Hi, I am MCing tonight and I am nervous, because our last session din't went well and now I wonder how to handle things.
Here some context info:
- My group is mostly used to play Burning Wheel and some occasional storygames & retro clones.
- I am not alway the GM, we often rotate GM when we begin a new campaign.
- We played a first session with 2 players, then we added 2 others.
- This is our third try at a AW campaign.
So on our first session only two player were available, but the session was nice and we established a good setup to work on.
For the second session, two player joined up, but sadly at the last minute one of the first players could not make it. So we had 3 players.
We created the characters, and since it was our third try at AW, we thought it would be interesting to add the Limited Edition playbooks (it was maybe a error).
So we distributed the Hx, highlighted stats and I asked questions to the new players to insert their characters in the setup. Especially the Maestro D' since it playbook bring in a lot of interested NPC.
But I think that while wanting to create a believable setup we accidentally created a status-quo. And now I don't know how to handle this.
Here the PC:
- Jag the Driver
- Absinthe the Battlebabe
- Cookie the Maestro D'
- Specialist Max the Quarantine
Our setup turn mainly around a pleasure&entertainment providing hardhold, kind of New-Vegas/Carnival place where traveler stop by.
Here is our relationship map:
Here is our area map:Love letters:
I wrote love letters to each of the PC to give them some starting situation to explore. But it din't work too well. The Maestro D' started up with having trouble with her booze provider & a member of her staff having racing bet debts and trouble with Gams (who control the car racing). The Quarantine started up with being hidden by Rental who was getting very nervous and by having visions about the hardhold. The Battlebabe was busy with wounds from the last session and having trouble with slavers. The session:
Our first scene was about the Quarantine & Rental (the guy that was hiding him at his place) having trouble with gang members of the hardholder. The gang members tried to press the Quarantine with questions about his equipment, but he got nervous and opened fire on them.
The hardholder captured the Quarantine, after interrogation he agreed to let go the Quarantine if he accept to work for him and bring him more equipment from his stasis base. The battlebabe & the Maestro intervened to avoid that the second in command of hardholder beat the Quarantine while he was kept prisoner.
The hardholder hired the battlebabe to keep a eye on the Quarantine while he go searching for the equipment. The Maestro choose to remain in the hardhold to deal with her problems since she don't feel useful in the wasteland.
So the Quarantine & the Battlebabe went to the stasis facility, there the Quarantine released one of his squad member and she nearly went crazy due to psy harm but the Quarantine calmed her. There was some talk about not going back to the hardhold, but in the end the Quarantine followed the battlebabe advice and choose to go back to the hardhold.
The Maestro D tried to deal with her crew gambling debt, but it got kind of too complicated and this was not really involving. MCing:
I had so a hard time MCing, after the previous session I had the homefront prepared with 2 other fronts. But I had too much info, too many named characters to deal with, each time I had to choose a MC move I felt overwhelmed and din't know what to choose.
There was also the status-quo issue, I din't know how to turn the many relations of the fronts/relationship map into involving & gripping problems.
Playing the scenes was awkward and felt artificial since the characters had no real "played" relation with each others. The Quarantine was so out of this world, we din't know how to interact with him.
I think my major fail was not asking enough question. Maybe because the Quarantine situation took me a little by surprise. Went they went to the stasis facility we had so much stuff to create on the spot, everything felt so sketchy and vague. There I think I should have taken a pause to ask A LOT of questions.
I felt like I failed to make the Maestro life interesting, she had problems to deal with, but none of them felt personal and gripping.
And I also messed up with the Quarantine many brain openings. I din't know what to do with his constant miss. I tried to give him visions with the squad member he had to shoot when he woke up from stasis (Specialist Tammy) to bring her back as a character, but I was improvising and it just felt confusing.
So in the end, MCing was not super pleasant and we were discouraged by our gaming even while we all really liked all of the player characters and the setup. :(
Maybe we played the scenes too fast so they din't seem "real". We also felt the absence of beliefs from BW. It was hard to make problems personal, interesting and gripping instead of being just annoying obstacles. My issue with the setup:
Since we have the Maestro, now a lot of the interesting stuff have to happen in the hardhold. But in the hardhold, most of the NPC have reasons to desire to keep the status-quo to do business and I have a hard time to menace the character in there. So I consider breaking all of this to remove the status quo, but if I do it too suddenly I fear it will feel too artificial or something, now I am kind of afraid to make moves. So no I wonder if I should bring on something radical like a big raid on the hardhold or sending occupation forces.