First run of Dream Riggers went okay. On the story side, I did the silly thing of trying to begin a game with a social encounter. For me, that never works. Every single one-shot I’ve written for Nefertiti Overdrive starts with a fight. Dream Riggers is definitely not Nefertiti Overdrive, but my home group just came of a series of action games, and I think they were in that mindset. I was even mean enough to threaten real and absolute character death in the opening scene – in the Dreamtime. Again, players were not used to this and thought it was an empty threat until one player pushed a little too far.
I finally did relent and let him keep his character. It luckily showcased the actual threat to the rest of the players. Suddenly it was a social encounter based on hard choices rather than an obstacle to punch the heck out of.
The second encounter was an action encounter as the players met the dreaded Scanners – looking like Matrix agents but with the brain ‘sploding powers from the David Cronenberg movie.
In “cameo of the session,” I had Michelle Forbes from her Miranda Zero appearance in the failed pilot for Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency. She played Valentine the Muse in the Dreamtime. I’ve always dug Michelle Forbes and I think Miranda Zero was her best character – bad ass but not criminal or psychotic.
Mechanics wise, there were a few clusterfucks that need to be taken out behind the chemical sheds. Since finishing Nefertiti Overdrive, I’ve been aiming for games in which the GM doesn’t roll the dice – just like Sword Noir. I tried it with Dream Riggers, but it didn’t work, and all of the problems stemmed from that.
Dream Riggers includes Complications linked to NPCs and Settings that players and GM can activate. Without the GM rolling, those Complications needed to act as penalties against the character. It started getting a little too complex. I had to decide whether to keep Complications or make it an opposed roll system.
It’s an opposed roll system now.
I’ve already made a bunch of changes to some of the core mechanics, and I’ll continue to tweak until the next game.
My poor players. Never the same rules twice.
You can find out more about Global Frequency at Wikipedia
I’ll be writing more about Dream Riggers as the game progresses.