Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Bang & then a Whimper - The Final Dispatch from Parcher's

When we left our rag-tag band of PCs and their 50-60 hangers on (in addition to Pinky's gang, Man also decided to take the 'have a gang' improvement), they had been chased out of Parcher's old hold by Dremmer. They decided to head off to the 100 Acre Dump to regroup and plan, and that's where the sixth session began.

On their way to the 100 Acre Dump they avoided a 30 strong expedition sent by Dremmer to capture them and then ran smack into a small scouting group sent by Doghead, complete with a standard made from a dog hide. Thinking the 6 scouts weren't too much of a threat, the party parlayed, meeting Clarion, the leader of the little group, who told them that Doghead was searching for a child with an arrowhead birthmark on his right knee and would pay extremely handsomely for that child, but would also happily pay for any children. Thirteen kept herself hidden and Ludo flat out refused to let the others to do more than bring up the idea of selling Pup and kept them from checking his knee for the birthmark. Before they parted, Clarion did give Pinky two dogteeth tied to leather straps to use as markers that they've been given safe passage.

When they arrived at Tupps, they found the hardholder of the 100 Acre Dump understandably unwilling to just let them crash there for free. Many of them had minor to major injuries from their encounter with Rothschild in the canyons, so they spoke with Dustwich, the angel of 100 Acre Dump, who wanted cold hard barter before he used up any of his medical stock on the PCs.

Desperate for the barter they needed to pay off Tupps and Dustwich, the PCs agreed to raid for Tupps, who knew of a community of 'ferals' an hours north of the 100 Acre Dump who had gashogs, giant gasoline producing boars, and plenty of children that the PCs could sell to Doghead. Ludo and Pup stayed behind in the dump, as did five of Man's new gang.

When they got to the "feral" encampment, they discovered that it was reasonably well-defended, and Bolts offered to try and create an explosive that they could use to kick off their assault and needed help assembling it, so roped in Man and Ruby (one of Pinky's gang)... and then things went... horribly awry. First there was a botched crafting roll and then a botched "Do something under fire" roll and at the end, Bolts and Ruby were dead, Man was badly injured and the "ferals" were on high alert as a van exploded a half mile from their hardhold. Pinky made the executive decision to hightail it out of there and head back to the 100 Acre Dump empty handed.

Meanwhile, Ludo checked Pup's right knee and found the arrowhead birthmark that Clarion spoke of. Pup panicked and ran away into the junkyard, with Ludo smashing through walls of junk trying to chase him. Pup ended up in Dustwich's clutches, locked in a dog kennel when Ludo burst in and easily killed Dustwich with his massive machete. Then Ludo let Pup free, found four 'pede eggs in the kennel and looted Dustwich's clinic for barter and angel kit stock.

Once Pinky, Man and Thirteen returned to the 100 Acre Dump to find Tupps angry they returned empty-handed and things quickly escalated to the point where Pinky just shot and killed Tupps.

Mutt, Doghead's representative in the 100 Acre Dump, negotiated with Pinky and Man for them to keep paying the 1 barter per week in tribute to Doghead.

Then we ended the session with Ludo showing the others the four 'pede eggs and claiming that they were Dustwich's.

For the sixth session Pinky, Thirteen, Ludo and Man were joined by the Brainer Sagal. They all had dreams of Pup's 'pedes, with Pinky, Thirteen and Sagal dreamt of 'pedes bursting from their chests and felt as though they'd gotten no rest at all, while Ludo and Man only dreamt of a massive swarm of 'pedes invading the 100 Acre Dump.

Pup had once again gone missing, so Ludo went in search of him and found a small burrow that would be just big enough for Pup to wriggle down into it. While Ludo is trying to decide what to do, he sees Sagal approaching and demands that Sagal help. The brainer is more than willing to help, in exchange for a favor, which Ludo says no to, demanding that Sagal go into the hole before he does a favor for her. Sagal tries to seduce Ludo, but she fails, her fingers brushing against Ludo's mask and causing him to feel psychic pain and fear that she means to pull off his precious mask. Then Sagal agrees to go into the Pup hole before the favor but wants to shake on it with Ludo, hoping to get his bare hand with her Violation Glove while he's unawares, but he refuses. Finally, Sagal gives up and crawls into the 'pede burrow. Fortunately Sagal found Pup, curled up and sleeping with six 'pede eggs in his arms, before she ran into any of the 'pedes. This gave the Brainer the opportunity to use her Deep Brain Scan on Pup and she discovered that...

  • Q - How is his mind and soul vulnerable? A - Pup is terrified of dogs and Doghead.
  • Q - Who does Pup crave forgiveness for and from whom? A - Pup does not crave forgiveness from anyone for anything.
  • Q - What was Pup's lowest moment? A - Being forced into a strange metal helmet by Doghead, who appeared to be a 17 year old girl in the vision.
Then before Pup could scurry away deeper into the burrow, Sagal used In Brain Puppet Strings to force him to exit the hole, but he brought the 'pede eggs with him.

Meanwhile, Pinky and Man decided to gather supplies to leave the 100 Acre Dump and search for the real Roarke's, as Man was pretty sure the place they found when they went looking for Roarke's, and where they found Pup and the 'pedes, was a Pseudo-Roarke's. Unable to open the locked bunker door of Tupp's private quarters, Man tried to open it by shooting it with his shotgun (complete with armor piercing slugs) but botched it, getting injured in the process. Pinky called upon her "fucking thieves" move and it just happened to turn out that one of her gang, Sally, had a small amount of C4 and a detonator she was saving for a special occasion. Once they were inside they discovered Tupp's much repaired and patched water-bed, with two barrels of water to keep it filled, a trashcan full of smashed cell phones, an army duffel full of pre-apocalypse pennies and a shipping container full of blaze orange legos. This was apparently all unimpressive to my players. Man let Thirteen tend to his wounds with an angel kit, though Thirteen just chose to have Man owe her and to use up less stock.

Man spoke with Mutt about the plan to leave the 100 Acre Dump and Mutt warned him that if they left then Doghead's forces would claim it and while the PCs wouldn't be unwelcome, they might have to pay their own way if they returned, which Man agreed to. They rested another night, this time without dreams, and as they prepared to leave the 100 Acre Dump they found Mutt waiting for them at a folding card table with a rocket launcher, locked ammo box, milk crate of angel kit stock and a massive sword crafted from a steel girder leaning against it. Mutt called out to Ludo, telling him he could have it all if he gave Fuse over, looking right at Pup as he talked while Pup tried to hide behind Ludo. Mutt then goes on to say that he won't stop Ludo from leaving the 100 Acre Dump with Fuse but if he or any of Doghead's followers ever see them again no quarter will be given, they will kill Ludo and take Pup. Ludo moved up close calmly and then tore out Mutt's eyes.

Sagal rushed up, using In Brain Puppet Strings to order Ludo to walk towards Roarke's while Man tried to treat Mutt's wounds and stabilize him but failed. When it became clear that Man hadn't stabilized Mutt, Sagal put Mutt out of his misery. Sally, of C4 fame above, took advantage of the opportunity to grab the rocket launcher.

When Sagal's psychic command ran out after five minutes, Ludo returned to fetch Pup and claimed Tupp's monster hummer and a brief discussion was held about where Sagal would travel, finally she was allowed to ride with one of Pinky's gang, Amy, on her motorcycle and the gangs and PCs were ready to head in search of the true location of Roarke's old hardhold.

And that's about where the game kinda fell apart. Turned out that three players were looking to retire their PCs to safety, Man's, Ludo's and Pinky's, and Thirteen's player didn't want to keep Thirteen around without Pinky in the game, which would have left Sagal who had been in basically a single session as the only continuing character. Then, we ran into the issue of not having a ton of unplayed playbooks for the players to choose for new characters. So after a brief and unfocused bit of exploration and a half-hearted introduction of a new character it became pretty obvious that it was a good place to wrap the game and that it would basically be a different game if we kept going with 4 new characters and Sagal.

Which, to be honest, was a bit of a bummer, but the momentum of the game pretty much stalled and the Players had the improvements and XP to check off the "retire your character (to safety)" improvement so it felt like a dick move to force them to face any deadly challenges before that. I kinda wish I'd have known before hand that the players all wanted to retire their PCs ASAP, I knew that Pinky's player had been thinking of switching to a new PC so I'd left room at the start of the session for that to happen but they didn't take me up on it. Oh, well. Would have been a bit easier if it weren't in a bit of a bummer streak RPG-wise with me, but that's a topic for a separate post as well.

I'm going to run a three-part Fading Suns game for the group structured so that each of the three parts can be an ending if they decide they don't want to go further and maybe they'll want to continue that game beyond the three parts I've got planned. Maybe after that we'll play some Monsterhearts, but I wanted a little break from PbtA with that group and a chance to read the system.

I need to think about what I learned from running Apocalypse World 2nd Edition and what I want to make sure I remember when I run it again, but I think that will be another post as this one has gone on long enough.

#RIPParchers I would have liked to been able to unfurl my plans for the 'pedes and Gibson scanalyzers but sometimes when the game ends, the game ends.

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