Home > Between the Lines, Game Development, Jointhesaga.com, OtherSpace, Uncategorized > Between the Lines: “Cold Dead Hands”

Between the Lines: “Cold Dead Hands”

I’m struggling to figure out what was going on with this event, but I’ll go ahead and accept the blame for somehow failing to make it engaging enough.

First, it was a follow-up event to “Name on the Bullet.” So, I can see that it wouldn’t be quite as exciting as the initial event, but it took us about four hours to go from “People entering the Forgotten Quarter and noticing two Gankri and a Lotorian hanging out” to “People trying to apprehend the Gankri.” That’s not good, considering we had a much more action-packed sequence in a similar timeframe during “The Lost Missionaries.”

Unlike previous events in recent weeks, I definitely had a plan for this adventure. The intent, if things seemed to be flowing all right, was to have the Gankri lead our heroes on a chase through ancient twisty passages in the depths of Comorro until they could reach a long-forgotten hatch that would grant access to a waiting getaway ship. However, the poses just to get the activity started came in fits and starts. It felt at times like people were phasing in and out of paying attention. Maybe they were playing characters in another window. Maybe they were watching the Olympics. Maybe they were farming on Facebook. Whatever they were doing, they weren’t thinking a lot about the event. As the poses slowed down, I know that I started multitasking. It took me out of the moment and that led to me doing a poor job of keeping other people in the moment.

As a result, I ended up abbreviating the event. It became more of a quick-burst action. Someone shot the Lotorian. The two Gankri made a run for it. One of the Ganrki got his head blown off. The other was injured and taken away for treatment and (eventually) questioning, so that Marisa could try getting to the bottom of her near-murder. Ironically, things actually sped up when the combat started.

Looking back, I was trying to let player actions drive the beginning of the event. I wanted to see what they would do. When they didn’t do much, I tried to engage them. Things just didn’t pick up much until the guns and knives came into play.

I won’t call the event a failure – it has succeeded in moving the story forward, so that’s great. But it didn’t feel as fun as I had hoped it would be.

  1. Arie Taylor
    February 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Well, I paged Bro with this a bit ago, but I’ll mention it here.

    I don’t think it was a matter of it not being fun. *I* had fun, anyway. I think it was more a matter of we didn’t really know how to approach the situation, especially at the very beginning. I mean. I wouldn’t think that two shrouded guys hanging around the Forgotten Quarter would really draw much attention, especially if they’re being relatively unobtrusive and minding their own business. There’s plenty of reasons they could be hiding their faces! Maybe they’re hiding from the law, sure. But maybe they’re horribly disfigured as a result of an engine room accident. Maybe they’re members of a bizarre religious sect. Maybe someone stole their clothes — or maybe it’s just laundry day. See what I mean? So until the Lotorian went to talk to them about the ship, it was difficult to find a reason to approach them. πŸ™‚

    I know I was waiting with bated breath to see if Akazar’s snipers would start raining hot lead death down on us, too. And we *still* don’t know if these are the right Gankri, despite the fact that Shep shot one dead. Oops. πŸ˜‰

    Admittedly, I was slow posing. Believe it or not, it was my only scene. I know I missed a pose once and that caused a delay. Maybe I was just having an off night.

    • February 25, 2010 at 2:03 pm

      I feel like I may have been having an off night too. As things seemed to drift and get scattered, I found myself goofing around on Facebook, reading Twitter, watching something on TV. I’m totally owning how this didn’t work out. It was probably just a case of doing too much during the week when I’m already incredibly busy (rather than saving it for the weekend, when I can be more focused AND stay up a lot later).

      I really don’t have any complaints about the players in this one.

  2. Tyrannosaurus Rarx
    February 25, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I love that the issue (for lack of better term) was that the players were being reasonable instead of just jumping into a situation. That’s pretty awesome, all things considering. πŸ˜€

    It reminds me of that target range scene in Men In Black….


    “May I ask why you felt little Tiffany deserved to die?”

    “She was the only one that actually seemed dangerous at the time, sir.”

    “How’d you decide that?”

    “First, I was going to pop this guy hanging from the streetlight – but I realized
    he’s just working out. How’d I feel if somebody bust me in my ass while I’m on the treadmill?

    Then I saw this snarling beast guy, and I noticed he had a tissue in his hand and realized: he’s not snarling, he’s sneezing! Ain’t no real threat there.

    Then I saw Tiffany.

    I’m thinking: eight-year-old white girl, middle of the ghetto, bunch of monsters at night, with quantum physics books. She about to start some sh*t, Zed. She’s about eight. Those books are way too advanced for her.

    If you ask me, she’s up to something.”

  3. Razorback
    February 25, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Well, I for one apologize for dropping out so abruptly. RL was becoming an issue I could no longer ignore.

    • February 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      Eh. Not your fault. RL happens!

    • Arie Taylor
      February 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm

      Ar-El, indeed. What did you do to piss off the Kryptonians, dear? πŸ™‚

  4. Sergeytov
    February 26, 2010 at 5:16 am

    It sounds almost as if the players involved avoided metagaming in the sense that the NPCs didn’t attract the desired attention from players. Normally for these kinds of things saying ‘NPC x is here’ is a subtle way of telling players ‘start here for first clue.’

    • February 26, 2010 at 8:16 am

      Eh. In a way, yes. In another way: No. The players were careful not to metagame about the two bad guys, which was great. But they weren’t exactly jumping at opportunities to question other NPCs hanging around plasma heaters, etc. I think we were all just not into it nearly enough that night.

  5. February 26, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Interestingly you mentioned: “It was probably just a case of doing too much during the week when I’m already incredibly busy (rather than saving it for the weekend, when I can be more focused AND stay up a lot later).”

    I wonder if it is a cultural situation on OS that major roleplay events will happen on the weekend, and that less involved events happen during the week? I’ve never played OS, so I don’t know any details other then the blog itself.

    It’d be interesting to see a graph of the activity of Events in OS. The activity based on the day of the week vs the magnitude of the event on the overall plot arch.

    • February 26, 2010 at 10:45 am

      It hasn’t always been limited to the weekends – but events that *I* run, by necessity for a few years – have been mostly on the weekends. We actually have a lot of players who work on the weekends and are more available during the week. So, when circumstances allowed me to start running more events during the week, I took the opportunity to do so.

      I think this was just a case of discovering when I’ve hit a wall in the middle of a really busy work week. Not good.

  6. Kallyn
    February 28, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    On my end of things, not jumping in was more of a conscious decision than not getting into the scene. I found it interesting and all, but Marisa is more of a follower and so she was hanging back letting someone else make the calls. It’s a personality thing – not a direction I ever chose, but how she developed over RP – and it makes her a PAIN to play unless she has a boss or something to look to for a nudge in the right direction (which is why she used to cling to Thayndor).

    I thought the event went all right, personally. A little slow, as you mentioned, but the flow made sense to me so I didn’t feel anything negative about it.

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