Sunday, 11 March 2018

Looting the Corpse - Cyberpunk Style

My earnest attempt to make up for February's lack of posts continues.  I was looking around for something to do when some inspiration came my way.  As some of my long time readers may know I'm a member of the Cyberpunk 2020 group on Google+, recently one of the members Jon Smejkal posted an old write up of his.  Specifically he detailed a deck of cards that he used whenever his players used to loot dead mooks in Cyberpunk 2020. Go show him some love over on his blog, he's a fan of Paul D. Gallagher famous for writing Augmented Reality.  (Click here for the PDF and here for the Dead Tree Version if you don't know what Augmented Reality is).  So he can't be all bad. I very much enjoyed some of the ideas John put forward for what you could find in someone's pockets.  I made a comment on his post in the Community about how I might use the cards with some modifications for my campaigns.  That's when he replied, that he'd love to see me post those modifications once I made them.  To be honest when I first said that it was mostly meant to be polite. Since I haven't been running a lot of Cyberpunk lately.  But then he got me thinking why not make those modifications now?  I mean with my single player busy with schoolwork it's not like I'm doing much in terms of gaming.  I've got a lot of free time on my hands, I might as well.  So here's my attempt at making a custom Loot Deck for my Cyberpunk 2020 Campaigns.

Logical place to start this kind list really.

  • 1 EB*
  • 16 EB*
  • 25 EB*
  • 64 EB* 
  • 81 EB* 
  • 144 EB* 
  • 169 EB*
  • 254 EB*
  • 289 EB*
  • 400 EB*
*I used EB because it's in the official Rulebook, but this could easily be Credits, NuYen or GURPS Dollars whatever your favourite Cyberpunk system uses.  I personally use Credits.  If the numbers seems kind of random, don't worry they're supposed to be that way.  I wanted to simulate how people never seem to have a logical amount of money on them except when leaving the bank.  If you want to simulate this even more remove on EB from the amount given and roll 1d100.  This can be in Credstick or Cash form, your choice.

  • Car keys.  (Vehicle may be the dead group of mooks getaway vehicle or maybe off-site your choice). 
  • Pack of Non-Cancerous Cigarettes (1d20 left, let's face it Smoking's cool dying of cancer isn't.  So in my setting most Tobacco companies have removed the carcinogenic elements from their products.  Extra points if you take a page from Gibson's book and have them be Chinese.
  • 1d6+2 Doses of Street Drug (If you use Ocelot's Drug Lab like I do your typical Drug addict needs at least four doses to make it through the day). 
  • Deck of Cards or Pair of Dice roll 1d6 to decide which. (Even in the age of phone games there's nothing like shooting the shit before a job over a game of dice or cards). 
  • Key to Housing (May get you into a shitty cube in the Combat Zone or maybe into a Corporate Dormitory.  Maybe you could burglarize it for more stuff, use it as a temporary warehouse or just sell the key on the black market so some other guy can burglarize it.  If only you knew where the guy lived).
  • Cellphone (1d100 percent Battery Power, most likely a Prepaid Burner). 
  • Business Cards (May be plot-relevant, may just be for the local strip-club or escort service). 
  • Cigarette Lighter (1d100 percent fluid left) 
  • Matchbook (1d10 matches left, I put two methods of lighting your smokes in hopes that the poor sap will have kind of light).  
  • Lottery Ticket (In Night City this would be LateNite BodyLotto, in my setting this might be an official lottery or the local Numbers Game.  Roll 1d1000 twice if the same number comes up twice you've got a winner.  Good luck trying to collect though.
  • Skillsoft Chip +3 (1-4 chance on d6 that it's for the predominant language of the local area, 5-6 it's an incredibly detailed Tourist Map, giving a bonus to Area Knowledge).
  • Pen (even in the Cyberpunk Future People need to write stuff down)
  • Phone Number hastily scrawled on a scrap of paper.
  • Swiss Army Knife or Multi-Tool 
  • 3D Printed Vending Machine Pistol (Probably a .22 or .25 caliber, useful for point-blank assassinations and last minute self-defence against unarmored targets and not much else). 
  • Small Notebook (40% chance it contains notes about the plan of attack against the PCs, otherwise it's something personal.  Grocery list, love poem, etc.  Let your imagination run wild a little if they really seize upon it).
  • Sunglasses (Following Cyberpunk Tradition they are probably mirror-shades).
  • Small Piece of Cheap Jewelry (Chains, Earrings, maybe a Wedding Band if you want to make the players feel bad). 
  • Absolutely nothing! (To quote Scott Pilgrim "Wow what a jerk.")
  • Wireless Earbud Headphones (If the corpse has a phone on it, there's probably music on the phone.  It seems that every corpse the PCs loot has lousy taste in Music).  
  • Package of Snack Food (10% chance it's full, otherwise the porker ate it all.  Future equivalent of Skittles or a bag of peanuts). 
  • Snack Bar (%90 chance it's just an empty wrapper, otherwise you've got yourself the equivalent of a Snickers or a Granola Bar). 
  • Pocket Sized Photograph (Sentimental or perhaps it's a mugshot of a target.  The PC or an NPC Macguffin they're in charge of would do nicely). 
  • Hip Flask (10% it's been drained dry, might explain why the guy's now dead.  Otherwise you just scored yourself some free liquor). 
  • Slightly Pornographic Magazine (He's just reading it for the articles, honest.  50% chance the centrefold's been torn out). 
  • Braindance or VR Chip (Never something complex, essentially the equivalent of a Dating Sim for a Handheld Console.  At least in terms of complexity).
  • Miniature Cybertech Toolkit (Used for personal maintenance). 
  • Small Book of Crossword Puzzles (roll 1d100 to determine percentage of completion). 
  • Small Box of Unopened Condoms (He's not gonna need them anymore). 
  • Bottle of Medicine (Pills might be for allergies, insomnia or a host of other mundane medical problems.  Could probably get you high, about enough for one dose). 
There you have it my attempt at making a deck of cards for when the players loot the body in Cyberpunk.  What I have here amounts to about a deck of Forty which is about what Jon had for his.  I figured I'd restrict myself to the same limit, it falls just short of your standard deck of cards.  There's plenty of things here that might add some colour to when your characters loot corpses after a gunfight.  When they loot, just draw 6 cards and that's what they get.  Some of it they might find a use for, other stuff has no real use other than when fenced.  (I actually quite like the food entries myself, it's something you could describe your character munching on the deadman's snack.  Hey killing people's hungry work).  I might construct a deck of cards with these entries on Roll20 for use in my own games.  I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did while writing it.  Hopefully it's of some use to you, it kind of took a Film Noir bent to it in hindsight.  I probably shouldn't be surprised since for me part of the appeal of Cyberpunk is it being Film Noir in a Dark Future.  If you liked this be sure to +1, re-share and follow this blog for more, posts like this.  As always have a nice day and may you roll many crits, I'll see you later.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

GURPS: Hellraisers MC - A Campaign I'll Probably Never Run

With the Actual Play reports on hold until the GM of my current game is done with her semester.  It looks like I'll be writing more about Campaign ideas like I used to when I first started this Blog.  My updates were few and far between in February.  For that I apologize, I've always prided myself on updating regularly.  In terms of posts February 2018 was probably the least productive months in the history of Stories and Other Such Distractions.  Hopefully it never happens again short of author burnout, sickness or death.  I take great pride in what I do here and feel obligated to put out content on a regular basis.  So with that in mind here's an idea for a Campaign that's been kicking around in my head for a bit.

I've had a sort of love, hate relationship with GURPS ever since I discovered it.  On the one hand I loved the idea of a System that conceivably run any Campaign or Character I could cook up.  I also very much loved its Third Edition Sourcebooks which I found to be a great resource for numerous campaigns I've thought about running.  On the other hand though I wasn't too crazy about the System itself. It struck me as complex, almost Byzantine.  Requiring to look through the rule book time and time again to find specific rules to cover certain things.  Which for quite a bit of my Role-playing career was rather daunting considering I was mostly just starting out.  That aspect sort of scared me off of actually using the ruleset, instead restricting myself to running other more familiar ones.  While using the Fluff in various Third Edition Sourcebooks as reference material.  (Example: Using the Old West Sourcebook for a Western Campaign).  It wasn't until I grew older that I realized "You don't have to use all the rules.", which is kind of obvious in hindsight.  But honestly hindsight is the only part of my vision that is 20/20.  I still shied away from it due to a lack of familiarity with the actual mechanics and rules.  Over the past few weeks though I've been leafing through various Sourcebooks and it's gotten me excited to try it at least once.  But what would the subject matter be?  It was a question that had me wracking my brains out for quite some time.

Getting My Answer

Where my answer eventually came from.
Recently an acquaintance I know from over on YouTube and Discord turned me onto a TV show.  A show that I had heard off but honestly had had no real interest in.  Until this friend pushed me to watch it.  "You're into the Mafia and Organized Crime right, you'll love this show."  Is pretty much the words she used to convince me to watch it.  Once I did I was hooked, I'm still watching it whenever I can find the time.  The show I'm talking about is Sons of Anarchy.  Hamlet dressed up as Hell's Angels.  The show's been off the air for about six years now, which is ancient by TV time.  Why had I not seen it?  Number of reasons.  I'm not really into Motorcycle culture, honestly before watching SOA I probably couldn't have told you the difference between a Harley and a Kawasaki.  I also was put off by the exotic grunginess of Outlaw Bikers, it was a world very different from the Italian American Mafia.  That I was so used to reading about.  After a while of watching it though I began to see how this could be used for a very interesting and different Campaign.  

Choosing a System

This very nearly ended up being the campaign.
Now I knew I wanted to run an Outlaw Biker game, centred around the illegal activities of a Club.  The problem was coming up with a System that would support that kind of a game.  GURPS was on the table from the start, but it almost didn't end up being picked.  Other systems I considered my personal favourite Cyberpunk 2020 (modified for a Modern-Day setting of course) and Classic World of Darkness.  Cyberpunk was tempting because I am intimately familiar with the system.  But I ultimately didn't choose it because I feel I rely too much on it.  I wanted to use a new system for this. Classic World of Darkness was another tempting
This guy could very much have been an NPC if I'd stuck with the
World of Darkness idea.
choice, because the thirteen year old inside of my head loved the idea of Vampire Bikers!  Or Werewolf Bikers or Monster-Hunting Bikers depending on which lens I decided to put the WOD system through.  It very nearly ended up being the course that the game took.  An interesting piece I found while I did my research was this thread here.  Discussing a Vampire the Masquerade game about a Club of Sabbat Neonate Bikers.  A number of factors kept me from using Classic World of Darkness though.  One was the fact that I didn't want to run a 70s Exploitation Film, I wanted to run Goodfellas on Harley's.  The Second factor was an unfamiliarity with World of Darkness' Storytelling System.  So that put the kibosh on the idea that my inner thirteen year old was salivating over.  Ultimately it was back to GURPS, now it was just a matter of figuring out how to put it all together.

Figuring out Character Creation

Statting up guys like this is a lot harder than it
Now I know that GURPS is a little more free-form in terms of Character Creation when compared to D&D.  I personally like to have a little structure so my players have an idea what I expect for characters they create.  Which is why I love the Templates for GURPS, hell one of my favourite series of GURPS sourcebooks is the World War 2 line.  Which for Third Edition had the most Templates out of any of the one's I read.  Though I'm pretty sure that's changed with Fourth Edition.  So I set out in search of a Template to help inform character creation choices.  The closest I came to was the Nomad template from GURPS After the End: Wastelanders.  Which didn't quite work, since it focuses more on wasteland survival than being a criminal.  I was about to give up my search when I found this post by one Mook over at Game Geekery.  I can't thank him enough, while it's not quite what I'm looking for.  It was more of a baseline than I had when I started.  Be sure to go over there and show him some love.  With a base-line in place I could figure out how the hell I was going to go about creating something that resembled a guideline for character creation for this game.  I still needed a little something more though.  I needed to figure out what the players would get from being part of the club.  Thanks to one of the lesser known GURPS Sourcebooks Boardrooms and Curia I was able to do just that.  Basically it allowed me to work out a stat-block for the Outlaw Motorcycle Club I wanted the characters to be a part of.  Including their point cost as Patrons, Enemies, what Advantages their Members typically have.  All that good stuff.  It gave me a guideline that looked something like this.  

Point Total: 200 just between Heroes (or rather Villains) starting out and those that've established themselves.
Attributes: Maximum 14 in Any Stat, I'd encourage only spending a maximum of 130 points total for Stats.
Advantages: Claim to Hospitality (Any other Chapter) [10], Organized Crime Rank* [2 per level], Patron (The Club, appears almost all the time) [30], Signature Gear (Club Cutaway and Bike)** [2].  Combat Reflexes and High Pain Threshold would be wise investments as would any non-supernatural Advantage.  If the player wanted it I'd be willing to at least consider it.
Disadvantages: Duty (To the Club, on 12 or less) [-10], Enemy (Law Enforcement; FBI, ATF, Police you name it, 9 or less), Social Stigma -1 (Biker treat as Criminal) [-5].  Members are also expected to have Code of Honour (Biker same as Pirate's) [-5] though it's kind of hard to enforce what a person actually thinks.  Other than those the players are allowed to choose up to a total of 55 more points (if they took the Code of Honour it becomes 50)  of disadvantages.
Skills: Guns (Pistol, SMG, Shotgun and Rifle), Melee, an unarmed fighting Skill of some kind, Streetwise, Savoir-Faire (Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs), Drive (Motorcycle), Heraldry (Cuts) are all musts.  From there it's free-reign.  Though suggestions include Mechanic (Gasoline Engine), Area Knowledge (State), Merchant and some manner of Social Skill.  (Intimidate and Fast Talk being solid choices).  

 *Just for reference the Ranking for Motorcycle Clubs works out something like this.
0 = Prospect or Probate Member
1 = Fully Patched Member
2 = Chapter Officer (VP, Sergeant at Arms, Secretary/Treasurer or Road Captain)
3 = Chapter President or National Enforcer
4 = National/Regional Vice President
5 = National President

**Also a little explaining the Rulebook defines Signature Gear as being items that are part of your Legend.  For Han Solo it was the Millennium Falcon, for King Arthur it was Excalibur.  For Outlaw Bikers it's their Cutaway (the Leather or Denim vest that displays their Club's colours) and their Hogs or Bikes.  

Speaking of Cuts I have an idea of what I want the one for the Club in this Campaign to look like.  The name of the Club would be The Hellraisers (no relation to the patch pictured, which I found in a lucky Image search I came up with the name after the Ozzy Osbourne Song) using the Colour scheme from the patch with the matching name.  Though replacing the logo with some more resembling the Black Riders logo.  A skeleton dressed as a Biker, wreathed in hell-fire with a Whiskey Bottle in one hand, while he brandishes a sawed-off shotgun in the other.  (According to the dictionary a hell-raiser is "a person who causes trouble by drinking, being violent, or otherwise behaving outrageously" nothing says violent, drunken or outrageous to me more than a skeleton drinking whiskey, brandishing a shotgun, dressed as biker. The font would be changed a little to one called Fire-Starter which you can see an example of on the right.  Also the bottom Rocker wouldn't say San Andreas, it'd probably say something else.  Maybe California.

The Elevator Pitch

"You guys are members of the California Chapter of the Hellraisers Outlaw Motorcycle Club.  A group of violent, hard-drinking, drug-dealing and gun-running bikers.  Over the course of the game you'll deal with Law Enforcement crackdowns and other criminal groups encroaching on your turf."  That's roughly what the campaign pitch would be in general.  More would have to be worked out after the group sat down for a Session Zero where'd we'd create characters.  Figure out such specifics as whether they're just rank and file members, officers within their own chapter or the Mother Chapter of the whole Club.  I do have some ideas of what kind of illegal activities I'd want the Club to be involved in.  Where the characters would fit into those activities would be figured out during the Session 0.  Oh yeah I should probably have mentioned that there is a content-warning for this game.  
Warning this Campaign contains instances of:
- Violence
- Drug & Alcohol Abuse (that includes Tobacco) 
- Suggestive Sexual Situations
- Political Incorrectness & Foul Language (These are Bikers after all) 
If you are offended any of the content listed above, consider yourself warned.

I think that about wraps it up for me.  Considering that I'm kind of jonesing for a game, I might actually try to see if I could put it together over at Roll20.  If you're interested don't hesitate to show your interest in the comments, down below.  Be sure to +1, reshare and follow this Blog.  As always have a nice day and may the dice be ever in your favour.


Friday, 23 February 2018

Campaigns I'll Probably Never Run - Shisa Squadron TTS for Mekton Zeta

So I know it's been a while since I posted something for the Blog.  Some of you are probably wondering "Where's the next part of Yakuza 2019 you bastard?!" to answer your question.  It's going to be delayed for quite some time, probably until Summer.  Due to the fact that there was a College Faculty strike up here in Ontario, which basically meant the School year got kind of messed up.  What does that have to do with my ability to write stuff?  Quite a lot actually, since that means the GM for the Campaign doesn't have time to run it anymore or to play in any other games for that matter.  So I'm left with nothing to do until that gets cleared up.  Fortunately boredom is a great motivator, which is why I present you another Campaign Pitch I've been working on.

Now I can't really take all the credit for this one.  It in fact comes from a Hillfolk supplement called Blood on the Snow.  Those of you who've been with the Blog a long time might remember some of my earlier posts about adapting another setting from the same book.  Shanghai 1930 a series of posts about adapting that to the Call of Cthulhu system which you can find by clicking here and here.  The campaign pitch comes from a Playset within Blood on the Snow called "Article Nine" referring to the part of the Japanese constitution that prevents Japan from participating in foreign conflicts.  (Page 125 of Blood on the Snow if you're interested).  It's one of those settings that when I read it said "Wow I would really love to run a game in this world."

Artwork for the Article Nine Setting, the robot
looks a little too bulky to outmaneuver a F-35.
To briefly summarize Article Nine takes place in a Near Future (20XX) where war threatens to break out between East Asian countries in the Pacific.  China and Vietnam being chief among them.  While the United States, Japan and Russia are at risk of being drawn into the conflict to protect their interests in that area.  During one of the initial skirmishes a patrol of Chinese Warships were attacked out of nowhere!  By what observing American F-35s reported to be Giant Flying Robots!  Before losing sight of the two craft the American Military observed that they resembled a prototype developed by one Dr. Yamaguchi, a Japanese Scientist for use in Earthquake rescue and Mars Exploration.  Who disappeared along with his prototype as well as a good chunk of Kyoto.  (That kind of thing happens when you develop a Nuclear Fission-Powered robot that generates an eleven-dimensional forcefield, that can only be maintained by a Machine-Brain link with a Teenaged Pilot).  The robots that attacked the Chinese patrol were dead-ringers for Yamaguchi's missing prototype.  Only these one's were equipped with weaponry.  The Japanese government in coalition with the Americans quickly summoned the only surviving member of Yamaguchi's research team.  It was clear that the Japanese and their American Allies had fallen behind in the Giant Robot Race.

One of the few Mecha Anime I've seen Fullmetal Panic!
I forgot what the Mecha in this looked like, honestly I think the
one's in the campaign might look similar.  They've got that
boxy look that Military Hardware usually has.
The other Mecha Anime I've seen Neon Genesis Evangelion.
A.K.A. The series they stole to make Pacific Rim.  More fighting
giant monsters than the campaign calls for.
So yes this is going to be Campaign, along the lines of so many Mecha Anime.  A genre that I never really took an interest in.  I've seen Three Mecha Anime in my entire life.  Fullmetal Panic (which I liked more as a Comedy), Code Geass and Neon Genesis Evangelion (which I found to be incredibly overrated, I can feel the rage of so many Otaku everywhere).  Simply put it's a genre that I never really explored before.  The setting was so interesting to me, that I couldn't pass it up.  In this case I'm going to be taking a setting for a more Story-focused game (like Hillfolk) and give it a little more crunch.  Not that different from taking setting published for D&D and running it really.  So now it just comes down to what system to use, I had thought about using GURPS, but I found their Mecha book a little lacking.  Another that sprung to mind was the Mecha & Manga Sourcebook for Mutants and Masterminds.  I decided to drop that one as well because of a previous short-lived Super Hero Campaign.  Which caused me to lose faith in that System's validity.  That's when it hit me, Mekton Zeta!  Made by the same folks that brought us one my favourite game Systems Cyberpunk 2020.  With a great many of the same mechanics.  It was also written during the Golden Age of Mecha Anime by people who love the Genre rather than a company trying to fill a niche.  It even has some elements to it that I think make it superior to Cyberpunk (putting the Lifepath, which I think is the greatest mechanic first for one).  I've fiddled around with the Mecha Construction rules a little over the last few days (and still haven't got the starting Mech I want for the campaign down-pat yet), but at least the elements are all there to build the Robots described in Blood on the Snow.  Anti-gravity, reactive shields (forcefields to you laymen), mind-machine links,  it's all there.  Everything I'd need to build one of these super-robots.  I just need to tweak it a little.  I'm building these in the 350 to 400 point range, since these are largely prototypes rather than Standard-Military Issue.  The players would probably be playing Teenage JASDF (Japanese Air Self-Defense Force) Mecha-Pilots in training.  (This setting uses the trope of only Teens being able to pilot Mechs.  A cliche that used to piss me off, but I will let slide for now).  Probably built on 65 points and Rookies (though an argument could be made for 18 year old Professional Graduates from Elite Training Programs).  If the players so desire they could build secondary non-combat focused characters.  Military Officers, Researchers and Technicians around the base.  Built as 70 point Professionals.  A special rule I'd have to implement is that no Pilot would have Mech Piloting at higher than +3 to start and no Mech Combat Skill at higher than +2.  Since this is a setting where Mech technology is still in its infancy as are the training programs for Pilots.  In fact training exercises will make up quite a few of the earlier sessions.  I think it'd be a nice opportunity to help myself and the players get the hang of the system.  As well as get to know the inhabitants of the small Okinawan Island that their airbase is located.  Click here for more information on that.  

Anyways I think that about wraps it up for this short little campaign pitch.  Tell me what you think in the comments below.  Be sure to +1, follow and reshare.  As always have a nice day and may you roll many crits.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Yakuza 2019 - Actual Play Report #3: Breaking Hearts and the Game

This is going to be a short one, mostly because the session itself was so short.  (The reason why will come later, be patient).  It also only consisted of a single die roll and the rest was just a nice roleplaying vignette.  The rest of the post will probably be padded with my reflections on the events that occurred.  If roleplaying social encounters and reflections on the nature of roleplaying itself isn't really your thing.  You're welcome to skip this session.  Alright are they gone?  Good, for those of you still here I'm going to get right to the report, but first some housekeeping.  If you're just joining us and have no idea what's going on, you can read the first session here.  If you're a returning reader and you missed the last session, you can find it here.  Alright, with that out of the way let's get into it.

The Game Changer

When we last left off my character the ethnic Korean Yakuza Amphetamine Dealer Tae Joon-Ho; was standing over the corpse of the man who had ordered the murder of his boss and best friend.  That man was Yoshida Goro a lieutenant of the Akemi-gumi, the Yakuza group that Joon-Ho was a part of.  The man that Joon-Ho's late immediate superior Koizumi Takahiro had answered to.  Until he had discovered that Yoshida had been embezzling funds meant for the Akemi coffers.  Instead of going to the family bosses with this information Takahiro had decided to blackmail Yoshida.  Hoping to swing a promotion for both himself and his subordinate Joon-Ho.  Like most people who end up being blackmailed Yoshida had not been a fan of the idea and ordered both of them killed.  Joon-Ho had only escaped assassination because he had left the apartment to buy Takahiro cigarettes.  At first Joon-Ho had sought out Yoshida in hopes of getting his aid.  (He had no idea about Takahiro blackmailing the Akemi-gumi lieutenant, until said lieutenant had revealed it to him). Walking into an ambush Joon-Ho barely escaped with his life, by getting the drop on Yoshida and beating him to death.  (Then making sure the job had been done properly by shooting Yoshida three times in the head with the man's own handgun).  

The Ledger proving Yoshida's embezzlement.  I never got why criminals
and embezzlers in movies kept these kind of incriminating records around.
Standing over his would-be killer's corpse, Joon-Ho grabbed some tissues from the desk and cleaned his hands of the blood.  He pocketed the now soiled, tissues in order to dump them later along with Yoshida's gun.  He then grabbed another handful of tissues to prevent fingerprints as he began to rummage through the Akemi Lieutenant's office.  Looking for either dirt that would prove Yoshida's embezzlement even from beyond the grave or at least the kilo of Amphetamines.  That Yoshida had admitted to having the hitman steal from Joon-Ho's apartment when he killed Takahiro.  The profits from its sale and maybe a sampling of the wares (Joon-Ho often got high on his own supply and was kind of jonesing for a post-kill fix) would be great right about now.  The drawers to the desk proved to be locked and Joon-Ho didn't have time to be fiddling around with the lock.  He didn't want to be here when somebody came to investigate the gunshots.  He finally struck pay dirt when opened one of the cabinets in the office.  Inside was a book, which when opened revealed itself to be a ledger.  Ordinarily Joon-Ho (who only had a Middle-School Education) would never have been able to make heads or tails of such a thing.  But still high on adrenaline Joon-Ho was able to focus enough to recognize certain irregularities.  There was a Yoshida listed in this ledger, but it wasn't Yoshida Goro. It was Yoshida Ishimaru, which meant that Goro either was using an alias or had a relative helping him embezzle Akemi-gumi funds.  On close examination there were funds still unaccounted for, just the ticket Joon-Ho needed to keep the bosses from whacking him.  It didn't really prove his innocence in all of this, but it certainly proved Yoshida's guilt; which Joon-Ho could finagle to prove his innocence.  He took the ledger with him as he left, recovered his gun from the entryway door and left through the back stairwell.

(For those of you wondering from the out of character side of things.  The GM had me roll an Intelligence check to make heads or tails of the ledger.  Since Joon-Ho doesn't have any points in the Accounting Skill it would've been nearly impossible for him decipher its secrets.  I rolled a crit.  The only die roll of the entire session which also brought it to a screeching halt.  Apparently the GM had not taken into account the possibility that I'd actually make the roll.  She also had not been prepared when I brought up the idea of presenting the evidence to the bosses.  Meaning she hadn't expected the character and myself to take the story in that direction.  Where she had nothing prepared in terms of game notes.  No information on the bosses, their personalities, how they'd react or anything.  Whereas from my end it seemed to be the obvious thing to do.  I guess it just goes to show you that people have very different ways of thinking).

Rest for the Wicked

Joon-Ho disposed of Yoshida's gun and the blood-soaked tissues which he'd used to wipe his hands.  By dumping them in the dumpster behind the bar where he'd bought the Type 54 from Shiori.  Then he went in search of a cheap hotel to spend the night at.  He managed to conceal the blood-stains on his jacket and shirt by rolling up his sleeves.  After buying a room, he went to the lobby payphone and dialled the cellphone of his girlfriend Honda Miu.  (I know that cellphones are a thing, but pay-phones are so Noire and a little more anonymous nowadays).  Joon-Ho tapped the top of the phone as he listened to the receiver ring.  
"Hell...o...?" Miu's voice had a hint of suspicion and nervousness when she answered.
"Miu, baby it's me Joon-Ho." 
"Oh, thank God.  Did you know about what happened?  The police have been looking all over for you!  Are you safe?" she still sounded a little nervous but more relieved than anything.  
"Yeah, Takahiro's dead.  A hitman killed him, would've killed me too if I hadn't been out buying cigarettes.  I got the son of a bitch though." Joon-Ho sighed at his girlfriend's ignorance of the hell that he'd been living for the past couple of hours.
" it was Mr. Koizumi... I'm sorry Joon-Ho.  I'm surprised though, the police wouldn't tell me who it was.  In fact, I was pretty sure it was you for a while there...  The police were already here when I got here.  Did you... call them anonymously or something?" Miu's words came like a wave in Joon-Ho's ear.
He rolled his eyes at her apparent ignorance that criminals didn't exactly call cops when they had a crime committed against them.  
"You didn't tell them anything did you?  No I dealt with him a different way, sweetheart."
"I didn't tell them anything because I don't know anything.  I mean they didn't find anything at the apartment, at least not that they told me, anyway.  Should I come over to where you are?  I'd feel a lot better if I could see you with my own eyes, Joon-Ho." her voice was once again filled with just a hint of panic.  
"Good, if they ask you anything, if they visit you at work; don't tell them nothing.  Yeah come over." he gave her the Hotel's address and his room number.  Probably the wrong decision, but he felt the need to see her after all that had happened today.  After that he went upstairs to wait for her.

A Hotel Room not unlike the one where Joon-Ho was staying.
Though I imagine his was cheaper looking.
Once in the room Joon-Ho flipped on the TV turning the channel over the news.  Hoping to see whether the police had released a statement about Takahiro or Yoshida's murders.  He stripped out of his shirt and jacket, revealing his Irezumi tattoo of a wanton Geisha smoking a traditional tobacco pipe with smouldering eyes.  (Really it would've been accurate to call it a Yujo since Geisha's aren't prostitutes or Courtesans.  Which is more what I was going for when I thought up the idea of Joon-Ho's tattoo.  Something classy and kind of sexy.  Rather than the traditional Samurai, Demons and Dragons that most Irezumi portray).  The sad truth of the world was that bloodstains don't come out of clothes.  The garments would have to be disposed of and new ones procured.  That was partly the reason he had called Miu over, since he couldn't go out in public shirtless.  The pants would have to stay for now, since he didn't want to be caught with his pants down by a hitman.  About twenty minutes after he had called her, there was knock at the door.  He reached for the Type 54 and approached the door, looking through the peephole.  

Honda Miu, cabaret girl and Joon-Ho's
current girlfriend.
He saw Miu in a disheveled state.  Still wearing the same clothes he'd seen on her, when she'd left his apartment; which seemed like an eternity ago now.  Despite her dishevelment she was still beautiful not in the way she was dressed or dolled up, but in the way she carried herself.  Her posture was straight and her eyes focused.  Not the look of someone born with natural beauty, but someone who had spent her whole life attaining it.  Joon-Ho opened the door for her not wide and not very long.  Long-enough for her enter the room and for him to look up and down the hall.  Making sure that no one had followed her.  Miu smiled upon seeing her boyfriend but didn't go in for her usual kiss.  The circumstances didn't exactly warrant such displays of affection.  Never breaking eye-contact with Joon-Ho as she sat down on the bed, when eye-contact did break it was because Joon-Ho was looking up and down the hall.

"You weren't followed, were you?" asked Joon-Ho despite having confirmed that fact himself.
"Not to my knowledge.  If I had, I wouldn't be here, so why ask?" she sniped back at him.
Joon-Ho walked over to the bed sitting down right next to her, intimately close.
"Considering the fact that I just pissed off some very dangerous men and am being hunted by the police?  Can't be too careful." he elaborated.  
"I didn't mention this on the phone, but... the police said you weren't a suspect.  But that's pretty suspicious.  It's your apartment of course you're a suspect.  I just smiled and nodded.  Do you have someone looking for you, Joon-Ho?"  
Joon-Ho smiled at his girlfriend's display of loyalty "Clever girl.  Yoshida mentioned something similar before he tried to kill me.  His boys are probably after me." he turned it over in his head.  Maybe Yoshida had a Cop on his payroll or had provided him an alibi just so he could murder him?
"Hmm, you never mentioned a Yoshida.  Do I know the guy?" asked Miu.  "Doesn't matter I came here to find out what you plan to do.  If I can help, I will."  
Joon-Ho took out the single cigarette he had found after searching Takahiro's corpse after finding him dead in his apartment.  He lit it, took a puff and said, 
"He was a very dangerous man, which is why dangerous men worked for him.  Turns out I'm more dangerous than he was.  And yeah, there is something you can do for me.  I'm gonna need some new clothes there's money on the nightstand.  But first..." this is where he turned her face towards his own and planted a kiss on her lips.  
"Ew, cigarette smoke~If I smell like that my customers won't love me anymore." giggled Miu, her eyes lighting up after the kiss had been broken.  She put her arms around Joon-Ho and leaned in close.  "I do love you, but I don't rely on you.  I'm a self-made woman you know?  So you don't have to worry about a thing.  Just focus on getting out of this with all your fingers, okay?" she winked at that last part.
"Oh, I know you are.  I also know you'd hate to lose these fingers." smiled Joon-Ho as he began to gently caress Miu, before going in for another kiss lowering her down onto the bed.  Things had been breaking down with Miu for some time and they might still after this.  Right now though, he'd nearly gotten killed and his survival instincts had kicked in.  


That's where we left it, if this had been a movie.  It would've been the kind where the screen fades to black just as the sex scene starts.  While the session itself was very short it did serve as a teaching moment in many ways.  For the GM it was a lesson in preparation, you need to be at least minimally prepared for multiple possibilities.  You can't just expect the players in a game to follow a single track that you have meticulously planned out.  Anything can throw a monkey wrench in your best laid plans, be it the player making a decision that you hadn't expected or a rogue die roll.  (Both of which occurred in this session, apparently I was supposed to be on a train to Hokkaido to hide out with Joon-Ho's biker friends.  Which ended up not being the decision I made, since I thought only a guilty man would run.  From my character's perspective he's innocent or at least completely justified in everything he's done).  The point being you need to be able to adapt your plans and improvise.  If you don't have stats prepared for a certain NPC, recycle the stats from another.  Make up details as you go along, roll with the punches so to speak.  Part of the fun of tabletop roleplaying is the ability to tailor a world to a player character's actions.  In my GM's case she couldn't adapt on the fly and needed some time to figure out how to recover.  Fortunately she's running a single-player campaign, online with a very understanding veteran player; who has GM-ed extensively himself.  If any one of these factors had been different this could've been a lot worse.  She's had an opportunity to learn from her mistakes while the kid-gloves are still on.  I hope it's a lesson that she will take to heart.  

Which leads into the second part of my reflections.  The scene with Joon-Ho's girlfriend Miu was my attempt to salvage something that resembled a session, from what my GM perceived as the wreckage.  I'm a player who likes to role-play more than he likes to roll dice.  I put forward that I wanted to narrate a little bit before we left the game, hoping to urge her to improvise a little.  I'd wanted to know a little more about the NPC Miu since she featured so prominently in Joon-Ho's LifePath.  I knew the GM had notes about Miu so at least she'd have a base to improvise from.  It resulted in what I thought was a nice quiet scene.  Which was also a first for me, the first time I've ever been in a game.  Where romance or sexual encounters were handled in a mature manner, if at all.  It'd been something that I'd wanted to try ever since the Aki campaign.  Honestly I'm quite happy with how it had turned out.  Since we primarily use the Cyberpunk 2020 system for our games, romance shows up a lot in the characters' backgrounds.  Meaning that such topics would eventually have to show up eventually in gameplay.  I've wanted to tackle the subject ever since that occurred to me.  So this was an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.  Incidentally if any of you are looking for a good essay on Sex & Romance in RPGs (specifically Cyberpunk but applicable to many games), click here.  The link should take you to Datafortress 2020 where you can download Kristian de Valle's essay on the topic.  Well that about covers it for me, if you like this post; be sure to +1, comment and follow this blog.  As always have a good day and may you roll many crits.