Monday, August 31, 2015

Mecha Mice released

Yesterday I released another of my little PocketMod RPGs...

On the island of Searbay mousekind has reached levels of technology undreamed of, but the thousand enemies that have always existed and always will are still just beyond the wall. With the invention of the Mecha Suit mousedom has a chance to survive, and the tools to hold back the darkness of dissolution and barbarism.

Join the Corp, become the Paw.

Mecha Mice is a story telling game of heroic mice armed with the latest technology fighting a thousand enemies a thousand times larger than themselves. The game is only 8 pages long and provided in standard PDF form and in "PocketMod" PDF. You can print the PDF version on a single sheet of paper and fold it into a pocket size booklet.

Available for only $1.50 at DriveThruRPG

I've started collating supporting articles at the Mecha Mice blog
I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Paint the Town Yellow - A Judge Dredd session report

Last night was another Judge Dredd one-shot. Three Judges started out by being called to "robbery in progress". They arrived at the Fresh Yums eatery.

The first Judge on scene stayed back to get the lay of the land and ID'ed the getaway driver in a van outside the place. The second Judge pulled into the car park next to the van but when he pulled his lawgiver on the driver, the driver raised his hands revealing a device in his hands, with a single button which he pressed. The Judge's Lawgiver immediately switched to High Explosive mode. The third Judge arrived but couldn't stop his bike, it had gone haywire! He was well past the eatery before stopping.

Next the driver was put down and the boot of the van opened by Judge Speed, as Judges Stormvolt and Wessel closed in on the door to the eatery, one to either side. In the boot of the van a device was discovered, quickly disabled, and Judge Speed's Lawgiver went back to behaving.

Two armed perps burst out of the eatery. Stormvolt put his lightning line into one perp and took him down as Wessel stuck with his dagger (they had all set aside their Lawgivers as unreliable at this point), knifing the bad guy in the arm. The perp struck back at Wessel but his own weapon was turned on him and a rifle butt to the face put him down.

A quick peak into the restaurant showed three more bad guys barricaded behind tables. A stun grenade was thrown in and settled the business. Inside the owner was discovered dead, with the patrons hiding behind the bar. Questioning revealed that no attempt at robbery had been made. This left the Judges puzzling the motives while waiting for the support vehicles to turn up.

Judge Speed was sidetracked by a bunch of youths who tried to hit him with a catapult launched paint ball. He managed to get them under control as another call came in, reporting an armed attack on a nearby block's armory.

The judges jumped on their bikes only to discover the air lanes above being sent into spinning chaos by wing-suit-gliders illegally flying through them. They tracked the fliers to the ground and arrested them. They were about to set off to the armory when they witnessed another crime. Some punk dragged the driver out of an air car and climbed in. Judges Stormvolt and Speed would deal with this crime while Wessel headed off towards the armory (Damn him, seeing straight through my distraction plan!!!!).

The air car started taking off, a judge put a round through one of the fans and it crashed to the ground - crushing the legs of the victim. The perp made a break for it. Of course the perp was taken down, and a heroic effort lifted the car clear of the wounded citizen.

Judge Wessel meanwhile was heading to the armory but decided to visit the scene of a traffic problem which had been mentioned in the morning briefing. Here he found tek-div working to fix the problem. The cause of the trouble was a transmitter just like the one they discovered at the Fresh Yums.

When Wessel arrived at block where the armory incident was happening he found the blast doors open and a couple of block militia dead on the ground. He sneaked through the blast doors passing under an active robotic defence gun. Further into the badly lit interior he found bad guys using noisy cutting equipment to work on the high security armory doors that protect the nukes.

The other judges arrived, Speed heading for the side door while Stormvolt worked on the computer system where he managed to shut down the defence guns and lock down all of the other doors.

With all three judges inside they coordinated to shoot out three devices that the perps had brought with them (purpose unknown but guessed), quickly following that up with a storm of rubber richochet that put all of the perps down. They moved in and started questioning the perps and learned that they were sent here by "Big Jim", who lived in the basement of a nearby block. Judge Speed was compelled to get over there quickly while the other cleaned up the scene.

In the basement Speed found only a single apartment door. He blew the door and burst in to find himself in a spiral painted cylindrical corridor with another door at the far end. Blast doors slammed behind him and the corridor started rotating, then spherical drones popped in and started rolling around flailing at him with buzz saws. He dodged them, opened the door, found three crawl spaces, and dived into the middle one.

Wessel and Speed arrived. Wessel decided to take out the blast doors and with his bike laser while Speed sought another way in by taking a lift to a lower basement.

Wessel burnt through the doors and took out the drones with a trick shot before rushing to join Speed in the tunnel. Further down Stormvolt found an access panel in the ceiling of the sub basement.

Half way along the tunnel they found the tunnel widened out in to a 10 by 10 room, Speed realised it was a trap with both trigger and doors that would lock them in the room. He disabled the traps and they moved through the next tunnel until they found a  sheet covering the exit.

Stormvolt swung himself up to the hatch and got it open.

Lifting the curtain Speed found a man working at a bench with electrical tools When he challenged him the perp lifted his hand revealing a device with a big red button. The perp started his monolog and threatened to press the button. Speed lived up to his name and quickly put a bullet through the perp's wrist severing it. The hand dropped to the ground and tipped through the hatchway falling past Judge Stormvolt.

Thus was "Big Jim" and the Kill-Dart gang taken down.

As the referee I was really impressed with the players reactions and thought processes. Once again they surprised me at at every turn. I expected the perps at the eatery to give them some real trouble but their high tech gadgets quickly blew through them. At the armory I'd had this idea that there would be a big battle that would grind them down but once again they out-thought my scenario. Judge Wessel seeing through my list of distraction-crimes designed to make the Judges miss the armoury incident all together was an awesome moment for me. I knew I was out-foxed.

All the players gear usage was clever and original, they all made their characters shine exercising their aspects and skill base to make a great story.

Now for the bad bits, and they were all on me. I have a strict time window for play, three hours, that's it, no more. My timing was poor. I'd tried to include too much in the game and ended up having to rush through the final scenes rather than make them the big deal they should have been.

I could have skipped the distraction crimes, I should have. I did check the clock and thought I could squeeze it all in, but I goofed. I was too in-love with the idea of distracting the PCs and that cut a good five to ten minutes that I really could have used at the end. How can I fix that in future? I guess I need to make all the drop-ins appear later in the game so that they can be discarded based on time. Most importantly I shouldn't have used them mid-game just because I liked the idea of it. My selfishness here, ruined the big-finish these clever players deserved.

You can download the scenario we played here.

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

A FATE based DUNE session report.

Last night I took a couple of excellent players through time and space to a desert planet, the desert
planet, Arrakis, also known as DUNE. We were playing an adventure using the FATE rules and the brave heroes were a native Fremen and an Atreides who had escaped the Harkonnen trap. It was set during the Sardaukar pogrom, around a village so insignificant it did not even have a name.

The Fremen troops were temporarily living in a small cave fairly close to the village when the troop's leader came to our heroes and gave them a mission. The Harkonnen overseers of the village had nearly caught some Fremen out on the sand the day before, and he had decided it was time to take that thopter away from them. Thus the PCs had to get that thopter.

They took to the rocky ridge overlooking the village and spent the day in observation. The thopter returned in the evening bringing the workers back from the factories. The Harkonnens kicked the villagers out and one of them slowly opened the big door on the Harkonnen bunker before rolling the thopter inside. A short while later they observed one of the Harkonnens stomp into the village and drag a couple of resisting women back to the bunker.

They hatched a plan.Sneaking into the village they found the people were not happy with their situation but at the same time were scared of reprisals should they do anything. When they found the husband of one of the taken women, they worked on him for a while and managed to solicit his willing help.

Our Atreides had his best roll of the night when he disguised himself as the villager. A Harkonnen walked into the village and blew a horn to summon the workers to their duties.Our hero joined the throng and boarded the thopter before it jumped up out of the village and left for the factories.

Our remaining hero accompanied by the troop's pilot snuck down behind the Harkonnen bunker and settled down to await the return of the thopter. His Fremen nature was challenged part way through the day when one of the Harkonnen troopers walked round the back of the bunker and peed his life's water into the sand!

During the heat of the day when everything was quiet he sneaked around to the front of the bunker and sabotaged the keypad that was used to open the big door. As the time for the return of the thopter came close, the Fremen moved around the bunker to an elevated position  from which they could watch both the main door and smaller door. Then the waiting continued...

The thopter returned, landing in a cloud of sand dust. On board were two Harkonnen guards, the pilot, a bunch of villagers, and our Atreides in disguise. The two guards literally threw the villagers out of the thopter. The small door to the bunker opened and another Harkonnen was coming out. The Fremen pilot fired her mauler pistol and the Harkonnen froze, shocked by the sudden attack. The Fremen PC leaped to the ground and buried his knife in him, then smashed the keypad seizing the smaller door.

In the thopter the disguised Atreides was the last villager about to be kicked off, when he jumped forwards and kicked one of the Harkonnens out onto the ground. The Harkonnen pilot joined the guard in the back and they both engaged our Atreides.

Outside, the Harkonnen on the floor was quickly despatched as the two Fremen rushed to the thopter.

Inside, the Atreides was wounded as he fought two Harkonnens but one of them was taken down and the other two Fremen leaped into the back of the thopter. The last Harkonnen was suddenly surrounded he took a step back, but the Atreides was in a rage and leaped at him knocking him out and down to the ground. The Fremen PC dived out and pinned the Harkonnen and the Atreides quickly finished him off.

The thopter started readying for lift off and they climbed back on board and took off just as the big door of the bunker started opening. They flew up over the ridge and the two PCs were dropped off before the thopter was  flown south.

The PCs took the time to see to their wounds and damaged stillsuits, no point in dehydrating to death! That done, they decided to return to the village, taking the carbine they had liberated from the thopter. They were thinking of protecting the villagers from any Harkonnen repercussions.  As they arrived in the village three Harkonnens were marching into it from the other end. They were blowing horns and summoning the villagers. The villagers were scared, this was unusual and anything unusual the Harkonnens did was always bad for the villagers.

The PCs hatched a plan, the Atreides would take the carbine and shoot a Harkonnen as the Fremen simultaneously attacked from behind. But the Atreides couldn't wait for his pal to get into position (compel) and shot one of the Harkonnens. The other two bad guys flicked on their shields and met the Fremen hand to hand. The Atreides PC threw away the carbine and ran into the combat.

It was bloody, and FATE points were drained from the PCs. It ended with a villager on the Harkonnen's knife, the Atreides bleeding from a serious wound and the last Harkonnen all but beheaded.

There ended the session with the mission a complete success. The thopter was stolen, seven out of ten of the Harkonnen were dead and the remainder cut off from outside help.

The players were great, both thoughtful and inventive. They were not afraid to dive into the action when the time was right. One PC was almost killed in the final fight, but in the end seven for one would have been a good exchange wouldn't it. :)

Scenario and Char-Gen

I'm an author, I write adventure game books.