Wednesday, February 13, 2008

[Sombra Console] Saving them wasn't enough

Something interesting happened in our last session of Sombra Console. Something I really did not expect.

If you're not familiar with it, Sombra Console is my clumsy hack of Shadowrun 2nd edition. It's fun, but far from elegant.

So, we were on our third session. We've just about acclimated to the setting and the rules, and we knew we were at the climax of the first mission. The 'runners had tracked down, called out, suckered and captured the bad guy. We started the session by talking about what they were going to do with him now that they had him. The players quickly settled on taking him to a little safehouse for some interrogating. Cool.

For a brief moment I mentally blanked and forgot that the mission was to find out what was going on. One interrogation roll and one hacking roll later and the 'runners had finished the mission. Whoops. It was only maybe thirty minutes into play. Not the greatest pacing job I'd ever done. So what was I to do? Escallate, of course!

That's when interesting thing number one happened. By way of a phone call from an associate, I reveal that the city blocks the characters were investigating was about to turn into a mini war zone. The PCs hurry over to get involved. When I describe the scene I go one step to far. Suddenly the situation looks completely out of reach for the PCs to do anything about. The players pull back and I can tell that I've accedentally gone and GM-blocked them.

Damn. Jumped the shark.

We resolved the situation by pulling back and getting all meta. We talked about what options seemed reasonable for their characters to pursue. Do nothing and go collect their money? Reasonable. Storm into one of the buildings and be the spear-head of the counter insurgency? Reasonable. Get on their stealth boat, sneak up to one of the aging military submarines, sneak onboard and take that sucker over? The lights go on again. Situation averted. A submarine is stolen, jacked into, and intentionally crashed into another submarine. Rock on.

Interesting thing number two was the aftermath. The PCs had not only figured out who was doing the dastardly deed, but they also got involved and stopped it. About ten thousand low income orks and trolls keep their homes. Mr. Johnson shows up and drops some bonus cash on them. They collect their sideline cash from the fishmonger who'd have gone out of business without the troll customers. I figured that would be the final curtain on that mission. A job well done and cash in hand.

I was wrong.

There wasn't even a heartbeat of a break between the narration of the cash handover and the discussion of how they were going to publically ruin the company that was responsible for this little bit of attempted racial clensing. Cybereye footage of the interrogation and bits of video that implicated the company were immediately sent out into cyberspace. News media were alerted. The Crimson Maple Leaf of Canada had their reputation on the island completely thrashed in about thirty minutes of game time.

In retrospect, I'm not sure how come I never saw it coming. I made those suckers out to be pure bastards. But I didn't, which made it even more sweet when we played it out.

Sombra Console is shaping up to be pretty damned interesting.