The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Post your fan creations, streams, off-topic, and the like!
User avatar
akerson
"Flawless" Mastery Member
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 11:41 am
Contact:

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby akerson » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:11 pm

Hey thanks for the feedback wing -- yeah, I agree with you on pretty much all your points. I won't go into the Palash/thieve's guild stuff too much (because I want the players to run the story, not feel like they are missing out on my "plans" -- the best stories are those made together), but they took that in a MUCH different direction I was planning on going with the whole thieve's guild mini-arc. Which may play out more interesting later, depending on how things go -- the most interesting part of that whole arc was actually improvised into my story because I felt like I let them down (and I came up with a better idea than my original plan and it was the perfect time to work it in). It's definitely a learning process for me as a DM, they haven't met a MAJOR character in the story yet (who's not Reese :D), I may be rewriting my story depending on where their interests as a group end up.

Glad you appreciated the ambiance in the gloomy manor. I was a little nervous at doing something that was a lot more descriptive, but what's a better place than a haunted house? I was expecting a bit more role-playing rather than just "i walk in a room, i loot it, I walk into another room" so I had a lot more interactions planned within the rooms themselves, but no one took any of the bait. I actually improvised the third floor layout on the fly (and what is now the attic) because I felt a similar way as you did. I don't want to say much more, but all that buildup WILL be more important later -- just like with every scary thing, if everything is scary than nothing is ;) There was actually a ton of little unsettingly details but no one wanted to jump deeper, maybe because of my DM'ing or because they're used to playing RPG's where you press space to get through all the boring words.

It seems to me like the best parts of the adventure thus far have been the interactions, so we'll likely focus on that a lot more going forward. Like if I had rose/thorn on the bottom floor I think it would have gone better (although there's a reason they weren't...). Looters wanna loot, you know? But I think from a roleplaying perspective, everyone's becoming a lot more comfortable with interacting with the world (and I'm getting better at creating it), so we can only get better from here :D

Mini-story arcs is actually really tough for me because I have a rigid framework of shop heroes persona (who themselves are not that varied) to work with, so I can't come up with off-the-fly adventures without figuring out how it'll affect the bigger picture. I can't just have a maiden in the inn who's crying because her son was stolen by orcs. Which, so far, has been an amazing challenge and I think I'm going to throw everyone for a loop on this wild rollercoaster ride of figuring out what's really going on.

User avatar
Shiroe
"Legendary" Mastery Member
Posts: 2290
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:05 am
Location: the Netherlands
Contact:

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby Shiroe » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:08 am

Have only been reading the forum topic; no time (yet) to watch the videos... :|
akerson wrote:I was expecting a bit more role-playing rather than just "i walk in a room, i loot it, I walk into another room" so I had a lot more interactions planned within the rooms themselves, but no one took any of the bait. I actually improvised the third floor layout on the fly (and what is now the attic) because I felt a similar way as you did. I don't want to say much more, but all that buildup WILL be more important later -- just like with every scary thing, if everything is scary than nothing is ;) There was actually a ton of little unsettingly details but no one wanted to jump deeper, maybe because of my DM'ing or because they're used to playing RPG's where you press space to get through all the boring words.

Well you've got a bunch of people being efficient in their crafting, questing, trading, fusing etc. in Shop Heroes, so some of that efficiency focus is bound to creep into their behaviour in Shop Heroes related RPG-ing, going for the lower risk, more profitable things... ;)
(I'd be bad at it; I'd want to map every centimeter of every location and interrogate every human, rat or other creature and write all the info in a big logbook... ;) *farmed all the gold and wood from every timelimit-less Warcraft I/II/III level*)
as of 2016-09-11: Player level: 44, City: Eolythes, Blueprints: 517, Mastered: 419, Crafted: 78.61K
(except for tier 1 and some tier 2 artifacts mostly running my shop/gearing self sufficient)

User avatar
akerson
"Flawless" Mastery Member
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 11:41 am
Contact:

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby akerson » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:36 am

Yeah I'm not complaining at all, just learning how to best DM this rowdy group. We've done a decent amount of combat, a lot of role-playing, and now some environmental fun. My current goal is to make every "quest" really unique in design and let the main Arc go where the party takes it

User avatar
WingDingo
"Epic" Mastery Member
Posts: 827
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:23 am
Location: USA

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby WingDingo » Wed Apr 12, 2017 4:44 am

akerson wrote:Glad you appreciated the ambiance in the gloomy manor. I was a little nervous at doing something that was a lot more descriptive, but what's a better place than a haunted house? I was expecting a bit more role-playing rather than just "i walk in a room, i loot it, I walk into another room" so I had a lot more interactions planned within the rooms themselves, but no one took any of the bait.
There's a middle ground between, "the players must do 100% of the content exactly how I envisioned it in my mind," and, "if the players don't do things exactly how I planned, the content I have planned is going to be 100% skipped." Some things you can override that you cannot roll to succeed or fail. Even with a critical failure or a critical success, it does not necessarily mean that a plot line is unhinged by a natural 1 or a natural 20.

It could have been any number of things going on in the player's minds, but I picked up that you were repeating descriptor queues about rooms. They could have been directly thinking, "that sounds like a trap, so I am going to avoid it," or the players could have been playing Shop Heroes on their phones and weren't paying attention.

If you have 10 traps planned, and the players deliberately or accidentally avoid all of the traps, it's completely up to you if you want to let them get away with it and also never tell them or give any indication that the traps were there in the first place. But then you also don't want to run into the situation where every time they open a book or look at a picture, a latch opens on their head and a slime falls out (to discourage them to do anything).

Suppose you had a whole hypothetical scenario planned out where the players were supposed to recruit the Rat King instead of killing the Rat King. You could have the Rat Princess approach the players with a different first impression to see if they handle it differently. "My father the Rat King was cursed by a Wizard. I have bear the responsibility of his legacy and seek vengeance against the Wizard." If the players kill the Rat Princess too, then they're clearly not interested in recruiting an NPC, and maybe you just let it go. Or you can have an NPC explain a noteworthy bit of news that the Rat Princess was slain due to overwhelming forces by the Wizard. Or was sent to jail. Or is now hoarding magical objects in the Sewers. Or something.

User avatar
akerson
"Flawless" Mastery Member
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 11:41 am
Contact:

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby akerson » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:37 am

WingDingo wrote:
akerson wrote:Glad you appreciated the ambiance in the gloomy manor. I was a little nervous at doing something that was a lot more descriptive, but what's a better place than a haunted house? I was expecting a bit more role-playing rather than just "i walk in a room, i loot it, I walk into another room" so I had a lot more interactions planned within the rooms themselves, but no one took any of the bait.
There's a middle ground between, "the players must do 100% of the content exactly how I envisioned it in my mind," and, "if the players don't do things exactly how I planned, the content I have planned is going to be 100% skipped." Some things you can override that you cannot roll to succeed or fail. Even with a critical failure or a critical success, it does not necessarily mean that a plot line is unhinged by a natural 1 or a natural 20.

It could have been any number of things going on in the player's minds, but I picked up that you were repeating descriptor queues about rooms. They could have been directly thinking, "that sounds like a trap, so I am going to avoid it," or the players could have been playing Shop Heroes on their phones and weren't paying attention.

If you have 10 traps planned, and the players deliberately or accidentally avoid all of the traps, it's completely up to you if you want to let them get away with it and also never tell them or give any indication that the traps were there in the first place. But then you also don't want to run into the situation where every time they open a book or look at a picture, a latch opens on their head and a slime falls out (to discourage them to do anything).

Suppose you had a whole hypothetical scenario planned out where the players were supposed to recruit the Rat King instead of killing the Rat King. You could have the Rat Princess approach the players with a different first impression to see if they handle it differently. "My father the Rat King was cursed by a Wizard. I have bear the responsibility of his legacy and seek vengeance against the Wizard." If the players kill the Rat Princess too, then they're clearly not interested in recruiting an NPC, and maybe you just let it go. Or you can have an NPC explain a noteworthy bit of news that the Rat Princess was slain due to overwhelming forces by the Wizard. Or was sent to jail. Or is now hoarding magical objects in the Sewers. Or something.


They didn't skip anything of significance (say for example the chest that they assumed was a trap -- it's not like I had a story arc planned for it), but honestly I didn't have a reason to railroad them into what they chose wasn't important. A similar thing happened in ep2 where they completely ignored the fire -- it would have been a cool interaction that happened, but I totally get why they felt it wasn't important at the time.

I don't really like traps. Traps usually are a nuisance that cause players to be overly cautious from there on out, which just makes the experience worse. Traps are okay if they have an expected reason to be there (say there is a treasure, and a trap in front of it), but if you just put a trap in a hallway from there on out they'll be worried there's more -- and in terms of story, they don't progress anything in the former case.

And yeah don't worry, I'm very flexible in my story. There's nothing in the story that NEEDS to happen that won't happen regardless of the circumstance. Short of just murdering people randomly, the story will go on. Whether the players trust or distrust Markus, and whether they're truthful or lie about that trust to him all won't throw me for a loop. The story is built with character intentions, motives, and goals in mind, not a plot, so every (major) NPC is super flexible in how they're going to handle a situation presented to them and I roughly know how each of them will handle whatever they encounter.

User avatar
WingDingo
"Epic" Mastery Member
Posts: 827
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:23 am
Location: USA

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby WingDingo » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:09 am

akerson wrote:Short of just murdering people randomly, the story will go on.
From experience, I strongly urge you to have a contingency for this. No matter how clearly you instruct your players to, "interrogate," or "escort," or, "talk to," or, "steal from," it somehow just happens that it's a whole lot less complicated to just kill someone and move to the next town.

"I need a new sword." "An upgrade will cost 5000 gold." "I can just kill the shopkeeper and pay 0 gold." "Well, I did describe him as an old frail man due for retirement. He sees you eyeing his swords. He straightens his back and you hear his bones crack as he stretches. He has been slouching this whole time. He accidentally tears the fabric of his shirt to reveal that he is actually totally ripped and covered in tattoos. He lights a pipe and starts recounting his tours in several wars as a battle mage. He explains he had to leave retirement to shop keeping to pay for his grandkid's college."

"You find the child with the enchanted necklace. You have been instructed to retrieve only the necklace, and the child will need protection while navigating out of the volcano." "I take the necklace and leave the child." "You take the necklace from the child. You walk away. The further you get, the more you feel the necklace burning in your hand. It starts to spark, and it jolts in a bolt back to the child. You drop the necklace." "I kill the child." "Your alignment is now evil for one. Secondly, as you attempt to make your attack, the pendant flashes back around the child and creates an bubble."

Maybe I was just playing Dungeons and Dragons with some terrible people. :(

User avatar
Abqu
"Epic" Mastery Member
Posts: 934
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:39 pm

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby Abqu » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:23 am

Akerson set the ground rules early on, and murder was explicitly outlawed. It's not interesting if we systematically murder every named character in the SH universe, because the campaign ends.

Akerson wants to weave a web and have us tug at threads, and I think as players we have no interest in murder for metagame reasons.

Also re: episode four, I have detailed notes of the "decor" of each of the rooms but by the time I was referencing back and forth between locations and details the party was doing something different in that room or had moved out. Maybe I need to stop taking detailed notes and be more in the moment? Frodo is the only one with tabletop experience and I feel like the rest of us are trying to learn the difference between environmental flavor and a breadcrumb or signpost, if that makes sense.

User avatar
akerson
"Flawless" Mastery Member
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 11:41 am
Contact:

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby akerson » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:07 am

Abqu wrote:Akerson set the ground rules early on, and murder was explicitly outlawed. It's not interesting if we systematically murder every named character in the SH universe, because the campaign ends.


Basically this. It was pretty much my only rule -- your character should believably have a reason for doing their actions. Most people don't just go around murdering people they have a disagreement with, or they suspect is bad. I'll challenge people on character motives for doing stuff too, and I actively encourage my players to look through their characters frame of reference rather than their own, or trying to "meta game" it.

For example, Katie's character is really naive and spontaneous because she's out to explore the world and figure out her impact in it and a lot of her decisions are really based on that. We've had a bunch of talks about what her character is thinking and why Alora did stuff she did (like open the trap at the beginning of episode 2) and I think it was absolutely awesome. Abqu's character is rather reserved and cautious, preferring to talk out issues and entertain. I even recently challenge him on something he wanted to do, saying it wasn't something his character would do, and the end result was better. Frodo's character is mischievous and self-centered, and he often does things (good in nature) but very center-focused. It's these subtle things that people may or may not pick up on (depending on how much emphasis you put on roleplaying vs metagaming) but I think they're amazing.

User avatar
WingDingo
"Epic" Mastery Member
Posts: 827
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:23 am
Location: USA

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby WingDingo » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:21 am

It somehow never occurred to me to set ground rules. The other obnoxious thing the players loved to do was, "steal things from other players while they were sleeping." We were literally 12. What can you do.

User avatar
akerson
"Flawless" Mastery Member
Posts: 366
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 11:41 am
Contact:

Re: The AkerTales: A Journey through Aragonia

Postby akerson » Fri Apr 14, 2017 8:23 am

hey guys! we now have a THIRD listening option for those who want a more "genuine" experience! When we started out, my end-goal was to actually produce this in a podcast format, where we could do some post-broadcast audio editing and develop a bit more polished 'final product' than the twitch stream.

So lucky for you, we are now listed on iTunes!
iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-akertales/id1226990293
Direct RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/akertales (you can just visit this to listen too!)

Over the next week I'll be working on adding us to some other popular podcast services (like stitchr).

So to sum it up --
Listen on Twitch if...
-You happen to be around when we're recording
-You want to directly interact with the stream
-You really like looking at my face

Listen on Youtube if...
-You missed the stream, but can't wait for the podcast
-You really want to see twitch chat/my face

Listen on iTunes if...
-You want the 'polished' version of our show (which cuts out the breaks, disconnects, awkward silences, etc)
-You want to hear all the editing work Abqu and I have put into it
-You want to save bandwidth because you don't care about video

Thanks for your all your support, it means the world! As always, feel free to leave comments, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how we can make it better!

Thanks <3 Akerson


Return to “Community Tavern”



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

©2015 Cloudcade, Inc. All Rights Reserved.