Monday, May 3, 2021

More notes from Cold Fens 10

Yesterday was Cold Fens 10 - Session 151 overall in our campaign.

- There is a fair bit of what might get termed pixel-bitching going on recently. It happened with the orichalcum doors over multiple sessions. It's happening a bit here, too, with the PCs basically trying to "clear the map." They got directions from a slain foe thanks to Summon Spirit, and have been struggling to follow them. So they're just exploring around the un-explored areas trying to find something that might be "rough" and "dry." Any hint of "dry" means a search. It's time-consuming.

I must shoulder some responsibility here, as clearly I'm not providing enough clues to work from. But I do think here they've had a few clear clues - even clear directions - but they managed to not follow them. And not to go places they've seen that are of interest - in the Cold Fens and in Felltower, too. So I'm not really sure what is the appropriate thing to do in order to give the players enough tools make decisions without, basically, telling them what to do. I tend to err on the side of saying less. I need to think on this. Otherwise it might just be moving around the map until they find, by process of elimination, what they seek.

- Speaking of maps, people have mentioned their "map" a few times. The mapper is Ulf, I think, who had all of his supplies waterlogged and his old map ruined by a swamp dump. I'm not sure what map they're really making. Certainly not one I'll let them refer back to, or sell in town!

- What happened to Rahtnar's magic spear, that he picked up in Cold Fens 3? Wyatt's player has gone through the blog and taken notes on all of the magic items found. It's basically missing. Rahtnar seems to have had it going into Cold Fens 8, but he doesn't have it now. The summaries don't mention him losing it, but the summaries aren't 100% accurate. I write them post-game with what I remember. The standard, actually, isn't "if it's not known to be lost, it must still be owned or carried." It's "if it's known known and listed as carried, it's lost." So that spear is in Sakatha's tomb somewhere, or it was lost in the swamp. A fair amount of equipment just has been lost in the shuffle of character sheet re-writes, lost PCs that die in the dungeon without updating me on what they carried, or got sold without anyone remarking on it. That stuff is all just gone.

- During game on Sunday, Aldwyn wanted to spend 1 second pulling his lightstone out from under his shirt.

What shirt?

Aldwyn wears plate over mail over padding and underwear under that. His lightstone is on a no-weight-not-listed "string" that is easily broken (people snap them off to toss sometimes.) And he's got a pile of DR. How do you get a stone on a necklace under your layered armor and yet be easily accessible?

The stuff that really bugs me is this kind of thing. The PCs have everything at the ready, to be grabbed instantly or within 1 second, 2 max, all over their bodies. Meanwhile, they want their DR to fully protect all of this equipment. Maps are sealed up in waterproof scrollcases but are also open for easy viewing. Weapons are strapped down when they fall but in hand when fights happen. Lightstones are easily covered, but also shine a wide light without blinding the wearer. Armor covers everything but nothing is difficult to access because of all of that armor. It really annoys me because it's very video gamey, and very munchkinny. It really snaps me out of the fun of the game because the realistic difficulties that should make running a powerful hero still require some tought to play just disappear. And that's not fun for me as the GM. It's not even fun for me as a player, the rare times I get to play.


  1. And Galen's "I put 3 arrows in his/her eye/eyes" the first second of every fight the last 50 sessions seems to me to be less than fun aswell. There was a mention on the GURPS-discord a while ago on putting a dodge-bonus at half to hit penalty on aimed shots/strikes which would make it much harder to hit small moving targets which I think is reasonable. Maybe wouldn't stop Galen from ending pretty much every single opponent fight where the opponent has known eyes/brains/vitals in the first second anyways...

    1. So you get a +5 Dodge if the target is -10 to hit? Seems like double-counting, in a way. I don't know if I'd like that enough to playtest it. It would make a point investment in Targeted Attack (Slayer Training in DF) worth a lot less than what you get now, too.

      I can attest to the fact that it makes mundane and big monsters less fun. Galen shoots their eyes out or Wyatt gives them "the Business" and stabs their eyes out. Blinded, and probably dead if they lack No Brain or an equivalent. They easily eat the penalty to hit and smother the victim in attacks, and if it has a positive SM that just makes it easier to hit. But I gave them the points and the access for a reason.

      I do think that GURPS is way too generous with hit locations - it's too easy to hit a specific one, when in combat it can be hard to maneuver yourself to always have a clear shot at even a gross target like an arm or a leg, nevermind a small target like the vitals or an eye. At skill 12-14 the penalties alone have a big cost. At skill 20+, it's simply routine.

    2. Well, you use a map so position can come into play, maybe a penalty based on shots from the sides/not directly from the front?

      I doubt you're letting eye shots happen from the flanks or behind.

  2. "What happened to Rahtnar's magic spear, that he picked up in Cold Fens 3?"

    He died with it right? So either he dropped it there or dropped since as a zombie.

    "The PCs have everything at the ready, to be grabbed instantly or within 1 second, 2 max, all over their bodies."

    This one grinds my gears too, not just as a GM, but as a Player. As a Player I go out of my way to take the time to stow, retrieve, switch hands, set down, pick up, etc, items, just to try to be a 'good example'. It doesn't work though.

    I'm in a game where we have a slinger who thinks they can pull a sling out their pocket, load it, spin it, //aim//, and fire all in one second. And it just ... sigh. We don't have a Scout so... at least they aren't stepping on any toes here, but still.


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