Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear

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Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear
« on: September 11, 2010, 10:39:02 AM »
I took a map of upstate New York and marked up Duchess County with red and black sharpie markers.  I X'ed out all of the bridges into the cities.  If you want in to NYC, you have to crawl down the western roads or make a deal with the cannibals who control the tunnels.

I labeled New Jersey as Cannibal Country (partly an homage to a post-apoc PTA game from a few years ago and partly because I grew up in New Jersey).

At the base of the Hudson I wrote, "Squid up through Kip-town," because I read that the Hudson is brackish right up to that point and I also saw a youtube video about these fucking squid on the west coast and liked the idea of them having made it this far east and up the Hudson.

Stuck Pole on the eastern side of the Hudson, coming out of the city, put Dog head's 'hold, Coop, in Yonkers.  The other 'holds are bridges, leading up to Kip-town, the self-proclaimed capital of the region. 

The players headed to Bear, the nearest bridge town.

Brandy came in with her Maestro'D this game.  We finished her character, Saffron and stuck her joint in Bear.  Saffron wears a big, purple dress with ruffles and lace, has a bodyguard who knows his business named Shmee.  I start the game with Shmee bringing in Been, a guy who owes Saffron.

I like starting off a new character with them making a judgment call.  She wants to cut on him and rolls 7-9, so there's a rough choice involved.  I say that she can do it but Shmee will get cut up a bit in the process.  She cuts on Been anyway, putting a little fork in his tongue to remind him to pay up on his debt, not caring that he lost his shipment on the river because of squid.

On a piece of paper I wrote the following words:

Unfinished Business

And asked questions, handing out one off the list to each of them.

Turns out Bullit has a rival, one of Saffron's customers named Toyota.  He drives a rusted out Toyota truck that he piles his nine kids into the bed, giving them weapons.

Baby's lover is one of Saffron's girls, Newton.  Newton wants her to buy out her contract so she can leave Bear and travel around with Baby's gang on the back of her bike.

Marsh has unfinished business, having been mugged last time he was in town by a guy who had pretended to be his buddy and gotten drinks with him.

Dent had a friend, another faceless named Stomp, with a mask made from car-seat leather and tremendous boots that give him his name.

And the whole game drove on from those four bits, those questions the players answered.

Bits of last night's game to write about later:

 - a little about Bear

 - Dent pays in violence

 - Bullit's race

 - Bear explodes

 - Saffron's Bouncer 



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Re: Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2010, 12:40:11 PM »
Bear doesn't really have a proper hardholder or warlord.  There's a trio of folk who tend to run things.

Griz is a big woman who often walks the nearby trails, hunting and killing cannibals.

Big Papa fancies himself an engineer, a scrawny older fella in greasy overalls with little hair left.

Fitty lives on top of the bridge, in some kind of cabin he built up there god-only-knows-how.  He has an assortment of rifles and takes his name from the mythical, rumored fifty caliber rifle he is said to have access to.

Saffron's joint is a big draw too.  While the average squid-eater can't afford her rates for flesh, booze and food, plenty of folks come up clear up from the city to kick their boots up in her place.

Bear is a big stop-off point for squid-eaters, which is what people call the river-folk who make their living salvaging, squidding and ferrying.


Writing about Dent tends to be simple.

Dent still had a hole in him from when Shit-head shot him.  It itched.  Bear didn't have a doc but in a pinch, Griz could help someone mend.  She slapped a poultice on it and it stopped itching (his 1 harm went away).

"Dent, care to do some violence to pay me back?"

"Sure.  Who?"

"Shmee.  He was rude to me."

"Just learn some manners or do you want him not getting up for a good long while?"

(That isn't how JJ put it.  He put it way better but the gist was clear...how bad do you want me to beat on him?)

"Just some manners."

I had made a big deal of the metal door that led into Saffron's place.  They had an electric intercom system for allowing people in.  Shmee was an older little guy, like Sam Elliot in Roadhouse.

Dent beat down the door with his hammer (no, seriously, the Faceless have a move for destroying scenery, something about JJ's roll and the way the move was written made us both think that Shmee was trapped under the door when it fell in).  He knocks on the door with his hammer, it bangs out on the whole joint.  When the door comes down, it comes down on Shmee.  Baby's boys, everyone clears out when word goes around that Dent and Shmee are about to brawl.

It wasn't much of a brawl.  The door fell on Shmee and Dent beat on him, knocked a few teeth out, punctuating his hits with a warning to treat Griz with less rudeness.  It was over so fast that people were disappointed.

After that Dent got together with Stomp, talked about how hard it was for guys like (masked, violent, destructive) them to get steady work while they walked along the riverbank and breaking shit; their interaction was that of sociopath 13 year old boys.  There was some future badness hinted at but Dent had other shit on his mind.



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Re: Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2010, 01:00:17 PM »
Bear Explodes

Stomp talked to Dent about finding work, mentioned a job he had turned down, something about leaving a bag on the bridge for one of Kipsie's boys to pick up (the Kipsie is the warlord of Kip-town).

Meanwhile, Marsh has some unfinished business.  We roll and he get's 7-9, meaning he can find his mugger unarmed or unaware but not both.  He chooses unaware and finds him mugging another guy, big bowie knife up to the guy's throat...a bad scene.  He touches the mugger (whose name I forget) and does Brainer juju on him, making him stick his face in the river until he passes out, then while he's out he cuts out his tongue.

The guy getting mugged is named Dremmer and offers to buy Marsh a drink at Saffron's place and offers him in on a job he's in town to do for the Kipsie, some kind of drop-off.  His partner died on the way down, got caught by a squid while shaving near the river.

Long story short: Marsh and Dremmer are on the bridge and Dremmer has dropped off the package, near one of the support cables.  Marsh knows damned well that he is leaving a bomb on Bear.  Through some Brainer juju, he knows that Dremmer is more ashamed of what he  has just done than anything else he has ever done but the shame is drowned out by his real fear of being without food and shelter this winter.

The bomb explodes just before dawn, the bridge lurches and leans, some cables snap.  Dremmer starts getting aggressively drunk.  The town is trying to figure out what the fuck just happened.



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Re: Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2010, 01:34:21 PM »
Griz, Paper Bear, Fitty and Saffron meet in private to sort shit out.  They are pretty sure this is a move from The Kipsie to consolidate his power over the river.  The bridge might be fuct.

Gams is a drug dealer with a motorcycle.  She sells meth to the squid-eaters, keeping clear of each 'hold's dealers, making her living on the fringe.  She is listed as the person who wants Saffron's joint out of Bear.  She comes to Saffron and makes an offer.  She has a down-payment on some real estate in Kip-town.  Saffron could move up there and Gams would be her benevolent land-lady.

Saffron's voice is dangerous and polite and sweet as she tells Gams that she'll think about it.  Gams backs out of Saffron's office with her hand on her pistol.

Everyone talks about turning this bridge-town into a ferry town, about going up to Kip-town and getting bloody revenge.  Dent offers to break the Kip-town bridge but no one listened to him, so he shrugged and went back to whatever he was doing.

Saffron wants to know how the fuck held the bomb.  She fails her roll.  She tracks it down to Shmee and confronts him.  He assures her, through his busted teeth and swollen mouth that he had her best interests at heart, at how they could travel up to Kip-town and open up a bigger, better joint up there.

Later, Marsh brushes Shmee in order to touch him and put some Brainer juju on him, was going to convince him that he had, in fact, planted the bomb.  He fails his roll and Shmee falls over, eyes bloodshot, bleeding from his nose and mouth, blood vessel in his brain busted.  Another NPC in the cross-hairs bites the dust.



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Re: Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2010, 02:00:16 PM »
The Dubious Morality of Bullit

At the end of the last session, Barry, who plays Bullit, said with a straight face, totally earnest, "Bullit is obviously the most moral person in the group."

"Barry, Bullit, drove a girl to her death.  You delivered her to her father and she told you all that her father would kill her and that he had slept with her."

"Yeah...but at heart he's a good southern boy."


As everyone perused the map and talked about what to do and where to go next, Bullit said something like, "Guys, if we come across some warlord's princess...can we just leave her.  I mean, let's leave other people's problems to them.  I don't want to be remembered for only doing mercenary shit.  Wouldn't it be nice to be remembered for doing good things, for making the world a better place?"

Everyone scoffed at that.  Bullit wants to be a knight in NASCAR armor, riding a Corvette with machine guns into battle but the Apocalypse World just isn't helping him.

Toyota's kids were in his truck, outside of Saffron's place.  When they saw Bullit's 'vette, they started throwing rocks at it.  When Bullit got out of the car and talked to them, they waited until his back was turned and then they threw rocks at him.  Toyota has nine kids.

Toyota and Bullit talked some shit right as the game began but nothing came of it until the end of the night.  "Bullit, you are always saying that your American-made junk is faster than my so-called rice-burner...fuck that.  Let's race.  We need to know if the bridge up at Beacon is still standing or if the Kipsie's boys have gotten to that one too.  Let's race, first one to find out the fate of Beacon and get back first...wins."

Saffron drops the starting rag.  Bullit let's Toyota pull in front of him off of the starting line.  Toyota has his kids piled into the back of his truck.  Bullit fires a few rounds into the engine compartment but Toyota keeps going, daring him to really open fire.  As Toyota had said earlier, "You don't have the stones to kill me and my kids.  You aren't that cold."

I tell Barry that in order to stop him, he'll have to destroy the truck and kill everyone in it.  Bullit spins the wheels, turns off the guns and the 'vette jumps off of the starting line.  At the end of the race, Toyota is up front.  It is a text book example of the offensive driving maneuver that Bullit's dad taught him first, the one he had been dreaming about last session.

He rolled a 7-9 on winning this race under fire.

"You can win but you have to execute that move, coming up behind Toyota on a turn and spinning his truck, knocking him off the road."

Barry grimaces and does it.  "If he was a driver worth a damn he'd be able to pull out of this spin."  Bullit wins, Toyota goes off the road into a heap.

When he goes back to Toyota's truck after the race, to salvage gas, oil and car fluids, there is one kid left alive, a little girl.

"Her name is Rubbin."

Oh, right...Beacon was in flames, falling into the Hudson.



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Re: Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2010, 12:46:45 AM »
I drove right by Bear Mountain today but didn't get to see the bridge.

The game has given me an odd knowledge of the Hudson River bridges.




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Re: Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2010, 08:41:52 PM »
Inspiring stuff, Judd.  If I may ask, were you planning to blow the bridge first session all along, or did it just seem to fit the way things were playing out?  I'm curious since from your write-up, it looked like the Kipsie might be a threat that takes a while to declare itself, but you went and declared it right up front.



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Re: Just Outside the City: Explosions on Bear
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2010, 10:43:09 PM »
Inspiring stuff, Judd.  If I may ask, were you planning to blow the bridge first session all along, or did it just seem to fit the way things were playing out?  I'm curious since from your write-up, it looked like the Kipsie might be a threat that takes a while to declare itself, but you went and declared it right up front.


Thing is, I didn't declare it.  The plan was tentatively in motion but it was a damned mess.  It needed a player to nudge it into place.  I casually put it in front of folks and Marsh took the bait, escorting the bomb's caretaker, who didn't quite have the moxy to leave it on his own.
So, the plan was in motion but it was up to the players to nudge it into place fully.

Does that make sense?