Friday, July 24, 2015

I Killed a PC in the First Session

Last Saturday I started a new campaign centered around Prohibition Mobsters trying to make it big in 1920's NYC. Here's how it went.

  • Four PCs- Sam (Played by the same guy who played Virgil in Agency 17), Bruno, Roseanna ("Red"), and Vinnie
  • 150pt total
  • Red and Vinnie are both playing minors (16 or 17 years old)
The PCs are called into a speakeasy by their local Capo, Jack Bennedetto. Jack works for the Barberini family, and so do the PCs. Jack's learned that the Baker Gang, a smalltime outfit working out of Newark is sending a shipment of booze South around Manhattan to try and avoid having another shipment hijacked going through the heart on NYC.

This, of course, means the players should have an easy time hijacking the very same shipment.

The players pump Jack for details. The Bakers are politically insignificant. They only manufacture booze, they sell to other outfits who ultimately distribute the product. Most families buy from them only when shit hits the fan and their normal supply routes have been compromised.

Sam sets out to get in contact with his brother-in-law, Teddy, an excellent wheelman. He then does some digging, meeting a soldier of the Vespucci family. The Vespuccis have been keenly aware of the trouble that the Baker Gang is having- their last three shipments from them have all been hijacked.

Sam is not pleased to learn it seems to be his nemesis, Jack "Three Finger" Moran who is involved. Moran is Irish, territorial, and feisty. Sam sets up some smoke and mirrors, hoping to convince Moran's gang that the next Baker shipment is going by boat.

Meanwhile, the others decide to scope out Newark. Locating a diner owned as a front by a member of the local criminal elite, they manage to fast-talk their way into getting Bruno a job at a 'rubbing alcohol' plant.

Bruno attempts to so some reconnaissance  while Red and Vinnie are stationed outside, but Bruno is an amateur actor at best, and he arouses suspicion. He's confronted by some armed thugs in the parking lot outside, and is convinced to go back inside.

Bruno is questioned by the boss of the factory, but doesn't break under interrogation. They're convinced he's a cop.

Meanwhile, Vinnie tries to sneak into the factory, even getting into a supply closet via a window, but without any firearms, and outnumbered, he wisely stays out of sight.

Bruno eventually makes a move, attempting to get his armed guard in a headlock. The guard takes aim, just to get socked in the chest. Firing his shotgun twice at Bruno, the guard misses due to the bulk and shock penalties.

Bruno misses on his next attack as the guard dodges and retreats. The guard opens fire again, and Bruno fails his dodge, taking seven shotgun pellets. Bruno is hit in the torso, groin (twice), right arm (twice), the leg, and his hand, for a total of 26 damage, as well as a crippled arm and hand.

Bruno does make his HT checks, but the players taps out knowing that continuing the fight is pointless. More members of the factory are moving in, some drawing firearms.

The session ends with Bruno's body being loaded into the same truck the players think they have to hijack.

Important Lessons:
  • Bruno didn't go for an all-out attack while trying to grapple the guard
  • Retreating out of close combat to avoid bulk penalties is powerful
  • Bruno never should have gone back inside the factory. Range penalties work in your favor when you're running away from people with guns.
  • A lot of the PCs invested a great deal in melee brawling skills, a poor decision considering they're operating in the era of the Tommy Gun
  • Acting at default, Fast-talk at 12 and Streetwise 11 aren't going to cut it if you're trying to infiltrate an enemy outfit.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Italian Mob Rank/Status

Monster Hunters is ongoing, despite a long (almost month long) break in sessions due to numerous real life things going on. The game's plot is as thick as ever, which has made me increasingly reticent to blog about it since describing what's going on would take ages.

For a new campaign, I'm thinking about Prohibition Era crime- the likes of Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel, and so on. It would involve trying to scrabble up the ladder within the organization, pulling off jobs, fending off other gangs, and inevitably clashing with police.

Associate members of the mob are pretty easy to peg- Rank 0, 2pts (as per Social Engineering pg. 15). This comes with a -2pt Duty to the Family (representing getting asked to do jobs above and beyond the normal criminal endeavors and the cut of profit that gets sent up to the bosses). All PCs would be given this to start.

Rank increases at 2pt/level, with the mob representing a 10pt Patron for Requests for assistance. This is to model individuals like Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel who had clout within the mob without being able to fully capitalize on the Mob's power due to their ethnicity.

Made Men receive Criminal Rank in the family, at 3pts/level, replacing rank that they previously held before. (IE: Rank 3 previously is now Rank 2) The mob represents a 15pt patron for Made Men when making a request for assistance.
Made Men are subject to a -10pt vow:
-Code of Silence (Never talk to Authorities or seek their help)
-No talking about business to non-members
-Cannot fight or kill fellow members without Boss' Permission
-Must pay tribute
-Cannot commit adultery with other family members' wives
And also a -5pt Duty.

Breaking the vow or refusing to accept an order from the boss is punishable by death.

But Made Men enjoy privileges:
-5pt Legal Immunity within Organized Crime Circles. This represents the fact that Made Men are not to be attacked without permission from the Man's boss.
-Reputation 4 (Large Class of People, Criminals: -50%)- 10pts

Soldiers generally have rank 1-3, with a cap of 3. Rank 0 would represent a  member not currently in the good graces of the family.

Capos have rank 4-6.

The Underboss and Consigliere are rank 7.

The Boss/Godfather is rank 8.

The levels for the 2pt rank for non-Italians is roughly similar, with rank 4 meaning that an individual is in responsible for a group of individuals below them, with the size of that group increasing with each level of rank.

Most Made Men are expected to be Status 1 or 2, with higher ranking Capos (Rank 6 especially) likely edging into Status 3. The Underboss and Consigliere would both be Status 3 or 4, and the Godfather would be Status 4 or 5 (Al Capone). This status is purchased separately from Rank.

Any thoughts or comments are appreciated.