First session ran ok - rules system is streamlined and character creation an actual honest to god joy. Read the session report. Especially Edith - you're in it. --Vitenka
Second session ran equally fine. I seem to be doing a lot of prep work for this campaign. So I'd like to netbook it. Any hints and tips from the 24hour writers or others? My hardest part is going to be pulling together my GM notes into some form other people can actually use. --Vitenka
Most of the scifi plot is being moved to the background or quietly discarded as a bad idea. --Vitenka
The organisation has been renamed "Second Unit". Which is still crappy.
Now (c3slip) named IMR - which was the (c2slip) name of the enemy organisation.
Hunter's Principle <=> Field Effect Devices.
Some of the wikizens will remember this as the name an RPG campaign I ran. I'm putting it up here as scratch space for two reasons.
The first is that I still haven't got my webserver running properly. The second is that I am thinking strongly about running it again with a new group. So if you're the StarBytes? people and got here by randomly crawling the web - go away. Right.
If you're not in Soton and thus not going to be playing in this, then feel free to add comments :)
First of all I'm renaming it C-Slip to sound more futuristic, and because SeaSlip2? sounds rubbish and would confuse people who've not been in the first and because the original Mer-lin pun no longer applies in the slightest.
Secondly I'm setting it in the same 'slightly futuristic present' - but I'm going to play up swords and energy devices.
I'm keeping the mercenary tower structure. I'm keeping Kuri. Kuri won't let go of her guns :)
I now have a much more interesting 'alpha' team. You've got a gun totin psycho named bob, a philosophical sniper named blue and quite a pleasant (sorry for the change) swordswoman named bitch... Thanks guys. This is all pre the dragonning, which...
Yup, I'm ditching that whole plot. Instead of a mythic past invading, I think we'll have the future merge this time.
I'm aiming for three elements of game. Action, Politics and Investigation.
Action is easily satisfied. I've got high tech weaponry, shootouts in warehouses and earthquakes. Nil problemo. The mission structure supports this easily.
Politics should be fun. First of all, the players are going to find out quite quickly that it's not just training that lets people use NP devices (the glowing blue force stuff) - and when we 'equip' them with RadioTelepathy? are likely to begin to get very suspicious about their implants. Then there's the fact that the organisation has its own agenda - expressed in the missions it undertakes.
Investigation is harder. Some missions will require it, and there's the politics angle too.
The BackStory?. Really really don't read this if you want to play. There will be a loyalty test later :) This is kinda flaky right now, so it needs fleshing out and the PlotHole?(s) filling in with epoxy.
An alien race (with tech or innate abilities of InterStellar? teleportation and a similar level of matte transmutation - TL14 odd) is intending to uplift mankind into sensible levels of trade. Sadly, the earth is in a bit of a state (no world government, for starters) so there's something of a covert mission going on to try and fix this. Enter the organisation.
Their main motive is to provide a cover for their covert operations. Their covert operations are intended to destabilise certain regiemes, encourage certain avenues of research whilst depressing or co-opting others and generally push the world towards a single government. They don't have any of the normal 'this government is better than others' hangups, but they do want to make sure that key figures in any potential world-government would support their aims. Thus one day they might support freedom fighters in the congo, and the next put down an uprising in the baltics - not for ideological reasons, but because of the people involved.
They also have links to a few corporations who are following the same agenda from a different front. This link will likely seem very shady to the PCs.
Naturally there is also a second faction who would like to see humans uplift themselves. Similar levels of power to corp agents, they should make good recurring foils for the PCs.
Throw in a big dash of the phileas fogg journals (whereby the aliens don't like to fight each other directly) and leave the PCs growing up the heirachy until they hit a very obvious glass ceiling.
Where it goes then is very much up to the players.
Play up the intro even more than before - character creation now consists of a job interview. "So - what qualities do you have that would suit you to a position in this organisation?" "Why are you looking to work for us?" And then go and bolt on stats. Then run the two candidate tests the paintball test (that you lot utterly aced in an unexpected manner which will have become tower history) and then the 'get as many fake kills on this guy as posisble' one (Did I run that?) - Anyway, as well as an alerted police force, I'll have the players trailed by the alpha team (to stop mayhem getting too far out of control) and how they react to that will also be a part of their passing grade.
Being PCs of course, they get in, we then up all their stats to represent their training and kick in with the first real mission (weapons of silly destruction - exploding jelyfish!)
Yeesh. It's session three, and I'm not even started yet. Need to talk to the players about pacing. --Vitenka
S1.1 - Character Interviews, budget some time for someone to have to generate a new idea. Stats and stuff. Assign leadership based upon that questionnaire. S1.2 - The tests. Paintball room and then shadowing test (as above). Meet alpha team. End by inducting them and incrememnting stats. S1.3 - Assign locker names! Meet Kuri. Get the jellyfish lab mission and get equipped. Do the mission. End by escape by hovercraft. S1.4 - Players are assigned to guard a corporate datacentre that a corporate espionage raid is expected against. It's supposed to be an 'arrest' - but the invaders turn out to be alpha-level and hold force weaponry. There is a pure-human reporter with them who they are protecting. Halfway through the mission, they get her into the datacentre itself. At this point the players are ordered to kill her and run away. Moral decision time. S1.5 - Force weapons. You have been cleared for... grab your signature kit of choice. Then off to the warehouse to try and find out who is shipping these weapons in, where to - and to kill off the mafia dude. End with a crash... S1.6 - Everything is interrupted by the earthquake. Badguys escape in the fight. PCs are pulled onto local emergency control crews. S1.7 - Plague at the hospital, many falling ill - but a crowd outside growing ugly. S1.8 - Fallout from the datacentre episode. Investigative bit, the players want to know why the datacentre was as it was. End with Kuri falling on them like a tonne of superheated plasma. S1.9 - End with a nice big bang. The tower has been infiltrated and the players are part of the guard and cleanup. Perfect time to swipe some info.
S2.1 - Busted to the crappy jobs, have players working patrol of a refugee centre. And there they see a new drug is being distributed, and it looks kinda like someones poured the contents of NP energy cells out. (Investigation or Action as players need) S2.2 -
Somewhere in S2 I want the players to get teleportation, because it's fun. I also want there to be a mcguffin introduced in S1.
S3 Ending Goodness me, I suck at endings. What do I want? The players to get to use Kuri's guns. Then the players to get to use Kuri's BIG gun. Then the players to get to blow up a helicopter trying to use Kuri's really big gun against a dragon analogue.
If the players have gone conspiracy route, then the ending is likely to be revelatory 'join us' style thing. Probably given offers both from the tower and the 'rebels' - both basically saying "Help us uplift mankind" - we'll probably end with the players going on the run with a crucial mcguffin.
If the players have gone the action route then we make the invaders much more obviously evil, and the players get to play a tower raid, port to the mothership and blow it up in some cunning PC plan like way.
I've got some throwaway ideas which may make it in.
Interstellar trade is based upon trading information. Physical objects are trivial. This makes earths general attitude to piracy kinda interesting and they may be backing the clampdowns.
Spycraft looks like it may contain some useful ideas, and may be the required hook to get players.
It may still be the required hook, but it's an awful system and very light on the ideas front.
The opposition shall not be unified. I want five or six individuals each with their own reasons for being on earth. I figure I can get away with one generic tourist - but what of the others?
Got the individuals. Many motives. 'Justice' 'Claws' 'Pitstop' for a start. Not named the idustrialist or tourist.
It's going to be a company rule that no tower operates against the country in which it is sited. Seems like a valid requirements governments might put on them, and can lead to nice tower vs tower problems.
Edith: Sorry for writing on your leaf page but I thought you might like some input from the gun-wielding pyscopath.
Yes. Input is gooood. Please scribble muchos. The more help I get the better. --Vitenka
Thanks. The resume request is especially helpful, I need to print the 'applicants must have' bit out in legalese at flyspeck 2. Slap it at the bottom of ever character sheet. Also, thank you for reminding me of the organisations name, and prompting me to rename it. Oooh "Anderson Consulting" isn't in use any more, is it? :) --Vitenka
Have you checked out the [Black Water front page]? It's soooo Cool! (ok so these guys are blatently evil, but damn is that a cool front page) --Edith
So very evil. 20questions has been rewritten and expanded to an OOC chunk. See resources link. --Vitenka
I also remind you that there's a certain murderer-physisist out there...
Version2 of this game won't have had version one ever having happenned. But yes, it's a handy minorly insane character to have floating around. I've got all the character sheets from the pre-intro too and I'm not sure what to do with those people. Beta-Squad, I guess. --Vitenka
Hockey Mask Guy - Coolest bad guy ever!
Yes. You never did find out that he was a good guy, did you? :) Yeah, he's returning and he's still the sidekick of "Tony the chef" Here is a good point to note that I named him after (one of) my cats. My sister named one of our cats (when it was a viscious little black kitten) 'scar-face claw' - since shortened to 'claws' (complete with the 'no-one is safe in the water' theme tune) Aanyway. Oh! I named Tony's other sidekicks too - We've got 'Pitstop' in charge of logistics (used to head up his own chop-shop enterprise and more than dabbled in refitting cars with cool toys before he joined up with Tony) and since every mob needs its own gang of sneaks and whispers I've called the head of that 'Justice'. 'Claws' is, of course, enforcement and is actually a DeepCover? plant. The guy they really want is working under pitstop. He's producing the weapons tech that he really shouldn't know about - and came under Tony's sway due to a weakness for gambling and managing to piss off a casino owner. He impressed Tony as to the usefulness of his gadgets by walking out of a hail of bullets. --Vitenka
Oh and Cool! Seaslip v2.0. Is impressed.
Thank you. Here's hoping it works vaguely well. More hints and stuff, please! That goes for everybun, you don't have to have played version one. --Vitenka
I may have the CD handout you gave at the first session if that would help? --Edith
I've got that, thanks. I had to recreate the employment questionnairre in the end (see links at bottom of page) - shame, I remember the last one was good. Still, this one is good too. --Vitenka
Plan for session zero (the 'drop them into the action with pregens to give them an idea what the game is about' one - InMediaRes? is a new term I learned recently)
Based loosely on current events and slightly more concretely on an episode of ThePrisoner.
The players are dropped outside a refugee camp. Their mission is to stop a bomb maker (deliberately word this oddly)
Slightly altered - did you see that piece on nuclear time chips? A more JamesBond device could not be imagined :) --Vitenka
First step is to get rid of the guards - a quick bit of action. Then some sneaking and diplomacy to track down the bomb maker.
Once they find him, he's easy enough to kill - no guards, he was relying on hiding. Now control contacts them and gives them a second mission - they've just been hired by this side of the conflict to do the damage that the bomb maker would have done. So we finish off with a nice big assault on a gate. Concrete walls, sentry towers etc. The PCs rescue someone that their IFF refuses to let them shoot and escape in a helicopter that can only land once they take out someone wielding an RPG launcher. Roll credits and have a big 'Sign up today!' banner at the bottom of the screen.
This is all kinda shot to hell. Ah well. --Vitenka
Tony the Chef should be the name he is known by outside his organisation. Inside he is referred to as 'big Tony' (never 'fat Tony')
Another mission for the PCs (before everything starts to blow up) is going to be escorting VIP tourists. Intergalactic tourists, but there's no making that obvious. This is a half session - I need a second plot to fill it out. But I am amused by the prospect of the PCs escorting around people with a terrible grasp of english and an unlimited budget out to have fun. A hostage attempt or similar would be obvious, but it might be better to have no high level violence in this session - just a lot of tension.
Perhaps just trying to prevent the VIPs from playing with a PickPocket? will be enough?
Ok, got a short arc plotted out on paper based around the PCs being dropped in semi-hostile territory and having to work their way out, picking up jobs on the way.
I even reworked the system to be more usable. (D20, roll under, price is right, damage done in multiples of 5 only)
A better name for field-effect devices. (Actually, I dunno, this sounds vague and sciency, straight out of heinline. Maybe good enough.)
I need a way to describe the presence, feel and availability of these devices. The general public doesn't really know of them but most special forces have them.
I really need to nail down the timeline and get some research done on areas of the world. Vague 'somewhere in the baltics' probably won't cut it.
Description of the shadowy structure above the levels the players can immediately see.
A bunch of characters:
A drill sergant
a sympathetic ear superior - this is Kuri, she's going to be nicer and less "Oh gods, you are screwups do what I say or I will blast you!".... Nahhhhhh! Make her friendlier to start with though.
the tower commander
Logistics roles - NPCs that the players can get freindly with or annoyed with. Comms guys, GreaseMonkeys? the whole shebang.
The major players in the first plotette.
Tony the chef - crimelord on the make
Justice - runs a network of snoops and informants
Pitstop - runs a ChopShop? and tinkers with formula4 and street racing
Scarface-Claw - enforcer, hit man and actually working for second-unit. (Not so sure of this second part)
Mister-Lucky - peddles field effect devices.
A few more invaders
Work out some decent 'deduction' type sub-plots - I want players to be putting two and two together, not sweating to get the individual twos. They have a research staff, after all.
Work up some typical "evil corp, no good corp no it's evil again" type missions.
As prompted by Edith, a huge ass list of guns. Preferably with subtly different stats. Just to give that type of player something to pore over.
Hey! It was my first role-playing game ok? Everybody plays the pysco gun-nut who kills half the party with the nuclear powered plasma cannon he's not qualified to operate in their first game. Have you checked out: http://world.guns.ru/ for the big list of guns? --Edith
NoNo?, I'm saying it's a good thing to have - I'm just not qualified to make it. And whilst yes, I went and saw the big glossy - in game stats are going to be needful, which means running lots of conversion stuff. --Vitenka
Need to work out a ranking / trust vs 'how much hardware can the PCs have' metric.
I'd like to start the PCs off with simple equipment - maybe a pistol and a helping tool, or a rifle. After session 3 or so they should be settling into a standard kit - big gun, pistol, helpful kit and light armour or so. Then around session 8 I want them to pick out signature weapons - which should be the entry of second-tier guns. Automatics and the like.
Around middle of S2 I want to start handing out artillery to those that want it, and field effect devices to those who don't.
And by S3 I want power armour to be an option.
These dates will be backed off a bit - S4 and s7 I should think, now. --Vitenka
Now.. some simple way to regulate this without it being too much fiat? after all, an organisation would have a policy. The gadget point system from SpyCraft looks adapatable.
The gadget system is fine. I also can use the 'stars and edges' system for "Do you have qualification with this device" as an added sanity check. I do, kinda, need a big-ass-list to go with it. --Vitenka
NoteToSelf?: I have more than enough stuff here to run by the seat of the pants. Anything extra is just polish.
Ok, the episode structure is planned - as are the major NPCs. Ranging from interesting realistic to insanely JamesBond villainous. Stats can go fry themselves, I may as well use EverWay ;)
However, we hit a snag - there is a simultaneous StarGate? campaign going to be run. With a similar military mission structure with SciFi overtones I'm likely to lose many players to it. So I'm tempted to play up the 'super spies' element more than the 'military group' part. Even then, I'm getting tempted to ditch the idea in favour of LegendsOfFrome.
Seems they are far more action oriented, and have already gotten themselves stranded in space. Not an issue. --Vitenka
It has been brought to my attentoin that 'second unit' also means the post-production unit in a film crew - the ones who go ouit after filming is finished and get crowd shots, fill in missing or changed bits and do the special effects. The clean up crew who sort the film out after the main crew leave it half finished. Appropriateness maintained :)
ToDo: Had an actual request for a website. See if I can palm the work off onto someone else, or convince them that wiki is good enough. (Sub ToDo: Really ought to sort out futur-wiki again some time)