Players: Fred, Shuo, James, Adrienne, Steve (GM)
Mouse, Kite, Splinter and Weep are all fledgling delvers embarking on their first mission into the sublevels of their megacity on behalf of their Guild. They all have different backgrounds, but have been electronically chipped and hope, eventually, to accrue enough credits to buy their citizenship and exit the Gate into the upper levels of the megacity. Weep and Splinter decide to find out about a mysterious power-drain. While Weep focuses on getting info about the power drain from one of the rowdy laborers on sublevel 1, Splinter helps Mouse and Kite deal with the others - trying to identify what they want. Splinter and Weep take a break (separately - Weep somehow immune to Splinter's charms), before heading back down to sublevel 1 to try and gain access to sublevel 2. There's a vid-bar down there, run by one of the syndicates (Mantis), that does some messed up hard-wired vidding. Meanwhile, Mouse deals with some more laborers and Kite is accosted by an old acquaintance from outside the megacity - asking for help in taking down some of the people who had wiped out their home.
Sublevel can be more of a board game or more of an RPG depending on how you want to play it. The players generate characters called delvers, who go on missions into the sublevels of a cybperunk megacity on the behalf of their guild, the syndicate or various corporations. In order to accomplish a mission they need to overcome specific obstacles in the different sublevels, often using specific methods. Over time they accrue stress (and pick up traces) which can be removed through recovery. The delvers seldom travel alone; usually working in pairs or small groups. They overcome obstacles using a combination of their gear, their own abilities and their allies: accessed by the player through a personal deck of cards. As one plays subsequent missions one finds out more about the world, makes choices for one's character (exploring plots that are unique to ones chosen backstory) and permanently adds cards to one's deck.
- The setting is really cool and I hope enough text will be devoted to describing it in the final project that everyone can get a good feel for it before they play.
- The game has many components, but I didn't find the shift between mechanics of conflict resolution to story-descriptions any less fluid than many other RPGs I've played. But I've also played this game before (and was thus somewhat familiar with the rules), and helpfully had Steve GMing.
- I think there's a lot of scope for variation in how much narrative/RP content you would get - depending on the players. Currently, I don't think RP is necessary to have a fun time with the game. The rules, the strong link between mechanics and fiction, and the cool setting itself are all enough to make this a compelling board game. I think if Steve wants to encourage more RP, and doesn't want to rely on a GM drawing it out, he might need further mechanisms in the rules to support that.
- I really like the backgrounds and like even more that they tie into background-specific missions.
- Wish we'd gotten a chance to finish our mission! Would also like to explore character leveling up. (And city advancement?)
- Liked seeing Kite choose to forego work on their mission to help out their fellow survivor.
- Adored Weep's (Chilo's) sleep-sack, clay figures and dispassionate response to Splinter's come-ons.
- Mouse's backstory was really nice. I like that he was a scavenger barbarian who longed for freedom. Very unbarbarian. Very cool.
- All the details of the megacity! That lower levels sprawl outward and you can sometimes see the open land from walkways between buildings. That the megacity collects its own weather.
This was a lovely way to start off the con for me. Thanks everyone!
Talk about what you played or link to posts you made elsewhere.
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