Monday, 22 October 2012

Just Play, Dammit (or How I Finally Got To Be An Assassin)

I am the Warden!!

Friday night was a major event for two reasons. First, I was finally able to present my Development Team for Killshot with hardcover copies of the book as a token of appreciation for all of their hard work, time, and effort playing, critiquing, and improving this game of assassination. Second, I got to play an assassin.

That's right. I relinquished my Director's chair to my buddy, Nick (literally and figuratively - it's not a true director's chair, but it is larger, softer, and more impressive compared to the dining room chairs the players use), who volunteered to run a job for us last night. No pressure on creating, running, and ruling on a game; I could just play. Not that I didn't chime in character recommendations, quick rule references, and such because my instinct is to be the Director. As my fiancee put it, things sure did sound like I was still running a game from the adjoining living room. But once the action was rolling, I shut the fuck up.

For the evening's festivities, I rolled up an Enforcer/Hunter by the name of "Father" James Heathridge (yeah, I stole a name from another job), so nicknamed because he was once a man of the cloth who one day got his hands bloody and began walking down a dark path. While I had originally intended for the Father to be a fist fighter, I switched him out to a firearms expert with +1d6 towards unarmed attacks so there was always a back-up option (and it would allow me to use Dual Strike unarmed or with any weapons mastered through my Weapons Expert benefit).

I had a blast and not just because I was thrilled to finally play (something that never happens when you design your own independent RPG). Aside from offering me the standard fare I've been dishing out to them for months on end, we were tossed a bone. A Cthulhu bone, if you will. Released from our respective prison cells by a clandestine organization (assuming from the tremendous effort they went through to spring us from the slammer), we were charged with eliminating three kidnappers who had snatched an unidentified subject known only as the High Value Target (HVT). We had all the information we needed on the three kidnappers, other than where they currently resided, and were hired to dispose of all four targets.

Right away, our suspicions were raised. Why go to all this trouble? Couldn't they just do it themselves? The only likely scenario we could comprehend was a patsy job - we pull the trigger, we take the fall. Then when it turned out the kidnappers' leader was a congressman's son, we were positive just how screwed we were. However, our goal became finding the sons of bitches who freed us and that meant taking it to the kidnappers. Find them and we'll find out who wants them dead so badly.

That's when a get a blip on my phone - a message through Facebook from Nick, the Director. It reads as follows.
Do not show this to anyone at the table. You are not just a criminal, you are a government sleeper agent assigned to kill each of your partners after they have completed their mission. Upon completion of your objective, you are to relay your position and status of this order.
Poker faced, I put the phone away and adapted my assassin's background. While his purpose changed, I wanted to keep him as a deeply religious man who perhaps fell from his divine status for other reasons beyond just crime. In keeping with my new insider role, I made a point of mocking the rest of the group for their paranoid thoughts and told them they were crazy, no government agents are waiting in the wings trying to kill them.

It didn't take long to track down one of the kidnappers in the city, a common dope dealer named Gregor who was the driver in the whole kidnapping ordeal. After watching him for a few hours and in the midst of planning on means of entry, we caught sight of a pair of large thugs getting ready to make their move and kill Gregor themselves (based on their need to hide locked and loaded Mac-10s behind their back after ringing the doorbell). We pounced and dispatched the thugs like ghosts in the wind, using the commotion to storm the house and take Gregor with us.

During his interrogation - which I thought went well, seeing as all we did to him was shoot him in both feet before he squealed out everything he knew - we learned there was no person kidnapped. It was a cat crate; an animal. What the...? As he was only the driver, Gregor didn't have much to offer and became the bait for arranging a meeting between us and the kidnappers. They were staying in a mobile home in a national park just a few hours outside of the city. Times were arranged and a meeting was set for the early morning hours.

The small town nestled just outside of this park was Strangeville, USA. Not really, but this place was odd to say the least and it had one of the assassins creeped out. When we stopped at a gas station/diner to fill up, there were people inside pretending to eat non-existent food off their plates, serving empty cups of coffee, and droning on like robots in reboot mode. Things were starting to get bizarre.

Skipping ahead to the bulk of this situation, we met up one of the kidnappers outside their mobile home. The Sniper's sights were locked for the kill shot, but there was still one man missing - their leader. And where was he? Swimming at the local pool. "Take us there."

What awaited us is where the Cthulhu reference comes into play. The pool was now filled with a swirling mass of human effluence, bone matter, and blood as residents of Strangeville mindlessly dove into the pool to feed this creature, a strange alien lifeform freed by the kidnappers in some maligned plot to "do the right thing." It even tried to manipulate my assassin's mind and convince him to join them all for a dip before my devout belief in God saved me before my big toe made contact. Oh, and their leader? He was already one with the goo.

Aware of just how fucked up this job had become, we popped the two sentient kidnappers out in the parking lot and proceeded to grab as much chlorine as could be found in the building, dumped it in the pool, and made plans to high tail it the hell out of there. While the other Teammates were scrambling to jump the fence, I was torn. This giant vortex of guts and slime was certainly not what a devout Catholic like me signed up for when I took this assignment and having been almost manipulated into killing myself, it made sense to me for my assassin to view this formless creature as a demon servant of Satan. I was hired by the Devil and was damned to Hell. That would not do, monseigneur.

Hammering blades of military helicopters exploded onto the scene. Delta Force was on the scene. (No Chuck Norris or Lee Marvin, however.) Seeing as I was itching to get into a big fight since finding out I was going to play, Father told the other two to make a run for it while I held these clowns at bay. My weapons? Unfortunately, nothing more than a shotgun and two pistols (mastered weapons, boosted by my Weapons Master benefit). I did not last past the first series; two Deltas were dropped and I avoided a lot of damage at first through my Survival pool, but was no match for the remaining three shots that brought me down and out permanently.

And it was fucking fun. If I never get a chance to play Killshot as an assassin again, I'm glad there was this one and it was memorable to say the least. Would I have prefered to have kicked ass and saved the day singlehandedly? Absolutely, but that doesn't mean it's because I didn't play it right or was screwed by the dice. I was going up against some of the best in the business with nothing more than a baseball bat and bubble gum... and I was all out of bubble gum. And then I was all out of Health.

What's today's lesson, boys and girls? Sometimes, dying can be fun, but only after killing an alien creature rescued from a top secret government facility to become the apocalypse of a small town and you're standing in a hallway taking on America's most elite urban fighting unit in an effort to save your soul from the corruption of the Dark Lord, Satan.