Advice to Project Directors: Morrow Project 'Training Scenarios'
Throwing a new player (or a new team) straight into the Morrow Project universe is not always the best approach. Many Project Directors (PDs) like to start with in-game Training Scenarios – if only to allow the players and teams to ‘test-drive’ their characters – and it does seem logical that a quasi-military group like the Morrow Project would try to ensure that its members are able to cope with the expected stresses of the post-disaster world.
Therefore, this article will concentrate on advice to PDs on how to run such scenarios.
1. Always bear in mind that the Project DID NOT EXPECT a 150-year Cryosleep. An in-game Training Scenario should involve survivors that are from the same era as the Player Characters.
2. Never “Kill” a PC in the scenario. All personnel are required to complete a scenario even if events within the exercise show that they have been injured or killed. It’s a learning experience, not a death-match (for you as well as the players). You (the PD) are playing an NPC trainer who is dedicated to ensuring that the PCs can develop the skills necessary to survive. This NPC will tell them, “You’re not dead until I say that you’re dead!” .
3: Never Send a Loser off the Training Site. Have your players go through a scenario as many times as necessary in order to have them succeed [but don’t push it to the point of boredom]. Scenarios designed to make the players/trainees look foolish or fail just prove that the training designers are incompetent/sadistic. They’re also not fun for the players. Do not get sidetracked by Star Trek’s “Kobayashi Maru” – a no-win scenario just leads to resentment.
4: Good Trainers Respect their Students. They don’t ridicule or humiliate. That approach might work with teenage, semi-literate draftees to a conscript army – it is counter-productive when used on the type of personnel recruited for the Morrow Project trainees. Your role as the NPC trainer/leader is not only to pass along knowledge but also to inspire. This cannot be done if the PCs (and the players) don’t respect the trainer and the training.
Try to remember the rule of “Criticism in private but Praise in public.” Above all, a good trainer encourage learners not to worry over a ‘bad’ day of training. The objectives should be: fix the problem, correct the deficiency, establish improvement and move on…
TRAINING TO KILL – AND STAY SANE
This is an option some PDs might like to explore.
Despite the almost routine homicide in some RPGs, the face-to-face killing of a fellow human being is not easy. In real life, over 90% of the population find it almost impossible – and the act of killing is psychologically traumatic for the killer, even more so than constant danger or witnessing the death of others.
Most Morrow Project personnel are not combat veterans. Most (perhaps all of them?) will need training on how to survive the psychological and physiological stresses that will affect them when they kill. Whether your players are comfortable or wiling to explore this is up to them. If so, it’s probably best to deal with this in a roleplaying vignette like the Training Scenario. It also enables the PD’s NPC Trainer to reinforce the ethical standards of the Morrow Project. “You’re the Good Guys. ACT LIKE IT!”