Monday, 21 October 2013

Episode (session) #6 - May contain Shooting Fish (Echoes of War) spoilers

We were heading towards the big race, the crew had entered, the boat was finished but due to the time line I'd established earlier in the story there was still a day to go. So I started the game by going around the table so each player could explain how their character was using the day. We then picked on a few bits to play out.

Leo spent his time playing with the kids at the orphanage, Floris took the dogs and Emery to scope out the race course (and built a d6 Plan ASSET off it) while the Doctor and Bean headed over to the Canterbury farm.

At the farm they met Theo Canterbury and were able to verify that he and his crew were only in the race for payback against the mayor - if the crew stay out of the firing line then the Browncoats will have no beef with them...but that does mean that our crew may need to keep the Mayor safe; a dead mayor ain't going to be able to sign the Orphanage back to the Shepherd.

The day of the race dawns.

Floris will "captain" the boat (in retrospect the players wished he'd taken one of his dogs for the potential Mutley gags....) and man the net gun, Emery will be there to lend a hand, Judah will drive (with a helpful d12 ASSET from Floris' "Lead the Crew" Trigger), and Leo will be on board to handle emergency repairs.  Leo turns up looking like Top Gear's "The Stig" having spent 1PP to create a "d6 Pit Crew Fire Suit" ASSET.  Meanwhile Bean and the Doctor head into the crowd to try to root out and immobilise any Purple Gang members they can find (I decided that they were dealing with a 5d8 "mob" of purple gangers scattered throughout the spectators).

And they're off!

(I'd drawn out the race track on one on my white boards and used thin "post-it" notes with sketches of the different boats on as markers in the race.)

There was lots going on so you'll forgive me for not recalling all the details but in summary:
  • Bean and the Doctor were extremely effective in seducing, incapacitating or otherwise inconveniencing the Purple Gang, removing the effectiveness of the entire gang before the race end
  • The Red Tide (the Red Saloon boat) was the first team taken out - feeling the wrath of the Cleetus family for stealin' Mee-Maw's scatter gun and sinking on the 2nd leg of the race
  • Our crew led from the start and made great use of ASSETS (from Floris' leadership, the plans they'd made, Bean pilfering opponents' plans from their minds and the Net gun Leo had built) to stay there for the rest of the race. The Warhorse (Mayor) and Gravedigger (The Canterbury's) followed with Mee-Maw's Throne (The Cleetus Clan) trailing behind taking pot shots at the closest enemy boats. 
  • The Net gun was used to great effect to pile Obscured Vision COMPLICATIONs onto the Warhorse, while the Gravedigger eventually sank under combined fire from the Cleetus Family and the Mayor.
  • The Orphanage boat wasn't without problems but the various COMPLICATIONs earnt (mostly from 1's rolled by Judah's Drivin' and Floris' Shootin') were very quickly repaired by Leo's exceptional skills.
  • With the Gravedigger sank at the platform stage, Judah then took his action to gun the engines to create a huge wake COMPLICATION to disorientate the Warhorse, with the Obscured Vision COMPLICATION already on the boat (and the positive narrative effect) I deemed it took the Mayor's boat out, leaving him spinning and stranded in the middle of the water while the crew zoomed easily down the final straight and over the finish line.
The big race sequence is the sort of thing I'm never comfortable running as a GM.  All the GMC action feels like it moves the focus away from the players a bit and after all it's *their* story. That said I never want to just "decide" what happens to non-player characters in that situation for fear of not appearing fair to the players so I made sure that I resolved the other crews' actions openly before the other players and let the "dice land where they will"

All that said I think things seemed to play out in a very heroic and exciting fashion and kudos to the MWP designers for the way they'd put the mechanics together for running the race.  The players seemed to really enjoy it and it supported the actions of those on the shore as well as in the boat.

So, the race is over and our heroes have won...but the adventure's not ended yet...