Laser and Feelings With the Crew of the Obstructionist

No, they didn’t name the ship The Obstructionist, but they probably should have.

On Wednesday, I ran Lasers and Feelings for some players who are primarily miniature wargamers. And it was, to my mind, something of a disaster.

Let me state that, in terms of being a disaster, it was not a complete disaster, because the players did have fun. But I found myself at several points really completely out of my element for what they were trying to do.

It got to the point where I felt like they were just playing this way to see if I’d let them get away with it, not because they were interested in the adventure at all. In essence: taking it personally, I began to wonder if they were punishing me for GMing.

In short, they were all kinds of back-stabby against each other. One of the players made his character goal “To stop others’ goals.” Seriously. I probably shouldn’t have allowed it, but the other players didn’t seem to think that was a problem.

Another player wanted to conquer the galaxy and thought the best way to do that would be to kill the rest of the crew. No other motivation– just kill everyone he could. He started by shunting one of the fighterpods (manned) out of the airlock.

Another wanted to “heal all the things.” Which was fine, except he was thrown out the airlock first.

They turned a role-playing game into a zero-sum game.

I let them, gradually trying to get them to look at something resembling the threat or plot. And if they’d taken narrative control, I would have been fine with that, except I was largely reduced to relaying information from one backstabber to the other.

I tried to invite a player to take narrative control:

“Where are the void crystals made? A centralized place, or scattered?”

“Hmm… you tell me.” This was his opportunity to seize control and run with it.

“Uh, I go to the computer and ask it.”

I sighed and eventually told him that there were void crystal mints scattered throughout the sector.

Getting more than one of them in the same place at the same time was nigh-impossible. Actual cooperation was anathema. We finally determined that the Captain was a goody-goody who was trying to rehabilitate a mutinous pirate crew (them). This made a lot more sense in the fiction, to be honest.

The game ended with two of them flying off, abandoning the soldier Galaxy-conquerer on a small, rocky planet that had been taken over by the Hive Armada. As the ground shakes from the bomb detonation, he hears screeching music all around him. The Hive has awoken!

I pointed out that, once assimilated, he had the best chance of actually accomplishing his goal. He seemed satisfied by that.

After the game was over, Mr. Obstructionist himself (I really think I could have gotten them all on the same general page if not for “I want to stop everyone else’s goals”) challenged the ability of missiles to blast through a hatch door and still be intact when hitting a man on the far side. I stared at him for a minute, then just said “you are way overthinking this, dude. Seriously.”