Saturday, July 18, 2009

Brief Danger Patrol

I printed out Danger Patrol and brought it along to the "Car Wash" tonight, and actually got to run through a scene of it. Players were Dave VanDyke, Matt "Kub" Kubiak, and a fellow whose name I forget, I had just met him; he was a boardgamer but hadn't tried RPGs before. Robb and Jason had some important video games to play and couldn't be bothered; to be fair, that's kinda why they show up in the first place, not to play hippie games.

Dave and Kub chose randomly (semi-randomly -- Kub drew Alien Professor and I suggested he might want to swap Alien out cause it's kind of a DIY style) and we ended up with Max Powers the Psychic Professor, and Vance Granger, the Two-Fisted Explorer. (TODO: ask Dave the other player's name; it was mentioned once but it went right out of my sieve-like brain.) Our third player, the one who hadn't played RPGs before, chose a Robot Commando named THGHUS (pronounced "Thuggus").

I gave them the teaser, then asked for "Previously..." and we got some setup involving Max uncovering a Neptunian assassination plot, and THGHUS and Vance getting into some trouble with the Neptunians in a rescue plan that got complicated (somehow involving Vance and a Neptunian princess...)

So cards for all those things went out on the table. I explained that we were probably only going to do one scene tonight but all those were available for future scenes, or adding to the existing scene.

Following the suggestion in the rules I cut down the number of crimson apes by two since we had only three players -- TOTALLY unnecessary. "Three hits, no roll" powers are freaking BADASS, and they waded through the threats fairly quickly, even after I decided that the apes turned out to be six-hit threats after all, not three.

It only took two rounds.

First round: the Professor uses his telekinesis to remotely steer the damaged rocketcar to safety (Danger: he landed it on the only nearby surface -- a tanker of rocket fuel! -- safely). He also plugs into the currents controlling the malfunctioning traffic controller system using his gadgets and brings them back into sync. Two threats gone. Like that. (He got a second action because he used a power token for the first.)

Then THGHUS got out his hidden weaponry and lit up the immediately threatening ape, only wounding and angering it, and ending up with the ape hanging off of his robot body which was hanging from the fin of their rocket car by a damaged arm! (only Bashed, no major damage, but still, you could see sparks flying and stuff.)

Time for Vance. Vance is an Explorer, and knows a thing or two about crimson apes. He climbed down THGHUS's body to get eye to eye with the creature. After fending off some wicked blows by the ape, he hit it with a dominance attack -- essentially a staring and screaming contest, or something like that -- which forced it to acknowledge him as alpha. (He made him wear the Cone of Shame, if you will.) The now-docile ape climbed the poor robot's body and sat meekly in the vehicle, just as...

The one remaining ape, who'd been ignored all this turn, dropped onto the car and smacked poor Powers upside the head. (Reduced Hit!) Ape Two was pretty angry to see what had happened Ape One... after all, Ape Two had been the ORIGINAL Alpha. (Danger!)

The next turn though, that ape had no chance. Professor Powers came up with some rubber science about the metal implants in the backs of the apes' heads (which we hadn't noticed up till that point) and how they'd be adversely affected by the currents in the navigation system, which he'd already gotten under his control (3 free hits on an ally's attack for rubber science!). This added to Vance's two-fisted haymaker, so that just as he cold-cocked the ape, the thing's implant went haywire, sending it into a twitching frenzy and making it an easy target for THGHUS's weaponry.

We cut it off after one scene, though we briefly discussed what the interlude scenes would probably have been and where it would go from there.

Fun little game considering I had to do zero prep beyond what was done for me in the rules. There was no discernable difference in play experience between the experienced gamers and the complete newb, except for one point where he got a little caught up in scanning his powers list and it had to be pointed out that he could do anything he darn well pleased, what was on the sheet was just stuff he got an extra bonus for doing.

If I was going to do this again, well, I'd probably pile on the threats a bit more. But maybe the players just got lucky. Or maybe two turns was fine for an intro like this, and if they kept on going, they'd have felt the impact of the power tokens they'd spent pretty soon.

Anyway, yay! I got to run a game!

1 comment:

John Harper said...


Two turns for the opening battle is just about right. The idea is for it to be quick and simple as a kind of tutorial, then you move on to Interludes, figure out more of the plot, then get down to business with more challenging scenes.

Glad to hear you enjoyed it!