And we continue our game with another roll of the Activation dice. For those with memories of a…thing…with not a lot of memories here are the Reps of everything on the board:
So high numbers are always in my favor, though there could still be something up the sleeve of that attorney. Let’s give them a roll and see what happens.
Me: 5 Them: 6
That gives them initiative, but as they have no Rep 6 groups, no one will activate. That just leaves me to go. That gets me right in front of the door to the doctor’s office. Another Activation since I’ve done nothing to react to:
Me: 3 Them: 4
So they go first, lowest Rep to highest, closest to me to farthest, so the two PEFs in the building go first. If they pass 1d6, they’ll leave the building and become something right in front of me. Interesting. Let’s see if they do. Checking the first:
Well shoot, look at that. Pass 1d6. It exits the building and is resolved in my face. Awesome. Let’s check again to see if it’s something, and this time I’m rolling against a 5 because of the time.
That’s only a pass 1d6 this time. That means “Something’s Going On.” From now on, I’ll be rolling 3d6 to resolve PEFs, greatly increasing my chances of passing 2d6. So while this one is nothing, odds are the next one will be something. Speaking of the next one, let’s see if it leaves the building.
Jeez, it does! It looks like one of the dice is stuck on 6! So again it looks like the door is opening, and to make sure it’s going to open this time, I’m rolling 3d6 against a 5, because “Something’s Going On.”
That’s pass 3d6, but there’s no entry for that, so it’s pass 2d6, so someone walks out of the doctor’s office. But who? First, how many:
Just one guy. And he is:
Another Shaker. More specifically he’s
A doctor. Wow. Shocked, shocked I say. I wonder if it’s the council member’s doctor cutting me off to tell me something? Let’s find out his stats and then we’ll have our People challenge. Hope I don’t make him mad like everyone else seems to be.
# Gen Rep Fit Pep Sav Wpn
6 F 4 3 4 2 –
Not a very smart doctor…Well, compared to me. But my people of 3 versus her people of 4 means I’m at a disadvantage. Let’s see what happens. I have some story in my head based on how this goes, so let’s see. Remember, 1’s, 2’s and 3’s are successes.
Me: 3,2,2 Her: 2,4,2,5
I won! By one, mind, but still. That means a pleasant response. She’s obviously done with her shift for the day. “Excuse me, doctor, is Mr. Councilman still inside?” “Oh sure, he’s with Dr. Gorey right now.” “Thank you.” I get a glare from the attorney behind me. Speaking of which, it’s the attorney’s turn now.
He “walks to the nearest opposing group and takes a people challenge.” Um, the attorney is now talking to the Hishen? Maybe I should stay and watch this. The hell is going on here? The attorney only has a people skill of 3, but is of a higher Circle than the alien, so it’s going to be treated as having a skill of 4. The Hishen would also get -1, but it’s already at 1, and you get to roll one die no matter what, so it’s 4 versus 1. The attorney is going to get whatever the heck he wants, huh?
Attorney: 2,6,2,2 Hishen: 1
So the attorney wins by 2. That’s a pleasant response. They begin to speak amicably to each other. I can picture the attorney glancing accusingly over his shoulder at me, telling me with his eyes to mind my own business. Here is where I’m going to use one of the coolest rules in the Two Hour Wargames arsenal, and that is called, simply, Challenges. Pick a stat, pick what would happen if you win, pick what would happen if you lost, and then roll on the Challenges table. So if I am successful, I overhear their conversation (and I’ll make up what that is). If I fail, they will notice my eavesdropping and aggressively approach me (where I’ll have to do another Pep challenge to avoid a fight). This will be a People vs People challenge of me versus the attorney. Sadly we’re rolling the same number of dice. However, I would like to win this, so I’m going to use a bit of my Star Power.
What’s Star Power? That is a number that is equal to your starting Rep (5 in my case) that you can use to boost your die pool at any time. If you roll a success with them, GREAT! If you roll a 4-5, they don’t help. Boo. If you roll a 6, not only do they not help you, but you lose the Star Power point for the rest of the encounter/game/time limit you impose. I’m going to say the investigation. So I’m going to add two Star Power so it’s my 5 dice to his 3. Let’s roll.
Me: 4,6,6,1,1 Him: 1,5,4
3 to 2. Thank goodness I spent that Star Power. So I overhear their conversation. Now to decide what they’re talking about. I’m going to give it a 1 in 6 chance that it will count as a clue for this case.
No, but is it about something illegal? 1 in 3 chance.
Yes. Is it something I should be concerned with? 1 in 3 chance.
Yes, very much so. So, it doesn’t have to do with this case, but it’s something that I should be very concerned about. It’s targeting me! Is the attorney pointing out me as the target for a hit? 1 in 3 chance
No. Is the Hishen to tail me home? 1 in 3
Is he supposed to find out who I’m working with? 1 in 3
1! Oh my. It would seem like Mr. Councilman REALLY didn’t want this investigation getting out, and these two guys are like papparazi, trying to get the scoop. Uh oh, and I just mentioned his name right out here to the Doctor. Did I already spill the beans and they know? 1 in 3
Dangit. Well, that’s something I’m going to have to deal with later, now isn’t it? Mr. Councilman is going to have to answer a few questions about why all the hush-hush about this stupid car theft case. What’s the big frickin’ deal? It’s my activation anyway, so I enter the building and have, what the game calls a “Defining Moment.” Basically that’s just a PEF reaction inside the building. You can have multiple Defining Moments in buildings by moving to different floors/sections, or staying for long amounts of times. This is all abstracted unless you want to have an epic gun fight in a building. Most of the time they assume all the fighting will happen out on the street. But it states I have a Defining Moment before I see the councilman, so let’s see if I have a run in with anyone else before I get to him.
Three people this time. It’s a little crowded in this waiting room. Who’s in here?
Patron (1 in 6 chance to be a Zhuh-Zhuh, didn’t happen), and his/her’s two friends?
An Escort and a Shaker. So someone who is big with finance. *Gulp* Wonder how this is going to go.
# Gen Rep Fit Pep Sav Wpn
3 M 4 3 4 2 Pistol
I hope they realize I’m not here to bug any of them. It’s another 3 vs 3 die roll. I think another Star Power is in order, because I’m so close to talking to the Council Member that I don’t need a bunch of stuffed shirts in the waiting room making this into a “thing.”
Me: 4,3,3,5,2 Them: 6,4,5
Woah, I came out smelling like roses! This Patron will now consider me a Friend for all future rolls. So as I see it, this is the kind of clinic where no one is to know you’re here, and now that I’ve seen him, he feels he owes me a favor for my silence, so he’s going to be extra nice to me. I don’t mind that. I name him Richard and put him into my list of NPCs.
Now to meet with Mr. Councilman, who is busy having his hand stiched back together (or beamed back together…this is a sci-fi game after all). I roll on the Questioning table to see if I get anywhere. First, let’s see what kind of person this Councilman is
# Gen Rep Fit Pep Sav Wpn
6 M 4 3 4 2 –
Not bad, but not great either. The goal is to get 2 more successes than the other person to get a clue out of them. Right now he’s rolling 4 to my 3. Not good. Since we’re on his turf (A Mover in the Heights), I’m at -1d6, so now it’s 4 versus 2. I could draw a gun on him to even things out…but that’s kinda dum. I’ll just use 4 of my 5 Star Power to get 6 dice to his 4. That should get me something. If not, there is an attorney and Hishen I need to look into.
Me: 2,2,4,5,1,4 Him: 6,5,6,3
3 versus his 1. That states “Person of Interest Provides answers. Clue solved.” One down, 3 more to go. And now to check the “Advance the Investigation” table to see where this clue leads me. Simple 1d6 + 1 (the plus 1 for one clue found)
Find an Object. “I assure you there is nothing wrong with the car, and it’s not like it’s an expensive car or anything that a chop shop would want or anything. It’s just a regular old car you get for a sixteen year old! Besides, it’s worthless without the paperwork which we keep at our attorney’s office anyway. I’m sure they ditched the car somewhere, which is why I called findmystuff.now and had them do a satellite trace on a box I had installed into the car. Find that box and you’ll find the car. Simple.” “Spying on your son? Keeping him out of trouble?” “No, not at all, you can’t use the service unless you call them up and activate it and only I have the clearance to do that.”
Thank goodness he put so much security on to an old chop shop style car that he wants back so desperately.
Let’s see where this box is before I finish this encounter. First a roll on the “Where is it” table. Creative naming, these tables.
Where this is will be based on the Victim. Now I can use the Councilman, or the Scientist because I’m feeling frisky. I’m also looking in all the columns for which time of day because I haven’t rolled for that and I want to pick the most interesting location, so it gives me Gaea Heights, Hope Heights or City Hall district. I’ve already done Gaea Heights, so I won’t do that again, that’s no fun. Hope Heights is the creme de la creme of the city. And City Hall is, well, City Hall. So hanging with the richy rich, or the gov’ment. I’ll give it a 50/50 each.
Rich folk it is. It would seem that findmystuff.now is run out of some rich guy’s basement and in order to get access to the tracking codes and the black box, I’ll have to go find them. Yes, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s keeping the story going forward, and that’s the most important thing, a lot of this will be forgotten when the bullets start flying. Remember in the original Maltese Falcon there’s an entire murder that goes unsolved, so we’re not looking for a perfect plot, just a reason to go from one scene to the next. Okay, I’ll roll for the building, just in case if it comes up with something more interesting than what I’ve thought of already.
Office building. Ah, guess it’s not a guy’s basement. Standard Silicon Valley office complex. Lots of People checks and maybe some Savvy checks to get through there. Excellent.
But I’m still not done with this first encounter yet. I still have to LEAVE the table. And looking at the table:
I still have an attorney and a Hishen who hate me, a nice pleasant doctor and the nice rule for leaving buildings: If there’s less than the number of PEFs the time says should be on the table, add them. So as I exit, I’ll be adding 3 more PEFs as I leave. More chance for action (or wasting my time). Yes, I could just skip to part 2 of the investigation, but I want to see what happens with the Hishen, honestly.
I look waaaaay back to see that all activations are done for this turn (the dice were me: 3 them: 4) so we’ll reroll those and see what kind of action happens.
Me: 2 Them: 5
At least I won’t leave the building until they all move. I’m not going to have the Councilman move as in my head he’s still having his hand checked. The guys in the waiting room are lead by a guy with a Rep of 4, so they don’t activate, so the only person to go is the attorney. Now to make things more difficult for myself, I’m going to say the Hishen is part of his “group” so that the alien will activate with him. It makes sense that the attorney is telling him what to do since with Rep 3 he probably has little self-motivation. So let’s see what they do:
That’s pass 2d6 for both of them. They will move toward the nearest opposing group taking a people challenge. Oh! Perfect! They’re going to go question the Doctor about what I talked to her about. She has a Pep of 4, the Attorney is only a 3. The Hishen is a 1, so we’ll leave him out. Now the Attorney could get a +2 if he draws a gun on her, but I don’t think that’ll happen. Yet.
Attorney: 4,3,1 Doctor: 5,6,3,6
D’oh! She’s too nice! He wins, 2:1 and she tells him who I inquired about. It would seem their mission is accomplished. But now it’s my activation, so I step out into the street, right beside our friendly doctor. Hello boys, are you causing any trouble? Let’s drop the 3 PEFs before I start anything here.
The 2 is around the building, but 5 & 4 are right out in the street, and I can’t seem to get it behind the car where I can’t see it, so it looks like the street’s a bit more crowded than when I went inside. How long was I talking to that guy anyway? Maybe waiting rooms are the wormholes of time we all think they are!
I’ll resolve the one that’s right behind the Attorney and Hishen first. I’m still rolling 3d6, because of an earlier roll, and I’m rolling against 5.
So it’s someone. How many?
3+1=4 folks. A regular crowd has formed. Oh boy. Maybe I won’t be challenging these guys. Quick, give me a song I can casually whistle!
It’s a group lead by another Mover.
An Office Holder.
Not a Zhuh-Zhuh.
The other folks are a Shaker, Criminal Element, and Ordinary Joe. Quite a motley crew. Okay, I need to know what kind of Criminal this is before I move forward. White collar will make how I interact a little different than blue collar.
Escort. Ahhhhhh. Never mind, then.
That was checking for the various alien races for the escort. Turns out it’s a Razor. Razors are bizarre creatures that look human (and no one has ever seen a male Razor) but process everything at amazing speeds, so are able to move quicker and more precisely than the rest of the world. They are also able to “think so fast” that they can make this into a beam that they can use to stun prey. They are usually seen leading Hishen slaver parties, but some will be in the world’s oldest profession do to their dancer-like martial abilities. Incredibly dangerous in close-quarters combat. Let’s see what this other Office Holder is like:
# Gen Rep Fit Pep Sav Wpn
4 F 3 3 2 1 BAP
So let’s talk. It’s my 3 dice to her two. Maybe they’re just passing through. I’ll add a Star Power to make that much more likely.
Me: 5,4,5,6 Them: 2,4
So I got zero to her one. And my Star Power die was a 6, so I lost that for the rest of the investigation. I hang my head in shame. Again, they want me to bugger off and will get violent if I don’t. But before this goes that way, I have ANOTHER PEF to deal with.
This is escalating quickly, isn’t it?
Again, 3d6 versus 5. Odds are there’s someone else there. At this point, police would be nice.
People. How many?
Which actually means two people this time. Who are they?
HA! Police! I called it! When this happens, it’s always a police cruiser. So we have a cruiser with two cops in it. Of course, I need to make a people check, again, to see if they’re on my side. If they’re not, clearly they’re in the pockets of this other Office Holder. So let’s check the group leader’s stats. This time I’m rolling on the Police generator:
# Gen Rep Fit Pep Sav Wpn
1 M 4 4 2 3 BAP
So my 3 versus his 2. I’ll throw in another Star die to make it 4 to 2 so they will help me. Clearly someone inside the clinic was worried about the throng of people outside, or maybe Mr.Councilman knew trouble was coming so called them earlier. Who knows? Let’s see what the dice tell us.
Me: 2,3,2,6 Him: 6,3
Well, I win 3 to 1, which means that they are definitely on my side. However I lose yet another Star die, leaving me with only 3 for the rest of the investigation. Crap.
While technically I would have to deal with the other PEF while I walked to the cruiser to leave, I think making the evil eye at the other councilperson and walking to the squad car to leave seems like a better ending and I’d like to start the other scene now.
So there we go. This was an awful lot of typing for really nothing happening. The creative amongst us could come up with a good story as to why every NPC was there and why they were all so dang grumpy that I was there. I tried to throw in some things which were shaky at best, but it keeps me going. As you see, when you’re doing the “RPG” side of the game, it’s mostly just a lot of die rolling to have people show up, move around the table, interact with each other and possibly start hitting each other (they would need the People challenge to have a difference of over 2 for that to happen).
There’s rules for if/when the cops get called if fighting starts, there’s rules for getting mugged on the way to your encounters, there’s rules for going to gambling houses, there’s rules for going to bars and getting members for your “gang.”
But next week, we won’t worry about that. Next week we’ll see what happens when our hero walks into a trap. Perhaps this object in that office building is behind a band of mercenaries who won’t let it go. Or maybe I’ve had enough of just investigating and I want to see some lead fly.
See you Monday.