[Danger Patrol] AXE COP at Gamestorm 12

edited March 2010 in Actual Play
I go through phases where I fervently believe that ALL GAMES ARE X, where X is whatever game has recently made a huge impression on me in play. Previous incarnations of this have included Dogs, Roach, and, uh, Nobilis, but at the moment it's Danger Patrol. Except Axe Cop is REALLY Danger Patrol, because they're both heavily informed by Saturday morning cartoons (with all the bloodless violence, arbitrary plot twists and melodrama that implies) and they're both things where you combine two words to get a character.

I decided to run DP:AC at Gamestorm weeks ago, then put off all my prep for it until half an hour before the game started. Fortunately, the players (and the game) were very forgiving of my pantseat-flight. The system required no hacking; I just reskinned the roles and styles and let the players make up their own weapons and special moves.

The roles/dice were:

Cop: Roll when you investigate, hold tryouts, or do other police-related things.
-Arang: Roll when you throw things/people or apply nonlethal force.
Soldier: Shoot, make a frontal assault or hold your ground.
Man: Think very hard or mutate.
Baby: Fool someone with your innocent looks, or get thrown.
Rex: Stomp or bite.
Ninja: Sneak, assassinate or vanish.
Dog: Be faithful or pick up a trail.

The styles were Axe, Dinosaur, Uni-, Doctor, Psy, Sock, Vampire and Wolf. I was in a hurry and I hadn't bothered to make up powers and talents for all the cards, so I just gave everybody Alien Awesome Origin for one of the talent slots and made up the other once people had picked their cards.

Harry picked Wolf-Arang, a boomerang-shaped wolf who could be thrown bodily or detach and throw his wooden boomerang tail. His powers were the Intrepid's All For One and an -Arangized version of the Robot's Detachable Flying Head (basically, the returning throw allowed him to split his die pool). I can't remember what his talent was.

Michael was Vampire Rex, a... vampire Tyrannosaurus Rex. Just picture the teeth. He was fully T-Rex-sized, but with a tiny human-sized black cloak flapping around his neck. His Vampire talent was a vampire-bite version of the Warrior's Fighting Spirit. His powers were Mist Form, which allowed him to reduce a hit and get a +1 on his next roll, and the Warrior's Momentum.

After the first act, Twyla joined in as Psy-Ninja. The Psy talent and power came right off the Psychic, and the Ninja power was the Daredevil's Acrobatic Dodge. Note: Psy-Ninja was of indeterminate gender, so for the rest of this post I will be using "ninja" as a pronoun.

We also had John and Carl providing peanut gallery commentary and suggesting a lot of great over-the-top ideas. I think John got down at least a couple choice quotes, too.


  • edited March 2010
    And now...

    Last time, on Danger Patrol: Axe Cop!

    Wolf-Arang and his owner, a little Australian boy named Timmy, watched in pride as the evil Ice Cream Man was driven off in the back of a police van.

    Vampire Rex could only watch in horror as his best friend, Lamp-Nose the caveman, was kidnapped by the meteorite that killed the dinosaurs.

    Act One

    Wolf-Arang and Vampire Rex were hanging out at the police precinct (it goes without saying that all characters in Axe Cop are, if not actual cops, then at least deputized). They didn't have long to wait, however, because Psydrozon was outside! (Psydrozon is a giant robot man with swords.)

    He was smashing his way through the city, accompanied by Robot Babies who were wreaking their own miniature forms of havoc. Also, one of the power lines Psydrozon had cut with his swords had fallen into an apartment building and set it on fire. Worst of all, a woman and her hapless child were right under Psydrozon's foot!

    Clearly, the first move was to throw Wolf-Arang at them.

    I'm having trouble remembering the exact course of the battle, but I know that two Robot Babies merged to form the considerably more menacing Robot Teen (he smoked), and that another Robot Baby smashed open the pet store to chase a herd of puppies directly toward the burning building. Wolf-Arang howled loud enough to scatter them while Vampire Rex took on Psydrozon with some epic power moves, but in doing so, smashed the precinct to rubble and triggered a meltdown at the nuclear power plant located suspiciously nearby. Our heroes managed to channel the blast downward, rocketing the plant off into space wholesale and carrying Psydrozon's pet Psyworm off with it.

    [There was a lot of Danger produced by these rolls--I got to introduce both Psyworm and the nuclear meltdown in mid-battle--but that was only because Harry and Michael were gleefully grabbing Danger Dice themselves. I think Vampire Rex had his Danger Meter almost halfway charged before the end of the scene. They actually rolled pretty well, making heavy use of their talents and -Arang and Rex dice.]

    The populace was grateful for the heroes' intervention, but The Chief was furious about his destroyed precinct and demanded that they hand over their badges... again. (They tried to comply, but when Wolf-Arang tried to toss his badge it just came right back, and Vampire Rex's arms were too tiny to reach his own.)

    It was just then that Wolf-Arang's owner Timmy chased one of the rescued puppies around the corner into an alley--and vanished! Clearly something more sinister than mere robot attacks was afoot, and without the police to back them up, our heroes had only one way to get the assistance they needed.

    They had to have tryouts.
  • edited March 2010
    Act Two

    Back at their secret hideout cave, a line of would-be superheroes quickly formed at the tryouts table, but none were sufficiently impressive until Psy-Ninja appeared--behind them, and above them, and on either side. Vampire Rex and Wolf-Arang didn't entirely trust ninja, and there was some kid-logic here that allowed ninja to prove ninjaself by being a bad friend (?) and following one path of investigation while they pursued another. I'm still not entirely sure how this was worked out, but it sounded good at the time.

    I gave the players three potential avenues of inquiry to pursue for their Suspense scene: evidence of Timmy's disappearance; the method by which Psydrozon was able to suddenly appear in the middle of the city; and who had approved the zoning for a nuclear power plant so close to downtown. For some crazy reason, nobody chose to chase my thrilling urban-planning plot, so Psy-Ninja started asking around to see who had witnessed Psydrozon's entrance while Vampire Rex and Wolf-Arang tried to analyze some clues.

    Wolf-Arang got into a confrontation with a reporter over his alleged complicity in destroying the precinct and his rumored case of rabies, but in chasing her out of the secret lair, spied a strange robotic figure lurking around the entrance before teleporting away. Shortly thereafter, in town, Psy-Ninja's inquiries spooked a man in an extremely tall hat with a briefcase; ninja chased him down, knocking the hat off to reveal that he was a robot with an extra brain attached to his head, and that his case contained maps of the Secret Giant Tunnel Into The City For Psydrozon.

    Vampire Rex, who was (somehow) making better Dog rolls than Wolf-Arang, followed some kind of trail and went crashing off into the forest outside the city. He soon noticed that all the animals (who usually complained loudly about his mess) were totally silent. He looked up as a shadow fell over him to see an enormous rectangular UFO ghosting overhead, toward the city. He quickly took to the air, using his dinovampire talent to turn into a Ptero-Bat, and flew by it to see two things: "This ship produced by Psydrozon Shipyards 3010" stencilled on one side, and Timmy banging on a barred window just above it.

    The heroes reunited at the secret hideout and piled into the Rex-Arang Copter, piloted by an invisible Psy-Ninja (...or was it?!). They battled flying Psydrones on approach and effected a thrilling midair telekinetic rescue-arang of both the hapless reporter in her crashing news-copter and a bag of puppies the Psydroship dumped for ballast. Vampire Rex leapt directly into the mouth of the ship, using Mist Form to narrowly avoid vaporization from its defense lasers, while Psy-Ninja smashed up through the ship's weak point (thoughtfully labelled "Weak Point: Please Do Not Smash") and into a nest of Psybrains inside.

    [In game terms, the ship was a Threat 8 with Resistance 2 linked to the Threat-1 Weak Spot, and I think the Psydroships were Threat 3; they were also staged, so the ship couldn't be attacked until the drones were destroyed. The falling news copter was a Countdown-1 Threat 2. I didn't get to inflict too much disastrousness, aside from the falling puppies--they kept doing massive hits to the ship despite its resistance--until Psy-Ninja busted in on the brains and immediately rolled a ton of Danger. The scene was about done at that point, so I had ninja's attempt to overwhelm the brains with Psy-power backfire, leading to ninja getting an evil brain stuck to ninja's head and take control--it was a follow-up Threat that ninja would have to take on first in the next scene.]

    Vampire Rex rampaged through the ship and Wolf-Arang, close behind, grabbed Timmy just before the whole thing came plowing down into the middle of the city. They leapt clear and saw that no one was running away from the crash site... because thousands of people had been Psybrained! Not only that, but Psyworm was back from outer space, radioactive and angry.
  • Act Three

    It was time for a huge fight!

    But I'm getting tired of typing all this, so highlights: Psy-Ninja overcame the brain with help from Vampire Rex, who sowed vampirism among the brainheads, causing them to grow vampire teeth out of their brains and (naturally) turn good. Wolf-Arang's spinning body sliced Psyworm open, and Psy-Ninja leapt into the gap to detonate its nuclear heart and ride the explosion out... swordfirst. The Psybrained reporter was cured, apparently by magic, with the only clue a ninja-masked puppy sitting on her head. The Chief handed out badges again and congratulated them on a job well done.

    Next time, on Danger Patrol: Axe Cop!

    I can't remember who exactly it was, but a villain somewhere glanced up to find a ninja-masked puppy sitting on his head--a warning from Psy-Ninja that he was next. Meanwhile, Wolf-Arang and Timmy rode a burning meteor into the atmosphere... and on the opposite side, Vampire Rex and Lampnose battled it every step of the way!
  • I have nothing to add except that this was easily the most giggling I did all weekend.
  • Oh, dear lord. Why did you have to introduce me to the bizarre-ness that is Axe Cop? Now I want to try this out, too!

    ...I don't think any of my friends would dare try it...

    ...I need new friends...
  • All Games Are Now This.
  • The look on Twyla's face when she described Psy-Ninja leaving ninja-masked puppies as calling cards... priceless.

    Carl: "Is the answer to every question in this game 'Yes'?"
    Everyone Else: "YES."

    "I found Timmy!"
    "Where is he?"
    "He's trapped on a spaceship from the future!"
    "To the Ptero-Copter!!"

    "Remember, I have rabies, and she just took a ride in my mouth."

    "I was not informed these were Pope brains."
  • Posted By: John HarperCarl: "Is the answer to every question in this game 'Yes'?"
    Everyone Else: "YES."
    This, of course, is the genius of Danger Patrol (and the underlying thrill of Axe Cop): it distracts you with cool powers and dice while its thematic material sneakily opens up your brain and lets the ideas out, unhindered, in a very classic Johnstone-style improv exercise. And just as in improv, the laughter is a byproduct of those ideas interacting with clever people.

    ... But you didn't hear it from me.
  • edited March 2010
    Children are ready masters of Impro: do/say the obvious thing.

    Often the most obvious thing is the first creative impulse that pops into your head. The result is hilarious fun: Axe Cop.

    Over time, societal instruments beat these impulses out of most of us.

    RPG'ers resist.

    The best role-playing games weaponize this Resistance.

    Danger Patrol is one such weapon.

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