In the first part I described the preliminary steps to set up the game:
- You create your character who will solve the crime. (You can also use a character you’ve already created in other 5150 games.)
- You determine what type of crime was committed either by rolling on the “Crime” table or simply choosing the type of crime you wish to solve.
- You determine who was the victim of the crime by rolling on “The Victim” table.
- You determine what part of the day the crime occurred by rolling on the “Day Part” table.
- Using the results from the victim and day part tables, you determine where the crime occurred using the “Where Are They?” table.
- You determine the difficulty factor of the case and the number of clues needed to solve the case by rolling on the “Investigation” table.
- You determine the employer or person who wants your character to solve the case using, you guessed it, “The Employer” table.
- You determine the time allotted to solve the case. You roll on the “Time Frame” table to determine whether the case is pressing or not. Using this information, you then calculate the number of days you have to solve the case.
- One thing I did not discuss was wages. I usually don’t mess with wages unless the game is part of a campaign and the wages are needed to fund the next adventure. Anyway, there is a “Wages” table that will give you the wages your character earns for solving the case.
Once these steps are complete, you are ready to begin investigating. If you have never played a role playing game, the steps to set up the game may seem like a lot. Believe me, it is nothing compared to just creating a character in Pathfinder, Traveler or GURPs. I’ve been told that it is quite possible for your character to die during the creation process of Traveler. And GURPs, the last version of GURPs I played required math to create characters – a lot of math. (Well, the Floozy didn’t take 8 hours of Calculus for nothing.)
The remainder of the game centers around the “Advance the Investigation” table. This table has two possible results – seek an object or attempt to gain information from a person of interest. Successful resolution of those two results garners clues. Obtain the number of clues required to solve the case within the time frame means winning the game.
The clues are abstractions. What they are is up to you, the player, to decide. In this game, Pearl has discovered 3 clues on the first day.
- She received useful information from a person of interest – an investigative reporter.
- She found an object in Betty’s apartment.
- She received useful information from a person of interest – a store owner.
It’s when I create the story that I add meaning to the clues. The investigative reporter was the last person to have seen Betty, she spent the night in Betty’s apartment and Betty was still asleep when she let herself out. The object found in the apartment was plastic bands used as straps on large boxes. Pearl then looked at the apartment complex’s security footage of the delivery area & discovered some fishy looking guys for an appliance store. Pearl has dinner with the appliance store’s owner and discovers one of the fishy looking guys was a recent new hire and that one of the store’s vans is missing.
So, Pearl has a lead when she starts the second day.
Back to the Game
It is the “Early” Day Part of the second day. Pearl has 3 clues and needs 3 more before the end of the day. Rolling on the Advance the Investigation table, Pearl needs to get information from a person of interest. Rolling on the victim table, it turns out this person is an Ordinary Joe. When I roll on the Ordinary Joe table, the result is a broker.
A broker? At first glance, it looks as though the game has thrown my story for a loop, but then I remember something. According to one definition – “A broker is an individual person who arranges transactions between a buyer and a seller for a commission when the deal is executed.” In the Cyberpunk genre of science fiction, there is a type of a broker, a matchmaker or sorts, who arranges deals among street operatives, this broker is known as a “fixer”. One of the best brokers of this nature on New Hope is Mr. Jones. Perhaps Mr. Jones may know something about the kidnapping. Mr. Jones is in an office building in the financial district during the early part of the day. So, It is another trip on the transit system for Pearl.
Pearl makes nearly makes it to the financial district, but she has a travel encounter when the train leaves the Middleton station. This encounter is with a courier (Rep 3), a male police officer (Rep 3) and a female officer. Luckily, the travel encounter is a Chillin’ encounter, Pearl really can’t afford to get arrested. She receives pleasant responses from the courier and the male police officer, but the female officer gives Pearl a bit of a cold shoulder.
Entering the office building triggers a Defining Moment. A “Defining Moment” is the resolution of a PEF (Possible Enemy Force) when you first enter a building. The PEF resolves into 3 NPCs – a male Joe Spouse, a female Office Holder and a female Med Tech. Only the Office Holder is armed (politics is a dangerous profession on New Hope!). Since there is no combat, we take a People Challenge. Pearl exchanges pleasantries with the Spouse, but gets the cold shoulder from the Office Holder and Med Tech.
Pearl finally gets to question Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones isn’t alone, he’s accompanied by his bodyguard and partner, Ms. Anderson, which means Pearl rolls on the Questioning table with one less d6. The result is Mr. Jones answers Pearls questions, but has no information of any use. No clue found here, so it is time to roll on the Advance the Investigation table again.
This time, the person of interest Pearl needs to question is an athlete. Who other than Betty’s trainer, Gary Barkley. Gary Barkley lives in Lower Gaea. Pearl takes the train back to Lower Gaea and this time she makes it without any travel encounters. Gary isn’t alone though, there are two members of the Criminal Element class with him. I decide that these are the two kidnappers. Gary Barkley answers the questions and Pearl garners another clue.
I’m now faced with a tricky part of the game. There are a lot of different possibilities going forward that affect the game and story. One, Gary Barkley could be working with the kidnappers. That would put Pearl in a firefight of 3 against 1. Two, if Gary Barkley is the next target of the kidnappers, that would lower the odds of the firefight to 2 against 1. If there is a firefight and the kidnappers go Out of the Fight or Obviously Dead, Pearl won’t be able to get any information as to Betty’s whereabouts. Worse, Pearl could go Out of the Fight or Obviously Dead. She still needs 2 clues and only has 2 day parts left to get them.
What I would like to do, is let the kidnappers take Barkley and Pearl follow them. But since I got a clue from Barkley, I can’t use the Tailing section. In other games, I’d be stuck. However, the beauty of most Two Hour Wargames rule sets is the inclusion of the perfect mechanism for resolving these issues- Challenges.
Before you pooh-pooh the Challenges, realize that if this were a RPG such as Dungeons and Dragons or Cyberpunk 2020 – you state what you want to do and the GM (game master) hunkers down behind his screen and rolls to see if what you want to do is possible & what target number you need to roll to make it possible. So the Challenges in THW rules simplifies what a GM & the player would do to carry out a task in other RPGs.
First challenge: Pearl needs to plant a tracking device on Gary Barkley – the device is the size of a small housefly. This would be an Unopposed Challenge since Pearl has no opposition in carrying out the challenge. Success is planting the tracking device. Failure is the device falling to the floor. The challenge will be taken using Pearl’s Savvy Skill (4). Pearl passes 2d6 and plants the tracking device.
Pearl leaves Barkley’s apartment and waits for them to leave. Pearl now wants to call a cab so she can trail them to their destination. Another Unopposed Challenge – Pearl again passes with 2d6 and follows the kidnappers to their destination, deep into the heart of “Little Hishia”.
I’ve reached my word count for this post, so I’ll have to finish describing the game in another post. I will say that the rest of the game was played mainly with 5150: New Beginnings, Urban Renewal. Maybe I got tired of rolling on the Advance the Investigation table, or maybe, just maybe, my inner Pearl was ready to kick some ass.
Honestly, the game takes only a couple of hours to play. Writing down every die roll, taking pictures and writing it up is what takes the time if you’re a nutty blogger like the Floozy. As always I welcome your comments, especially good ones with ideas I can steal!