Sign up Calendar Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
JSpaced

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 115
Reply with quote  #1 
Hey all, I don't know how you lot feel about this concept, but this kind of excites me, because I love a collaborative, creative process.

Lasers and Feelings is single-page space-opera RPG. I can see this going in several directions, based on the players, either straight-laced ST:TNG, laugh-out-loud Orville, outright zany Galaxy Quest or even dark and gritty ST: DISC.

It has this great thing of reducing the entire game mechanic to whether your character is more "Lasers" (Science, maths, cleverness, accuracy) or "Feelings" (passion, empathy, charisma). You place your character on the scale of "Lasers to Feelings", choose a speciality field and go.

I can see this being too free-form and derailing quickly, but for a quick con-game for a landing party straight out of Artemis, this could be awesome!

Anybody else have thoughts on this?

__________________
"Universal law is for lackeys. Context is for kings."
13Clocks

Registered:
Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #2 
My crew and I did a session of this.  It worked quite well.  My major problem was that, as GM, I was struggling to come up with new story as the players made their decisions.  It's all fine to say that the party helps make the story, but in the end it's the GM's choice what happens and he needs to keep making those choices as the party takes the story in new and unexpected directions.  "Laser feelings" especially were difficult, since I had to continually revise my plot to take account of what they were asking and to keep the interesting twists coming.

That said, it was extremely fun and hung together far better than I would have expected.  Experience will probably make GMing loads easier.  My crew, put together, had far more imagination than I did and took my bare-bones plot into places I was shocked and pleased to see it go.  I highly recommend it.  (By the way, my youngest crewmember was twelve.  I cut out the parts about sexy aliens and the rest of the game still played perfectly well.  People of all ages should enjoy this, if it's their thing.)
13Clocks

Registered:
Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #3 
For anyone who's interested, and to demonstrate the fun and the difficulties of the game, I have written up our play session here.

Consortium ship Raptor
After action report
Location: Quan Moiba

On route to Alpha Centauri, the Raptor was attacked by a space dragon.  Captain Darcy was critically injured by a plasma blast, and is currently recuperating in the medical pod.  Our resident diplomat tried to link with the dragon's mind and convince it to surrender.  She held it off for a while, but suffered severe psychic wounds, reducing our team's only mind-reader to only being able to sense strong emotions and direct thoughts.  The weapons officer was able to temporarily disable the dragon with a spear he had found on a planet back when he was an explorer, and it retreated.  Our engineer boosted the sensors, and we tracked the dragon to near the planet of Quan Moiba.

(The diplomat attempted to link with the dragon's mind and failed the roll.  I had to come up with a penalty on the fly, and so I destroyed most of her psychic ability.  Generally, I found it helpful to penaltise unsuccessful actions by making sure that those actions could not be taken again.  The spear was entirely the weapons officer's idea.  It was the first of many times I had to remind myself to "just roll with it".  The dragon retreating but not dying was in my plot outline all along, though.  I was going to have them land on Quan Moiba and discover the dragons there, but it actually ended up being a better story if they landed knowing that the dragons were involved from the first.)

The Raptor took heavy damage in the fight, and landed on Quan Moiba to recuperate.  During the landing, we noted a series of round craters which the pilot recognised as dragon nests.  We were greeted by Bill Ducote, an amateur demonologist and professional spaceport chief.  The diploat only barely managed to talk us out of an extremely boring lecture on whether or not space dragons are demons.  Quan Moiba is a new colony, with a population of barely fifteen thousand.  While the spaceport refuelled and rearmed us, we went to the hospital to get medical and psychiatric help.

(This bit basically went the way I had planned it.  I started the game with a loose outline of where I wanted the plot to go, which by the end was being used more as a list of encounters than anything else.  Next time, I'll probably just list my characters and invent the plot as I go.)

At the hospital, after receiving treatment, we noticed burn marks near the door to the radiology ward.  The diplomat sang to the guard in such a way that he thought she was insane and went to the psychological ward to tell them a patient was wandering around.  While he was gone, our engineer hacked the door open.  We found scorch marks, plasma, and a pentagram drawn in dragon blood.

(The diplomat had planned to sing the guard to sleep, but almost failed the roll.  I was making this up as I went along.  Going to the hospital had never been one of the things I expected my party to do, and I had to move and rewrite a lot of the planned encounters.)

We rearmed ourselves from the ship, after keen insight from the engineer revealed a secret tunnel from the hospital to the spaceport.  We confronted Bill, who told us that this was not a sacrifice, as we had expected, but an attempt at a "spell of healing".  This had been the dragon that had attacked us earlier, and it had been Bill's friend.  He convinced us and we left, feeling somewhat ashamed of ourselves.

(The secret tunnel was a laser feeling.  This was also the only time I overruled my players.  They didn't believe Bill and wanted to shoot him there and then, but I told them that I had a climactic battle in space planned and that could only be brought about if Bill were still alive.  I could probably have run the battle without Bill, but there would have been no good, quick way to clear up the storyline.)

Almost as soon as we took off, we were attacked again by the same dragon.  Bill, over subspace radio, revealed that he was struggling for cash and that the dragon attacks, by making the planet seem unsafe, would make people want to leave it through his spaceport at any fee he chose.  Our diplomat taunted him into revealing the dragon's weakness, and our pilot and weapons officer were able to fire a torpedo directly into the spot under its wing.  The planetary authorities have arrested Bill, and we are continuing to Alpha Centauri.

(The radio call was a classic villain monologue.  I wanted the players to know Bill's plan, and this was the only way of doing it short of having them search his office.  They didn't seem in an office-searching mood, so I did it the quick way.  Generally, I found that I needed to have a clear handle on the storyline and keep moving it forward.  The players would make decisions to help unravel the evil plot, but the GM certainly was in charge of what the evil plot actually was.  Perhaps it would have been easier if I hadn't had a plot in mind, but then the game risks devolving into one long space battle or diplomatic argument with no interesting story.)
JSpaced

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 115
Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 13Clocks
My crew and I did a session of this.  It worked quite well.  My major problem was that, as GM, I was struggling to come up with new story as the players made their decisions.  It's all fine to say that the party helps make the story, but in the end it's the GM's choice what happens and he needs to keep making those choices as the party takes the story in new and unexpected directions.  "Laser feelings" especially were difficult, since I had to continually revise my plot to take account of what they were asking and to keep the interesting twists coming.


Yeah, keeping the story interesting AND somewhere in the realms of plausible is the GM's greatest challenge. Allowing the players latitude to affect the world is like trying to drive a compact car full of feral cats.

I'm trying to teach my young players about consequences of decisions. What I created as a "Murder She Wrote" type murder mystery, they've really struggled with, coming down on the two player approaches of: "Can I kill it?" or "Can I steal it?"

What should have been a weird: "Why is the murder victim alive again?" investigation turned into a bloody murder fest in a hotel room that made Reservoir Dogs look like a kids TV show.

The player that initiated the violence was restrained by his teammates at the scene of the murder.
"Wait, I'm face down in the blood now?"
"Yeah, it's all over you, it's sticky and hot and gross."
"OK, I think I regret this."
"Now!? You regret it NOW?!?!"

__________________
"Universal law is for lackeys. Context is for kings."
13Clocks

Registered:
Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #5 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSpaced

What should have been a weird: "Why is the murder victim alive again?" investigation turned into a bloody murder fest in a hotel room that made Reservoir Dogs look like a kids TV show.


At one point, my players got a little out of hand and I tried telling them that they were supposed to be crew of what was basically the Enterprise.

Well.

After a few minutes of heated debate, they decided that they were more likely to be the crew of what was basically Serenity.  (Which does leave the question of which one is Inara.  I'm not brave enough to ask.)

To play devil's advocate, Lasers and Feelings is supposed to be run with minimal pre-written plot, and if your players want to kill everything they should be able to.  I don't personally think this would lead to a very fun game, and I think you need a very committed bunch of players to pull it off, but I also think it's more in the spirit of Lasers and Feelings for the GM to view him/herself as facilitator rather than leader.  99% of the time, though, you are completely right.  I do have a problem with games like this where the GM is really thrown in at the deep end without any support baked into the game.  In DnD, at least, the GM decides which monsters the players should fight, controls maps of dungeons, writes lore, et cetera.  The minute you give players control over those, you are making everyone's job harder.  More rewarding, potentially, but harder.
JSpaced

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 115
Reply with quote  #6 
There is a real tendency for players to get "out of hand", like to play the most extreme thing they can. Sometimes it's character driven, sometimes it's not. I've wound up GMs before playing foolhardy characters and then said: "no, he's dead, that's ok, don't bust a gut saving him, he did something deeply stupid, but for good reasons".

The guy who initiated the violence in the murder mystery, I was like: "you're a taxi driver. OK, space taxi, but what is this about? Why are you killing her?"
*shrug* "I think she's the murderer."
"Why?"
*shrug* "So can I kill her?"

This is a symptom of "teenage boy" though, so nothing new there.

Funnily enough, for another game, he wrote a superhero character whose flaw was "sometimes kills people with an axe". We had a chat about how if that's his character, the first person they will have to restrain and contain will be him, then he'll have to write a new character. I suggested we circumvent that bit of the process and we wrote a super-cool secret agent.

I'm at the point of like: "should I refer him to a psychiatrist?"

__________________
"Universal law is for lackeys. Context is for kings."
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.