Tuesday, 14 August 2007

August's EMD&DMUG Monthly Meet.

The East Midlands Dungeons & Dragons Meetup Group August Monthly Meeting
Sunday 12th August 2007
The Brunswick Inn
1 Railway Terrace, Derby, DE1 2RU.

So this was my first East Midlands D&D Meetup Group monthly meet and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
I know the Brunswick Inn well, having spent my last night of freedom before my wedding there, though I have never played a game or knew that people meet up there for games.

There were a few problems with the original date as it clashed with Derby County’s first match of the season; the pub is one of the closest to the stadium and the railway station and was packed with football supporters. This would have made it very difficult to play games!
I did try to snag one of the small meeting rooms in the Assembly Rooms on the same day but was denied by The Powers That Be. So it was moved to the Sunday instead; nice and quiet but unfortunately the kitchen is closed on Sundays so people had to buy their food from the very expensive café at the railway station.

So I arrived at one o’ clock and sorted out my membership card and handed over my donation to the group of thirty-five badge-holders with neck chains. The membership cards double as name badges having a mug shot as well as the on-line avatar of the wearer – nice touch!
I then set up the table ready for my game in the far corner of the room. Sorting out all the money and other props.

I did have three people pre-booked for the game at the EMD&DMU website but I also managed to rope in four more players for the game, giving me a full set of players.
After checking that they all were familiar with the setting of Firefly/Serenity [they were!] I started off telling them that given a choice between doing something sensible but boring or doing something risky and fun always go for the risky option!

The whole group of gamers playing Serenity:HeroQuest.

The players picked their characters; all choosing characters that suited them well and I handed out the small stacks of money to each of them [except Call who only gets a ripped 1 Cred note!] along with their Gun Cards.

The money is used to show how rich [or poor] the characters were and they could use it to buy extra equipment or supplies with it. One player, Chris asked what else it was used for. I told him that you could earn or steal more and I would take some off you if you walked into a bar, brought fuel, weapons or ammo or pay your docking fees. It is part of the Firefly setting – ‘Get a job, get paid, keep flying’.
“Pay Bills? I play these games to get away for paying bills and direct debts and the like!” He stated incredulously. Nice moment that.

The gun cards are a new thing I have introduced to my games. I wanted to give the players more ‘flavour’ for the setting by allowing them to see picture of the weapons they will be using along with the associated abilities and capabilities of those weapons. Also it allows me to take them off them should they lose them or hand them over to someone else or they can trade them between each other. The Captain has the most and he can choose to give them to the other players or not.

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I had advertised I was running ‘The Quick and the Dead’ but as no one had played before I decided to run the first game ‘Echoes in the Black’ as that is a better intro to the game I think.

I started the game with the Betty setting down at Eavesdown Docks on Persephone with a cargo of scrap metal in the hold, not worth much but better than dropping into atmo with an empty hold. Straight away as they walk off the Betty they are surrounded by Alliance soldiers lead by Redbone Bright, the officer in charge of the docks. He hit the Betty with a citation for littering as it was leaking oil all over the dock. He also wanted to know who they all are, my trick to get the players to introduce their characters to each other ‘in game’ so to speak. The group bribed him, haggling him down to almost next to nothing. From there they went onto the Palace Saloon to meet their contact, called Rogan Joshi, to whom they should ‘curry’ favour.

The Palace Saloon doesn’t quite live up to the image its name conjures. Located in the poorer area of the docks, the lower port fees being what makes this area so special, the Palace Saloon is a dive. A clean dive but a dive none the less, renowned for it late-night Karaoke and it’s private booths that are ideal for private meetings. Before they could get in through the door though the barkeep, Azcal Breen, made sure they enter his ‘fine’ establishment un-strapped of their iron. Why the gun control? ‘cause the damage done to the décor!’

Rogan had a private booth in the saloon and got to business straight away. The job is simple but comes in two parts. The first part is a legitimate delivery of lug nuts [you can’t have too many lug nuts] to the Highgate Skyplex in the Regina sector. The Highgate Skyplex use to be the HQ of the terraforming operation of the whole sector, but most of it is now dialect, the few functional areas used now as a space warehouse by the eccentric merchant Brian Hammond. Rogan has obtained, at great expense he points out, the Ident cards that allows docking at the Skyplex and will pay the crew for this job to avert suspicion.

The second part happens on U-day at 09:00. By quirk of a computer error all the secure sections of the Skyplex can then be entered, including Brian’s vault, for a two-hour window of opportunity. Also as it is U-day all the feds are away on shore leave just leaving the local guards on duty. It should be easy to deal with the local talent and walk into the vault. The contents of the vault include the payroll for all the Skyplex staff and all of it is for the taking, that’s their payment for the second part of the job. Rogan only wants the seven large black cases all marked with Alliance flags that are also in the vault as they are ‘technically’ his property. Do not open them, shake them up or scan them in any way. Drop them off at the rendezvous point on Angel and the job is done. Simple, huh?

The trouble is that U-day is six days away and the Highgate Skyplex is six days away on full burn so the timing will be tight. There can be no distractions. Rogan leaves after paying them for the lug nut job and giving them the seven ident cards, the ‘Multipass’ name badges I give out as another prop.

The group liked the sound of the job, a whole vault for themselves was good thing. However they were a little suspicious of the seven black cases. Could they be much needed medicine or something more sinister? Seven cases and there are seven of them, could that be something?

Before they left the bar the barkeep, Azcal Breen, came over to them and asked if they would do him a little job for him if they were departing soon. A case in his backroom needs ‘disposing of’ so no trace of it can be found. Just push it out of your airlock and into a sun if you can as long as is gone. And no its not what you are thinking, I have better ways of getting rid of bodies. You can check out the case if you like just lose it.

The group took this job on as well despite Rogan warning them earlier about distractions. They opened the case up and looked inside. It was broken engine parts, all with Alliance holographic serial numbers on.

The group then had to pay out for fuel, grenades, ammo, supplies and spare engine parts. The Captain give his second in command 200 Creds to buy the stuff, stuff worth nearly 1000 Creds!
Also Johner managed to find a contact selling a Gatling gun for 600 Creds, a barging!
The trouble is the Captain was a little stingy with his money so said no to the Gatling gun. However Johner asked if he could hire it!
Well that made me laugh so I said they could, the only thing is that it would have a great big ‘HIRE’ sign painted down the sides making it very un-cool.

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From there the game went down hill very fast!
Some of the key moments for me were when encountering the distressed engineer adrift in space who pleading to be rescued, the pilot Hillard said “She sounds too needy and is talking too much. Women hate that!”
And when the group had their bar room brawl Johner used the Gatling gun to waste some of the other combatants away!

“Money, money, money!”

“I got the Gatling gun!”

More photos at:


So in all a very good afternoon and a very good game, probably made better by washing down pints of ‘White Feather’ ale.
It is a shame I could stay on after my game and play Paranoia with the rest of the group but I had to get back to wife who was feeling a little neglected.
All being well I will run the sequel ‘The Quick and the Dead’ Serenity:HeroQuest at September’s EMD&DMU monthly meet up.

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