Monday, February 4, 2013

In the City on the Night Side [Stars Without Number AP]

It's interesting where game ideas come from. Most recently I found the seeds of adventure and setting in the form a song, specifically “Night City” by The Sword.

Running scared through endless night
Too afraid to put up a fight
They shackle her wrists
It's too late to resist
Scanned for weapons and transmitters
Sold at auction to the highest bidder
That's the way it goes
Now you know...
You can find us on the Night-side
In the shadows where the killers and the pirates hide
Come around if you think you can survive
in the city on the Night-side

It's a fairly basic story of a kidnapped princess sold into slavery, but I found it nicely evocative. Also the song's just bad-ass. This weekend I ran a Stars Without Number one-shot, and when I needed an adventure idea, this song gave me enough seed ideas to work with.

So... The PCs are low-ranking members of the Red Banner Mercenary Company. The debutante daughter of a VP of Titanomachy Technology was kidnapped by pirate slavers while on a pleasure cruise. She's been listed for sale at a slave auction in Night City, an outlaw human settlement on Las Diablas. The PCs need to rescue here by any means necessary, while keeping Red Banner's name out of it.

Las Diablas is a desert badlands planet. Because of the tilt of its axis, the northen pole is in perpetual night. It's the home to killers, outlaws, smugglers, pirates, and slavers. It's pretty much an equal mix of Deadwood, Mos Eisley, and Bartertown. A nice dangerous place.

When the PCs landed outside of Night City, they (half-jokingly?) insisted that I draw a map of the town. (“You said it was small. You can draw that!”). They've been spoiled by Monsterhearts, where we keep drawing the map of their town as we play. But no worries, we took a break, and I drew up a quick map. Couple of roads, market here, power plant there, slave market here, lots of spaceships parked around the perimeter. “There should be an arena,” said a player. Oh hell yes, we need a Thunderdome... right here!

The City on the Night Side!
The adventure itself was fun. As I do nowadays, I didn't have any preconceived idea on how the heroes were supposed to complete the adventure. I came up with a situation, I decided what the major NPCs wanted, and I figured out what would happen  if the PCs did nothing. That's all I need to drop the PCs into the action and let them figure out solutions for themselves.

I wasn't disappointed. The PCs went undercover as a couple of rich rubes and their bodyguards, looking to buy slaves. After discovering that the debutante had already been sold to an infamous gang boss (Magnus Thorn), they are forced to fast-talk their way into the boss's manse, then rescue the debutante in a running gun battle.

Some highlights...
  • The Stars Without Numbers mechanics are dead simple, and combat is wicked fast and tense!
  • The female engineer disguised herself as a pregnant woman, hiding guns and grenades in her fake boobs.
  • The noble-born psychic-healer with no combat skill disguised as a bodyguard and loaded down with weapons he can't use.
  • Wheeling-and-dealing with the alien slave-broker to purchase the other survivors from the debutante's kidnapped party.
  • Smooth-talking Magnus Thorn's Hochog lieutenant into letting them to have one of their women fight in Thorn's gladiator ring, thus getting an invitation to the manse.
  • Ignoring that plan and purposely(?) getting captured to get themselves into the heart of Thorn's manse.
  • A running gun battle, punctuated by blowing up an elevator with grenades, and exploding badguys' heads with the psychic's cancer-gun.
  • Making it to the roof and having the engineer hack into the manse's defense towers, blowing away opposition with cannon-fire.
  • A successful rescue as the PCs ship (The Private Dancer) flew them back into space.
We may very well come back to Stars Without Number after we're done with Monsterhearts.

No comments:

Post a Comment