Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hip Deep in the Weird Stuff

the campaign doesn't have to end like this...
Tomorrow I run session 4 of "Murderhoboes of Devil's Canyon," my sword-sorcery-and-superscience episodic game run using the Swords & Wizardry Core Rules.  And I'm beginning to wonder if I wasn't a bit disingenuous when pitching the game to the players - I think I sold it to them as a more standard, if "low-level, gritty, tomb-looty" instead of "save the world" D&D.  I know ray guns, ancient aliens and mutations were NOT in the original pitch I gave them.

Now don't get me wrong - they seem to be enjoying themselves just fine, and one of my players is saving up to buy an artillery piece best described as a "Cosmic Ray Cannon."  But I also know that players have been startled and at times not happy about their characters collecting random mutations, and I feel a little bit guilty about that.

So I think I'm going to dial back the mutagenic elements somewhat - instead of just a failed save when casting a spell or being exposed to radiation, I'm going to add a d6 roll into that - on a result of "6," save vs. mutation, otherwise nothing.  Also possibly allowing a casting of "Remove Curse" or something like that from a Cleric to reverse a mutation.

but it doesn't have to end like this either.

Secondly, I'm thinking a session that's a little less gonzo might be a good change of pace.  My girlfriend Gina is picking up dice for the first time ever in tomorrow's game, and she's afraid of her character A) mutating and B) dying horribly.  She's very much a bleeding heart (her words, not mine) - when she found out about Johann's ascension to demigod of the Yip-Yips, she was extremely concerned (still is, actually) that he was treating them well.  So even though her character isn't rolled up and on paper yet, she's still very concerned about her well being and safety.  And maybe a session of fighting goblins or zombies, if not necessarily safer, might have a greater illusion of safety than a session spent fighting giant fleas covered in screaming human faces and insane AIs buried under dungeons.

This is not to say I'm dialing back the whole campaign; I have ideas for where things are going to end up and what certain NPCs in the setting are doing, and things on the whole are going to get a whole lot weirder before they get anywhere resembling "normal." Johann will still be getting his Cosmic Ray Cannon (because it is awesome if he does and lame if he doesn't), and Yngwie will find some sort of magical bastard sword, for better or worse, as per his questioning of NPCs.  Things are going to trend towards weirdness overall, but I'm thinking the occasional dip into sanity will be good because it will give the return to Weirdness that much more impact.

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