time to digest all this, and I'll be back next time to explain where all these numbers come from...

8 comments:

  1. Looks like the begging of a fun game.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was, according to the players!

      I enjoyed running the chaotic mayhem, and telling stories about Ye Olden Dayes... :)

      - chirine

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  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! Your Hlutrgu went over a treat - people especially loved the mobs in the coracles!!!

      - chirine

      Delete
  3. I like how you tell the players to name their ships. That's one of my house rules for any spaceship game that I run: each player must name all their spaceships. I always get some interesting and/or humorous names.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's just more fun that way. Sometimes the name stick, and sometimes they don't.

      - chirine

      Delete
  4. I like the overall setup. Although except for the
    Hlutrgu and twins, all the other factions wanted to rescue and get rewarded. I am surprised that you didn't have another faction that wanted to capture and sacrifice to a god.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I had thought about having a faction like the one you mention, but I wanted to keep things on the simpler side for the players - I was expecting a lot of new people at this game, and I wanted to make it as easy and as fun as possible for them.

      Subtle, this one ain't... :)

      - chirine

      Delete