Earthfall, S1E6, GM Debrief

Session Recap; Stream

GM confidence: 4.25/5. I could have been a little better prepared, as usual, but it all seemed to turn out more-or-less as I intended, with a caveat or two. I think it probably needed a “little something more,” but I can’t really say what that might have been.

Damien’s Flashback

Damien’s player decided to make his Objective some undefined MacGuffin, which I later regretted, as the other PCs would lack motivation to go so far out of their way to retrieve it. It needed to be defined. Given a MacGuffin has certain technical requirements, I worked backward from the end result—what would the “Resistance” need, and what could Damien reasonably possess to that end, without it being at all “useful” to the PCs? I eventually stumbled across the “photos” idea, which actually fit rather well. And there’s definitely more to the story, to be revealed later.

The Prepper’s Bunker

AKA 10 Cloverfield Lane-plus-PCs. Overall, I liked how it turned out. It took a bit longer than I had expected, but I didn’t mind that. I was happy the PCs didn’t just try to immediately kill Howard, though I was prepared for it. I got some good use out of the “Shane” NPC (stand-in for the movie’s “Emmett”). I do regret not doing some basic prep-work: like figuring out what Michelle actually knows at that moment, and why she wouldn’t just bolt out of the bunker as soon as the door opened. I was fortunate that a PC got inquisitive enough to talk to her, but I didn’t give her potential response enough forethought either—and at this point of the movie, she hadn’t discovered the earring. Off-the-cuff as it all was, I don’t think I could have scripted the end result better, even if I tried.

Ambush at the Reservoir

I wanted to throw a proper set-piece tactical combat at the players. I pulled from How It Ends again—there was a similar vehicle-sandwich ambush, though the protagonists only had a pistol to their defense. I expected some typical PC shenaniganry, and for them to make short work of the bad guys. When it came time, though, I realized it was rather late in the session, and there was no way we could finish a normal tactical combat in time. But then I also realized the PCs had a machine gun, rocket launcher, and grenade launcher. I resigned myself to an abbreviated affair as a result. Ultimately, the players did what they do best, and attacked the problem head-on (almost literally), and I just rolled with it. I’ll just have to find another opportunity.

Other Stuff

  • I’ve been making a conscious effort to get the tag-along NPCs more involved. James has been pretty easy. Shane has been useful up to this point, but now that his “mission” is over, I may need to come up with something else. Robert, on the other hand, has been particularly difficult; I did finally figure out his motivation for being there, but I haven’t fully grasped what to do with it.
  • Alas, the players caught on to my “jurisdiction” gag; now I’m gonna have to get creative to keep it from getting stale. I’ve been trying to work out some others.
  • Afterward, I realize I should have done some basic lookups on Howard’s truck beforehand, just in case
  • Also, I realize I should have actually looked at the “gun room” image more closely before declaring “whatever you see is there”—I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but in an ATE campaign, gear comes and goes.

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