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Author Topic: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...  (Read 1879 times)

TTKoshi

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My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« on: 07 May 2012, 19:10:47 »
So my friend's have been asking me for ages to run a CBT game, and I've finally given in. However, I'm struggling trying to find my groove in regards to the game.

Here's my idea so far (I'm playing a little loose with canon, but once gameplay is underway, I'll revert to the right timeline):

Setting: The eve of the clan invasion.

The players are all members of the Explorer Corps, coming from various backgrounds. I'm letting them pick any original affiliation, as long as they take the Comstar one on top of it.

They begin on a Scout, heading out to the Thule system in order to re-supply, and then heading off to explore. However, they never make it, as on route to Thule, they are attacked and boarded by a Clan Ghost Bear ship (on its way to the invasion of the IS). They will (hopefully) repel the boarders, and eventually clear their ship, only to have it attacked again, crippling it.

They escape via DropShip to Thule, and get caught up in the resistance there. Eventually, they will be betrayed by their commander and basically traded to CGB in exchange for the commander's freedom (which the clanners will see as cowardly, and promptly eject him into space).

The party will be taken as bondsmen of CGB, and the plot proper will begin from there. I'm hoping to follow the events that Phelan Kell experienced when captured, including the narco-interrogation and the eventual acceptance into CGB.

The first gathering is Saturday, and basically I'm going to run this as a single mission, and eventually build multiple missions that run as a campaign.

I wanted to know if anyone has any advice for me, or can point me to some good threads. I've run D&D games before, as well as Cthulhu, and for some reason, seem to be grinding when it comes to CBT, even though its my favorite of all game settings. I'm trying to find ways to keep it personal and engaging, without flooding everyone with too much IS info.

Anyways, just getting some ideas out. Thanks for listening. Cheers!

Savar

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #1 on: 07 May 2012, 21:26:06 »
Dude I wish I could play :P sounds like great fun.

Atlas3060

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #2 on: 07 May 2012, 22:05:25 »
My advice? Ghost Bears invading were Crusaders and will see these freeborns as potential bondsmen and lower castes at best.
The Bears back then were fiercely agressive like the Jaguars were according to some books, but where the Jags did the unthinkable (Turtle Bay) the Bears mostly threatened unless the action was needed.
A conservative, somewhat slow, Clan they try to plan out moves then counter moves and then a backup plan just in case.

They aren't the Wolves in mentality, but if your characters play this right they might work well into the warrior caste.
Now the Bears aren't against taking freeborns if they are gutsy. The story Three Points of Pride (a Battlecorp story) showed that the warriors were willing to take the quarterback bondsmen just because his football team wouldn't surrender even though they lost 84 to 3.

Have fun with the Bears. They are more "family" based as a Clan compared to most and love physical competitions.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

Maelwys

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #3 on: 07 May 2012, 23:48:05 »
The only caution I would give is be careful of railroading. There are a couple of instances there where the players might go in a completely different direction. What happens if they decide NOT to be good little bondsmen? What if they don't want to join the Ghost Bears?

I'd look over your notes to see where the players can go multiple directions and atleast have some idea what to do if they pick an unexpected choice.

TTKoshi

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #4 on: 08 May 2012, 20:37:43 »
So here's my base outline so far...

- The group is a unit within Comstar, and has been assigned to an Explorer-class JumpShip that is searching for the lost Outbound Light (should tell you about the timing of the campaign)

- The group arrives in the Thule system, scanning for traces of the OL

- while recharging their sail, a Ghost Bear fleet arrives for Thule and cripples their ship

- they then attempt to repel boarders, and escape aboard a shuttle to the surface of Thule

- here, their next mission will involve evading a CGB patrol, then joining the Thule resistance, mainly to protect their HPG station

- their CO, a ruthless bugger, gives them an order to poison a well used by CGB, but they learn  during the mission that they would incidentally be poisoning a water table, killing thousands

- if they refuse, the CO calls them deserters, leaving them without a home

- the group goes guerilla, becoming a thorn in the side of both sides, before being captured by CGB

- if they do join, they can eventually lead a small hunt against the CO, reclaiming their vehicles and equipment

- If they refuse, they can try to escape and continue the resistance or head off-world to a new mission...

thats it so far. I hope to try to make CGB look appealing to the group (one of which already rolled that he has a bounty within the FWL), and if they go against the clans, then they'll forge their own path (you can probably tell I'm fond of CGB).

Anyways, none of the players are familiar with battletech except in the broadest terms, so heres hoping they enjoy.


anyways, thanks for listening and thanks for the input, it's greatly appreciated

Atlas3060

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #5 on: 10 May 2012, 23:08:55 »
Thule is under Ghost Bear control at this point?
If so I think it has an HPG compound, couldn't they make it to the nearby ComStar offices and work with them or are the Comstar members onworld part of the resistance?

During the Invasion Comstar was indirectly supporting the Clans until Operation Scorpion when they tried to attack them.
Either educating people about their new place in the Clans or just not helping out some resistance cells, they were on somewhat amicable terms with the Clans.

I'm wondering if that would help your story in any way, giving the players some options along with you.
If I was the GB commander and Comstar was helpful with our pacification I'd offer to turn over the lost Comstar people with the condition they 'help' us with the rebels.  You could talk to them or shoot them it would be irrelevant to me since you are a disposable asset at this moment.

Of course you could also use this moment as a prelude for the GB officer to incarcerate the Comstar folks just to see what Blake's children know about the Clans so far. That would be dangerous yet interesting, the Bears weren't known for quick innovative moments if I remember right. Also when Bears are mad they can get Hulk sized mad.

If Scorpion was underway at this point or Comstar was supporting the rebels, chances are I would shoot your adventurers dead because they could be spying on me.

Thule info from IS Atlas
Sarnawiki info on Thule
Wow they actually had to repacify at one point, cool. The Bears and the FRR fought well and even refrained from gunning down ships because that would have stained their honor.
« Last Edit: 10 May 2012, 23:21:40 by Atlas3060 »
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

TTKoshi

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #6 on: 11 May 2012, 15:36:25 »
Thule is actually free at the moment. The group arrives in system a few moments before Clan Ghost Bear arrives for their wave of the invasion. And yes, I'm planning on having them go to the HPG station to regroup with the rest of the comstar forces.

As for Comstar supporting the clans, I forgot about that. I think what I'll do is have the group and any local resistance band together, until orders come down that comstar is to cease hostilities and help the clans. A lot of what I'm going to do is following Phelan Kell's capture, but with Clan Ghost Bear instead. (eventually, after a good resistance, either the group will be captured, or turned over by their comstar commander).

Many thanks for reminding me about the comstar collusion, that will actually help with my storyline!

Atlas3060

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #7 on: 11 May 2012, 22:03:38 »
Many thanks for reminding me about the comstar collusion, that will actually help with my storyline!
You're welcome, always glad to help make a gaming experience more immersive whenever I can.
If you have the Blood of Kerensky trilogy you could skim it a bit and get a decent picture of how Comstar saw the Clans.
The Clans had tech that matched or was better than the Star League stuff Comstar squirreled away, Myndo Waterly saw the Clans as the hammer to Comstar's anvil. Things were looking up until the Clans mentioned Terra as a target, then things started to go bad.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

Blindhorizon

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #8 on: 20 May 2012, 15:11:15 »
While it's good to take inspiration for a quest from a book you read, i also feel you should be careful about trying to follow that story to closely. First your characters can and will do the unexpected at any chance they get, and with your pre conceived notion of what should happen you may find yourself getting frustrated when they don't adhere to what the book did. In turn your characters may also get frustrated at having to so strictly follow the path you laid out before them.

I myself am new to gaming with this rpg, but i couldn't miss the chance to use the miniatures game with the rpg. I didn't really see any mention of you using mechs in game, now i know that just because you didn't mention it doesn't mean they aren't there. I feel if you add the mech's in it is adding your own flavor to the path you want them to follow allowing for it to be more loose, such as they escape the crippled ship in a small dropship with their mechs. Once landing on the planet they join the resistance and a guerrilla war ensues, culminating with them fighting a last ditch battle to capture the space port and try and steal a ship. But sadly they fail and are captured...

This could be the hook your looking for, clan ghost bear is impressed with their fighting prowess and takes them in as bondsman. And since your players are new to this game and universe switching between board and rpg makes it more exciting and allows for side missions. For instance my group will be given mechs that have a mix between energy and hard munitions/missiles, they are going to need to replenish their stocks of weapons to be effective in combat. what better to do then to have them sneak into a clan occupied area steal a couple trucks loaded with munitions, and in turn they discover their leader trying to trade them in for his freedom.

I guess what i'm trying to say in my long winded post is... be flexible and not to rigid in what you want your characters to do, it'll be more fun for everyone involved and you'll have less frustrations.

Blind-

TTKoshi

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #9 on: 21 May 2012, 13:53:59 »
So my apologies for not posting sooner, but we've now done two sessions, and so I thought I'd post the results below.

Characters and brief info:
  • Capellan Spec Ops (Maskirovka(sp?), generic character, followed the pre-made character for the most part, though specializes in demolitions)
  • Lyran Spec Ops / Marine (though more of a social general, relies more on status than abilities)
  • FWL Spec Ops / Marine / "Face" character (former Solaris VII reporter, informed on his former boss, stole his personal small craft, forced into witness relocation, became a soldier
  • Lyran Spec Ops / Marine (generic character, though he seems to be very apt with getting in trouble)
  • FWL Armor Pilot (a character who is only going to be present at <50% of sessions)
  • Draconis Nekakami / Armored Infantry (his Nekakami past is hidden from other characters, upon joining Comstar, became a tester of an experimental Power Armor (light, based around the Nighthawk)

So one note. I let characters pick any affiliation / path they wanted as long as it was pre-Clan (since the campaign takes place on the eve of the invasion). I also had each player take the ComStar affiliation, and a free ComStar Training path, in order to put them together and keep them from mutually blowing each other apart due to affiliation (though grudges still exist). They're all part of the Explorer Corps officially, but some are Com Guard as well.

Onto the actual sessions. In regards to the CBT universe, I'm trying to stick to canon where it matters, but have changed the timeline and events slightly to fit gameplay.

Session 1
All of the players were new to the MW:RPG system, so the first session was sort of a shake-down run. Players begin as members of the Explorer Corps, en route to the Thule system in order to begin a search for the lost ship Outbound Light. They have been told that the ship last communicated that it was heading off to a new system, and was supposed to report back, but never did. The group is tasked with discovering whether it was a mis-jump, pirates, or some unknown event that has prevented the Outbound Light from returning.

To add flavor, a few days before the first session, players received this via email (I apologize for the difficulty in seeing it, the original was much larger):


The group arrives in the Thule system on an Explorer-classes (appropriately named the Destiny's Call), and begins to scan the system. The group's commander takes one of the JumpShip's shuttles down planetside to run through some bureaucratic hoops at the local HPG station, leaving the group on the ship with a skeleton crew. In addition, the Jumpship has a remaining shuttle, and the third Small Craft bay is taken by the FWL character's vessel.

The FWL character has a high Sensor Ops, so uses that to help the search, and after a few minutes of nothing, he detects an incoming KF signature. He warns the rest of the group, who arrive on the bridge in time to see the incoming jump of a Ghost Bear JumpShip, which ends up detaching 3 drop ships. One of them is a troop carrier, which immediately heads towards the groups ship, and the other two start burning planet-side. For the sake of gaming ease, all of the ships are moving faster than CBT would allow (i.e., only a few hours to drop planetside, not days from a jump point).

The troop carrier attaches itself to the group's ship, and begin to board. I had originally planned for the group to fight two groups of boarders, 4 non-armored Elemental marines with an armored Elemental Point commander, but due to time restraint (the game system took a little getting used to), it was cut down to 3 non-armored Elementals. The group attempts to hold off the invaders (they had prepared a corridor with crates and obstacles to provide cover), while waiting for the FWL character's small craft to spin up.

Thankfully, no one dies, though we had a few minor wounds (only because I was rolling VERY poorly for the baddies). The group holds off the boarders long enough for the small craft to finish spinning up, but then the Explorer itself starts getting fired upon (and I explained that opening up on a JumpShip is almost taboo, since they're valuable tech). The group starts fleeing through the Explorer, and make it to the FWL character's ship. As they head planetside, their commander radios in, informing them that he was shot down, and holding up with remaining ComStar forces at the HPG station. A few piloting rolls bring the group safely planetside, a few kilometers from the HPG station. As the players disembark, they look up at the sky in time to see one of the invader DropShips heading in their direction.

And end of session one.

I'm taking a pause here, and will write about session two in a few hours. Work and duty call!


Atlas3060

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #10 on: 21 May 2012, 15:58:53 »
Destiny's Call, pirate points, Ghost Bears scaring people left and right I approve heartily!  O0
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

Lysenko

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #11 on: 23 May 2012, 11:05:23 »
Very nice. I have a soft spot for CGB. :)

Redfaction

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Re: My first time running a CBT:RPG game...
« Reply #12 on: 01 June 2012, 01:42:56 »

The group arrives in the Thule system on an Explorer-classes (appropriately named the Destiny's Call), and begins to scan the system. The group's commander takes one of the JumpShip's shuttles down planetside to run through some bureaucratic hoops at the local HPG station, leaving the group on the ship with a skeleton crew. In addition, the Jumpship has a remaining shuttle, and the third Small Craft bay is taken by the FWL character's vessel.

The FWL character has a high Sensor Ops, so uses that to help the search, and after a few minutes of nothing, he detects an incoming KF signature. He warns the rest of the group, who arrive on the bridge in time to see the incoming jump of a Ghost Bear JumpShip, which ends up detaching 3 drop ships. One of them is a troop carrier, which immediately heads towards the groups ship, and the other two start burning planet-side. For the sake of gaming ease, all of the ships are moving faster than CBT would allow (i.e., only a few hours to drop planetside, not days from a jump point).

The troop carrier attaches itself to the group's ship, and begin to board. I had originally planned for the group to fight two groups of boarders, 4 non-armored Elemental marines with an armored Elemental Point commander, but due to time restraint (the game system took a little getting used to), it was cut down to 3 non-armored Elementals. The group attempts to hold off the invaders (they had prepared a corridor with crates and obstacles to provide cover), while waiting for the FWL character's small craft to spin up.

Thankfully, no one dies, though we had a few minor wounds (only because I was rolling VERY poorly for the baddies). The group holds off the boarders long enough for the small craft to finish spinning up, but then the Explorer itself starts getting fired upon (and I explained that opening up on a JumpShip is almost taboo, since they're valuable tech). The group starts fleeing through the Explorer, and make it to the FWL character's ship. As they head planetside, their commander radios in, informing them that he was shot down, and holding up with remaining ComStar forces at the HPG station. A few piloting rolls bring the group safely planetside, a few kilometers from the HPG station. As the players disembark, they look up at the sky in time to see one of the invader DropShips heading in their direction.

And end of session one.

I'm taking a pause here, and will write about session two in a few hours. Work and duty call!

Thumbs up! I think this is an awesome start to an RPG storyline :)