I’m fairly sure everyone who wants them has them already, but here’s the deal: Send me proof you donated at least $4…
I’m fairly sure everyone who wants them has them already, but here’s the deal: Send me proof you donated at least $4 to a transgender charity, and I’ll send you a copy of either my Kitsune or Oni #Monsterhearts #ttrpg Skin. Your choice. Sharing this post is both appreciated and encouraged. 💖
Hi everyone. After a long hiatus, I’ll be MCing another session of our Sprawl game (set in the Android: Netrunner universe) this coming Saturday and I could use some ideas. So far the team (consisting of a Hacker, a Killer, and a Pusher) has done two missions over four sessions, and those have both been “standard” missions.
What I mean is, neither of those missions (a hostile extraction and a wetwork operation) have involved any of the PCs’ backstories. I’ve kept things pretty straightforward so that I and the three players could get get a handle on the rules and the characters. But now that everyone feels comfortable, I think it’s time to start making things complicated.
What I’m looking for are suggestions on ways to bring the characters’ backgrounds to the foreground, to make those choices matter. The characters are as follows:
Burn – the Hacker. Screwed over a high-level company assets to acquire their cyberware and is now hunted by NBN (an infotainment megacorp that has monopoly on date. Basically, if it’s on the net, NBN knows about it). Burn is careful to the point of paranoia, lives in an undisclosed apartment off the grid, and almost never goes on missions in person. They look like a plastic Angelina Jolie (from Hackers), and, yes, their cyberdeck is named “Acid”.
Eleven – the Pusher. Raised in the Haas-Bioroid corporate arcology (still has family there), drank the HB kool-aid, and was on the management fast-track before she was “reallocated”. (HB is a labor solutions megacorp, producing weak-AI robots known as bioroids.) Eleven “associates too strongly with the product” for HB’s tastes, but she’s kept on as a corporate asset. Eleven is outright owned by Haas-Bioroid, once for her skillwires (mandatory for HB management) and again from her dermal plating (implanted after that first mission). Eleven is (so far) unwilling to accept missions that go against HB’s interests.
Vega – the Killer. Has yet to fire his automatic shotgun, Mercy, as Eleven and Burn have been so efficient at their jobs. Is also an off the books Haas-Bioroid corporate asset (like Eleven), but is more mercenary about it and has gone on at least one mission with Burn acting against HB’s interests. He’s owned by HB thanks to his corp-installed Neural Interface and Targeting Suite, but his Muscle Grafts were installed in a back alley chopshop. Unfortunately they were boosted, and he is now hunted by whomever owned the truck they :fell off” of.
Thoughts on how I can bring these entanglements to the fore?
Session two of our Monsterhearts 2 game was this past Saturday. Donna Strickland, my dangerous, 19 year old Wyrm with a hoard of CDs in her basement bedroom, is shaping up to be the most monstrous character I’ve ever played in an RPG.
I shared this on my on G+ page and put a thread about the session’s event on Twitter over the weekend, so people have probably already seen this. But I like sharing it. Content warning for physical abuse and necrophilia.
A bit of background. Donna the Wyrm and Vivian the Ghoul have had the hots for each other for a while now. When we got to the Your Backstory part of making characters, Vivian’s player said Donna was: “the one who reminded her what love was when she thought death had stolen it away forever.” I reciprocated by saying that Donna saw Vivian as “treasure” (everyone else is just “currency”) and that her shy, closed off nature roused Donna’s “want what they can’t have” nature of a dragon. The two had flirted a bit in session one, but nothing really happened. That all changed in last session.
So Vivian parks her motorcycle in the Speedway Gas Station parking lot where Donna is just finishing up her shift.
“You ready to go somewhere?” asks Vivian. (The two had made tentative plans to hang out after Donna got off work.)
“Sure. But can I go home and change first?” replies Donna. “I want to get out of this uniform.” (Her Speedway uniform is just khakis and a blue polo shirt, nothing terrible. Donna just wants to get Vivian back to her bedroom.)
The two drive to Donna’s place; the Wyrm in her car, and the Ghoul following on her motorcycle.
Back in Donna’s basement bedroom, Donna invites Vivan to peruse her CD collection while she goes to change. Vivian notices the smashed window and broken phonograph cover.
“What happened there?” asks Vivian.
“Some asshole chucked a phone through my window.” replies Donna. (It was actually Ingrid the Fae and Evelyn the Queen, two other PCs, but Donna and Vivian don’t know that.) “It’s over there, see?” She points to a chunky flip phone. (It’s 2003 by the way.)
“You should call the last number dialed and see who answers.” says Vivian. “That way you can figure out who’s phone it is!”
“That’s a fantastic idea.” Donna replies, grabbing the mystery phone, sitting on the bed and patting a spot next to her. Vivian sits down, and Donna drapes an arm over the little Ghoul, pulling her in close and pressing up against her. (I totally miss my Turn Someone On roll here.) Excited by the proximity of her crush, Donna fumbles the phone, and in her attempt to catch it, smashes it so hard into Vivian’s face that her nose starts bleeding.
But Vivian’s dead (though none of the characters, including Vivian herself, know that yet) and the blood that starts leaking from her face is this thick, black gunk. Like chocolate pudding. Vivian frantically asks for a bathroom, runs in, and tries to clean up her face. Donna is mortified, and knocks tentatively on the door to check on her guest. Vivian assures Donna everything is OK, and Donna goes back to the mystery phone. (The last number dialed was Tim, the County Police office who frequents the Speedway. He makes arrangements to pick it up from Donna at work tomorrow.) Vivian emerges, nose slightly swollen, but continuing to claim she’s fine. She and Donna decide to go get something to eat at the local Burger King, which is also where kids in the town hang out. They take Vivian’s motorcycle, at Donna’s request, specifically so she can wrap her arms around her injured crush.
Walking through the BK parking lot, Vivian is approached by Sophie, one of the Queen’s flunkies. Donna doesn’t really pay attention to their conversation, until Sophie starts harassing Vivian, saying the Ghoul’s nose looks fucked up.
“Your nose looks fucked up, bitch!” snarls Donna, swinging a fist at Sophie. She’s aiming to break Sophie’s nose, but her aim is off. Because of how they’re standing, she punches Vivian instead. Right in the nose. Again. (I whiffed my Lash Out Physically roll really bad here.) Donna starts to apologise, but Vivian isn’t crying. She takes her hands away from her nose, looks Donna right in the eye and says “Hit me again.” (Vivian’s player nails her Turn Someone On roll with a 9. Everyone around the table, myself included, goes “Oh holy shit.”)
After a second’s hesitation, Donna winds up, and cracks Vivian across the cheek. Dead black blood spatters the BK parking lot. Then Donna grabs Vivian by the collar, licks the trickle of blood off her face (it tastes like salty burnt toast), and shoves her tongue down the Ghoul’s throat. (I chose “Give myself to you” as Donna’s reaction, and this seemed most appropriate.) The kids in the parking lot are staring at them, and Sophie turns away muttering something about freaks. When the two finally break for air Donna suggests they go into the Burger King bathroom to clean up. Their faces are a mess, what with that black blood smeared everywhere. Vivian agrees, and they head inside.
But they don’t clean up. As soon as the bathroom door closes, Donna pushes Vivian into one of the stalls and they fuck. Turns out this is Vivian’s first time; it hurts, but she likes it. Afterwards Donna wipes some gunk off Vivian’s cheek and whispers, “Anything you want, baby.” Vivian replies “Promise to make me feel alive again.” (Mechanically, here’s what happened. Vivian’s player creates an additional Hunger for her. The player gets this look in her eyes and gleefully says “Vivian’s new hunger is PAIN.” The table goes nuts. This is where she decides Vivian was a virgin. As the Wyrm, Donna has to promise to get something for Vivian. We discuss if this has to be an object, and decide no, it can be something less tangible. That’s when Vivian’s player comes up with the promise to make poor dead Vivian feel alive again. The player and I are grinning this whole time at how fucked up all of this is.
And it is. I didn’t plan to play her this way, but Donna has now become someone who is willing to physically abuse her partner. At their request, sure, but still. And Vivian’s dead. She’s a Ghoul with a Hunger for Thrills and Pain. What kind of fucked up things will she ask Donna to do in an attempt to feel alive again? Whatever it is, Donna’s most likely going to do it, as she’s promised Vivian she would.
After their first mission, two of the team members bought some new gear. The Pusher went to her Haas-Bioroid handlers and had dermal plating implanted (she’d taken a bullet while extracting Kurosawa and didn’t like it much), and the Hacker bought some “cutting edge Russian attack software”.
We discussed what that might be, and as it was rather late, I foolishly suggested a Manipulate program that granted +2 hold on a successful Manipulate Systems move. Seemed fine at the time.
Cut to the middle of the last mission. Between Console Cowboy, Programming On the Fly, and the improved Manipulate program, the Hacker has a whopping 6 hold on the Building Security node. I’m all for being a fan of the characters, but that is way too much and I’m already having trouble challenging the Hacker on their matrix runs.
So can people help me come up with an alternative program? I don’t want to give the 4 credits back and tell the player to pick something else. What about a Manipulate program that grants +1 hold even on a missed roll? Or a Manipulate program that also created 1 hold of Security on a 10+?
I’m currently MCing a game set in the Android: Netrunner universe. (We have four players including myself, all of whom play the LCG, and it seemed like a natural fit.) There haven’t been that many encounters between our Hacker and ICE, but I need to start using it way more, as the PC is wrecking shop in any server he gets into.
To add some Netrunner “flavor”, I’m thinking about making some Corp specific ICE. How ICE looks and behaves not only makes the game feel more Netrunner-y, it will also give the players clues about what Corp the characters are messing with. If they pay attention.
Whenever a piece of HB ICE executes a routine, the player loses 1 hold (if any) from either the Compromise Security or Manipulate Systems move.
Whenever a piece of Jinteki ICE executes a routine, damage an intruder’s cyberdeck (Lower one of the cyberdeck’s ratings by 1).
Whenever a piece of NBN ICE executes a routine, trace an intruder’s location (Trace +1).
Whenever a piece of Weyland ICE executes a routine, corrupt an intruder’s program (Destroy an active program).
This means Crop specific ICE always gets an additional effect when it executes a routine. That might be too much. Maybe instead of the additional effect, the ICE should simply do an extra point of something when a specific routine is run. So Jinteki ICE would lower an intruder’s cyberdeck rating by an additional +1 if the MC chose that option.
Just out of curiosity, how long do missions take for other people? I ran a good (well, I think so) session last night, but the team only got through the Legwork phase. The session was only about 3 hours and it was only our third time playing so people are still figuring out moves, but I’d pitched a mission I had hoped could be done pretty quickly.
So I just want to know how long a full mission takes, generally speaking, for other people.