GM's Corner 08 - Red Markets Episodes 13-15

Now that the Takers had their massive amount of Bounty, they had to design their Mr. JOLS – their Score that would render all of them independently wealthy in the Recession. The Mr. JOLS process, like the process for designing Scores, works really well as a collaborative tool to make an adventure. The players are making a mission they want to do, while the GM manipulates things behind the scenes to make their hard final mission even harder.

The players’ idea of raiding a vertical farming startup seemed like fun, but I needed a challenge worthy of the series finale. After starting the Delta County Avengers storyline in earlier sessions they seemed to be a perfect fit for a cinematic fight near the end of the campaign. I had intended on them being a minor nuisance throughout the campaign, but with how thoroughly demoralized they had become at the hands of The Reformers, their rage became an excellent weapon.

All throughout the campaign I had wanted to better test the combat rules against human opponents, but the players had either used charisma skills to talk opponents down or crippled their enemies so fast a protracted fight wasn’t happening. The closest was the fight against the DCA in the beer plant, but even then the players had ruined DCA limbs and left them to be devoured by zombies. Not that this was a major concern; as a play test this was a unique set of circumstances that were hopefully helpful for Caleb as he prepared the next version of the rules, but coming from my background in RPGs I had been hoping for more combat.

The fight outside the startup was the fight I had been wanting. By adding combat NPCs to the party, the players were more effective against the DCA and we were able to get a lengthy fight, with players, NPCs, human enemies, Vectors, and Casualties all in play. In the end the fight was thrilling and would have been an excellent end to the campaign…

If I hadn’t had them wrap up my meta plot. In all honesty, it might have been a better move to leave things there, but as I had accidentally given them so much Bounty and had started to establish the end game, I felt I had to finish it. So I shoehorned in roughly four sessions worth of exposition into 20 minutes of post fight chat. They had also managed to avoid directly fighting the Aberrant I had created, so the end of Session 15 was a little lackluster. I should have had the courage to let go and either let them live with the consequences or thrown the Aberrant at them anyway, but that was Monday morning GMing that I’ll be mindful of in future campaigns.

Regardless, as a new GM, I’m thankful that these issues did not derail or ruin the game. My players still had fun, this chunk of the campaign was still good, and the conclusion of The Reformers was about to begin.