Thursday, 28 December 2017

Yakuza 2019 - Actual Play Report #1: Amphetamine Logic

So it finally happened, what you've all been waiting for.  I finally sat down and played a roleplaying game in a capacity other than as a GM for the first time in three years!  We ran a modern-day Yakuza game using the Interlock System from Cyberpunk 2020.  You can read about how this came about and the character's stats by clicking here.  The GM who is running me through this campaign was the player in the Aki Campaign.  The first actual play report of which you can find here.  What follows is the events that transpired in the first session of our campaign.  Here goes.

Let the Good Times Roll

The avatar for my character Tae Joon-Ho.
A mid-level Yakuza amphetamine dealer.
So our game starts off in my character Tae Joon-Ho's apartment.  A single room apartment of about 4 and a half tatami mats.  His superior in the Akemi-gumi Takahiro Koizumi (who Joon-Ho calls Aniki or bro as a sign of respect) stops by to drop off this month's kilo of Adderall.  The two proceed to get drunk on convenience store beer and high as kites on amphetamines.  Joon-Ho's girlfriend Miu had to work at the cabaret that night so the two men had the apartment to themselves.   Takahiro took this opportunity to tell Joon-Ho some good news.  

"You work a little harder and you'll be upped in no time!  We'll be equals instead of me being your boss.  Mr. Yoshida is a friend of mine, he's as greedy as a cat, but that ain't a bad thing.  Keep doing what you're doing, and I'll put in a good word.  The two of us go way back."  

Looking like a dog that'd been being shown a stick to fetch Joon-Ho said.  "You mean it, Bro!  We're gonna be equals!" Enthusiasm was Joon-Ho's middle name.  

"In all but experience and age." said Takahiro laughing at his own joke.  "You're hardworking, you deserve it.  It won't come right away, but it'll happen.  I've told Mr. Yoshida about you, and once he meets you he's gonna see what you have.  No more of this low-level dealing for you, I'm talking the big jobs.  BIG money." 

Joon-Ho laughed in anticipation a big shit-eating grin spread across his face.  Raising his beer can in offering of a toast he said "Kampai!" to which Takahiro reciprocated, both of them downing their drinks.
  

The Hangover

Takahiro Koizumi, Joon-Ho's immediate
superior and best friend.  Unlike myself
my GM has chosen to use real life photos
for character portraits.  I actually quite
like the look of Takahiro's.
The celebration continued well into the night, despite being hopped up on amphetamines.  The two men somehow managed to get some sleep, passing out on the floor of the small apartment.  By the time they'd both woken up it was near-noon the next day.  Both of them had horrific hangovers, the cocktail hard drugs and alcohol creating a head splitting pain.  "Could you go get me some smokes, kid? ...I'm... no gonna be able to get up for a while..." Takahiro's voice was despondent.  Of the two of him he had come down the hardest from his high.  "This hangover is killing me..."  

"Sure thing, Bro." Joon-Ho was a little less enthusiastic than he had been last night.  He was pinching his forehead as a result of his own hangover, but he was faring a great deal better than Takahiro.  Joon-Ho left his boss and his apartment departing for the local corner store to buy cigarettes.  

Shuichi Takenaka 

As Joon-Ho walked to the local corner store, he passed a bar that he did business out of.  Outside was Shuichi Takenaka a dealer from the Izumi-gumi that Joon-Ho knew because they shared the same profession but otherwise knew very little about.  Shuichi was talking to someone giving what sounded like a sales pitch "Right now, the cost is lower, but who knows what it'll be like tomorrow.  It's a vulnerable market after all."  Son of a bitch!  He was selling amphetamines on Joon-Ho's turf.  (How dare you sell drugs in this neighbourhood!  That's my job!) 

Shuichi was connected with the Izumi-gumi a younger, smaller and less prestigious group than Joon-Ho's own organization the Akemi-gumi.  (That was all the information that the GM would offer me without a Streetwise roll.  I told her it'd be more in character for Joon-Ho to act without knowing all the facts).  As a loyal member of the Akemi-gumi, Joon-Ho couldn't let small-fry like this piss all over their turf!  He started approaching the rival dealer, making himself appear non-threatening.  Acting like he was just a guy running into an old friend outside a bar.  "Mr. Takenaka of the Izumi-gumi, right?"  Before Shuichi could say anything in response, Joon-Ho caught him square in the face.  With a Tae Kwon Do punch so powerful that it knocked the dealer to the ground unconscious.  He turned to the customer that had been trying to buy from Shuichi.  "Something wrong pal?" like he was asking a stranger about their car troubles.  Which was very intimidating considering that he'd just knocked out a man without any apparent provocation.  (As a side note the GM was not expecting me to go this route, apparently I derailed quite a bit by doing this.  I stand by it as doing what anyone would have done if they caught a rival dealer red-handed selling on their turf).  

"S-s-s-sorry sir." Shuichi's frightened customer turned tail and ran.  Dropping his wallet which he had had out to pay for Shuichi's product.  The frightened man ran back to collect the wallet in a clumsy sort of way.  Then ran away again, never looking back at Joon-Ho.  Who was content to let him go, a guy who scared that easily wasn't about to go running to the cops.  He picked up the unconscious Shuichi trying to pass it off as someone helping a drunk guy walk home.  He discovered about a half-kilo of amphetamines on Shuichi which Joon-Ho stuffed back in the rival dealer's inner pocket.  Shuichi would have a lot of explaining to do, once they got back to Joon-Ho's apartment.  Where Joon-Ho planned to interrogate the Izumi Yakuza along with Takahiro.

The Body

When Joon-Ho got to his apartment the door was unlocked, Takahiro must have left.  It didn't matter Joon-Ho was certain that Takahiro would come running back.  Once he got a call about Shuichi dealing on their Akemi turf, Takahiro would want some answers.  Joon-Ho opened the door dragging the unconscious rival dealer into the apartment and that is when he saw it.  

Takahiro was lying on the floor, covered in blood.  A revolver, similar to the one that Joon-Ho kept in the Apartment's AC unit was in his hand.  It didn't make sense!  A lot of users became depressed after they came down, but they usually didn't kill themselves if they had a supply at hand.  There was a whole kilo of Adderall in the AC unit along with the Smith and Wesson!  Unceremoniously dropping the unconscious Shuichi to the apartment floor, Joon-Ho ran over to Takahiro's body.  "Fuck!  Bro, Bro!" he yelled at the unmoving form on his apartment floor, shaking Takahiro and checking for a pulse.  He found none.  His mind went blank, how had this happened?  He checked his dead superior's jacket pockets (I figured it'd be kind of awkward to reach into the pants pockets), finding some business cards, a pack of smokes with one remaining cigarette and about two doses of Adderall.

There was nothing he could do to help his friend, and Joon-Ho was beginning to fear the worst.  He went over to the apartment's AC pulling off the panel and looking inside.  The entire kilo that Takahiro had delivered last night was gone!  So was Joon-Ho's Smith & Wesson, he could no longer deny it.  His best friend was lying dead in his apartment killed by his own gun!  A rage at the helplessness he felt boiled up inside Joon-Ho prompting his to punch the wall in frustration.  "Motherfucker!" the pain of his hand breaking (the GM said that punching a wall required 1d10 damage, of which I took 5.  I didn't change my decision to punch the wall since it seemed like a really in character thing to do) was nothing compared to the anger he felt right now!  He turned around to survey the mess he'd gotten himself into, the door was wide open and heard someone running down the metal stairs outside his apartment!  He glanced near the doorway where he'd left Shuichi he was gone!

Joon-Ho wasted no time, running out his the door of his apartment like a bat out of hell.  Hurtling down the metal staircase in pursuit of the fleeing Yakuza.  It was too late.  As he came to the bottom of the stairs, Shuichi was nowhere to be seen.  Joon-Ho decided to give up his pursuit of the rival dealer for now.  He'd get his if it was the last thing that Joon-Ho ever did.  For now there was a more pressing matter of body and a gun that needed disposing of.  (I failed my Athletics check to pursue Shuichi, so I couldn't interrogate him.  I figured it was a better idea to get rid of the evidence thank you Dogtown Felon's Handbook by Johnathan Ridd).

Cleaning the Mess

Joon-Ho climbed the stairs back to his apartment.  Once inside he grabbed some tissues and carefully extracted the revolver out of Takahiro's hand.  Careful not to get any fingerprints on it.  After that it was a walk down to the local river to dump the piece.  (I was incredibly nervous about Joon-Ho getting caught with the gun on his person.  By like a police stop and search or something, the firearm possession laws are pretty strict in Japan.  I was expecting the GM to take advantage of that fact, thankfully she didn't).  Wrapped in enough tissues to last a man a lifetime the gun sank to the bottom of the river, while a few of the tissues floated before sinking.  Satisfied that the murder weapon would never again see the light of day, Joon-Ho set out in search of a payphone.

When he finally found one he dropped one hundred Yen into it.  Enough to pay for a ten minute phone call, long enough to explain the situation, but not so long that he'd be exposed longer than he'd have to be.  That's when the withdrawal from the amphetamines hit him.  (The GM was using a drug system of her own design which I was very impressed by.  I wasn't expecting her to be implementing house rules this early in her career as a GM.  But hey, more power to her).  Joon-Ho was losing his shit.  He had no idea who had killed his friend.  It could have been that bastard Shuichi, it could have been his girlfriend Miu it could have been the people he was about to call.  For all he knew he could have killed Takahiro himself while high and not have realized it!  He glanced furiously around the phone-booth, even the people walking outside on the street could be suspects.  

Marv from Frank Miller's Sin City, the above quote from him pretty much sums up Joon-Ho's and my own thought process
at this point. 


He popped a dose of Adderall, he did not need to be dealing with withdrawal right now.  (I figured if I was in Joon-Ho's position I'd start popping pills too).  Gulping down the pills he tapped impatiently on the phone box, waiting for the call to connect.  The gun he could take care of on his own, to get Takahiro's body out of his apartment, he'd need to call in some help.  Right now he was trying to get in touch of Mr. Yoshida Goro, the one man who Joon-Ho could call when everything was fucked up.  Ordinarily it'd be Takahiro that he'd call, but Takahiro was dead and part of the Joon-Ho's current problem.  The phone clicked as he connected with the Yoshida's office.  A woman answered on the other end of the line Yoshida's secretary "Hello, Yoshida office, may I ask who's calling?"

A Japanese payphone not unlike the one that Joon-Ho made
his call to the Yoshida office from.
"Tae Joon-Ho, I work for Mr. Koizumi, I need to speak with Mr. Yoshida." Joon-Ho was trying his best to mind his manners under the stress.  
"If you want to speak to Mr. Yoshida, you'll have to set up an appointment and come down in person." replied the Secretary trying her best to be helpful and failing.  
Joon-Ho took another opportunity to look around at his surroundings outside the phone booth.  He was feeling kind of exposed and vulnerable out in the open like this.  
"This is an emergency, I need to speak with Mr. Yoshida, now!" he wasn't shouting but his initial politeness was now gone.  
"Sorry, sir, but you'll have to come down in person.  I'm sure you understand how it is." the secretary on the other end was stilling maintaining her professionalism.  Even if Joon-Ho wasn't.  He was becoming more and more panicked with each delay to speaking with Mr. Yoshida.  
"I would, but I just came back to my apartment to find my Boss murdered!  You have to put Mr. Yoshida on the phone now!" 

There was a click on the other end of the line as the secretary hung up.  Realizing that his last life-line had just hung up on him, Joon-Ho lost what little of his cool was left.  He started slamming the receiver agains the phone (Robert deNiro in Goodfellas when he finds out Joe Pesci's been murdered style) cursing at the voice that was no longer on the other end.  "Motherfucker!  Son of a Bitch!  Fucking bastard!"      

Conclusions 

Overall it was a great first session, I was kind of disappointed that Takahiro was killed so early on.  His death did serve as the impetus for a lot of the action of this session.  So I forgive my GM for killing off one of the friends that I rolled for Joon-Ho's Lifepath.  She didn't pull any punches starting right off by taking away the two pieces of gear that were (in my opinion) most important the character.  His stash of drugs and his piece.  Not to be vindictive but to propel the story forward.  Which I personally think is the mark of a great GM, not bad for her first time.  Considering I did something similar when we ran the Aki campaign.  For those of you that haven't read that actual play report.  In short I kidnapped the player's girlfriend/dependent in the first session.  We ended the session with Joon-Ho still in the phone booth wondering how the hell he was going to get out of this one.  Which was a great place to end it really, the plan is to pick up again on this upcoming Wednesday.  Until next time have a good day and may you roll many crits.  If you liked this actual play report be sure to +1, comment below and follow this blog.  Bye for now.