Servitor plot point campaigns - reviews & thoughts . . ?

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HawaiiSteveO
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Servitor plot point campaigns - reviews & thoughts . . ?

#1 Postby HawaiiSteveO » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:17 pm

Howdy,

I have The Flood, have skimmed it over and there is some great stuff.

I'm only generally familiar with the other 3, any comments or bullet reviews appreciated.

I've read a few reviews on amazon, as that seems to be the easiest place to find some.

Would be great to get some info on the other 3.

ValhallaGH
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Re: Servitor plot point campaigns - reviews & thoughts . . ?

#2 Postby ValhallaGH » Thu Apr 27, 2017 1:29 pm

The Flood - As you read, very good.
Last Sons - Good but a bit sprawling. Too much territory, too much to do, too much to cover.
Stone & Hard Place - Kind of amazing. In my opinion, the best of the plot points.
Good Intentions - Skimmed it, like it, may be able to turn it one day. Seems on par with S&HP.
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
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"... We're all gonna die."

Mavis
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Re: Servitor plot point campaigns - reviews & thoughts . . ?

#3 Postby Mavis » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:26 pm

I have not read Good Intentions, I will await its arrival in hardback at my FLGS. Otherwise I agree with ValhallaGH's comments.

All Plot Point Campaigns require some thought to make them suitable for the group style, dynamic, character motivations etc. Some links between plot points may appear contrived or tenuous, they can be quite linear or implausible. But nothing that cannot be worked around or rationalised to make sense for your game.

I GMed The Flood concurrently to completion twice (90 sessions and 75 sessions respectively) the sandbox nature of the glyph hunting meant that both campaigns were completely different, partially because one group are very roleplay/character focused whilst the other group more gamey/action focused.

When we completed The Last Sons a year ago I wrote this summary of my thoughts about the campaign on another forum in response to a query. Maybe it would be of interest. BEWARE SPOILERS

The setting detail in the book about all the towns, cities and various locations is excellent. As with The Flood, there are snippets of information and simple sentences amongst the detail that can be easily taken and worked up into interesting encounters or plot hooks etc. However the area covered by the campaign is so vast that either the PC's will see but a small fraction of it because they spend most of their time in one place or it will be a whistle stop tour where no location gets the attention it might deserve.

This leads to another potential problem I found. The campaign gives very little direction for PC motivations beyond the Plot Point campaign itself. The players wanted to pursue the main plot, other avenues were limited. This may reflect us as a group and the character of the PC's they created but even so I think that this requires some thought before you start the campaign.

The Savage Tales did not inspire me very much and I used very few of them, instead taking stuff from other Deadlands Reloaded products which I reworked to suit our groups preferences and also using some of my own ideas.

As with all written scenarios it is the contrivances and plot holes that cause me the most problems with the Plot Point Campaign. This was also true of The Flood except that the bulk of The Flood Plot Point game time involves rushing around the Maze looking for glyphs. The location of glyphs was up to me so it was easy to make the world feel more 'sandboxy' and offered the opportunity for me to make plenty of stuff up. It was the sheer number of little holes or contrivances that needed changing or filling that bugged me most about the Last Sons.

I think for the campaign to work best there needs to be an Indian (Shaman) PC. If that Indian takes Old Ways Oath it is very difficult for that PC. Indians would not be popular in Deadwood for instance or be very happy about travelling by train. Luckily Torn Sky did not take Old Ways Oath and the character/story development was about her discovering that she was 'chosen by/in tune with' the Old Ways. Beware Vision Quest, Contact Spirit and Shape Change powers are all potential plot point short cuts that can bypass scenes and make a Shaman PC too much of a limelight hog at the expense of the other PC's. Handle with care. Think through every plot point and scenario with this in mind.

The campaign requires lots of rail travel or else movement in 'The Long Winter' is incredibly slow. Thus I completely ignored the Winter, I just could not see how a campaign of 11 months length, of which for 5-6 months the central campaign area was covered in heavy snow making travel difficult, could work.

Plot Point 2: I struggled to make the link to Walter Blount seem plausible and Dusky Jewel is very poorly thought out. What if you have a Shaman PC that can transform into a bird, and just take the paper from the corpses pocket. No fancy mine cart chase needed and no other PC's required.

Plot Point 3: Very good. A dungeon crawl with different ways to approach it. Beware the adversaries in the tower are very tough. Both Harrowed PC's resulted from PC death's here.

Plot Point 4: Very good. An opportunity for you to come up with your own stuff.

Plot Point 5: Not so good. I changed this around a lot to make it seem less contrived (meeting the Ranger and Agent for instance) and as for the grave robbing...how does that work? And I think the link to Plot Point 6 needs to be reframed.

Plot Point 6: Good fun. Helps to have an Agency PC in the group.

Plot Point 7: Why would the Ravenites write the key clue in Spanish? The battle at the end was tough and great fun.

Plot Point 8: The PC's have very little actual control, they are just following along in wake of the developing meta plot.

Plot Point 9: The PC's have very little actual control, they are just following along in wake of the developing meta plot.

Overall the word I would use to describe The Last Sons is disjointed. But that said I would still recommend running it for your group, despite my comments we had great fun, primarily because the dynamic between the three core PC's was just so good and the finale was a huge surprise to the players.


And after being asked about my thoughts on Stone and a Hard Place, I wrote this summary of how I saw the campaign playing out immediately prior to starting the campaign. We are now 40 sessions in to Stone and a Hard Place. Also note that although I did not use many of the Savage Tales from The Last Sons, I have transposed them to the south-west and used several of them in Stone and a Hard Place.

I intend to run it approximately like this:

Character Creation, Plot Point 1 as an introduction culminating with a great set piece as the first two sessions.

30-40 sessions of the PC's in Tombstone to include a few of the Savage Tales but plenty of scope for making stuff up. It is a stipulation of character creation that the PC's must be friends of/willing to support the Earp's and Doc Holliday. Maintaining law and order in Cochise County is going to be a strong theme and will include conflict with Bayou Vermillion railroad and The Cowboys as well as all the other outlaw gangs detailed in the setting part of the book. Should take the PC's to near top of Veteran.

Then the thing of beauty that is Plot Point 2 (this is the awful bad event Mike wants to see) - 1 session.

This ends Part 1. Part 2 is constrained by the meta plot but hopefully the 30-40 sessions set up for Plot Point 2 will make this change of pace and urgency feel natural.

Reprecussions for a couple of sessions (maybe a PC might want to try to become the Sheriff) then flow straight into Plot Point's 3, 4, 5 and 6. I think the link between the three plot points will need some reworking/rethinking to minimise the contrivances. Should be Heroic by the end. 6-8 sessions.

Then back to Tombstone for a few sessions before Plot Point 7 - 4-5 sessions.

Then a few sessions interspersed with Plot Point 8. They will then dash around trying to keep up with the meta plot. I intend that some of the PC's from Last Sons (notably Doc and Abe) and The Flood will be targeted. The players will enjoy this. The PC's should become Legendary at this time. 10-12 sessions

And finally Plot Point 9. Yet again I think the players will absolutely love the aftermath of the campaign.

Of course it wont end up playing out like this (I can see Part 1 might end up being longer and Part 2 shorter) but if I approach it with this framework in mind then I am confident we will all enjoy it.


Sorry about the length of the post. Hope it helps.
Last edited by Mavis on Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

HawaiiSteveO
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Re: Servitor plot point campaigns - reviews & thoughts . . ?

#4 Postby HawaiiSteveO » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:27 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:Stone & Hard Place - Kind of amazing. In my opinion, the best of the plot points.


Care to expand on that . . ?

Erolat
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Re: Servitor plot point campaigns - reviews & thoughts . . ?

#5 Postby Erolat » Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:33 pm

I don't know what ValhallaGH's opinion on it is but for me the combination of the metaplot and the general story development is spot on.

The players get to interact with several iconic figures/events from our history (the Earps), they get to see exactly what a deadland looks/feels like, and they get two separate opportunities to prevent further deadlands from forming. And that is just the major points.

Several of the Savage Tales include classic horror tropes and just add to the feel that the West really is in trouble if the posse messes up.

The only issue I really have with it is the fact that one plot point sends the group back East and there is not a lot of information on what they may encounter. I plan on having the Indians (one brave, one shaman) get into trouble due to prejudice but beyond that I am not sure what to do.

ValhallaGH
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Re: Servitor plot point campaigns - reviews & thoughts . . ?

#6 Postby ValhallaGH » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:13 pm

HawaiiSteveO wrote:
ValhallaGH wrote:Stone & Hard Place - Kind of amazing. In my opinion, the best of the plot points.

Care to expand on that . . ?

Not really, but here's the summary.
Great meta plot development? Check.
A deeply personal story focused on the player characters and what they do? Check.
Arguably the best villain in the setting (an irredeemable, super powered, serial killer that only targets people making a real difference or who personally offend him)? Check.
An area small enough that you can see most of it without having to use Dr. Jones' red line? Check.
Tying up threads that have dangled since the Devil's Tower trilogy? Check.
"Got a problem? I've got the solution: Rocket Launcher."
"Not against a Servitor."
"... We're all gonna die."


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