Feedback: Scouting Mission - Weirdling tower

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Nomine
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Feedback: Scouting Mission - Weirdling tower

#1 Post by Nomine » Sun Aug 09, 2020 10:23 am

Please give feedback on the Weirdling tower scouting mission (looking for other survivors from Captain Blackwalls ship, the Nightingale. Prisoners/slaves that had been sold to the ogres for use in the weirdling tower)

This was a mission very much depending on the location itself, rather than NPCs. And therefor also fairly streamlined/railroaded until one reached the tower.

What worked?
What did not work?

Especially looking at use of location
Pacing,
Use of NPCs,
Time-twisting (and the idea that time passed much slower inside than outside was one that came out organically during the event)

Eritis
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Re: Feedback: Scouting Mission - Weirdling tower

#2 Post by Eritis » Sun Aug 09, 2020 11:11 am

My experiences with this event are mixed but the good ones still outshine the bad.
Not to say I didn't enjoy it -I greatly did!- there were just moments that left a bad taste or became a bit too much for me to stretch my disbelief.
I'll start with the bad so we can end on the good, I'd much rather do that considering there is also more good than bad!
The bad may seem bigger but thats mostly because its better for me to go indepth in to what was bad since that could use polishing, right?
Apologies for if it is rambly and doesn't make much sense, I am running on like two hours of sleep at the time of writing this.

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The negative feedback
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This is something I expressed during the event ICly and it's also something I felt OOCly: Why was Violet along for the ride?
Nothing against the character or player but considering it was supposed to be a stealthy scouting mission, it was kind of weird to see a mage who was literally wearing perfume there.
Saw that the argument of the heat stones was used but those could have easily been handed over beforehand.
I am not one to gatekeep fun but there is no reason to bring a fish to a tree climbing competition, if you know what I mean.

The concept of the event and the time effects will be put under the positive feedback but I'm going to take the time to talk about how things were handled with the time passing.
It is safe to say that the event lasted ICly for about... eight to ten hours.
At the end, it was fudged to have the event be started earlier than it actually did to make up for outside people becoming involved.
While I don't mind the occasional fudging here and there, this was a little bit too much for me to really see as sensible.
However.
That does not come close to how I felt about the tower itself.
The tower was described as draining magic from it's surrounding area and it was mentioned and shown that it was affecting Violet in a negative way.
So... if she were to already be affected by it in a few minutes of staying close to it, how would she possibly be able to handle eight to ten hours of constant drainage and STILL have the energy to make a portal, let alone walk? Saw something of a potion being used but it was already stretch to see her as being conscious at this point.

Then we get to the portal. The Deus Ex Machina of WoW Roleplay. And in this case, a very big example of a Deus Ex Machina.
Eritis got forced to stay behind because he can not leave Rosy behind so the use of a portal to have the others get out kind of lead to that happening.
As I said in the above section, I already saw it as being incredibly unlikely and unlogical that the portal could even be made to begin with but that's another story.
Portals are something that should be used incredibly sparingly and when they are used, they should have a high cost associated with it.
Because if we can just put down a portal all willy nilly, it entirely invalidates the point of us having to be careful and making sure to not get caught.

The child... I will be honest.
I see no reason for the child to even have been rescued nor any way that it should have survived with the roll I saw from Irenya when she was stabilizing it (Atleast I think that is what was happening, I wasn't there for most of the aftermath)
Of course, I have no idea if this is supposed to be the start for another story plot or something but I just found it quite odd and it also turned what was supposed to be a scouting mission in to a rescue mission of a possibly dangerous time bomb.

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The positive feedback
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The concept of the event was wonderful to me in many ways.
A small group scale stealth mission was the concept we were given at first that eventually turned in to timewarped hi jinx.
Getting over to the tower was a fun experience and around the tower was also quite enjoyable.

Nomine, wonderful GMing like always.
I love the touch of you having the ogre guards actually do more than just be stiff NPCs and have them fluff around as they waited, gave it all a lot more personality and gave me something to focus on to prevent myself from phasing out during the slower parts.
Your events are always enjoyable and I love how you manage to find the perfect balance of how many times we need to roll.
Kudos to you!

Lots of love and thumbs ups to the other people who I had the pleasure of spending the evening with!
I enjoyed seeing how all of you reacted to things, how we all interacted with each other and just lots of fun to be had in general.
Especially good to be able to see Tikal take part in more events again, always love seeing that crazy old cat!

The location of Frostfire Ridge is one I have always loved, snow just gets to me.
And I remember some time ago that I was taken on a field trip by Nomine when he was showing me something I asked about if anyone knew of such places.
During that trip, he also showed me the tower.
So I have to admit I let out a laugh and smiled when I finally saw it being used for something.
Good job, Nomine, you found something!

Even though I have spoken about finding it weird how the timescale was handled, I absolutely love aftermath RP for events.
Of course, Eritis was unable to take part so I went on Anomen to see how things went.
Just there being time for people to register things, interactions between people who weren't there so they are able to have a part as well and the possibility of connections being made or strengthened?
Always fun!

And this may be a personal thing but I loved how at the start of it, Nomine just went off to a cave and later on mentioned being busy with cave-business.
Do we all agree he was in there to take a ten hour leak because of him becoming older? No? Just me? Shame.

The fact that I wasn't reprimanded (yet) for having Eritis stay behind.
Of course, my character is now stuck in the middle of a frozen wasteland, in the middle of enemy territory, with no supplies and having to take care of a severely exhausted hippogryph that can't recover much because of the earlier conditions.
...Did anyone take life insurance out on him, cause if so... you were a smart person.
But in all seriousness, it was impossible for Eritis to get Rosy through the portal in her state AND Violet's state as she was holding the portal up.
So I am grateful that none of the druids forced him to go through.

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And now I just wish to say thank you to Nomine and the other people at the event.
While I may have gone a bit much with my negative feedback, I wish to be honest and give it without any real filter as to help out with future plans.
I greatly enjoyed the event and I'm looking forward to seeing how things go from here onward!!!

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Re: Feedback: Scouting Mission - Weirdling tower

#3 Post by Nomine » Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:15 pm

A few comments from the GM side.

I think we need to separate the idea of a sneaky scouting mission from the game mechanics of characters that can stealth. From a guild perspective that is, this is not the same as there should not be missions that focuses on using the stealth mechanic. When we got one of those we should communicate 100% that it is such stealthier-only mission. For anything else, we assume that all can join, but the mission focuses on a stealthy approach, the latter being what I think is most appropriate here and stealth actions was taken by all characters.

When it comes to the healing or well saving the kids life, it was a “Risky” situation, so a roll over 20 was required, 26% manages that nicely. I should have given a -5 modifier due to the unusual situation, but I did not call that out and regardless the kid would have been saved.

So, then we look at the idea of Portals as a whole. Travel time is one of the most challenging things to tackle in terms of RP. As it changes the way the game is played as whole.
In this case, it was not a Deus Ex Machina - you got the kid out safely, the guards was not aware that you had gotten him out (which was the main thing), which left us with either RPing moving back to safe grounds, which you had all the tools required to do so (healer, heating stones, experienced characters (Which btw is why there was no rolls for traveling in the land scape, winter or even sneaking past the distracted guards - you all know your shit :) )


So here the portal (which is how its most often used) came in as a convenience item, it opened up for easier involvement of more character, despite the time-challenge. But it did not change the event or solve something you otherwise would not have had an straight forward way to tackle. It meant we did not spend an another hour on traveling back RP.
So yes, big magic is tricky, portals is big magic, travel is tricky and far to often travel is something we conveniently forget/fudge. Travel and the way travel/use of things are something we should think more about. But for us to do so, I would lean towards a principle of all character have a 1 pt luck: E.g one important item or connection you can have and pull out at a key moment. “Oh I forgot, but I had a 10 m rope with me”
And 1-5 MP where basic spells can be used many times, but heavy spells take longer.
And with all that, we should also have hit points.

In this event, the mechanics in use was:
There was RP on preparing for throwing the spell and specifically use of stabilizing stones (which gave a +5 on her roll) which was for a “Desperate situation” e.g. the highest difficulty in this setting, I had decided the tower would give a -5 any use of magic, but that got canceled out by the +5.

One key thing which was never said out - I did not plan for the time shift, that came up as Tikal mentioned it, and brought it into play and I adjusted accordingly, it was a nice idea and fun to use.
So, that also means that when people entered the tower for a second time, I whispered to Lady Violet that she where to decide how much time passed the second time around. It’s a time-warped tower, so there is no guarantee that time will behave the same way each time. Much like time behaved differently for people inside it the 2nd time around, than for Tikal. Or for the kid you pulled out.

First time in the tower was said 1-2 hours, second time was not communicated. If I had been asked, I would have suggested another 1-2 hours second time around too.

I got a mechanic in place for what happens for people who spend to time inside - and I am very happy that people reacted without me having to pull out the heavy hammer of dice rolls. Tells me that people play well on what is described and make me happy :)

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Re: Feedback: Scouting Mission - Weirdling tower

#4 Post by Nomine » Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:53 pm

Half note for myself.

What if players (Not NPCs) had one fate/luck roll per event. Which could be used to cancel a bad roll or not having to make one roll.
So a heal, or one attack, one dodge, etc would be successful and with that give a character a moment to shine.

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Re: Feedback: Scouting Mission - Weirdling tower

#5 Post by Violet » Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:19 pm

So after reading the feedback that stands so far, I was sorta unsure of what to say, which is why I have taken a day to consider what I think and feel in order to not act out of a rush of emotion. Yet I do feel obligated to give feedback to an event that I have attended. And in good tradition, I shall start with the cons.

The Cons

I do have to agree, that I felt a little weird to attend this event with Vi. As a very skilled mage she does have the ability to shroud herself in illusions, yet I felt that it was more of a "sneaky dudes" mission. I honestly thought I would just stop by, see if there is anything magical to sense and to share the warmth spells so nobody freezes to a not so glorious death. Which is why I asked rather early if they want her to retreat - and part of me wished somebody would have agreed. Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed this event a lot, but I felt as if Violet not being able to melt into the shadows was more of a burden to the whole group. This also made me wish I bailed out in the very beginning - but I did not. I have signed in on the event and I tend to keep my promises. I didn't want anybody to be disappointed or angry at me for signing up and then not coming along - yes this is totally an ooc issue of mine, rooting in very bad and hurtful experiences in the past and I will work on that to the best of my personal, individual abilities. So far this is the only true con I have to the event as a whole - because I do think that including the time magic into it so spontaneously is really great and creative and added a really neat twist to everything. It also made the tower much more threatening - which I liked.

Now I also feel obligated to address the critique taken to my character. Me deleting and rewriting my entire flag for every singular event that I attend is something that will not happen. Ever. For the future I would kindly ask to address me directly if there are questions about my character about things like scent/clothing etc. instead of just coming to conclusions that might not reflect the reality. It would just be something I would appreciate a lot in situations like that, where it is somewhat important. I could have countered - which I did not, which was also wrong from my side and I do apologize for that. I do give my character the credit to be smart enough to not go perfumed like a cathouse on a sneaky mission after attending countless wars and therefore countless missions in the field.
I also do give my character the benefit of being able to conjure even some of the more complex spells - given that she is a trained Kirin Tor, not a novice anymore. I built this character over the past 11.5 years and I try to always play her reasonably. A mage in itself is a powerful character yet it should not son-goku it's way through rp. I do like to think I'm doing decently.

The portal I do not see as a Deus Ex Machina - this would have meant that the guards would have noticed the group escaping and therefore the portal would have been a super huge advantage for a quick and somewhat safe escape. In all honesty: I did expect the guards to notice the group, which is why I brought up the portal in the first place - especially because I felt like this is the only significant use my character could have had in this very situation. She could not go in - because I reckon from what was described about the tower, that in there she would have fainted and burdened the group immensely. I was given the chance to decide for myself how much time has passed - I decided to go with around an hour, which seemed reasonable for my character to withstand the for her very uncomfortable and to an extent even painful pull of the tower. She took a risk with the Portal - which is why she used the time to prepare it as best as possible - and she succeeded. I rolled high enough - thankfully - yet I may as well have rolled a 5 and failed, which would have had huge consequences for my character, given the location. Sometimes you just have to gamble. For the rest, I also go completely conform with what Nomine has already said.

Now to the more pleasurable parts.

The Pros:

I hugely enjoyed the event. I liked the pacing of the travel to the tower, as well as the way it was addressed. I liked that I was given hints about certain things and the effect it has on its surroundings as well as the ability to react to it accordingly. I liked that it brought out the cons of playing a character that relies on magic and limiting its field of action in such a way. I also really liked that we have been able to save the child - which I didn't think we could pull off in the beginning - I'm really looking forward to what is to come in the future from that.
Also I enjoyed how the time magic itself was addressed. I thought it was described and handled very well, showing excellently how differently it can affect different individuals and how "uneven" this specific field of magic is and what makes it so dangerous.
All in all I personally think that the event, as well as everybody who attended, did a bloody fine job and it was very fun and enjoyable - I can not say I'm sad that I have attended, yet I will consider my participation more carefully in the future - sorry again.

Last but not least the topic of the faith roll. I'm not necessarily completely against it, since it can literally be a lifesaver in some situations. Yet I am scared that it may be too overpowered. Maybe just assign faith rolls to 1-2 people at the beginning - maybe by rolling it out? I don't know. In general, I think it's a good idea, especially since we have many skilled people here and sometimes it doesn't make much sense for people like that to go full doofus mode in a situation that they should be able to handle perfectly well.
Maybe giving them a power bonus to certain rolls would be another option. So instead of 1-100 you roll, depending on your character's strength/experience in a situation like that, 1-125/150/200. It's something I have seen several times in the past and it worked out rather well in my personal opinion.

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Re: Feedback: Scouting Mission - Weirdling tower

#6 Post by Nomine » Mon Aug 10, 2020 1:30 pm

A quick comment on why the guards did not notice the portal:
Angles - its all about the angles. They where focused on the magical source itself, so their backs was turned, the kids voice was still in the tower, despite the kid being out of it. So even if the guards had turned, it was unlikely that they would have seen the portal. Then the scream came from the tower itself. So good smart positioning of the players, which also benefitted the group in terms of dropbears.

And orges are (well the one headed variant) tends not to be all that magically sensitive - even more so when they are guarding a location like this. If they had been, it would have been a weakness.

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Re: Feedback: Scouting Mission - Weirdling tower

#7 Post by Anadelonbrin » Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:41 pm

Location
Any use of an area from Warlords of Draenor has certain complications. The biggest one is that the place looks completely different in present time so lore-wise, travel-wise, lots-of-stuff-wise, it’s always going to force some kind of fudge. I don’t mind that too much if there is a good enough reason to use a WoD area, but it is something to consider while using it. Personally, I only played at the very end of the expansion, so I don’t have flying there, only some of the flight paths and no feel for the area. While that means it takes me a lot longer to move from A to B there, it also has the upside of not knowing what to expect. I had never been to the tower and it was as much a surprise to the player as to the character when the phasing happened. That helped with the immersion.

As ever, I am a WYSIWYG fan, so when what I see on my screen matches what I’m supposed to see IC, I’m a happy camper.

Pacing
In some events, it’s been rather unclear where we’re going. Having the raid markers gave us the direction needed to focus on the RP rather than having to ask OOC where to go. One thing I liked in particular was that it wasn’t “get to the raid marker and something will always happen”. Maybe something would happen, maybe it wouldn’t.

It felt like a good balance between travel, discussion and action. If the travel part is too long, there’s not enough room for the action, but if there’s not enough travel, the event may feel like it lacks context or at the very least not very immersive. The use of a portal to get out allowed for some aftermath RP where others could opt in (or show up, check it out and then go do something else while still being in the loop to some degree), something which has been brought up as a deficiency in previous events. It let me log off with a sense of closure to the event rather than “everyone’s too tired, we’ll just cut it here and discuss the rest of what happened OOC”.

Clearly, portals are not everyone’s cup of tea. I’ve often been a stickler for realism and immersion and put emphasis on power levels etc, but like it or not, portals are a thing in the game world. Mages make them. We had a mage. As a druid, my character makes frequent use of the Emerald Dreamway. I put some limits to that, such as more often going to the portal sites rather than just Dreamwalking straight there due to the cost of using magic, but there’s really nothing that says I have to do that. In this case, I felt that while a portal is a powerful and costly tool, it served a purpose. It gave us time for that aftermath.

Another thing about the pace of this event was the size and nature of the group. Since we were not a throng of people and had a clear goal for what we wanted to do, it didn’t get that “herding cats” feeling that often frustrates me in large group events. If we’d had a larger group, chances are that either the event would have dragged out much longer or we would have had to entirely leave out the rescue part.

Use of NPCs
I liked the unpredictable movement of the elementals and the frozen bodies. It kept us on our toes.

I also enjoyed getting a feel for the guards. They didn’t like being there. They came off more human than monster, a relatability that certainly raised their life expectancy. Their focus on the magic made our job easier, but they were still a threat we had to consider.


Time
The time suspension had a really strong visual to me. I can close my eyes and see the scene playing out, the strange feeling of moving through a scene where everyone else is immobile, that realization when noticing that they were still moving but in ultra slow-motion, the sense of panic when making the connection that it is not them speeding up, but me slowing down.

Messing with time is always a very tricky subject. I think it was well done and I really liked that the side effects for the kid a.k.a. Toby Girdle when he came out of the time magic were physical, not magical. It made sense (as much as anything that messes with time makes sense) that his different organs would be out of pace with each other.

Over all
All in all, I really enjoyed the event and it felt different from previous things rather than being “just another mission”. I liked that it was not at all combat oriented, but still a serious and suspenseful event.

That orcs ended up dead in the aftermath of Ana going back for Eritis has consequences in itself, but that was not part of the actual event.

I also liked the open ended finish. We now have a kid. What do we do with him? What responsibility does Ana have for him from now on? We now know that there are about 15 humans trapped in that tower. Do we risk ourselves for these strangers? Who? When? How? What is our reason for saving them or not doing so? It leaves room for pursuing the story further if people want to, giving a chance for bureaucracy focused RP if people are into that, small time detective work if people want to look for Toby’s potential mum etc. But it doesn’t force us into it if people would rather not. A true opt in situation. Me like.

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