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[Spoilers] S1E02 "Watershed" - Player Reactions


[Spoilers] S1E02 "Watershed" - Player Reactions   

7 members have voted

  1. 1. What was your reaction to this episode?

    • Positive
      2
    • Moderately Positive
      3
    • Neutral
      1
    • Moderately Negative
      0
    • Negative
      1


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Blurb:

As part of the SG Phoenix team, you have been pushed hard during your training and missions. With much-needed rest and relaxation in Haven, you come upon a dispute about water rights, as the river is low. Can you settle the dispute, and resolve the issues before catastrophe ensues?

 

Edited by 1001100x02
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I'm not sure I agree with the method chosen of retconning this episode. The original setup of "team finds a living Goa'uld queen" seems fine, even if the disposition of said queen could perhaps have used some work. If it was presented, for example, that the Pangarans worked out a way to study the queen to synthesize tretonin without needing to mulch any sentient beings, that might have been much more palatable, while still presenting enough of an ethical dilemma to be intersting. 

 

The biggest problem with the retcon was that the purported Dilemma wasn't much of one at all. Given the facility had already been broadcasting for two days, destroying it subsequently wouldn't have any value to protecting the location of SGP, so it's unlcear why any NPCs would be behind that course of action.

  • Indeed 1
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In terms of the gameplay prior to the point where the queen is discovered, the encounters didn't feel as well balanced as in episode 1, and there were way too many random rooms that had nothing of value or interest in the facility. If players are to explore 20 rooms, there should be at least a few more that have some interesting things to discover, and the combat challenges needed to involve more than Jaffa with broken Ma'Toks.

Edited by chitinid
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This episode's relation to canon seems more unstable the more I think about it, but I'm still sticking with my mostly positive opinion of it

The Retcon:

Quote

This was the first time these episodes had been run for the public and we received and listened to your feedback concerning episode 2, "Watershed." We carefully considered the feedback and the implications of "farming" the queen. It was not our intention to railroad the PCs into making an immoral choice that goes against their character. 

To that end, we decided to streamline the ending just a bit. So, while I know this is unusual, I'm going to ask that you revise, in your head, what happened in your episode to the following:

You discover at the facility that the Goa'uld Queen, Tawaret died inside her sarcophagus during the flood. However, there is a ton of research inside the computer systems. She was trying to improve symbiotes to make better soldiers and this research is intact but very incomplete. The Jaffa that is in the facility had sent a distress call out, but the signal has since died due to the flood damage. However, the signal broadcasted for at least 2 days.

The decision for the Phoenix Alliance is to keep the facility and continue the research towards a synthetic Tretonin OR destroy the facility to avoid being discovered due to the distress call.


What you as PCs did in succeeding or failing to save the facility does not change.

Thank you again for playing and we hope that this small change to the end of the episode alleviates the issues some had.

 

The idea of Tawaret being Apophis's post Amaunet bride instead of being the one replaced by her remains uninspiring but it's not a deal breaker.

While we know in real life that the US military is involved in some truly heinous deeds and even in-universe is clearly capable of being party to things like scientific slave labour, I am glad that the heroic fiction of the USAF can remain unsullied by knowingly participating in what would be considered by many a war crime. Even if that were not the case -- Stargate does like throwing moral quandaries at its characters from time to time -- I think the error lay more in introducing events on Pangara in the first place.

An entire planetary population is at risk. We need you to persuade the civilians to let our science types use the base because it solves the goa'uld issue in the chain of supply for their cure.

Come on. Even if the players aren't aware of what goes down on Pangara vis a vis chumming symbiotes, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to join the dots when you're talking about access to the ability to mass produce symbiotes. Turning around and telling character and player alike they have no business reaching that conclusion feels like being gaslit. Especially given we had no particular pushback indirectly manipulating one of our psychwar targets by convincing his jaffa allies allowing the base meant they'd have free symbiotes instead of having to murder and steal from their enslaved kin in order to maintain supply.

My biggest sticking point is that tok'ra players get shafted over Egeria having been recovered after being farmed to death and the implication -- now removed -- of having a functional sarcophagus to hand. Yes they hate the thing but given their viability as a culture/species is at stake, what the stakes in ignoring that just this once?

 

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I thought there were some very fun and engaging parts of this episode, but there were also some big sticking points which created a lot of confusion and immersion issues.

Pros:

  • Exploring the settlement was a lot of fun. It would have been nice to get a bit more guidance on how many things we could try. I finagled a way to try two of them, but since this is a determination heavy episode, it might have been nice to know for sure.
  • The challenge and setup were very SG appropriate and made a lot of sense for a team mission.
  • The exploration process and "dungeon crawling" bits weren't bad, but we did have a couple pilots (boat travel) and a scout (survival/perception checks).
  • I am REALLY enjoying the "Convince Encounter" mechanics

Cons:

  • The lack of a better planet survey (after almost a year) is laughable.
  • TacCom releays should have been available and sent so they could at least be set up as a secondary objective.
  • The table I had really emphasized the challenge of a Living Campaign with random tables. The SGPC would have insisted on sending an engineer/scientist on the mission and we had neither.
  • I never understood how the river's flow was being diverted for DAYS. A river of the size described would have filled the entire base in question within hours.
  • Stopping the flow/purging the base was a simple fix and would have been the first thing which would have been attempted. SCUBA gear should have been sent with the team and a semi-complicated fix in the flooded layers should have been necessary.
  • It was not made clear in the session how the Pangarans developed Tritonin. I didn't want to metagame so I didn't say anything about Egeria, but would the Tok'ra have known and been forcibly opposed to continuing Tritonin research?
  • I did not understand at all why there would be opposition to keeping and exploring the base.
  • Did the SGPC bring the gate to the planet? If not, how was its existence missed by Apophis's forces since they would have had to spend a large amount of time in orbit above the planet surveying it? If so, that needs to be campaign common knowledge.
  • Since a Goa'uld signal was definitely sent from the planet, per the show's logic that would make it no longer viable as the location for the Phoenix site. The Goa'uld may or may not send a ship, but unless there are dedicated orbital defenses (which they definitely don't have in canon) then it doesn't make sense to stay. Was THAT the opposition to using the base? That was never made clear and would have changed a lot from our perspective.
  • It would have been nice to get some additional bonus from being able to convince all three counselors. Also, it doesn't make sense on a site such as this to have an even number of decision-makers. Jaffa, Tok'ra, Human, Arturen, and Tollan should be the breakdown.

Overall, I clicked "Neutral" because of these Cons, but I did like parts of it and it did feel like some decent SG canon material.

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Did not have a good experience at all with this game. The original message we got beforehand was incredibly confusing about picking an established character or making your own. (The phrasing suggested you had to pick a character even if you were making your own.) Several people in my group wanted to make characters but could not access the necessary materials. Then there was the expectation to register our characters on this website, even though we weren't playing our own characters. It was eventually explained to us we could change the info for those characters when we made our own in the future, but that was not at all obvious.

For the first hour and a half, there was nothing but dice rolls. It was not clear why were doing things in town other than to gain advantages for a conversation we could not known about ahead of time. And the convincing of the three locals made no sense. If we failed to convince them, what would have happened next? It seemed to be the jumpoff point for the plot. Mechanics were not clear, and there was no RP.

That was the point where I left the game in utter frustration.

 

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11 hours ago, cassienbeyer@gmail.com said:

Did not have a good experience at all with this game. The original message we got beforehand was incredibly confusing about picking an established character or making your own. (The phrasing suggested you had to pick a character even if you were making your own.) Several people in my group wanted to make characters but could not access the necessary materials. Then there was the expectation to register our characters on this website, even though we weren't playing our own characters. It was eventually explained to us we could change the info for those characters when we made our own in the future, but that was not at all obvious.

For the first hour and a half, there was nothing but dice rolls. It was not clear why were doing things in town other than to gain advantages for a conversation we could not known about ahead of time. And the convincing of the three locals made no sense. If we failed to convince them, what would have happened next? It seemed to be the jumpoff point for the plot. Mechanics were not clear, and there was no RP.

That was the point where I left the game in utter frustration.

 

Our group used the persuasion checks as an opportunity for roleplay, so I can't echo the complaint. Undoubtedly, the adventure had a plan for if the persuasion failed. I will also note that all the source materials are available here 

 

Edited by chitinid
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