Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Deathwatch: The Price of Hubris, part 12

Contains spoilers for, funnily enough, The Price of Hubris from The Emperor Protects.

As always, be aware that the podcast is not really family-friendly, and features a fair amount of background noise, if that sort of thing bothers you.

The Episode

This is the last episode of actual play in this block, though there will be a further episode featuring post-game discussion of the scenario and of Deathwatch in general.

The setup for this final encounter gave us a chance to get all Fisty and establish a defensible base. I tend to quite enjoy planning and preparing for things, so I had fun here - it's a shame it wasn't a bit longer really so we could have had a chance to test ourselves against multiple waves of enemies. However, we were obviously coming up to the final stretch, and we got a confrontation with the broodlord that was reasonably climactic, letting us push through a couple of dangerous rounds to finish it off. We made quite a lot of use of the Tactics skills in this section, which both offers some prompts at times, but also helps out with visualising the environment in a way that Space Marines would (full of tactical potential) and players don't really have the skillset for. This way, the GM can highlight that such-and-such a thing would offer cover or a safe route to something, or is easily demolishable, which players aren't necessarily able to guess. It's not like we were using maps or minis here.

Arthur has discussed elsewhere some of the difficulties of running major Tyranid beasties and other such powerful individuals, with many special rules and abilities. Unless you read up on them a lot in advance, it can be hard to do without constantly checking rulebooks, which causes the kind of slowdown you really don't want in a climactic battle. To quote Arthur paraphrasing me:

There’s no earthly reason why NPCs and monsters in an RPG should be built along similar terms to PCs; Shimmin pointed out after the game that providing truncated stats for the monsters in the module plus pointers on tactics they might use in combat is far more useful to a GM than providing the sort of stat blocks they currently provide. Sure, maybe I’d have been able to make better use of them if I thoroughly studied the monster listings before the game, but isn’t the point of pre-genned adventures to minimise my prep time?

This episode, for those of you who care, was where my musings on soft attacks started, leading to the existence of Monitors, an awful lot more musing on games and theory than I used to do, and (in some ways) the fact that I've got more than about four posts on this blog at all. So hey.

Doing all this podcast-editing, followed by relistening to quite a bit of it in order to add these blog notes, has really made me want to play some more Deathwatch... There's something so cheerfully uncomplicated about it.

Link to Episode 12.

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