I will be running this as a demo tomorrow and having read through it I can tell you couldn't realistically play this for a 4 - 6 player group in anything less than about 8 - 10 hours - a two or three average gaming sessions for me. I have a three hours slot tomorrow morning.
So, any thoughts from people on cutting the mission down to something more manageable?
My current plan would be to forget Part 1 altogether and dropping the first part of Part 2 as well, starting with a preamble explaining the mission so far and launching directly into saving the survivors of the crashed Valkyrie. That means we have a tactical combat, followed by a breather as the team re-equip, then the battle on to the River, over the Bridge and the final conflict before the end.
Yes, typing it out like this I can see it seems short, but it still represents at least three pitched battles and a bit of role playing. More than enough for a 3 hour session.
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I think that it might be a bit more plausible to cut from the middle. They get a Valkyrie running or one gets sent to them, and then zoom to the ending. Two pitched battles, and a final fight.
The first free adventure for the 40k rpg line was very short, and purely intended as an intro for one session. FFG, with their later efforts, seem to intend that the Free RPG adventure works as a full blown adventure in its own right (ie suitable for those who know the system and are not needing an introduction to the game), and so they have made them much more involved affairs (usually quite simple in overall structure though). I would say most seem to be aiming for 6-9 hours play time if done as a full developed adventure. Of course this doesn't help you, but as they have usually been fairly straightforward it usually makes it quite easy to strip down if necessary.
Not having seen the adventure I can't say I can give any specific help, but based on the previous efforts I would say cutting out some events probably won't hurt the overall adventure (as long as you don't cut anything vital).
Yeah the Deathwatch game book took me 4 4 hours sessions to play through. Of course my players did lots of things like interact with one another and the PDF, the governor.
A few things to go by:
1) Keep the players focused
2) Do not throw any 'extra' events in. The demo suggests in various places (like the swamp) adding in random encounters. Don't.
3) Narrate more than you might normally. What I mean by this, and it might seem a little heavy handed … but it relates to point #1, give less opportunity for the players to need to ask questions to get information. Tell them what they need to know. In some cases, you don't need to roll a firefight, just describe it.
4) Minimize combat. Combat takes the most time, in general. I'd recommend a combat intro in the beginning, and then the 'big showdown' at the end. Other than that, make sure any other combats go quickly, and they can be mostly narrated rather than rolled.
5) Use the clock. You have 2 hours. The players have 11 hours. Make it a "real-time" count down and make sure the players know this. Make sure they know the two are related, so when an hour (real-time) has gone by, that at least 5/6 hours of game time will have gone by (give or take, depending on the group's progress in the story). This can keep the tension and the impetus to keep moving and make quick decisions. Of course, this works best if you have a group familiar with the WH40k RPG system, or at least with roleplaying games.
That said, I would agree that if you want to 'cut' stuff out, it is probably best done from the middle. Narrate some of the travel and encounters in the middle rather than having the group roleplay or play out the combat.
NezziR's excellent dice notations PDF: mywebpages.comcast.net/nezzir/files/nn.zip
WFRP3e Master Skill list v1: home.comcast.net/~dcvdg/WFRP3e/WFRP3e-MasterSkillList_v1.pdf
Gitzman's wonderful WFRP3 site: www.gitzmansgallery.com/
Online (unofficial) WFRP3e dice roller: home.comcast.net/~dcvdg/WFRP_dice_roller/dice_roller.html
WFRP probability: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/167876/WFRP3%20Full%20html%20Dice%20Roller%20All%20Probability%20Included/WFRP3%20Online%20Dice%20Roller%20All%20Probability%20Included/diceprob/diceprob.html
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