Red Shift – the story so far

(I’m copying a couple of posts I made at Google+ for the sake of completeness and to avoid the Empty Blog syndrome that conjures the demons Blokk and Lackspiration)

First session of Red Shift my new Night’s Black Agents campaign has just finished and I have to hand it to +Pelgrane Press Ltd and +Kenneth Hite – the system worked so well we had a blast. Highlights included an inventive use of Reassurance (after first providing an imaginary threat that the subject needed Reassurance against… “Fucking Liam Neeson bullshit” as he commented afterward), a Thriler car chase through the crowded Medina streets of Marrakech, and a brief encounter with a mysterious Arabic gentleman who for some reason didn’t show up on the hidden cameras our surveillance expert had planted around the Saadian Tombs.

The Roll20 Incident board idea I implemented worked well… and is now looking a whole lot busier.

The second episode of Red Shift took place yesterday evening and I have to say that Night’s Black Agents is proving to be one of the most enjoyable role-playing systems I’ve used in many years of trying lots of different ones. The mechanics of the game just get out of the way and let the players make appropriate genre-appropriate decisions and actions and everything conveys the right thriller atmosphere.

In last night’s episode our intrepid freelancers fled from the mysterious Arab gentleman in the Saadian tombs who luckily seemed strangely reluctant to follow them into the sunlit streets of Marrakech. Still in the possession of the mysterious package they’d recovered from a low-life English art-thief they retreated to their safe house and discovered the package contained a sheaf of several centuries-old documents in Latin. Realising there were at least two other parties interested in this package, both of whom had shown a willingness to take extreme measures to get hold of them, they decided to drive out overnight toward Casablanca to go to ground.

Alas for tracking devices and rival teams that also have Electronic Surveillance… a car chase on the A7 highway ensued which ended with our heroes out distancing their pursuers and branching off into the railway station at Skhour Rehamna and picking up a couple of tickets for the first train northward.

Did I mention the tracking device? The pursuing team turned up minutes later and the first real gunfight of the campaign ensued on the northbound platform that left the two pursuers dead, the team’s Heat rating climbing through the roof, and our heroes deciding not to wait around the station for the cops to show up but to steal their pursuer’s car and complete the journey to Casablanca without delay.

Availing themselves of a decent hotel room (using money stolen from the rival team) Intrusion Expert Rowan hacked the hotel’s security camera system and set her laptop to cycle through the cameras for advance warning. After a gory hallucination in the shower (she put it down to stress) she let Hans take the first watch while she got some sleep.

But not much… the lobby camera kept fritzing out… dissolving into static just like the camera she’s set up in the Saadian tombs. When the image cleared the receptionist appeared to be talking to someone, but there was nobody else in view.

Suspecting trouble the pair exited quickly via the balcony and a quick clamber down a drainpipe to ground level, or at least Rowan did. Hans was still on the balcony when someone they recognised from the tomb kicked the hotel door entirely off its frame, burst into the room and slammed Hans so hard he made it to the ground the hard way, badly injured and barely able to stand. He was able to use his Driving cherry to boost a nearby Volkswagen Beetle though (expressing a certain distaste at the lack of choice) and the pair fled. The Arab gentleman who just stepped off the balcony and instantly broke into a run to purse the car managed to leap atop it and smashed the windshield, trying to throttle Hans with those perfectly manicured hands… Rowan put her gun to the side of the man’s head and fired, blowing a large chunk of it away and sending the assailant rolling off the car and into the gutter… where he was visible in the rear view mirror struggling to his feet and clutching at the bloodless wound in his head.

Stability losses ensued and we had the first Network spend of the campaign as Hans remembered an old acquaintance of his, a French doctor, working in Casablanca who didn’t mind doing off the books work for a friend.

TL/DR: Lots of fun was had, the rules support the action perfectly, and the plot thickens.

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