Saturday, October 12, 2019

Running Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quickstart

Last night our regular DM and a couple of players couldn't make it, so the three remaining players picked out pregens from the Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quickstart and we gave it a spin.

Let me state from the get go that if you are familiar with ADnD or any of the OSR games, you already know how to play this game.

As a refresher, Night Shift focused on three mechanics. First, is an ability check/attack roll/saving throw using a D20 where you add your ability modifier (which can have a bonus that increases as you level) or attack bonus and try to equal or exceed 20. 

Second, skills are percentiles, ala thief skills, and our modified by how difficulty the task is. So, if I have a Climb Walls of 55% and the DM feels that it's a level 3 challenge, I would subtract 15% (3 x 5%), I would end up with a 40% chance.

Third, there are times that, if no other skill or ability seems to apply, I can roll a d6 and I succeed on a 1 or 2. Per the Quickstart this is the default, for instance, if a player doesn't have an appropriate skill to use and the DM still wants give them a chance.

The PCs were:
Leo Derleth, the Fey (Veteran)

Jaimie Concord, the Chosen One

Dirk Pascal, the Veteran

The game went great and we were up and rolling in less than 20 minutes.

The rules easily handled investigation, social interaction and cinematic combat. If I had any uncertainty on what type of check was appropriate, I'd just have the PC or NPC roll a d6 and look for a 1 or 2. I felt secure as a DM running this system with very little prep time -- just a reading of the rules and the adventure.

NPCs and Enemies are easy to use, you simply add their Hit Dice value to any D20 checks they make. This allowed me, as the GM, to easily create some ally or enemy NPCs on the fly.

Due to the player's actions, I had an encounter that wasn't in the Quickstart and by simply figuring out the NPCs Hit Dice, I had their Hit Points, D20 bonus, and quickly figured out their AC, which defaults to 9.

I also felt the action was pretty dynamic, it was easy to run a small horde of bikers, hellhounds, and a Big Boss that outnumbered and challenged the PCs, while at the same time the their class abilities really channeled the action of the TV shows that inspired this game in the first place. At one point, the Chosen One was hanging from the side of the rooftop and facing a demon and the Player wanted to break free and then grab a window seal and smash through instead of falling to the concrete below. A simple opposed Strength check and a well time 1 on a d6 handled the action easily and had everyone at the table pumped.

I also want to highlight Fate Points and their uses. The Chosen One entered they fray on the rooftop 2 rounds sooner than the Fey and the Veteran and got pretty beat up extremely fast. Thanks to Fate points was able to activate Second Wind on one round, Righteous Rage on the next, and another Second Wind on the third round. Fate points were a great way to emulate the genre perfectly and allowed less flashy characters, like the Sage, to shine in the game alongside the Chosen One and the Fey.

To top it all off, we played the adventure in just under 2-1/2 hours. Night Shift is certainly a rules set you are probably intimately familiar with, but it's innovations channel the genre appropriately and highlight some of the recent innovations of contemporary game design.

I cannot recommend backing this game enough and taking the Quickstart for a spin.

Back this game right now!

1 comment:

The Grey Elf said...

Somehow I missed you posting this the other day, Mark. Thanks so much!

Thundarr the Movie

As a life-long comics fan and a retailer with a quarter century of experience, I was today years old when I discovered that Buzz Dixon and ...