"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dogs of W*A*R - Black Ops

A couple of weeks ago my home group was scheduled to meet and play our ongoing Rise of the Runelords campaign. However, it turned out two of players were going to be unable to make it so instead I quickly prepped a Dogs of War game using the first mission of Call of Duty - Black Ops as the premise. The characters were part of a special ops team sent into Cuba to assassinate Castro just as the Bay of Pigs invasion begins.

Based on how my players go behave in the D&D campaign, I planned the game to be a rip-roaring, shoot'em up with gun fights and car chases. However, the players instead made a faceman, a sniper and a leader/driver. The faceman started the game by easily talking their way past the first two scenes which I had planned.

After the first two scenes the characters had met a leader of the Cuban resistance and had received a dossier containing intelligence gathered on Castro's location.  At this point I stole the idea of the Planning Stage from John Wick's spy game "Wilderness of Mirrors".

The players were able to tell me what information was in the dossier and what their plans were. For every detail they gave me about Castro's location the group earned an Exploit Point (basically a hero point in DoW). For every 10 minutes they took planning, I took a villain point that I could use to make one part of the intelligence from their dossier incorrect.

Instead of going in guns blazing, the group came up with an intricate plan to infiltrate Castro's safehouse as Russian Army officers. My villain points were used to great effect so that there was already a Russian general in the safehouse and that the "Castro" in the safehouse was a double. Great fun ensued.

While everyone (myself in particular) had a great time, one lesson I learned was to be more direct in terms of the feel/genre I am going for in a one-shot such as this. While I had testosterone-fuelled, gun blazing adventure in mind, the players were thinking clandestine espionage.

Edit: I seem to be having trouble getting the hang of this new blogger. I missed putting a title in each of the three most recent posts.


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