I was delighted to see this morning that TITANSGRAVE is now officially up on youtube, even though it has been up on Geek and Sundry for a while now (unfortunately the streaming from their site was so slow I couldn’t watch it there). There are two parts and I really recommend watching both, especially if you’re not inherently that familiar with RPGs, just want to know what the deal with the setting or characters is and finally it uses a system similar to the Dragon Age RPG. Seems pretty rules light, which if you’re going to run something for a general non-RPG exposed audience, is definitely a terrific idea.
After watching this part, I was pretty intrigued by the combination of a largely fantasy setting combined with the science fiction trappings. There are actually some really nice aspects to how this world works, because it’s actually one of few settings I can think of that aren’t predominantly human centered. In Valkana it’s actually a race of Saurians who became the predominant race and pretty much proliferated to main species status – something that many settings give to us (Humans). It was actually a pretty nice change to see that and it still blends in a lot of traditional races like elves, dwarves, orcs and of course, humans.
The players themselves I think have some interesting characters, but I was quite impressed that the majority of them had tragically lost their parents in some way. I suspect this was the result of a pre-show get together or similar, where the players communally came up with some backstory to help their characters bond/work together. Getting your players to sit down, communicate and build characters with one another always produces very good results, helps everyone get in character and helps the game start moving right from the start.
And of course below is the actual “start” of the campaign!
Overall after watching this I am very interested in where the game is going to go and the players are already differentiating their characters well. One thing that I hope Wil manages to encourage them to do, as much as possible, is that when players succeed at their rolls to give them a chance to describe their own action (like the dancing early on here). If the player seems stuck or a bit on the spot by the request, then you can step in and think of something (or if you just want to move things along). Letting players build their characters and decide their own actions as much as possible is very desirable for building roleplaying.
Something interesting that does come up and immediately struck me was the situation in the bar with the roll to tell the story. Here one of the players with the skill Wil clearly had in mind to pass it just rolled plain terribly. This seems to have taken him back a bit, because it was clear there was a “This guy should have this” plan and it sort of didn’t work out. Naturally enough, at least a couple of the other 3 remaining players rolled well enough to do something credible but other than random chance, there are ways around this. For example, if you want something like this to succeed as it clearly moves the plot in some way either consider how the players might “Fail forwards” – that is advance the plot despite failing – or even better, don’t make them roll at all. I personally would have just given them some loose details and seen if they wanted to come up with some whacky story for themselves. Whatever one sounded the best would have just passed the check!
Especially because when the players were given the opportunity to do this, they did a very good job and quickly made up their own story/scenario as required. I personally feel dice are terrific for generating drama, but you should be careful about using it when it could be an impediment for plot development unless you have some kind of interesting backup plan. It was especially good to see Hank name one of the NPCs spontaneously and then subsequently describe his incredible fixing job of the broken droid.
Overall though, I have to say that I really love the art of the world, the way the characters are shaping up initially, Wil’s GMing is pretty great and already I really want this setting/world. Definitely going to keep watching this!