Friday, January 2, 2009

Hobbit Mafia and Blofeld's Cat

We'd all got sick and tired of being cooped-up and snowed-in, so when the weather turned nice for New Years Day, the Emerald City Game Feast group got together for TWO one-shots. Both were really top-notch.

The first scenario: Goodhobbits
Setting: Freeport (a published Fantasy / Pirate city)
System: Savage Worlds

This was a well-crafted mystery scenario. The PCs were corrupt (is there any alternative?) officers of the City Watch, and the "crime" we were investigating looked to be a death threat on the Sea Lord (Freeport's equivalent of Governor) from a legendary mafia-ring known as The Finger Of Baggins.

As I said, the adventure was well-crafted: there were multiple leads, and even the red herrings revealed information that helped figure out the big picture. There was enough clue/lead redundancy to prevent a couple bad Investigation or Notice rolls from miring us down. Crafting an RPG mystery scenario that plays anything like a Detective novel or film ain't easy, but John did a great job with it.

My Character: Smeagol Fairfoot, more corrupt than his fellow Watch-men, but with an honest face and good family reputation. I managed to ingratiate myself to two different mob bosses in one night, and came *this close* to making away with something like 10,000 illicit gold pieces I would have had to melt down (because they were marked with The Yellow Sign). Despite all my greed and corruption, I managed to come out looking clean (or at least unobtrusive and unthreatening) to my superiors on the City Watch.

Second Scenario: 007: The Teeth of Fenris
Setting: James Bond films
System: InSpectres (with modifications)
An aside: This is the third time I've played InSpectres, but since every time the games suggested scene structure has been abandoned, so I still don't know how vanilla InSpectres plays. From the reviews I've read, the suggested structure is dynamite. Man, am I ever looking forward to playing it with the default rules sometime.
That said, Peter did an awesome job with the game. He diverted from the suggested format, but did so in a clever and unique way. The players weren't working together, we were at cross-purposes. Two PCs were members of MI-6. Three PCs were villains (and encouraged to backstab each other repeatedly). The last PC was a Mexican Intelligence agent - he was ostensibly allied with MI-6, but had secondary goals that conflicted with them. Bond was a communal NPC - anyone could narrate his actions, as long as they were in-character. The villains would narrate him falling in to our traps, and the heroes would narrate his escapes. Very cool.

The two sides had seperate franchise dice and resource pools. Rather than having a total we were all working towards to resolve the whole story, each scene had a (much smaller) franchise dice goal. Which ever side hit that total first got to narrate the conclusion of the scene as they wished. This worked beautifully - the villains won every scene except the last one of the night. That meant that the plot just continually thickened and got more dire, but Bond triumphed in the end despite phenomenal odds. Beautiful. One of the most genuinely cinematic RPG scenarios I've ever played in.

My Character: Sugar, the cat owned (and pampered) by Ernst Stavro Blofeld. That meant I got to narrate all of arch-villain Blofeld's actions, but had to frame them all as things he did to make his cat happy. Blofeld himself wasn't my character (per se), so I refrained from putting words in his mouth, but I made sure all his computers were touch-screens (so I could brush up against them to initiate or deactivate the automated defenses), and my litterbox was placed in the room Bond was most likely to infiltrate. It was fun.

No comments: