Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Try and Try and Try Again

Berserk 19 reminds me of the old Billy Joel Shaver song, "Try and Try Again."
Guts is out to save Caska.
He starts off by interrupting a whipping about to take place. Once again playing the part of the lone stranger.
Then has to deal with cultists. And this time, due to Casca's presence and nightfall, where here brand acts up, the Cultists get a signifcant power boost. Remember what I've mentioned about having those templates ready for skinning purposes.
When reunited with Casca, he doesn't have time to enjoy it and must rely on others to take care of her... which leads to Casca being captured by the Holy Chain Knights and to the next arc where Guts must prevent her from being burned at the steak.
But what does that mean for the game?
In terms of the background, the characters, continuing to have them act towards the players based on the players actions and have them continue to absorb new facts about the players. For example, when Guts last met the Holy Iron Knights, he was in no shape to fight and they took him down with relative ease. They try to repeat this tactic with expected results.
In addition, things that are unknown, people will try to explain with the known. When the cultists come under the possession of demons thanks to Casca's brand, no one jumps to the conclussion that it's a supernatural posession. No, rather, they would all prefer to believe that it's a cultists drug they take that augments their strength and endurance to monstrous levels. Sound familiar? It should. It's the same reasoning that the old Arnold movie where he's featured as a mechanical assassin was used. Something along the lines of "yeah, cocaine is a hell of a drug."
People prefer to believe in what they know and won't take in new facts until they are explained again and again to them. When they have a plausible expalantion, they'll cling to it. If the players are on the know and can convince others what's going on, those NPCs may come to rely on the players for their ability to see things as they truly are, not how they wish them to be.
Lastly, let the players take advantage of situations that they come across. Here, Guts winds up fighting a swordsman whose skill, perhaps not as skilled as Guts, but who uses terrain in a huge way to prevent Guts from using his sword. If the players, or the monsters for that matter, can put the terrain to good use, such as on crumbling ledges, or icy floors, allow them to do so. It allows the combats to be more organic and keeps things moving.