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Ice Station Zebra 24: Analysis and Recommendations

(Continued from Part 3.)

Okay. It's been another couple of days since the game. I wanted to do a little dissection on Sunday night, but the humidity really got to me, so I decided to rest my brain and head for bed instead. So, with some more sleep and thinking time, here are my ideas regarding the "Ice Station Zebra 24" text and any future games of Starship Troopers (Vickie, Simon and Cristel have said they wouldn't mind a campaign).

Firstly, I'm damned glad I had a group of players willing to put up with an off-key GM's shit for half the game. They deserve better, so next time, I aim to be on key right the way through, which means preparing mentally before the game, relaxing, getting psyched up - well maybe not so much psyched up, but in a flexible, creative, fun state of mind. If I've not written such thus far, my problems during that game were solely my own, so fixing them is my responsibility alone.

Secondly, a better grasp of the rules would be in order; the game probably would have played differently had I got the Fear rules and the three-round-burst business down.

Probably the main improvement I'd make would be starting the session with a bang. If I want to get a group of players keen (not just mildly interested, but actually keen) on finishing the session, I think I ought to get to the good stuf ASAP, and in Starship Troopers: The Roleplaying Game, the good stuff is Troopers Versus Bugs. I'd borrow a trick from the film and start in media res, setting a scene with the troopers within the outpost and siccing the Cliff Mites on them. Let the players make Will saves and shoot some Cliff Mites; sooner or later, one of the insects would likely get close enough to jump at one of the troopers, and at that point I'd flashback to the briefing room. The players would then get the explanation of where they just where and why they were there.

I'd then run the module as normal until the logical point for the Cliff Mites to make an appearance, then resume the combat from where we left off. The leapt-at trooper would rapidly realise that the Cliff Mites can't penetrate power suits, the critters would probably be pasted very quickly (6HP apiece, no problems) and the mission would continue from there.

Simon, I think, suggested that more than three players would work better, and while I don't think the number of players detracted from the quality of the game, I think four or five troopers would work just as well - "Ice Station Zebra 24" was written as a six-player module, although it's easy to customise it for less.

I've put some of this up as a thread over on the Mongoose Publishing forums, and there's some discussion of it going on; even the module's author has got involved.

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