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Author Topic: [InSpectres] Winging InSpectres, Part 2  (Read 1532 times)
GreatWolf
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designer of Dirty Secrets


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« on: April 12, 2004, 06:25:06 PM »

Well, the third session of InSpectres went much better.  The advice from the previous thread helped greatly.

In addition to rolling up the client for the week, I came up with a basic sense of what I thought was going on, prepped several Bangs, and, along the way, figured out what Ron means by a “bandolier of Bangs”.  I also jotted down different loose ends from previous sessions for reincorporation.  Things like “Dexter hacked a bank!”, “Jo is due in court for her assault trial” and similar items.  That way, I could start reusing past events, bringing them back into play and seeing what connections formed.

I also resolved to judiciously hammer my PCs with Stress and promised myself that I wouldn’t feel guilty about it.  I also decided to call for more die rolls, thereby hoping to have the opportunity to throw more strangeness at my players.

The game itself went smoothly.  In general, I think that my additional prep work paid off.  Keith and Crystal seemed to engage a lot more, too.  This particularly showed when Todd’s hand was bit off.

You see, the client was having gremlin problems, and it seems as though one of them hitched a ride in her diaper bag when she came into the office.  So, after she had recovered her children from where Dexter had duct-taped them (an interesting incident), the gremlin appeared and began wreaking havoc with his computer.  (This was one of the two Bangs that I actually used.)  So Dexter chased it down with a squirt gun and was holding it at gunpoint.  (Side note:  it was at this point that we discovered that gremlins sound a lot like The Cheat.  Of course, Todd and Jo thought that maybe the client had accidentally left one of her children.  So Jo offered it a lollypop.  She made a contact roll.

She rolled a high die of one.

Who would have known that the mere sight of sugar would drive gremlins into a berserker frenzy?

So, the gremlin opened its mouth really wide and began to consume Dexter.

Once again, it was Todd to the rescue.  Using only a roll of duct tape, a mop, and a few lawn darts, Todd jousted the gremlin from his skateboard, causing it to puke out Dexter.  (Stress checks around, especially for Dexter).  Then, Todd rammed the mop down the gremlin’s mouth and skated out of the office.  Thinking quickly, he headed for the FBI office.

Once he arrived, he addressed the gremlin, who had been working its way up the mop handle.  He pointed at the FBI office and told him that it would be its new home.  Ralph rolled Contact.  His high die was a four.  So the gremlin took a few steps, dashed back, bit him anyways, and then ran into the office building.

At this point, Crystal signaled for a Confessional.  She then noted how shocking it was that Todd’s hand had been bitten off.  Keith then chimed in by saying that it was even more shocking when it grew back.

Now, technically, only one player can pull a Confessional per scene.  But who cares?  The players were engaging, and I didn’t realize that rule until later anyways.

We also determined that Todd had been infected and was possibly turning into a gremlin.

So, the group split up.  Dexter hacked the police computers to discover where Todd was.  He then went to try to get him out of the hospital.  Jo went to Rentway, collected a duffel bag filled with gadgets, and went to the client’s house.

Further hilarity ensued.  Dexter ended up bribing a nurse to let him take Todd (using Bank dice to boost a Contact of 0).  Jo discovered the gremlins running rampant in the living room of the client’s house and ended up wrestling them into submission.  (Complete with body slams, pins , posturing, off-the-ropes leaps, and everything.)  I hadn’t planned the scene, but I was glad that it happened.  Crystal was really looking for something like this, and she enjoyed her moment in the spotlight.

Now, up until this point, all my players were rolling insanely well.  Through my evil machinations, Stress had reduced their stats greatly.  Most of them were only working with single die stats.  Yet they still managed to roll 5s and 6s.  It wasn’t fair!  So, by the time that Jo packed the five gremlins into her duffel bag with a ticking windup clock and headed for the local zoo, they only needed a few more Franchise Dice to end the scenario.

Those last Dice were to be the hardest.

First, as Jo left the client’s house, I sprang my second Bang.  Agent Maulder happened to be walking down the sidewalk.  (Yes, I have a justification.  No, my players still don’t know what it is.)  As you may recall, he isn’t on great terms with the InSpectres team.  So he demands that Jo stop.  So, she does the only intelligent thing.  She thrusts the bag into Maulder’s arms and starts running.  Maulder gives chase.

I call for Athletics.  Jo rolls a four.  She gets away from Maulder…but there’s a gremlin latched on to her backside.  So she starts squirming and shaking, trying to get the thing off of her bum.

It is, of course, at this point that Todd and Dexter drive around the corner in the new company van.

So Dexter stops the van and leaps to the rescue, lawn darts in hand.  He takes careful aim and throws.

Athletics.  Rolls a 2.

Dexter misses the gremlin but hits Jo in the other cheek.  She falls over.  The gremlin lets go, because it’s laughing so hard.

Dexter takes aim again and throws.

Athletics.  Rolls a 1.

Dexter misses the gremlin but hits Agent Maulder in the shoulder as he runs up.  The FBI agent goes down, groping for his gun.

The duffel bag was starting to open, and a gremlin hand was peeking out.

At this point, once again, Todd comes to the rescue.  He comes out to deal with the gremlin.  Athletics roll.  A 6.  Enough to end the scenario.  So Ralph narrates that the gremlin leaps at him, but then his new hand bursts from beneath its bandages and grabs from the air.  He then chattered at the gremlin that it was time to CHILL OUT!  Incredibly, it did.

So, he stuffed it into the duffel bag and threw it onto the street.  Then Dexter ran it over with the van several times.  Who is going to pay for all the rented gadgets I still don’t know.

They left Agent Maulder gasping vain threats and drove away.  Mission completed.

There are still interpersonal issues brewing.  Todd is being overbearing, and Dexter and Jo are beginning to get fed up.  I should probably ensure that the players aren’t getting fed up, especially since Todd has been quick to “dock pay” (i.e. give out just a hair less Vacation than needed).  On the other hand, if it provokes a “board room” conflict, well, all the better.  Especially if the tensions rise on the job....

Plus, we still have new mysteries to unfold.  What was Agent Maulder doing near the house?  What will happen on Jo's court date?  How will the FBI react to the gremlin?  And what will happen to Todd?

Stay tuned....

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
ScottM
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Fresno, California


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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2004, 08:16:59 AM »

It sounds like a fun zany game-- good to hear that you got back in the groove.  How many bangs did you prepare?  (You sprang only two, right?)
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Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2004, 08:23:32 AM »

Hey,

I see more Bangs than that. For example, when the gremlin started to eat Dexter.

"Hey! That's not a Bang! The GM didn't prep it beforehand!"

So what? When a Bang is authored is irrelevant. One of the whole points of InSpectres' design is to enable Bangs to arise painlessly through play.

"That's not a Bang! It offered no Premise issue!"

Sure it did. Premise in InSpectres includes staying cool and staying in control of the client and the problem. A client who brings her problem into the franchise office and makes it your problem is a serious issue.

"That's a Bang? But the GM didn't make it up!" (OK, I'm stretching this one, but let's say a player introduced it, say through a Confessional)

So what? Nothing about a Bang dictates who it's authored by. The design of InSpectres is aimed at spreading around the responsibility for authoring them.

Here's the good news: you prepped a number of Bangs, you introduced two of the prepped ones, you introduced a bunch of others in an immediate/responsive way, and the other people in the group introduced a bunch too.

Awesome play.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2004, 08:31:26 AM »

Quote
"That's a Bang? But the GM didn't make it up!" (OK, I'm stretching this one, but let's say a player introduced it, say through a Confessional)


Actually it was, and I did.
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GreatWolf
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Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2004, 08:36:52 AM »

I buy that completely, Ron.  The idea of having prepared Bangs has always seemed to me to allow the GM to "give the game a push" if it was starting to bog a bit, but it makes sense to me that Bangs arise during play.  I've seen plenty of player-introduced Bangs in my Legends of Alyria play, and I did see several in this game of InSpectres as well.  The best example is Todd's losing his arm, but there were others as well.  I'm looking forward to seeing where the game proceeds.

I should also note that there were several times that we were doubled over laughing, which I saw as a positive sign.  The "social reinforcement" of the group's choices during play.

Scott, I had prepared about four Bangs.  One that didn't get used was the client's husband coming home from work while the InSpectres team was performing the extermination.  He was against the idea, you see, and his wife went behind his back....  Trying to deal with a husband/wife argument while containing the gremlins seemed like it might be stress-inducing.  However, the scene at the home worked so well, I didn't think that the Bang needed to be introduced.

One of the hanging questions right now is if Todd should be converted into a weird agent or not.  I'm not going to force it on Ralph, but I would personally be quite amused if he did.  I also think that it might put more focus on the other characters, since Todd would not then be allowed to earn Franchise Dice.

Besides, as was noted, what would you do if the mere presence of your boss crashed your computer?  Now, imagine that you are (say) a New Age science geek in love with his computer (a la Dexter).  Can you say Stress?  I knew that you could.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2004, 01:25:41 PM »

Quote from: GreatWolf
One of the hanging questions right now is if Todd should be converted into a weird agent or not.  I'm not going to force it on Ralph, but I would personally be quite amused if he did.  I also think that it might put more focus on the other characters, since Todd would not then be allowed to earn Franchise Dice.

Ralph play a weird agent? I'll put $10 on it right now. Even if it weren't a good idea for other reasons.

Mike
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