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Old 09-17-2017, 04:29 PM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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Default The Project, Prime Base, The Game

In 1980 when dinosaurs roamed the Earth Morrow Project was one of the first, if not the original, RPG that let players run characters that they might meet or even be on the tabletop. You could directly base your character on yourself, your high school science teacher, the cop from down the street, or soldiers you read about or even served with. This was a huge difference from a fantasy setting or even something like Traveller.

The first few modules were shoot'em ups generally speaking. This reflected the roots of RPGs as "Kill monsters and take their treasure" dungeon crawls, as well as the preferences of some of the original design teams. It is also a fairly easy way to introduce new players into an sort of game. Give them a problem they don't have to think too much about and let them explore the combat rules.

Since those relatively simple beginnings in a time when Role Playing was in its infancy, a lot has changed in terms of gamers and gaming. This first led to the introduction of a skill system to MP and now to 4th edition. It has also led to a very deep schism in the very passionate followers of this game universe. On one side are the folks that feel MP is a combat based game setting, while others feel it is also a "thinking" game in which players must solve problems and their characters must be able to interact in peaceful, nay even cooperative, fashion with NPCs. I am an unapologetic member of the latter group.

I am not saying Morrow is not both. I've run plenty of combat heavy scenarios. I am saying that it has the possibility, for the right game master and set of players, to be a more varied setting. I've certainly run a number of scenarios, both in house campaigns and at conventions, where combat would not have solved the issues and players had to find other ways for their characters to resolve conflicts. Some of the published modules lend themselves to this style of play, but most do not.

Then came along Prime Base. This was absolutely a huge change in play style for TimeLine. For a crew of combat specialist characters and players it will be nearly impossible to succeed, or even to survive. As written it has a huge amount of issues. It's obtuse, it's complex, it has almost no combat at all.

I admire the ideas behind Prime Base as a gaming setting. I question how it was carried out, and I am pretty sure I'm not alone in that opinion. So how should the RPG handle Prime Base? I think the module should have a better balance between combat and non combat challenges.
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Old 09-17-2017, 05:56 PM
Matt W Matt W is offline
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I wish you luck. Prime Base is the worst of the modules; it's simply unplayable

But it's a brave effort. I would suggest that the "edit" starts with removing/altering the stuff that players will find implausible (dinosaurs, for example).

Remove/alter the stuff that players will hate (the super-competent Phoenix team, for example)

Remove/alter the stuff that players will laugh at (the Prime Base computer, for example)

SO what is left? Only puzzles? That's very hard to do in a way that entertains players. You'll probably find that only one player is interested. It also needs some sort of conflict to keep players "on their toes". I would suggest that someone else is also trying to get into the base... Perhaps they've already tripped over some of the automated defences

Frozen Chosen?
Snake Eaters?
The descendants of a Morrow Team on a sort of pilgrimage?

If you want to make it really complex then maybe TWO groups have found Prime Base and are likely to fight each other plus the PCs. The players may have to negotiate for a share of the loot

Then we must decide if the players are ever going to use this facility (probably not, IMHO). After all, it's over 150 years old, and hasn't had any maintenance. It's frankly unpleasant and superfluous. Once they've found the MacGuffin, it would be wise to relocate

And maybe it could be in Indiana?
http://qctimes.com/news/local/barb-i...2204ab112.html
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Old 09-17-2017, 07:15 PM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt W View Post
I wish you luck. Prime Base is the worst of the modules; it's simply unplayable

I agree

But it's a brave effort. I would suggest that the "edit" starts with removing/altering the stuff that players will find implausible (dinosaurs, for example).

Done in the Prime Base Repairment

Remove/alter the stuff that players will hate (the super-competent Phoenix team, for example)

Yep, I will only leave that as an "option" for a PD. I hated the concept and think it robs the players and their characters from controlling their own future.

Remove/alter the stuff that players will laugh at (the Prime Base computer, for example)

Yes

SO what is left? Only puzzles? That's very hard to do in a way that entertains players. You'll probably find that only one player is interested. It also needs some sort of conflict to keep players "on their toes". I would suggest that someone else is also trying to get into the base... Perhaps they've already tripped over some of the automated defences

The puzzles are definitely going to be core. One way to add interest is to breach part of the base and let some wildlife in. Robot defenders would be ideal. These are much more likely in 4th edition than 1-3. At that point the adventure becomes Damocles though. How can it be made different enough to stand alone? In fact in the 4th edition Prime Base might well have a really sophisticated AI, which would completely change everything about the storyline.

Frozen Chosen?
Snake Eaters?
The descendants of a Morrow Team on a sort of pilgrimage?

If you want to make it really complex then maybe TWO groups have found Prime Base and are likely to fight each other plus the PCs. The players may have to negotiate for a share of the loot

Then we must decide if the players are ever going to use this facility (probably not, IMHO). After all, it's over 150 years old, and hasn't had any maintenance. It's frankly unpleasant and superfluous. Once they've found the MacGuffin, it would be wise to relocate

A lot of this depends upon what condition the base is in, and what other Morrow assets are close by. I've been watching the discussion of MARS/Recon teams around the region with interest. Also is there a number of other teams that can be contacted with information discovered in Prime?



I believe that Timeline originally did envision abandoning Prime Base after the adventure. I seem to recall some guff about moving everyone to Idaho under the "wise" tyranny of the Phoenix team. This seems to indicate that the only reason Prime was written was to unleash the Phoenix Team. I've never liked the concept, either on the Project level or on the game level.

I think it might be important to make the game worth the candle though. Prime Base needs to really be worth dying for. It needs to be salvageable. It needs to be of huge value to the future of the restoration of the world. HUGE value. I believe that if players get through Prime Base and find everything that "everything" better be things like all the Morrow Project dependants in freeze tubes, mothballed factories capable of building just about anything.

And maybe it could be in Indiana?
http://qctimes.com/news/local/barb-i...2204ab112.html
That is Iowa, not Indiana but will be very useful in another project I'm working on so thanks!
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:17 AM
Project_Sardonicus Project_Sardonicus is offline
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I remember buying Prime Base years ago and thinking,
Is that it?
Then putting it down for ages picking it up again and thinking, no really that's it?

Which is annoying as a UK MP fan, for years I had thought it was unpublished and this was like some treasure trove.

It suffers from 2 maladies of supplements of the 1980s.

1 The Abandoned Hole.

GDW Traveller was notorious for devising abandoned bases, temples and even starships. Which players would stumble around trying to solve a usually fairly pedestrian mystery and avoiding some fairly minor threats.

2 The Get out of here Guardians.

Seemingly every early D&D scenario had a city with level 3 guards and a level 6 wizard working for the local lord. Who's sole job was to make sure heroes got themselves out of town and raided the local tomb and didn't make any trouble.

Hence the Phoenix Team e.g. "who'd have thought the Project had Chuck Norris, Dutch and their combined special forces just to boot us out of our nice new Prime base!"

So basically a scenario where the players turn up half naked and injured after fighting giant lizards in a swamp. Before exploring a big empty tomb by match light and then if they finally find the secret, getting kicked out by Delta Force is probably one of the least entertaining scenarios of all time.

Which is even more annoying when you bear in mind; The Starnaman Incident and Damocles were easily some of the best post apocalyptic dungeon scenarios and worked so well.

My view keep the maps and ditch everything else. Maybe Damoclese has been run by the degenerate descendants of the survivors, perhaps a care taker crew woken up a 100 years ago.

The idea of the base being laid siege by some serious big bads like Krell or Sciens would be great.

But you know trust your team will want to leave of their own free will to rebuild the world. And not hang around to help the Phoenix teams clean up ala a 1980s montage.

nb I've always felt that the Morrow Project staff who wanted to man Prime Base would be a little screwy anyway. Volunteering to watch the world burn alongside all their friends and family (well most of them). Not well adjusted people, if a few survived in freeze tubes and ran the place. I think they may end up like those crazy Human's in one of the old Planet of the Apes films who worshipped an atom bomb...
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:06 PM
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kato13 kato13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Project_Sardonicus View Post
My view keep the maps and ditch everything else.
The maps while cool are printed so small I found them almost useless. I scanned them and printed at 200% which was an improvement but still annoyingly small given the number of rooms per floor.
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:46 PM
tsofian tsofian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kato13 View Post
The maps while cool are printed so small I found them almost useless. I scanned them and printed at 200% which was an improvement but still annoyingly small given the number of rooms per floor.
Plus the basic design of the base itself is so badly flawed that the maps, even if they were great, have to be redone.
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