13 Hours and Gaming: The Siege

So, rewatched most of “13 Hours” this weekend and led me to thinking about how to do a scenario like that as an RPG. Our Saturday group has an Action! spy game called Consular Operations (where I’m playing a blatant ripoff of Phil Coulson using the Investigator template) and it occurred to me that I could maybe spin up the scenario using them.

My current thinking is to basically the following:

  • Begin in media res with most PCs captured by some bad guys? How did they get caught? Who cares? Quinn (my PC) is off being tortured for information (so as to explain why he’s not active later in the scenario.)
  • One PC (randomly determined) managed to elude the bad guys and must rescue the other PCs. Might be interesting if other Players run the appropriate mooks.
  • Intel recovered points to a compound (of sorts) in a nearby city with indications that this has the potential of being a mass casualty event but intel should also be wildly incomplete, so no intel agency would actually respond to this which means it’s up to the PCs! Quinn, being injured, will accompany the other PCs in a fully advisory capacity (again, due to injuries) so he’ll stay in the truck.
  • Reach the nearby city and locate the compound so they can do recon. Ideally, I’d like to get the PCs to just about to breach when Quinn tells them to abort … because he’s IDed this compound as a CIA annex.
  • Eventually, PCs end up inside the compound – could I manage to capture them without a firefight? One or two of the defenders are Delta operators, so one of the PCs (who is a Delta guy) would likely cooperate – where the guy in charge is an Obstructive Bureaucrat who is just pissed that they’re here at all. He reveals that they’ve captured a Big Bad and are interrogating him
  • And then, the Siege begins with wave after wave of Red Shirt Mooks using full auto and RPGs and all that.
The important thing that I’d need to focus on is how to do the waves of bad guys without using Mass Combat (because I don’t want to do that at all) and without it just being “and another wave of bad guys attack.” Monitoring the ammo count is probably one way to ramp up tension, not to mention there being no reinforcements, especially if this CIA annex is a black site that’s off the books.

Post Casus Belli

Finished up my run for “season 2” of this campaign and have entered the hiatus period where I play and plan for the next “season” (or run my Friday game.) Recap for 2×13 is online and it was pretty decent overall, though I do wish I’d had more for the other players during the big duel at the end. This marks (I think) the first time with the Saturday group that we’ve actually had a PC death and honestly, even if it hadn’t been planned, I don’t know if the character could have survived. He had failed a death check already and was thus, mortally wounded, but the poison in his system was going to keep going for quite a while, so … ah well.

Now I’m on to brainstorming for season 3 and am wanting to change things up a little, mostly in regards to the PCs having more of an active role with regards to determining what they do next. Am already planning a 5 year timeskip and ideally, I’d like to emulate that cool war table thing from Dragon Age: Inquisition. If that’s remotely possible, that is. I’ve already discovered at least one problem – the mod I was running with Crusader Kings 2 for the map (aka “The Winter King”) isn’t cooperating with the latest update of CK2, so I can’t even login to make a new screenshot!

At any rate, I also have to figure out overall story arcs for all of the main PCs. One of them – Marcus – is really easy as he’s going to be obsessed with locating his One True Love who has vanished, but everyone else? Urgh. Going to be tough. Am trying to farm that out to the players but sometimes, that’s like pulling teeth just to get them to logon … I’ve got at least one player who I’ve been trying to get me his character sheet for like a month now.

So, we’ll see what we see. I’m trying not to set the expectation bar too high lest I get frustrated at the complete lack of response.

Casus Belli Update

So, Saturday will be the conclusion of “season 2” of this campaign run and I’ll (gladly) go into hiatus for a time. This will be 13 episodes, which is better than the 12 I’d originally planed but not quite twice. I had material for at least two more eps after this one (probably three or four given how the PCs prevaricate) so why stop now? In a word: death.

One of the players whose character is one of the primary if not the primary driver of the story had an idea about killing off his PC for dramatic effect; he has said that he’s been enjoying the campaign and will miss the character and I have no reason to doubt him (even though I’ve made more than a few missteps along the way), but he was completely right in that having this character die will radically shake things up. And, as luck would have it, this upcoming installment fits the story narrative for that perfectly. So, in an ideal world, we’ll end at the normal time with his character’s tragic and (mostly) unexpected demise due to poison and treachery. (One other player is aware of this plan but I use him as a sounding board for some things and he is playing the druid so…)

This death accomplishes a number of things for season 3: not only does it shake up the entire status quo, but it also allows me to get real-world history back on track and it will (hopefully) force other players to step up as their characters suddenly gain importance. Depending on certain elements planned for Saturday, this may also give the PCs a new enemy to be aware or or contend with, one who has a direct hand in this death. Of course, the PCs may remain entirely oblivious to that aspect, which also works out nicely.

I had originally planned to end season 2 with a five year timeskip for all of the PCs but one – long story: he was going to end up in the Otherworld or the Nevernever as it is known in the Dresden Files universe – and initially, I was concerned this was going to throw those plans into shambles. Instead, I’m probably going to stick with the time jump for dramatic effect by picking up season 3 (whenever I run it) five years (or so) later with the characters all having moved on with their lives after the tragic death of their leader.

Here’s to hoping this doesn’t blow up in my face…

Casus Belli, 2×06

Recap for this session is up at the Portals site I spun up for this campaign.

The next installment coming this week is going to start out with a 4 month time-jump and will involve the aftermath of the Battle of Crecganford (“Creeksford”), which took place in 457 and is a major defeat for the Welsh. Originally, I was worried about this since the problem with PCs is that they could drastically change the outcome, so instead, I’m going to kick off in the aftermath, following the defeat. That way, I can just say “The Saecsens (Saxons) kicked your ass and sent you packing.”

Skipping forward four months is also going to be interesting with regards to one of the PCs in the group as that character is pregnant. Honestly, never had a PC give birth in a game…

Random Status Updates

Went biking this weekend with the fixed road bike … and yeah. My arms are seriously burned. Sunday made it worse cause I intentionally sought out a shirt with exposed arms. Sadly, the darned sunscreen I applied didn’t seem to do a whole lot. Which makes me think that it would be even worse if I hadn’t applied the sunscreen.

Session 2×03 of Casus Belli went well on Saturday, albeit not exactly how I expected. Recap is here.

Also, did a major “cleaning” of my apartment in another attempt to “get my head right” – not entirely done; I have to clean out the dresser which has sort of turned into a second junk storage instead of for clothes, but I did find my old Kindle that I’d thought I lost. Despite having a Fire, I promptly charged the old one up and re-registered it. The Fire … I just don’t like it as much, probably cause its a tablet so the screen doesn’t have that cool “Paperwhite” tech which I frankly kind of love.

In weight news, after Sunday’s bike ride and the shower afterward, I weighed myself and am down 18 lbs from when I started this whackiness. Which is awesome, but still not good enough. Buddy of mine is down 60 lbs from portion control alone – I’m doing that and exercise. Ideally, I’d love to hit 200 again cause that would be awesome.

And in other news, it looks like the US is poised on a race war kicking off. Fantastic. We’ve been “fundamentally transformed.” Ugh.

Casus Belli, Season 2

Using Fantasy Grounds 2. Session went pretty well and I learned more than a handful of neat tricks, not the least of which being the capability to record a TeamSpeak session … and man, I do not sound like I thought I did. Fricking bizarre.
Thought I did not have quite enough planned for the session but ending up skipping an entire fight for time because the first actual fight took a lot longer than expected. This was the “second neat trick” that I learned – I can share NPCs with select players so they can help me run the characters. Awesome.
So, overall, I’d consider it a success with a couple of places that need improvement.