Actual Play – Secret Mystery Game (10/19/2014)

torchbearer-rpgGM: Luke Crane
Players: Matt Glover, Shaun Hayworth, Matt Troedson, and Sean Nittner
System: Torchbearer-ish (USCMC)

Edit (1/6/2015): Now that is been released. The game we were playtesting was the US Colonial Marine Corpse 

Recorded for posterity sake. Luke playtested a new game with us at Big Bad Con that was fucking awesome. We can’t say anything about it so instead I’ll talk about the people.

Shaun brain vs. Luke brain. We had a conflict that lasted three rounds (9 actions) and Luke and Shaun (the conflict captain) scripted the identical action NINE TIMES! I’ve never seen it before. And there were some pretty furious debating on our side to come to it. What the hell could Luke be thinking? What cues in the fiction would he take to spin off of? Note, it’s not exactly good strategy to script identical to your opponent. Feint for instance (which was scripted) really tips the scales if you can manage to get it against a Defend or against you if your opponent scripts Attack. It’s just remarkable to me that we scripted identically!

I know Luke runs games for pretty diverse groups (like say, a bunch of the staff at Kickstater) so I’ve been curious about his GMing style for a while. What does he do to engage new players? How does he teach the rules? Does he use funny voices for his NPCs? Here’s what I found in the session we played. Luke’s style is pretty conventional. He doesn’t jump up on the table and shout at his players or use multimedia slideshow presentations during game. What shines is his experience and comfort with the system. He’s got reflexive knowledge not just of the rules but of how to employ them. For instance when should you call for a test or a conflict, what skill and obstacle for a challenge, how to best pick compromise results. etc. He’s also a high energy, enthusiastic GM. He was excited about the game, and excited about showing it to us.

Matts and S[h,e]a[u,-]ns. It was pretty cool getting to game with these guys. We’re all Torchbearer and BW fans and most of us have played together before. Our characters weren’t at each other’s throats but there was some fun friction when I told Shaun to do a stupid, stupid thing and he, with all respect, told me just how stupid it was. Good times!

I learned something that I didn’t pick up from the text of Torchbearer. You don’t share your goals with the group (or the GM) until the end of the session. There is a mention to this on page 107 under the New Goals header but I hadn’t picked up on it before, “At the end of the session, you’ll review your Goal.”

Thoughts on the game

It will probably still be a while before any news about this game isn’t NDA but here’s four happy dudes playing it!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *