I think my solution is just to constantly pull new people into RPGs, so last Saturday I ran the starting scenario for two friends, after a nice steak and potatoes dinner.
- Etheline 'True Blue' Booker, a former lightening-oil merchant turned Leech.
- Carlos 'The Cutter' Penalton, an underworld killer grown into a proper Hound.
Etheline had lovers as her vice. Her parents had died young, and her best friend Jul (a blood dealer) had gotten her into this way of living; lovers made her feel less alone, for a while. Carlos was into weird things, all he'd tell was that 'it involves shellfish.' His father thieved around the docks of Duskwall, always into small-time shit that would never let him stop working. Carlos, naturally, aimed higher. He trusted Etheline as much as he had to, which drew semi-joking protest from Etheline's player, as these players are engaged in real life.
Their crew, the Evil Gang of Eleven, was known for being strange. Strangely honest, as it turned out. The players put lots of dots in different skills - they rarely had more than one dot in anything, but their resistances were quite good, especially in Prowess.
They started out talking to Baz, or being threatened by him. The Evil Gang, not quite living up to their name, just wanted to be left alone, to stay out of the gang war. Baz made it increasingly clear this would not be allowed, staring into his whiskey snifter and flatly delivering promises of retribution if they stayed in the district.
So, they had their first flashback, with True Blue making a portable, crossbow-type device that would track Baz within the room, fire remotely, and kill him. The wireless ran off little shards of the same ghost embedded in the devices. The crew had a workshop and fine gear in their lair, so, why the hell not. It's not my job to keep Baz alive, and she took 2 stress to roll, hit the roll with a 6, so, the device was in the room. They kindly let Baz know, and that they were leaving.
"It'll be interesting to hear your plans to get out of my headquarters alive." Baz droned. They Wrecked the door to his office to trap him in, and I started a hidden 5-clock for 'Baz Escapes' - I told them I was creating the clock, I just didn't tell them the size. Didn't want them to know when he'd escape. I wanted to see if they'd mis-time this remote murdering device.
The Wrecking wasn't without consequence, which was noise and attracting attention.
"So who in the Lampblacks is your best friend, who are you closest to?" I asked.
That turned out to be a fellow named Steve, who came down the corridor asking about the noise. Etheline tried to Consort/Sway him (same skill rating in both), telling Steve exactly what happened and that they meant no hard feelings (remote kill-device aside), they just wanted to leave. Strangely honest. They weren't picking sides, they were leaving. She flubbed the roll, and Steve began to think they'd killed Baz, which Carlos didn't try to contradict. Steve fled, firing a gun in the floor to attract his fellows.
A 4-segment clock started up, 'Lampblacks arrive in force,' and the two debated whether to just kill Baz. They decided to do so - I should note, they were aware of some Red Sashes job around this, but hadn't taken that, truly wanting to stay neutral. They just figured with Baz dead, the Lampblacks would be thrown into disarray, and wouldn't come after them. So, they triggered the device, Baz died, and they resolved to rob his office, like proper scoundrels.
I asked about where they were, and Carlos' player filled me in: on the 3rd floor of a building, with a nearby fire escape leading down to street level. First floor was a bar, second, a gambling den, and the third was garrisons and Lampblack offices. Shite oil lamps everywhere, befouling the air, because Lampblacks. Baz' office window was a short climb from the fire escape, and True Blue made it over safely thanks to climbing gear, though she took longer than she wanted. By now the Lampblacks were 1 tick from arriving in force.
True Blue passed Carlos the Cutter several bottles of grain alcohol 'whiskey,' which were turned to molotovs. She went to work on a safe in the office, failing to get it open. The Lampblacks' thugs arrived, Steve at the front, and Carlos lobbed fire at them and shot into them. The Lampblacks fired back, but the Hound's resistance roll was high and he dodged cleanly into cover. A devil's bargain meant the fire would spread.
Etheline cracked the safe, finding 4 coin in jewels and a ledger written in some cipher. Smoke from the fire crept in and threatened to wound her, but her Leech's Fortitude soaked that damage. Carlos shot down the remaining Lampblack squad, though he could hear more tramping up through the smoke. The two booked it, Prowling past the sentries checking fire escapes and other routes out of the building.
So, for downtime, Carlos overindulged his vice, leading to an extra entanglement roll. Etheline repaired her armor (Fortitude) and began a long-term clock to unlock the ledger cipher. I put it at a 4-clock, and she began to tinker together something to programatically crack this (and only this) cipher. Sadly, not a Turing Machine. Carlos worked to reduce heat on the crew - I forgot to ask how, sadly.
The entanglements rolled were interesting: one only applied to crews with a gang, so they dodged a bullet, but the other was that a rival gang which had reason had come to cause problems, and the crew could pay them off or deal with it. They resolved to deal, so the next session will start with more antagonistic Lampblacks, probably remembering how the Evil Gang of Eleven killed off Steve.
- Steve is dead
- Baz is dead
- Lampblacks start a 4-clock, 'Recover from Baz' assassination'
- Some small faction of the Lampblacks is already going after the crew