Sunday morning at the convention is always a bit odd. I usually have a full table according to sign ups, and then only have about half of the people show up. This year was no exception. Thankfully, Powered by the Apocalypse games scale fairly well, and I was running The Sprawl.
What’s In The Box?
The players that showed up took The Fixer, the Infiltrator, and the Driver. I was actually glad that no one took The Hacker, not because I didn’t want to use those rules, but because I wanted them to be able to see that they could work around not having a PC in that position.
We built our corporations, and I described the scenario, where the team was to steal a box from a vault from the Dome, a neighborhood in the city that had been covered with a massive dome after the arcology’s reactor had gone critical. The Fixer did a terrible job getting details, so they had no idea who wanted the box, what the box was, or why the box was under the Dome, or even what was under the Dome these days.
The team hired a hacker, did enough legwork to leave a few segments on the clock, and entered the Dome. The infiltrator’s hold moves when breaking in and scouting are really interesting, and I was enjoying coming up with obstacles to tempt them into spending their hold.
Eventually they Played Hardball with someone inside the arcology, and found out that the reactor leak never caused much of a problem outside of the lowest levels, and that the leak was an excuse for one corporation to discredit the other and buy the real estate cheap. Now the dome was used to run military tactical drills using mutant cyborg zombies from the lower levels that were affected by the leak, and the group was to steal the AI running the military simulations.
The AI had also happened to develop a serial killer’s tendencies. It enjoyed arranging accidents and seeing if the corporate types could figure out if the AI was responsible, and the AI would never suffer consequences because it was too valuable.
Eventually the team hit the lower level hard, shot their way through the zombie cyborgs, and bargained with the AI after having their hacker lock down the AI within a limited system. I REALLY wanted to get free on the net to cause some . . . interesting situations. When the Fixer went into the Matrix to talk to the AI in order to bargain withit, it made the landscape look like the holding cell from Silence of the Lambs, while appearing as Hannibal Lector.
The group got out, a bit shot up, but they maxed out their corporate clock for the real estate company. When they went to get paid, they got paid, but they also got ambushed. The Fixer and the Driver escaped, but the Infiltrator was knocked out and captured by the corporation with the full clock
This went really well. We used the Run an Operation move to manage the hired computer jockey, and I was a bit liberal with what I gave them when they spent their [Intel] chips that they gathered. I also used the maxed out Corporate Clock similarly to the way I introduce hard moves in Monster of the Week on a hunter that is out of Luck, rather than just radically shifting the narrative in favor of the corporation. Overall, I still think it was a pretty fair representation of the game, and everyone really enjoyed it.
The Grand Finale
The last session I was running at the convention was World Wide Wrestling RPG. It was in the breakfast nook. Unfortunately for the gamers that signed up for them, the two other games that were scheduled for the nook didn’t go off, due to lack of players. That did give us enough room to actually run the game.
Originally I was going to run the game just jumping into a pay-per-view, with six wrestlers booked in multiple matches. I was going to mainly act as a facilitator, with an eye towards making it feel “big,” because it was a PPV event.
But I only got four players.
I ended up pulling out The Road rules, because I dearly love them, and we had the wrestlers engaging social media, hitting the convention circuit, and driving in cars with one another. There was an amazingly touching scene between Texas and the Monster he was driving with. No, really. It was beautiful.
We had the Hardcore, the Technician, the Monster, and the Jobber for this session. I decided that since we had gotten to know everyone, we were going to have two fights, with the winners taking on one another for the title. Then moves happened.
We had a four-man elimination match, which stopped when The Technician and the Hardcore were the last men in the ring. But the jobber and the monster had been so impressive that the Hardcore brought them both back in for a ladder match for the title. There were ladders being thrown. There were ladders being kicked out from under other wrestlers. At one point Momentum was spent so that one person was speared off the ladder, and then the person that speared them was themselves speared.
Then the Hardcore climbed the ladder, and grabbed the belt. We added the stipulation that you had to touch both feet on the ground before you got the win, and the Hardcore decided that the Jobber had so much heart that he threw him the belt . . . at which point the Technician, a heel, spent his Momentum to dive across the ring and grab the belt in mid-air to land with it.
It turned out pretty epic. And the Monster turned face to help out the Hardcore to boot. Not only did people seem to have a good time, but two of the players indicated that they were planning on buying the book when they got the chance.
It was a really rewarding convention, but when I got home, I didn’t want to talk to my wife at all. I missed her, but once I came down from the high of the convention, I just needed zero stimulation. Unfortunately, between my wife and various co-workers being sick, not sleeping much, and the buzz of the convention, I had a cold catch up with me rather hard the next day.
On top of all of that, as it turns out, the FLGS isn’t going to be purchased by the original owners. Word came down that due to some snafus, the sale isn’t happening, meaning that the main roleplaying venue in town (we have two game stores, but one is much more board and card game focused) is gone for now, and the earliest that the prospective buyers will have a new store ready will be two months.
It was a bit of a blow for the local RPG scene. The FLGS had a pretty big AL contingent on Wednesday nights, and this is going to be a rough transition time. As it happens, I purchased a few sets of dice for this convention from their booth at the show, and it’s the last purchase I’ll ever make there.