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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 166 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Actual DRYH Play] Dead Voices  (Read 1955 times)

Posts: 53

« on: September 10, 2006, 06:04:27 AM »

Hey, just noticed this is up and running again!

I posted this to rpg.net already, but since the forum here is back and active I thought I'd stick it here too.


I got the opportunity to run this earlier in the week for three players. The characters, Monty, Slate ands Simon, are here:


as well as the prototype background to the game.

Thematically, all the protagonists are connected by either recent deaths - that of his family in Monty's case and her girlfriend in Slate's - or the past, with Simon's memory removed but returning in vivid nightmares when he still could sleep. The game is set in London and straight off there were a couple of unexpected but fortunate examples of synchronicity: one of the players turned out to have an aversion to the Angel tube station at night, which is coincidently where I’d planned his character, Simon, facing his opening scene. Another player had been playing in a game with another group surrounding something called Blue Moon, again coincidently what I’d named the drug her character Slate was addicted to, with eerily strong parallels. So a good start!

What Just Happened?

The opening scenes worked really well, based off of the ‘What Just Happened?’ part of the protagonist sheet. Simon and Slate’s protagonists got intertwined straight off, although Monty, the corrupt cop, was a little harder to connect up initially. The back story I’d worked out got pretty complicated by the end, so we didn’t scratch that far into it over the 2.5 hours we played, and by the end only one protagonist had spent any length of time in the Mad City. It worked well though I think, keeping the Mad City mysterious and tying the action to the protagonists’ real world problems foremost.

In a nutshell, Monty ended up with fake evidence pointing at a Blind Knight opposed to Lazarus, the main antagonist and a Nightmare. Lazarus provided the fake evidence through a vice cop in his pay, via a drug ring peddling his Blue Moon drug.

The Blind Knight, Paul, was following Simon through London and closed on him outside the tube station in Angel. Running into the road, he got hit by a stolen car carrying four of Lazarus’ minions. They’d just stolen Slate’s AI from her apartment and she was in pursuit on the back of a commandeered motorcycle, skidding to a crashing halt after careering off a letter box (she succeeded the chase roll, but Pain dominated). As Lazarus, through his connection to his minions, recognised Simon as his old friend who’d left him to die at the hands of the Tacks Man, they bundled him into the car.

Monty, Slate and a random guy from British Telecom got involved and a lot of dice were rolled, until all my thugs were handily defeated after short-circuiting or revealing circuitry beneath their skin in disturbing ways. Simon ran after escaping from the thugs, chased by Paul, the Blind Knight. He ducked into the Mad City for the first time and escaped through a distorted-perspective (stolen from Willy Wonka) restaurant called ‘The Lucky Son’, full of Mad City citizens stuffing themselves round the clock by candlelight and an entrance doorway waist-high with a kitchen/rear gigantically proportioned.

Meanwhile, Monty restored order until armed police arrived fearing terrorism and bomb threats, and they all ended up answering a few questions while no one else blinked an eyelid at the semi-robotic men the police dragged away in cuffs.

Later Scenes
Slate repaired her AI in an all-night internet café while researching conspiracy theory websites. After finding references to the Wax King, etc. she ended up in an online conversation with her mysterious employer, actually the Tacks Man. He asked if she needed ‘assistance’ and she accepted. As the streetlights flicked dead and the computers in the empty café switched off one by one, she decided to quit waiting and (wisely) fled. There was some nice narration around Madness dominating, before she escaped the Tacks Man’s minions and their ‘help’.

Monty, intercepted as he went to have it out with his mother-in-law over the funeral of his family, was ‘asked’ by the drug ring he’s paid off by to recover Slate’s AI. He grudgingly agrees and ends up going to Slate’s empty and trashed apartment. While he’s there though, he listens to an answerphone message from a ‘Kate’ who sounds exactly like his dead wife, warning Slate to get out while he can – and the message is timed moments before the fire would have broken out that killed her and their two children. He also found some strange blue pills scattered everywhere.

Cliff Hangers
We ended soon after: Simon had explored part of the Mad City, trying to find the Bazaar at a place called Two Fishes before being rescued by another Awake from a District 13 search party. They entered the Warrens and turned up in a small room where a couple of other figures huddled, the walls plastered reverentially with ancient wanted posters, many of them showing a younger version of Simon – he’s just met a revolutionary fan club of his, who know more about his exploits than he does.

Monty had gone to a pub after searching Slate’s and was looking through the dossier on the Blind Knight when the same guy walked in and sat down at Monty’s table wanting to talk.

Slate had ran into the Mad City after escaping from the Tacks Man. As she paused for breath, the static-filled voice of her dead girlfriend came from her backpack, the AI ‘woken’ and asking where she is and what’s happened.

So something to follow up on straight off next session!

Posts: 53

« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2006, 06:05:11 AM »

Overall Good Stuff
Things moved fast and it felt like we covered a lot of ground. The system was fast and fairly intuitive – the most system-averse player took awhile to grasp the way it worked, but everyone caught on fast overall. In our first extended scrap one of the protagonists, Simon, managed to get to 4 Exhaustion dice early on – I was worried he was going to crash early as the dice pool odds of more Exhaustion stacked up against him, put it worked out well in the end, keeping some pressure on his protagonist’s actions.

Introducing the Mad City was a lot of fun, mainly only affecting Simon, but that’s wide open to dive into next session. We used the narration rules based on whose dice pool dominated and I really liked that – I’m a bit tired of player narrates success, GM failure, and this mixed things up nicely.

It was a very improvisational game – despite the notes I’d made I hardly referred to them at all. It’s an aspect of my GMing style I need to be more aware of I think, as I tend to prepare a lot then throw it all out the window as soon as the game starts. Even a list of bangs is fairly useless unless I have them memorised, as I have trouble even reading once the game kicks off.

As it was, Simon's 'fan club' were a totally new element and I need to give thought to how to weave them in well next session.

Overall Not-So-Good
A few of the players were tired to start off with and we started late, so things got a little rushed – and unfortunately they’ll be rushed next session, as it needs to wrap up by the end of that.

I think I was overall too nice with the Pain dice – even though I racked up 4 Despair Coins and spent 3 of them into Hope, I lost most conflicts and the highest I ever went was 5 dice. On the other hand, with the dominating rules success or failure isn’t everything, or even the most important thing. Their successes cost, with the exception of Monty’s player who managed to get Discipline dominating a lot, especially Simon’s. With everyone spending the remaining Hope coins at the games end they are all pretty much back to no Exhaustion and no Responses checked for next session (I think Simon has 1 Exhaustion still), so they’re ripe for some heavy Pain in the Mad City.

Looking forward to the concluding session tomorrow! I do need to prepare a few random NPCs and locations for the Mad City though – I felt pretty stretched describing the protagonists’ arrival and I don’t want to let that slip.
Posts: 863

« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2006, 10:01:34 AM »

For completely mercenary reasons, I'm going to hit discussion of this over on RPG.net.  See my comments there.

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