Redacted 3, Part 3, GM Debrief


GM Confidence: 4.5/5. I’d say this session went about as well as I could reasonably expect, especially given the struggle it required to see production.

In Between

As I was processing what the PCs might do in the wake of the last session, I realized I had absolutely no idea what one might do with “the doctor” in a situation like this. There’s no way off the ship. There’s nowhere to hide, really. The best I could come up with was to relocate him to a room the bad guys had already “processed,” hoping they wouldn’t return to re-check. I was prepared to have the wife suggest this, if needed; fortunately, the players arrived at more-or-less the same idea on their own.

Carrying on with the “railroading” I mentioned last time: I knew that what they’d really want is to go after the helicopter (which turned out to be correct). I knew where I wanted to send the PCs. I wasn’t able to come up with a better plan to get them there other than to rely on the players to “play along”—something I normally do not in any way recommend (but this campaign is a particular exception). So, I left a suggestion (via radio) that the helicopter was “unimportant,” and used the NPC, Bob, to leave a clue pointing toward the theater. Weak, but sufficient for them to pick up on the not-so-subtle direction, which, thankfully, they followed.

The Rescue

Especially in the early years, as I have often lamented, attendance problems were the bane of my GM existence. One of the ways I’ve learned to cope is the cunning use of narrative devices that “allow” for a player’s untimely absence within the story. In this case, I announced to the players during the Session Zero that the character of anyone who missed a session would be unceremoniously captured by the enemy as “punishment” (tongue-in-cheek of course).

I have to admit that, naïvely, I didn’t actually think it would happen. But, in this session, it did. So, how to work that into the narrative? I ultimately decided “simple is best”: have the PCs stumble across him in-transit, and he has no memory of how he got into that position. I really wanted the PCs to be taking the elevator down, so I could have the comedic doors-open-surprise-reveal, but I had to settle for second-best. The fight itself wasn’t meant to last long, and it didn’t—a testament to the potential lethality of a “focused” 250CP character group.

Off-screen, Mayhem picked up an Idiot Ball and got knocked on the head, drugged, and dragged off. Once back in play, his “punishment” consisted of the tipsy condition (B428), which I kept forgetting about, and a little “wandering damage.”

The Theater

I’ve been gradually increasing the number of opponents in the set-piece fights, feeling out the right balance. In this instance, though, I wanted to give them the opportunity to reach out from the shadows a bit—a proper Mook Horror Show. I’m also still trying to figure out how to make this “Quick Time” idea work, and this was an ideal spot for it. Unfortunately to that end, due to a combination of miscommunication and impulsiveness, Mayhem’s player “went loud” ahead of schedule, and we went into regular Combat Time instead. The PCs were outnumbered 2:1, but I had expected half of those to be eliminated before combat-proper began. I had another four waiting in the back-rooms in case they were a little too successful at the start—they weren’t needed. Even with their numbers and armaments, they were apparently at a significant disadvantage. That 2:1 fight took around an hour and twenty minutes—not bad, actually.

I finally got a “proper” cliffhanger. The idea came at the last minute, as they often do. But this one is going to lock me into a particular narrative direction for next week. All good.


  • Fantasy Grounds did a big update, which wrecked parts of the GURPS skin, so I had to spend prep-time fixing things; the new 3D-map feature is not something I expect to use, but then I said the same of the animated maps, so we’ll see…
  • I’ve been using BAD (Action2 p.4) more than previous games of mine; it occurred to me that using BAD “Universe Reaction” rolls made sense, so I implemented that here for the first time
  • Wagering was under-used again; it may take some time for folk to get used to the idea—probably just after the last session 😛
  • I realized the day after that I missed an opportunity in not casting Chris Tucker in the “magician” role—that would have been perfect 😛
  • I had lampshaded the “doves” in the first session—a John Woo homage. This won’t be the last time.
  • The boss, and the two mini-bosses have now been (mostly) introduced

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