Friday, 11 May 2012

Director's Submissions: Blaze of Glory, Part 2

I am the Warden!!

I'd like to start this next installment of Director's Submissions with an apology and correction. In my last post, I mentioned the name of the mark written for Blaze of Glory was "Richard Chevalier," but I forgot one crucial detail. One of they key details of the Kickstarter reward level was the mark would be named after the Director (or the Director would be allowed to choose the mark's name). Therefore, the name of Blaze's mark is actually Michael Brightbill and my apologies to the real, unmurdered Mr. Brightbill for that oversight.

Now let's get back to the task of killing the fake Mr. Brightbill.

Yesterday ended up being a rather late day juggling many tasks, but the first draft of Blaze of Glory is done and awaiting my own review. I have to say this is probably the first all-out action job yet written (and if you think Final Justice was steeped in action, you ain't seen nothing yet). It's a job where there's very little detective work for the assassins to do, yet still a major benefit should they try. If anything, the rest of it plays out like a military game with the level of violence and the size of the guns involved.

As I was writing this job, I reflected back to my earlier comments on keeping Killshot a game of grey rather than solid black-and-whites. Was I going back on that promise with this job? If it's just a big shoot-em-up, all the assassins have to worry about is point and shoot and that's about as black-and-white as it gets. Was there a way I could play up on the hidden emotional plight of the situation in the midst of all this violence?

The Death Scene

The idea which slapped me across the face is one of those ideas you wish you'd come up with months ago during the original development of the game. A death scene. Must like a treasure hunting RPG's focus is on recovering the lost relic, the object of Killshot is killing your mark. It's the end of a journey, the purpose to starting the game in the first place. It should come with some momentous reward to the players and the first one coming to mind was read aloud text. Whenever a gamemaster turns to the page and offers prepared descriptions and dialogue, the players know they have unlocked something important that the author felt is necessary to facilitate read aloud text. It's the same as the animatic sequence in a video game when you kill a boss and it only makes sense for Killshot to implement the same effect.

Read aloud text always include one hitch: there has to be enough room for variations based on the effects of the game played at your table. For example, if the assassins blow the mark's head off with a shotgun, he won't be giving any final words of wisdom or repentance as his heart beats for the last time. So there may well be times when the death scene has to be heavily modified, but it does give me, the author, opportunity to add that sad element to the job after every machine gun in sight has been reloaded multiple times and grenades have been tossed aplenty. Remember, the mark is dying of leukemia. He asked for the assassins to help fulfill his final request to die in battle like the soldier he's always wanted to be. Unlike other marks who resist and curse the assassins for thwarting his plans to, you know, live, Brightbill (the mark) welcomes it, appreciates it, and sheds a tear of joy. Despite the incredible destruction and innocent lives involved (meaning those mercenaries the mark hired to act as his soldiers, so they're really not that innocent), this is a mercy killing.

The death scene gives Directors the option to remind players of this strange twist on the job, hence adding the required shade of grey to an otherwise Rambo-like event.

Presenting... Michael Brightbill, Dead Man

For those backers who have immediate access to all the material I've been working on, your time will come. The first person to get a crack at reading and commenting on this job will be the real Michael Brightbill. Until then, here is a screen cap of the stat block for the mark.