I had intended to respond to Vanir’s review on Critical Hits of the session of Director’s Cut: Survival Horror that I ran via comment, but it looked like this was going to be rather long and decided to make a post instead. While I agree with most of what he said, I wanted to clarify a few things as well as give a view from the other side of the GM screen.
First off, I would like to start by saying that I really enjoy DCSH, even though the session did not go as good as I had hoped. I take responsibility for most of that. I should not have tried running a session while recovering from a sinus infection and on cold medicine. I’m sure that this made the experience much more horrific, but for the wrong reasons. For instance, I probably would have noticed the "frustrated players" that Vanir refers to sooner had I not been partially out of it.
Many of the issues encountered though, I feel would have been present even if I had been more with-it. These are due to our specific group and the dynamic therein. When together, We – myself included – are not known for being serious; this game does not respond well to "Tom Foolery". Another issue is that I picked a pre-made scenario that is more rails-oriented that works with our group. We tend to try breaking things instead of going along with what seems to be the intended logical(?) path laid out before us. This makes us a very creative group, but not a party that follows cliches easily. See Vanir’s mention of a 600 pound guy pinning the slasher for instance.
Many of the players had issues with the rules as well, which I think could be tweaked as house rules. For example, several players said to me that they liked the idea of the immersive story, but wanted to have more control over it; this is a good thing and I would like to encourage it. That being said, allowing the player to do called shots and roll to see if the hit was a crit (instead of rolling for location and the head is always a crit) would allow more dynamic storytelling by the group as a whole.
Again, I really enjoy the game as is, but there are a number of reasons why this system will not work for some groups. I know that there have been talks about other Director’s Cut genres. Slapstick would likely be a great genre for our group with weapons such as open palm and cream pie. I’m not sure what the plots would be, but It could be an interesting concept (hint, hint).
If you haven’t read Vanir’s post, please do so as my response will make a lot more sense. Also, if you have not tried Director’s Cut: Survival Horror, I would encourage you to do so. You can read my review of the game from two years ago for more details.