The Campaign Chronicle is a regular blog series in which I publish my notes, thoughts, and plans for my tabletop role-playing games for which I am game mastering. These feature world-building notes, recaps of game sessions, and notes to keep in mind for future sessions. Enjoy!
The following post will look into the playing of Session Two, based off of my notes from the previous session and the details I outlined between sessions one and two.
The Mumon Rift WARS
Session Two: 01.03.2017
Sitting down to play for our second session, we were unfortunately short Kip, the player behind the combat-machine character of Holden Riggs. This was a bit problematic, as it was Kip who initiated the combat which we were beginning this session with. However, the fist fight went for two rounds, and once Slipheed drew a gun the Regulator thugs surrendered the mechanical parts and fled the scene. The players, by examining the parts and conferring with Joker back at the docked ship, Rugged Empty, learned that the parts the Regulators were toting were not from their own ship. Turns out the gang of Regulators were just trying to push the PCs into a fight, and didn't expect the PCs to draw weapons and try to turn a brawl into a gunfight.
In the words of a Telltale game, The Regulators will remember this.
And that led the players to their next stop, as learned from one of Herbert's old friends, Gear, at the Rats' Nest: Trigger's Apartment.
I knew I wanted certain beats to happen while the players were at Trigger's apartment: 1.) The players needed to learn that Trigger knows a lot about Traginium mines on Ganymede. 2.) The players needed to learn that Trigger was involved in a less-than-friendly encounter with some Gongen, and 3.) The players needed to learn that Trigger was set to make a deal with a group of Quay, a deal which he wasn't making on time.
The players found Trigger's apartment to be in disarray. The door was marked as if opened by force, personal effects strewn about the single room as if someone were searching for something. They discovered two things of note: On the floor of his apartment was an eSheet with detailed shipping records of Traginium on and off of Ganymede, specifically regarding those made by Shi and Quay. Also, in the closet of the apartment was a computer console in lock-down mode. Slipheed was able to hack his way in (a bit) and find fragmented and incomplete data showing actual schematics and logistics of various mining installations on Ganymede. However, in his search, he found that some data had been forcibly removed from the console before it was placed in lock-down mode.
As this was going on, Haru noticed a neighbor of Trigger's moving down the hall, and stopped the man, asking him questions. From this neighbor, Haru was able to learn about Trigger being confronted - rather aggressively - by a group of Gongen. When Haru showed interest in who these Gongen were, the man asked him if "this is related to those murders", presenting me with the opportunity to provide the players with the thread of information that over the last two or three days. This put a mysterious new layer on their missing persons case, and planted the idea of being on a time crunch in their heads - whether or not they really were.
Finally, I concluded the encounter with giving Haru a Flash of Insight moment in which he got the vision of a group of Quay passing the neighbor in the hallway. The group readied for a tense confrontation with the monstrous aliens, and when they conversed with the Quay, they learned that Trigger was late in closing the deal. Thanks to some quick thinking, the players avoided a fight with the Quay and instead ensured the Quay that they were trying to bring Trigger back, thus making them a circumstantial ally of these Quay.
Dooley & "Brute Squad" Saark
As the Quay were leaving the apartment, a heavily modded, large Maverick entered looking for the players, informing them that Dooley, owner of the Rats' Nest bar and leader of the Nest gang, wanted to speak with them. This man was "Brute Squad" Saark, an individual of incredible physical power who would serve as my go-to for assisting the players in the field while they're on Ceres. He brings them to the Rats' Nest backroom, where they group enjoys comfortable seating and robotic servers away from the activity of the main bar and game rooms, and allows them the chance to meet Dooley face to face and learn why the Nest is also interested in Trigger.
This represents my first real deviation from the established WARS universe. In the short story Playing by the Rules, written by Mark Tuttle and published by Decipher in 2005, Dooley is depicted as the man tending bar at the Rats' Nest, serving drinks and offering information to the main character occasionally. This wasn't the type of gang leader I wanted for The Nest in my version of the WARS universe. Instead, I preferred to make Dooley less hands-on in the day-to-day business of the bar and casino and instead make him more of a Man In The Ivory Tower sort of guy. He has a private room above the bar where he can watch people come and go. He is protected by bodyguards, he converses with contacts and VIPs one on one, and pulls the strings and sets events into motion all from behind the scenes. He will still get involved with the bar proper, but I'd imagine someone as well-connected as Dooley would have people to do that. I was basically playing him as a less-evil Cottonmouth from Marvel's Luke Cage Netflix series.
Dooley informs the players that he is obviously aware of their actions since they've docked on Ceres. He also offers his assistance in finding Trigger, as Trigger is the kind of informant who helps whoever is currently setup to pay him. While he was researching Quay on Ceres for the Gambler, he also began sending Quay intel Dooley's way as well, earning extra credits and solidifying a relationship with a powerful individual on Ceres. Dooley, recognizing Trigger's usefulness and resourcefulness, wants to help the PCs get Trigger back safe and sound.
Also, Dooley has taken note of the PCs interactions with the Regulators, and informs them that the Regulators are actually paid by The Nest to keep the peace in the large and busy Ceres installation. However, the Regulators have been taking more and more liberties with what's considered 'law' on the asteroid lately, and need to be realigned. He gave them the Regulators' pay for the month, plus an extra amount for the PCs, and instructed them to ensure that the Regulator leader, Gunsmoke, gets the message that they can't be as harsh on perceived crimes as they have been.
Finally, Dooley also informed the PCs that there have been a group of Gongen troublemakers in the maintenance levels of Ceres, and the Regulators had to force them to fly their ship out of the maintenance docks more than once. Dooley believes that these Gongen could be linked to Trigger's disappearance, and meeting with the Regulators could help shed some light on the whole situation.
Gunsmoke & The Regulators
The first sub-level of Ceres the PCs head to is the one where the Regulators have set up their impromptu base of operations. In meeting with Gunsmoke, Haru is able to navigate the encounter diplomatically, while Samson reads the minds of both Gunsmoke and his officer who met the PCs on the docks in Session One, Goldtooth. I was going to throw a bone at Slipheed as well, dropping a hint of his character's nemesis in his backstory - Baldric Luddox, who was kicked out of the Regulators - however Justin, Slipheed's player, was oddly disengaged from this encounter (later I learned he was corralling his child and not able to participate as much as normal), so I skipped it and decided to save it for another day.
By now the PCs had maneuvered through all of the dangerous situations without bringing it to combat, and while this was interesting to watch, I knew it wouldn't last. I resolved that, in session three, I would throw at least one unavoidable conflict at them, likely in the form of the Accord Pirates.
Also, I noticed that the resident medic, Herbert West, had surprisingly little to do in this session, so the Med-Bot encounter I had designed earlier would work great in the next session, helping to bring West's skills to the forefront.