GM Commentary: ConsOps, 2.13

Huzzah! I finally got the car chase I’ve been wanting to do for like six weeks or so. Naturally, it ended up taking more of the session than I’d expected it to. Because of course it did. Initially, I was worried because Baum straight up ditched his pursuers due to an obstacle (that resulted in the pursuing vehicle crashing and taking out all of the guys inside), but he circled around and got back into the chase by approaching the dudes already chasing Lynch and Mahoney. This was also definitely a case where we saw how much better behind the wheel Vega was as the actual chase itself dragged out for many, many rounds because the vehicles were basically identical and the skill levels involved were all very close, so it all depended on actual die rolls.

We’ve been using the Chase Circumstances table from Pyramid 3/112 for chases and while I like it, I think that I need to tweak how it’s used somehow. One of the players introduced having some of the regular people from our Twitch stream make the checks for that and, while that worked, I don’t think that’s a good solution for the long-term because it requires the audience members to be available at all times. For example, one of the people watching went AFK briefly and he was the guy making some rolls. I wonder if maybe there is some sort of dice functionality that could be added to Twitch? Or maybe and external link to a die roller app or something? Also, I think I need to adjust the phrasing in the table to make sure it’s clear when it’s an obstacle and when it’s a stunt opportunity. We got a little confused at least once in that regard.

Looking at the Chase rules from Action 2, I also noted that the Ram maneuver is a little too streamlined – if you hit, you figure out the damage and both vehicles/inhabitants take it. However, it seems to me that if you intentionally T-bone someone – John Reese’s favorite car maneuver in “Person of Interest” – the target vehicle should probably take more damage than the rammer simply because of placement. I should look in 3E Vehicles & see if they mention that. The players kept using Force unsuccessfully & then one of them had a chance to do a Ram but opted for Force (unsuccessfully again) instead to avoid taking crippling vehicle damage (and potentially personal damage as well) which was wholly understandable since the vehicle stats were identical (so no advantage for having the “stronger” ride.) Something for me to consider.

There was a bit more debate about what to do with the incapacitated Reilly than I expected, some of it bordering on heated. Luckily, I didn’t have to step in and suggest a course of action – they opted to get the CIA doctor (who I retroactively based on Devon Woodcomb from “Chuck” – aka “Awesome!”) to a hotel/motel where he could call in CIA assets. No one really considered whether this would mean the Company might just send in cleaners. We’ve joked in the past that I’m going to do a hospital scene where Hurt wakes up and has to fend off some evil assassins, and now, there are three potential PCs for such a scene (Hurt, Reilly and the Doc) so … I may actually consider that. Could be a one-off maybe or something else entirely. Time will tell.

During the chase, Baum’s player opted to shift to Move for several rounds, which surprised me as it resulted in Brooks not being able to participate by shooting. I was already feeling a little irritated because Mahoney was basically just sitting there for the entire chase, so now there was another player just twiddling his thumbs. In retrospect, I should have had him making the attack decisions and rolls of the shooters in the trail car. At least then he would have been participating. In the course of the chase, Baum got nailed in the arm which was temporarily crippled; I (and the player as well, I think) completely forgot about this later, when the chase ended and he took a rifle shot to neutralize the fleeing driver. Ah, well.

I declared that an “unspecified amount of time” elapsed as they made their way to Yemen. At the moment, I have that down as 4 days, but I actually think it might need to be a few more than that to ensure that Baum’s arm completely heals up – reviewing the chatlog, this is HP/2 + 1 damage so 6 points for Ilan as he normally has 11hp. The doc rolled a crappy 1 for first aid recovery, so that leaves 5; they’ll need five days, not four, but this works as it puts them on 1 Mar. Regardless, they’ve arrived at Ta’iz, which (based on my research) is a nightmare of a city at the moment. The decision to have Chana Baum present was mostly for info-dump purposes – she’s essentially the “quest-giver” in this scenario. And I was mildly entertained by the back-and-forth between Ilan and Mahoney’s players regarding the latter’s relationship with the former’s sister.

So we’re finally in Ta’iz. Next week, I have some minor roleplaying in mind for the beginning of the session, then the PCs will be stealthing into the city to discover that it’s worse than they thought, especially when they discover that there are multiple kill teams on site, all after the same time thing. But that’s for the game prep post. I’m hoping Ta’iz will take a session and a half, maybe two tops, then we move on to Riga for another session and a half or two, then on to the climax…

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