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Author Topic: Inspectres Vegas - What Dies in Vegas Doesn't Always Stay Dead in Vegas  (Read 4860 times)
jydog1
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Posts: 6


« on: June 23, 2008, 11:05:45 AM »

Hi!  I ran Inspectres this weekend at a mini con outside of Boston this past weekend.  Let me start by saying that I had never run at game at a con before and have little experience running live games at all.  To further make it interesting I didn't get a chance to playtest before I went up there so yes, I went in cold.

Did I mention that the six players are all experienced gamers and accomplished GMs?  They were exceedingly kind to me as I fumbled around.

Okay, I set the franchise in Vegas as a restart operation and, via a handout, went over the rules with them for about 5 minutes.  They had no problem picking it up.  They were comfortable using the pregens I'd made up, and once I handed them out were proceeded to the interviews.  The interviewer was from 'Inside Vegas!', which I described as pretty much the National Enquirer on video.  My questions were brutal and they had a great time watching one another squirm and try to figure out responses.  I'll include some of them as I describe the characters:

Trudy McBain  CEO, she who provides the credit cards to be maxed out.  27, single, petite blond.  Talent: ex-gymnast.  Trudy had a web business with her brother that soured (of course I made it porn-related), who once he heard his sister had bought the Inspectres franchise rushed out and bought into Ghost Gobblers, a rival firm.  Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to use that.  In her interview I asked her if she had any concern about what had happened to the previous Inspectres branch and she said no, to which I countered, "You have no concern about an entire building being consumed in green flame and sinking into a hole in the earth?" Without missing a beat the player said, "Hey, businesses relocate all the time."  PLAYER: Chris, player/GM.  He got lost for a little while when things got chaotic at the end of the first mission, but that was my fault as I started to react to who was yelling the loudest as opposed to just going around the table.  Rookie mistake.  they corrected me at the break and he was much happier in the second mission.

Cara Scene  35, single, former showgirl at Caesar's.  Talent: bartender.  Cara's gorgeous, but in Vegas you have to be beyond gorgeous and she's a little long in the tooth.  In the interview I asked her if it was true that's she'd once done 27 shots of Tequila in a row ('they said only 27?'), what her relationship with the Mayor was (her sidestepping and answer-avoidance was fun to watch), and then this exchange:
Me: Any truth you used to date Eddie Furth?
Her: yes.  great guy.
Me:  reeeeallllly.  A great guy, even though he's a vampire?  Which you knew, of course?
Her: uhm . . . .
Other player 1:  Well, that explains the hickeys.
other player 2: maybe he was just a neck romancer . . . (things thrown)
PLAYER: Betsy, experienced player/GM, ran Cthulhu games at con

Professor Whitfield (yes, I borrowed from some of the other games run.  You guys have good ideas) 43, ex-Classics professor at UNLV, married.  Talent: expert on dead languages and a tailor.  Your typical egghead professor.  Questions included 'Is it really appropriate to call it a 'leave of absence' from UNLV?' and "Do you make your own clothes?"  "No."  "Oh.  Wow.  Okay."  PLAYER: Max, player/GM, usually runs DitV.  Loved this game, plans on running it himself.

Fred Mellison 27, flabby, ex Maytag repairman.  Talent: Horror Movie Expert (too good to pass up)  His favorite obscure horror movie monster was the 'Hopping Chinese Vampire,' which could only be killed by sticking a piece of paper with a special rune on its forehead.  They actually went to someone he 'knew' who had these runes for sale.  he rolled a 1 on his tech so he got post-its with symbols scrawled on them and no idea if they'd work.   Alas, we didn't encounter Hopping Chinese Vampires.  PLAYER:  Kidcthulhu, player/GM, ran Monsters and other Childish Things (very cool!)

Alicia Jackson, SHE WHO SEES ALL multicolored dreads, morbidly obese, 37 - Talent: psychic abilities (minor)  a fake psychic who suddenly became a real psychic, much to the dismay of the Venetian where she'd been giving out gambling 'advice.'  Her vibes corresponded with hunger pangs and she said working for Miss Cleo (Call me now!) had been a bad experience.  PLAYER: Piratecat, player/GM (ran Dread and Mutants and Masterminds/ENnie judge.  He too loved the game and plans to run it soon.

Pete Vasquez aka Peter Olivier actor/director in local theater, ex high school teacher  Talent: involved in theater
The player started this character off as mousy, nervous, and a little timid.  He changed that after the first mission, as you'll see.  He was questioned as to why he staged Hamlet in the nude and how he felt about people spending 300 bucks to see Cirque de Soleil but not 5 bucks to see anything he does.  PLAYER:  Belton, player/GM

crap, I have to actually do some work.  More later tonight or tomorrow.

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jydog1
Member

Posts: 6


« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2008, 10:24:59 AM »

Okay.  After the interviews we shifted into outfitting the franchise.  Since it was a one-shot at a con I pretty much gave them free run but they didn't abuse it too much.  They boned the roll for location, and ended up in a dilapidated warehouse in a bad part of town BUT rolled a 5 to get a great neon sign, which the drug dealers on the corner appreciated because it provided light at night.  The Professor tried to sneak back on campus to steal an ancient text he believed might contain magic spells, but a 2 put an end to that.  A 3 for transportation gave them a functioning but rotted VW microbus.  They nailed a roll for cell phones with a 6 and I gave them a PDA/Nextel setup with internet access.  The Professor also got a 6 for a laptop, thus getting state of the art.

an aside: this was a problem I had, in that they'd ask for something vague and roll well, then look to me to see what they'd gotten.  It took me a while to remember that I was supposed to make them do the work on a 5 or a 6.  This happened with actions too for a bit, but I blame myself and my inexperience.

Kevin, playing Abigail the psychic, is fully in character and making demands in a bad southern accent.  A good buffet restaurant nearby (6! no food poisoning instances for 6 whole months!), a well-stocked fridge, and then "Ah want a Segway."  Right.  He rolls a 5 and I give it to him, but with the caveat that the right turn pedal sticks sometimes.  The image of a 500 pound woman with multicolored dreadlocks and a uniform she's cut down to show as much skin as possible spinning helplessly in place on her Segway breaks everyone up.  They also successfully nab a ghostbusters-style ghost trap that should work, even though the cord from the trigger to the unit is somewhat frayed; decent office equipment;  and a variety of weapons - a rapier for Pete, a Sig-Sauer for Trudy to strap to her thigh (she wanted a Glock but rolled a 5), a shotgun for Fred (a 6 got him the very best S-Mart can offer), a crossbow for the Professor that he pretty much forgot he had, and a quarterstaff for Cara - she rolled a 6 and asked me to tell her what she'd gotten, so I gave her one loaded with lead at either end and covered with runes.  The runes, unfortunately, never came up.

Then Trudy stated that she wanted a local politician in her pocket.  I thought this was a pretty good idea and so did Cara, who offered teamwork to help with the roll.  This seemed like a grey area but I figured what the hell.  Didn't matter anyway as they both rolled highs of 4, which I decided gave them a councilman who thought they were for real.  This came into play as the phone rang, signaling the beginning of mission #1.

"I was told to call you get down here Clark County Courthouse Marriage Department hurry up I don't know what the hell is happening!"  Click.  So they mount up (they left the Segway behind) and head off.

Now I'd made a skeletal plot for this mission - a possessed copy machine is making copies that take flight and attack the clerk who screwed up a golddigger's marriage contract, which made an annulment possible and cost her a fortune.  The copies were all of the botched marriage license, which I figured would be clue enough to finish up the mission off site.  I was very curious to see how close to this the game would end up.

They arrived (at 8pm - still light out, but the only thing open was the marriage bureau, which is open 24/7 - I got hitched there ;))  to see people still pouring out of the building in a state of hysteria, some covered with dozens of tiny little cuts.  They were confronted by a few cops and I called for a stress roll, which backfired as 3 of them threw 6s and acquired cool dice.  By invoking the councilman's name they got the cops to back down and headed inside.  Once they entered the marriage department they were confronted by a whirlwind of paper zooming around the room.  I had them roll to see what else they saw, but they all boned it (6 is a lot of people to run Inspectres with) so I described what they saw - is that right?  Anyway, I told them that through the blizzard of paper they could see something flashing brightly every few seconds on the other side of the room.  They immediately agreed that it was a copier machine and then the Professor jumped into the Confessional and said, "Afterwards the employees told us the copier had just started singing Elvis songs that morning."

Thus, the marriage bureau was being haunted by the ghost of Elvis, specifically the copier.  More tomorrow.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2008, 04:50:54 PM »

I love first-time InSpectres posts!

Your point about remembering to make them do the work on a 5 or a 6 is crucial. I screwed that up royally more than once, and then wondered why I was ... (wait for it) ... doing all the work!

Best, Ron
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jydog1
Member

Posts: 6


« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2008, 12:01:54 PM »

I should probably mention that given that I had 6 players, I set the mission at 16 franchise dice and gave them 7 to start with.  they put two in each card and 1 in the bank.

Having determined that the King was to blame (and confirming it with a picture via Blackberry) the group started into the actual office area and were immediately attacked by the whirling papers.  I made this a 2 die stress roll.  Alicia tossed a 1 and so was blinded by a cut above her eyes (athletic) and had her abilities hampered by the pain (contact).  This took her athletic down to zero.  2 other people took a loss of one and freakin' Cara rolled another 6 (actually 2) to give her 2 cool dice. 

The Professor got the bright idea of hosing down the paper with a fire hose ('What fire hose?'  'The one in the entry hallway' 'I didn't see one.'  "I did."  'Okay, roll . . . a 6?  yeah, you see a hose')  I acted REALLY dismayed that they had figured out a way to beat my paper but inside I was giggling.  Then I laughed out loud when he dragged the hose in and rolled . . . a 1.  (Nobody thought to use teamwork until it was too late.)  I informed them that the got the hose going and thoroughly soaked the paper, but that it didn't seem to have that much of an effect on them (in reality it made the edges unable to cut, but getting mobbed by wet paper is still disconcerting).  It did, however, have some great effects on the rest of the stuff in the office such as all the computers (boom!  pop!  sizzle!), hundreds of paper files knocked askew, general mayhem.  "Oh, crap.  We don't have to pay for collateral damage, do we?"

With the paper dampened I mentioned they could hear, but no see, someone whimpering somewhere in the room. Also, 'Hound Dog."  Pete decided to make a run for it to try to get to the copier.  He promptly rolled a 1 and I decreed that he skidded rounding the first desk and WHAMMO - right down on his face - broken nose for the actor!  The Professor then jumped into the Confessional and said, "I had my doubts before about Alicia's psychic powers, but not after all that haunted paper started sticking to her!"

Nicely done, but since they only had 8 or so franchise dice at this point I wasn't going to let them off that easily.  Since Alicia was an auto-fail I had her bouncing off walls and desks as she stumbled along blindly.  The papers that hit her did stop and stick to her, but once she was mummified the other sheets didn't stick - only to her directly.  So we had a 500 pound blinded psychic covered from head to toe careening through the office upsetting anything the water hadn't already knocked off.

Cara decided to try and find the hiding victim, and using her talent of ex-gymnast to augment her roll nailed a six and found a worker cowering under a desk.  She then rolled 3 1s on her contact and he freaked, terrified out of his mind, and attacked her.  She grabbed the last of the gym card dice and rolled a 1, 1, 1, 2 . . . 6.  Lucky.  She managed to subdue him without injury to either party, but he wasn't going anywhere.  then again, being pinned by an ex-showgirl probably isn't a horrible thing.

The copier switched to 'A Little Less Conversation.'

The Professor decided that they needed to cut the power, and went out to the foyer to be in a different 'scene' and said the fusebox was in the basement, and that the basement door was right there.  Fine, I allowed it.

Oops!  Locked.  Fred came in and had it open in a few minutes and they cut the power, but all that did was cut out the lights - the copier kept going.  By this time Alicia had finally managed to reach the copier and she tried to contact Elvis - even with a bank die, she couldn't get higher than a 3.  So she sat on the copier.

Yeah.

The top broke and the carriage locked against her, prompting her to say, "Lawd, my ass is hot.  Seriously, my ass is HOT!"  Trudy grabbed Pete from the floor and they crawled to Cara, staying below the paper.  Trudy stayed to give her a hand while Pete went to the smoking, now-singing 'Heartbreak Hotel' copier and yanked the power plug.  No luck.  Meanwhile, Fred suddenly yelled out - 'It's the spirit of Elvis!  He's hungry!  He needs . . .  bacon!'  So he and the Professor sprinted to the cafeteria where (via a 6 roll) they found a lone, bewildered cook still making food that included (another 6) BACON, so Fred GRABBED HANDFULS OF BACON FROM THE GRILL, incurring a 3 stress die penalty and with a low of 3, a 1 die athletic penalty.  So now they agree they're going to rush the bacon to the copier.

me: you're running with the bacon in front of you to save the day, right?
Fred: yes!
me: running with the bacon that you just grabbed off the grill in front of you, dripping grease?
Fred: yes!  Oh, hell, what kind of roll do you want?

Fred aced that roll and a few more, finally bringing the bacon toward the paper-ejecting end of the copier - it was sucked out of his hand before he got close, and with a contented sigh the copier stopped singing and became inert - an inert copier crushed under 500 pounds of mummified psychic.  On the way out the team decided Fred needed to be taken care of in the van instead of dealing with the publicity.  fred wasn't keen on that  and used the Confessional to say how he was annoyed at first, but then came the interview that made him famous and gave birth to the legend known as THE BACONATOR . . . .

A few seconds after Fred was left alone in the van there was a knock at a window, and he spied a reporter and her cameraman . . . . and thus ended mission 1.  They easily went over 16 dice.  I lost trudy's player for a bit because as things got hectic people spoke out of turn and I abandoned the system of going around the table to see what everyone was doing, but they corrected me in between missions and it was much better for mission #2 . . .
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jydog1
Member

Posts: 6


« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2008, 09:56:47 AM »

Okay, between missions I told the players they could switch to a different character or make up a new one of they wanted to, but everyone was content.  Pete's player jumped in the Confessional and said that he was tired of all the attention Fred was getting and so he was going to realize his potential and become . . . a ninja.  When I told him that he couldn't use the Confessional to give himself ninja talent he grinned and said he knew that.  So i informed the others that Pete was spending most of his time crawling around the factory in black pajamas.  He wasn't particularly stealthy, but he thought he was.  He opted for a (decent) katana and a bandolier of throwing stars.  Trudy and Cara decided the success of their first mission would give them a better government friend, and we agreed that a 5 got them noticed by the deputy mayor.  The Professor took a vacation to San Diego State University which he knew had another rare and potentially magical text but he rolled a another 2.  He did decide to get 'all Giles-y' and picked up a crossbow.  Fred, heady with fame, decided he wanted a fancy weapon.  He'd heard about a gun that shot out an energy web that could catch just about anything, so he made the arrangements, made the payments . . . and rolled a 1.  He got a box full of rocks.  the group also slightly upgraded their vehicle to a full-sized van.  Then Alicia chimed in:

"Ah, ah feel ah need to defend myself.  And the powers have told me ah need . . . a chainsaw!"

Of course she rolled a 6 and got the 'Deluxe Ash from Army of Darkness' model that fit right over your hand.  The warehouse was soon home to her tooling around on her Segway taking swipes at targets with her chainsaw.

They were very excited about the franchise dice they'd gained, even more so when they realized they could use them to heal their skills.  That chewed up about half of them, and they stuck with the strategy of keeping only 1 die in the bank so they couldn't be burned up by a bad roll (which burned them again and again when they wanted help for contact rolls, and then for athletic after they'd run through all of their gym dice).  They were raring to go, especially the Baconator, so I told them that they had two missions to choose from.  One was from the local air force base, which had a plane that was behaving 'not SOP.'  Any other information was classified.  The other was from an extremely skeptical manager at a local Wal-mart, who was clearly calling under duress to have them come over and 'look into a problem.'  After a surprisingly spirited debate between the values of establishing military cache' versus getting a foot in with a megacorporation, the CEO decided to go with the air force.  I established a 32-franchise die goal.

Now unlike the first encounter, I had almost nothing planned for this one.  I knew the plane was going to be a C-47 and had done research so I'd know what i was talking about but in the end completely changed everything about the plane (4 engines instead of 2, doors where there really weren't, etc) on the fly.  Once they got there the guards made them check their firearms at the gate but were swayed by Alicia's silver tongue (damn 4 die contact skill!) and allowed her to keep her chainsaw.  They were taken the outside of a large, closed hanger where they fell under verbal attack from a Colonel who didn't want them there.  The Professor jumped into the Confessional and said, "This guy was crazy, but we were lucky because Trudy had been an Air Force Brat and her dad had been best buddies with the Base Commander when they were in Singapore!"

Nicely done.  I countered by having the Commander being just pleased as punch about how 'grown-up' Trudy had gotten and made the player squirm until Alicia intervened.  Once that was settled the Commander told them their problem was inside and that 'it tended to move around some.'  Then he left. 

They stood outside discussing what their approach was going to be while the Professor used his laptop to surf the net in search of information on haunted c-47s.  His 4 let him find out that there was indeed something but that it required security clearance to see (it was on the AF site).  After them all confirming that they were standing outside in the sun at noon on the tarmac in the desert (duh!)  I made them make what I figured would be a harmless 1 die athletic stress roll.

4 of them boned it.  Actually, all of them did but two had cool dice and didn't need to worry about it.  Alicia lost two, while the Professor, the Baconator, and Pete the not-Ninja each lost 1. (weird - rolling a 2 was worse than rolling a 1 in this case).  With good-natured grumbles they headed inside, pretty much ignored by the lone guard left behind (who was smart enough to stand in the shade).

Someone - I think it was the Professor - then came up with a stroke of genius via the Confessional - "I know, it was so bizarre!  I mean, this was a World War 2 vintage plane and yet the pin-up girl painted on the nose of the plane was, without a doubt, Cara!  that became very important once the plane started to take off."

And so I began to worry how this was going to tie together . . . more later.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2008, 01:17:17 PM »

I hope you piled on the Stress in that scene with the overly-fresh colonel. That's the kind of scene Stress lives for.

I'm curious to see what happened next too, because InSpectres requires a very special art in GMing - that point in which the players have provided a great deal of information about "what's going on" through their narrations, and then you must GM those happenings as if you'd prepped them originally.

I'm not entirely certain that your group is doing that yet. So far, has anyone rolled a 5 or 6 on an investigative roll and flat-out told you what is going on? I can say myself that I've occasionally flubbed this, and run with the old-school notion that such a roll gets narrated (by the player) to have the character notice what is going on, i.e., what I the GM say is happening. Players will do this; they roll well, say, "I nailed it!" and look expectantly at me. If neither they nor I catch ourselves, we'll fall back into a mode of play which is emphatically not InSpectres.

How's that going for you?

Best, Ron
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jydog1
Member

Posts: 6


« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2008, 08:55:54 AM »

That was an issue, especially with descriptions of locations.  This was a group of players who are all GMs but they didn't seem to want to tell me what they saw, they wanted to be told - for instance, the interior of the plane in the mission I'm currently retelling.  They wanted to be told.  Now when they made good skill rolls they were usually more than willing to describe what happened, but it seemed like they almost preferred me to at times. 

That's not universal, though.  When they decided bacon was what was going to calm the Elvis-possessed copier and needed the cafeteria, they damn sure told me where it was, who was there, and what was on the grill as they rolled well over and over. But as you'll see in the second mission, things started getting kinda wacky with all their wrinkles and I almost had to seize control to wrap it up.  Again, that could be due to my inexperience as a GM and also with the system, as it was the first time I was running it.  Still, they all had a great time and at least 2 of them said they planned on running it themselves, so I guess I got something right ;)


I'm not entirely certain that your group is doing that yet. So far, has anyone rolled a 5 or 6 on an investigative roll and flat-out told you what is going on? I can say myself that I've occasionally flubbed this, and run with the old-school notion that such a roll gets narrated (by the player) to have the character notice what is going on, i.e., what I the GM say is happening. Players will do this; they roll well, say, "I nailed it!" and look expectantly at me. If neither they nor I catch ourselves, we'll fall back into a mode of play which is emphatically not InSpectres.

How's that going for you?

Best, Ron
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