Clockworks Play-test! The Gentleman Caller Recap

Warning– This contains spoilers of the Gentleman Caller adventure, by Shawn Gaston. Although I will try to keep them to a minimum if possible.

For Chargen- Part 1 and Part 2.

Players
Angie- Jane Goodwin (human/elementalist)
Elmer- Orson Vastol Duran (human)
Drew- Cid Evenblood (human)
John- Noah Walker- (Faeblooded)
Liam- Jean-Claude “Bloody Bones” Zeeman (faeblooded “elf”/wannabe vampire)

Sunday my group and I got to play our first Clockworks session and it went very well.

For this post I will just do highlights or show where things deviated from the module format.

The groups flew through most of the adventure without any hang ups. The only deviations during the investigation part of the adventure was instead of going to a library the group went to the 9th level State Police Station to look at the archives of previous victims.

I had to make a quick decision here because the library aspect of the adventure has a way for the group to find out about the Urban Legend of the Gentleman Caller. I did not want to have to take time having the group go to the library for just this. I decided that if the a member of the group rolled two raises on investigation, they would discover a report that described the urban legend in brief detail, that it was mentioned on some level by the previous victims, either in poem, or in a quote by someone the victim had known.

This worked very well to get the GC info to my group.

A Hunting We Shall Go

When the group got to the 2nd level of Clorencia City, now hunting the GC, they ran into the Faeblooded Gang who was threatening violence if they did not receive a sum of money.

(Enter Side Note– I have decided to move away from actual money. Instead I have a wealth skill. In my DnD game it is 1d20 plus ½ your level to show your character getting more wealthy as they become more heroic. In my Savage Worlds game it is a skill that can be purchased. If you do not have it, it is treated like any untrained skill 1d4-2, and shows that you are poor or have a hard time controlling your finances.)

Elmer’s character, is very wealthy, rolled a wealth check and succeeded pretty well. He offered 600 marks if they gangers would offer any info on the GC urban legend. The gangers blanched and became nervous. They divulged that they know where he lives and that no one goes there.. Suddenly it dawns on the party.. Oh shit.. He’s real.

The gang is asked if they would show the group where he lives. They said they would take them half way, and no further. This did a good job of scaring my players. What the hell could have 15 fully armed gangers so frightened.

The group continued after the gangers left them behind and discovered the school where the GC lurked.

The group decided it would be foolish to go into the beings lair and decided to recite the poem outside in the open. Props to them.

Liam bit the bullet… after we made fun of him- he’s a big brawny Faeblooded and he kept trying to instigate plans of action that would lead to conflict, but when it came time to throw down, he always suggested someone else take the risk.. So we made fun of him.. he finally stepped up to bat.

Suddenly Liam’s character feels an arrow fly by his ears as Angie shot at him, a near miss. (I had the GC use his puppet power on her). Then suddenly the GC appeared behind Liam and took a swing at him with his large jagged knife.

The fight went pretty quick and reintroduced the deadliness of Savage Worlds combat to my players.

The fight ended, after my spending all my bennies to soak, with the culmination of two claw swipes by Liam and Elmer’s bodyguard opening up a world o’ pain with a shotgun blast to the chest.

We had to end it here since it was 10pm. When we start next session I will wrap up the adventure, and we shall continue on with the next adventure.

Some Quick Funny Moments

When group was a the school questioning Allia’s friends about any pertinent info, Liam’s character, who now apparently has a phobia or something for blossoming young women, crouched and hid in the corner away from them… I think we all learned something about Liam’s psyche last night.

John used his weird science skill to create a PKE (Ghostbusters) meter to sniff out weird science or elementalists. It had the snout of a dog on the end and a meter that went left for weird science and right for elementalists. The more powerful, the further along the needle tipped. The nose made loud sniffing noises (we joked that using this will negate sneaking around).

When the group was at the victims house looking around John decided to break out his sniffer and examine the room. Suddenly the needle started pointing towards elementalist.

Angie’s character got nervous since she is hiding that she is a water elementalist.

Angie: Umm.. Hm… I.. I wonder what if there are any clues in the other rooms!

She quickly exits and the needle goes directly to zero

John: (Looks at the door Angie left through) I have a theory.

It was a great session and we had a lot of fun. My compliments to Shawn for crafting a great module. I’m now looking forward to crafting my own adventures now!

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About wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn. View all posts by wrathofzombie

14 responses to “Clockworks Play-test! The Gentleman Caller Recap

  • Shawn

    Woot!

    Another group ran the same adventure on Sunday. I’m always amused at the different ways things pan out for different groups. In that one, they fought the Faeblooded, and (using the pregens) took out the Gentleman Caller with some convenient cyber arm punches.

    I love the bit about the gang members reaction to the Gentleman scaring the PCs.

  • Elmer

    Awww, you kinda skip going over the roleplaying bits we had with some of the initial investigation. Those are my favorite kinds of bits.

    • Elmer

      Also, seems I can’t edit my old comments. Oh well.

      It was definitely a lot of fun, and I kinda enjoy playing the character. I haven’t played a brash character in a long time, and being a wealthy son of an industrialist media mogul is definitely a fun twist. I find having the vast sums of wealth but zero combat ability an interesting dynamic, and forces me to consider combat, social encounters, and the world at large very differently. And figuring out how this character should and would act was very fun for this first adventure.

      I like that playing him made me imagine he doesn’t deal with grief well, and would rather leave the room when someone was b’awwing their eyes out. Making the excuse of grabbing a smoke instead of entering the coroners plays well to his weak stomach. (Though, being able to investigate the murder scene without so much as a hiccup was a little out of character on my part) I think it isn’t so much that death frightens him, but he’s uncomfortable with dealing with someone else’s death. This might be another reason he doesn’t speak with his wealthy dad so much, I remember we discussed the possibility that he was of failing health. This should play well to the character.

      As far as post adventure goes, I think being somewhat a conscionable socialite and unfathomably wealthy offers a few unusual possibilities. But first of all, I would like to return the diary to the parents. If brought out as evidence, it’ll just sit in our archives gathering dust. I’m sure the family would appreciate it greater than our investigations on the matter. The other possibility came from what Orson would think of seeing the squalor of the 2nd level. And instead of being depressed or afraid of it, I think he would see opportunity.

      “I’m thinking about investing in a recycling plant, on the 2nd level. All that scrap metal and refuse could make a lot of money.” Privately though, he was awake enough in his economics 101 to know that good paying jobs reduce the crime rate. While even the richest bastard couldn’t give jobs to all the downtrodden, it’s easy enough to adapt a business model suited to the mercenary and rag tag lifestyle. A recycling plant would pay out money or food in exchange for scrap paper or scrap metal. While it hasn’t shown itself to be a great boon in the real world, the kind of junk and squalor we saw on the 2nd level could use a little cleaning AND could be of much more use to the city recycled. And as a business model, we could offer recycled metal at a reduced rate. “Heck, I hear there’s a new market for cheap tin in that whole ‘canning’ industry. And not to brag but, imagine the good publicity we could get boasting our syndicated papers are now all printed on recycled paper. I smell profit here, boys!”

      The motive is a bit of both greed and compassion. But the chance for success of either is very slim if we can’t get the gangs involved. “We never did get the name of that… goaty looking fellow. Morlocks, they call themselves? Well… I’m in need of a good foreman. And that guy seemed to have both the chops and the mutton for it. I should set up an interview, a safe one on my terms, and discuss the possibilities for a mutually beneficial business venture in his district.”

  • John L

    You forgot about my amazing shot on the GC. I got like five raises and did the first two level of wounds. While the GC was still soaking thank you. And yes it was a lot of fun and I like having to actually think about what i’m doing and worry about the consequences.

  • kedamono

    When my group played the GC, they went all CSI on Allia’s room and I had to add details to indicate that the National Police weren’t “PC Plods” and couldn’t work the case themselves. One character was small enough to fit between the walls of the house and went looking for evidence _behind_ the walls.

    The other problem was that while the players used a mix of pre-gen and self-made characters, one of them “The Rat” grew up on 2nd Level and must have heard all the stories about the Gentleman as he grew up. So I let him make common knowledge rolls to pull out information about the GC.

    Me and my group had other observations about the adventure, but I sent them on to Shawn.

  • jygro

    “Instead I have a wealth skill… In my Savage Worlds game it is a skill that can be purchased. If you do not have it, it is treated like any untrained skill 1d4-2, and shows that you are poor or have a hard time controlling your finances.”

    That is an interesting idea (for both systems really). What stat is the skill based on (INT perhaps)?

    • wrathofzombie

      For Savage Worlds I have it linked to Smarts. For 3.5 or 4e you could have it linked to int or even wis, but I wouldn’t let them put ranks into it. I would let the player purchase a feat however that could be the equivalent of SW Rich and Very Rich. Rich would give a +3 to wealth rolls and Very Rich would give a +6. That’s just a thought.

      I’ll give a quick explanation for what we decided for Elmer’s character to fit with him being a Newspaper Baron. Elmer and I decieded that he should have a fluxating market- so every in game month he will roll a wealth check (target number 4 and he gets his wild die). If he fails his die type goes down by one. If he succeeds it goes up by one. A raise, by two. Right now Elmers wealth skill is 1d12 +2 (highest possible) so all he can do is maintain by success. We both liked the idea because we thought this adds a dynamic to his empire rather than it being just a static investment.

      • jygro

        Very cool. A couple more questions on the wealth skill in terms of Savage Worlds. Is a success an amount of money and each raise double that amount (or some such)… or do you roll your wealth when ‘needed’ and that number multiplied by some factor gives you the amount of wealth on hand at the moment? Do you get your wild die and can the roll ace?

        I can see the merit (and flaws) in both systems…

      • kedamono

        If it works like it does in d20 Modern, everything has a TN for purchase. So you want to buy that BFG hanging in the window, you have to make a TN6 roll with your wealth skill. If your Wealth skill is only d4, you’re not going to buy it. Now if you get to have your wild die, then you have a chance.

        So, do you get to roll your wild die if you’re a Ace?

      • wrathofzombie

        Yeah, there are merits and flaws with both systems. My wealth skill works like kedamono points out. The characters would have a target number they need to beat depending on the object/objects that they need, and I reserve the right to say there is no way at this point in the game you could afford that (IE- group wanting to purchase an airship at lvl 1 or something).

        Yeah, the wild die can ace, but again but it still gets penalties where applicable (if they don’t have the Wealth Skill, for example). Some items may be really expensive.. Say the group wants to purchase a workbot (using Clockworks) to be a body guard or something. The target number maybe 30. I would allow the group to pool their skill rolls together and add them together and whatnot. Depends.

        I’m giving this a test run with SW and again in my upcoming DnD game. I just get tired of record keeping and would like to go to something more fun and abstract. Also I’m taking a page out o’ Mouseguard and if the players fail the roll, sometimes they can’t get what they need, and other times it adds a complications. So maybe they can get the weapons or whatever they need but at an added price, maybe a mission/favor, etc.

      • kedamono

        Yeah, there are problems with the d20 Modern Wealth system. A PC with a wealth bonus of 7 is not half as wealthy as one with a bonus of 14. He’s half as wealthy as one with a bonus of 10. And their system for making group rolls is kludgy.

        Wrathofzombie, as a suggestion, I’d say that if you’re going to let them make group rolls, make the target number for the helps 4. Otherwise a guy with a d4-2 wealth can’t help at all.

        Also, let them get bonuses by using their Streetwise skill to get a bonus. It’s an opposed roll, and if they succeed, they get a +1 to their wealth roll, if they get raise, they get a +1, maximum of +3, for a maximum total of +4.

        If they fail, the TN goes up by 1 and only 1. (The seller wants to sell, he’s not going to price himself out of a sale.)

        Selling something works the same way. They set the Wealth bonus they want to get, (+1, +2, d4, d4+1, d4+2, d6, etc.) and then make a Streetwise roll versus a set TN, starting at TN1 for a +1. TN2 for a +2, etc. If you get a raise, you get a bump in the bonus, to a maximum of 4 bumps.

        For example: Noah finds a gewgaw and decides to fence… um, sell it. He sets the wealth bonus to be d4+1, for a TN of 4. He makes the roll and gets a raise, gaining a wealth bonus of d4+2!

        These bonuses are temporary. If you use it, the bonus decreases by +1 if you’re successful. So the first time Noah successfully uses his d4+2, it drops to d4+1, then the next time it drops to d4, then +2, then finally +1. And He can add this roll to his Wealth skill roll.

        But, it’s your game, do with it what you will.

        🙂

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