View Full Version : The Awesome Factor...

2009-09-07, 04:29 PM
So, I finally got up enough courage to run my own game. We just finished my second session, a small town beseiged by goblins, when I sat my group down and asked them what they really wanted out of a game. I have been reading up on how to be a DM, and they said that's one of the first things you should do.

What they said seemed pretty reasonable. They want to be included in the story. They want good action, not so much hack and slash but decent strategic fights. They want me as the DM not to pull punches... if they are level 2 characters and decide to go up against a couple of hill trolls, they should get their asses handed to them on a platter.

This is all decent answers, stuff if a GM had ever asked me to do (no GM has ever asked this of me) I would say the same.

And then, one of the guys said something I didn't quite get.

He wanted the awesome factor in the game. When he said this, pretty much everyone agreed with him. The Awesome Factor. Something that they can sit back and say, "holy crap, how cool is that."

Ninja monkeys riding dinosaurs... was the example given for awesome factor.

Now, I've created my own world for this game, so I can honestly put whatever I want in the game itself. I guess I am just not sure how to put the Awesome factor into this.

Do people have ideas? What would be epic and awesome in the game? What sort of challenges, crazy villains, interesting plot hooks and twists that I can throw at a group of players and let them sit back and go, as Neo would aptly put it, "Whoah..."

Also if you have stories or examples in a game where you had the pleasure of experiencing the Awesome Factor.

2009-09-07, 04:47 PM
This may not be considered awesome, but one thing is enemy parties who not only match the parties numbers, but archetypes. Something Linear Guild-esque. But don't play it like the Linear Guild. Make them like what your players described. The group's warriors counterpart? Awakened Spider-Monkey with the Prehensile Tail feat to wield 3 weapons at once, while constantly juggling them between hands, feet and tail (Feint). The group's rogues counterpart? Wight Lurking Horror. Hides in the darkness, and jumps out at you from nowhere, dealing 2 Negative Levels in the process. And the Wizard? Crazy Gnome evocator who creates massive explosions everywhere. If the battle takes place in building, then you're not playing it right if the building is still standing by the end.

2009-09-07, 05:06 PM
In my group, it actually comes mostly from RP, and from the players. There are three of us that actively look to make this kind of stuff, one that doesn't care, and another that tries, but fails, which is, in its own twisted way, awesome.

Freind A:
An example was a freind using the line "Let me through, I'm a doctor!" to get past a security detail after he shot a man, and was trying to finish him off.

He's currently playing a Japanese born, British speaking duck, in a campaign world that has neither Japan, nor Britain (it does have ducks.) I thought that was somewhat awesome.


I've been told the fact that I can mechanically match Dante from devil may cry with a non-caster is awesome.

My conversation between my current character and an astral deva was considered the most awesome conversation in the campaign. I was travelling from the astral back home, the fastest way was through portals to hell, the from there to a freindly military base (who were basically soul guardians) back to the material, when an astral deva asked me where I was going. I glibly said "To hell." It asked me why I was going there, to which I replied "to get out of hell." It went downhill from there.

I'm also the creator of the party's most powerful entity, as due to an accident on the DM's part, a thought bottle, and time magic, my level's looped up to infinity. I'm the least relevant of the big hitters in the DM's cosmology, but most relevant in the immediate setting.

Freind B:
One of my freinds got a "that's awesome" moment for his RP talking as an emissary between me and my archrival. Myself and an NPC had been gently one upping eachother from the beginning of the game, and it seemed that each thing we did lead us closer to violence. It seems sending his character as the representative was the last straw, and we spiraled into one of the most violent sessions in the campaign over the offense.

He's also the creator of the second most relevant PC gone NPC, and third most powerful. Seems to be a recurring problem that always pops up.

Freind C:
This guy keeps managing to trick the player that I don't particularly like into doing things that are extremely self destructive which I view as somewhat awesome. For instance, he leapt off the edge of a sky ship, and feather falled the last bit. Guy I don't really like leapt off as well, and activated his item of feather fall, not knowing that it has a duration, thus falling to his demise.

Also tricked him into 4 different fey pacts, all of which lead to his character's death, because fey pacts in our group always lead to death.

He's also the creator of the most relevant PC gone NPC, and the second most powerful.

Combined efforts:
Players A, B, and myself made a gigantic labarynth under player B's bar, filling it with thousands of deadly traps, mundane and magical, high CR monsters that we had found, including a monkey ninja riding a pirate T-rex in a space suit, an artifact vault that we found, and a series of extraplanar pit falls. The last room? A potato cellar. But wait! Hidden under the potato cellar was the artifact vault, that can only be opened with keys kept by our characters. Mine is a level looped lich, two others are gods, and the last is the bartender (most people forget to get the one from the bartender, because all you have to do is ask). What's in this vault? Potatoes.

Aparantly, thousands of adventuring parties from around the multiverse, who refuse to believe someone would spend that much money on a dungeon would simply use it to store potatoes have gone in and met their untimely demises.

Our later party met a guy who went in, and eventually came back out, meeting up with the less brave part of his party. Evidently, one of us has added time traits to it, because his party said "What took you so long? It's been months?" to which the poor man replied "Months? I kept track! I was in there for centuries!"

But really, what's awesome for one group will vary from group to group. The most awesome things for us are RP, though I've gotten applause for my insane Xanatos roullete playing.

2009-09-07, 05:07 PM
This may not be considered awesome, but one thing is enemy parties who not only match the parties numbers, but archetypes.

This is true. In my Savage Tide AP, I threw in an opposing party against my PCs and the ensuing combat was great fun and I had positive feedback.

Although I wouldn't suggest putting monstrous races, because then they don't have a feeling that it's also an adventuring party, but a mob of monsters.

Anyways, the opposing party was named Savage Syndicate and consisted of:
Soulcatcher, Human Dread Necromancer 15
Singe, Duergar Monk 2/Cleric 4/Sacred Fist 8
Sabas, Half-Fiend Scout 4/Ranger 8 (Swift Hunter)
Scorn, Awakaned Greater Stone Golem

2009-09-07, 05:07 PM
Half-orc with a drill for an arm. He can shoot the drill at people and retract it with a chain.

2009-09-07, 05:08 PM
Read Exalted's fluff.
Pull ideas from that.

2009-09-07, 05:11 PM
What Kylarra said.

Or just play Exalted itself. Take ideas from that.



2009-09-07, 05:13 PM
Half-orc with a drill for an arm. He can shoot the drill at people and retract it with a chain.

Oh yeah, that brings me to another one. There's a feat which lets creatures with regeneration throw body parts at enemies. All it takes is a creature to slowly deconstruct itself, using small parts so that it can qualify to use Palm Throw. Throwing roughly 10 body parts per round and then growing them back again.

2009-09-07, 05:46 PM
A lot of the 'Awesome Factor' happens naturally, in-game. Especially if your players are clever. Bring out that trait in them. Encourage creativity and cleverness (though less through the mechanics of their builds and more through problem solving - MacGuyver, anyone?).

From your end, go watch some of the most over-the-top, big-budget action movies you can think of, and put your players in similar scenarios. The crazy trapped temples of Indiana Jones? Check. The frenzied pitched aerial battles of Star Wars? Check. One man vs army scenario of The Matrix? Check. Frenzied race against time while undead swarm civilization of The Mummy? Check. Insane BBEG death traps of James Bond? Check. Swashbuckling battles in the harbor using rigging and sails of Pirates of the Caribbean? Check! Basically, steal ideas like crazy and adapt them to your own ends.

Plus, give out unusual items (both mundane and magical) that might seem useless at first glance, but are actually very useful, given some creativity. An inch-thick 10' adamantine pole that always stands vertically. A bag of marbles. A staff that sparks and shoots (harmless) flames when you hold it, and goes BANG! when you hit something with it. A candle that makes everything around get sleepy when it's lit. A bag of tricks that contains nothing but penguins.

Your players will feel great when you present over-the-top situations that they can overcome by using the options you gave to them.

Happy gaming!

2009-09-07, 06:18 PM
A Elan Psion rode atop a rolling boulder that was about to come at us.

We all agreed that was awesome.

2009-09-07, 06:27 PM
One of the best goals you can have when sitting down at the table is to have fun. If you concentrate on having fun, awesome stuff just come naturally.

Let your players act out, a little, and it just happens. This includes letitng them target protocol droids with flamethrowers.

2009-09-07, 06:46 PM
Adepts from the Shadowrun roleplaying game run almost entirely on the Awesome Factor.

A friend of mine made an Adept that specialized in throwing things. We were trying to sneak into a place, when we spot a pair of guards sitting and chatting. His character asks mine, "You want I should knock 'em out?"

"Sure," I reply.

He whips out a pair of coins, and proceeds to explode a guard's head with one. Remember, he was trying to knock the guard out.

We decided to just taser the second one.

2009-09-07, 06:49 PM
My Half-ogre weretiger frenzied berserker once through a freighter at a prison compound and proceeded to scream "YOG SMASH!".....Yog was his name :D

He then proceeded to throw broken parts of the compound at the main building. He then went along to systematically kill the Demon Princes(Charger builds, gotta love them)

2009-09-07, 06:54 PM
The more you encourage and reward creativity from your players, they more awesome will be fostered.

On my world, one of the most influential bards from the savage northlands has pioneered a new line of musical instruments - kind of a big brother to a lute. His most powerful creation is a large instrument with a wicked looking, bladed body (http://s.bebo.com/app-image/7928024289/5411656627/PROFILE/i.quizzaz.com/img/q/u/08/04/18/b-c-rich-platinum-beast-guitar-black.jpg), made out of mithral and adamantine. The bard has revolutionized the bardic saga genre by binding a storm elemental into his instrument, thus creating sounds and volumes that were previously unheard of. And hey, the ability to blast enemies with thunder and lightning a couple times a day ain't too shabby either.

The plan was for a ninja/bard to steal this guitar and rule the world with it. Never quite got that far.

In our old Immortal games, we had the most free reign for creativity and thus we, and the Storyteller were able to create some seriously awesome combinations. One of the guys had a hellrider motorcycle fueled by souls of enemies he killed. Another built a star cruiser powered by a liberal interpretation of a gravity field spell and the borrowed core of a sun. My character had, as his primary enemies, the archangel Gabriel (played by Christopher Walken) and Khaavern (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phoenix_Guards) of the Phoenix Guards. Good times.

2009-09-07, 06:59 PM
I've found that there are several easy ways to add AWSOME to a game. the easiest is to make certain aspects of game play cinematic.

For example: in a game i am running recently i had a plaer roll an absurd amount of damage done after a charge attack using a swift action teleport they had as a class feature. . . on a flying opponent. The damage was enough to kill the creature so rather than saying to the player,

"You charge and teleport clawing the creature and killing it"

I said to thre group

"You all see (insert player name here) Run full bore towards the Vulture and suddenly he vanishes! The next thing you see is the bird explode as he tears through its chest and lands in a spray of blood and gore."

Now according to the exact game mechanic thats not what happened, but the end result is the same based on the damage done and that sounds a heck-of-alot cooler.

When the end result is the same a little cinematic exageration can go a long way in adding awsome factor to a game.