Redacted 3, Part 2, GM Debrief


GM Confidence: 4.5/5. This session went way better than the last one. There were some rough edges, as usual, but nothing disastrous. Due to the “simplified” nature of this run, there’s actually not a lot to talk about when things go smoothly.

What Went Right

The nature of this campaign means the connecting tissue of the story is less than important. I decided that “railroading,” which I normally take pains to avoid, is a perfectly acceptable motivational mechanism in this case. I used the “radio” to get the PCs to the first fight of the two, and the “doctor” to get them to the next one—a simple, logical progression. And I don’t feel bad about it 😛

Two fights in one session is tricky; a single fight can take up most of a four-hour session sometimes. For one, I had fewer PCs for this session, which would make it a little faster. For two, I intended the first fight to be extra short, so I put the PCs in a position where they could get the jump on the bad guys. As such, I didn’t really plan for a midpoint-twist or anything flashy. It partially worked, though it took a bit longer than I intended. I planned to do it “mapless” but reflexively ended up using one anyway—a mistake that probably dragged things out longer than needed. The second fight was the intended set-piece for the session, but ended a little shorter—which actually worked out. In both cases, that one round of Do Nothing, due to Partial Surprise, was a killer for the bad guys, and could easily have been much worse if they didn’t have Combat Reflexes.

What Went…Weird

The lead-in to the first fight was a little clunky, once again, due to the not-quite combat timing—I really need a better solution for this. I fault myself for not putting in the work (by design) and really thinking through the narrative flow. I was better prepared for the second, at least.

The players surprised me in both cases. I hadn’t considered making a Molotov Cocktail at all—bad GM! I hadn’t expected Shredder’s player to “test the boundaries” by trying to hit all three bad guys at the bar at once, and it resulted in some rules mistakes. (I nailed it down later for future reference: Rapid Strike and Dual-Weapon Attack can not be combined, and Rapid Strike is not allowed for a Move and Attack.) Then there was Shredder’s “Crotch-of-Death” flying-scissors attack at the end, which I had no idea how to adjudicate at that moment. Fortunately, another player was handy with the lookups while I was trying to sort these things out, and came up with some answers I could use. I look forward to creative solutions, though I wish I were better prepared sometimes. That’s GMing.


  • The capture-team at the bar in the first fight should have approached “deceptively,” leaning on their supposed authority with these “random guests,” rather than approaching guns-out—this would have changed the flavor of the situation somewhat
  • I couldn’t quite formulate the words at the time, but: I know the cabins can be “deadlocked” from inside, and I suspect they can be unlocked as such from the outside (would be dangerous otherwise), but being able to lock it from the outside, such that the occupants couldn’t open it from the inside, is highly unlikely IRL—but this is cinematic!
  • Shredder’s slide-door at the cabin should probably have been too heavy to manipulate like that IRL—but this is cinematic!
  • I decided, in the moment, that Shredder’s door “opponent” would use All-Out Attack to kick the door back. It was somewhat logical given he had the door as cover, and needed the extra assurance it would hit. But the use of All-Out has always been a little weird—bad guys should make mistakes, but as a GM who is also a player much of the time, it’s hard to “let go”

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