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[Cild City] Getting at them

Started by GB Steve, January 19, 2007, 01:53:08 PM

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GB Steve

I started this game with the express intention of setting up one of the characters. Cold City seems to me to be one of those games where this is acceptable GM behaviour. It's not specifically antagonistic but that kind of challenge is well within the Cold War genre.

So we had a big old game, 7 characters in the end: two Germans (east and west, one played by a German), two Americans, a Brit (played by and Italian), a Russian and a Frenchman.

The Russian, Lt Yuri Andropov (yes, that one) and one of the Americans were returning characters from Prisoner #8 (the scenario in the rule book) so I decided to set up the Russian. His personal agenda is to get one over his boss Major Belovski but in the last episode Belovski had got wind of this, meaning Andropov had to keep of the Soviet sector for personal safety.

When I ran Prisoner #8, Andropov had reported that the Big Bad had escaped whereas the American had thought him destroyed in an explosion. So Belovski had a similar incident set up at Tiergarten tube, just outside the Russian sector. He also had an address in the Russian sector on Unter den Linden supplied to the American.

Eventually they decided to follow the trail through the subway which meant crossing over into the Russian sector. The border guards appeared friendly but they were under orders to let Andropov through, and to pick him up on the way back.

The PCs burgled the address, a Russian science mission, and found some wierd radioactive compound in a safe which they nicked. The alarm was raised and MVD units converged on the building.

They managed to all get away except for the West German who got in a punch up with the MVD and lost 7 stats. He managed to bribe his way out of the Stasi hospital by recognising a Nazi war criminal who he set up with some black market chums.

However as Andropov climbed out the window he fell (a magnificent 4 success from me, 3 10s and a 7). I spent two on damage, one on breaking the strange vial and the other on it being absorbed by Andropov. The English Doc (4 successes) determined that the compound caused cloning through budding (to which I secretly added that the extra weight needed would just be sucked from nearby organic material).

The Americans went to the nearby Regenbogen (a nightclub) to join in the regular poker game between US and Soviet MPs. One of the Americans was also a boxer, in fact his personal agenda was to win an international fight, so there was an impromptu bare-knuckle bout with a Dolph Lundgren clone which the American one. Much vodka was consumed and they returned drunk to the RPA.

In the meantime, the remaning PCs lugged the budding Andropov back through the subway where they ran into Belovski. They managed to persuade him, in extremis that Andropov was dying so he let them go back to the British sector. By the time they got there, Andropov had almost completely separated into two and was budding further. The two who had been carrying him had lost quite a bit of weight. The Frenchman ran up to the Tiergarten Bratwurst seller (which I'm sure is all one word in German) and bought his entire stock to feed the process. This was enough to finish the process and even a bit more. A new head started to grow from one of the Andropovs.

The remaining Andropov called the base and got the Americans to bring a flame-thrower which they used to incinerate the still budding Andropov. This was resisted by the Doc who had an agenda to find cloning tech. On a partial success the main body was burnt to a crisp but the head managed to detach and roll, under cover of the cloud of flames and smoke, under the platform where it started to absorb rats. The doc noticed this but kept quiet about it.

So something for a future session as well.

We did used the Newman/Dempsey variant rules* but they didn't affect the outcomes in the end. Andropov seemed to have enough bad luck without them.

So a pretty good 3 hour session with plenty of nastiness - I like this game.

*Instead of negative traits subtracting dice from the pool they also increase it but are of a different colour. If the top dice is from a negative trait something interesting and nasty happens.

Ron Edwards

Whoa! That would explain a lot about Andropov's history ... more than one of him ...

That's a cool writeup, Steve. I particularly liked the cross-boundary poker night. My question: what sort of conflict appeared among the player-characters? My own inclination (rather, hope) for playing the game is to see personal, positive bonds appear as well as personal animosities or ideological clashes. Did any such bonds appear?

Best, Ron

GB Steve

The poker game was just something that I threw in to a previous scenario, the players ran with it and it's now part of the folklore. We have other player created folklore associated with the game. For example, the American managed to persuade US spooks to get of Andropov's back by reasoning that Andropov spent so much time in Western Sectors because he is a double agent codename APPLE DUMPLING. Andropov doesn't know this yet.

As for bonds, these typically start to appear about half way through the first session of a game where the players polarise into blocks (2 blocks usually) with usually one strong member of each block and a couple of less hardline waverers. In this game we had the two blocks, the Americans and the Others centered around Andropov but whilst the Americans were unswerving in their support of each other, the others were much less strong and personal agendas played a stronger part for them.

I've found that with on-going games that the competition between blocks tends to lessen between sessions but gets going more quickly after the first session. I've not yet had the competition derail a scenario. Players do focus on the job at hand and the way they do this also creates bonds. It's not uncommon for a player to say to another "I would help you with that but given that you don't trust me, I'm not going to be much help" and this can lead to trust increasing.

Malcolm Craig

Thanks for posting the report Steve.

As for positive relationships appearing, I've certainly seen it happen in game, sometimes along the lines Steve mentioned (the group polarising into two blocks) and sometimes along more unexpected lines. I've certainly seen situations where the Soviet and American characters (for example) become friends due to to in-character actions (heroism, defiance of authorities and so forth), which leads into many interesting complications for the characters (superiors casting glances of disapproval at a close friendship between supposed ideological enemies).

I'm planning to start testing out the Dempsey/newman Variation of the negative Trait rules myself in the near future, as I think they offer a very workable and viable alternative to an elements of the rules that has caused a bit of dis-satisfaction with some players.

I can just see the scene where the burned head of the budding Andropov rolls off into the darkness. Thank Godit didn't sprout spidery little legs and scuttle off!

Malcolm Craig
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