March 13th, 2006

Creating a Scenario - GM Input Appreciated

I'm finishing off a D20 Modern scenario that will appear as an example scenario of a book we're in the final stages of developing. The game itself is a media investigation game, players take on roles of members of TV crew researching horrific or supernatural stories in our own world.

In the scenario there are scenes where skill checks are required, without giving the game away too much, they need to make knowledge checks to see if they recognise a particular item of electronic equipment. My query is: Would GMs prefer these scenes defined in hard terms like 'The equipment in the house is an 'XYZ' (Knowledge (Techlogy) Difficulty 15)' or a looser 'The equipment in the house is an 'XYZ', knowledge check required, moderate difficulty'.

The actual skills and difficulties are easy for us to determine so it's no problem providing them.

Player Involvement in Passive Skill Checks

I'm involved in running a series of D20 scenarios at the moment.

As with every other scenario I run there are always points where PCs may become aware of things, like a particular group of people in a bar watching the them. Only as a result of a passive spot check would the PCs notice they are being watched. Rather than alert the players that something is up by having them roll spot checks I'm playing with the idea of having a the players roll a series of D20 and write the results down. Then I'll use those rolls for any passive checks required.

There a couple of notes I should make about this...

* The players would be aware of this method I'll be using before agreeing to the game, not something I'd want to land on players midway through.

* I shan't always know the players well before they play the game so I don't know how they as individuals would react to being aware that something is up when their characters don't.

* If the players say something like 'I'll enter the bar looking for anyone that gives me more than a cursory glance' then their the passive spotting becomes an active searching.

* I know that I could say something different when they fail a spot roll but I think that in itself would draw the players attention to seomthing is up.

What do you think as players think of this?

On the one hand I could see it as being an issue where players feel I don't trust them but on the other hand I'm eager to sell it to them as an issue of maintaining the element of suprise
I kill with my heart.

A random thought...

I had an idea for an intelligent magic item to drive players just a little bit nuts...  a weapon of some sort, say an enchanted sword, all shiny and spiffy and powerful...

With the personality of Marvin the Android from H2G2.  :-)

*PC attacks a monster*  "*sigh* Must you? I'm going to get covered in ichor and stuck in its ribcage, I just know it."

*PC asks questions about the history of the sword*  "Oh, you say you want to know about me now.  That'll change soon enough, and you'll go back to ignoring me."

"Three thousand years old, powerful beyond belief, and you're using me to kill rats.  There's justice for you."
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