Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Savage Worlds: SAO Session 1 (After-Action Reflection)
Well, so much for hypothetical New Year's resolutions, it's been basically ages since I've last updated this blog. Yeesh. In any case, at least I haven't completely dropped off the planet in terms of gaming, despite my IKRPG campaign having wrapped up a few weeks back (I know, I know, I'm late getting the episodes up.)
Well, in the meantime, as for the next round of Crit This! my buddy Scott will be running a Call of Catthulhu game, I've started running a duet game with my girlfriend, using the Savage Worlds ruleset, per her request, and running a story set in Alfheim Online, rather than Sword Art Online, as we didn't want the stakes to be life and death in this first foray into 1 GM/1 Player gaming.
In either case enough preface, onto the actual reflection.
Knowing at least a few things about my girlfriend's tastes, I was able to predict a few of the starting parameters, specifically her starting race and the type of game she'd want to be playing. However, whenever running a duet it is specifically suggested that you have an introductory talk regarding the minutia of your campaign, detailing length, adversity, levity, combat, social aspects, exploration, etc.
We decided on a short-run for the initial setting, nothing long or arduous, but with the potential to extend if the desire is there to do so. Combat was set for one every three or so sessions, so as to not get caught up in the grind of mechanics (something I'll touch on in a little bit.) At the same time, we agreed that there was the possibility for some out-of-ALO roleplaying, so there was established some 'real world' lore, so I could potentially make something from them.
To begin, I've never really run anything like this type of game, mechanics have definitely taken a backseat to player choice and verbal interaction, and I've taken the suggestion of an RPGnet blogger, essentially focusing on moral choices rather than mortal choices (paraphrasing mine). At the same time, this isn't really a standard RPG setting or game, in that there's no great evil to wrong, it's really just a way for my player (and her character) to unwind at the end of the day. Therefore, I've taken an offhand comment of hers and started to run with it fully.
Basically, I'm planning to run this game like a serialized anime. Drama and interpersonal relations are higher on the priority list than death duels, and instead of high-octane action set pieces, I'm instead constantly thinking about how to fit various anime tropes into the mix. As an anime enthusiast, there's a lot of ingrained knowledge that I've assimilated already that's absolutely ripe for use, but I still get the sense that I'm going to need to prep just as much (if not more) for these games than many of my others, which I've basically jumped into on a wing and a prayer.
The first session had the PC, Mueda, full-dive into the world of ALO where she met with the classmate who first invited her into the virtual MMO. During a quick tutorial of the flight system (and to get my player re-accustomed to the mechanics of Savage Worlds, specifically Wild Dice and Bennies), I threw in an ad-hoc midair collision with a spur-of-the-moment character, my first reactionary trope of the game, the stereotypical otouto (younger brother character), who almost immediately began looking at Mueda as his onee-sama. This was reinforced by a few fantastic Fly rolls, further solidifying the balance between the two characters.
As noted in the introduction, I'd pretty much guessed that Cecilia would choose to play as a Cait-Sith, the anthropomorphic feline race in ALO who basically auto-acquire animal companions, so I'd set up her first mission as a simple foray into a nearby forest to find her new furry buddy. The cool/terrifying aspect of a setting like ALO, which has a lore wiki that can be described as barebones at best, is that there's a lot of room to simply make shit up. So, a few probing questions into the forest and Mueda had found her animal friend, a cat/owl hybrid she promptly fed a live squirrel to and named 'Hedwig.'
Hey, Harry Potter's pretty popular, you know? The only problem is I now have to draw a cat/owl hybrid, and it's been ages since I last sketched anything seriously.
In any case, along with Mueda's search for her Hedwig, she had also been offered a side-quest by a friendly PC blacksmith to acquire some calyculcum, a crafting material collected from the UV-calcified remains of Cockatrice eggs. There was a little bit of hilarious pseudo-danger as Mueda's young friend stumbled upon the Cockatrice nest accidentally while chasing after his own soon-to-be animal companion, a snake/lizard hybrid he (I) still has yet to name, which culminated in sort of roundabout merry-go-round chase between Cockatrice, snake/lizard, and the younger brother character, Raimura.
Everything worked out well in the end for everyone, of course. Mueda got her Hedwig, Raimura got his snake-lizard, and the PC Blacksmith got her calyculcum.
And a date with Mueda. Yeah, in exchange for the rare-ish material, the smith, Michida, who is a lady, offered my player anything she'd like (within reason of course), and Mueda asked to apprentice with her, and to go on a date.
Which we'll talk about in the next reflection.