Author Topic: Red Markets Inspiration  (Read 177048 times)

clockworkjoe

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2015, 04:16:30 PM »
Undoubtedly there are worse prisons and Red Markets is in the near future, so a RM version of Angola could have better structural reforms in place that make it a better site for an enclave. It is also one of the most written about prisons in America, it seems like.

You could even have factions: maybe Cain is dead, but he's become a semi-messianic figure for a group of the old guards. Others...remember him a little differently. So you've got the Cainanites, the Cowboys (who are all about keeping the rodeo going, and raising horses for export), the Rainbow Panthers (who consider themselves their heirs of Wallace and Woodcox, and also advocate for racial cooperation and LGBT tolerance), and maybe a council of the strongest racial prison gangs.

That could be a really hard-core political campaign setting.

Yeah, definitely a great place to set a game.

crash2455

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2015, 04:43:13 PM »
Just adding to the ruin porn aspect, I totally forgot about Life After People until I started searching on architectural details and what happens when buildings aren't maintained. 

There's a Wikia too.

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2015, 01:11:33 AM »
I wonder, with current/near-future tech like drones and dronkeys available to Takers who can pay would there also be people in the Loss who make use of powered exoskeletons like Lockheed's HULC system? As far as I know it's well through prototyping--they tested a few in Afghanistan--and although it would be another expensive item it would also come in super handy. I think the claim was that it allowed a soldier carrying 200lbs of gear to run at 10mph for "extended periods". Perfect for escaping Vectors without having to ditch all your gear!

Cthuluzord

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2015, 02:39:31 PM »
I just wanted to take some time to say that the outpouring of enthusiasm and support for the Beta I've seen on the forums is really heartening. Thank you all so much! I'm working on the game every spare moment; my only wish is that I could get it out to everyone sooner.

Thanks again...and keep it up!

pigsinspaces

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2015, 04:55:17 PM »
This has been around for a while but the Zombie Safe House competition has a few non-whimsical entries that might have application [ https://zombiesafehouse.wordpress.com ]

I was also thinking about what would happen to those massive server farms ... they would require far too much power to maintain but perhaps a priesthood would emerge, superstitiously cycling on and off machines in sequence in deference to the might "Brin", "the mass is over, google in peace, amen".

Google server farms would be valuable having essentially cached so much valuable information ... which could be of use to enclaves ... as well as perhaps indicating "last known locations" of people prior to the breakdown of society.
[ http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/inside/locations/index.html ]

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #35 on: August 18, 2015, 03:14:09 PM »
A quick question about the setting: I was looking over the pregens in preparation for my first playtest tomorrow (Eeeeeee!) and I saw that Alpha's Tough Spot is "Shepherd", but after searching through the beta document I wasn't able to find any details on what that means. I gather that Shepherds are some sort of post-Crash denomination of Christianity, but what about their beliefs makes them unwilling to dispatch Casualties? I just want to be able to explain it if one of my players picks Alpha as their pregen.

Tadanori Oyama

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #36 on: August 18, 2015, 03:31:39 PM »
We had someone play that character at GenCon; they have to make a self control roll to kill Casualties. Not sure what the advantage is.

trinite

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #37 on: August 18, 2015, 03:45:02 PM »
A quick question about the setting: I was looking over the pregens in preparation for my first playtest tomorrow (Eeeeeee!) and I saw that Alpha's Tough Spot is "Shepherd", but after searching through the beta document I wasn't able to find any details on what that means. I gather that Shepherds are some sort of post-Crash denomination of Christianity, but what about their beliefs makes them unwilling to dispatch Casualties? I just want to be able to explain it if one of my players picks Alpha as their pregen.
I don't think he included any of that in the playtest setting draft, so there isn't a canonical description yet.

When it came up in play for me, I described it as a term for several different belief sets that all commonly hold that you shouldn't kill Casualties. Some people think that the Blight could someday be cured; others think that the Casualties are slowly developing into a new intelligent species and should be allowed to grow and emerge naturally. Others think that killing them casually is disrespectful to the dead. And some might think that the Blight is a divine punishment, and that God is testing humanity's willingness to selflessly care for this new organism that He sent among us (sort of like the Meek, but without the doctrine of spreading the plague to everyone). But all of these groups are collectively labeled "Shepherds" by others, because their opposition to killing Casualites is all that really matters to Takers.

I would let a Shepherd PC decide which version of Shepherdism they subscribe to.

(And steal any ideas you like, Caleb.  ;))
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crash2455

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #38 on: August 18, 2015, 03:50:48 PM »
In a similar fashion, I didn't see anything in the book describing what an Aberrant was.  I doubt I'll be throwing them at players in these tests, but given that there's a chance they can complicate things, I've been theorizing based on the other zombie types that they fall under the "Talking Zombie" category.  Clever, collaborative, durable zombies capable of speech and outright sociopathic tendencies.

Given that there is hinting at varieties of Aberrant, I also considered throwing the Cell zombies into the mix because a creepy hivemind seems like something that would be born of a mysterious parasitic black ooze.

Cthuluzord

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #39 on: August 18, 2015, 04:21:25 PM »
The missing stuff about Aberrants and Believers (general terms for cults in the setting) isn't an oversight. Those will be dealt with in the setting text, which is not written yet or included in the draft.

Aberrants break zombie rules, so as far as playtesting is concerned, I just need to make sure regular zombie rules are working first. Believers are pure setting info establishing the motives of NPCs; there's not much to playtest there, so I left it out cuz the damn thing's too long already  :o

crash2455

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #40 on: August 18, 2015, 04:38:51 PM »
The missing stuff about Aberrants and Believers (general terms for cults in the setting) isn't an oversight. Those will be dealt with in the setting text, which is not written yet or included in the draft.

Aberrants break zombie rules, so as far as playtesting is concerned, I just need to make sure regular zombie rules are working first. Believers are pure setting info establishing the motives of NPCs; there's not much to playtest there, so I left it out cuz the damn thing's too long already  :o

Gotcha.  Will just reroll anything that comes up aberrant, then.

This has been around for a while but the Zombie Safe House competition has a few non-whimsical entries that might have application [ https://zombiesafehouse.wordpress.com ]

I was also thinking about what would happen to those massive server farms ... they would require far too much power to maintain but perhaps a priesthood would emerge, superstitiously cycling on and off machines in sequence in deference to the might "Brin", "the mass is over, google in peace, amen".

Google server farms would be valuable having essentially cached so much valuable information ... which could be of use to enclaves ... as well as perhaps indicating "last known locations" of people prior to the breakdown of society.
[ http://www.google.com/about/datacenters/inside/locations/index.html ]

Google Server farms are also complicated by a time factor.  Google goes through so many hard drives that they buy the cheapest ones they can fit into their servers and made a special filesystem that predicts drive failures and allocates data appropriately.  If you had information on a data center you could recover from it would be a race against time as well to try and gather data before the drives degrade after years of neglect.

pigsinspaces

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #41 on: August 18, 2015, 05:39:34 PM »
How does the media now operate? Is there a nascent underground media operating in the Loss, or is that just to unneccessary when you are scraping through old tins to find something to eat? Perhaps the media operating in the Recession has become cruel and degenerate, striving harder to titilate a genuinely jaded and shellshocked audience?

I have an idea for a sequence of Hollywood based adventures ... premium bounties are offered on former celebrities (now decidedly z-list), these are filmed by the team and traded to the media for the bounties. Two teams might compete in a perverse version of "Hollywood Squares" to finish off a hit list of their assigned celebrities all recorded and broadcast. Recovery missions could be sent to find lost drones / broadcasting equipment after a spectacularly unsuccessful pilot for "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here" (the bush tucker trial got out of hand).

It may all be a bit on the nose but it would mean some iconic locations ... I am picturing a hoard of zombles rolling down the Hollywood Bowl as the adventurers secure the stage.

pigsinspaces

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #42 on: August 19, 2015, 07:10:24 PM »
Vehicles adapted to survive a zombie apocalypse: http://www.coroflot.com/donalokeeffe/Zombie-Survival-Vehicle-series

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #43 on: August 20, 2015, 02:24:01 AM »
Just finished running the first Market Fiat game to see if my group would be interested in playing Red Markets long term. Answer is a very emphatic yes.

TOO DEAD TO FAIL
Since this was a one-shot we decided to go with the pregens included with the playtest packet: our Takers for this job were Grizz, Alpha, and Mal. After hearing about a potential job opportunity they showed up at the enclave of Prosperity in Louisiana: a semi-feudal town established in what used to be a private country club, with the ruling "Members" allowing "Renters" to work the fields in exchange for the protection of the guards, who were a mix of rent-a-cops and aging military vets. One of the guards, a "Colonel Kurtz", was actually Grizz's former CO before the Crash and a current reference the player tapped to learn about the job--apparently Prosperity was running low on food stores with the winter coming up, which meant that someone was stealing from the supply.

After entering the enclave the crew met with Duke McCaughen, one of the Members sent to negotiate the terms of the job. Alpha led in negotiations while Grizz and Mal worked scams--since there were only three of them and Alpha rolled like a bastard on his Leadership check (6 rounds!) I let them run multiple scams each. The job started at 13 Bounty, which they determined was R4B9 for Equilibrium since Supply for food was low and Demand was high with winter on its way. Grizz and Mal ran some scams to increase Demand by inciting a food riot and spreading rumors that the Members would kick people out so there would be enough food for everyone. After some back and forth, during which Alpha learned and used one of McCaughen's spots and McCaughen in turn offered them the gift of a police surveillance drone, they ended up at Hazard Pay.

The Job seemed simple enough: after a 3-Leg journey through the Louisiana countryside, they would come to an abandoned storage unit and clear the area of Casualties before calling in the enclave's trucks to pick up anything still left inside--McCaughen didn't say, but it was easy for the Takers to guess that the place still had stores of food that hadn't spoiled and could be used to solve the shortages. There was more to the job that they didn't find out in negotiations: the unit was used as an emergency cache by FEMA in the early days of the Crash, back when it was still being treated as a humanitarian crisis, and thus could potentially hold enough preserved food and nonperishables to get Prosperity back on its feet. In addition the current food crisis had been caused due to some of the Members embezzling enclave funds for their personal fortunes, and while he wasn't guilty of such McCaughen was eager to clean the mess up before the Renters found out and rose up in revolt so he turned to Dead Caesar, a Valet in Jackson, for assistance. Caesar gave him the details on the storage unit in exchange for agreeing to a "future favor".

On the first Leg the Takers, while searching for a place to rest for the night, found a ranch on a hill with a house and barn. They searched the house and found it empty, save for the owner who had apparently checked out with a bottle of pills years ago, but when they investigated the barn they heard the unmistakable sounds of Casualties within and found a message painted on the chained-up doors: "TO WHOMEVER MAY HAVE THE STRENGTH TO DO WHAT I COULD NOT, GOD BLESS AND HELP YOURSELF". Thanks to the family photo they found in the dead rancher's hands the Takers knew there were probably at least a dozen Casualties inside, so rather than trying to kill them with a rifle and a tomahawk they decided to use Alpha's dog Intern to chum them off into the woods before ditching them in the fading light. They did so, and upon entering the barn they found the rancher's reward: a toolbox full of $100 bills, completely worthless. Fortunately Mal had done some scavenging in the house beforehand and located a safe full of property deeds and birth certificates worth 8 Bounty. Alpha took some Stress while waiting and worrying about Intern, but the dog came back wagging his tail with no zombies in tow so they were able to sleep peacefully in the house that night.

For the second Leg they came across an overpass with a military semi truck that had apparently wrecked and was half-dangling over the railroad tracks below, where they could hear but not see Casualties milling about. Again they decided to use Intern to lure the zombies away before investigating further, and after her success at the ranch Alpha agreed. Intern went to the top of the overpass, barked and yipped to attract the Casualties below, ran off down the other side to lure them away...and a minute later promptly came hauling ass back with a Stampede on her tail. The Takers managed to hide behind some abandoned cars and sent her running off down another road to lure them away, which inflicted more Stress on Alpha, and although the horde of 50+ zombies passed without noticing them they still had to roll Self-Control against Trauma for the harrowing experience. After the dog returned Grizz climbed inside the back of the teetering trailer and found a military shotgun, which he reluctantly gave to Mal so she wouldn't have to tomahawk any zombies they came across in the future. There was also a Casualty in Kevlar and a helmet who tumbled out the back to try and catch Intern, but since his gear was splattered in infectious blood after he fell 50 feet onto railroad tracks they decided it wasn't worth salvaging--they did take his dog tags for 1 Bounty.

The third and final Leg they would have skipped entirely had Alpha not insisted they intervene: while approaching a levee road they heard a motor vehicle driving up and down a 100 yard stretch over and over, with sounds of cheering and whistling. After circling to cross and get a good vantage point behind an abandoned car they saw an ATV roaring up and down the same stretch of road dragging something behind, with four onlookers standing by a parked car cheering the driver on. Alpha was the only one who succeeded on an Awareness check to make out what the ATV was dragging: it was roadhauling a man. Reluctantly (After I made it clear they would take Detachment damage for just turning and walking away) Grizz and Mal agreed to save him. They set up an ambush where the two of them would open fire on the group by the car, and Intern would circle around and attack the man on the ATV when he was distracted by the gunfire. Grizz popped one in the head, Mal missed and emptied half her clip into the air, Intern pounced on the ATV driver like a velociraptor and dragged him off the bike, mauling his leg in the process. After the surprise round Mal corrected her aim and blew a man's leg off and Grizz shot another one in the head, but their return fire nicked Mal in the leg for 1 Kill. Then, because she had already used her Twitch to try and avoid the first attack, the second automatically hit her and I rolled ten Kill to the head. Her player wisely decided to spend a Will to negate that (We misread the rules and I said to convert it to Stun, so we reasoned the bullet just grazed her and knocked her out). Seeing Mal go down after taking a bullet to the head triggered Self-Control checks and Alpha gained another point of Will for "Squeamish" by forgoing his turn and cowering in terror as bullets sparked off the car. Then Grizz killed the man who shot Mal, and Intern pounced on the last one and tore his throat out. Grizz patched up Mal, and when they approached the bodies they saw that they had armbands of the New Order--local raiders and slavers formed from the merger of a Christian Identity church and white supremacist movement after the Crash. The man they were roadhauling turned out to be a Latent, and very reluctantly Mal agreed to perform first aid on him (For which I rolled a negative on infection and of course did not tell them, which left Grizz very paranoid for the remainder of the game). They agreed to give him the slavers' car, earning the +Rep Spot "Law In These Parts", and looted 5 Bounty from the bodies. At this point we figured out the rules on negating and healing damage so Mal's player erased the Stun to the head and put ten Kill damage in the chest, 9 of which was converted to Stun by Grizz' first aid test.

As they approached the job site, things started to get interesting: their instructions were to clear all Casualties within the storage unit and a two block radius to give the trucks plenty of time to load, but as they scouted the area they were surprised to find very few Casualties anywhere. They also found evidence that someone had recently culled the area, which put them on their guard as they approached the storage unit, and they decided now was a good time to finally use that surveillance drone. They performed some recon on the site and noticed some big trucks with FEMA abandoned out front, as well as some old military vehicles, and razor wire surrounding the walls that wasn't in the photos they were given. Painted on the roof of a large warehouse was "HELP US".



After calling McCaughen and making sure he knew nothing about this--he didn't--they decided to move in and investigate what looked like a failed enclave to them. The trucks and vehicles seemed to have been abandoned for years, which was an encouraging sign, and they spotted a single Humvee parked inside the open warehouse with a figure sitting behind the driver's seat. They approached to get a closer look, thinking it was just a Casualty, but it turned out to be the skeletal corpse of a long-dead National Guardsman. When they opened the door to pull him out, however, they triggered a boobytrap: the "open door" blinker in the dash was wired to a remote which caused the front gate to rattle shut behind them and also opened some of the storage units outside, which had all been closed when they scouted with the drone. They could hear scuffling footsteps on the asphalt so they sent up the drone to draw away any Casualties released by the boobytrap, but no sooner had it gotten airborne and out of the warehouse than a previously-hidden sharpshooter knocked it from the sky! The Casualties started moving towards the sound of the gunshot--and the warehouse--so the Takers climbed into the Humvee and hunkered down to see what they were dealing with. When 100+ Casualties shambled by the warehouse door, blocking their way to the closed gate, they wisely decided that this job wasn't worth their lives and started working on a plan to escape whatever mad trap they had stumbled into.

Mal examined the key fog and found that while the charge from the car had fried it after activation, it was potentially salvageable and could be repaired with some time and effort. That left the question of how they would get past the zombies, so Grizz decided to slip out of the Humvee, try one of the warehouse's side doors, and see if he could find another way out of the storage unit. While exploring he nearly ran afoul of another boobytrap: the sniper had cut one of the storage doors to pieces, taped it back together, and set a tripwire, presumably placing explosives inside to turn the door into an enormous frag grenade. After finding a maintenance ladder that was rigged with a motion sensor Grizz decided to turn back before his luck ran out (At this point Alpha's player was just repeating "Why?!" over and over re: the deathtraps) and ran smack into a mob of Casualties that strayed from the main group. He decided to lure them back to the explosive trap, and back inside the Humvee Alpha and Mal suddenly heard an enormous explosion from outside, which had the nice side effect of peeling most of the Casualties away from the front gates!

Grizz failed a Sneak check to return to the Humvee, so rather than letting him be spotted by the bulk of the zombies as they came back to investigate the explosion I allowed him succeed at cost (Or "pay 2 win" as I called it) by emptying his silenced rifle to kill the ones who did see him before ducking out of sight, and since we were using the High-Stakes Haul rules he checked Foresight to see if he had extra mags; he did not, so he was just down to his pistol. Back in the Humvee the group debated about how to get out: Alpha had scavenged the floor mats so they could throw them over the razor wire and hop the wall, but refused to go with Mal and Grizz if it meant leaving Intern behind. The two of them agreed to climb over the wall, fire some shots from their non-silenced weapons to draw the remaining zombies away from the gates so Alpha could use the now-repaired key fob to open it, and then he and Intern would make a break for it past the sniper (Who they correctly guessed was in the second floor manager's office).

Grizz and Mal made their Sneak checks to slip over to a section of wall behind the warehouse where the sniper would have a difficult time hitting them, but Mal had to succeed at cost after a botched roll so we said that she tripped, dropped her UbiqSpecs, and couldn't waste time to grab them since the Casualties were just a few dozen feet away. They reached the wall without further incident and started working on getting over, but back in the Humvee Alpha had to roll a Self-Control check against Stress--as far as he knew Mal and Grizz might just decide to abandon him there and wouldn't come back, since a Squeamish Shepherd is a bit of a liability out in the Loss--and failed, which gave him his first Regret! After presenting him with the three options Alpha's player chose Flight and decided "fuck it, I'm hitting the gate and just sprinting past the zombies with Intern!". The two of them made it past the handful that wandered into the warehouse, but when they were halfway to the gate the sniper took a shot--which missed--and pulled the Casualties' attention right as Alpha and Intern were right in their midst.

We jumpcut back to Grizz and Mal, the former of which has climbed up onto the wall over the floormats and fires off a few rounds from his pistol just as he hears the sniper fire his shot at Alpha and sees the Shepherd running out in the open with his dog for some stupid fucking reason. Mal fails her Athletics check to climb up onto the wall, and after considering the options--fail and fall, making lots of noise as her toolkit hits the ground, or succeed at cost--she decided on the latter and grabbed an uncovered section of razor wire to catch herself, slicing open her hand for 5 Kill damage. She managed to make it up and the two of them hopped over the other side to safety.

Alpha and Intern, meanwhile, bolted for the gate through the crowd of Casualties. The player burned what was left of his Rations to give them both bonuses, and just as Alpha made it out and turned to see if Intern was still behind him the sniper took a second shot that just barely grazed the dog's back--only 1 Kill damage, but seeing his dog injured meant that Alpha wouldn't heal 1 free Humanity after this session. Still under the influence of his Regret Alpha and Intern took off down the road, putting some distance between them and the storage unit sniper while Grizz and Mal headed for the rendezvous point. When Alpha failed to show up they headed back to Prosperity to report their failure and reasons thereof to McCaughen, who was displeased but convinced to at least give them their Hazard Pay. Combined with the Bounty they scavenged during the three Legs, and with cutting Alpha out of the group for abandoning them on the job, Grizz and Mal managed to make a slim profit. We decided that Alpha probably returned to the enclave to retire from Taking, as he clearly was not cut out for it, and (Although this wouldn't matter for a one-shot) eventually Prosperity would collapse as starvation led to revolution and a mass exodus to other enclaves.

Afterwards I explained the story behind the job site to the players: the storage site wasn't just used by FEMA during the Crash, it was also temporarily occupied by a rogue battalion of the Mississippi National Guard that left the Recession in the early days after the Crash on an unknown mission to Houston--this became something of an urban legend of the Crash. They established outposts along their route, creating a "safe corridor" for resupply, but withdrew the few troops they spared to man those posts for their big push into Houston, where they promptly disappeared. The sniper was the one soldier who stayed behind to watch over "Fort Hitchhike" in case they returned, and after five years of isolation and bad encounters with bandits/other Takers who shot first he became paranoid about defending the place. If the Takers had managed to kill him and deal with the mob of Casualties somehow they would have found the bodies and gear of another Taker team that Dead Caesar had hired to search the place weeks ago, along with lots of crazy graffiti in the sniper's nest, a journal detailing the sniper's descent into madness (Which they could have sold to Archivists interested in the legend of the Rogue Battalion), and some sweet military-grade loot. Alas, sometimes the money just isn't worth it.

We had so much fun playing this and have decided to try and run an ongoing game, starting with enclave and character creation proper instead of relying on pregens. I spent a while studying the rules beforehand but there were still a few things I had to look up, like how Called Shots and healing worked, but I was able to walk them through most everything else like Job Negotiation (Which they loved). Everyone particularly enjoyed the Leg encounters, not just because I put some thought into making them but because the idea itself means they'll be short, sweet, and varied so great job there Caleb! The main part of the game at the Job Site was a bit less fun because the players felt trapped by the circumstances (And not necessarily in the way I wanted) but after talking about it afterwards I decided that the next time I run this game for another group I'll have way fewer zombies--I wanted the focus to be on the sniper and his craziness, but with 100+ Casualties breathing down their necks the players were primarily concerned with the horde. I figure a handful of separate Mobs to keep things interesting, plus the boobytraps and the sniper will make the job site challenging enough without causing the players to take one look and go "lol nope".

One other thing I want to mention: while prepping for this game I had the idea of giving players tokens to let them keep track of Twitch in combat--I didn't want to waste time playing "did I spend it this round?"--which then expanded into giving the players tokens to keep track of all their resources on a labeled mat: Endurance/Rations were represented by nickels, Haul was dimes, and Item charges were pennies. As they spent charges for all of these they would take coins and put them in the center, and if they refreshed or recovered some (Grizz got some rifle ammo back from a Nazi's corpse, they all filled their rations with MREs from the back of the military semi) they would grab them back. Overall I'd say it worked pretty well and provided a good physical reinforcement of the "economic" theme of the game, although one player suggested using some kind of slider instead. It'd probably be a lot of hassle to include physical tokens with the game (Even as a stretch goal) but if this sounds like a good addition I figure a sidebar couldn't hurt? Tomsawyer was in the game and took a picture of the "resource mats" I made so he can post that sometime.

tl;dr One player almost died, one lost his marbles (And thus his cut), and they had to abandon the job and barely made any money, but everyone had a great time!

Alethea

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #44 on: August 20, 2015, 07:21:23 AM »
Jace, please, please, please tell me you have a recording of this! That sounds like it was a lot of fun and you wrote it up really well!
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