Happiness = to love and to work

You play a game set in L.A., I tell you what, you’re going to be driving hither & yon a hell of a lot. This session brought us downtown, then to Corona, Venice Beach, the northeast burbs, and eventually to Antelope Valley, in the wilds of Palmdale. There was even a mention of La Fontana over the county border. Almost worthy of a local to sneer, “You ain’t from around here.”

Burning rubber and gas – you’d think the heroes were Americans or something. Which is pretty much what this session and game in general is about. I’d thought about focusing play on ICE raids (as recently witnessed in Texas), but instead of going super-villain as with the Defiants game, I wanted to stay completely mundane with that agency. Granted, the scary think-tank consortium is super-villainous as hell, and clearly its tentacles are sunk deep into every Hunted and DNPC on the sheets. But I wanted to focus on the latter. This session was to be about Hope, whom we’ve seen, and Solome, for whom I had plans, and the ICE raid would be dropped in as news to see if our heroes wanted to do anything about it.

Doing so brought play directly into some material I’d thought of as foundational, but which I’d backstopped with some research into Plant 42, a very interesting real-world aircraft manufacturing facility, including finding cool pictures. I can’t say as to whether inclinations from this prep effort or player-announced actions (Rick’s specifically) brought us there, but there we went. So the raids idea will have to wait, but now, it’s also true that our heroes have struck deep into the heart of “what’s going on” and now are well-situated, in concept, even to get a little ahead of the enemy.

You may notice that I didn’t provide photo/notions of what Hope and Solome look like. Looking over the many sessions of playtesting, that turns out to have been a consistent habit for me. It wasn’t planned. I think I feel that DNPCs belong much more intimately to the player than they do to me – very much unlike Hunteds, whom I adopt disturbingly fast. So although I tend to form a strong image of the DNPCs in my mind, I also try not to impose it. If shared visualization seems important in play (e.g., we know what everyone else in a scene looks like so, as spoken, the DNPC is looking kind of faceless in comparison), then I ask the player.

This was a really good try-out as well of the “their problems are your problems” concept for this particular Disadvantage. Flat-out success thereof.

I tried out my “minions, gang, squad, agents, goons” rules in this one, to see whether it could be easier and more fun than the admittedly tooth-pulling, exhausting process of running 25 fine-grained Hero- System-built 75-point foes. We discuss it at the end, and although exactly what you see here isn’t what I’m going to use, the events showed me I was going the right way.

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