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[Contract Work] DexCon 10 Play-test

Started by Russell Collins, July 23, 2007, 07:12:20 PM

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Russell Collins

I ran a play-test session of Contract Work on Saturday. The AP is on the Lucre Press blog, here. Comment away.

If you know nothing of this game (likely, considering my silent running of the past 6 months,) here's a summary:

For any first-time readers, Contract Work is a game of Debt and Hitmen struggling to pay that debt. You don't become a Hitman for fun, you do it for money. (And if you did come to the business for fun, it's not long before a mobster, the law, or a black ops program has a huge investment in you.)

Players are called Hitters and the GM is the Interrogator. The game is played as the Interrogator leads the Hitters by way of question and answer through the job, starting from the kill and tracing back the path to it. Cul-de-sacs and lies are just as much a part of the game as truth as Hitters narrate their successes and failures to satisfy the Interrogator. Is the Interrogator an FBI agent, ready to send the Hitters away for the rest of their lives? Their lawyer hoping to make a convincing case? The Boss wanting the seedy details of the job he ordered? Only the end of the job will let us know.

The game system is about resource management. Every aspect of the mechanics reflect money. Time is money, effort is money, growth is money, cash is money. Characters are built in a point buy system and wagers are made with poker chips to resolve Confrontations that are determined by how much the Hitters and Interrogator wagered on attacking their foes and defending themselves. There are Free Action tokens that allow them to act covertly and hold an advantage over the Interrogator and Risk tokens that let the Interrogator push back.

Hitters get some money up front for a job and try to make the Target spend all his money so that there's nothing left to pay for security that can be used to stop them. After the job is done, the rest of the pay is divvied up and the Hitters pay an upkeep for their abilities (called assets) to reflect the work they do on downtime to stay in shape.

Injury to Hitters raises their debt toward a credit limit created by the Boss's investment in you. If a Hitter exceeds that limit, they are worth more dead than alive and become a target themselves.

A campaign follows the life of the Hitters as they try to earn enough money to buy their way out of the business before they outlive their usefulness.
My homeworld was incinerated by orbital bombardment and all I got was this lousy parasite.

Russell Collins
Composer, sound designer, gamer, dumpling enthusiast.