Monday, November 19, 2012

Dystopic: New Yorker Hotdog Stand

Nomad 6 comes through the operation just fine.  He lays down on the operating bed in the theatre which pipes traditional Japanese music through the speakers and where two attractive, young women sedate him with gas and then get to work.  Two and a half hours later and he's on his feet again and feeling no worse for wear.  He can now read and speak Japanese just fine.

The players head down the street on foot since traffic in Tokyo is pretty bad (although a fair bit better down these business streets) toward the coordinators to the New Yorker Hotdog Stand which is on the curving road between a major Business section of the street which contains a number of corporate headquarters including Kurosawa Bio-Connects and a quiet residential area with major company apartments where the employees live.  There's a shuttle bus that connects the two areas but a number of people just walk.

It's getting onto 11.20PM due to Nomad 6's operation (they arrived at dusk) and so the streets outside of the business headquarters are semi-busy with people sitting underneath the trees or on the lawn of the mini-gardens set into the foot of some of the businesses, meeting with people from non-rival companies or simply smoking outside.  Mostly they're still talking shop however.  One woman has a mechanical dog that follows her along.

The team discuss being in Japan and what sort of food Japanese people eat.  London also expresses confusion as to why he can't see anyone wearing neon tattoos as he thought they were all the rage hear.  Tokyo just narrows her eyes at him, not impressed. 

Nomad 6, in a rare display of cultural understanding (which he's been showing since he came to Japan, in truth), chides London by saying: "If you hear something about another country and when you go there, no one's doing it, maybe what you heard was wrong."  It's funny.  As much as he plays the redneck in America, he has Ingratiating Wanderer and a number of other merits so he's not as crude as he makes out to be (though he has Ghoulish Sense of Humor).  In truth, he knows just how to step so that he can be polite even when he doesn't quite know what he's doing.  It's just that he doesn't bother to do it when he's in his country of origin (or at least when dealing with the rest of the team).

 Upon hearing London's accent, two young women rush up.

"Are you English?" asks one of the young women.  It turns out that they don't get many British people here (as the totalitarian British government is loathe to hand out VISAs) but their taught British english rather than American english and so meeting one is relatively exciting.  She takes a picture of him which automatically scans Facebook and she identifies him by name, "Oh, you're a police officer!  Your cousin has entries about you." 

She also asks London to say something like a British police officer into the phone where she has nine other women teleconferenced.

It turns out British people are exotic in the future.  It was also a nice way for me to point out the fact that in the future, it's oh so easy to shatter your sense of privacy.

Anyway, they come to a quiet bend in the road where the cars are hustling past, there's no parking, and few pedestrians this time of night.  Tokyo hacks into the New Yorker Hotdog Stand using her hand interface device (which sends out wiring to seek out closed circuit computers).  I handed out a small card with what she finds written on it so that she would have to explain it (or read it out) to the other players rather than being able to gesture to me and say: "What she said."

Installation Date: 04/07/2052
There are two entries for pickle.  The second entry is inserted into the bun before the dog only if a particular chit card is used.  The chit card is one recognised as a company chip from Kurosawa.  These numbers would be easy to find from company records of those whom Bio-Connects has purchased from or from the Tokyo Bank.
I also gave her the Connect-the-Dots challenge before she finished hacking it, once her rolls had shown sufficient successes, and she very quickly put together the seal (about 12 dots) and then added a ball and a circus ring.  In other words, she had fun so it worked.  They figured out that the machine was installed only a few days before the fateful helicopter crashed.  Suspicious, much?
Three thuggish individuals came out of a laneway after they had a moment to discuss their situation.  They all had baggy pants, one had a red T-shirt, another a long red jacket, and a third had a red baseball cap with a tiger on it and a red shirt.  They all had sneakers with a red tiger on them.  One of them, the one in front, had an obviously metallic hand.
"Hey, what you doing?" asked the lead man, flicking a cigarette to one side and throwing a punch.
Everything happened at once (or seemed to).  London shot the guy with the augmented arm but it was a grazing hit.  Nomad 6 grappled one of them and then London speed cuffed him and had him on the ground, prone.  Tokyo disabled one man with the tazer inbuilt into her finger tips.  Leningrad stabbed the augmented guy a couple times with his sheathed blades and went to finish him off but Nomad 6 rushed over and started bandaging him up with his own bandanna to stabilize him (three agg, all lethal).  Tokyo wanted to heal him back up just a little and got her wish with only 1 success on an Awakening check.
They threw one of the guys up against the wall but went a little overboard with the intimidation.  The guy, soon identified as Ienaga Nobuo, just became confused and freaked out until Nomad 6 had them change their tactics with a little advice from London.  Nomad 6 played the 'good cop' and Tokyo later on came in as the unimpressed 'bad cop'.
"Do you know who I am?  Who we are?" demanded the guy.
"The Red Tiger Gang?" asked Nomad 6, hazarding a guy.
Nobuo stared at him in shock and awe.
Nomad 6 tried to convince them that they were hopelessly outmatched but did well enough.
"We didn't know you was commandos," said Nobuo.
He pointed out that this was obviously not a simple mugging.
Tokyo expressed her disbelief at how easily they were taken down.
Between Nomad 6's flattery and Tokyo's goading, they found out that the three were Ienaga Nobuo, Maruyama Arinori, and Kanda Tsukihara.  They were hired by a woman who spoke fluent Japanese but with a British accent.  She spoke to them over the telephone first and outlined their various crimes before making an offer.  They visited her in a hotel room, considering whether to just beat her up, but instead they got to speak to a screen that simply showed a globe.  They figured it was like something out of a spy movie.  The entire gang took turns staking out that hotdog stand and were each getting paid the equivalent of a $1200 altogether per day to watch the hotdog stand with an additional $5000 each for interrupting anyone attempting to interfere with the machine until they got called off.  The hotel room was 1516 of the Doihara Hotel.
It ended with Tokyo calling her father to send security down to round them up and hold them somewhere away from the company for a time while they checked out this lead.
 Other Thoughts
My players followed the clues brilliantly thus far and are pretty well on track.  We also had difficulty keeping on topic in previous sessions but we all made an admirable attempt to stay in character and therefore the game cruised on quite well.  It was a bit of a slow start as I had a massive info dump and I doubt many of them are quite sure what was what (so hopefully they read this).
The combat sequence was a welcome relief for many of them as I generally don't include much combat in my games.  I am planning to include more and I have something juicy up my sleeve for them for the next session.
I am very rusty on combat, though.  We all were.  Nobody remembered Defense or Armor.  Most of the combat rules weren't really followed.  London should have had a penalty for shooting into Melee.  Things like that.  I need to remember to bring out the Paizo Initiative Pad for next time as that makes it far easier to keep track of things than on a tiny piece of paper.  It was pretty touch and go with Nomad 6 grappling (not a Brawler) but when we remembered to subtract Strength it worked out.
The scene-by-scene playlist worked out nicely.  I used one song with lyrics, though, and it had such the wrong associations that one of my players had to try his hardest not to laugh until I switched songs.  Kinda an ambience killer....  Next time I need to stick to lyric-less songs unless the lyrics really REALLY work for it.
The Hacking Mini-Game worked out this time but I'll need to remember not to over-do it.  It shouldn't be used every time and is better as a way to keep the player engaged when time is at a premium.  Also, if I use it too often it'll lose its novelty.

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