Author Topic: Red Markets Inspiration  (Read 191195 times)

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #90 on: September 20, 2015, 03:03:18 PM »
Just finished the first job of the Nevada campaign last night! It went pretty smoothly for the Takers, all things considered, but there were still some twists and surprises for them to keep things from getting boring.

WHERE DEAD MEN GO

The three Takers of the Casualty Clearing (Crew? Corps? Company?) were Göts, Cabbie, and Plato. Since they hadn’t lost any Humanity damage yet on account of the campaign just starting I decided to skip opening vignettes with dependents and start them off with job hunting. Everyone rolled Networking and everyone failed, so I told them they could tap References to hear about one job each.

Cabbie got in touch with Jesus, an old friend he had smuggled over the border before the Crash who happened to end up in Hooverville as well, who told him that the Board of Engineers were quietly asking around for Taker crews. In exchange for the information Cabbie agreed to pick up a friend of Jesus’ in the nearby enclave of Overpass and bring him to Hooverville.

Plato contacted Chuck, a member of the Free Rangers, who reluctantly told him that during a stopover in the Mojave Nation he had heard scuttlebutt that the Confederate Council was also looking for Takers to pull a job, but wouldn’t be asking for long on account of some sort of time constraints. Plato agreed to pay for drone shipping on a package of scent-blocker that the Free Rangers had ordered to keep their herds from attracting Casualties.

With two potential job leads Göts decided against tapping a Reference for now, deciding to save them in case they needed something later. After rolling Research checks they determined that the Mojave Nation job would start at 9 Bounty and was 1 Leg away, so they decided to check out the Hooverville one first and see if that would pay more. Göts got in touch with Amelia McKenzie, the Board member who had been asking around for Takers, and was escorted down to the Powerhouse for a face to face meeting. McKenzie informed him that a few days ago the Board had quietly decided to send a small survey team (5 Specialists, 5 Takers for protection) to the nearby McEmbry mine in order to determine if one of the smaller copper shafts could be reopened, but they were now two days without contact and had voted to send a follow-up team to investigate. The site was in the middle of nowhere, away from major population centers and freeways, so there shouldn’t have been significant quantities of undead or any squatters to speak of. The Board wants the Takers to drive the 4 Legs to the mine, see if they can find the survey team, and if necessary determine if the mine is unsafe.

Since the job started at 11 Bounty the crew decided to open negotiations. Göts rolled Leadership and got 3 rounds, so that meant Cabbie and Plato would both get to run a scam. This time the negotiations went very much in their favor: Cabbie broke into McKenzie’s office and learned one of her spots—she was a secret fan of 93.5 “The Spill”—while Plato stirred up a protest on the Archway with the families of the missing survey team to put pressure on the Board. During the negotiations Göts invoked his Tough Spot for a free +1 Sway, which pushed him all the way up to Expenses, but critically failed his last Leadership test to meet McKenzie on 100% Markup. Still, with everything else they were looking at 59 Bounty total once the job was complete—more than enough for them to make a profit!

With some printouts of the mine and an “example” map of the interior of the shaft (The survey team had been hoping to find a map in the mine offices) the Takers set off on their first Leg.

After driving through southern Nevada for a ways the Takers spotted a mobile home parked off the side of the road. There was a small campsite set up adjacent to it but nobody seemed to be home, so they decided to stop and investigate to see if there was anything worth taking. While Göts covered everyone with his binoculars from atop the car Cabbie approached the RV and Plato went to look at a collapsed tent. After digging around Plato found that the tent had been ripped open from the inside, and found a dog collar on a chain spiked into the tarp—it was broken. Cabbie approached the door of the RV, which was swinging open and shut in the wind, and immediately spotted bloodstains leaving the RV.

When he looked inside he failed a Self-Control test and took a point of Detachment damage: there were blood and half-eaten entrails everywhere. Reluctantly he stepped inside to investigate further and found the partially-eaten bodies of two adults, a man and a woman. The latter was still holding a revolver with three rounds, which Cabbie took—Göts needed a weapon besides his robot arm—and after digging around a little more he critted his Scavenging check and found 10 Bounty’s worth of IDs and papers in the glove compartment: the family’s life savings, evidently.

After readying their weapons the three Takers decided to follow the bloody footprints away from the camp, over a rise, and into a small wooded area. It wasn’t long before they found the owner of the footprints, a young girl standing barefoot at the edge of a creek staring blankly at the water. They made some noises to try and get her attention, but she wouldn’t move. They approached cautiously and saw that her arms were soaked with blood to the elbows, although they couldn’t see her face, and when Göts rolled a Meme check he realized that this girl was infected and in Torpor between Vector and Casualty. He shot her without a second thought, succeeding his Self-Control test even though Plato did not, and they left the first Leg behind.

The second Leg took them skirting along the edge of an urban area, where the freeway dipped down beneath several overpasses. They were forced to stop when they came across a blockade of abandoned cars in their way, and after deliberating they decided to reverse and spend extra fuel finding a way around instead of getting out and pushing cars out of the way.

The third Leg was another lonely stretch of desert highway, upon which they encountered a lone hitchhiker named Marcus who desperately flagged them down. He begged them for a ride to anywhere with a fence, spilling a sob story about having narrowly escaped the fall of his enclave (“Judgment”) and having run out of food and water hours ago. After some debate the Takers decided to confiscate his gun, give him a little food and water, and let him jump into the back of the Mad Taxi (The name of Cabbie’s car) to ride along with them until they finished the job. After interrogating him a little they also learned that Judgment likely fell due to someone infecting their water supply, and they file away Judgment as a possible score in the near future.

The fourth Leg had them pass through a small town to reach McEmbry. Partway through they turned a corner onto Main Street to find their way barred by what initially seemed to be a horde of frozen Casualties but then resolved into an army of department store mannequins. Someone had painstakingly arranged them in ones, twos, and threes all over the street to resemble pedestrians going about their daily lives, but there were so many that the Mad Taxi couldn’t pass through without knocking or running several over. The Takers took one look at this scene and in unison decided “Nope!” before throwing the cab into reverse and backing out of the encounter, burning extra fuel to get around it.



Finally the Takers arrived at the McEmbry mine Rodeo shaft (Pictured above). After driving around they found the front entrance of the mine and found a pair of Jeeps belonging to the survey team’s protection detail, a Taker crew named Terminal Vector. After parking a short distance from the entrance and investigating they also found a body lying in front of the closest Jeep—or rather, what was left of it. One of the Terminal Vector Takers had apparently come staggering out of the mine, collapsed in front of the Jeep, and been ripped open by something. Cabbie tried to use First Aid to notice any other details, but the only other thing that caught his eye was the fact that there were no obvious bite marks anywhere on the body. They also found a smashed GoPro on his body, which Cabbie pocketed to see if he could get any footage from when they returned to Hooverville.

The Takers dawdled outside the entrance of the mine for a bit gathering information and deciding what to do. After searching the Jeeps for supplies—Göts found some extra rounds for his revolver—they gave the clean one to Marcus to drive back to Hooverville, which he gratefully accepted. Göts tapped one of his References—Honey Badger, a fellow mercenary with a temper—for a map of the mine, which proved to be a bit more extensive than they had been led to believe, and Plato found the leftover plastic wrappers from some firecrackers that the Terminal Vector Takers had apparently used to see if any Casualties had been infesting the mine. They also had the idea of splicing the second Jeep’s battery into the intercom and setting it off to try and lure anything in the mine out, but although Cabbie succeeded his Mechanics test they realized the flaw in their plan—the intercom system was also connected to the interior of the mine, so while they could make plenty of noise over the speakers anything inside the mines wouldn’t hear anything outside. When the sounds of the intercom faded they did stop to listen and heard something echoing up the shaft that might have been a cry for help or the screams of a Vector, it was too faded to tell.

The Takers finally worked up their courage and headed inside. The elevator was down and the power was also, obviously, out in the mine as well. They decided just to take the stairs, as fixing the elevator would only give them a slow and noisy means of descending into the shaft. Down and down they went into the quiet dark, occasionally finding more scraps of plastic from firecrackers, until they came across the skeletal body of a miner. His bones had been gnawed clean, which wasn’t a good sign, but he had obviously been there since the Crash so they still weren’t sure what had happened to the survey team. Then they found the second body, a man from the survey team who had been very messily killed and eaten—this time Cabbie did find bite marks—but not before smashing his pole seismograph on something bloody.

Then they encountered their first Vector: a man in tactical gear, bleeding from his face, came stumbling around the corner to investigate the noise they were making. Plato put an arrow in its skull and dropped it in one hit with an aimed shot—that left seven more members of the survey team. After proceeding even deeper into the mine they stopped at a branch in the tunnels, hearing more Vectors approaching. Thinking that they would get one from each of the three paths they backed up and prepared to open fire, only to be surprised when three Vectors came sprinting out of the nearest tunnel. They were nine Shambles away, giving the Takers three rounds to put them down—everyone hit their first shots to the head, not quite doing enough damage but inflicting grisly wounds, but on the second round they all missed. With the Vectors one round away from tackling them all into the dirt they rolled again and spent Will to put them down in unison.

Göts’ player remarked that “hadn’t been so bad” and that they could just make more noise to draw the rest of the Vectors into their shooting gallery. Right as he finished speaking they heard a very human-sounding shriek come from another tunnel, and since it wouldn’t look good if they let any survivors get eaten they sighed and ran towards the sound. They found a pair of Vectors beating on the window of a break room that had been installed into the wall of a tunnel, which was the source of the shrieking. The Vectors turned and charged at them and they opened fire, but Göts narrowly made an Awareness check on his turn to detect a third Vector sprinting at them out of the darkness to their rear. After a very short, very tense combat all three Vectors fell dead—one of them literally at Göts’ feet, thanks to one of Plato’s arrows—and they approached the break room to speak to the sole survivor of the survey team. Göts made a Leadership check to get her to open the door, and after she stopped sobbing she relayed her story of what had happened.

The survey team arrived on schedule and entered the mine, setting off noisemakers to draw out any Casualties. They got halfway down and found nothing but some old bones before two of the Takers heard something down a side tunnel and went to investigate. Shortly after the rest of the team heard screaming and gunfire, and only one of the Takers came running back with a gash in his neck yelling that they had to get out. The survey team panicked and ran, but the injured Taker suddenly spazzed out and bit one of his comrades. Eliza got separated from everyone in the chaos, found the break room, and hid underneath the desk while listening to the screams and shooting. After a while everything went silent, but then she saw one of her friends staggering past the window and realized it wasn’t safe to leave, so she stayed put to wait for rescue. Three days later she was starved, severely dehydrated, and losing her mind with fear when she heard the gunshots from Göts’ unsilenced revolver. She turned on the lights and started calling for help, only for the two Vectors to show up first.

The Takers did the math and realized there had to be at least one more Vector in the mine—whoever had started the infection. They chose to retreat, report back to Hooverville that they had found a survivor, and camp outside the mine for two days while they waited for any remaining Vectors to enter torpor. During that time Eliza scarfed down most of Göts’ rations, but they had packed plenty ahead of time (We were using modified High Stakes Haul rules that allowed them to spend Haul at the beginning of the game specifically to have extra food, ammo, batteries etc later). Finally Cabbie and Plato went back inside the mine while Göts stayed with Eliza.

Despite their fears, the Takers found nothing else lurking around in the mine. They swept the entire maze of tunnels from top to bottom over the course of the next day, setting off their own firecrackers that Göts had delivered from JDAM—another one of his References who specialized in homemade explosives—but failed to draw any undead attention. When they reached the ore crusher at the bottom of the mine they found the mummified body of another miner, but what disturbed them was that this one shared similar injuries to the first body they had found by the Jeep outside: his torso had been ripped open and his chest cavity partially excavated by something, but neither of them could find any bite marks.

Shrugging and chalking it up to one of the mysteries of the Loss, the Takers packed up and drove back to Hooverville to collect their pay. Between the fee and what they scavenged at the RV they made off like bandits with a total profit of 10-11 Bounty each. I informed them we would be playing with the “No Budget, No Buy” rules and explained what they could invest their money in aside from their savings, and after some deliberation they each put about 6 Bounty towards their retirement funds and spend the rest on future healthcare funds, therapy bills, paying off References, and improving skills. They also found that they had earned a +Rep Spot from Marcus for saving him: Good Samaritans. Cabbie got a chance sat down to work on the GoPro he found and managed to pull some poor-quality footage from it.

What it showed was more or less what Eliza described to them, up until the two Takers split from the group to investigate the noise in the tunnel. Shortly after the man with the camera heard a gurgle and turned to see that his friend had been knocked down and had a nasty gash in his throat, at which point something dark tackled him to the ground and set off his gun. They couldn’t see what was happening from the perspective of the camera, but they heard the injured Taker get up and run off into the darkness back to the survey team shouting for them to run as the cameraman bucked and struggled, then started to choke on something. He went still, twitching occasionally as the distant shouts turns to screams and automatic weapons fire, and after everything went silent he suddenly stood up, feeling his way along the tunnels without his flashlight, and staggered his way back out of the mine. Along the way he passed a member of the survey team who was feasting on another Taker, but the fresh Vector didn’t seem to notice him.

When he stepped out into the sunlight he stumbled over to the Jeep before collapsing, at which point he started convulsing again as blood sprayed across the ground and something black and ropey brushed by the camera. Then several hours of silence and staring at the gravel until the camera, which was damaged in the fall, ran out of battery.

Needless to say the Takers had to make Self-Control tests for watching that.

I’ll arrange my thoughts on the game later after I’ve had some time to think about it, but my impressions are still good. I don’t think we ran into any real problems and we seem to be getting the rules down. Over the next week the crew, who will be hiring a new member, will decide if they want to try and organize their own score, keep job hunting, or try to loot the remains of Judgment enclave.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 03:48:31 PM by Jace911 »

crash2455

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #91 on: September 20, 2015, 10:26:12 PM »
Kinda disappointed they didn't enter into mannequin town.

How long have your games been taking, anyway?  I have yet to run a contract that takes less than 6 hours in total.

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #92 on: September 21, 2015, 02:28:22 AM »
Kinda disappointed they didn't enter into mannequin town.

Oh man, you have no idea. I was so looking forward to that one.

Quote
How long have your games been taking, anyway?  I have yet to run a contract that takes less than 6 hours in total.

We've only run the two games so far, but the Market Fiat job took IIRC 6 hours and this one was about four to five thanks to the car. Skipping Legs really cuts down on game length, which isn't necessarily a bad thing if the players just want to get to the meat of the session without wasting time on the appetizers.

The Lost Carol

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #93 on: September 21, 2015, 08:16:57 PM »
Kinda disappointed they didn't enter into mannequin town.

How long have your games been taking, anyway?  I have yet to run a contract that takes less than 6 hours in total.

The Reformers has been running for circa four hours; but due to our players we kinda have to keep to two hours a session. Thus our contracts are pretty cut up; usually 45 minutes for Vignettes/Negotiation/Briefing, 30-90 minutes for legs (they've done one and three for our two missions thus far,) 90 minutes for at the job site, and then 30 minutes for post mission/selling extra loot. Thus we've been spending parts of three sessions to cover one contract.
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crash2455

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #94 on: September 23, 2015, 10:29:11 AM »
Yeah I've started finding it best to break it into at least 2 games: Early stuff, negotiation, travel time as one game and then job site stuff as a second game.  I always think the job site is going to be way shorter than it is because I only have like a paragraph written and yet it still can easily stretch into 3 hours.

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #95 on: September 23, 2015, 11:23:12 AM »
In my experience both playing (in The Reformers) and running games at home, players tend to treat the Job Sites as hardcore dungeon crawls, and really take their time to be cautious and thorough. While I like the suggested structure of running vignettes, negotiation, travel legs, and job site all in a single session, I would definitely expect it to take at least 4-6 hours to do everything in a typical group. But if you've only got a short session for a one-shot, I've found that the game can still be super fun if you basically cut right to the legs and job site, and play it as a horror/action game. Next time I run a session, though, I really want to focus on negotiation, since I haven't gotten to run that element yet.
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crash2455

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #96 on: September 23, 2015, 03:32:58 PM »
A couple of my players wanted to try just running a game where they're a taker dispatch / negotiation service and all they do is negotiating and scams.

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #97 on: September 23, 2015, 05:33:21 PM »
A couple of my players wanted to try just running a game where they're a taker dispatch / negotiation service and all they do is negotiating and scams.

I've mentioned the idea of adding NPC fixers to the game so groups that want to focus on the jobs can cut down on the negotiations and scams. The idea of a reverse campaign, where the players are fixers, is interesting.

The main thing would be managing NPC groups of takers - you would have to ensure they get home and don't waste their paydays on useless shit instead of gear for the next job - also do you help them retire or try to keep them in hock to you?

crash2455

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #98 on: September 23, 2015, 05:46:09 PM »
I've mentioned the idea of adding NPC fixers to the game so groups that want to focus on the jobs can cut down on the negotiations and scams. The idea of a reverse campaign, where the players are fixers, is interesting.

The main thing would be managing NPC groups of takers - you would have to ensure they get home and don't waste their paydays on useless shit instead of gear for the next job - also do you help them retire or try to keep them in hock to you?

And also getting your cut / managing enough groups and being references to enough people to make a profit yourself or sending one group against another group that never paid their dues.

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #99 on: September 23, 2015, 06:15:51 PM »
And for the really bastard player groups, do you risk ripping them off or embezzling and pissing off the slightly crazy adrenaline junkies with guns?

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #100 on: September 24, 2015, 04:09:20 PM »
Running a game in a coastal setting made me think about chumming in a new way.  While pulling large groups of casualties away from enclaves is good, what's better is probably leading them into the ocean.  It's mentioned that they don't have the coordination to swim and so luring them into the water where they get tossed around by the tide and ideally into something hard or sharp repeatedly (some kind of garotte line or something) would be an easy enough way to remove 40 or 50 at a time.

Through boredom at work I thought up the best/stupidest way to accomplish this plan.  Lone taker who goes by "Piper" pretty much exclusively takes jobs for transport, transit, and casualty chumming across the west coast, all thanks to his Aquada.  For chumming jobs, he puts in his Miley Cyrus cd and blasts "Party in the USA" all the way to a marina where he just pulls in and switches his car to boat mode until the Cs stop putting their hands up while he plays their song.

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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #101 on: September 24, 2015, 05:22:00 PM »
A couple of my players wanted to try just running a game where they're a taker dispatch / negotiation service and all they do is negotiating and scams.

Man, think of the crazy dream situation: run two games at once, one for a group of dedicated negotiators and another for a group of dedicated job operators. Group 1 sets up jobs, Group 2 executes them. How nuts would that get?
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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #102 on: September 25, 2015, 07:00:29 AM »
A couple of my players wanted to try just running a game where they're a taker dispatch / negotiation service and all they do is negotiating and scams.

Man, think of the crazy dream situation: run two games at once, one for a group of dedicated negotiators and another for a group of dedicated job operators. Group 1 sets up jobs, Group 2 executes them. How nuts would that get?

It is entirely possible: my Shadow Run GM did this his first time GMing that system - he's uh... social and may have over sold the game, so lots of people signed up to play.
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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #103 on: September 25, 2015, 10:43:00 AM »
A couple of my players wanted to try just running a game where they're a taker dispatch / negotiation service and all they do is negotiating and scams.

Man, think of the crazy dream situation: run two games at once, one for a group of dedicated negotiators and another for a group of dedicated job operators. Group 1 sets up jobs, Group 2 executes them. How nuts would that get?

It is entirely possible: my Shadow Run GM did this his first time GMing that system - he's uh... social and may have over sold the game, so lots of people signed up to play.

Did he get some wild trans-party fighting the first time a job went hella wrong? Because that's the ultimate dream.
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Re: Red Markets Inspiration
« Reply #104 on: September 25, 2015, 06:03:14 PM »
A couple of my players wanted to try just running a game where they're a taker dispatch / negotiation service and all they do is negotiating and scams.

Man, think of the crazy dream situation: run two games at once, one for a group of dedicated negotiators and another for a group of dedicated job operators. Group 1 sets up jobs, Group 2 executes them. How nuts would that get?

It is entirely possible: my Shadow Run GM did this his first time GMing that system - he's uh... social and may have over sold the game, so lots of people signed up to play.

Did he get some wild trans-party fighting the first time a job went hella wrong? Because that's the ultimate dream.

I don't know - we're a decade out of college and this was back in high school. He hasn't exactly given a blow-by-blow of that campaign. I've gotten more of the story around the only time he's killed a character and the dog-walking story.
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