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.

1 comment:

Timon said...

As a player, I genuinely enjoyed the game and did not feel deprived of a big showdown. I was at that moment reliving some of the horrors of "Fungal" Block and as Judges we are of course only concerned with upholding the Law.