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<     Episode 1959: Lumber, Writhe, Hiss, Arrive     >

Episode 1959: Lumber, Writhe, Hiss, Arrive


Stuck for a way to interpret a critical failure roll? Just negate everything the character was trying to do.

(Works best for attempt descriptions with an odd number of negatable phrases.)

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

The critical failure. Most systems have some sort of "Even routine plane landings can crash" behavior. Sadly, most of them are yanked up way too high.

I'm currently learning the Cypher system, to become a guest/secondary GM in a massive RPG. And one of The Strangest things about the system is that, done properly, the GM never rolls dice. This is... odd to me, to say the least. I'm used to, at a minimum, GMs rolling for things the players do not know about. And, the previous "single" GM that was running this massive game before burnout resulted in delegation to four replacements did this behavior.

But in going over the rules, to learn the system, there's an interesting idea. The GM does not roll for interesting events that affect the game. The GM, as storyteller, decides what interesting events affect the game. So routine things only fail when the GM says they fail. Your pocket being picked without you noticing? Not because of dice, but because the storyteller decided on the story to tell.

The result is a very different approach to the game, and random encounters. But a perfectly good one.

Now, what's one of the worst things that can happen with a safe, secured environment, like a walled castle, or a defensive border wall, or a building with security doors, or something like that? Yep, you got it - zombies on the inside. Second worst would be the doors opening up and letting things in from outside, like other zombies, or wandering salesmen. (Strict "or" though - wandering zombie salesmen would be a contradiction.)

So the plan is to drop the blast doors down. Part of me wonders why these intruders were let in. I mean, sure, in Darths & Droids, it's because Jim was Jim. But in the original film? This bigger outer ship looks like it is supposed to have decent defenses and security. So how are things getting in?

Which makes me wonder: Was Rey Solo originally a bad girl? So upset with her (grand?)father that she decided to turn him in to the authorities and there were multiple authorities wanting him?

... No, that isn't that much different than what we have here. The Comic Irregulars do a much better job of a 180° turn than that. No, I cannot, at the moment, think of any way this resultant scene could possibly make any sense, unless it's exactly what we see here - a bunch of rollplayers being deliberately incompetent and/or critically unlucky.

Still, shorting things out to close blast doors. I thought "failsafe" systems were supposed to be "safe" when they fail. So you can get out, and not be locked inside, say, a security room with no way in or out. No, being locked in a security room with no access would not be safe, so obviously, there must be some way for you to get out (or things to get in), because, safety.

[N.B.: No spoilers about The Strange in the forum. Please.]

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Poor BB-8. Even after the anti-cool thumbs up, he's still forgotten about. At least Finn has a reason he wouldn't mention the droid as a concern. And even without that previous bit, it would hardly be out of character for a spy to forget or "forget" about a comparatively unknown Resistance member. Of course, if Finn is talking in character and BB heard that, he might be less inclined to be friendly in the future. Presuming BB-8 survives and remembers this comment of course.

Ahhh, natural ones; the bane of every player. Tabletop game skill checks don't always have them as automatic fails, but it would be hard to ever have them end up as a success except with munchkinery. Since this system does have crit fail skills though, that gives the GM a lot of leeway for making things to go wrong. Pete, and Annie by in-game proximity, are very lucky the GM decided to go with the opposite attempt occurring elsewhere. Electrical shorts can be quite dangerous when high voltage is involved (resulting in fire and explosions when it's high enough), and wiring isn't usually labeled nicely in the middle.

And oh my! It's not the method I thought the tentacle creature would be reappearing with, but I like it. This is really starting to play up the horror element commented about before. Star Wars always had elements of high tension like the Dianoga or Geonosian hallway, but nothing so Cthulu-esque as the creature here. This must look really unnerving seeing it actually move. Now I'm really curious where this could have come from, even more than the two different gangs showing up with only one ship.


Finn: We need to do something. They’re going to kill Xasha and Chewbacca!
BB-8: Hello? I’m up here too.
Rey: What’s in this crawlspace?
GM: Conduits. Ducts. Pipes. Um... tubing.
Rey: Cabling?
GM: Sure.
Finn: Good. Find the right circuits, and we can slam the blast doors between them and the gangs.
Rey: I examine the wiring and short some out to close the doors.
GM: Engineering roll.
Rey: 1... oh no...
GM: You hear some other doors somewhere else apparently... opening.
[SFX]: shwoosh shwoosh
Rey: Huh. For a crit fail that could have been a lot worse.
[SFX]: whip! whip!
[SFX]: writhe! writhe! writhe!
Creature: {now free} Xaashaaa!!!

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Published: Thursday, 18 February, 2021; 01:11:08 PST.
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