Actual Play: Devil Survivor 22XX – Session 10 – Tuesday (Part 2) (Plus recap for sessions 8&9)

As mentioned in my previous post, we have met twice in the last month. During which time, Caine and Venkata decided to swing by the protest, only to discover it had turned into a full blow riot, and the police were cracking down hard. The two of them managed to locate O’Connor, who had been injured, and managed to help him get off the promenade. They then retreated to a safe house that O’Connor knew about. They explained their situation and decided to give O’Connor the Demon summoning program, who in turn is likely to provide it to his resistance.

The next morning, they met Caine’s new Demon, Frost Ace. While O’Connor has managed to summon a lady in an american flag get up, who introduced herself as Columbia. They talked a bit more with O’Connor, who, while he didn’t know much about the information they were looking for, offered to set them up with one of his contacts in security who did. They agree to meet with him in an abandoned sector of the building, and after a period of their demons feeling like they were being watched, they hear a scream coming from their meeting point.

We start off session 10 there, with the two men kicking in the door to find their contact, and several demons eating through the walls to get at them. They decide that there are too many of them and decide to book it, when at the same time they get an email from the same source that informed them about the lockdown early on in the game.

The politely informs them that they have about 5 minutes to get out of that sector before it is “purged”, and provides them an outdated map of an evacuation route. Venkata manages to piece together their next best bet, and the three of them run, being pursued by demons (Mothmen). Caine, with Frost Ace’s help, manages to outrun the Mothmen, but Venkata rolls garbage and is almost caught. A few mothmen get through the exit right on their heels, as the sector is sealed off by a heavy iron door.

The PA system comes to life and a voice informs them to stand clear in case of “leakage”, and all the demons (friend and foe alike) double over in pain, while their contact doesn’t seem very comfortable either. The two player characters themselves though, are fine, although their COMPs seem to be working on overdrive. Caine tries to carry Frost Ace away while Venkata uses this chance to finish off the Mothmen.

They get to a space that they feel safe, and settle down to talk to their contact, who introduces himself as Jack Martin. He isn’t feeling too great after what happened, which Frost Ace calls a “Magnetite Burst”, but does teh best he can to answer their questions.

Ryan is trying to get control over the COMPs, and thereby, the Demon Summoning Program, supposedly there are some crazies out there who are summoning demons and letting them free, like the Mothmen they encountered previously. Further, Ryan certainly doesn’t want his enemies having those COMPs either. Still, Jack says that Caine and Venkata might be able to leverage their talents with the program to work with Ryan if they want to.

He doesn’t know much about the lockdown, nor does he really know much about the cult, but he does recommend that Venkata’s mother might know more, which Ven isn’t too happy about, but he doesn’t have much choice. They say their goodbyes and we call it there.

I was flying by the seat of my pants this session, and I didn’t give the PCs much opportunity to make many decisions, but overall I think it went alright. Looking forward to next week!

Daydreaming About West Marches 

I’ve been having a craving for some good old-fashioned dungeon crawling lately, and that feeling that I could maybe squeeze just one more game in. Still I am not sure I want to have another regularly scheduled time that I have to dedicate solely to a game, and something more flexible I think would be more up my alley. And, like many gamers, I’ve read the classic blog posts about the West Marches style of play a few times before. While I’ve always kind of liked the idea behind it, my current gaming cravings are actually making me seriously consider starting up a West Marches game for the first time.

For those of you not familiar with the West Marches style game (and don’t want to read the link above), my key takeaways from it are as follows:

  • Exploration/Dungeon Crawl Focused: Classic old-school play, go out into the wilderness, and try to make your fortune braving ancient traps and terrible beasts. Not much of a ‘plot’ so much as getting rich and discovering the secrets of the region.
  • Dynamic Group/Scheduling: Unlike a normal game, there isn’t a set time or group, a session happens whenever the GM and enough players can get together to play one. This allows you to have a large group of people involved in the game while still keeping player count for actual sessions reasonable. It also means that sessions are not held up because someone is “missing” you just play with who is there.
  • Player Driven: Players are in charge of scheduling the sessions, and coming up with their goals for the session. The GM will come up with content, as well as rumors and clues to help give the players ideas, but the actual focus of the game is on what the players want to do.

That’s hitting all my buttons of what I want from my gaming right now, and so I figure it might be fun to give it a shot.

Thus far I am still in the high concept stage and haven’t started getting a group together or anything, but I’ve kinda been daydreaming and brainstorming for a little bit. In no particular order:

  • I’m thinking either D&D Basic (likely Moldvay), or, Torchbearer. Torchbearer is probably what I’d go with if I have my druthers, but it requires a little bit of hacking for a West Marches style game, and old D&D probably has a slightly lower buy-in threshold. Probably don’t want to do a modern D&D, as much as I love 4e, and do enjoy 5e, but the conventions have shifted away from a survivalist, resource management, style of play.
  • For the region, I am thinking of a place called “The Gulf of False Hope”. Across the sea from civilization, the Gulf has seen numerous settlement attempts in ages past, but all have fallen as the once great civilizations crumbled. The game takes place a few generations into a new settlement attempt, with some semblance of civilized society and established towns near the coast, while the interior is still mostly wilderness, with ruins of the previous attempts dotting the landscape.
  • Basically, just enough civilization to give the PCs a safe haven when they need it, but most of the region still being ripe for exploration.
  • I definitely want to include a mix of content:
    • Sources drawing from classic D&D modules, cool stuff I found online, some cleaned up random generator stuff, and of course plenty of my own content and creations.
    • I want to have plenty of stuff that new players could handle, but also stuff that might be out of the league of starting characters.
    • I think also a mix of vary serious fantasy stuff, and also some of the more goofy crap found in old D&D as well.
  • Actual ideas for content include:
    • A powerful green dragon makes its home in the area. Very dangerous, but its laid likely contains vast riches…
    • Beyond the mountains lies a desert, including a great trap filled pyramid.
    • Speaking of the mountains, I’d like to hide this classic module somewhere in there.
    • Some god old fashioned ruins, tombs of long lost knights, abandoned dwarven halls, an ancient coliseum, and crumbling castles
    • The Gulf itself is full of ancient wrecks and potential plunder,
      but also protected by creatures of the deep that have made their home there.
  • Definitely would like to meet new people and expand my IRL playgroup though this, perhaps encouraging established players to bring friends?

Still really in the daydreaming phase at this point, will let you all know if this goes anywhere!