Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dinosaurs On A Spaceship: Part YOU

I had a full table for my Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG event at Saturday Night Space Opera last night!  I had seven players, so a big table. For Jessie (farthest left), who played Nefertiti, this was her first time playing an RPG, ever. She did a great job playing the character we remember so well from the 11th Doctor episode, "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship." Another really memorable performance was that of Alex, the player on the right holding up his character sheet. He stole the show playing K-9.

It has been about 2010 since I last ran this RPG. I reread the rules over the course of last week, and I believe I ran the rules fairly close to as-written. Players learned them quickly, which was great, and a couple really became skilled in using Story Points to create interesting story details, mitigate bad rolls, and boost their levels of success with actions. People also appreciated the action sequence in DWAITAS -  actions take place in the order of Talking -> Moving ->Do Something -> Fight. That is a really effective mechanic for creating a Doctor Who feel at the table.

I know what I could have done better as a GM: MORE DINOSAURS! The PCs had an initial fight with a T-Rex, dealt it a couple fatal wounds, and then administered first aid. That was very Doctor Who! But the players' feedback was that they would have liked even more dinosaur action. They did find some of the other adversaries on the ship, the Cybermen, pretty scary and compelling. So that was good.

My question, maybe frustration, with the system is with the number of Story Points that characters start with in the game. One of the players, Patrick (furthest on the right) stayed after the game to talk with me a bit about DWAITAS Story Point mechanics (as well as Elysium Flare and Diaspora), and that was helpful. He is a storygamer, by which I mean he takes mechanics seriously, as one should.

Patrick suggested reducing the number of Story Points that players start with, in order to see if that increases narrative tension and the possibility of failure. Today, I checked both the DWAITAS GM book, and the core book for Rocket Age, which uses the same system.  The DWAITAS GM book provides little guidance on Story Points and perceived challenge, and Rocket Age uses the same parameters for Story Points as DWAITAS, so no help there. 

I may run this scenario again in the near future, add a whole lot more challenges and adversaries, and see if that makes a difference.

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