A monster's bounty – A weird cyberpunk fantasy adventure – S1E02 Patience lost

Brief summary: Lt. Athen Smarte is a Hunter. Solitary warriors who hunt down and dispatch warp monsters. In last session she got a missing person’s report and when she investigated the last known whereabouts she came face to face with a Chimaera. A fire breathing winged goat with the head of a lion and a tail that ends in a dragon head. In the fight, she managed to exterminate it. As a side note she also came upon a drug exchange which lead to a shootout with the criminals.

The following threads are currently active:

  1. Monster hunting
  2. Resupply/acquire new gear
  3. Monster part vendor
  4. Drug exchange shootout

Also I am following SWADE’s advancement rules where there is no XP count, but one Advance per session. Athen gains an Advance. She will gain the Extraction edge. This will give her the option to disengage from melee without triggering an attack of opportunity.

Now I will focus out during the start of this session, running events as downtime.
For that I will be using several tools and rules. Quick Encounters and Interludes from SWADE, Waylays from BOLD and will start using the Background Surprise Events Oracle to see if any background events have triggered.
Time unit will be 24 hours.

I will give Athen 1 week of downtime before I switch back to adventure time.


April 12th
Find Merlin and try to sell him monster parts
Networking (Persuasion): Failure
Q: Does she find Merlin?
A: Yes
Q: Are the parts spoiled?
A: Yes, and they’re not usable at all

Athen heads to Gustav’s, the bar down the corner. In her backpack, are the chimaera remains. She looks around and in the corner she notices Merlin.
She walks up to his table. He seems a bit surprised to see her. “Come in the back alley, I’ve got something for you.” She says and walks out the service entrance of the bar. She waits by a huge dumpster for less than a minute, and the smuggler joins her.
“So you’ve considered my offer? got something for me?” He asks eagerly.
She turns her backpack upside down, and the chimaeras head and tail come tumbling down… along with a terrible stench.
Merlin is taken aback. “What sort of beast did you…! Oh such a pity. It’s rotten. The warp energies got to it. Can’t do much good with these darling, but appreciate the effort. Next time use a lead lined iso bag. Reduces the impact of warp radiation and environment conditions.”
Athen sighs. “Next time give me the heads up before I put my ass on the line.” She complains.
“Hey, you never asked.” He talks back.
She doesn’t answer. She knows when she’s wrong. She drops the head and tail in the dumpster and heads back home.

April 13th
Interlude: Downtime: Diamonds
She studies or works on an object of some sort.
Cleans up the pistol, readies it, repairs the armor.

The next day Athen decides to stay home and do some maintenance.
She takes apart her firearm, cleans it up thoroughly and puts it back together. She doesn’t want a weapon jam, and she already emptied a score of bullets on that beast. There’s gunpowder residue all around the barrel and shooting mechanism.
After this is done, she takes a good look at her vest. It saved her life. Thankfully the dragon bite didn’t do any permanent damage to it, and with some patching her vest is back in top shape.

April 14th
Ressuply ammo
Q: Is it illegal?
A: No, but restricted
Networking (Persuasion): Failure
Her permit has expired
Time for new permit: Long. 1 month.

During maintenance, Athen did an ammo count. It didn’t take long to count three bullets. She headed off to the nearest firearms store.
When her turn is up, she goes to the cashier. “50 .45 slugs.” She tells him.
He asks for her permit.
“Lieutenant, your permit has expired. You need to apply for a renewal.” He notifies her.
‘Crap.’ She thought. When she was in service, she didn’t have to go through all the bureaucratic loops. She fills out her papers once more, and gives them to the employee.
“How long?” She asks.
“4 weeks, give or take.” He answers.
She curses her lack of punctuality and heads back.

April 15th
Resupply ammo (other sources)
Networking (Persuasion): Success
Q: Does she find them from Merlin?
A: Yes, and he’s selling them at market price to her
She buys d6 worth of clips.

Athen isn’t going to sit tight and wait one month to get bullets. Instead, she goes back to Merlin.
“You’re becoming a regular darling!” He smiles.
“Cut the crap Merlin. I need bullets. .45 pistol.” She tells him.
“Alright. Since I want us to get along in good terms, as a sign of goodwill, I’m going to give them to you at retail price and not street price.” He tells her.
“That’s better.” She smiles back, and restocks, paying in cold hard cash.

April 16th
Interlude: Downtime: Spades
She spends some time in quiet contemplation

With all that’s transpire in the last few days, Athen decides to spend the day at home.
She doesn’t go out at all and spends time thinking about the shootout.
‘Who was this man?’ She’s certain she has seen his face somewhere. Her current theory is that he was involved in the drug exchange either as a client or as an intermediary.
Then she contemplated on the chimera she faced. She wonders if she should look for Svita. Maybe there’s more to it. But she quickly chases away that though. She knows better than to hope. Svita became a quick meal to the chimera, and most probably not the only one.

April 17th
Gather information about drug exchange shootout
Research (-2): Success
Did the mooks in the station survive?
Vigor: 1 Success, 1 Failure.
Q: Did she hear about it in the news?
A: Yes
Q: Did she find any information about the reputable servant?
A: No, it was about the gang
I will roll on UNE for gang power level: 77: Comparable
Intervention: Regress plot
She can’t find out anything more about it at the time, no one will talk about it.

Athen is in at Gustav’s listening to the radio. With warp energies abundant and satellites destroyed, the only acceptable mass broadcasts are once more the radio frequencies. Only the rich can afford cable connections, and even then, the intra-city network is still under construction.
Then, she picks up something of interest. “..criminal activities in Vertden are still evident. Just this week, passersby in the subway S2 line station came across the remains of one subject, shot. Police investigating the scene of the crime reported that the subject was involved in illicit activities involving the Third Eye psychohallucinogenic. On other news…”
“What’s that Third Eye?” she asks the bartender.
“Beats me, I try to steer clear. Keeping a night business reputable is really hard these times. Anything you do, you keep it out of here, you hear me?” He comes down hard on her.
“Geez man. Chill.” She cuts him off.
“Sorry. Just making sure the policy is clear.” The bartender states.
Athen continues her drink in silence.

April 18th
For the last day I will reveal the background events cards drawn, and also use BOLD for a waylay to start off the next adventure.
Background Surprise Events Oracle: No event
BOLD: Grim struggle (physical) overcome on accident
Q: Is it a random event?
A: False presupposition
Huh. It’s not an event. It’s something different than an event. It’s the start of a thread of the adventure.
BOLD states that the use of the solution can be rejected and the use of skill checks can replace it instead. Therefore I’m going to do that.
Also it states that physical struggle is never about combat, so that’s not an option to start with.

I’m quite at a loss at what the grim struggle could be about, so I’ll use a portent.
Portent: Rule conflict
So there is a conflict of rule… I’m starting to visualize something that could interpret this.
It has to do with the Hunters. A fellow Hunter mocks her ranking and taunts and challenges her.

Athen has arrived at Vertden FOB. It used to be a Forwards Operations Base back in the war, but it retained its name even though it switched functionality.
Now it’s home to the local Hunters guild. Athen hasn’t had any tips and without any reward money from the chimaera, things are a bit dry. Sometimes rumors about possible monster sightings are discussed in the mess hall, and the guild offers some compensation, which for the novice Hunters equals to a bunk for the night and canned food. If things go worse, Athen might have to spend the nights here.
She’s passing through the mess hall when she hears someone mocking her. At first she doesn’t realize he’s talking about her.

Taro

Donjon: Himeya “Assassin” Taro: Male Mercenary. Taro is thin, with blonde hair and bright amber eyes. He has a military cybernetic arm and carries an assault rifle. Taro is addicted to the street drug PBZ-3.
UNE: NPC Power Level: Much stronger
UNE: delightful conscript, offend poverty
UNE: NPC Bearing: fear, NPC Conversation Focus: weapons

“Came here for another can of meat, Smarte?” The man says. She’s heard this sarcastic voice before. It’s Taro. A haughty outranking asshole. “I have some orc ribs if you want to chew on them.” He laughs out loud. “I doubt you’d be able to hunt them down even if you starved for dinner. Especially with that little pistol of yours. That’s no weapon for a Hunter you must think of us fools if you want us to believe those stories of yours!” He keeps pushing it.

Taro: Taunt: Success++ (14)
Athen: Smarts: Failure (3)

“I’ll show you who is a Hunter you bigmouth asshole.” Athen snaps. She’s had enough these past few days.
“Bras de fer?” Taro asks smirking. “If I win you get the hell out of here.”
“And if you lose?” Athen asks having fallen to his trap.
“I won’t lose” He replies and places his arm on the table.

armwrestling

Q: Does Athen know about Taro’s cybernetic arm?
A: Yes, seems she doesn’t care
Q: Is it the left or right arm of Taro that’s cybernetic?
A: (1-3 Left, 4-6 Right): Left.
Q: Has he extended his left arm?
A: Yes

Since Athen Failed so hard against Taro’s taunt, she doesn’t pay attention to all the disadvantages. Taro has a cybernetic arm, and she is using her left arm, which will give her a -2 penalty.

The first character to net 3 successes wins. I will be drawing action cards as usual.

Taro: QH, Athen: 9S
Taro: Athletics: Success
Athen: Athletics: Failure

Taro: JC, Athen: 8C
Taro: Athletics: Success
Athen: Athletics: Failure: Benny: Failure

Taro: Joker, Athen: 8S
Taro: Athletics: Success

Athen sits across the table and extends her arm. They begin their match. Athen tries hard, with all her strength, but her left arm is not strong enough to counter Taro’s cybernetically enhanced limb. He pushes, and pushed, and her hand connects to the table.
“Get out of here you stinking bitch.” He spits down in front of her.

Wow I did not see that coming. I purposefully didn’t give Taro a Wild Card status to give Athen an edge, but everything went down so bad for her in terms of dice rolls.

Her nerves at an edge. She stands up. She knows better than to escalate it. Realizing that she fell for every trick on the table, Athen sighs. She leaves, realizing it’s going to be a while before she manages to show her face again in the base.

Time to create a story. I will use the two options from GMA and choose the one that generates the most tangible results.


Disturb Foe, Backstage.
A booming unnaturally loud voice
Glowing slitted eyes
Your ears suddenly pop
Jasmine flowers


A strike or protest, Stranded in the Wild, Bank being robbed
Festival, Factory, Village
Choice: A strike in the factory
A phone ringing
A dark bird watching
Eye stinging drips of sweat
Fried dough

From the Vice/Virtue combo I choose Temperance/Wrath
Name: Morikai
Mocking snickers
A suspicious hesitation
Numb teeth
Sharp spearmint

Style: Earth, Mystery
Tune: Tyr/Leadership: A just authority gets involved.


I’m going to combine some of the above to kickstart the next story.

Athen has just entered her apartment, still frustrated by the days events. ‘How did I fall for Taro’s play?’ She asks herself.
She goes to the basin and splashed some water over her face to wash away the bitter feeling of defeat, when her phone rings.
She’s so eager to cast away the thoughts that cloud her mind that she runs to pick it up, water still dripping from her face.

colonel

“Hey kiddo.” Says the voice on the other end. It’s Col. Leif Faulknen. Her commander from the war, and a veteran of the Hunters guild.
“Hey colonel.” She says back.
“Heard you came by the FOB today. I had something for you, but you never showed up.” He tells her.
“Yes sir.” She replies.
“I know about Taro. Don’t fret over it. You’re one of our best Hunters. Next time just don’t let him get to you.” He scolds her kindly.
“I know sir…” She begins to explain herself but the Colonel cuts her off.
“So there’s a possible prey at work in the Morikai Bread Factory. The workers are striking after another one of their own disappeared. Morikai himself is furious and wants the guild to act fast.”
“What kind of opposition to expect?” She asks.
“Reports from the workers are varying. Some say it has glowing slitted eyes. Others heard snickers, others heard a loud booming voice that made their ears pop. Take these with a grain of salt. You know how common folk are with fairy tales.” The colonel gives a briefing.
“When do I start?” She asks.
“Morikai is expecting you there already get a move on while it’s still daylight. I had a handful IRVPs for you at my desk, but you preferred to muscle it out with Taro instead of stopping by my office.”
“Yes sir.” She replied. She knows the colonel doesn’t like to hear excuses. He’s a man who likes people who own to their mistakes. Those infrared vision pills would be of great help though. She cursed silently once more.
“Dismissed.” The voice from the other end commanded, and she hang up the phone.

Session Summary

This session was mostly a filler session. I wanted to give a shot at the different event generation systems and other tools at my disposal.

Savage Worlds Interludes: Not much suited for my style of solo play. I understand their value in a social ttrpg as they really help with immersion. The player narrates a story and gets attached to their character. Maybe this would work for a bullet type journal solo play as well. But since I’m already narrating the mechanics I found no added value here. I might give it another shot in the future, but I’m a bit hesitant.

Savage Worlds Quick Encounters: I had already used focus in and focus out in other game systems and this was a similar experience. Worked as expected without any issues. Nothing more to say here.

BOLD: One of my favorites. Although I’ve used waylays in the past for generating character background,
I’ve never used it this way. I will need some more experience to get a better hang of it.

GMA: So much information in a few cards. An excellent tool for solo play. A simple monster hunting mission has taken flesh. Workers on strike, a bread factory contradicting reports. Now I have a starting point.

I’m not sure Athen is entitled to an advance after this session. After all it was too focused out and with too much downtime to justify it.