IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

3 Pages V   1 2 3 >  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
> Dealing with failure, GM advice, no motivationals ;)
Sengir
post Mar 25 2011, 04:22 PM
Post #1


Great Dragon
*********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 5,082
Joined: 3-October 09
From: Kohle, Stahl und Bier
Member No.: 17,709



I'm sure other GMs know this problem as well, so maybe somebody else has found a good solution for it...

Assume the standard run, players have met Johnson, done the legwork, created a plan without any serious problems, and now the fun part is about to begin...and then the face's cover is blown at the reception desk, somebody triggers an alert while climbing over the outer perimeter fence, or something like that. A stupid mistake, but realistically it should blow the mission, thereby putting a swift end to what looked like a fun evening so far.
Obviously, that's not the point of playing RPGs. My solution so far has always been to "adjust" rolls if necessary, or skip the dice altogether in favor of storytelling. But that's not really satisfying, either, because a game has to allow failure. And writing a complete plan B for every mission (which remains unused most of the time) just is too time-consuming...besides the fact that an impromptu assault on a corp facility in full lockdown should be suicide.


So, anyone good a good approach how players can screw up completely, but don't ruin the evening?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Leehouse
post Mar 25 2011, 04:31 PM
Post #2


Target
*

Group: Members
Posts: 80
Joined: 4-January 07
Member No.: 10,539



I haven't really run into this(most botched rolls seem to happen in combat where the consequences are a bit more black and white) but I would say if it is really an out and out failure, depending on how bad it is, the new plan could be to escape with minimal loss. If something is botched so badly that the run is a failure, then a strategic retreat, and coming up with a new plan can be great. Potentially even better if the retreat is difficult, but still doable. If it is a one shot deal or time sensitive, and the run fails, then the new goal for the night is dealing with the backlash from the Johnson. At least that is what my lack of real experience in that situation says would work best, but I hate fudging dice rolls unless absolutely necessary.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Ascalaphus
post Mar 25 2011, 04:35 PM
Post #3


Runner
******

Group: Members
Posts: 2,899
Joined: 29-October 09
From: Leiden, the Netherlands
Member No.: 17,814



Well, stuff like this happens in movies all the time. It's a classic plot twist: the Easy Plan goes awry and now people need to improvise or patch up the situation in a hurry to prevent the alarm.

Maybe you could let players use Edge to "cover it up". It shouldn't be cheap, but they pay Edge and come up with a short story of how the situation was salvaged.
* For the Face/Receptionist: before she can ring the alarm, the Face injects her with a sleeping drug and then convinces everyone she fainted and needs to go to the hospital.
* For the perimeter fence: they pull out a mangled squirrel which "clearly triggered the alarm when it killed itself on the electrified fence." Guards stand down the alarm and the mission goes on.

It kind of resembles the Planning Pool idea that was discussed here a while back.

I think I'd go for an Edge price equal to the number of players, but everyone can pitch in. It shouldn't be too cheap after all. Ideally, the guy who paid the most plays a role in the story of how the disaster was averted.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Summerstorm
post Mar 25 2011, 04:38 PM
Post #4


Running Target
***

Group: Members
Posts: 1,000
Joined: 30-May 09
From: Germany
Member No.: 17,225



Well, i am in the OTHER camp, there: Without the possibility of failure, without danger, the game isn't WORTH my time.

The game already has "safeguards" against bad luck in rolls. And shit happens. Being cuddled by my GM andnever to have to fear anything (Ah, no problem he will adjust the difficulty for us and tone the opposition down, and have the security have some serious unexplained holes. And they won't follow up on the signatures/genetical eveidence we leave) is just an insult for me as a player.

That said: i as an gm of COURSe fudge the rolls of the opposition sometimes, if it looks like extreme punishment for nothing. Player fudges his con roll at the frontdesk? Eh, let the guard have a bad day too. (Maybe he is sick or something *g*).

Having the characters fail sometimes is refreshing, even for the story. And also invited consequences making the game richer (loss of face, angry empoyers, inspectors on your tail etc.)
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
James McMurray
post Mar 25 2011, 04:44 PM
Post #5


Great Dragon
*********

Group: Members
Posts: 5,430
Joined: 10-January 05
From: Fort Worth, Texas
Member No.: 6,957



Let them fail. It's just that simple. Let them fail.

One of four things will happen:

1) The run ends, they lose the cash and take a notoriety hit, and they're pissed. The next time they have contingencies and all is well. For the rest of the evening you play out the repercussions of that failure (LS or KE on the way, pissed Johnson, company knows who they are, or what have you). If that's not an option you grap a board game or call it an early night and just hang out.

2) The run ends, they lose the cash and take a notoriety hit, and they're pissed. The next time the same thing happens and you shake your head sadly.

3) They recover, figure out a way around the failure, and a good time is had by all.

4) Something else I haven't thought of.

In any case though, failure is not the end of fun. Sometimes it's just the beginning.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
capt.pantsless
post Mar 25 2011, 07:52 PM
Post #6


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 206
Joined: 9-September 10
From: Minneapolis, MN
Member No.: 19,032



QUOTE (Sengir @ Mar 25 2011, 10:22 AM) *
A stupid mistake, but realistically it should blow the mission, thereby putting a swift end to what looked like a fun evening so far.


Dude, if the players honestly make a significant mistake that blows a mission, that's where the fun BEGINS. You, as the GM, just need to improvise a bit more.

Given your examples, corp. security might send-out a patrol to investigate the tripped alarm at the fence. False alarms happen all the time, and they don't always trigger a full-on alert with re-enforcements. They runner going over the fence now needs to hide, RIGHT FRAGGIN' NOW. And they need to hide really, really well. Suddenly the stealth rolls they'll be making are critical, and everyone around the table is waiting with baited breath to see what happens.

Same kinda thing with the Face. A couple of goons come out to grab the Face, and that player has a choice - keep fast-talking, or try and fight their way out. If the face gets captured and thrown into an on-site holding cell, now the rest of the team needs to rescue them AND get the mission done. But they might not be able to do both. Interesting drama ensues.

In general, if someone blows a roll or makes a major mistake, things get harder, but not impossible. The players get to make the choice of press-on, or bail-out. If they bail-out, there's other consequences. Maybe they can try again in a couple of days, maybe they've hosed their fixer and they'll need to make it up to them.

Mistakes just mean that everyone around the table needs to start thinking more creatively.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Blog
post Mar 25 2011, 08:21 PM
Post #7


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 124
Joined: 23-December 02
Member No.: 3,782



Lets not forget. The face just botched and he knows it, thankfully he has a team and some radio communication! Enter.. THE DISTRACTION! Could be a small explosion, car going uncontrolled through the front door/power poll/fire hydrant.

A triggered perimeter alarm typically is investigated by a drone or something fast first as it will take manpower awhile to get there. False alarms happen all the time after all and if the drone doesn't find anything they may not even come.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
CanRay
post Mar 25 2011, 09:41 PM
Post #8


Immortal Elf
**********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 14,358
Joined: 2-December 07
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Member No.: 14,465



The DUI Con is perfect. Splash a little vodka around the car, a few open beers when the impact happens, and make sure that when you run away, it's not in a straight line.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Saint Sithney
post Mar 25 2011, 10:25 PM
Post #9


Runner
******

Group: Members
Posts: 2,705
Joined: 5-October 09
From: You are in a clearing
Member No.: 17,722



Yeah, sometimes a run goes south and it's no one's fault, but, usually, it is someone's fault. Like James said, someone has generally messed up. An alarm goes off, then what was the hacker doing all during the prep? If the face can't talk past the receptionist, where was the supporting evidence? Where was the edge reroll?

Still, it's possible for things to just fall apart dice-wise, and one of the reasons a GM should have a botch pile for "plots off the rails" ideas. Maybe someone just had a bad series of rolls, spent all their pitifully low edge already and is burning edge just to keep from dying. (that's what a bad run looks like, not one bad roll, but many bad rolls.)

SO...

1) Turns out it was a setup. The team was hired by a third party and never had a chance in the first place. Their capture was inevitable and now they're going to work it off. This is the standard fail response.

2) The enemy backup never arrives. Like number 1, but the team was being used as a distraction, and their distraction was seen though. Johnson informs them that aborting the mission has just become the mission. The old runner-up prize.

3) What does this button do? Uh-oh! Looks like the team's breach of security unleashed Snacky-o the gengineerd corn chip mascot gone wrong! Now all must flee from his hot nacho cannons! You know, the comedy third option where no one gets paid, and consequences are the rule of the day.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
kzt
post Mar 25 2011, 10:36 PM
Post #10


Great Dragon
*********

Group: Members
Posts: 5,537
Joined: 27-August 06
From: Albuquerque NM
Member No.: 9,234



Bad things happen. Sometimes they are set up to happen.

For example, you try the trick where you claim a scheduled meeting with a guy who your research shows is not going to be there, but either he is there or the receptionist knows that he's out. The failed roll means it didn't work, exactly what it means is up to the GM (with commentary from the peanut gallery).

This is the kind of thing that happens, so the players get to do something. Either the player improvises a meeting on advantages to the director of snack supplies of switching from coke to pepsi or convinces the receptionist that he should get in anyhow, or figures out a way to leave or something else, etc.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
nezumi
post Mar 25 2011, 11:50 PM
Post #11


Incertum est quo loco te mors expectet;
*********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 6,546
Joined: 24-October 03
From: DeeCee, U.S.
Member No.: 5,760



Depends on the group. If it's a forgiving group who just wants a fun night away from the hubby, roll with it.

If it's a black ops type game, failure is failure, and now their job is cleaning up the mess.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
noonesshowmonkey
post Mar 26 2011, 12:38 AM
Post #12


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 393
Joined: 2-July 07
Member No.: 12,125



First off, SR4A is really, really forgiving when it comes to failure. Edge is an incredible thing and allows the player to step in and adjust the game when something goes sideways.

Secondly, as other users have noted, a run headed to failure can be a sub-adventure of its own. The moment that things start going badly is a prompt for great improvisation. This demands an enormous amount from a GM, though, as you have to be able to prestidigitate challenges left and right, pulling them out of thin air.

I have had runs that never even make it to the meet. The meet is set to a AA zone or something and characters head in piecemeal - the sammy on his bike, the rigger in his van, the mage takes a cab etc. A few security checkpoints later, I rolled enough net hits to notice that the samurai is in fact a chromed out killing machine and John Q. Law's butt puckers while he radios in for backup. A couple of flying drones set to pursue the samurai in a tear-ass in downtown streets and alleys while the Star converged. The scene ended with the character tased and splayed across the hood of a cruiser while a corrupt LoneStar officer sets up an extortion racket on him. Clearly, it was a bit of deus ex machina - I mean, we got together that night to play together - but I didn't just look the other way when the dice fell where they fell.

Being able to riff like that takes some pretty serious forethought. I have written up summaries of Security Ratings Z through AAA, noting the physical, matrix and astral security measures and the disposition of assets. I have read through Seattle 2072 at least once. I have skimmed Vice. I have been playing for a long time. Even so, I get caught with my pants down a-plenty. Shadowrun is easily one of the hardest games to GM for... It is utterly impossible to plan for all the shinnanigans that will inevitably go down during the course of a run.

Much less plan for what happens in the wake of a failure.

I highly suggest just boning up on the setting, thinking through the basic rules of your own version of the setting (where do cops patrol, what are their response times, do they shoot first and ask questions later, etc.) and, when things start going a little nuts, slow everything down. Take a few minutes to think it all through. Tell your gamers to grab a soda or a smoke so you can gather your thoughts. Then hit em in the face with some crazy Bourne Identity style car-chases.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
CanRay
post Mar 26 2011, 01:43 AM
Post #13


Immortal Elf
**********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 14,358
Joined: 2-December 07
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Member No.: 14,465



For a GM, there is no failure, only more potential to be a complete and total bastard. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/vegm.gif)
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Faraday
post Mar 26 2011, 01:51 AM
Post #14


Running Target
***

Group: Members
Posts: 1,026
Joined: 13-February 10
Member No.: 18,155



QUOTE (CanRay @ Mar 25 2011, 05:43 PM) *
For a GM, there is no failure, only more potential to be a complete and total bastard. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/vegm.gif)

As a player, this is always paramount in my mind.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
CanRay
post Mar 26 2011, 01:57 AM
Post #15


Immortal Elf
**********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 14,358
Joined: 2-December 07
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Member No.: 14,465



*Pouts* Someday I'll be a player...
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
ggodo
post Mar 26 2011, 02:05 AM
Post #16


Moving Target
**

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 963
Joined: 15-February 11
From: Tir Tairngire
Member No.: 21,972



QUOTE (CanRay @ Mar 25 2011, 06:57 PM) *
*Pouts* Someday I'll be a player...

One of these days. . .
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Glyph
post Mar 26 2011, 02:25 AM
Post #17


Great Dragon
*********

Group: Members
Posts: 7,116
Joined: 26-February 02
Member No.: 1,449



I don't see a big problem with the run going bad at some point. If it goes south too soon, then they happen to fail at that particular job, although they might be able to try again if they are not captured or killed.

Otherwise, they merely have to sweat a bit more to pull it off. Keep in mind that there are street samurai and similar characters whose main purpose is to get the group's hoop out of the fire when the run goes bad.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Whipstitch
post Mar 26 2011, 02:40 AM
Post #18


Runner
******

Group: Members
Posts: 2,883
Joined: 16-December 06
Member No.: 10,386



I'm sure I'm not the only GM whose had someone play a Face/Street Samurai based loosely on Winston Wolf because of that very reason.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
CanRay
post Mar 26 2011, 02:48 AM
Post #19


Immortal Elf
**********

Group: Dumpshocked
Posts: 14,358
Joined: 2-December 07
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Member No.: 14,465



"You ain't got no problem. I'm on the motherfragger. Go back in there, chill them Trogs out and wait for The Wolf who should be coming directly."

Got to ask, was he a Wolf Shapechanger?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Whipstitch
post Mar 26 2011, 02:57 AM
Post #20


Runner
******

Group: Members
Posts: 2,883
Joined: 16-December 06
Member No.: 10,386



Nah, he wanted some good all-around 'ware. Middle aged runner with the Common Sense quality and Leadership, Pilot Ground, Gunnery, and Pistols as his major skills. I've seen much tougher samurai builds but he also had a sweet ride with manual controls and the team lacked a rigger, so he was a good match even if he didn't have any drones. Didn't hurt that we went with karma gen.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Red-ROM
post Mar 26 2011, 03:08 AM
Post #21


Shooting Target
****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,756
Joined: 17-January 09
From: Va Beach , CAS
Member No.: 16,787



One of my favorite runs I ever GM'ed,
I had a group come up with 50 or so plans, agonizing over the pro's and cons. Then when they get to the building, and are confronted by the first camera at the back door, The street sam Shoots it out with an un-sound suppressed assault rifle. The alarm bells go off, and the team plays run-and-gun with the security forces while they try to grab the paydata. High octane adventure, without all the sneaking and talking and track covering. good times.

I think it's not a good Shadowrun unless something goes horribly wrong (sorry to the folks reading this from "Post or Die") Sometimes I pull punches if I've laid on the opposition too thick, but it's very rare. I like a team to really use bullets and band-aids. To take damage and change clips, or resort to improvised weapons or improvised plans. Dragging a teammate out of a burnt up van while he unloads his back up pistol into the helicopter pilot that wrecked his ride. If your mage hasn't popped a stim patch, he's probably bored. Your street sam will be tickled pink that he got those platelet factories or pain inhibitors after he's been thrown off a balcony by a grenade blast. Am I right?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Faraday
post Mar 26 2011, 04:26 AM
Post #22


Running Target
***

Group: Members
Posts: 1,026
Joined: 13-February 10
Member No.: 18,155



QUOTE (CanRay @ Mar 25 2011, 05:57 PM) *
*Pouts* Someday I'll be a player...

*isn't actually a player*
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Method
post Mar 26 2011, 07:16 AM
Post #23


Street Doc
*******

Group: Admin
Posts: 3,508
Joined: 2-March 04
From: Neverwhere
Member No.: 6,114



Others have basically covered this idea, but I'll reiterate it: as a GM you have to let the PCs fail. To do otherwise is tantamount to railroading, because in effect the players' actions have no impact on the predetermined course of events. The key is to spend some time thinking about consequences that don't end in a TPK. There are lots of options as others have already discussed. Just get out of the mindset that every botched run has to end the same way (i.e.- perforated runners) and let the chaos ensue.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
TheOOB
post Mar 26 2011, 08:52 AM
Post #24


Running Target
***

Group: Members
Posts: 1,290
Joined: 23-January 07
From: Seattle, USA
Member No.: 10,749



Sometimes runs fail. You should try to give the players another chance, but sometimes bad things happen. That's when you break out the board games. If you don't have board games(or something) ready for when a session runs short, then that might be what needs fixing.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
capt.pantsless
post Mar 26 2011, 01:10 PM
Post #25


Moving Target
**

Group: Members
Posts: 206
Joined: 9-September 10
From: Minneapolis, MN
Member No.: 19,032



QUOTE (TheOOB @ Mar 26 2011, 03:52 AM) *
Sometimes runs fail. You should try to give the players another chance, but sometimes bad things happen. That's when you break out the board games. If you don't have board games(or something) ready for when a session runs short, then that might be what needs fixing.


I usually have some sort of backup-run prepared just in case the runners don't do the initially offered run. Something straightforward and simple, like hijack a semi-truck, or blow-up a bridge. Something that you could play-through in 2 hours, or stretch to 3+ depending on how much time the aborted run took.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

3 Pages V   1 2 3 >
Reply to this topicStart new topic

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 22nd May 2024 - 08:09 PM

Topps, Inc has sole ownership of the names, logo, artwork, marks, photographs, sounds, audio, video and/or any proprietary material used in connection with the game Shadowrun. Topps, Inc has granted permission to the Dumpshock Forums to use such names, logos, artwork, marks and/or any proprietary materials for promotional and informational purposes on its website but does not endorse, and is not affiliated with the Dumpshock Forums in any official capacity whatsoever.