I was finally able to playtest my Mouse Guard hack Down in the Hole, which is for police drama in the style of The Wire. We are playing via Skype, and the first session, character recruitment and delving into the first GM turn, went without technical trouble.
The players are Joe, John and Pete. Both John and Pete are old-hand Burning Wheel/Empires and Mouse Guard guys, Joe less so, although I once dragged him through Burning Empires planet and character creation. I've known and played with Joe for years, while I only know John and Pete from the BW forums.
Recruitment is a step by step process, and we went though it just like that after quickly deciding to set our game in London, present day, among the Metropolitan Police. It was suggested by Joe that we touched upon human trafficking in our game, and we also agreed that we would draw the line at children as victims.
Here come the three police officers:
Detective Sergeant Ravinder Kumar, played by Joe.
Kumar is 28 years old, London-born, and part of a huge family. His style is hip, sharp, urban.
CREDO: You just need to find their price.
INSTINCT: Family comes first. Well, ladies come first. Then family.
BURDEN: The job doesn't pay, not even after I got promoted. There's still bills to pay.
Traits: Well dressed, sense of duty, diplomatic.
Joe picked some interesting gear: Adidas, iPod, mobile, Zone 4 Tube Pass.
DS Douglas Harris, played by Pete.
Harris is 32, and from Canada. His style is flashy.
CREDO: I will be police chief, my family expects nothing less.
INSTINCT: Never delay while on a case, crack on and get things done.
BURDEN: Scientology is helping me deal with my post-traumatic stress.
Traits: Ambitious, impulsive.
Unarmed, only gear is his badge.
Tony Riley, played by John.
Riley is just about ready for his pension, 52 years old. His style is pricey 'cheap' suit.
CREDO: Criminals today just haven't got half the class as the lads from the old days.
INSTINCT: Always look the other way when a copper does something wrong.
BURDEN: I will protect my daughter Susan from the sorts of low-lifes that London has.
Traits: Thoughtful, Jaded, well dressed, methodical, ambitious.
Every player also names their character's mentor, friend and enemy, which will be the beginning of a relationship map. We got an MP, a Detective Superintendant, a family member, a lawyer, among others.
Under normal circumstances, the GM will take all this information and use it to prep the upcoming sessions, especially in terms of challenging the characters' Credos and Burdens and well as construction the beginning of a case that the group will have to work. In this case we decided to crack on and I had to come op with something on the fly. I had an idea that I was thinking about on the way home from work, so I just went with that and took it from there.
Our three officers were on night duty and got called to a shooting incident in Chelsea, where a fellow officer had been gravely wounded by gun shots. Kumar worked the scene, helped by Riley, who went round to nearby houses to find witnesses. I set an obstacle of 3 (in my rules, that's the basic number for case-related obstacles in this early phase of game), Joe failed his roll, but let him succeed with the condition angry.
Then Harris went to work on the shot officer's collegue, trying to pry out the shaken young man what had happened, since he had witnessed it all. Roll failed again, but I let it succeed and gave Harris the condition tired.
Before going back to the station, Riley wanted to get access to the CCTV camera footage from the local area, which he managed easily (obs 1 I decided), and the characters are just about to watch the footage on Harris's computer. We decided to break here.
Questions, feedback, comments?