Wednesday, October 13, 2010

In Which The Warlock Levels Up...

I debated quite a bit about this entry, as it's not every day that you hit a milestone! I've had this blog active for quite a while now and, at one entry per week (more during Origins and other live-blogging moments), that makes for four solid years of entries!

200 Entries!

I received several really good suggestions from the PlatinumChick, from Chaotic Karl, Kat, and a few others, but none of them seemed to fit. I had thought about doing a "how did you get into gaming?" entry, but in a blog that's been focusing on newness and innovation in gaming, it seemed like a needless bit of navel-gazing on my part to look back like that. Instead, I'm going to make a few announcements, and show off my preview of "The Pendulum Method"!

--2 Entries a Week. Starting in November, I'd like to try to push out more content and more ideas on a weekly basis. I feel like this will bring in more readership, as well as provide you with more ideas, fresh from my twisted brain. I have yet to choose a second day yet, but I'm guessing it'll probably be a Wednesday/Saturday schedule at this point

--Full Campaign Logs. This is where this blog started off, and I don't mean to get away from that. Besides, the very sessions that we have out here easily become fodder for ideas, adventure hooks, and NPCs in your own games.

--More Previews up Upcoming Content. This one's for me. As I drift from project to project, I have the tendency to leave behind the things that I've been working on, and I don't intend to keep leaving them half-finished. In promising to show you some of my brainchildren, that'll keep me on the ball in terms of revision and (re)drafting, which means that I'll sooner be able to focus on publication.

And, speaking of a preview, here's a section from one of the sample adventure outlines that I'll be including in "The Pendulum Method", once it hits PDF! Enjoy Vegas Nights, Bright Lights, and Encryption Chip 416!

Adventure Overview:
This scenario centers on a lucrative goal for the PCs—a Las Vegas casino vault, which is set to be the site of a massive funds transfer between mafia functionaries. As an elite group of highly-trained, accomplished rogues, the PCs have decided to pool their talents as the “Men in White” in the hopes to disrupt the funds transfer, elude the mob, and make off with the funds themselves.

Reservoir Dogs

That is, that’s what the plot would be, if this was a standard adventure. This, friends and neighbors, is a Pendulum-style plot, which means that there’s more to it than meets the eye! Rather, the PCs will simultaneously be playing the group’s “electronic ops” group as well, the “Men in Black,” as they attempt to remotely disable the casino’s security system…from its owners’ corporate headquarters in Hong Kong.

Film Inspirations and Recommended Game Systems:
• Ocean’s Eleven
• Reservoir Dogs
• Snatch
• Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
• Inception
• Sexy Beast
• The Italian Job

There are several game systems that would be more than acceptable for this sort of game. The d20 Modern system has several sourcebooks (including the spectacular Spycraft book by AEG and Crafty Games) that would serve admirably in this venue. Pinnacle Entertainment Group’s Savage Worlds would also work well, as would Shadowrun, though the cyberpunk elements may need to be downplayed, given a modern aesthetic. Other generic systems, such as GURPS, may be fitting, as well.
For a d20 Modern game, pre-generated characters should be of approximately 9th level. In Savage Worlds, Veteran would be an acceptable experience level. As always, the GM should have final say over level and experience regarding characters, whether pre-generated or player-generated.

Encounter (-2)—Introducing the Men in White

The PCs should begin this encounter, quite literally, as they walk into the Casino. Having “prepared” prior to their infiltration, the group is in full-on action mode. As part of their final preparations, they have a private suite set aside at the Excalibur Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, held under a false name. After some brief meetings—during which the GM may distribute floor layouts, guard schedules, money transfers, and other information, the PCs may swing into action. However, as they attempt to delve deeper into the casino’s basement and sub-basements, a steel security bars their path…

Encounter 1—White Light’s Dark Shadow

Immediately, the scene changes to a simultaneous operation, far across the world. There, the Men in Black are laying in wait within a darkened warehouse across from the Shun Tak Holdings corporate headquarters. The headquarters is heavily guarded, with armed guards roving the perimeter (as befits a major Chinese corporation). Inside, on the headquarters’ 46th floor, is the remote server room. In order for the Men in White to succeed, it’s critical that the Men in Black hack that server…and do it stealthily. As the PCs make their way through the lobby area, entering the stairwells, the GM should enter a cut scene: A silent alarm has been tripped during their ascent.

The Heist

Encounter (-1)—The Missing Link

With that dire news, the Men in White make their way through the security door. At this point, stealth is of the essence, as mafia guards and flunkies patrol this area heavily. The PCs’ goal at this point should be a side room just outside of a major conference room, which has a series of computer terminals, brightly humming. These are their target—these computers will be used to transfer the funds at precisely 6pm this evening. As the PCs find ways to distract or eliminate the mafia members, their computer-using-comrade runs into a massive snag: a remote encryption chip is relaying a signal that bars the transfer to all those without the 18 digit passcode. The only way to complete the transfer? Find Encryption Chip 416 somewhere within the casino and destroy it!

Encounter 2—Race to the Top

As the Shun Tak security forces close in on the group’s position, thanks to the silent alarm, they receive an urgent message from the Men in White. With the funds transfer being encrypted from a remote transmitter, the Men in Black must not only hack the server on floor 46, but also find a way to trace the signal from the encryption chip, so that it can be eliminated or neutralized. The group must split up, with some members moving up a floor, while the others work their way through the server room. In both cases, the group must manage to both disable the security protocols on the Excalibur’s network, as well as locate the enigmatic chip.

Encounter 0—Follow the Bouncing Ball

At this point, all but madness ensues. With the mafia and the Shun Tak guards knocking on their doorstep, all bets are off. The Men in White must split up and both man the station to initiate the funds transfer and find the missing chip, destroying it before 6pm. The Men in Black must keep in radio contact with the Men in White, so that they can find the chip, while simultaneously pulling down the Shun Tak security protocols. All this while the men with guns move in!

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