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Andrew Glasscock
Works at Dataium
Attended Middle Tennessee State University
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Andrew Glasscock

General TBZ  - 
 
Two part post - one half con prep, one half scenario-building.

So, I'm trying to gather my bearings to try and run TBZ at an upcoming con. (Anime Weekend Atlanta, anyone?) I started throwing scenario ideas at the wall trying to find something that stuck, and ended up putting an entire page of intro flavor text down. Apparently all my Tenra ideas start out sounding like a Tom Clancy novel and have something to do with Northern Court espionage.

1) We've had con prep discussions on here before. If you've played at a con (or in general) with a fresh set of new players, how much pre-prep did you do? Did you bring a heavily regimented and thorough scenario, complete with PC roles already defined? Did you just jot down some ideas/plot hooks and improvise?

2) What do your scenario ideas usually revolve around? I think my gritty wetworks ideas all stem from the spy novels and detective fiction I read in college, haha. Where do you draw your inspiration for Tenra's unique setting? (Besides the wonderful list of sources cited in the rulebook!) 
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Andy Hauge's profile photoMike Pureka's profile photoShinichi Asakura's profile photoChris Czerniak's profile photo
10 comments
 
I've ran Lotus Blossom's Bridal Path twice and it worked really well. When I created my own scenario I had about half a page of write up, pages marked in the book and a basic idea of what I wanted to happen in each Act. 
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Andrew Glasscock

General TBZ  - 
 
Question on assigning stats to NPC enemies, particularly bosses but also mid-stage enemies. :) 

I'm running a game with 6 players, and I built a boss NPC according to the suggested bonuses and additional stat points. I felt like it was a little puny for a boss and added 30 extra Vitality based on some of my stronger PCs' attack power, bringing it to 125. (I actually added a full round's worth of summed maximum damage each character could do and it came out to about 230, but that seemed too high.) Even with all this, the players felt it was a bit too easy and asked for something harder next time. 

(Side note: They all fought this boss together, and they really wanted to force the entire cast together in Act 1 so they I don't feel like they've had a real taste of combat alone. I'm about to separate them so they can discover how hard it is when the strength of an entire party isn't behind them...I have only just begun to GM scheme, mwahaha.) 

So I guess my question is - does anyone have any techniques they use to script up MASSIVE bosses and powerful mid-Act enemies?  Special house rules and personal preferences? I have an idea as to how I'll start beefing enemy encounters up in our next session, but I'd like to hear what other GMs are doing. 
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Matías Nicolás Caruso's profile photoChris Chinn's profile photoJason Miller's profile photoQuinn Murphy's profile photo
5 comments
 
following up on what people are saying, it's important to note is that melee is winner take all, so a monster with high melee is going to be really dangerous. Players can't score damage if they can't beat the NPC's roll, so  even with no monster/NPC with Vitality over 30 I managed to almost kill a few players just by having high skill/high dice pools.

bigger npcs need evasion so they can't be sliced by certain player powers.

I have a technique that +Chris Chinn alluded to that I refer to as Breakpoints --they are skill or kiai based powers that tweak the game in some way. It's a little too long for a comment but I'll post when I put it on my blog.

Another way to think about NPCs in TBZ is that they are really there to make characters spend kiai.  If your characters need to spend kiai to beat them, then the NPC is doing its job.  Kiai will force characters to change fate, therefore changing their character, thereby changing the story.

Easiest way to make monsters threats is to raise dice, then skill. a 20 dice, 3 skill NPC is pretty tough.  most Act 1 characters can't touch it in a fight. Even having that, one good roll with 10 dice and 3 skill can be a challenge for characters.
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Andrew Glasscock

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Rainy friday afternoon jams. Achieve great chillaxation in all things righteous, man.
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Shiki rollers! Had to dig these up for myself today for a game, so to save others the trouble: 

+Dan Strokirk's Shiki Roller web app: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1741798/tenra-shiki-calculator/main.html

+Michał Dobija's Tenra Toolkit/Shiki Roller desktop app: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/32751638/Shiki%20Roller.7z
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Tried my first playthrough tonight with two player characters using the Crumbling Days premade scenario. I'm the only one in the group with a rulebook and it was actually everyone's first real practical exposure to the game. Phew -- my brain hurts. 

The first 4 scenes seemed like they were on autopilot. My guess is because everything is scripted, so it's not a big surprise. 

From what I gathered from the rules on Investigations and seeing how scene dynamics actually work now, am I correct in thinking that a vague opening scene(s) could be established for a custom game, and then players add the details after the facts of the opening indecent in Investigations? I remember reading that players could add their own significant information to Info checks, which presumably adds depth to the game. So a crime could happen, and then the players effectively are dispatched to investigate and come up with the clues and evidence on their own in the Investigation. 

Still trying to grasp pacing and battle routines. It all seems easy to follow but that's only if your powers and combos are very well documented in one point of reference. I found myself walking through PC & NPC combos piece by piece just to understand where damage and other vital traits came from. 
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M. P. O'Sullivan's profile photoJason Miller's profile photoCorey Brin's profile photoAndrew Glasscock's profile photo
8 comments
 
Good stuff here! I feel likes lot of our problems were just combat flow and scene pacing issues...I didn't have time to review Crumbling Days so I was hastily ad libbing to make characters work. The players didn't want to use the recommended characters so there was some adaptation...Truth-Seeker became PC2 and was embedded into the school as a substitute teacher, which lead to fun times.

Plenty more to comment on but I'm on my phone now. Powers are much less complicated than they seem at first, I'm thinking of making a spreadsheet of all of them for reference. Lots of overhead work on top of the fillable character sheet I need to remake, but having a single reference point you can sort and search powers by name, timing, target, etc. would be ideal.
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Finally finished the rulebook, cover to cover. Scene pacing seems much faster in this than I anticipated. I'm sure I'll have more practical questions later, but one broad question for now.

I can see my usual players wanting more than one or two fight scenes. Having never played the game before, I'm curious as to how quickly Encroachment adds up and if it's potentially a barrier to more than the recommended amount of engagements & fight scenes.

To that point I may have overlooked the section that details how Encroachment is mitigated. It's probably in the Lois sections and I can probably find it myself but pointers are always appreciated. :)
1
Jeff Healy's profile photoJason Miller's profile photoAndrew Glasscock's profile photoVer. Blue Amusement's profile photo
4 comments
 
I can understand the desire for more battles in a game. Encroachment can shoot up fairly fast if a character enters every Scene of a Scenario. It's something to watch out for during the middle or end of a campaign.

If a character enters ten Scenes and does not use any Powers, he could go up by 100%. Realistically, a person will not roll a 10 ten times in a row, but it's something to keep in mind. To keep rates down, I recommend writing your Scenes in ways that does not require every single player to be present.

If you want more battles, there are two things you could try:

1)Weaken the final boss so that it balances out any extra battles you want to add.

2)Do a Risk-style session, where players enter only enter once onto a Scene/board, and they do various tasks or battles on the map. This idea works better for a mid or end campaign game, when players will have more abilities at their disposal. Also, you will be able to make a better plot (ie. defend home base).
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Andrew Glasscock

Rules and Setting  - 
 
Another night of getting incredibly drunk and continuing a long-standing TBZ campaign. Learned a few vital things. 

Sometimes the GM screws up. NPCs are too powerful, NPCs aren't powerful enough, but no matter what happens, they're there for the PCs to move through them. I got scared when we went through two entire combat rounds and no one did any damage to a mid-boss type NPC I'd built ahead of time with just the recommended rules in the book. The crew was low on kiai for bookkeeping reasons (aka we were all drunk), so I gave everyone a temporary pool of 20 with the stipulation that it was only usable during the scene.  That actually worked really well and players didn't splurge all of them because they could, except for one guy who very much had to do it. 

Fights between Fist of Acala and Fist of Merciful Kannon characters are EXCITING. Both sides played a game of nuclear deterrence and spent kiai simply to tie for dramatic effect. Master-level Kannon and Acala practitioners butting against each other means that someone will lose and eat around 3x damage from a punch with anywhere from +4 to +10 base damage behind it. Finally both sides decided to end it all in a blaze of glory and went all-out, spending kiai on extra dice and leaving it to chance. I think the Acala user ended up falling to the Kannon user after a single final attack that did 33 damage. 

We had fewer rolls in our game than I think I've seen in any other game I've played. We also have more substance built for our acts, largely because we take breaks every so often where we all regroup and discuss how we want future scenes and acts to occur. The entire group had a good idea of where last night's act was heading, what the ultimate goal would be, and what they could do in the meantime to move the plot in that direction, and it seemed like everyone was much more willing to really put themselves into the scene and play out how things happened. After the Zero Act, my role as GM essentially became a minor accountant for NPC fights and informing players on rules details. The group couldn't stop adding to the scene and progressing it along, and everything flowed very naturally. Lots of action and very few checks, mostly to determine the outcome of surprises and NPC combat results. 

So yeah. Fun times. I'm going to have to piece together some sort of actual play script from the bits and pieces we all remember.
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Dan Strokirk's profile photoAndrew Glasscock's profile photoJason Miller's profile photo
5 comments
 
Just finished a one player/one GM game last night. Kugutsu character that had about 80-90 Kiai for the last scene after spending about 30 throughout the three other acts. I'm probably going to post a small play report after a few days of thinking it out.

General rule of ~2 Aiki per scene works well with a few scenes only getting 1 and one or two scenes earning 3.
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Andrew Glasscock

General TBZ  - 
 
Just wanted to give a heads up to +Matías Nicolás Caruso, I just finished playing a TBZ one-shot session using your Spring Bird Style archetype on my character, sheet attached below. I think I performed more as actual performance than as a means of combat...but it was awesome nonetheless. I've had a lot of trepidation as a GM allowing and narrating for players that focus on soft skills (i.e. more social skills, fewer or no combat skills) and actually using this archetype in play made me FAR more comfortable with it than I was before. 

Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work - I'd consider this a successful playtest :) 
2
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Andrew Glasscock

Rules and Setting  - 
 
An interesting thought for GMs and soon-to-be GMs. I could say more on the subject but I'll leave it short and open-ended.

Should you make your Zero Act scenes for your players so detailed and filled with juicy plot hooks that you could effectively make a one-shot out of each individual ZA scene? If so, how much do you let player inspirations alter your planned scenario?
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Mike Pureka's profile photoHenry de Veuve's profile photoJason Miller's profile photoAndy Hauge's profile photo
5 comments
 
I picture it as a quick color scene. We get an iconic moment of introduction, and then bring the characters into the game in Act 1.
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Andrew Glasscock

Rules and Setting  - 
 
Here's a little thought experiment for you...I've been thinking about a character concept for a while. IIRC there are some fine detail rules that might make this impossible, but if someone were to bring it to my session, I'd allow it. Would you?

Archetypes: Yoroi Rider (with a suit armor) & Meikyo Puppeteer

Interpretation: The character would control a suit armor that could be piloted normally or remotely controlled via puppeteer equipment. Or -- or!! -- the armor rider has their own suit armor, and also an identical "slave unit" kimen kongohki. There's even the possibility that the suit armor and the slave unit could combine as a single heavy assault unit. 

My original idea was kind of a Tenran version of Iron Man, but then it got tangled up in a "Gemini" twin unit idea (a subconscious throwback to Sailor Moon or something?), then that got tangled up in Gurren Lagann concepts. Probably some Bubblegum Crisis in here too somewhere. One combination of archetypes, three wildly different interpretations. 

So...would you allow this crazy mess?? I'd allow it if only to see the fireworks...
1
Matthew Sanchez's profile photoAndrew Glasscock's profile photoAce Krump's profile photo
26 comments
 
Exactly.
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Quick clarification: the downloadable character sheet sent out with orders says Initiative = Social *2+Mind-Items. The book says Sense*2+Mind, no mention of -Items, on p78. Should we default to the book or the character sheet? 
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Jason Miller's profile photoAndrew Glasscock's profile photoVer. Blue Amusement's profile photo
3 comments
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Maybe I'm nitpicking, but are the names of the Morpheus abilities "genocide mode" and "gigantic mode" flipped around? I would think genocide mode applied to countless blades and gigantic mode applied to the gigantic weapon. 
1
Ver. Blue Amusement's profile photoAndrew Glasscock's profile photo
2 comments
 
Interesting. If that's the original Japanese then I'm not going to argue it, but it stood out. Cool!
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People
Have him in circles
244 people
Jolene Binkley's profile photo
Johann Guldenschuh's profile photo
Елена Кузнецова's profile photo
jimmy ransom's profile photo
Mama Saley's profile photo
erute benjamin's profile photo
Mohamed Abdel Wahab Youssef's profile photo
Evelyn Gomez's profile photo
Tameka Armstrong's profile photo
Work
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  • Dataium
    Content Developer, 2013 - present
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    Jr. Copywriter, 2012 - 2013
  • Middle Tennessee State University
    ITD Classroom Support Tech, 2010 - 2012
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  • Middle Tennessee State University
    English/Writing, 2010 - 2012
  • Mississippi State University
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