27 August 2012

What does it taste like?

Another redditor and I whipped up this quick table for determining what something tastes like a couple of days back. After having done a Tavern Name Table and a Food & Drink Table all I need to do is come up with a way to generate innkeepers and tavern patrons and I'll never have an empty tavern again.

What's it taste like?

Taste (d6)Intensity (d10)Sensations (d20)
1BitterJust a hintItching
20Gritty & Saccharine


9 August 2012

Technoir Session Report (Hong Kong)

Over the last few months I have supposed to have been playing/running a Dresden Files RPG in which the player characters uncover a conspiracy involving John Murray Spear's "God Machine". We play weekly, but have only played three or four actual sessions due to player illness, thesis demands and a variety of other commitments and events that just plain got in the way. Since we have been regularly short one or more players we have been filling out game nights with board games and Fiasco. Last night we decided to mix things up and take Technoir for a spin.

 Technoir is actually the very first Kickstarter that I backed, way back in June of 2011. I have since received the physical book along with all of the other rewards as well as the stretch goals that Jeremy Keller has been pumping out. More than a year after I read the beta PDF I have finally gotten around to actually playing the game. I had a blast.

I picked up the Hong Kong transmission, one of the backer rewards, and fleshed out what was happening in a cyberpunk version of Hong Kong while my two players built their characters. The actual feeling of building up the adventure felt a lot like the first phase of a game of Fiasco. I rolled up three "plot nodes" to get things started: a motorcycle grand prix, clear weather (unusual in future Hong Kong which is normally a nightmarish haze of pollution) and a location called The Peak. The Peak is an elite part of the city where a bunch of humans specially augmented to survive in the pollution live and is a pristine, gated community. I connected these plot points and decided that the race is going to draw out the elite into the dirtier parts of the city. I couldn't think of much to do with the clear day, so it was mostly ignored.

While I built up the adventure my two players were hard at work building their characters. One of them built a hacker, Jack, that was decked out with cybernetics that allowed him to jack into The Interface (future Internet) and hack like nobody's business. The other player built a courier, Pad, with cybernetic legs and a lot of shady contacts. Both of the player characters were indebted to a variety of major players in the city due to taking out loans for their augmentation.

Once we had the characters finished and new their connections I was able to add them and their associates to the plot and determine how they linked into the existing plot points. This is how we ended up with a black market cyberware dealer that had sold faulty augmentations to the elite living on The Peak (known as The Clean). Since The Clean were going out for a day on the town for the HK Grand Prix he was understandably worried about what might happen when they found out their lung-scrubbers didn't actually work. This is when the cyberware dealer decided to call in a favour that our resident hacker owed him. The Grand Prix wasn't the only event going down that day, though. A heavyweight title match was also happening and it was being broadcast as an Immatrix production (Interface users can "ride along" and feel as if they are the boxers in virtual reality).

How does that title match factor into things? Jack was using some, let's say experimental, cyberware while enjoying the match and when he was interrupted by a call to hack The Peak it glitched out the Immatrix broadcast and inflicted seizures on everyone experiencing the broadcast. Oops. Now it just so happens that the producer of that Immatrix broadcast happened to know Pad quite well and since the courier is well connected (and owed him money) he contacted the courier and asked him to find the responsible party.

That's the setup. One player needs to hack The Peak and prevent The Clean from leaving so they don't discover they faulty augmentations. The other needs to track down the first player and bring him to justice.

Things took off from there. Jack was riding high and managed to worm his way past all of the high level ICE protecting The Peak's systems. While Jack was deep in this project Pad was chasing down leads. Using his connections he is referred to one of the best "Interface Guys" in the city, a hacker that goes by "Jack" that works out of a motorcycle garage.

Pad headed to the garage and tried to meet with Jack, but due to his previous engagements was unable to meet with him. Not to be discouraged Pad tried to convince one of the mechanics to get him a meeting and ended up on the wrong side of a wrench. Meanwhile Jack finishes a flawless series of hacks on The Peak successfully locking in all of The Clean and diverting communications. He even managed to install a backdoor to allow him easy access in the future. Jack's job finished he leaves the back room to grab a drink and comes across Pad. Pad then hires Jack to find the culprit behind the Immatrix incident.

Jack was unaware that they had inadvertently caused the seizures, but soon realizes that they were the source. Thinking fast, he tampers with the evidence and frames a rival hacker (Mei Mei). He then packages everything up with a bow and delivers all the evidence that Pad and his employer need to escape the inevitable media shit-storm. Pad, unfortunately, is unable to get the hacker's fee expensed and ends up with a pair of broken legs.


The game played out really well and very quickly. All three of us had a great time, even the player of Pad who had been unlucky enough to not succeed at a single challenge throughout the entire game. The actual game play was fast and light with minimal fuss, even though none of us really knew the rules. Everything played out in a kind of Fiasco meets Shadowrun kind of way, which is fine by me. I am enamoured with how the transmissions fit things together and I hope to play Technoir again soon.

I'll probably put together a more formal review of the game in the coming week. This, by the way, is my first time writing a session report for my blog. I hope you found it entertaining.

You can get Technoir from DriveThruRPG for $10 and you can take a peak at some the player handout and a transmission for free on the official website.


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