Wednesday, April 14, 2010

M.A/C.C - Alpha Test #3 (Session 4)

One of my friends is doing me a huge favor and running an alpha test of M.A/C.C for me so I can experience some of the stuff inside of it as a player. I'm using these reviews to both go over the session, as well as what I got out of it in relation to M.A/C.C itself.

First though, we have....The Cast

Archer McCullaine - An Irish cop in the fictional Massachusetts city of Croatoa. Archer just recently became a Detective in the Croatoa PD and is partnered with Detective Sergeant Charles Finley in the Homicide department. Unbeknownst to his partner, though known to his Grandfather who got him into the gig, at night Archer dons a mask and becomes the vigilante 'Bowman' (Hey, I didn't make it, and the player enjoys Kirby puns)

Arthur Leif - An 18 year old boy, and freshman in UMass Croatoa. Arthur's family moved to Croatoa over the summer after Arthur was the victim of some gang violence in their previous home city. The cause of that Gang Violence? Arthur wants to be a hero, and in the process of helping someone managed to royally piss off a gang.

Colin Mayhew - A 23 year old grad student from Essex England, Colin is looking to get through law school and has spent the last 5 years in the U.S.A. His life at present is fairly uninteresting, consisting of TA'ing a couple classes alongside the Grad class he is taking.

Gabriella Ricci - At 18 years old, Gabriella Ricci is the second oldest daughter or Arturo Ricci, a high level enforcer in the Bianchi Mafia syndicate. She is a freshman at UMass Croatoa where she is majored in Pre-Law and Political Sciences. When not in school, or playing Daddy's little princess, she sneaks out to underground fighting rings, and recently has found the thrill of taking on muggers to be a better kick.

The Session
Yesterday was a bit of a shorter session, and a bit slow. This wasn't due to the game itself (by common agreement of all involved) and more to do with the fact that this late in the semester everyone is stressed out and exhausted. Even still, game was had and game was fun.

The session started with a two and a half week skip time wise. Black Knight, British Ghost, and Bowman continued their investigation, while Gabriella tried to be a good girl and abide by her parents grounding her to not get in further trouble with them. The investigation turned up that the company, Sylvester Corp - who BK and Bowman thought might be involved with the killer that Bowman was investigating in his day job - had completely cleared out its main offices. Not particularly suspicious considering they were losing their grants, though a bit quick to be perfectly legit also. BK, Bowman, and Ghost could also find little evidence that much real science had ever been done in the building. Sylvester Corp does own another facility about 30 minutes south though, so it could be somewhere to check in to.

Grounded life for Gabriella, while the investigation is going on, is mostly boring. She goes to school, does her homework, and exercises while helping Mara out with her gymnastics. Essentially she is doing the cooped up at home thing, with a bit more of a bend on getting back fully into shape. Erik Bianchi arranges things so that Gabby can get a night out with him for a date. The only condition is it has to be a double date with Gabby's brother Romeo and his girlfriend. The two groups agree and go on their date, Romeo losing their security tail before letting Erik and Gabrielle out of the car. They agree to meet up elsewhere to go back, and each group goes their separate ways for the date. Though, sadly for Erik nothing much happens for him on his date.

As the week ends, the News picks up a story. A delivered tape shows several masked men (ski masks) with guns standing near four other men who are tied to chairs. Their message is simple, they dislike the vigilantes that have been going around and making things harder for business. That is the police's job, they have no issue with the legitimate authority, just the masked vigilantes. The four hostages? Each had claimed to be 'Bowman' at some point in time over the last week. The camera pans down, four gun shots ring out, and blood splatters on the floor. The group of PCs decide they need to intervene immediately, and all go to meet up at Sentinel's hide out.

At Sentinel's hide out they get a new piece of gear, communicators so they can keep in touch while on missions in costume. Scouring the video, they figure that it was taken in a building at the docks, making a guess as to where on the docks based on clues in the video they all head out to do some investigating. Ghost and Bowman provide security outside, hoping to attract the attention of the villains if possible while Vesper and Black Knight go searching through the buildings themselves.

The first building gives no results, but Bowman and Ghost attract the attention of security. Ending up in a small chase and scuffle when they realize the guards are illegaly armed and probably not as legitimate as they are pretending to be. Something that is further explained with the appearance of another masked vigilante, Lord British. A man dressed as an Old English gentleman who fights with a cane and his pocket watch. With the fight done, Ghost and Bowman round up the unconscious guards while Vesper and Knight check the second building. Finding several empty but sealed shipping crates with Japanese writing on them.

The third building however is pay dirt, they find the exact room that the video was taken in. A room cleaned so thoroughly it still smells of soap. Bits of broken wooden chair are on the floor, strange when it is realized that in the video they were metal chairs. How the bodies were disposed of is also found, but that too has been very thoroughly cleaned. Further searching of the room also finds a hidden compartment with several AR-15s and a still marked suit of Police Riot armor. Not sure what to do, but knowing they found the site of the homicide, they have Bowman call it in to his partner Finley. Bowman then gets changed into his normal clothes and "arrives" on the scene after his own tip to keep things under control while Vesper, Knight, and Ghost keep an eye on everything to pose as back up.

Alone in the building they found the scene of the crime in, Vesper's curiosity once again gets the better of her. Prying open a random box, this one marked in Italian, she finds coffee beans, and under them a stack of grenades over more AR-15s. Unsure what to do, and mind swirling, she takes one of the grenades to make sure they're real, closes the container over and sneaks out as Finley and the other officers arrive.

While Finley and Archer deal with the cleaning up at the docks, Vesper, Knight, and Ghost decide to do some follow up of their own. Heading to one of the underground fight clubs, they grab a low ranked member of the Shinpai Yakuza. Grilling him for information, they find out that it was the Italians that did the killing but the other two families were in on it. They also find out the name of the third family is the Lupan, and between the three Lupan, Bianchi, and Shinpai all of Croatoa is owned.

Information in hand, but it also being ridiculously late the group calls it a night. They have a lot to go over.

The session wasn't very mechanically heavy. However, it showed to me that the rules for Crime Scene investigation need to be gone over a bit more thoroughly. Making them easier to remember, and better able to flow smoothly. Though what was there did seem to work better.

I've also asked the GM to focus a bit more on the personal lives of the characters if he can at times. The game is about the dual identity as much as anything, and playing up the what is being sacrificed is important. Especially in a game about sacrifice.

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