18 August, 2012

Further examples of the Walkabout Core Mechanism

Negotiating with a trader
Claire is negotiating with a local trader in the attempt to acquire some of the chemical fertilizer that seems to be a part of the problems in the region. A typical NPC has no stats; as far as the narrative is concerned, they are either an aide toward story progression or an obstacle toward its completion. During the course o play, the GM can choose to assign a pre-generated character from their limited pile of story antagonists, or they can spend a few story tokens to increase the difficulty of the situation by applying traits to the scene. In this case, the GM will save the named character and spend three points to make the scene challenging for Claire.

Step 1
1a – Since it is later in the story, Claire has a few items she’s picked up over the course of play, and she decides they’ll make good trade items to acquire the fertiliser for the story. Thus, Claire is trying to transform useless trinkets into useful items, a Blue action.
1b – Claire has “Intimidation” from her Firearm, but doesn’t want this to get violent, so she ignores this core trait. She hopes her “Awareness” will let her know if she’s getting a good deal.
1c – Claire has two items: “Trade Goods” and “Trinkets”. She’ll be sacrificing these items for automatic successes. She also has the “Useful Information” gained in the previous scene.
1d – Since the GM is spending tokens to make the resolution three traits more difficult, these are weighed up against the two positive traits gained from the “Useful Information”. Carol decides to cancel out positives and negatives, leaving one difficulty trait against her.
1e – Bill asks the GM if Claire’s “Arcology” relationship will be a hindrance in the current situation, because a lot of people in the bush don’t like the citizens of the glass-and-steel towers. The GM agrees that this could cause issues and uses Claire’s relationship in a negative light for this action. Claire gains a gold token for this.
Step 2
2a – Carol draws four tokens from the bag (three, plus one from the keyword): a white, a black, a blue and a red.
2b – Carol allocates the Black to “success” to maximise the results from this trade. She allocates the Blue to “sacrifice”, avoiding any immediate sacrifices from the activity. The Red is placed in “story”, allowing Carol to share narration effects with the GM. The White is allocated to the “Awareness” keyword (and thus removed from play).
2c – The surplus of tokens was in the negative, so a single token is drawn and applied as a negative trait; a Blue token is drawn.
2d – Since the “Arcology” relationship counts as a negative trait, an automatic White token is added to the non-core pool.
Step 3
3a – A red token was allocated to story, so the allocation of non-core tokens is split. The GM allocates the first non-core token, and applies the Blue to the relationship. This leaves Carol with only one option; she applies the White token to the GM’s difficulty trait (anything could happen).
3b – A Black “success” result means that Claire basically gets what she wants out of the trade (some fertiliser). A Blue “sacrifice” result means that nothing particularly bad happens as a result of the trade. The Red “story” result has seen the non-core tokens allocated in such a way that Claire’s “Arcology” upbringing hasn’t caused major problems, but something bad is going to go down. The GM considers a few options for this; perhaps a farmer was in the market, and he wanted to buy the fertiliser (thus making a temporary enemy for Claire), maybe the trader swindles Claire (using this penalty to buy off one of the successes), or Claire might develop a temporary negative reputation as “Suspicious” (“Didn’t they use fertiliser in explosives in the old days?”). The two sacrificed items (“Trade Goods” and “Trinkets”) convert straight across to additional units of “Fertilizer”.    
3c – Once they return to town, Claire walks into a store advertising farm supplies in its front window. She has a quick chat with the storekeeper; while he doesn’t seem to like her all that much, he is willing to make a trade with Claire for the fertiliser she’s after. In exchange for the trade goods she has, Claire acquires most of the trader’s stock of fertiliser (3 item traits), much to the annoyance of a farmer who had just come into the store.

One-on-One Combat
Claire and Bruce have reached a point where they understand some of the issues causing problems in town, and have identified the main cause of the trouble. They need to neutralise a local rust shaman who has been summoning spirits to attack supply convoys. While investigating further, Claire is attacked by the shaman and a pair of unintelligent drone spirits who act as his bodyguards.

The Rust Shaman is “Ronnie Dark”, a resentful anarchist who hates the attempts to rebuild society. He is a “Prophet” from the “City Scavenger” people (keywords: Investigation, Occult), his basic edge comes from an “Inner Gift” as an “Occultist” (keywords: Connection*, Ritual*), and he also has a “Reputation” as being “Cunning” (keywords: Larceny, Leadership). He is not a wayfarer. The shaman has the standard equipment (Well-Worn Clothes, Jury-Rigged Battery Pack (+: Powerful, -: Large or Erratic), Tools, Hand Weapon (+: Armed, -: Obvious), Ritual Components, Focus Crystal). The Rust Shaman has three relationships; a loose relationship to his inner gift (dealing with spirits), a close relationship to his reputation, and a loose relationship to a particular spirit that the characters haven’t met yet. The Rust Shaman’s token bag contains 6 white, 6 black, 2 blue, 2 red and 2 green.

In this case, each of the two spirits counts as a collection of bonus non-core traits for the rust shaman. The first spirit provides the traits “protective”, “armoured” and “aware”. The second spirit provides the traits “vicious”, “bloodthirsty” and “dangerous”. The GM has spent 6 tokens to provide the shaman with these spirits. Since things are ramping up toward a conclusion, the shaman is also given the bonus trait “Home ground advantage” and a loose relationship to the area (at a cost of two more tokens).

Our scene occurs later in the story, Claire has picked up the non-core traits “Vigilant” (+ short term), “Disturbed” (- short term), “Blessed Ammo” (+ long term), and 3 traits of “Fertilizer” (Item).

Sequence 1:
Step 1
1a (Claire) – Claire’s intention in this conflict is to avoid the worst, and get out of there until she can rendezvous with Bruce to confirm their theories about the shaman. Since she just wants to get out of there rather than cause damage this is a blue action.
1a (Rust Shaman) – The shaman’s intention in this conflict is to eliminate Claire before she spoils the good thing he’s got going. This is blatantly confrontational and counts as a red action.
1b (Claire) – Claire’s “Awareness” should help in this situation, and she isn’t afraid to use her “Firearms”.
1b (Rust Shaman) – The shaman has nothing specific that would help him in a fight, that’s why he summoned the spirits.
1c (Claire) – It makes sense that Claire’s “Vigilant” and “Blessed Ammo” traits would come into play here, she’ll also risk her “Pistol” (which provides the additional bonus of the “Lethal” trait). Carol hopes that Bill won’t mention the “Disturbed” trait, but he does; Bill gains a token for this.
1c (Shaman) – The shaman instantly gains non-core traits based on his spirits “protective”, “armoured”, “aware”, “vicious”, “bloodthirsty” and “dangerous”. His “Home Ground advantage” will also help.
1d (Claire and Shaman) – Neither combatant cancels out any of their non-core traits.
1e (Claire) – The only relationship Claire can really use to her benefit in this situation is the loose one to her weapon. Bill calls on Claire’s Arcology relationship which gives her a penalty when dealing with spirits (and Carol gains another gold token).
1e (Shaman) – The shaman has a pair of useful relationship to this situation; the link to his “inner gift” and the link to the immediate area (his “home ground”).
Step 2
2a (Claire) – Carol draws five tokens from her bag (three, plus two from the keywords); two Whites, a Black, a Blue, and a Red.
2a (Shaman) – The GM draws three tokens from his bag; a Black, a Green, a Red.
2b (Claire) – Carol starts by getting rid of the two white tokens, allocating them to the keywords. Next she allocates the Black to “sacrifice” to avoid the worst. The blue goes to “success” and the red to “story”.
2b (Shaman) – The GM has few options, he places the Black in “success”, the Red in “sacrifice” and the Green in “story”.
2c (Claire) – Carol draws five more tokens due to the non-core traits linked to Claire in the current situation; 2 Blacks, a White, a Blue and a Green.
2c (Shaman) – The GM draws seven more tokens due to the non-core traits linked to the Shaman in the current situation; 3 Blacks, 2 Whites, a Blue and a Green.
2d (Claire) – Carol places a black token into her non-core pool for the relationship to her weapon, and a white token for the relationship to her people.
2d (Shaman) – The GM places two black tokens into the shaman’s non-core pool; one for the relationship to his “Inner Gift” and one for the home territory.
Step 3
3a (Claire) – Carol allocated a Red token to “story” so she’ll allocate non-core tokens alternately with the GM.
GM – White token to Claire’s “Disturbed” trait x
Carol – Black token to “Pistol” item x
GM – Blue token to “Arcology” relationship x
Carol – Black token to “Blessed Ammo” x
GM – White token to “Lethal” trait
Carol – Green token to “Vigilant” trait x
GM – Black token to “Weapon” relationship
3a (Shaman) – The GM allocated a Green token to “story”, so he’ll also alternate the token allocations. (Opponent goes first, so this time it is Carol’s first go)
Carol – Black token to “Home Territory” trait x
GM – Black token to “Dangerous” trait x
Carol – Black token to “Aware” trait x
GM – Black token to “Bloodthirsty” trait x
Carol – Black token to “Protective” trait x
GM – Green token to “Vicious” trait x
Carol – White token to “Armoured” trait x
GM – Blue token to “Inner Gift” relationship x
Carol – White token to “Home Ground” relationship x
3b and c (Alternating) – Carol drew a total of 3 black tokens, while the GM drew 5; the shaman acts first.

Shaman – (Narrates his “Bloodthirsty” trait) From the shadows, a shadowy spirit swirls toward Claire, ripping away at her flesh. [Claire gains a situational “injured” trait]
Claire – (Narrates her “Pistol” trait) Claire tries to escape, laying some covering fire as she hides behind an overturned dumpster. [Claire gains a “cover” trait]
Shaman – (Narrates his “Inner Gift” relationship, playing on Claire’s “disturbed” trait) The howling of the spirit echoes through Claire’s mind, bringing glimpsesof horror. [No real effect]
Claire – (Narrates her “Blessed Ammo” trait, to take out one of the shaman’s spirit traits) Claire takes a shot from behind the dumpster hitting something, but she’s not sure what. [The shaman’s “Protective” trait is eliminated]
Shaman – (Narrates his “Armoured” trait) The shot is absorbed by the guardian spirit, but the blessing on the shell poisons the spirit, causing it to scream in agony. [“Armoured” trait is exhausted for future sequences in this scene]
Claire – (Narrates her “Vigilant” trait, making her first move to escape) Hearing the scream, Claire duck further under cover and sees a passage between the car wrecks, a possible escape route. [Claire’s “cover” trait goes from single to double status]
Shaman – (Narrates his “Home Territory” trait) The shaman knows the area well and hears Claire manoeuvring to the left, he does likewise.[Claire’s “cover” trait goes from double to single status]
Claire – (Narrates her “Arcology” relationship) “This is nothing like the city” thinks Claire. [no real effect]
Shaman – (Narrates his “Aware” trait) The shaman listens closely, trying to get a sense of where his prey is. [Shaman gains a “Vigilant” trait]
Claire – (Narrates her “Disturbed” trait) Something about the howling spirit reminds Claire of her youth and demons who almost destroyed her home. [Claire’s “disturbed” trait goes from single to double status]
Shaman – (Narrates his “Dangerous” trait) The spirit descends on Claire once again, tearing and burning her flesh. [Claire’s “injured” trait goes from situational to short term status]
Claire – (Narrates her “Lethal” trait) Claire fires off a few more shots trying to keep the spirits at bay. [No effect]
Shaman – (Narrates his “Vicious” trait) The spirit comes close again, but feels the danger of the situation and backs off. [No effect]
Claire – (Narrates her “Weapon” relationship) Another shot from Claire, this time it strikes closer to the intended target. [Shaman gains a situational “injury” trait]
Shaman – (Narrates his “Protective” trait) As the protective spirit loses coherence in the physical plane, it sacrifices more energy for its master. [Shaman loses the situational “injury” trait]
Claire – (Narrates her “core success” trait) Before looking to make her escape, Claire looks over her injuries, they aren’t as bad as she first thought. [Claire’s “injured” trait drops from double to single status]
Shaman – (Narrates his “Home Ground” relationship) The shaman considers his options and the junkyard terrain around him. [No Effect]
Shaman – (Narrates his core success) He knows this terrain far better than his prey…time to hunt. [Shaman gains the “Upper Hand” situational trait]

This certainly isn’t over; Claire is severely injured and hasn’t gotten away. The Rust Shaman has had one of his spirits injured and is mad, he just wants to finish things off.

Combat sequence 2 begins...
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