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Exploration and Infiltration Montage

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Gingivitis

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« on: (02:08:57/04-10-18) »
Earlier I had posted ideas about how to handle Legwork and Investigation in a Montage Scene: We Need a Montage.

This has been working great, if I say so myself. It's a way to get to the exciting parts faster for those that do not enjoy preparation or get analysis paralysis when taking on a run. It also gets players into a cinematic mindset before a Scene. I don't use it every time, because I enjoy that aspect of the game as well, but once every other session or at the start of each Contract Brief seems fine.

I was thinking of using a tweaked version of this method for other parts of the game that some find slow: Exploration and Infiltration (basically SR dungeon crawls).

Crawl Montage
Steps for Stylized Exploration and Infiltration

1. Threshold: GM sets a Threshold. Basically it is a target number for the players to hit in a sort of Extended Test. This may or may not be a secret from the players. They also set a Difficulty, which will act as the Opposing Dice Pool (see below).

2. Tags: GM reveals Scene Tags, Scene Cues, and Scene Threats (such as a typical, appropriate mook).

3. Tax: Players spend 1 Plot Point each to begin the Montage.

4. Test: Players roll Strength + Willpower or Logic + Willpower (for Exploration); Agility + Willpower or Charisma + Willpower (for Infiltration). The Tests are opposed by  the Difficulty rating and the players are ranked by net hits (lowest to highest).

5a. Set-Up: The first player's net hits are counted toward the Threshold, they narrate their progress thus far, and they set-up the upcoming Encounter. Alternatively a fixed number or variable (1d6 or 1d3) might be counted toward the Threshold.

5b. Encounter: The players then have an encounter.  It could be an RP, a Combat, a security feature, a physical obstacle, whatever is appropriate. The GM or Players may play Surprise Threat to add more danger if it is not exciting enough.

6. Repeat: Repeat steps until all players have contributed a Narration, or until the Threshold is met and the goal is achieved. The goal might be to encounter the boss, find the paydata, locate the gang's hideout, etc. then the REAL Scene begins!

7. Reward: GM may awards Plot Points for good Narrations.

Obviously this is not for everyone and not for every run. I have not even play tested this yet (I will on the 13th for one group and the 14th for another). I came up with it because I am running Boston Lockdown and the runners need to get to level 15 of the MIT&T Arcane Lab Pyramid and I don't want to map it out, I don't want to narrate each floor, I don't want the players to narrate getting to level 15 in one Turn, etc. It allows me to fill out the session whilst still allowing the players to be engaged with the pace of things and in choosing how they progress and share in developing the threats.

Edit: Alternatively, you can skip the Threshold concept and just go around the table once so everyone has a chance to narrate and set-up an encounter. In this case, you would not roll any opposing dice pool on their Test.

Edit: Allow those who test Exploration to gain +1 toward the Threshold but the GM narrates first; those who test Infiltration get to narrate first. Explorers push toward encounters with speed but not stealth. Infiltrators go slower but get the drop on the enemy.

Whatcha think?
« Last Edit: (02:53:27/04-21-18) by Gingivitis »
Shadowrun: Anarchy Resources (GM Screens, Character Sheets, New NPCs, House Rules) at: www.surprisethreat.com

cssmythe3

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« Reply #1 on: (15:55:29/04-10-18) »
I immediately imagine the A-Team's third act build a destructo-mobile out of a tractor in a barn montage! Awesome. Great time saver, I like presenting each character with their spot-light scene.

Question 1: What are Scene Tags, Scene Cues used for?

Question 2: Why do they pay 1 plot point tax at step 3? It makes sense in the 5b encounter step to charge the PC's a plot point if they want to define the encounter.
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Gingivitis

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« Reply #2 on: (16:31:52/04-10-18) »
1. In the Anarchy book, cities and city districts have Tags, just like characters. The Contract Briefs have them too.

Tags and Cues function the same as the Tags and Cues on characters. They give the players a starting point for their Narration if they are stumped. If the Tag says Ganger Hideout, then the player would be safe to narrate a scene with gangers... but probably not dragons.

2. The Plot Point tax serves several purposes:

a. The tax gets things rolling for the GM to start in earnest with encounters and twists.  These montages usually start at the beginning of the session, so no players have spent any Plot Points yet.

b. The tax acts kind of like an ante for the player. It gives them incentive to give good Narrations to earn that Plot Point back.

c. The Montage itself is a form of Getting a Clue from the GM, which costs a Plot Point. Because I know at the end of the Montage, that the players will be in the right place with the right info, the whole thing is a Clue.
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Gingivitis

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« Reply #3 on: (03:32:56/04-21-18) »
Play tested with Group 1 tonight. It worked really well though we didn't start the Crawl Montage until later in the night, and we only got through one round of Narrations. We will pick back up next time. It worked like this:

I set a Threshold of 15 because they had to get to the 15th floor and it seemed natural. I set the difficulty at Average (8 Dice) because I wanted to see what an "average" crawl would be like.

I Tagged the Scene: Arcane Lab, Elemental Damage, Signs of Panic, Intermittent Power, More Fragging Stairs? The Threats are Boston CFD Head Cases (Shamblers and Ragers) because this is Boston Lockdown.

All 4 players paid their Plot Point tax.

The Street Sam Infiltrated (Agility), the Mage Explored (Logic), the Adept Explored (Strength), the Decker Explored (Logic). I rolled ridiculously well on 8 dice and got 6 hits. After spending Edge the net hits, in order, were Decker 0, Sam 0, Mage 1, Adept 1. Then the Narrations began:

The Decker makes no progress into the building and sets-up the encounter which is a Mag-Lock (a Challenge). She said that the Intermittent Power (tagged!) was making it hard to hack because it kept resetting. She makes a Hacking + Logic Test and gets past it this time and is awarded a Plot Point because she hit a Tag.

The doors open to the first floor which is a museum of magic. The Street Sam is a little snarky and says his "challenge" is to jump over the turnstile to avoid paying. The Adept slow-claps this feat of agility. I play a Plot Point for Surprise Threat! and the Sam gets charged by three Ragers drawn by the noise of the sarcastic slow-clap. There is a fight and the runners win. No Plot Points awarded.

The Mage narrates finding some stairs up, but they are torched and unsound (tagged!) so they find some other stairs (tagged!). At the top of the stairs he says is a Spirit of Man. It was an Exploration so I narrate first. The Spirit of Man uses Control Thoughts on the Street Sam to make him go pay at the turnstile. He does and the encounter ends with the Mage earning a Plot Point for hitting a Tag, and the runners getting to the second floor.

The Adept narrates the second floor (which are classrooms and reading rooms). He tested Exploration (Strength) and narrates pushing over a stack of book shelves because he is having a hard time winding his way through; he is a big troll. I narrate first and have a shambler start to step out from behind a bookshelf and get pinned by the tipping stacks. Immediately three spirits appear (Greater Air, Lesser Man, Lesser Beast) and they attack, protecting the shambler for some reason (there is a reason, but they don't know it yet). There is a fight and the runners win.

That was the end of the night's session. The team is on the second floor, a bit damaged and down some resources, wary of spirits and CFD head cases, and ready to keep going. We will start the next session with a recap of Tags, Tax, and Tests. I expect that I will not roll 6 hits on 8 dice next time, so it should be faster progress. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. It filled the whole night, the player's decisions made a difference, and I still got some pre-planned encounters in there.
« Last Edit: (22:07:15/04-22-18) by Gingivitis »
Shadowrun: Anarchy Resources (GM Screens, Character Sheets, New NPCs, House Rules) at: www.surprisethreat.com