Monday, September 19, 2011

No levels means no low-level encounters.

Sunday saw us finishing out the little crap adventure I had written out for Traveller.

The biggest bug I need to work out appears to be my own thinking. I'm so used to starting characters being weaklings that I didn't put as much thought into the principal adversaries in the starting adventure as I should have. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start near-ish the beginning.

When we started rolling out Traveller characters, I gave the rules a cursory read, decided I knew how everything worked, and got down to business. The end result is characters with too much money and ultimate bad-ass equipment. That, however, is only a minor hiccup, really. The big problem is that I'm still thinking of new characters as low-level characters, and thereby, comparatively weak characters. This is most certainly not the case.

I went with an old stand-by adventure of mine for new characters; under whatever flimsy pretense I can concoct, I send them into an area infested with zombie/zombie analogues with orders to retrieve something. Usually, I make the zombies able to be destroyed either by a single blow to the head or by enough damage to the body. Welp, the heavily armed commando unit that constitutes the party cut through them like a Sherman tank through rice paper. Even if the zombies actually closed to melee range, the characters were armored to the point that the bites of a few ghouls amounted to hamster farts. Even the big "boss" zombie I stuck in at the last moment was nothing. And he had decent armor. And 50 hit points. When the player caught sight of him, they nonchalantly flipped their guns to full-auto and rained Hell upon his poorly conceived head. It was to the point where combat just delayed the game slightly. I just started skipping it.

A lesson learned: When your main antagonist is about as threatening as Rob Thomas in a diabetic coma, a lot of drama goes out of the game.

I did give the characters an interesting choice. They could destroy a uncontaminated sample of the zombie-causing virus, or sell it to the highest bidder.

They sold it.

I smell a warcrime!

I'm going to look at some modules, I think, and send the party against some other people with armor and guns.

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