I’m kind of rushing to finish this post ((For the second time, in fact – my computer just crashed, eating the half-finished post, so I’m redoing it.)) because the next session of our Firefly campaign is tomorrow night, and I’m way behind on my blogging. Which is kind of status quo, these days.
Anyway, last session turned out to be our first two-part episode. When we wrapped up for the night, the crew was in some trouble: after an unsuccessful attempt by a criminal gang to blow up Peregrine, and the gang’s successful attempt to kill Lin Shu (the new schoolteacher in Deadwood, and former Peregrine passenger), our heroes had been told that they had until sunrise to knock the dust of Deadwood from their heels. All of this was because Lin Shu and Domino had witnessed another of their passengers, Mitchell Stuart, delivering drugs to a corrupt Deadwood deputy, and the deputy and her gang decided they needed to clean up the witnesses.
The crew, however, decided that, before they left, they would like a little justice ((Or possibly vengeance. They were a little unclear on the distinction at that point. Fair enough.)).
I told them that, if they came up with a plan before the next session, I would let them spend the plot points they had at the end of the first session to create assets representing their plan. This, I thought, would encourage them to come up with an interesting plot ((And, incidentally, prevent me from having to do the heaving lifting of figuring out how they could get their justice/vengeance.)), as well as showing off how handy it is to spend plot points for assets.
They came up with a plan right out of Leverage, which suited me just fine. Calling on contacts, they put some pressure on the corrupt deputy, making her think she needed to come up with some serious cash, fast. That would allow Su Lin to get into a game with her and lose big, giving her a marker on Peregrine‘s service as a drug runner. And, once the deputy came to inspect the ship to set things up, they could transmit her criminal intentions to Ori, the leader of the Quartermasters gang that was one of the powers trying to civilize Deadwood ((Yes, there are holes in this plan. In play, I find it’s much more fun to storm ahead with an incomplete, flawed plan, and plug the holes as they come up by flashing back to preparations made “before” the hole showed up. That’s what plot points are for, after all. And it worked wonders on the Leverage TV show.)).
They spent their plot points freely to build contacts, scout and bug the locations they needed, setup a getaway van, and even to make Ori into Domino’s cousin, with whom she had a somewhat troubled past. They even bought an asset called Plan B that they could call on if things went totally south.
Things went totally south.
Now, I want to be clear that the stuff that went wrong all went wrong because of complications the players rolled while working their plan. And most of what went wrong was fairly minor – just enough to force them to scramble a bit. But two larger complications really changed the tone of things.
The first was the arrival of Billy Shu, Lin’s brother, planning to storm into the casino and take some ill-timed ((And most likely unsuccessful.)) revenge. Price got him under wraps in the getaway van, but he continued to be a problem, right up until Price pistol whipped him into an aggressively calm state.
The big problem came up when Domino rolled a whole mittful of ones while showing Ori the video feed from the casino. It was just too perfect, so I had Ori apologize, lock Domino up, and call a warning in to the deputy and her crew. Suddenly, Su Lin was in the middle of a bunch of armed thugs looking to end her, and only Walter’s timely intervention – he had been disguised as the barman – got them out of there.
This is where Plan B really kicked in.
They decided that they hadn’t fully trusted Ori, so they’d also been transmitting to Petaline, the bigger power in Deadwood, now that Rance Burgess was done with and she was running Nandi’s bordello. And Petaline did not take kindly to men being bullies.
And so the non-corrupt cops arrived to free Domino and round up Ori and the deputy and the rest of the bad guys. And our heroes flew off into the sunset.
They talked for a while at that point about what to name the episode ((They hadn’t named it last time, because they wanted to see what happened this time before deciding what the whole thing was about.)). After some really interesting thoughts about the nature of the titles they were picking, they settled on Deadwood. I like it. It doesn’t give anything away, and yet it still resonates. Kinda like Chinatown.
It felt like a pivotal pair of episodes to me, so I brought up some of my plans for the future of the game. This is going to be a finite series, and this story felt like moving from the establishing episodes into the mid-season phase, where we can start thinking about the endgame and the direction we’re headed. To that end, I asked them to think about what their characters wanted to accomplish in the game, and to send it to me.
I’ve got that list, now, and I’m doing some scheming.
I got me some plans.