Pulling together a scenario

The other week I volunteered to try and improvise a session of A Dirty World for my gaming group. Pretty much as soon as the words were out of my mouth I realized that a) I didn't have characters generated they could use and b) I really wanted a review of the rules before I ran anything. Luckily for me and my big mouth, the group choose an Eclipse Phase one-shot instead. Which let me tell you, was soooooo much fun; our characters all died horribly!

But, you know, now I really should follow up on making that A Dirty World scenario. 

For those unfamiliar with the system, A Dirty World is a One Roll Engine powered system designed around noir/hardboiled stories. Mechanically, you're rolling d10s looking for matching numbers. Thematically, the attributes that build that pool of d10s you're rolling describe your mental state (mostly), rather than your skills. Are you more observant or more better at demonstrating? Patient or cunning? Because right now, to spot that ambush in time, you're going to have to roll that Cunning Observation. 

Getting back to scenario building, I did quite a bit of editing on Red Markets over the US Federal Holiday weekend, so I had the advice to 'zombify your surroundings' kicking around in my head on Tuesday. Which produced the lovely little reaction of "gods damn it brain: set the scenario in Baltimore, with the PCs as local law enforcement! WTF could go wrong with that? </sarcasm>" when that thought percolated up in my brain. I may have only grown up in the Baltimore suburbs, but still, that's the area that came to mind. Although now, of course, I have to name the PCs off of characters from Homicide: Life on the Street. Could be worse, I suppose — I could be pulling everything from The Wire

The original 'what are we going to play tonight?' came up because one of us is on a business trip for almost a month, in a job that's eating all his free time. So all of a sudden we were  down to two players and a GM. I'd like to have something in my pocket if that situation comes up again. Which says to me the PCs should be partners in local law enforcement. That gets me the structure of a newer, younger partner and the veteran. I mean, it's a trope/classic/cliché for a reason. Then, if we suddenly have one more player, I could add a journalist on ride-along (which should display my influences right there). If I've got two more players (four total), another set of cops makes the most sense. Either set could be patrol officers or detectives, but if there's four players, I should definitely enforce one set of each, instead of letting everyone be detectives or patrol officers. It's noir after all, got to have conflict.

Given the idea of a journalist on ride along (ooh, or I could make them an investigator from the Department of Justice), this is definitely set in the now, instead of noir's usual period of somewhere between the 30s and 50s. Cops suggests investigating a homicide, but that's my bias from TV dramas showing. No reason they can't be in units focused on arson, or burglary, or identity theft, etc. This being Baltimore, and especially with Freddy Gray, race and racism are going to have to be an element in the story. Which would also explain the DoJ investigator. 

Any rate, for the story/mystery itself, I'm either going to pull straight from The Wire or use the random plot generator included in the book. It's called One Roll Legal Problems; I've got to give it props for the name.  Whichever I actually do, I think I'll walk through using the generator and writing up a plot for next Thursday's post. Having the setting, time period, general character types, and an element or two I want to include in the story feels like good progress during the week.

Of course the second I started going back through this part to add links, I find a free scenario the game designer offers on his website... Welp, looks like I'll have two games to choose from! And a model scenario on how to write one up in-system. On wards!