Sunday, September 13, 2015

TRON - a session report

Last night I ran a TRON game using the Fate rules. The game was set in the "Tron Uprising" time-frame which is between the two films. If you've watched Uprising then I can tell you it's more specifically between Tron imprisoning Cyrus and meeting Beck.

I'd written some "boxed text" to read at the opening of the session but had to quickly rejig it because one player (Ruby) was late .

You're all gathered at Tron's headquarters in the wastes. he stands at the window looking out at a data storm raging across the landscape. With his hands resting on the glass and his back to you he starts to speak.

"I'm glad you could all get here this cycle. All that is except Ruby, late as usual. I've some questions for you."

Tron's head drops in what looks like despair.

"Why. Why do I surround myself with encrypted idiots? Why do I trust programs so blatantly incompetent? Why do I trust the rebellion to such audit ridden functionaries as you lot?"

"Ruby (Matt)! How could she let Seeker to get derezzed?"

"Dedar (Justin)! Why weren't you there with his cycle baton, what were you doing?"

"Motive (Stewart)! You! You! You blew the bridge before the team were across, what were you thinking?

"Tan (Robert)! And as to you, what should I do with you? A program seen talking to Lieutenant Paige, Tesla's second in command when you should have been coordinating these...these useless dropped bits!"

"I'm going to give you one more mission to prove yourselves. Succeed, or don't come back."

Without turning he tosses a data chip to the floor at your feet.

"Take that. Get out!"

Yeah, Tron is kind of a dick. The data chip held a map of the city with a series of points with red dots in a circle around the city. A single red dot with a hovering question-mark was placed dead center of the city.

They jumped on their bikes and headed to the location of the nearest red dot. What they found was a building site, where foundations were being laid. A little tom-foolery was indulged as the group distracted the ever-present guards so one of the team could slip inside the cordon for a closer look. This confirmed that the foundations were for something big as the foundations went deep but weren't that wide, so big and tall.

The three team members split up to survey the next nearest three red dots before meeting outside a bar near the center dot. This went off without incident and they confirmed that the same building operations were taking place at each site.

After a swift drink they headed over to the location of the big red dot. This was based on  a public park, but the park had been cordoned off. A powered anti-program ribbon circled the place at waist height, and was quite capable of derezzing anyone who touched it. Many guards where also present along with a number of tanks and a large command truck. The main feature however was a tall thin pyramid being constructed in the park. Parts for the pyramid were being off loaded from the elevated train track that ran through the park.

Having taken a look around they headed back to secret-tron-base-hq-hideout to meet up with Ruby-late-as-usual, and discuss what they wanted to do.

After protracted discussions which involved everything from blowing up the train tracks, flying a chopper into the train, getting "the people" to attack the train and getting the local mobster to raid the train they settled for simplicity. They also did some research and contacted their friends and associates in an attempt to find out more info. What they found was vague. All the energy storage in and around the city had been bought up and the only name associated with it was Farad, a name that was either whispered or made people close their mouths tight.

After purchasing a chopper and equipping everyone with chutes, flash bangs and limpet bombs, they flew over to the central site. The chopper was set to fly off into the wastes on its own after they jumped.  Their jumps didn't all go according to plan instead of landing on target they were scattered all over the building site.

One landed on the top of the pyramid and then made a second leap for the control truck but dropped short. He was spotted, and guards started converging on him. He raced to the cab of the truck.

One landed on the train station and quickly and quietly slid to the ground while planting bombs on the stations supports. He took out one of the nearby guards and stole his disk thus becoming camouflaged before slipping in amongst the guards converging on the truck.

Another dropped between two tanks, was spotted by a tank commander who tried to warn the nearby guards before our hero derezzed the fellow. He then jumped onto and into the tank and KO'ed the two crew. He had no idea how to drive the thing but gave it a gallant attempt, starting by rolling backwards over the other tank behind him.

The last one's drop went off without a hitch, straight inside the pyramid right next to a terminal where he got to work. He quickly discovered that the towers being built around the city were part of a massive project to steal the power from every program in the city (which would derezz them all) and store it in the pyramid. He also found that the main control unit for this machine was in the truck. This was the last information he got before being locked out and the alarm raised. He clambered to the top of the pyramid and jumped for the truck, landing on its roof.

The truck was started by one hero and kangaroo-ed dues to inexperience at driving. Our hero on the roof was nearly thrown off, but burned his ID disc into the roof as an anchor. The back doors flew open and a program looked out confused about what was happening. The captured tank rolled after the truck running over guards that got in its way.

The disguised PC jumped for the open back of the truck, missed, but her outstretched hand was caught by the program in the back who pulled her inside. She however wasn't that grateful and smashed him to the floor and held her two discs to his throat.

A tank was drawing a bead on the truck and it fired.

The die result here would have exploded the truck most likely killing all on board, but Fate points and planning came to the rescue. The truck jinked and the explosives on the train station were detonated distracting the tanker thus reducing the damage to minor.

The truck and stolen tank rolled towards the power ribbon that surround the square, but our heroic driver tossed one of his explosives at the ribbon generator, dropping the killer ribbon before racing through and onto the road.

They sped for the wastelands and discovered that the prisoner in the back of the truck was none other than the evil scientist Farad, and that this truck was the one and only such truck in existence.

They took Farad's ID disk leaving him to slowly lose his mind and used the tank to blow the truck before heading back to Tron's secret base.

There ended the game. The entire city was saved!

Once again the session went nothing like I imagined it would. The attack on the truck and pyramid was supposed to be the first of a series of attacks to bring down the great plan. The players spent longer than I had thought they would, planning. I'd expected a simple quick "Charge!" , and then onto the next part. Having said that it was an unexpected twist, they pulled it off awesomely creating a very cinematic ending.

So what did I do wrong? I shouldn't be too hard on myself as I think dropping Farad into the scene worked really well, and the players still went from investigating through to the big finish, so that was cool. But. There is always a but.

When the players jumped from the chopper I wanted time to think about where each landed and what the effects of the bad rolls they made would do to their landing site. So I went through each player's landing one by one, and my brain rushed back to the 90s and I carried on the scene with this initiative order thing in my head. Instead of letting the players just tell the story, I constrained them to taking turns. Yuk! Sorry guys. When I realised what I was doing I broke out of it and we got back into the flow. Hopefully lesson learned.

You can download the scenario from my Black Dog of Doom blog

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