|Three Levels of Train|
Today my gaming group tried out "Freighted with Peril" the demo adventure that Dawning Star's Fate Core Kickstarter backers received last week. The scenario deals with a train heist and will be familiar in some respects to fans of Firefly and Iain M. Banks' novel Against A Dark Background. The pregens are a mix of military PCs, with a scientist, a native Velin mystic, and a Rail Marshall thrown in for good measure.
The image above represents different sections of the maglev train that's the set piece for the scenario. The train came to a complete halt early in the scenario, because the Rail Marshall pulled an emergency stop switch. The middle row of zones is the main level of the train, with the Engine on the left, three passenger cars as the middle zone, and three freight cars as the right hand zone. The two zones below the middle row represent two zones under the passenger cars and the freight cars. The upper row represents the roof areas above the passenger and freight car zones.
I won't go into the scenario in detail. Why ruin it for others? But here are a few GMing tips for whoever runs this next:
- Do as much as you can with the terrain! Play up the implications and complications of battle on a crowded train in which passengers are running all over the place and getting in the way of our heroes.
- Take time in advance to look over the pregens and really get to know the PCs' Aspects. This is critical for the GM to be able to offer the players Compels. When you use pregens created by someone outside your game table, it can be more difficult to remember the PCs Aspects and play to them effectively as a GM.
- Think like the villains. Think beyond the scenario as written. What other things could the villains do to weigh the scales in their favor? How they might interact with the scene - both within and beyond the immediate setting of the train - to ensure that they win?
Time for a couple more pictures. In our game, the Engineer was poisoned with a powerful hallucinogen. Thus the Aspect "Tripping Balls" written on the zone card. The Rail Marshall subdued the Engineer and then zip tied him up.
The scientist opted to "get mobile" with the MacGuffin and readily subdued it. The "upper" zone card in this photo is actually the underside of the freight cars.
The scientist managed to keep the MacGuffin away from the other PCs, which certainly contributed to the PCs ability to achieve a decisive victory. The scientist did everything right but had the misfortune to roll just slightly too low on a critical skill roll to really unlock the mystery of the MacGuffin.
Maybe next time.