Actual Play: The Good Shepherds – Session 3 – The Shepherds Go to War

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Last time, we ended with the Good Shepherds mechanically going to war with the Fog Hounds. This week, we started off with the war kicking off in the fiction. Echoes, our Hound, was minding his own business, leaving his favorite brothel, when he spots a carriage coming at him. A member of the Fog Hounds is leaning out the window, and in the process of drawing a pistol on him. Echoes is a faster draw, but misses his mark, resulting in him getting grazed by Fog Hound’s own shot. It’s only level 1 harm, but it is still the first harm anyone of us has taken all game. Mechanically, Echoes can’t heal until the next downtime, which means after our next job

We’re all (naturally) pretty pissed off by this, so our next job is obviously gonna be hitting them back. I (playing Sarge, our Cutter) suggest we take out one of their safe houses in some neighboring turf, and take it over. We haven’t been moving on claims until now, because the Fog Hounds started the game at -2 with us, and, in addition to getting used to the system, we didn’t want to go to war this soon. Since we ended up at war anyway, might as well take some of their stuff while we’re at it!

Loki, our spider, wants to gather some information to figure out our point of attack (or at least a BETTER one than kicking in the door). He asks around, calls in a few favors, and discovers that there is a back way into their warehouse, although he’s also a little low on social capital after all that. We got our point of attack, and that’s all we need to start an assault!

We use the new engagement rules posted on the G+, which we all really liked. We manage to scrounge up a single die thanks to the prep work Loki did, which managed to come up a 6! We start off in control of the situation, sneaking into the alley with no one around to see us. Loki manages to pick the lock, and we head in. There’s a couple of people in there already and I yell at them to get down on the ground. I mentioned last time about how intimidating people to avoid a fight was less fun, but we’re not after these guys, we are after the Hound’s enforcers, so getting them out of the way for the real violence was the right move, but it was something I considered before I did it.

Echoes’ player asks if the guy who shot him is there, and there’s a fortune roll to see if he is. A mixed outcome means he’ll likely show up, but he’s not there right now. I then roll my command, and get a mixed outcome myself. The people in the warehouse comply, but the guy who shot Echoes shows up right as we’re tying them up. He turns to run to alert the crew, and Echoes shoots him in the back. Another mixed outcome means we’ll be taking a bit of extra heat for shooting a guy who was still technically outside (in the doorway), but he’s dead and not going to alert his buddies. Echoes spends all of his Electroplasmic ammunition on destroying the guy enough that we don’t have to worry about his ghost, or worse, the spirit wardens interrupting us, but he’s out of those until he spends some downtime finding more.

We set up an ambush for when the enforcers come back, (hiding in the rafters, behind boxes, etc) and Echoes does pretty well on his hunt roll once they do show up. We take those guys out, and cut our hostages loose, telling them to go back to their bosses and tell them that this is our turf now. We sell off the stuff in the warehouse for a handful of coin, and mark off some turf on our crew sheet.

We get a good amount of heat for that job, mostly from various modifiers, which puts us over the top for wanted level 1. On the plus side, even with the +1 from being wanted, we’re still in the low entanglement category after the spillover. We end up rolling “the usual suspects” which results in us dipping into the crew vaults to pay the bribe to get Loki’s buddy out of jail.

We head into downtime and we all dip into our vices and spend our coin to do some extra downtime action. Echoes tries to heal, but fails although he does reduce our heat down to 0, and Loki works on a new long-term project to rebuild his social capital, and crits to finish it in one go. I decide that I want some information on how we are gonna hit the Fog Hounds next. The next thing we really want (ESPECIALLY after gaining that wanted level) on our crew map is the ‘cover operation’. We talk about how you can steal a cover operation, and we decide that, making slightly more sense than ‘We’re FedEx now, don’t trust the old guys who used to be FedEx’, is that the fog hounds have a guy inside the ministry of transportation, who gives them permits and the like, and so we gotta flip him.

I want to get an angle on this guy, some leverage, or a way in. I can’t QUITE justify it with command, since beating the info out of people isn’t subtle enough, and might turn him hostile, so I have to consort, a skill Sarge has a 0 in. We misread the +1 effect for doing it as a downtime action to +1d, while also applying the friendly contact +1d, not a big deal, we’ll just have to try to get it right next time.  In this case I ask for the help of Grace, an extortionist (who also happens to be Sarge’s wife), if she knows about this guy for another +1, I get some help from Loki, and push myself to bring me up to 4 total. My effort pays off in a crit! I suggest that this guy, Morlan Sevoy, doesn’t WANT to work for the Fog Hounds, but they are threatening a family member of his, who if we could take somewhere safe, he’d be willing to return the favor. Since I got a crit, my suggestion is taken, and so helping him out will likely be our next score.

We called it there, and did a bit of discussion on what our characters/crew was about. We’re Burning Wheel vets, so we wrote down some proto-beliefs to define our PCs and our gang a bit just so it’s easier to tell when we hit those notes. I’ve had better exp nights but it was pretty great for the crew and everyone else, crew is even pretty close to leveling up, although deciding what to spend that level up on will be pretty tricky. I might lobby for spending a veteran on the Breaker’s “War Dogs”, since the downtime we are losing for being at war HURTS, but there are a lot of fun options. We’ll see if we hit that exp mark next week and what seems most useful next week!

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