Author Topic: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville  (Read 13244 times)

Jace911

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Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« on: September 24, 2015, 05:40:54 PM »
(Props to Tomsawyer for the title)

Instead of cluttering up the Inspiration thread with my group's campaign updates I figured I would post them here from now on. For those who haven't read that thread, here's the information on our enclave:

Quote
HOOVERVILLE

Five years after the Crash turned out the lights all across America, Nevada still shines in the darkness thanks to the ever-enduring Hoover Dam and the electricity it generates for any enclave in the region willing to pay...which is most of them. It is maintained and operated by technicians and engineers who realized the severity of the crisis facing America and brought their families into the Dam to try and weather the storm. Over time they were joined by a military diaspora and a small flood of refugee survivors, and together they formed the technocratic community of Hooverville.

Location
Hoover Dam. Duh.

Defenses
Hoover Dam. Duh.
The dam's architecture and placement make it a veritable fortress against both Casualties and raiders, especially when augmented with additional fortifications like scrap metal gates and watchtowers. These defenses are manned by a mixed group of soldiers and private security contractors who were abandoned by their chains of command in the Crash; they are led by Marshall Amanda Cho. Finally, the Dam's isolated location provides another barrier against attack due to the distance one must travel to reach it.

History
Hooverville's original occupants included the technicians who operated the Dam and kept her running, plus whatever surviving family they could bring with them. The next group to seek refuge in the monument was a mixed platoon of Army infantry and PMC contractors who had been left to die in the mass exodus east; these would become the enclave's defenders and law enforcement officers. And, over time, more survivors began to flock to the Dam when they heard by Ubiq and radio and word of mouth that there was shelter to be found. As conditions in the Loss continued to deteriorate and people realized rescue simply wasn't coming, they settled in and built Hooverville.

Top Exports
Electricity—Hoover Dam supplies electricity to just about anyone in Nevada or California who can pay and keep the cables maintained. This makes them a powerful economic force in the region despite their average population and isolated location.

Water—Nevada hasn't gotten any less dry and inhospitable since civilization collapsed. Fresh water is sold to anyone looking to keep their crops from drying up or their cattle from dying of dehydration.

Engineering Expertise—One of the engineers who fled to the Dam had the foresight to raid a manufacturing center on the way, bringing a number of 3D printers Hooverville now uses to make replacement parts and equipment. Although raw materials are in short supply, the ability to repair delicate equipment with machined parts instead of junking them more than pays for itself. On top of this, the techs and engineers are more than willing to sell their knowledge over Ubiq as consultants and designers.

Top Imports
Food—Space is at a premium in Hooverville, and although there are more than a few small hydroponic gardens set up on top of the wall they don't produce even a fraction of what the population needs to survive.

Scrap Metal—You can't build with raw materials, and quality scrap metal is one of the most cost-effective construction materials available in the carrion economy of the Loss.

Medicine—Although it means less government interference, being so far from the Recession also means less easy access to manufactured goods like modern medicine. Suppliers out in the Loss can make money hand over fist selling pharmaceuticals to enclaves, and with so many people packed into a relatively small space Hooverville can't afford to let its medicine cabinets go unstocked.

Competition
The House—A network of former gamblers, insider traders, and mafia members who have their fingers in enclaves throughout Nevada. They use their influence to game the economy, driving the prices for goods up or down, and employ teams of unwitting Takers for jobs that take advantage of their manipulations. The House is a money-making machine and isn't above endangering people to make a profit--they might arrange for an enclave's water supply to be contaminated, then charge them to send Takers to scout out a new well site. They operate in secret and jealously guard their investments--stumbling across a House operation is often the last mistake a curious Taker makes.

The 51st State—Some saw the Crash as the end of the world, but others saw it as the chance to uncover the truth. When the military pulled out of Nevada every redneck conspiracy nut in the Southwest headed straight for Area 51 to finally see the alien corpses and UFO wreckage and lizardmen cryo tubes at long last. When they arrived they found none of these things, surprising nobody but themselves. Consoling themselves by looting the hastily-abandoned site of weapons, ammunition, and military vehicles, the conspiracy theorists took to the road and over time became a nomadic band of desert raiders. The absence of any proof for their theories in Area 51 has only fueled their distrust of the government--they obviously cleaned up anything of value before pulling out and leaving their own citizens to die at the hands of their sinister experiments (Probably).

Mojave Nation—A loose confederacy of surviving Native American tribes in Nevada that congregated at Fort Mojave for mutual protection. Over time they established a system allowing for cooperation in trade and defense while retaining their independent governments and cultural identities, effectively becoming a small nation with member states. Due to their proximity to the Colorado River they are the largest producer of crops in Nevada, which makes them a strong trading partner with Hooverville to the north.

Shadow Hills—A megachurch in the Vegas suburbs converted into a fortress by a somewhat mild offshoot of the Meek. Although they believe that the Crash was God's Rapture and that the Blight was his way of calling man into Heaven, they are not as driven to enforce their beliefs on others and are content merely to live and let die. Although many enclaves find it distasteful to interact with them many do not have a choice, as they are the second-largest exporter of crops in Nevada behind the Mojave Nation.

Free Rangers—A traveling hodgepodge of truckers, ranchers, and highway patrol officers who raise the largest surviving herds of livestock in Nevada. They migrate from grazing spot to grazing spot in convoys of cattle-carrier big rigs and supercharged police cruisers to stay ahead of any roving herds or bandits, and they make regular stops at enclaves along the way to sell their juiciest animals.

Social Structure
On the surface Hooverville is a technocracy with flimsy pretensions of being a meritocracy, but peel back the layers and one will see that it is actually a cleverly-disguised aristocracy in the guise of a technocracy. In Hooverville decisions that affect the community are put to a vote, but not every vote is equal: the Engineers who maintain and operate the Dam which provides for them all have more say than the men and women of the Garrison, who have more say than the diverse population of skilled laborers and other non-technical Specialists who serve important roles in the community, who have even more say than the refugees living on top of the Dam and the Latents exiled outside the walls (Who have none).

In theory all one needs to graduate from Tourist to Specialist, Garrison, or even Engineer is to take and pass a test which gauges one’s useful knowledge and skills. This is much easier said than done in the post-Crash world, where education has yet to be re-established even in the Recession and many children haven’t seen a classroom or textbook in years. Further stacking the deck is the fact that the Engineers closely guard their knowledge, teaching only their children and family members so that they may preserve it, thus making it extremely difficult for anyone to actually climb the theoretical ladder to power.

This system, while somewhat stable, does result in more than a little social unrest. Protests and demonstrations on the archway are not uncommon, and a growing civil rights movement led by self-styled activist Neal Dalton is demanding that the Tourists be granted the right to vote. Despite Marshall Cho’s moderating influence Chief Engineer Greeley is pushing the Board towards increasingly authoritarian measures to contain and suppress these protests, and within the Garrison itself there is a small but vocal movement of anonymous guards calling themselves the Strike Breakers who demand the mass deportation of the Tourists and call for the Latent “gravediggers” outside the walls be driven away.

Neighborhoods
The Dammed—Latent ghetto/squatter's camp erected outside the enclave, moves from one end to the other by way of the Bypass, as they aren't permitted within the walls.
Tourist Trap—The tent city and shanty town decorating the top of the Dam, where the bulk of the non-military and engineering citizens live.
Barracks—Formerly the observation deck and museum, now converted into the military quarters.
Powerhouse—The seat of government and where the engineers and their families live.

VIPs
Chief Engineer Michael Greeley—A man ill-suited to leading a city-state, Greeley is slight in stature and spine. His courage is bolstered by his position on the Board, secured solely due to the fact that nobody knows the Dam like he does, as well as the control over the Garrison which it affords him. When Greeley is afraid he tends to lash out, or order others to lash out, and Greeley is afraid very often. He likes when things work the way they’re supposed to and everyone just does their job.

Marshall Amanda Cho—Cho was just two short weeks from turning in her papers and leaving the military life altogether when the Crash began and the whole damn world lost its mind. She kept 2nd Platoon together by sheer force of will when the Blackhawks abandoned them on the tarmac, and she managed to keep those trigger-happy White Forest goons from shooting anyone after they started tagging along. Greeley might outrank her, but she’ll be damned if she lets him use her soldiers like a switch on those poor people up on the archway. Even if some of them are asking for it.

Neal Dalton, "The Guide"—At first glance Dalton may seem like an earnest and charismatic civil rights figure in the making, but in reality he just loves the attention. He organizes rallies, delivers speeches, and rants against the oppressive tyranny of the Board of Engineers to anyone on the archway who will listen. Marshall Cho makes a point of having at least a squad of her men present at each event to keep things from getting out of control, but their presence only serves as a convenient hook on which Dalton can hang some of his nastiest Nazi allusions. Many people among the Tourists and even some of the Specialists are swept up by the quasi-religious fervor of Dalton's apparent convictions, convinced that the revolution is only a matter of time, but in truth Dalton has no plan for reform and is merely riding off the high of adulation.

Janet Quinn, host of 93.5 "The Spill"—Something of a black sheep among the Engineers, Janet Quinn is a communications technology major from LA who was granted admittance into Hooverville on the promise that she could establish communications with other survivors and even contact the government for evacuation. When the military pulled back east and Ubiq went online both of these contributions became redundant, but what kept her from being booted into the Specialists was her increasingly-popular talk news radio, "The Spill". In addition to covering local news and politics Quinn also provides a Daily Show-esque comical release for the Hooverville listeners, taking savage jabs at the Board and their decisions (All for a laugh, of course). Her "dissent" is tolerated by the Board because they feel that shutting her show down or demoting her to Specialist would anger far more people than it would placate.

Eric McLaughlin, owner/bartender of the "Hole in the Wall"—The Crash changed a lot of things, but at the end of the day honest working folks need a place where they can kick back with some shitty distilled booze and forget their problems for a few hours. That's the beginning, middle, and end of McLaughlin's sale pitch, and considering he owns the only bar for a few hundred miles around he doesn't need to work that hard at it. McLaughlin tries to stay out of politics, opening his bar to any Engineers or Garrison members who need a drink, but as a Tourist himself he empathizes with the frustrated masses and prays the Lord will soften the Board of Engineers' hearts to their plight.

Pharmacist Clarence Clayton, "CC"—Five years ago Clarence was a Berkeley hippie who dropped out of his chemistry degree to grow weed in Humboldt, but now with skilled doctors and sources of medicine thousands of miles to the east he is the closest thing Hooverville has to a medical supplier. On behalf of the Board of Engineers Clarence hires Takers to retrieve unspoiled medical and chemical supplies in the Loss that he can use to make various street drugs in lieu of FDA-approved medicinals. "CC" might claim to have gone straight, but there are plenty of rumors about how the Tourists have been getting their hands on that shitty weed proving to be popular up on the archway.

Romero, leader of the Gravediggers—Nobody gives the Latents a break, nor should they ever expect one; this is the advice Romero gives to newcomers. The de facto leader of Hooverville's small infected community is recognized as such for his relentless determination in keeping them together and alive outside the walls, where they work to keep the perimeter clear of Casualties in exchange for food and water from the enclave. The presence of so many potential Vectors is a hot button political issue in Hooverville, especially between the Board and the Strike Breakers, but Romero has kept tensions from boiling by keeping his people from approaching the walls and keeping them in line with a combination of fear and respect. Nobody knows who he was before the Crash, and to be frank not many want to know.

The Takers:

Quote
Casualty Clearing Crew (CCC)
Göts - A German-American mercenary and veteran Taker who lost his last team in a disastrous mission that saw most of them die horribly, took his one surviving friend's legs, and robbed him of a perfectly good arm. Having spent years in the Loss as a "Lifer" chasing money and thrills for the hell of it he has come to the conclusion that he needs to get out before his luck runs out again. He spent what Bounty he had to get himself and his dependents to Hooverville, get a new arm from the 3D printers, and get a couple of Takers together to found CCC.
Weak Spot - I've Had Enough
Soft Spot - Freedom to choose one's destiny
Tough Spot - Old Hand (+2 to Leadership, but already Cracked in Trauma)
Dependents
-Adam, disabled comrade
-Joey, younger brother
-Rachel, adopted daughter

Cabbie - A first-generation immigrant cab driver from San Diego who smuggled people over the border before the dead began to walk and the border moved a few thousand miles east. Now he's still a driver and still hopes to smuggle himself and his sister over the Quarantine Wall someday, but before that happens he's going to need a lot of cash to set them both up in the Recession. He's not going to be driving cabs for the rest of his life.
Weak Spot - Fuck the Police
Soft Spot - Hard work can get you anywhere
Tough Spot - Coyote (+2 Criminality, but already Cracked in Detachment)
Dependents
-Roxanne, sister

Plato - A former athlete and self-styled warrior-philosopher of the wasteland who would have celebrated the collapse of society's oppressive and constricting scaffholdings had they not resulted in the deaths of millions. For a time Plato traveled the Loss on his own, with nothing but his wits, his parkour, his bow and the Immune gene keeping him from joining all the poor souls taken before their time. He might have been content to continue that way until the end of time had he not encountered and adopted a little orphaned boy named Danny, who had survived the collapse of an enclave and the deaths of his entire family (Again).
Weak Spot - Prefers Freedom to Security
Soft Spot - Protect the Weak
Tough Spot - Immune Exile (Can't be infected, but will be hunted for medical experiments if his secret gets out)
Dependents
-Danny, lost little boy

Bloody Mary - A former citizen of the Mojave Nation who was exiled after being infected and turning Latent, since the Nation has a strict zero tolerance policy after members of their original Latent population turned Vector and nearly caused an outbreak. She traveled north to Hooverville and joined the Gravediggers to eek out a meager living, but when her grandmother--her only surviving family--also left the Nation to be with her granddaughter, Mary signed on with the CCC as a Taker to earn enough money to get the both of them out of the Loss. As a Latent she is prickly regarding discrimination or bigotry towards her condition, and she is always willing to give a bite victim the benefit of the doubt.
Weak Spot - Social Justice Zombie
Soft Spot - Anyone Can Be Saved
Tough Spot - Latent As Fuck (Can't be infected, but shunned and mistreated by others and will become a Vector upon death)Dependents:
-Nana, grandmother

And finally an endorsement by the Man himself:

That. Is. A. BRILLIANT. Idea. For. An. Enclave.

Kicking myself for not thinking of it  :'(
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 05:29:57 PM by Jace911 »

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 05:43:05 PM »
Reposting of the first session write-up:

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.

This Saturday we'll be having an intermediary session where the fourth player can make her character and the crew can decide on the elements of their first potential score.

Tomsawyer

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 06:47:37 PM »
I'm very proud of the thread title.

Looking forward to this weeks game, even though its just going to be planning a job for next week.

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2015, 01:25:43 PM »
Saturday night we had a mini-session with me, Ryan, and Tom to generate ideas for Scores that the Takers could choose to pursue over jobs. Here's what they came up with:

Score #1 - Göts
Goods: Medicinal Plants/Herbs
Equilibrium: R3B5, 8 Bounty per Haul
Economy: Hooverville
Wholesaler: CC
The Site: A failed enclave in the Vegas area where Neo-Thanatologists (Scientists who study the Blight) experimented with using harnessed Casualties as beasts of burden in farming and other labor tasks. Like most inventions of the Loss the system worked fine until one day it didn't, and now the bubble domes of the former botanical gardens are filled with Casualties and rare herbs. If the Takers can get inside and stuff their bags with the money plants without getting eaten they can offload them on CC for a profit.

Score #2 - Cabbie
Goods: Semi Truck Engines
Equilibrium: R8B10 (!!!) per engine
Economy: Free Rangers
Wholesaler: Skid, owner of a truck stop/outpost that fuels and services the Free Rangers' big rigs
The Site: A truck depot that sits at the crossroads of two major highways in Nevada. The reason nobody's gone after this score yet is that the depot is occupied and fortified by a gang of Darwinist raiders called the Raptors who prey on travelers in the area, robbing and kidnapping people to sell them to the slavers at Purgatory. They aren't nearly as big as the 51st State but they're still more than one crew can swallow on their own, so the Takers will have to think of a clever way to get them out of the fort so they can drive in, load up as many engines as they can fit onto a trailer, and get the hell out again.

These are all the details that the players came up with, not my own complications and additions.

Cthuluzord

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2015, 03:00:25 PM »
Playtest Update and Reminders

Hello everyone,

I’ll start by saying thank you. The amount of time and dedication you’ve spent reading, critiquing, and playing Red Markets is one of the most encouraging things to happen in my short game design career. I’m so grateful for everyone that’s taken the time to write up their sessions on the forums. It’s really great to see, and witnessing how you guys are interacting in-character online has given me a dozen more ideas for future products and features.

We are entering November, meaning there is little over a month left in the beta. I’m already compiling playtest reports and my own notes into a master change log.  Here’s a reminder of the plan:

•   Get all the playtests in by the Dec. 20th deadline
•   Use Christmas break and (hopefully) snow days to do a massive revision of the rules text
•   Run a second playtest campaign with the RPPR crew in late Winter/Spring to test the post-Beta revisions. Revise the book as I go and plan the Kickstarter campaign.
•   Ross posts the first playtest campaign as we start playing the second, hopefully building up some hype.
•   Kickstarter launches in early Summer, sometime after school lets out and man the comments section full time.
•   If the book doesn’t fund: cry forever.
•   If it does fund: do a jig. Perhaps even a “Carlton.”
•   After my jig, distribute Beta 2 to backers.
•   Complete the setting stuff, edit, layout, art, etc.

But all of this hinges upon you – the noble playtesters – turning in the playtest reports. I’ve noticed more participation in the game than I’ve received feedback…by a much larger margin than expected. I understand some of this is inevitable, and many of you are merely waiting to get more games under your belt in order to make an informed decision, but we are quickly approaching the point at which I need those reports back.

The audio is priceless, and listening to you guys play my game every day on the ride to work has deeply informed my revision plans already. But whenever possible, I still need as many detailed playtest surveys as I can get. The audio is great for in-depth analysis, but Red Markets is a big book in need of big changes. In short, I need breadth as well as depth, and while I can drop a hundred playtest reports on my office floor and collate revisions all at once, I can’t listen to a dozen AP’s simultaneously.

So as we enter the final month, that’s what I wanted to say. Thank you to everyone that’s reported in so far. For everyone else, thank you and PLEASE email in November if you have not reported in yet. I need all of you if I’m going to help make the game better.
My address is stokes353@gmail.com.

Happy taking,
Caleb

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2015, 02:53:15 AM »
After a long hiatus inflicted by scheduling difficulties and Delta Green the Takers of the CCC have returned with a new member in BLACK HAWK DEAD!

Full write-up to come tomorrow hopefully, but in the meantime have a teaser quote:

"As the GM, I will say that kissing is a free action in combat."

Tomsawyer

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2015, 02:56:07 AM »

Before Jace posts his write up of the second session let me post both a another teaser quote from the game and our earnings for the second game




"It was flight or fight and I chose make out"

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2015, 05:16:58 PM »
The write-up exceeds the post limit by literally a few hundred characters so I've included it as an attachment.

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2015, 07:09:00 PM »
My other choice quote was this exchange between Plato and Bloody Mary:

Plato: "I just realized that we're working for the government killing natives, and now I'm really uncomfortable with this job."
Bloody Mary: "Thanks for that observation, White Guilt. Oh look! You have your own Mojave name now!"

Tomsawyer

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2015, 09:08:31 PM »
I enjoyed this part of the game:

GM: There are two paths you can take. One you have to deal with the traps, and with the other you deal with the zombies.
Plato: I didn't join this crew to not kill zombies
Latent comrade: Excuse me?

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2015, 09:30:24 PM »
Also I just realized that I fucked up and added too much Bounty to the price for Hazard Pay--it's supposed to be 1 per Taker per Leg, so 8 total, but somehow I had it in my head that it was three per Taker per Leg so it ended up being 24. That goes a long way towards explaining the huge payoff, which should have been 88 Bounty instead of 104. So everyone would have gotten 22 total instead of 26.

The Lost Carol

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2015, 11:07:22 PM »
Your second mission sounds amazing; interesting way to incorporate the DHQS in a non-threatening way, and initiating combat by kissing was hilariously-awesome. I think Bloody Mary is my spirit animal; from her attitude to her Shovel Knight shovel sword. Seems like you've got good players and you're doing a great job as GM. Are you guys recording your exploits? Would love to hear it.
Need more Actual Play goodness? Visit http://www.technicaldifficultiespod.com/ for Red Markets Beta, Call of Cthulhu, Eclipse Phase, and more!

Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2015, 02:43:56 AM »

Your second mission sounds amazing; interesting way to incorporate the DHQS in a non-threatening way,

Thanks!

Our campaign is somewhat further removed from the Recession than La Corbusier so I figured that the DHQS would have difficulty projecting itself that far out, and would thus rely more heavily on Takers.

Quote
and initiating combat by kissing was hilariously-awesome.

Everyone at the table agreed that was the best moment of the night, and there were a lot of great moments.

Quote
I think Bloody Mary is my spirit animal; from her attitude to her Shovel Knight shovel sword.

You're not the only one; Sara fell in love with the idea of playing a five-foot shovel-wielding Navajo Latent exile pretty quickly!

Quote
Seems like you've got good players and you're doing a great job as GM. Are you guys recording your exploits? Would love to hear it.

I do have some darn good players. Unfortunately none of us have the mics or knowledge of recording software to make APs, so these write-ups are the best I can do. :(

Tomsawyer

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2015, 01:26:48 AM »
Just finished our most recent game, and our last one before the beta ends, here's what our earnings were:


Jace911

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Re: Red Markets Playtest Campaign: Fear and Loathing in Hooverville
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2015, 03:38:13 AM »
This game's teaser quote is from Plato: "We're fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense."