Sunday, April 24, 2016

Developing A Plan on the Go

As a player you are often called upon to develop a plan...to do something.  I use a variation of the Marines motto: Improvise, Adapt, Overcome.  Sometimes the plan is dictated by the adventure, but there are many times when the goal is clear, but the tactic is left up to the party.  In my most recent sessions, the party was given the task to inform a thieves guild that they needed to earn their units (a specialize form on currency used by the Consortium) not steal them.

Another night it was a simple fetch mission, grab the DNA and bring it back and get paid, but it got more complex when we were attacked as we left.  With a new (what we thought might be new) buyer we could choose to sell it to him for more.

Both of these situations we were going in blind.  So you make stuff up as you go. Sometimes it actually works.  Most of the time it fails in various degrees.  And the way I tend to roll, my average of level of failure is quite spectacular.

First thing as a player I try to define the goal.  The basics.  What is it we need to do?  In the examples:

  • Let the thieves guild know they needed to earn the credits.
  • Steal DNA bring it back.
Next thing I attempt to do is assume possible problems.  I know assume is bad, but more often than not that's all we got.  
  • The thieves guild might not like that.  Be ready for an attack.  Not sure how many there are.
  • Its in a crashed spaceship so expect other looters, integrity issues with the ship and of course returning with stolen DNA the possibility to getting caught.
So with the goal defined, assumptions we prepare for, we head in.  At this time we assess the real situation.  This is about when everyone's plan goes to shit.
  • It is not just a thieves guild, it also an assassins guild.  Yipee.  We meet them at their private base of operations so them letting us leave alive has decreased drastically.  But the leader is talking to us.  So maybe, just maybe, we return with limbs intact. 
  • There is someone watching us.  It appears that there are looters in the ship before we arrived.  Those watching us are waiting for us to leave the ship.
We have what we prepared for and what we have what is actually there.  Now is the time to adapt.  Use what we have come with to solve the problems we face.

  • Fairly simple, while they talk, I shoot them in the chest.  Take out the lead guy and the meatheads usually go away.  Not head guy, no pay.  
  • Since they aren't killing us they are interested in what we have to offer.  I play that angle up and stay calm.  Going gorilla will only get us killed.  Let them know if they agree lots of shiny things will follow.  
And lastly is to overcome and succeed as best you can.  Not all victories are black and white.  Sometimes getting out with your hide intact is the best you can expect.  And there are times when a situation presents itself where you can improve the outcome.
  • I was able to convince the guilds that it was in their best interest to join the Consortium.  It helped that I dropped a situation where an entire village was consumed by a volcano overnight.  That fact, along with the promise of allying with someone who could gain them more money made their decision easy.  The original goal was just to get them to stop stealing the units.  So this was a win+.
  • Found a number for the buyer for the DNA.  I figure we could double cross that bastard and then sell it to our original buyer.  Turned out to be the same buyer.  We extort him for the full pay because we offer him not only the DNA he wants, we offer all of them that we stole.  Instead of getting 1000 credits we scored 3500 credits.  Win+
Yeah, I realize in both these situations that we ended up exceeding our goal, its probably because I've blocked out all my failures.  It helps me to break it down in these steps especially if a goal or situation is stretched out over a few sessions.  My memory sucks so breaking it into smaller parts helps me keep focused.

Time to roll some dice.  I'm feeling lucky.  No 1s will be rolled.