My Games

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

MRD Campaign Play Report Summaries (12-16)

Play Reports are never popular posts but I'm going to keep trying. In session 15 in particular I think we had a really cool encounter, the kind of thing that could make for a good module. Each collection of PRs I've put together in a post has had at least one really cool encounter so I'm pretty happy about that. I also think the preceding sessions get into the kind of social intrigue and domain play that I really enjoy.

In 15 and 16 below I include the GM notes for two scenarios that I was really happy with. They're not quite in pro-Module shape, but I think they have future Module potential if I spruced them up and removed stuff that was specific to the context around the current campaign, so if nothing else please read those!

MRD Play Report Index

MRD Module / GM Notes
The Court of Those Who Succumb Prematurely to Crippling Expectations (A significantly rewritten and expanded version of this will be the module in the book)

The PCs
We have the same three players that we've had throughout the vast majority of the campaign at this point:

Alco (SlimyKeyboard): A student in a trade school for plumbing. While working the pipes for the Poltergeist Investigators (the original team), she inadvertently activated her Poltergeist Form, Ghost in the Mirror, and has since joined the team.

Jack (Eight): A "wetworker", a Recurser with the Poltergeist Form, On a Full Moon an Ichor Heart. Works for the Nature Spirit drug dealer Chester, and has joined this team of Poltergeist Investigators on Chester's behalf.

Adore "Dori" Greyfeldt (Fiona Maeve Geist): An enforcer, also working with the team on Chester's behalf. She fled Denver after being sold out by her partner in crime and has been hiding out in New York City. Her Poltergeist Form is Crashing Rocket Nixie.

PR 12: Corporate Restructuring and the Short-Sell

The Team has their first meeting with the higher-ups of Anti-Sphinx, the criminal organization they just couped. The organization can be roughly broken up into The Underground Casino, Security, PsyOps, "Personnel" (Mafia), and QlippothNet / MLOps. They learn that the organization is now critically understaffed, losing its street reputation, struggling to maintain QlippothNet and the Hell-Money cryptocurrency the valuation of which is wildly fluctuating, bleeding funds, and has at least one leak but has possibly been infiltrated by both the Deseret Avengers and The Doppler Potential.

There is an entire spreadsheet set up for all of the major NPCs in Anti-Sphinx, their relationships to each other and the PCs, the status of the different departments, the various threats and leads for the organization, etc.; it's sort of a whole thing that doesn't translate well to PR but would probably work well in a wiki...

They assign Soft Mother to Personnel as part of a "false flag" operation to try to root out the leaks. 

Through diplomatic conflict they work out a deal with Beatriz Suzano, the head of the Suzano crime family, to bolster their staffing and reputation.

They also have a heart-to-heart with Barsabbas the Arch-Devil of The Court of Those Who Bet on the Wrong Horse. After making peace with him, he admits that he was short-selling QlippothNet Hell-Money, betting on their failure and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy, but he agreed to orchestrate a short-squeeze on himself to neutralize the problem before it escalated.

PR 13: The Trial of the Pipes

This was a very goofy session (and also a backdoor way for me to basically run The Module under a totally different context). Alco the plumber-in-training must take The Trial of the Pipes in order to get her plumbing license. This involved dissembling an anthropomorphic set of sewer pipes, defeating the rogue poltergeist Train Golem which Jack drags into Dori's Positron Pack, and eventually traversing The Court of Those Who Succumb Prematurely to Crippling Expectations, an NYC Metro-themed Court, in order to find The Metro Thing.

Meanwhile, Dori receives a call from Emil McGinley, the Recurser Glass Maiden Pixie, who betrayed her in Denver during a heist, sending her on the run to New York in the first place.

Much of this and the next section are just them exploring The Court of Those Who Succumb Prematurely to Crippling Expectations (the revamped version that will be in the book, not the version linked above). I don't include all of the particulars here, but they saw a decent chunk of it.

PR 14: Excuse-Me-Sir!

The Team continues their investigation of the Metro Thing, an urban elemental nature spirit like a sewer crocodile, who was once a tame pet of The Buddha, but after centuries of neglect from The Monkey King, has become monstrous. They develop a budding relationship with the Metro Thing after taking a bit of a beating and Alco passes the test.

Along the way, they're assaulted by a Poltergeist that hacks their Karma with "Excuse-Me-Sir!" malware, like a door-to-door salesman, who invades their minds and implants in both Dori and Jack each a Karmic Attachment of someone else, which they will later have to somehow find and resolve.

Within The Court, they find Rat Jack, of The Council of Jacks and The Polterzeitgeist, and also a drug dealer of Dharmafinil, and work out a deal with them to increase their revenue stream and intel.

Rat Jack shows them a secret backdoor entrance into Pyrite Tower, where Emil McGinley is staying, owned by a notorious NY Real Estate Warlord and frequented by a Russian businessman referred to as The Oligarch.

Emil has taken over the gang in Denver that they were robbing. It turns out the gang is actually a cult known as the Niguma Gang, which had once been a genuine Tibetan Buddhist sect but which had been coerced by a charismatic white supremacist (who is conspicuously not a Deseret Avenger, but part of something else...) before Emil took over from him.

Emil believes that reality is a simulation, and asks Dori's forgiveness and for her help to "break the world", but she refuses and attempts to kill him, and conflict ensues, including the Orange Goblin private security forces. After much destruction in the lobby of Pyrite Tower, we find ourselves at a standoff...

PR 15: Goblins!

The building is surrounded by SWAT and emergency services, as Pyrite Tower itself begins to implode/topple in on itself. The Team came here on a mission to rob the NY Real Estate Warlord, and so they ascend the building even as it collapses beneath them. They encounter various a series of experimental, grotesque, cybernetic / bio-engineered Orange Goblins and other things. The goblin variants were inspired by my old Goblins post, but in most cases, I combined entries or changed the context since they're a paramilitary group and not actual fantasy goblins.

Here are the tables I used for generating the point crawl (?). Basically, there are six "floors" (obviously more, but six that we play out), so I rolled randomly for a layout, a bad thing, and a good thing, skipping duplicates:

Layout of this floor:

  1. Open floor plan with a mini kitchen / hangout area in the center, and four corner offices.

  2. Narrow corridors of various sized rooms like labs, filming rooms, supply closets, etc.

  3. Semi-translucent glass windowed conference rooms.

  4. Cubicle farm. The walls of the cubicles obscure the fact that the cubicles are not neat rows, but more of a maze-like configuration.

  5. This floor was under reconstruction before the explosion; full of holes in the floor and wall, dangerous equipment lying around, exposed wires.

  6. Commercial floor of restaurants, shops, a cafeteria, seating areas, viewing areas, game room, bar/cafe, etc.

Bad Stuff

  1. Moon Marine is rescuing people. Will offer to help the Team out, will be suspicious if they turn her down, or if she sees them doing Recurser stuff.

  2. An experimental cyborg created by the Orange Goblin company, part of Project Blackcap: Binata sa Punso (think robocop).

  3. The Team sees an exit off to the distance, but as they move towards it, it gets further away, leading them towards a group of Orange Goblins while another group flanks them. The floor is unstable but the Mirage Goblins are ok with dying to complete the job.

  4. A chattering noise floods the floor, causing panic, disabling WIS abilities / Saves, and dealing Wd4. The Panic Goblins are little machines hiding in the walls.

  5. A monstrous cyborg arm punctures the window, swiping at the Team and grabs one PC randomly. The Genocide Goblin (think... I dunno, Attack on Titan?) climbing up the side of the building spans the length of ~2.5 floors.

  6. The entire floor is being converted into a Ru Goblin, a fleshy mash reconfiguring itself into the structure. The assembly of the Ru Goblin is the only thing keeping the floor sustained, but it is actively undermining the Team.

Good stuff:

  1. Norman Rockatansky will at first feign impotence but will pull some superspy moves if desperate.

  2. One of Nazli Kaplan’s other hustles is a pharmaceutical internship. She is on this floor and needs help escaping. She is also an amateur boxer.

  3. Through IoT and Comms, Black Sheep Shepherd reaches out to the party to help.

  4. KAO: An intern will offer you a Tote Bag of Holding if you help them escape. The intern secretly has a gun in the Tote Bag, which they may use if put under pressure, but they have no gun training and are likely to hit a PC, themselves, or something important by accident (WIS 5 for the gun Save).

  5. KAO: A small child on “visit your parent’s work day” offers the Team his Magic Macro-Man Action Figure to save him. His parents are somewhere on the next floor. Being a child, they will require careful supervision.

  6. KAO: The famous TV chef, “Momma Tastemaker”, will offer you a DS Nightcrawler if you rescue her and help her find her lucky spatula. Momma Tastemaker is competent and resourceful, but definitely out of her element. Also, she is livestreaming the events (WIS Save for Team to notice). The team will have to do PRO Conflict (5 HP) or in some other way convince her not to livestream, or barring that, they will take Pd6 if they refuse to help her because she’s livestreaming, or fail to rescue her and/or the spatula while live.

In addition to these things, they encounter Emil and some regular Orange Goblins halfway up in a sort of mini-boss battle that I apparently didn't write down but it's basically the abilities from the linked Glass Maiden Pixie Poltergeist Form.

As part of this crawl, they wind up on Momma Tastemaker's live stream, with Jack putting on a makeshift mask and Dori giving a fake name, inadvertently being labeled as vigilante superheroes, and they begrudgingly work with Moon Marine to rescue civilians (as they aim for the top to steal the NY Real Estate Warlord's Treasure).

PR 16: Treasure Trove of Cave Monster Hoarding Pyrite

At the top, they reach the NY Rear Estate Warlord's multi-level penthouse. He has been consumed by his Karma, transforming into the Ashura Cave Monster Hoarding Pyrite. CMHP is basically invulnerable so long as he has his treasure. The scenario is below:
  • The NY Real Estate Warlord has become an Ashura: Cave Monster Hoarding Pyrite*.
    • Destroying or displacing the “treasure” littering the penthouse will deal Pd6.

    • If its venom breath gets on its treasure or on itself, also deals Pd6.

    • The Cave Monster is lazy, stupid, and easily distractable.

  • If the Team evades the Cave Monster, some Toadies** might timidly attack them.

  • The penthouse is two floors connected via a spiral staircase, and various lowered and elevated sections of the penthouse give it the feel of separate mini-rooms.

    • Bedroom with a 60s-style rotating love bed and a conspicuous pole.

      • Surrounded by a water curtain of an acrid yellow liquid (Nd4).

      • On the bed is a briefcase filled with a large quantity of single dollar bills.

    • Piano Bar with robot server and robot pianist.

      • Spicy (bartender; chameleon with camouflage) and Punchinello (pianist; stout giggly horned toad with big fists).

      • The bar contains several extremely valuable bottles of liquor, but is mostly overpriced junk booze.

    • Gallery

      • The curator is The Worcestershire with a pencil-drawn pencil moustache.

      • Full of “priceless” art (all fake).

    • Office

      • Hanging just behind the desk is an “authentic” Samurai Bustah Sword with the Ninpo Stones Poison, Magic Counter.

      • An expensive, massive, Susie Suburb “Dreamhouse” comes to life as a robot contraption to eat The Team if they try to steal the sword.

    • Trophy Cabinet

      • Ancient goddess figurine originally stolen by the Dutch East India Company.

      • The Team can steal it to damage the Cave Monster, but if the Team destroys the figurine or it gets destroyed by Toadies or the Cave Monster inadvertently, they take Pd6 (I decided to make this a Karmic Attachment instead).

    • Living room

      • Framed, signed photo with an A-List celebrity who was recently “cancelled” for having done something absolutely heinous.

      • Norman Rockatansky is already attempting to steal it.

    • Old-Timey looking but actually state of the art vault containing the Fool’s Gold.

The reward is Fool’s Gold; it’s valueless except to the extent that people believe it to be valuable.

20 HP
Immune to normal Damage
Poison Dart Frog Salamander Dragon
Exotic Colors
Touching it causes psychological torture Wd8
Venom breath AoE Pd6 (marks you with a pheromone which makes you instinctively socially / politically / etc. toxic)

Like mini versions of CMHP except squat and blobby.
3 HP Each
Wd6 to touch
Wd4 Venom spit (short-range, one target)
Will mostly troll and harass the Team, avoid direct conflict or run away.

They manage to steal or destroy most or all of the treasure, defeat CMHP, and get the pyrite from the vault, at which point they all had resolved enough Karmic Attachments and lowered their Karma to 1, so they all escaped safely via their Reincarnation Rituals, gaining new abilities. Also, they took Spicy with them, so he's part of their crew now.

There's been one more session since I drafted this post, but that is the beginning of the next "arc" so to speak, so I'll save it for next time (also this post is already long...)

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