a guest Apr 23rd, 2019 74 Never
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- ===March-April AAR===
- Let’s take a look at how April went for my QMing: I’ve started Lad in Sengoku, having a lot of fun with it, even if I only went through with two sessions. The anons have been very receptive and seem to be enjoying it as well, so I’m continuing it eagerly.
- Now I’ll talk about how I, as a QM, view the sessions I’ve mastered and what I learned and enjoyed from each of them.
- • 22nd of March. First session, time: 4h, 12 updates. I was actually fucking about. The concept of Lad in Sengoku and what kind of quest it was gonna be wasn’t even in my mind outside of ‘Do anything as anyone, but in Sengoku Jidai’. I thought it would go on for that session and nothing else. Even though I wasn’t putting in that much effort, anons still strolled in and seem to get engrossed in my writing, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The first posts had a noticeable lack of effort, but as things went along I started thinking up more stuff and really getting into it, leading to characters like Akita Toshisue and Harada Taneyoshi. The only downside to this session was that I had ‘forced’ my players into joining the Akita clan through Harada’s somewhat crazed addition of the player to their ranks. I decided to solve it by giving the player opportunities to leave in the future if they so wished.
- • 28th of March: Second session, time: 4h, 12 updates. All I had planned for this one was a timeskip until an event roll caused something interesting to happen. Then an anon rolled a critfail on the very first event roll. I didn’t actually plan on what would happen in the case of a critfail, so I came up with the thing that would put Ikeda and his liege in the worst situation possible: That was the death of the clan leader, Akita Toshisue. I had plans for Toshisue’s relationship with the MC in the future, but I scrapped that for the sake of the critfail.
- It was fun to write about Harada rising up to the chance, and giving the players an opportunity to just fuck off and ignore all of that. This was a point where I felt the ‘do anything’ setup I had planned for Lad in Sengoku shone. I was prepared to do both a retainer and ronin quest for that session, and I didn’t mind my players picking one or the other.
- I also really enjoyed writing up the battle and the stuff happening in it. I devised a proper way of dividing the battles up in phases and making them more organic and consequential. This resulted in battle phase rolls and rolls for VIP performance. There is something happening in the rest of the battle, not everything revolves around the MC, and this will be true even when the (if) the MC turns into a proper commander. This is why Harada lost his eye, and he had to lead a desperate charge all the way through the town to reach the castle. He would’ve had to roll more had it not been for the player’s ambush and first arrival at the top of the castle.
- Other highlights were the beginning of the ‘Yari Oni’ and ‘Oni Horosha’ thing for the MC. Players seemed to enjoy it too. The duel between Lady Oya and Ikeda had a really big DC (around 90) due to difference in skill between Ikeda and Oya. Some anon critted in the fourth roll and I decided to allow it since it was a 100 roll in a d100.
- • 12th of April: Third session, time: 3h, 6 updates. A bit of a timeskip at the first post, then a branching path. Lady Oya’s meeting helped a lot with the development of a proper personality for Ikeda. I also decided to give the players something more to play with than the whole ‘stay loyal to your lord Harada’ shtick. This was a time of political intrigue and subversive actions, so [Open plot line] was my way of seeing if the players wanted to tread this path or not, and tread it they did. After that, the time with Harada was my attempt at presenting the very etiquette-based and traditional politicking of Japan, along with Harada’s reaction to that. I also wanted to see if the players were willing to get into more non-fighty things like ruling over subjects, and that they did as well.
- I enjoyed the feedback provided by anons through my three questions and will likely apply it to sessions every once in a while, most importantly when I try to branch out and do relatively unique stuff for the quest.
- (Patreon) As retarded as it may seem, it was actually this feedback that convinced me that this is something I wanted to dedicate time to. That, in the end, is what made me open the Patreon and shill myself out. I knew it was gonna be controversial, but I took up my decision and went through with it while attempting to keep it fair to the viewers who wanted nothing to do with the Patreon or money in their quests.
- • 14th of April: Fourth session, time: 2h30m, 6 updates. First, we talked to a newly named character: The old Ashigaru Sakubei. Then we went on to rule the town of Machi, the players critfailed while trying to do some farming reforms and that led to some fun: Namely a peasant revolt. Again, I tried to present opportunities that would allow the players to diverge in their path, they refused to do so and stuck to what they perceived as their core values, which gave Ikeda even more of a personality. I thought this session would have much less character interaction and much more timeskip and stat-grinding stuff, but I was proven wrong by the dice.
- In total, this month saw me spend around 13-14 hours QMing, with 36 updates to Lad in Sengoku. I skipped out on 2 planned sessions and moved them to next week due to unrelated workload for the first skip and easter family meet-ups in the second skip.
- === Various conclusions I made from this month of QMing: ===
- The personality system I came up with for Lad in Sengoku has allowed me to engage a pet peeve of mine: The MC’s personality. It’s something I always struggled with during my other quests, ‘How should my MC behave when the player isn’t controlling them or their words?’ I can’t simply prompt the players for every single little thing that the MC has to reply to, it makes sessions boring and inconsequential. The personality system allows me to write up about the MC more freely while also taking into account past player input. It also gives value to that player input; it’s more than just picking a prompt as it has consequences down the line for the MC’s behaviour. It’s something I’ll keep in mind for questing and roleplaying.
- I also liked how I behaved with the amount of information I gave to the player. They were small fries in the world, but that didn’t mean they knew absolutely nothing about warfare and the like. Their character lived all their lives from battlefield to battlefield, so he knew how troops moving usually behaved, and the character could share this with his puppet-masters. Might be that, as time goes along, more and more information can be shared as the player character knows more and more about warfare.
- The system I made up for battles is also one I’m proud of. It makes the world feel much more alive when you’re fighting. Characters can die, get maimed, hurt, or cover themselves in glory during a battle. At the same time, a battle isn’t only one roll: By default a battle has three rolls (Charge, Melee, and Conclusion) which can be expanded upon or reduced depending on the battle’s size. Sometimes battles will go well, sometimes they will not, and important characters will react to it as they hear of their troops’ tidings.
- === Things I want to improve in the future: ===
- Mainly, I want to make the peace time more fun, make characters act out on their own plans more often and engage the players into the world of Sengoku outside of battlin’ and killin’ and seasonal skips. Event rolls are the basis for this: A roll that decides what happens during a season, but this should be expanded upon, and more rolls be done just as it happens in battle: for important characters, for the state of the clan as a whole, for other clans with interests in lands of your clan, etc. I’ll devise something throughout this month and iron it out.
- Apart from that, I also want to give more choices to the player during the peacetime. Avoid railroading and keep giving a variety of ‘hooks’ for the players to hop from one ‘train track’ to another, whichever they find most fun. This is something I already engaged with during the first month of peace after the rise of the Harada Clan, when I gave three options to the player as to whom they wanted to speak to at first. I’m not sure how I will engage this issue, but solutions are starting to form.
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