Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Chapter Seven: End of Days (Atomic Highway Solo Playthrough)

The following is copied directly from my GoogleDoc record of the game, including my own notes at the time of writing. I try to keep with mistakes as part of the learning process, so there are some of those as well. The notes are in blue for ease of reading. Anything I add for this blog will be in dark green. Here we go!

-=SCENE SEVEN=-

Proposal: Marcus will approach the city under cover of darkness and make for the nearest turret. He'll set a pulse charge, and then find cover to see if the plan works. If it does (green flare), he can go back to the perimeter camp in safety as a hero. If it doesn't (red flare), he'll either return to the camp and come up with something else or improvise a way to disable the turret.

Notes: I suppose we'll let Marcus have back 5 Fortune (all in all, I was sort of ballparking that we'd be in our second session, at least, and have received a reset of Fortune), and we'll use Understanding/Tech for disabling the turret (Difficult - 1 success required, though disabling it without the pulse charge will be Arduous - 3 successes required). We'll use Nimbleness/Stealth to get to the turret safely (Extreme - 2 successes required). I don't yet know exactly what the reward will be, but it will be substantial... if Marcus doesn't die or totally botch things.

Character List: Sam Brown, Sandra Brown, Jessica Brown, Emma Brown, Nick/John/Elise, Jake/Mike/Finn/Maxwell/Washington Sisters, fans, Winona, "Beaty" (Zane Walton), "Shooty" (Harland), salvage crew, hostage population, flora, fauna (I love it when my character list starts to grow, don't you?)

Chaos Factor: 7 (Stakes are high!)

Threads: a) Survive, b) Get Winona back, c) Investigate Boston, d) Learn more about what's going on in general, e) Address situation in Denver

Modifying the Scene: (4) - Interrupt. Hmm. We'll have to roll a Random Event. Event Context = Marcus is about to disable a turret, Event Focus = (81) "Ambiguous Event", Action = (20) "Truce", Subject = (93) "Weather". Well I suppose that'll just mean it's a lovely night for Operation Wallcrawler, and maybe the mini-scene will revolve around the planning of said operation and just general atmospheric stuff (the salvage crew missing their families, radio contact, random turret fire, full moon - despite the ash, Marcus gearing up and maybe getting some clues as to what his reward might end up being, maybe some glowing on the horizon in the direction of Walensburg - or maybe it's not on the map at all...!).

Chaos Question 1: "Does Marcus know anyone inside Denver?" Unlikely@cf7 = (98) Exceptional No. Nuts. I thought maybe that could be cool.

-=SCENE SEVEN TEXT=-

The day was spent mostly in preparation for the evening's activities: Assessing possible routes of entry for Marcus and how to safely enter and exit the city once the single turret was disabled. The defense system was easy enough to reboot once inside. While there was a general sound of conversation over the salvage camp, no one particular crowd seemed very talkative. That was just fine by Marcus, who knew he needed a good nap - it was going to be a late night. He awoke just after sunset, which was always a weird sight for those who had been underground when Ender hit. The ash in the atmosphere made for an odd haze on the horizon, like a second-rate Aurora Borealis. It was still a new sight for Marcus though, and he appreciated that while most everything had changed, some things had changed less.

"Sunsets are always neat." he remarked to himself.

"That's one word for it," said Zane, having heard the words. "We've got a decent idea of how to go about this but it's really going to hinge on whether or not you manage to get shot. There's no question - as soon as you're in range, those turrets will open fire. You keep moving at a rapid pace and you'll probably be alright. If you hesitate, well, we can put that tractor to good use."

"Glad to hear it," replied Marcus, with no small amount of sarcasm. Being riddled with lots of large caliber holes half-naked in the snow is not really how he'd pictured going out. It beat starving in a bunker, but only barely.

"Speaking of your stuff, you're welcome to what you think will help. My advice is to travel light though. Speed is your best bet." (Zane follows the BW School of Thought when it comes to equipping PCs, it seems...)

The next hour or so was mostly like the others, only Marcus grabbed a warm meal - possibly his last - and prepared for his long-distance sprint. It was a cold winter night and stripping all the way down was ill-advised, though he did shed down to his pants for ease of motion. Dying of frostbite took a backseat to other more bullet-y alternatives. The moon was on the rise and could be seen clearly overhead amidst a backdrop of stars. It was rare to see anything through the ashclouds and this was taken both as tactical advantage and a good omen.

Marcus pocketed the pulse charge, double-checked the map once more, and readied to make his way to the city wall almost half a kilometer away.

My favorite part about solo RPGing is hard to nail down. It's not really the end product at all. The creative process - in this case, at least as wordcount-ish as the actual resulting narrative - is really the big draw. I love that random things happen, and I love working out what they could be. I always end up with way more amazing adventures than if I'd just stuck to one plot and ran with it. In this scene, while nothing terribly important happens, I get to flesh out Zane a little more and describe some of the atmospheric side effects of Ender (the asteroid that hit Earth), and then use that feature to bode our hero well - the last bit about seeing the stars is really beautiful that way. The one scene in the Matrix trilogy where Neo and Trinity break through the clouds comes to mind.

Alright. Last chapter should be up later tonight or tomorrow. In the meantime, feel free to flip back a bit and let me know what you thought of Virtual Reality. I confess that most of these recent posts are both an attempt to get me back in to blogging by utilizing the opportunity in a way I hadn't thought of previously (posting playthroughs) and sharing the solo sessions with other like-minded folks and grow as a community through it. I'll have more original content, and almost certainly more playthroughs, next week or so.

With Brightest of (I wonder if the Buggers sent Ender in retaliation for Little Doctor...) Greens,
BW

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